Best Whisk of 2021
Like most of their products, the design engineers at OXO improved upon classic complaints to produce the quintessential Better Balloon Whisk. This essential tool has the stiffest wires of any balloon style model we tested, which results in superior performance — from combining heavy batches of dry ingredients to whisking and aerating egg whites to emulsifying salad dressing. Ergonomics are always at the top of the list for OXO products, and this product is no exception. The non-slip grip tapers so that the widest part rests comfortably against your palm, allowing you to easily pinch higher up on the neck for improved agility when whipping.
Though more narrow than others we tested, the stiff wires of the classic balloon shape prohibit the Better Balloon from flexing and reaching into tight corners of saucepans. This utensil is lightweight and quick-moving, but it is still quite bulky for mixing in small bowls. The 10 tines — which is the second most in our review — improve performance, but it does mean that it takes longer to clean if you have to hand wash off a sticky batter. However, these are all very minor criticisms for an otherwise excellent kitchen utensil workhorse.
The AmazonBasics Stainless Steel 3-Piece Wire Set scored the highest overall in performance and is a clear winner for anyone who wants incredible value. This 3-in-1 set won't break the bank and allows you to choose the proper size for the job at hand. The stainless steel wires are efficient and quick-moving, making fast work of any task. Like the OXO models we tested, these have similarly contoured handles that feature a sticky rubber grip.
However, unlike the OXO options, the wires of the AmazonBasics set are not sealed with epoxy where the tines meet the grip. Though this doesn't seem to present a problem when it comes to handwashing, we do wonder about water penetration into the grips under the higher-pressure conditions of a dishwasher. And, even though they present an incredible value as a set, you will obviously have to find extra storage space for these three full-size utensils. You can also share your love of baking with friends and family by keeping one for yourself and gifting the other two!
Even though this is a specialty tool primarily used for making sauces, gravies, and rouxes, the OXO Good Grips Flat Wire is so well designed that it has earned its place as an essential in our kitchens. The flat shape works comfortably around the edges of pans, and it provides the same style of non-slip grip as our top contender. The stainless steel tines are organized so that the outside one is stiff and easily able to break up clumps; the inside tines are softer and flexible, allowing for more delicate mixing, resulting in a silky smooth consistency.
Unlike a classic balloon shape, the Flat Wire Whisk is not exactly a versatile tool. For example, it will eventually whip eggs into a consistent mixture, but it is tough to grab onto and break the yolk at first. While the grip sports the patented OXO non-slip design, for some reason, it is significantly smaller — which is odd, considering that the OXO Better Balloon only measures 1-inch longer. However, if your culinary goals include mastering the five French mother sauces, then this savvy utensil is a must-add to your kitchenware.
The OXO Good Grips Better Silicone is just that: a silicone version of our top-performing model from the same manufacturer. This slightly more petite, 9-inch version is set up with 12 slightly stiffer silicone tines, resulting in improved performance over other, much more flexible models. It is ultra-lightweight, and the wires are adept at reaching into corners of a bowl to improve batter consistency. While stainless steel wires often make a racket when working in a mixing bowl, silicone tines offer a more subdued option — even working whipped cream in a stainless steel bowl, this whipper is practically silent.
It certainly comes down to user preference, but our testers feel that silicone simply doesn't rebound against the bowl as well as stainless steel wires. The consequence is a slightly more sluggish whipping motion, which is less efficient and requires more work to achieve the same results. Although the Better Silicone is a few inches smaller than the Better Balloon, the grip is much smaller and not quite as comfortable to handle. But like its stainless-steel counterpart, this silicone model is bound to become a staple tool of any kitchen.
The Danish dough whisk, or "brodpisker" is a specialty mixer designed specifically to handle heavy doughs — like those for biscuits, bread, or pasta. Although they may appear with a slight variation in form, the stiff, thick wires twisted to form three tightening concentric loops are ubiquitous. The long, wooden handles of the Coson Home Danish Dough Whisks are as functional as they are stylish, with the added length giving the necessary leverage to cut through heavy, shaggy doughs with ease. Most importantly, the Coson comes as a set of two, offering both a superior value and improved efficiency if you use them in tandem.
