A mixer is a kitchen appliance used to help the cook with higher-speed mixing, beating, kneading, and whipping. They can be hand-cranked or electric, and there are a variety of different types.
Also called a hand-cranked mixer or beater, an egg beater is a small handheld device that uses a hand crank to rapidly turn one or more beaters.
A hand mixer is an electric handheld mixer with two removable beaters that spin in place. Helical (corkscrew-like) dough hook attachments are usually provided for working with moderately tough dough, and whisk-like attachments may also be included. Typically this kind of mixer is held over the mixing bowl, though some come with a specialized stand and bowl that allow the cook to put the mixer down without stopping the mixing process.
A stand mixer is a larger piece of equipment with a bowl that locks into place under a frame holding the motor and mixer attachments. Planetary stand mixers are one of the most common household types, and they work by rapidly moving the mixer attachment around the bowl. Common attachments include the paddle/beater, whisk/whip, and dough hook.
The different varieties of mixers have slightly different appropriate uses. Egg beaters are suitable for smaller amounts of fluids, and they are best suited for beating eggs and egg whites. Hand mixers provide more power and can be used for small to medium volumes; they can be used for creaming, whipping, and kneading small amounts of wet dough. Stand mixers are the most powerful, and they will produce more aerated or kneaded products in less time; however, they are not suitable for small volumes.