The best egg beater will have smooth action, ergonomic handles, and fit into your budget. There are many new egg beaters on the market, but many vintage versions can be used with proper maintenance. The best way to shop for one is in person, but many online retailers offer free shipping on returns so that you can choose the egg beater that is best for you.
It is best to shop for egg beaters in person or to order from a company that has a good return policy. The best egg beater turns very smoothly and has beaters that won't click together at any point. The only way to ensure this is to crank the beater for several seconds on order to identify any hesitation in the action or extraneous noises. A good beater will run smoothly, even at high speeds.
Most egg beaters are made to whip liquids and light batters. Although some individuals use them for heavier mixes, it is typically not recommended. Usually, an electric mixer or mixing spoon works better than an egg beater for thick substances. Even so, there are some that are sturdier than others. Typically, metal gears and large beaters work better for thicker substances, so look for these characteristics if you intend to use your egg beater for heavy batters.
Even if you plan only to use the egg beater on rare occasions, choose the most comfortable design you can find. There are two handles on an egg beater: the holding handle and crank. The holding handle is usually designed as a horizontal bar or round knob at the top or side of the beater. The crank may have a knob or cylinder shaped handle.
If you have large hands, you may find that a holding handle, whether horizontally placed on top or vertically placed to the side, is difficult to hold as it is typically quite small. A knob would probably be more comfortable. The cylinder shaped crank may also pose some problems. Usually it is about an inch (about 2.5 cm) in length, which is too short to be grasped in a fist and must be pinched with the thumb and one or two fingers to operate. A knob can be held with the fingers and palm, which some individuals find more comfortable.
The shape of the beaters themselves will affect your mixing. The best shape is a rounded beater with flat spokes. Rounded beaters work better than elongated beaters for getting batter off of the side of the bowl, resulting in a more homogeneous mixer. Flat beater spokes typically mix better than rounded spokes because they cut through thicker ingredients like butter and brown sugar.
Vintage egg beaters are popular with many egg beater enthusiasts because of their sturdy fabrication. Older egg beaters can be found at antique stores, at yard and garage sales, or through online auction sites. The drawback to vintage beaters is that the design may not be ergonomic. Although the beater gear may work well, it may be difficult to hold for long periods of time.
Both new and vintage egg beaters come in a variety of prices. Some vintage beaters are technically antiques, and specific brands may be very expensive. Although it may be tempting to buy the least expensive egg beater available, these are typically not the best quality. Determine your budget, but if you have some flexibility, base your decision on the action and comfort of the beater, not the price.