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Stand Mixer - Which One?

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goodeets Nov 30, 2008 10:16 AM

I’m looking at the Kitchen Aid 5 Qt Artisan Stand Mixer and the Kitchen Aid Professional 5™ Plus Series Bowl-Lift Stand Mixer. I can buy the Artisan for $160 and the Professional for $200, both are refurbed/reconditioned with a 6 month warranty.

I’m a stand mixer newbie, have never used one so I’m having trouble deciding what the most important factors to consider are. It will be used for home use only. Any opinions/experience on these models? How about going with a refurb unit? Anyone have good/bad experiences with that? The price has certainly got my attention. Thanks for the advice and help.

  1. e
    Erinmck Sep 10, 2009 07:20 AM

    Within the last month or two, I had a very good experience with KA. I received a refurbished Stand Mixer about 2.5 years ago, and while using the ice cream maker attachment and a regular whisk attachment (two separate occasions), my mixer went a little crazy. On the "stir" setting, it was going as if it were on the highest setting (cookie dough and ice cream EVERYWHERE). Luckily, Kitchenaid was incredibly understanding. Normally they only replace stuff within 1 year if the item is refurbished, but they replaced my mixer no questions asked. This one works even better than the last.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Erinmck
      n
      Normandie Sep 13, 2009 09:16 PM

      It's good to hear they did that for you, Erin. Not every manufacturer would have. I think that type of service is as important to consider when making a significant appliance purchase as are product features, cost and reliability.

      I have a KA stand mixer (an Artisan) and a KA refrigerator, which gave me some of the features more expensive lines have at a considerably more reasonable cost. Both have been trouble-free. However, I have called KA several times to ask about the way certain things on both appliances operate, and they've been helpful and professional, unlike one or two other of my appliances' manufacturers I could mention (but won't, ha ha).

    2. ChezFran Aug 22, 2009 01:51 PM

      I love my Hamilton Beach Commercial 7qt mixer. The CPM700 has an on & off switch so you can set it to the speed you want and turn it on and off. It has a taller, narrower bowl than the KA and has a 1 qt greater capacity than the largest KA. I had a KA Ultra Power 4.5qt for years and it was okay but when I made a large batch of Tiramisu it didn't have enough capacity so I started looking at the larger KA's and they only had a 1.5qt advantage and with a wide bowl I knew that stuff would fly out of there. The Hamilton Beach has been great, I had a problem with the paddle and they shipped me out a new one within a week. The attachments from Kenwood work on it and they are nice. I think the KA attachments are quite good as well. I literally have dreams of owning a 10-12 qt mixer.

       
      1. x
        xny556cip Dec 9, 2008 12:19 PM

        First it depends what you will primarily use it for (Dough,Cookie/cake batters?)The KA motor struggles with stiff doughs,but they are versatile with the attachements they offer.If you are a serious home Bread baker,you should not buy anything without first looking at a DLX or a Santos petrin style.Neither are cheap,but you get what you pay for.I view mixers the same as I view espresso machines - If you want performance and quality,you have to pay for it.(I recommend the Isomac Millenium BTW for an espresso machine ! )

        2 Replies
        1. re: xny556cip
          MikeB3542 Dec 10, 2008 04:07 PM

          That Santos mixer is one funky piece of work! WAY out of my league. Same goes for the Isomac. IMHO, they fall under the "justified if people paying me to use it/justified if I can get a tax write-off."

          Nope, I am looking for something basic -- a step up from a hand mixer. The Ham Beach Eclectric was priced at Sunbeam Mixmaster prices, so wondering if it was worth a flier. Budget just won't allow for a KA.

          1. re: MikeB3542
            Zeldog Jun 1, 2009 06:59 PM

            This is probably too late, but do not buy the Hamilton Beach Eclectric. The hinge between the upper part and the base is extremely loose, so the whole thing bounces all over the counter whenever you try to make bread dough or anything thicker than pancake batter. You need to hold it in place so it won't end up on the floor, and that's no fun if the recipe calls for kneading for 10 minutes and you have other things to do. I replaced it with a Cuisinart and being able to turn my back on it is worth the extra money. I gave the HB to the Salvation Army and I pity the fool who bought it from them.

