Most home chefs can make a great meal with just a good kitchen knife and a quality pot or pan. But when you’re ready to make the next leap up the culinary ladder, a stand mixer is a good place to start. Unlike hand mixers or immersion blenders, a stand mixer is built to take the elbow grease out of the biggest stirring chores. When working with heavier mixes - bread and cookie dough for example - or when facing a task that requires repetitive wisking (whipped cream and meringues come to mind), a stand mixer is your best option. If you’re thinking it’s time to upgrade your kitchen tools, here are three stand mixers we recommend.

KitchenAid Artisan Series Stand Mixer

Choose from more than 20 colors for this tilt-head mixer with a 5-quart mixing bowl.Amazon

KitchenAid is almost synonymous with stand mixers - its signature sleek design and art deco palette of colors is easy to recognize. But it's the powerful mixing action and bevy of available attachments that keep KitchenAid's customers so loyal. Mix, knead and whip your meal's ingredients with ease using the available 10 speeds of the power hub. This particular model also includes several useful attachments including a coated flat beater, coated flat dough hook, a six-wire whip and a one-piece pouring shield.

Cuisinart Precision Master

This 5.5-quart capacity mixer can whip up the dough for 5 dozen cookies.Amazon

Cuisinart's mixer offers 12 speeds to let you choose from a gentle "fold" option to a super quick "whip" setting. It's available in white, silver and red, so it's ready to match pretty much any kitchen design. Accessories included are a dough hook, flat mixing paddle, whisk and a splatter guard with a pour spout. With optional accessories, your Cuisinart can become a pasta maker, meat grinder and even an ice cream maker.

Cheftronic Stand Mixer

This mixer has a 5.5-quart mixing bowl and five accessories so you’re all set.Amazon

If you'd like to knead your dough without spending too much dough, this mixer from Cheftronic is a solid pick. It offers the same mixing capacity as its competitors and the same array of accessories. One bonus feature for this mixer: It has overheating protection. It will stop mixing after continuously operating for 10 to 15 minutes so that it can cool off.