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Kitchen Aid: Do I need more than the Artisan?

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I've been slowly learning to bake and am considering buying a Kitchen Aid mixer. I understand that some of the more expensive models have more wattage, but I don't know how much I would need or appreciate the extra wattage.

I expect to use the mixer to make bread dough a few times a week, and an occasional dessert. Do I need the extra power of the more expensive models, or is the Artisan about right for my level of usage? Thanks for all feedback.

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  1. My recent post of a similar question yielded some results.

    To get you started: I think I'm leaning towards the Accolade: 75 more watts and a bigger bowl for around $50 more. Plus I hear that Williams Sonoma will have a Mother's Day sale, though that's totally unconfirmed.

    Good luck!

    Link: http://www.chowhound.com/topics/show/...

    5 Replies
    1. re: nooodles

      Instead of at Williams-Sonoma, you could probably get a better deal any day of the week by buying it at Bed Bath & Beyond with one of those 20% off coupons that they send in the mail at the rate of about one a day. At least in my house. That's how we got our Artisan. If you don't get beseiged with those royal-blue 20% off flyers all the time, try asking friends and family.

      I am only a special-occasion baker, maybe a couple of times a month, and even I have to say that I kind of wish I had a higher-powered KitchenAid. Go for more watts if you can afford it.

      1. re: Sarah W-R

        That works well for the Artisan, which retails for $250 and is often on sale or available on-line for $200 (amazon, bed/bath/beyond, macy's).

        The Accolade is only sold at Williams Sonoma, to the best of my knowledge. It retails for $250, hardly ever goes on sale, but sometimes comes with a free extra bowl and spatulas. But like I said, the extra wattage is tempting.

        1. re: nooodles

          it is not only sold at Sonoma.its all over the internet.

          1. re: rick

            Oops! I guess what I meant is that it's only avaliable at Williams Sonoma for $250. Other websites have it for $270 or more (which I guess is the same as $250 + tax, depending on whether the site offers free shipping).

            If you've found one that's lower, please share!

            1. re: nooodles

              Bed Bath & Beyond offers it for $279.99, but with the 20% off coupon it would be $224.

              Thanks for all of the comments. You've given me a lot to think about.

    2. I'm afraid I don't know about recent KA quality. But, if you are going to be baking bread every week, you might need the extra wattage! I had a lot of trouble with a relatively low-wattage KA, then got an 800 watt Kenwood/DeLonghi (for dirt cheap when the name was changing) that purrs through double batches of brioche: no overheating or shut downs. Then I found a great deal on a DLX Magic Mill-wow! For most use, the extra wattage isn't such a big deal, but if you bake bread a lot, it's a good thing!

      1. I wonder myself if wattage is just a sales gimmick to make us want more than we need. If it means anything at all, I noticed that Ina Garten/Barefoot Contessa uses a Classic KA model and Michael Chiarello uses the Ultra model. But I don't know if they are bread bakers.

        2 Replies
        1. re: Pupster

          Not so, pupster. Wattage is EVERYTHING in a motorize appliance. Always go for the highest wattage you can afford. The motor will last longer as it needs to work less to accomplish the same task and it really bites to spend $200 on a "cheap" model only to find out that in the end, the appliance really wasn't up to the jobs you needed it for.

          1. re: DK

            If that is so, what is with the popularity of the KAs which are so low in wattage in comparison to Bosch, DeLonghi, and Viking which are all pushing 1000 watts? (Granted, the Bosch is very expensive.) Is it just styling or made in the USA or those things that don't have much to do with PERFORMANCE?

            I'm not challenging you, I'm curious since I'm shopping around for mixers myself. I don't bake bread, so I didn't think I needed all that much wattage, but based on what you say, I should get high wattage even if I don't need it, simply because it's more durable. (That's couterintuitive, BTW)

        2. I'm afraid I don't know the names or wattages of either my KA or my mother's, but let me throw in this consideration:

          My Mom has a bigger KA w/ more watts than mine and one of the large bowls that must be lifted and lowered to the beater. She doesn't like that set-up, and would prefer it if the top flipped back like mine does. Also, being sensitive to noise, she doesn't care for the louder motor of her high-watt machine. I guess if I were nice I would swap with her, but I've had mine for about 15 years now, and I've grown attached to it.

          I recommend getting two bowls from the start. If you have made a cake, you will probably want to make icing, and you will need the second bowl. My second bowl is smaller, and that's nice if I just need to whip a couple of egg whites or a little bit of cream.

          1. I would err on the side of more wattage. Kneading bread dough requires more strength and longer use than mixing cake batters or whipping creams. I can't speak for current models. I agree with a previous poster about checking out what's available at Bed & Bath and using their 20% coupon.

            1 Reply
            1. re: meta

              If you are planning on doing bread, absolutely, most definitely, get one bigger than the artisan. I have the Artisan and I get frustrated each time I try and do a double-loaf batch. The motor just isn't strong enough - and the bowl of the 5-quart isn't large enough for a hearty 2-loaf batch. I end up having to halve the dough and do it in two batches. Which defeats the purpose of using a KA for kneading.

              If you aren't planning on doing breads, it probably isn't much of an issue. But if you can go for it, I would highly recommend going for a 6 quart, high-wattage model.