            Damn! Now I feel guilty that I didn't just throw it in the trash.

        2. r
          RosemaryHoney Dec 9, 2008 11:13 AM

          Hi Goodeets,

          You've gotten a lot of good advice, but I'd thought I'd toss in my .02 worth. I have the KA artisan and I love it. I keep it on my countertop and use it at least 2x a week to make breads, pizza dough, and cookies. I also use it a couple times a month for "tough" jobs like bagels and marshmallows. Prior to owning my own, I used my mom's KA Pro, and while it worked the same, I really didn't like the Bowl-Lift feature. It annoyed me to have to angle the bowl and reach around the mixing utensil to scrape the back of the bowl. This is a very minor complaint, but I certainly prefer the tilt head on the Artisan that allows me full access to my bowl. I would also note that I like the SLIGHTLY smaller size of the Artisan, which fits perfectly under my cabinets, whereas the Pro required a tiny bit of tilting, and jutted out just one inch more, but it was noticable to me.

          My cousin is a semi-pro baker who cherishes her Hobart, and my brother swears by his Cuisinart, but in reality I think the KA line can do just fine by a casual baker - especially if the price is right :)

          2 Replies
          1. re: RosemaryHoney
            HaagenDazs Dec 9, 2008 11:23 AM

            That's my point. Look at the price of the Cuisinart and then look at the price of the Kitchen Aid. Then compare the obvious (size, warranty, wattage) and then make your decision.

            1. re: RosemaryHoney
              e
              Erinmck Dec 11, 2008 07:20 AM

              I agree with you on the size! It's difficult to fit the pro under cabinets :o)

            2. sebetti Dec 9, 2008 09:49 AM

              I've bought a couple of refurbished KA's over the years and have been pretty happy with the quality...well, until my husband would inevitably burn the motor out by repeatedly using it to knead dough that was too large for the mixer. But I think his use might better be defined as 'abuse'.

              If you think you really will use the mixer often and are pretty sure that you're going to continue to explore the the world of cooking and baking, I'd go for the larger machine. We started out with the lowest powered mixer (an Artisian - which was probably named something else in the early 90's) and kept getting larger machines when we needed to replace our burnt-out motors.

              Not that there isn't too large - I simply don't use our current mixer (a Bosch) because my recipes are usually much smaller than my husbands - but the KA-Pro would be a good 'all arounder'. If I had the storage space and/or counter space, I'd like to pick up a second mixer and it'd probably be a KA-Pro (refurbished).

              I think it's worth the extra $40 to plan for the future.

              1. MikeB3542 Dec 9, 2008 07:19 AM

                Anyone have any experience with the Ham Beach Eclectric? Local store has a bargain on -- basically same price as the Sunbeam, but has an orbital beater sim to KA. Just FYI, I am not looking to do anything heavy duty -- just garden variety mixing and beating with an occasional loaf of bread or cookies. Seems like a lot of really critical reviews I have read for all stand mixers include a fair number of lunatics who try to put commercial loads through and are disappointed when the gears strip and the motor burns up. Lack of attachments (meat grinder, ice cream maker, etc.) not an issue.

                1. e
                  Erinmck Dec 8, 2008 05:55 PM

                  I got a refurbished Kitchen Aid Pro 600 (I think that's what it is!!), and I love it. I don't get to use it as often as I want because I keep moving around, and currently live with my parents again (I'm in college!). I would put in the extra $40, I love mine. Though, I guess I've never used the Artisan. I chose this particular model because I want to knead bread doughs in it, and wanted the extra power. Refurbished works great for me.

                  1. g
                    goodeets Dec 8, 2008 12:43 PM

                    Thank you to everyone for the advice and information - exactly what I was looking for!

                    I've done some more research and discovered that the refurb model that I thought was the KA Pro 5 is actually a "special model" that was only made for the big box stores (BJ's, Costco, etc.). The KA representative said it is similiar to the KA Pro 500 but with a taller bowl. The bowl is 5QT and bowl lift. Link is here. http://www.kitchencollection.com/Temp...