Despite their odd appearance, these are a surprisingly popular take item, particularly among bakers and pasta makers. Unfortunately, they are really only good at one job. These will not whip, aerate, or even do a very good job at combining flours. But when it comes to mixing milk into a biscuit dough — or keeping your hands clean as you slowly add flour to your mix — these will fill an indispensable roll in your kitchen.
The Kuhn Rikon 10" French Wire is a classic, quick-working French whip designed with the precision of Swiss engineering. With a slightly tighter grouping of wires than a familiar balloon shape, it is noticeably more maneuverable and, therefore, better able to work in small bowls. This whip is 100% stainless steel, and the tines are set deeply into the handle for increased durability. The nine wires are incredibly stiff, which allows this to whip and aerate better than a classic balloon whisk.
Unfortunately, the Kuhn Rikon French Wire is remarkably heavy. While this allows it to break up chunky batters, all but professional pastry chefs are likely to exhaust their wrist if whipping for any extended period of time, like what is required when whipping a meringue. Despite its smaller size, it is also particularly top-heavy and will easily tip over a small bowl of egg whites or cream. Available in a variety of shapes and sizes, this is a top-quality utensil that likely belongs in a professional kitchen — or at least in the hands of aspiring professionals.
For those chefs looking to consistently bake a super fluffy frittata, the Mrs. Anderson's Ball Whisk may be your secret weapon. This double-balloon style whip includes an inner ball, which helps to improve aeration and blend sauces to a smoother consistency. Unlike other models that bend the tines to double the number of working wires, with the Mrs. Anderson's Baking whip, you can simply remove the aeration ball when you would rather use this as a classic balloon option.
Unlike other 100% stainless steel models we tested, the wires on this model are incredibly flexible — a few times, the aeration ball even managed to escape its cage during vigorous whipping. Besides a hanging loop, the 12-inch handle is as basic as they come and would certainly benefit from some sort of ergonomic grip. But thanks to its surprisingly lightweight construction, we never found ourselves tiring of using this specialty mixer.
Like the set from AmazonBasics, the Ouddy Silicone Balloon Set presents an opportunity to purchase three whisks for the price of one. This silicone set of classic balloon whips includes 8-, 10-, and 12-inch sizes, which offers a nice range to handle a variety of tasks. The stainless steel handles include hanging loops for drying, and these tools are incredibly easy to clean, thanks to a limited number of tines.
Unfortunately, the lack of tines severely diminishes the working capacity of these utensils. No silicone version will ever be as stiff and responsive as one with stainless steel wires, but the tines on the Ouddy Silicone Balloons are particularly pliable. So even though they are unlikely to scratch up in the inside of your favorite ceramic mixing bowl, they take significantly more energy to accomplish the same amount of work as others we tested.
Professional kitchens deserve high-quality products that work well consistently and are offered at a reasonable price-point — the Winco 14" Stainless Steel Piano Wire Whip satisfies that criteria. This 100% stainless steel whip, with a simple barrel grip, is highlighted by stiff wires that are reinforced at the handle. Even though the ring that holds the wires together is designed to be removed after shipment, we actually found that it does a great job of keeping everything together, especially considering the length of the wires.
There is very little wrong with the design of the Winco 14" Whip — this size is simply way too big for regular home use. When working in a normal-sized mixing bowl, it is actually too long to grip the handle — we had to awkwardly grip up above the handle where the wires all come together. The Winco is large and best suited for mixing restaurant-sized batches in large bowls. But if you consistently make huge batches of baked goods or you're building a professional arsenal for catering or cheffing, this is certainly one to consider.
Like the tiny skillet we tested in our cast iron skillet review, the zYoung Mini Whisks are very cute but not very practical. This set of two includes a 5- and 7-inch option, both full stainless steel and built with thick, rigid tines. While this is effective for breaking up clumps in icing, it doesn't result in an even mixture very quickly. These are ideal for working in small mixing bowls or for a camping cook set.
