Chef's Review: Choosing the Best KitchenAid Mixer for You
So you have decided to purchase a KitchenAid stand mixer. Great! But which mixer is best for you? Purchasing a KitchenAid stand mixer is a big decision and potentially one of your biggest countertop appliance investments. With all the KitchenAid mixer differences and options out there it can be a little overwhelming, to say the least. Everything Kitchens has been selling KitchenAid Mixers online for over 10 years and is one of KitchenAid's top independent retailers. That being said, KitchenAid stand mixers are a big part of our business culture and what we know best. We understand how important this purchase is and enjoy helping our customers navigate the KitchenAid stand mixer differences and find the right one to suit their cooking and baking needs. We make our stand mixer recommendations based on our personal experience with them and from our customer's feedback as well. Spending some time thinking about the capacity you will be needing and what you will be making with it is probably the most important step to narrowing down your search for a new KitchenAid stand mixer. It is important you get the right mixer to meet your needs. No matter how good it looks on your counter if the mixer is not capable of doing what you need, you won't be happy.
With all the KitchenAid Mixer differences out there, breaking them down into groups is a great way to find the best mixer available for your needs. First, we will look at an overview of all the major KitchenAid Stand Mixers showcasing their basic differences while breaking them down into four distinct groups. Then we will take a closer look at each group of KitchenAid mixers in finer detail. At the end we will have a list of scenarios and the KitchenAid mixer we would suggest would you consider.
"The Entry Level"
KitchenAid Classic Series
All of these KitchenAid mixer models are great for doing small batches with their lower capacity bowls, 3.5-4.5 quarts. This makes them great for smaller families, 1-2 person households, and those that only bake occasionally. Like all KitchenAid Standmixers, these models have the KitchenAid Power hub. With over 12 attachments available for purchase separately including everything from a vegetable spiralizer attachment, to a food grinder attachment, to a slow juicer attachment, these mixers can become a truly versatile multi-functional kitchen appliance. However, if you are serious about home baking we recommend looking to the KitchenAid 5 qt Artisan and Professional 6 Series mixers for their added capacities and power to handle a wider variety of recipes.
If you are wanting a good solid mixer for your small household then you cannot go wrong with any of these options. If you are not concerned about color but are more budget conscious than the KitchenAid Classic Mixer or Classic Plus Mixer are going to be your best bet.
KitchenAid Artisan Series Stand Mixers
The KitchenAid Artisan is probably the most iconic kitchen appliance out there. It is by far KitchenAid's most popular stand mixer and with good reason. The 325 watts of power are perfect for making recipes calling for up to 9 cups of flour. This power and the KitchenAid Artisan mixer's 5 qt bowl size is perfectly suited for mixing a standard size batch of 4 dozen chocolate chip cookies but can easily handle a double batch (8 dozen cookies) or as much as 9 dozen cookies which are considered its max capacity. Overloading the mixer or trying to mix up very chunky, thick cookie dough at speeds higher than the recommended 4-speed setting can cause the head to bounce or shake. So be sure you know the recommended mixing speeds for the type of recipe you are making. The mixer does have a failsafe in the form of a single nylon gear that will strip itself before burning out the motor in the event of the mixer being overloaded. Replacing this gear is more cost effective than replacing the entire motor.
The tilt head design gives the KitchenAid Artisan mixer the ability to fit and operate underneath standard sized cabinets, being only 18" tall with the head tilted up and 14.5" tall with the head down and locked. However many people, including myself, prefer to pull the mixer out from under the cabinet and close to the countertop edge to operate it. (Being under 5'4" is great) This is not so bad as the mixer has rubber pads on the bottom which makes it easy to pull and push it a few inches.
The KitchenAid Artisan Series consists of many models, but probably the most familiar are the KitchenAid Artisan KSM150 stand mixers, the Custom Metallic Series KSM152, and the Artisan Designer Series KSM155. Essentially, all the Kitchen Artisans are the same machine with 5-quart bowls and tilt-head design, and 325 watt AC motor. The KitchenAid Artisan Mixer differences are primarily in the color options, finishes and bowls, and accessories that are included with them. The KSM150 KitchenAid Artisan comes in a wide range of colors - over 32 actually which makes it the mixer with the most color options of any model of KitchenAid's mixers. The KitchenAid Artisan Mixer comes standard with a 5 qt stainless steel bowl, a coated flat beater, wire whip, dough hook, and pouring shield.
The KitchenAid Artisan Design Series comes in its own range of colors numbering 9+. With a double coating, these mixers have an added luster and shine similar to the candied paint effect in the automotive world. A glass 5 qt bowl with measurement markings, flat beater, wire whip, and dough hook are also included with this model mixer.
The Custom Metallic Series Mixers are definitely the higher end of the Artisan models line in regards to the price tag. These mixers come with all the same accessories as the standard Artisan KSM150 Mixer with the 5 qt stainless steel bowl, coated beater, wire whip, coated dough hook, and pouring shield. The higher price is due to their high-end metal finishes that are absolutely stunning available in brushed nickel, chrome, and satin copper. These mixers can make a bold statement in any kitchen.