                    Like I said in my original post, I'm a mixer newbie so it's hard to say what will be the more important features for me. I won't use it every day. But, I enjoy cooking and I do expect to try a wide variety of recipes from bread to cookies and beyond. Since it's a substantial investment regardless of which model I end up going with, I want to consider all my options.

                    So keep the suggestions and advice coming! Thanks!

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: goodeets
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                      Steady Habits Dec 9, 2008 08:24 AM

                      goodeets, if you are still interested in a KA, it so happens that I got an email from amazon about a kitchen sale through the 15th. I went to look at the cookware and noticed that they're offering a few KA standm mixers with significant discounts. Some offer a rebate. Mostly, they were offering the 5-qts., but I think there was one Pro Series model on sale, too.

                      If you can be flexible re color, I think there was one Pro 6 that was marked down nearly half from the list price of $499 and with a mail-in rebate had a final price of about $219.00. (I think; double-check me.)

                      I noticed one reconditioned, but most were new.

                      http://www.amazon.com/gp/feature.html...

                    2. r
                      rainey Dec 5, 2008 10:24 PM

                      I'm still in love with the KA 5-qt tilt head I bought 31 years ago. Sometimes I've wished I realized I would one day want the biggest capacity I could get but the one I have is still such a workhorse that I haven't been able to convince myself to replace it.

                      Keep in mind that the bowl lifting models are much taller and don't fit in every kitchen. Then also keep in mind the response I once read from another KA aficionado. She said if her house caught on fire the first thing she'd go back in to rescue was her KA. I understand why that was her response.

                      1. alanbarnes Dec 5, 2008 04:10 PM

                        I bought a tilt-head years ago and was very happy with it. My mom bought a lift-bowl model that she hated - but only because it didn't fit under her cabinets. So we traded, and now we're both happy.

                        I give the pro model a slight edge because it has more power and more capacity. But that edge will immediately disappear if it won't fit on your counter. Measure first.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: alanbarnes
                          s
                          Steady Habits Dec 5, 2008 05:15 PM

                          I like my KA's tilt-head, too. I remember it took me a while to adapt my sense of timing to a more powerful stand mixer, from what I done for years with hand mixers. Everything was turning out tough, dry, overbeaten. I was very disappointed in my expenditure, at first, but when I understood I didn't have to mix things as long with this, everything righted itself. But I've *never* had any mechanical problems with the machine, knock on wood.

                        2. m
                          Mother of four Dec 5, 2008 03:40 PM

                          I have both, and I like the tilt rather then the lift. I guess it's a personal preference!! I do have the KA in both and have never had a problem!!

                          1. m
                            mordacity Dec 5, 2008 11:08 AM

                            I can't speak to the quality and durability of the specific models you're looking at, but in terms of tilt-head vs. bowl-lift I have found the tilt-head vastly superior in terms of ease of use. Especially when you have a lot of food in the bowl it can be annoying to get attachments in and out with the bowl-lift.

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: mordacity
                              b
                              Beckyleach Sep 14, 2009 03:13 PM

                              After watching my mother (as she got older and older) struggle more and more with the lift function of her KitchenAid, I made SURE to get a head tilt on mine. I'm not sure which model I have (hubby bought it for me for Christmas about ten years ago) but it's still going strong, albeit I'm not a fanatic baker and probably only use it one every week or two...

                            2. HaagenDazs Dec 4, 2008 12:24 PM

                              Look at the warranties for the unit you're thinking of buying.

                              Kitchen Aid: 1 year (crappy)
                              Viking: 1 year (crappy)
                              Cuisinart & DeLonghi: 10 year warranty (awesome)

                              Now compare the price of Kitchen Aid to Cuisinart. In my opinion, there is no question what you should purchase.

                              3 Replies
                              1. re: HaagenDazs
                                LaLa Dec 5, 2008 07:54 AM

                                I have had a kitchen aid classic for ten years and I love it.I have never had a problem and use it often.

