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Artisan vs. KitchenAid Pro - Help!!!

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I'm about to by my mom her dream mixer - a kitchenaid. Trouble is, I'm not sure which. I think she want the pro, but it could be because it looks bigger and more sturdy (and doesn't come in 20 different fashion colors). I've been in several stores myself though and the Artisan sounds like the way to go.

She will use it to bake bread (for her, my dad and my sister, not for an army) and for cakes and such. So figure a loaf or two each week and a cake now and again, plus maybe some more creative light stuff once she gets the hang of it.

I've read here and there that people think you need the Pro 600 to do bread because it's so powerful. But for someone just baking a loaf at a time is that really true? The guy at Macy's I spoke to said getting the 600 was like buying a Ferrari to drive down the street to buy milk. At Williams Sonoma the woman was insistant that the Artisan was perfect and the Pro was overkill.

So if anyone can please help me I'd appreciate it. I'd hate to dissappoint her on her birthday. Oh, and it's a surprise which is why I haven't just point blank asked her which to get.

Thanks in advance!

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  1. Herschey, I have a very old Kitchenaid stand mixer, probably made by Hobart, and would rescue it first in a fire. It has been a workhorse for more than thirty years and I treasure this machine. That said, if it dies tomorrow, I would replace it with the 600 model. For a couple of reasons I disagree with both sales people who advised you to get the artisan:
    #1, the artisan bowl arrangement is awkward (for me)because it requires two hands to take off or put on. When I'm baking bread or making a cake, usually one of my hands is dirty. The 600 (and mine) are one-handed.
    #2, what your mother is going to be doing with her machine today may not be all that she will want to do with it tomorrow. Why hamper future projects? The crack about driving the Ferrari down the street to buy milk is just that, a smart-alek crack. It is ludicrous to deny future use based on a clerk who may or may not know how to cook.

    I have already put my money where my mouth is by buying the 600 model for my daughter-in-law who does not do a large amount of cooking TODAY. With who-knows-what happening in the future, I saw no need to hamper her by saving a few dollars.

    Your birthday gift is sure to be treasured by your mother, not only for the wonderful machine you will be buying but for the care and thought you've put into this gift.

    1. I agree with Sherri. Your mom probably has the space for a 600, and she cooks regularly, so go for it.

      Having said that, I love love love my Accolade model. It's one step up from the Artisan, and clocks in at 400 watts instead of the Artisan's 325. I bought it because it was on sale for the same price as the Artisan (plus a free attachment), but mostly because I didn't have enough money or quite enough space for a big 600. It works fine for one loaf of bread, cakes, cookies, mashed potatoes, mixing dumpling filling, and even grinding a few pounds of meat at a time. But even the 400 watt motor drifts once in awhile if I'm making a heavy (or double batch) dough. I'm young and strong enough to hold it down, and I don't bake often enough to mind, but your mom might not be as eager to wrestle a stand mixer.

      I guess the short way to put this is while your mom will certainly love the Artisan, if price and space aren't a problem, the 600 can't be beat.

      1. I agree with the above two posts. For someone who will use it regularly, especially to make bread, it is worth getting the Professional 600. Below is a link to a recent discussion on this.

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

        1. Go for the 600 and know it will never die or disappoint. The attachments, of which I am becoming a junkie, are great and easy to use. I am now the designated sausage maker for all my family and friends. I won't let them try the pasta I am rolling with that attachment or I will never be left alone.

          1. I love Sherri's comment about rescuing her KitchenAid first from a fire! Well said!

            I've had my 325 watt mixer for almost 30 years. I've made enough dough for 2 loaves with it regularly for years and it's still going strong. I do a holiday dough that starts with 8 cups of flour with it. That's when I wish for the larger capacity of the 6 qt. bowl. And if I were buying again and had a big kitchen with *high* cabinets or an island (check out the clearance space the big mixers will need) that's what I'd get.

            But if you mom has a smaller kitchen, be assured that even the smaller 325 watt models will give her fantastic service and she'll bless you for it for the rest of her days.

            2 Replies
            1. re: rainey

              Just one note -- you don't want to compare wattage across models. Cooks Illustrated did an extensive test of stand mixers and one of their conclusions is that higher wattage does not equal more power. To quote their article "What does input wattage tell you about the power of a mixer? Absolutely nothing--it's purely a marketing gimmick." The full article is on-line and in their 11/2005 issue.

              1. re: rainey

                My mixer is about 20 years old too, from the days when Kitchenaid was owned by Hobart. I don't think current machines compare with the Hobart models and wouldn't expect comparable performance.