Kitchen-Aid mixer buying advice
I have always wanted the quintessential kitchen aid mixer, but I am in no way a professional or even super-competent cook (although fighting for competent!) Can anyone offer an opinion on which model would be the best investment? They range so much in price, it's a tricky decision.
it is a tricky decision. the conventional wisdom is to by the biggest and most powerful you can afford. i guess "you can afford" is the operative phrase here.
i picked up a factory reconditioned 5-quart, 450-watt professional model for a song on amazon last year ($199, free shipping, $25 coupon -- didn't see any when i just checked, sorry), which i've found to be more than adaquate for baking multiple batched of cookie, cakes, etc. haven't tried bread yet, but expect it would work just as well. hoping to find a good deal on the ice cream maker attachment.
I also got the Artisan after looking at that the Pro series. I decided that the 5qt. model was going to take care of what I needed plus I really liked that the head tilted back. I love it and also got in on Amazon for 199 with the 25 off coupon.
I wanted to go with the 600 but just couldn't justify the cost since I had not been baking regularly. The artisan's relatively low power didn't appeal to me. I also wanted to start bread baking and had read negative comments about the tilt-up models in comparison to the lift models.
So, I split the difference and got a Professional 5 Plus model in December. It's 450 watts compared to the Artisan's 325, uses the spiral dough hook, has a 5 qt bowl, and is the lift model. For me, it's been a great model. I got it from Amazon for about $260.
I just bought a new one, a Professional 600 on Kitchenaid's ebay page.
I then sold my 10 year old Heavy Duty 5 qt. on ebay for a great price.
They sell mostly factory reconditioned mixers at great prices and cool colors, some with free shipping and a full factory warranty - I'm very pleased with my experience.
i have a 6qt, 500+ watts (can't remember), which is nuts when you're whipping egg whites (so keep your hand mixer), but i highly recommend it for 2 reasons: 1) 5qt bowl gets very full when you're mixing cake batter, to the point that you worry it might spray batter everywhere! 2) the tilt-up models have been known to break (and in one friend's experience while in use!).
If you don't make cakes frequently perhaps you could go with a 5qt, but you know your baking habits best so it's a personal choice.