                                http://stores.ebay.com/The-Slippery-M...

                                1. re: LaLa
                                  HaagenDazs Dec 6, 2008 08:40 AM

                                  I didn't say it would break in under one year, I only said Cuisinart has a better warranty. There's no disputing that, it simply a fact. But I'd sure like more than one year of warranty from a manufacturer!

                                  After comparing the lower price, better warranty, larger mixing bowl, and higher wattage, we went with the Cuisinart mixer at our house.

                                  I'm not accusing Kitchen Aid of being a cheap product, but there are name brands out there that sell lots and lots of merchandise just because their name is well known and is associated with a particular product, not just necessarily because it's the best product out there.

                                  1. re: HaagenDazs
                                    j
                                    jzerocsk Dec 8, 2008 06:58 AM

                                    Yeah I have to say that if I didn't already have a couple hundred dollars' worth of KitchenAid accessories, the Cusinart would have been a serious consideration!

                              2. Cinnabon Dec 1, 2008 11:42 PM

                                The refurbished prices you mentioned aren't far from a brand new one that maybe on sale. I got mine around 4 years ago @ 40&% off. I enjoy cooking and baking, howver I mainly use this for cookie dough mixing and cake batter mixing. During the holidays, I bake mass amounts of cookies and this mixer has been a blessing for me. Other then that, this big boy KA Pro sits on my counter with a nice cover that I purchased online.

                                For me, the KA works just fine as I stepped up from a handmixer. Think about what you will be using it for. As I mentioned, I bake over 80 dozen cookes during the holidays, so this mixer has saved me much wrist action.

                                3 Replies
                                1. re: Cinnabon
                                  d
                                  defboater Dec 4, 2008 12:01 PM

                                  Cinnabon, where did you purchase your KA cover online? have been looking for quite awhile - guess I'm cheap!

                                  1. re: defboater
                                    m
                                    Mother of four Dec 5, 2008 03:41 PM

                                    I would send you mine, but I think i gave it to Goodwill!!! A total waste of money!

                                    1. re: defboater
                                      Cinnabon May 30, 2009 12:43 AM

                                      sorry for the delayed response. I bought mine at amazon.com http://www.amazon.com/KitchenAid-KMCC...
                                      Its called the KitchenAid Stand Mixer Cloth Cover

                                  2. j
                                    jzerocsk Dec 1, 2008 09:46 AM

                                    My refurb'ed Artisan crapped out after about 2 years. I replaced it with a Pro 600 which I am much happier with so far. I got a lot of use out the Artisan so I feel like I got my money's worth out of it but at the same time big stand mixers should not be "disposable" items, so that was disappointing. If my new one doesn't last a lot longer than 2 years I will probably write KA off for good.

                                    I don't know if the Artisan uses inferior plastic parts, but it seems entirely likely.

                                    The extra power and bowl-lift mechanism are IMO much better than the tilt-head so given the choice between the two and only $40 difference I'd definitely get the Pro 5 over the Artisan.

                                    8 Replies
                                    1. re: jzerocsk
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                                      Steady Habits Dec 1, 2008 10:45 PM

                                      This is probably a dumb question, but why are these stand mixers refurbished, in the first place? Is it because someone decided to sell theirs, and they're second-hand but basically good, or were they individual "lemons"? I'm wondering about this because, like you, I don't think these things should be disposable. (Don't get me started on coffee makers, speaking of that!)

                                      I bought an Artisan new about five years ago, and I love it. I haven't noticed any plastic parts. It seems very well made, heavy and solid. My guess re the price differential would be the smaller size in the mixer and bowl, smaller motor probably, and a few less features (e.g., no power lift, as you noted). However, I think you can purchase and use, most, if not all, of the same attachments as you can the Pro 5. (At least, I've never seen any order form that has one differentiate.)

                                      OTOH, I'm kind of easy on the thing. I'm a cook, not so much a baker. This is something OP has to consider. Will s/he use it often, for heavy duty jobs, or more like I do? I use the KA *maybe* ten times a year, to make a few cakes, bread now and then, and a few batches of cookies. I make quick breads and muffins often, but mix those by hand. I got the pasta attachment as a bonus, but when I make pasta, like once a year, I also do that by hand. To whip cream or meringue, nothing does the job better than my little $40 Braun handmixer, which is the best handmixer I've ever owned.