But beyond their novel size, the zYoung utensils simply do not stand up to everyday tasks in the kitchen. The fact that the tines are completely rigid makes it nearly impossible to aerate a batter, and the size alone eliminates the possibility of working anything but the smallest mixing jobs. That said, if you live in a small space, and all you do is scramble a few eggs for breakfast, then these will get the job done.
Why You Should Trust Us
To help us mix things up a bit — yes, that is a whisk pun — we enlisted the help of one of our kitchen experts, Aaron Rice. Aaron learned to cook from his family at a young age and has spent the better portion of a decade working in and around professional kitchens. Nowadays, he and his wife grow and co-manage an on-site market garden for a fine dining restaurant in Santa Fe, NM. Outside of his love of cooking and sharing good food, Aaron works as an avalanche educator, ski patroller, and also contributes as a reviewer for OutdoorGearLab.
Before immersing ourselves in all things mixing-related, our team of experts performed their due diligence by spending hours online researching some of the best and most popular products on the market. We then purchased everything in this review at retail value to help ensure an unbiased review. From there, we took to the kitchen for some seriously intensive testing, whipping eggs, emulsifying dressings, and mixing dry ingredients. By carefully crafting a detailed testing plan and comparing products side-by-side, we are able to bring you a highly comprehensive review. Whether you are a professional baker looking for a new tool to help ease your workload, or an amateur chef hoping to improve the consistency of your batters, our guide is designed to help you find the best whisk for your kitchen.
Analysis and Test Results
Although it may not see daily use like a knife or
spatula, there is a reason you see a whisk in the drawer of every kitchen — it is an essential tool for practically any kind of cook. Some may consider whisks to be a 'specialty' item, but without one, you can never hope to achieve a beautifully silky batter or adequately aerate the egg mixture for a creamy quiche. These handy utensils come in various shapes and sizes, and to directly compare different models, we considered four metrics designed to be mutually exclusive and comprehensive: versatility, design, ease of use, and cleaning. By testing these tools side-by-side, we are able to then rank them relative to one another. So while some may score lower than others, we choose only to test some of the best products on the market — any of these are a worthy addition to either your professional or home kitchen.
While many whisks are designed to improve efficiency for a very specific task, most of us are looking for a single, workhorse tool that we can use to achieve consistent results across many projects. Clearly, there is the right tool for the job — however, for the sake of our wallets and the limited space in our kitchen drawers, we like to make sure a utensil can handle a variety of tasks.
Types of Whisks
There are a surprising number of designs for this seemingly simple tool; some of which are versatile workhorses, and others were invented for very specific tasks. Here is a quick breakdown of types and their intended purposes:
Balloon: Also known as a "piano wire" whisk, this is your classic design, great for most tasks, from mixing smooth batters to combining dry ingredients.
French: Also known as a "French whip," these have slightly tighter tines that excel at emulsifying (think classic French sauces) and reaching into tight corners.
Flat: Also known as a "roux whisk" - a name that defines its purpose. These are designed for sliding around the edges of a saucepan while incorporating flour into liquid to make a roux or gravy.
Ball: Not at all a gimmick, these excel in working flat surfaces of saucepans and reaching into corners when mixing in measuring cups, but also help incorporate air into thinner batters.
Spiral: Also known as a "coil," "spring," or "galaxy" whisk, these are great for mixing small batches, like when blending in a cup; the flexible springs are also handy for breaking up dry ingredients in a batter or sauce.
Bread: Also known as a "Danish dough hook" — or in Danish, a "brodpisker" — these really have one job: to efficiently (and cleanly) mix and aerate thick bread doughs.
Double Balloon: A less commonly used design, these are uber-efficient at aeration, making them great for whipping egg whites or making whipped cream.Tornado: Somewhere between a balloon and a ball whisk, this special shape is used to sweep and pick up solids on the bottom of pots that might otherwise burn.