*The KitchenAid Artisan stand mixers offer the largest array of colors to choose from. One thing we tell our customers when deciding on a color is that we all perceive colors differently and colors can appear different from one screen to another depending on your computer settings. Also, the type of lighting in your home can cause colors to look very different than they do when taken in a professionally lit studio.
KitchenAid Professional Series Mixers
While the Artisan Mixer may be the Iconic KitchenAid Mixer, the KitchenAid Professional 600 Mixers are the real workhorses of the KitchenAid Mixer lineup. These powerful stand mixers are perfect for those who are serious about home baking and who like to make large quantities of just about everything. With 575 watts of power and a 6-quart bowl capacity, these stand mixers can handle recipes calling for up to 14 cups of flour. This translates into 8.5 standard loaves of bread dough or up to 13 dozen cookies at full capacity. If you enjoy making goodies and treats for your whole family and co-workers for the holidays or enjoy making artisan loaves of bread this is the mixer series for you. The Professional 600 and 6 Qt Bowl-Lift mixers sport a wider bowl and come with an S or pigtail style dough hook that can knead thick bread doughs like its air. The Professional 600 mixers also have an all-metal construction with steel gears.
Now with the higher wattage of the KitchenAid Professional & 5Qt Bowl-Lift mixers comes the need for a more stable base. That is why these mixers and other higher wattage KitchenAid stand mixers utilize a bowl-lift design. The bowl-lift design is where the bowl of the mixer fits into two arms and a lever raises the bowl to the stationary mixer head. If you were to put this much power into a tilt-head design mixer it would shake and rattle so much it would eventually ruin the motor and could damage the mixer as well.
These mixers stand an impressive 16.5" tall. Most modern kitchens have the clearance for these mixers to fit snugly under cabinets that are the standard 18" above the counter, but it may be too tall for some. So measure before you buy if you are planning on storing your KitchenAid Professional 600 Mixer on your kitchen counter. Storage is something to consider if you are not able to keep it on your counter all the time. The Professional 600 mixers weight 31-32 lbs which can make it difficult if you are storing it in a pantry or cabinet and having to move it to your counter frequently. Remember to lift with your knees.
The Professional 600 Mixers included many models featuring varying bowl types, finishes, and wattage. The most popular one sold by Everything Kitchens is the standard KitchenAid Professional 600, also known as the "Pro 6" Mixer. This mixer comes with a 6 qt stainless steel bowl, pouring shield, flat beater, wire whip, and S Dough Hook.
The Professional 6500 is a step above the Professional 600 Design mixer. It sports the same 6 qt glass bowl and accessories, but the Professional 6500 Mixer brings a bit more power to the table with a 1 HP DC motor for quieter operation and the ability to run longer without getting hot like the Professional 600 and Artisans AC motors. In addition, it includes a sensor that helps control mixer speeds and will even detect overload, shutting off the mixer to protect the motor from damage. The 6500 Professional Mixer also has the added feature of "soft start" which lowers ingredient splatter, which is good since the glass bowl mixers do not come with a pouring shield.
"The Next Level"
KitchenAid ProLine & Commercial Stand Mixers
These next two KitchenAid mixers are really in classes all their own, but what they do share in common is a powerful 1.3HP DC motor. If you are looking for mixers that come with longer manufacturer warranties than the standard 1 year of the other KitchenAid Stand mixers, larger capacities, and a powerful yet quiet 1.3 hp DC motors, then one of these mixers may fit the bill.
The KitchenAid ProLine Series appliances offer exceptional support with a 5-year total replacement limited warranty from the manufacturer compared to the standard 1-year warranty of the other residential KitchenAid stand mixers. The 7 qt mixer is the largest bowl capacity among the KitchenAid residential model mixers. A 1.3 hp DC Motor offers unmatched mixing power while also being relatively quiet compared to the Professional 600 mixers. The 7 qt bowl gives you the capacity to mix up to 14 dozen cookies. Even though the ProLine only comes in 4 basic colors, they do have the double coating that gives them the additional luster that is usually reserved for the Design series mixers.
KitchenAid Commercial 8 qt - The only choice really for those that cook or bake professionally. Be it a small home business or a commercial kitchen, the KitchenAid Commercial 8 qt is what you need. This stand mixer is the only KitchenAid mixer that is NSF & UL listed, making it the only KitchenAid Stand mixer that's rated for commercial use. The KitchenAid Commercial 8 qt mixer comes with a 2-year manufacturer warranty, a stainless steel 8 qt bowl, stainless steel bowl guard, stainless steel wire whip, flat beater, and spiral dough hook.
KitchenAid Stand Mixer Recommendations
Will only ever be making dough for a 2 lb loaf of bread at a time