                                      Because I don't use the stand mixer very often, I don't keep it out on the counters, so the Artisan is easier for me to lift, when I do need to retrieve it. If I were a frequent baker, I know I'd want a monster stand mixer, which I'd keep out. I know I'm probably overlooking lots of fun things I could use the Artisan for, but if I learn how to do them, then I'll get crazy-obsessed and have to have the Pro 5 or Hobart. :-)

                                      1. re: Steady Habits
                                        j
                                        jzerocsk Dec 2, 2008 01:03 PM

                                        I think the refurbs were just ones that were returned under warranty and could successfully be repaired.

                                        You won't find any plastic parts on the outside, but there may be some on the inside. It is very hard to figure out for certain whether the plastic parts are the cause of failures. KitchenAid is not even all that forthcoming about which parts are plastic.

                                        1. re: jzerocsk
                                          s
                                          Steady Habits Dec 5, 2008 05:09 AM

                                          I'm going to sound a little cynical, I know, and I apologize ahead of time, but I find not too many appliance (large or small) manufacturers seem forthcoming these days. They've got the sales talk down to an art, but the real info seems harder to come by. So...you may be right :-). It's disappointing to hear how many people have had problems with an item that costs hundreds of dollars.

                                        2. re: Steady Habits
                                          vanillagorilla Dec 4, 2008 12:42 PM

                                          I read a statistic somewhere that 90% of all refurbished items were returned for reasons not having to do with the item being broken.

                                          If I buy something at a store, open the package, and then return it. It has to be sold as refurbished.

                                          1. re: vanillagorilla
                                            s
                                            Steady Habits Dec 5, 2008 05:12 AM

                                            I always think I can't return an item unless it is broken. (Although I know most stores allow Christmas gift returns for a limited period.)

                                            One exception I know of is LLBean, who allows you to return anything, for any reason, anytime. I wish Bean made kitchen appliances and equipment!

                                            1. re: Steady Habits
                                              z
                                              ziggylu Dec 5, 2008 05:32 PM

                                              Both the big kitchenware stores, Williams-Sonoma and Sur La Table, will take back any item no questions asked at anytime in the year. SLT has no time limit either, pretty sure W-S is the same.

                                              I went through three refurbished KA mixers before I got one that actually had all the gears(the first two didn't have functioning low gears and got sent back). The refurb one lasted about 2 yrs before it gave up the ghost(one too many genoise apparently). I bought a new Professional 6 and have had that about 4 years with no problems but am holding my breath to see how long it actually lasts.

                                              I keep threatening to take my mother's 30+ year old KA. That thing is a real workhorse being one of the old Hobart mfg models.

                                              1. re: ziggylu
                                                s
                                                Steady Habits Dec 5, 2008 05:50 PM

                                                That's *very* nice to hear about W-S and SLT, ziggy. I've begun to get over my old-fashioned hang-ups :-D about ordering stuff online, partly because I live out in the boonies now and can't easily find some of things I used to take for granted during years of living in DC and suburban LI. So thank you for letting me know.

                                                So, now you and a few others here have me intrigued. If I ever do find myself using the stand mixer for more, and decide to upgrade, why does everybody seem to love Hobart so much? For home use, I mean. I understand about the commercial Hobart bad boys, but for a five or six quart mixer, what justifies the price gap between H. and KA?

                                                1. re: Steady Habits
                                                  l
                                                  Leolady Sep 12, 2009 08:09 AM

                                                  I prefer a Hobart N50 or a Kitchenaid model G mixer for lots of reasons. One is durability. They are energizer bunnies that keep going, and going, and going. Also, they can handle the bread doughs that send other mixers to the mixer graveyard in the sky. You only have to remember one Important thing............