There is a reason the balloon whisk is the most popular design on the market. From whipping and aerating to combining dry ingredients and smoothing out batters, this classic shape is capable of most duties. Versatility is only improved when you have the right sized tool for the job, so we love the range of sizes that come with the AmazonBasics 3-Piece Wire Set. However, if you can only purchase one, our top choices are the OXO Good Grips 11" Better Balloon or the Kuhn Rikon 10" French Wire, thanks to their sheer capability in a variety of functions. We also appreciate the fact that the inner ball of the Mrs. Anderson's 12" Double Balloon is removable, allowing it to easily transform into a standard balloon whisk when additional aeration isn't necessary.
Unlike versatility, we also want to know how well each whisk performs its intended task. How well does a French whip reach into corners of a bowl? Does this flat whisk easily break up and incorporate flour into stock to build a roux? Shape and maneuverability certainly play a factor, as does the type of material. While our lead reviewer prefers the rebound of stainless steel wires, if you cook in non-stick coated pans, you should consider silicone models to prevent scratching and flaking.
No surprise, the two highest-scoring products in our review, the AmazonBasics Set and the OXO Better Balloon score highly in terms of design — in fact, they are directly comparable to one another, with only a few minor differences. If we had to choose one specialty option to accompany the ubiquitous balloon whip, it would be the OXO Good Grips Flat Wire. A good flat whisk is your key to making a quality roux, which serves as the basis for all of the grand sauces, with the exception of Hollandaise and tomato sauce. We don't suggest using something with stainless steel wires for those cooking with non-stick pans, so if you're in that boat, we suggest the OXO Good Grips 9" Better Silicone as an option that won't scratch-off your non-stick coating.
Silicone or Stainless Steel?
Many of the most popular whisks on the market are offered with either stainless steel or silicone tines. So which is better for you?
Pros: These will not scratch a non-stick pan or tin-lined copper pot; quiet; delicate enough for smooth batters; easy to clean.
Cons: Softer, more flexible tines don't handle heavy batters well; similarly, they don't offer the same rebound as stainless steel and don't aerate or break up ingredients as efficiently.
Pros: Stiff, responsive tines aerate, emulsify, scrape, and break up ingredients well; capable of handling heavier batters; durable, rust-proof.
Cons: Noisy; will easily scrape non-stick and other lined pans.
Ease of Use
As is the case with practically all kitchen tools we test, we likely won't reach for it very often if it is not easy to use. One of the biggest considerations with regard to this metric is ergonomics and weight. For anyone who has ever hand-whipped a bowl of whipped cream or the base of a meringue, you understand the surprising strength and endurance it takes to aerate cream or egg whites properly. The size and shape, as well as the number and stiffness of wires, greatly influences efficiency, and the length, weight, and balance of the handle effects comfort.
Even though we love the precision and maneuverability of the Kuhn Rikon French Wire, it is the heaviest we tested and is likely to wear-out all but the strongest wrists. With that said, it should be no surprise that we favor the lightweight ergonomics of the AmazonBasics whisks and any of those produced by OXO Good Grips. Although it should be noted that, among the OXO options, the grips of the Better Silicone and the Flat Wire are significantly smaller than that of the Better Balloon and are not quite as comfortable to handle.
Due to the design and the fact that they are often used to mix sticky batters, whisks are notoriously annoying to hand wash. To judge this metric, we took into account both the type of material, as well as the number and flexibility of the tines. Fortunately, all of the products we tested are dishwasher safe. But for those without the luxury of a dishwasher, silicone models like the OXO Good Grips Better Silicone or the Ouddy Silicone Balloon Set certainly ease the cleaning process.
After testing a series of some of the most popular products on the market, our comprehensive review helps break down the nuanced differences between each of these models. From common balloon whisks to classic french whips, we identified the strengths and weaknesses of each so that you can best decide which one is right for your own kitchen. Whether you'll use it for daily baking or only occasionally to make fresh whipped cream, a quality whisk is an essential tool for every kitchen.
— Aaron Rice