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Stand Mixer - Which One?

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.

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  1. 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

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

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

      1. re: samovar32

        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

          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

            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

              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.

    2. 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

        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. 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

          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

            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

              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

              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

                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

                  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

                    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

                      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. 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

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

              1. re: defboater

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

                1. re: defboater

                  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. 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

                  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

                    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

                      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!