                                                  When you change speeds, make sure that the motor comes to a complete stop BEFORE you change speeds. There are no other worries. You can use all of the hub attachments from a Kitchenaid without worrying about straining the motor. You can use all of the NARROW bowl attachments as well.

                                                  My two N-50 mixers are from 1947; and my two KA model G chrome mixers are from 1930's. All of them work perfectly except one N50 that needed a transmission when I got it although it still runs[some numb nuts did not wait til the motor stopped to change speeds]. It will be repaired and running soon for another 60 years of good service.

                                                  If you notice, many labs that report online about their testing use a N50 to mix and test concrete mixtures amongst other things. There is a reason for the Hobart reputation for reliability and durability.

                                      2. g
                                        Grillncook Nov 30, 2008 11:49 PM

                                        What are your home uses going to be ? You really need to decide what you are going to use it for before you can pick a specific model. Are you going to bake bread ? or cake mixes ? cookies ? or use it with the attachments KA offers ? All these are issues that you need to address. I own a Pro 6 that was purchased as a refurb several years ago, so I familiar with the Pro series and not the Artisan. I understand that the Artisan has a narrower bowl which would be a minus in my eyes. It's already tough enough to scrape the bowl on a Pro so anything smaller and harder to get at would be difficult to deal with. I use the accessories quite a bit, so I went with more power. I use the grinder almost weekly, ground 4 pounds of round yesterday for chili. I have the small bowl (3 qt.) for doing up whip cream, can do up a cup of whipped cream in a couple of minutes. If you are really going to use a KA as the workhorse that it is, a 6 qt. with it's higher power is the way to go.

                                        I think we paid $250 for mine about 8 years ago, and it's still works like the day I took it out of the box.

                                        1 Reply
                                        1. re: Grillncook
                                          l
                                          lcool Dec 1, 2008 09:29 AM

                                          I would agree with all you say.I don't know anyone that doesn't feel the same way about the PRO series.The smaller bowl/less power ARTISAN series has some draw backs.I do not own either model.My needs/uses differ significantly .I also would not suggest my
                                          VIKING or HOBART first ,these are machines most people grow to need,not start with.

                                        2. l
                                          lcool Nov 30, 2008 11:23 AM

                                          ease of use ; bowl lifter is an asset (when adding ingredients)as is power and bowl size
                                          If I were gifting or recommending it would be the larger with bowl lifter.

                                          5 Replies
                                          1. re: lcool
                                            s
                                            samovar32 Nov 30, 2008 06:16 PM

                                            Kitchen Aid can't come close to the 750 watt DeLonghi (formerly Kenwood):

                                            http://www.amazon.com/DeLonghi-DSM5-5...

                                            1. re: samovar32
                                              l
                                              lcool Dec 1, 2008 09:22 AM

                                              or VIKING or CUISINART ,however the $$$$ difference is significant to staggering when discussing purchased "NEW"
                                              At the prices goodeets quoted for the equipment question asked as applied to her
                                              first mixer,both are good machines and will serve well for almost anyones needs.
                                              More than an OK unit for someone that has never used a stand mixer and is poised to purchase their first one.

                                              1. re: lcool
                                                b
                                                bnemes3343 Dec 1, 2008 09:27 AM

                                                Totlly agree. goodeets, get either one (although I really like when the bowl lifts, and I've had both). ENjoy them and move from being a newbie to an expert. Then give it to another newbie and buy a viking.

                                                1. re: bnemes3343
                                                  v
                                                  VTtoMAtoCAfoodie Dec 5, 2008 04:22 PM

                                                  Funny when I went to culinary school we used Viking Mixers and I can tell you that we all HATED them. I would choose a KA over a Viking any day (and I'm an "expert" :) That being said, I'm spoiled because I use a Hobart daily.

                                                  1. re: VTtoMAtoCAfoodie
                                                    l
                                                    lcool Dec 6, 2008 03:16 AM

                                                    As trade I was given my VIKING and CUISINART,they sent them.Almost 85% of what I do comes out of my HOBART.
                                                    Below I begged off an opinion,largely because I almost dislike tilt top equipment.However this is not the by a land slide reaction/opinion in my experience.

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