Ever used a hand mixer to make whipped cream, only to find tiny little specks of cream all over the kitchen's backsplash? And the fridge? And the dog? You're looking at a guilty culprit here, which is why spending a quick fiver on this mixer splatter guard seemed like a pretty good idea ($4.50 at amazon.com).
The Mixer Splatter Guard is simple in its design: A plastic disc large enough to fit over any mixing bowl is fitted with a flexible slit-cut center that allows your mixer blades to slide in and out. It's see-through, so it's easy to keep track of what's going on inside the bowl. And, as is important with a gadget for the lazy kitchen cleaner, it's dishwasher safe—all pretty straightforward.
That said, I do have my gripes. Fitted to the blades rather than the bowl itself, the guard moves around as you beat, which is more awkward than inconvenient. What's worse is the impossibility of sliding out your mixer blades without making a mess—even if it's only half the size of the mess you would have made otherwise, can't we catch a break? When you want to set the beater aside, add more ingredients, and come back for a bit more blending, this becomes a more substantial issue.
The best way to use it? When your mixes are prone to leaving dust clouds everywhere. Less mess sticks on the blades, and none at all on your clothes, the counter, or, well, the dog.