One More Time: KitchenAid Pro 600 vs. Artisan
I know this topic has been covered several times. I've read all the threads, and I am leaning towards the Pro 600 as people tend to suggest. I am willing to pay the price for it if it will be more versatile in the long run.
I have just one major concern: is the Pro 600 good when I'm NOT making bread dough and NOT making big batches? For instance, is a single batch of brownies that would fit in an 8x8 cake pan doable in this thing, or is it just too big a bowl to be effective on such a small volume of batter?
You see, while I really like the idea of having the capacity to do bigger projects, I just have a feeling that more often than not, I'm not going to need it for that. I take baking fairly seriously when I do it--I like making cakes and cookies too, and I am looking forward to getting into breadmaking. I just tend not to make enormous batches. And I don't want to find that I'd be better off just pulling out my bowls and doing it by hand after I've shelled out the big bucks for this thing. That would be very disappointing.
The KA beaters are designed to get down into the bottom of the bowl. The 6 quart one can whip two egg whites; a single batch of brownie batter should be no problem at all.
If you really want a brand new KA I can't blame you, but I say go on eBay (or scour your local thrift stores) and find a vintage K5A or K5SS model made by Hobart (do a search for Kitchenaid Hobart and you'll get the best results). Most new attachments work fine with it (a noteworthy exception to this is the ice cream maker), and the thing is very much built to last. The price varies on them, but tends to hover around 100 dollars plus shipping.
I've owned Kitchenaid Mixers for about 40 years. As has been mentioned you can make all sized batches. I would recommend the higher powered model if you want to make bread. I routinely make two loaf batches in an 10 year old Ultra powered model but I've seen posts about the motors in new ones not being as well made as older models. I think this is the theory behind buying an older Hobart model on eBay. IMO, this is risky if you don't know the history. My sugggestion would be to try one of the refurbished models available at the Kitchenaid website if you wish to save some money. Good luck with whatever you decide.
I have a hard time with very small amounts, such as 2 egg whites, as the whip does not reach the bottom of the bowl. But in these cases I just use a hand mixer. I recommend the Pro model.