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Kitchenaid Pro or Kitchenaid Artisan Mixer?

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Hi there--so my husband's birthday is coming up, and since he's our devoted home chef, I thought I'd get him a refurbished kitchenaid (he's also really into style and design, so it's a great little piece for him. He's really into bread baking,but also into experimenting with desserts, etc.

Anyway, there is the very stylish Artisan but there is of course, also the pro. Anyone out there have any advice about which one is better? Esp keeping in mind the bread dough etc. Cheers!

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  1. The bread dough is probably the kicker here. Although either of the two should be able to handle most kneeding jobs, the Pro has the most power and would be best suited to bread dough. If that ends up being a relatively small percentage of the use of the mixer, then the next big difference is the Artisan has a tilt head (which many including my wife prefer) and the Pro has the lift bowl. The only other difference is the bowl size, the Artisan is 5qt and the Pro is 6qt, this only makes a difference when you start doubeling up on cakes and such.

    If the bread making is a regular task and he doesn't object to the lift bowl, then the Pro is probably your better investment.

    I'm compelled to give you my personal experience with the refurbished Kitchenaid mixers. We bought our first daughter one as a weeding shower gift, by the time our second daughter got married a couple of years later, we bought her a regular (first, unrefurbished, whatever you want to call it) because we were not happy with the quality of the refurbished mixer. There were little things like the trim not staying on and my wife thinks it doesn't runs as smooth. Actually, she doesn't believe either of the new mixers are as good as the Clasic, she bought 25 years ago.

    1. The spiral dough hook on the pro is a great improvement over the old C shaped dough hook, which I believe is the one included with the artisan. Since your husband bakes bread, the speed and efficiency of the spiral hook would be the deciding factor. (You can only use the spiral hook on those models that come with it as original equipment - they exert too much force on the other models that were not designed to handle it.)

      That said - I am on my 2nd Pro 600, having burned out the first after a couple of years. (I do bake a lot of bread.) I have to agree with mikie's wife that none of the newer models are as well built as my 25 year old classic one either, which is still sitting on my counter getting plenty of use!

      4 Replies
      1. re: nutmegr

        I've read somewhere that the machines with the spiral dough hook have metal gears and the C shaped ones have the plastic gears

        1. re: scubadoo97

          I'm sure you did read that somewhere. Doesn't make it true.

          KitchenAid did, for a while, use a plastic gearbox in some models. No plastic gears. Whoever designed it (or perhaps, built it) chose an suitable plastic, and they had a tendency to deform when hot, and cause failure. They stopped doing that some years ago.

          1. re: dscheidt

            thanks for the update

            1. re: dscheidt

              Actually they did use one plastic gear. It was a break-away gear, intended to, well, break away and save the motor should things bind up. They apparently stopped using it because so many people who didn't understand how a motor works and what a breakaway gear is for got up in arms about "plastic gears" in their KAs. I forget what they replaced it with - I think an electronic cut off switch. Much less efficient and far more likely to fail when needed. The breakaway gear had been there since Hobart days, it was effective and cheap and easy to replace should the worst happen.

        2. For bread and pizza dough I would go with a Bosch Universal Plus. Home bread and pizza bakers in general seem to constantly have problems with KA mixers.

          1 Reply
          1. re: roadfix

            That said, I ended up ordering the 600 pro for my pizza dough. I should get it within the week.,

          2. "He's really into bread baking..."

            The Pro.

            Definitely.

            1. Not having the tilt head like the Artisan model, you can not remove the bowl on the Pro model without first removing the paddle/hook/whisk. That makes for a big mess and is a royal pain.
              Get the Artisan.

              5 Replies
              1. re: CharlieKilo

                I've always thought I'd HATE the lift-head (since my classic was tilt) but, really, you get used to it very quickly. I don't find there's a "big mess" if I just let the beater/whip *drop* right down into my dough, then remove the bowl, and THEN extract the hook/beater.

                And, really, you can't do much in the way of bread with the Artisan.

                That said, I'm not exactly expecting my new Pro to last very long. The track record is just dismal on all the newer KA mixers, alas. I've kept my little, old Classic just in case...

                1. re: Beckyleach

                  I agree. I never have any mess, and I much prefer my Pro 5 to my sister's Artisan. My KA has survived heavy near daily baking/bread making for over 8-9 years now with 0 issues.

                  1. re: Becca Porter

                    No mess here either. I love my Pro. Great for bread. The only thing it's not good for is small jobs

                    1. re: C. Hamster

                      The Pro! A couple of years ago I got a smaller bowl with it's own mixing attachment called a "combi" for smaller jobs - at the time only Williams Sonoma carried it - and that makes the Pro more versatile. I bake bread weekly and the KA Pro makes it so easy... I'd also suggest looking around for a sale rather than getting a refurbished mixer.

                      1. re: janeh

                        Good point - I bought the small mixing bowl & combi-whip set for my wife's Pro. She uses it about 1/2 the time now!

              2. Love my Pro. The tilt-head would make me crazy, but I was trained on a huge Hobart, so the lifting bowl is second nature.

                I wouldn't do refurbished, unless perhaps there was a proper warranty.

                1. If you want a model with a heavy duty motor and all steel geartrain consider the Commercial 5 qt. No fancy colors just rugged construction.

                  http://www.webstaurantstore.com/kitch...

                  Available here or goggle for it.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: RichardM

                    I like it that they give HP in the manual! They didn't give it for mine. I think mine's about 20 years old now.

                  2. I bake a lot of breads using the artisan mixer. But, if I were to do it all over again, I would have gone with the Pro. Sometimes when kneading with the artisan, I think I would rather have something a little more heavy-duty. Kneading a lot of dough has beat up my artisan quite a bit. Really, I think if bread dough is the end game, go with the Pro.

                    1. The artisan has plastic gears and is only 325 watts the Profesional 6qt is 575 watts and has some what better quality brass gears.

                      7 Replies
                      1. re: ZeroSignal

                        This is a common misconception. Kitchenaid used to put a high-temp breakaway gear in all their mixers. This is a "sacrificial" gear intended to break and stop the motor should something bind, so that all you have to do for repair is replace that one gear as opposed to repairing who knows what in the motor. It keeps things from getting torn up, like a shear pin in your lawn mower. It's intended to break under unusual stress to save the motor from burning out, it wears fine under normal use. What they had trouble with was a plastic gear housing which has long been replaced. This breakaway gear has been on all Kitchenaids back to the Hobart days.

                        Because they were getting so many complaints about what was basically NOT a design flaw but good mechanical sense, they stopped using the plastic breakaway gear (ONE gear) and switched to an electronic sensor that's supposed to stop your machine before it burns the motor out, should it bind for any reason. I much prefer the breakaway gear - mechanical solutions to mechanical problems are safer than relying on electronic sensors for this sort of thing. My KA is 20 or 25 years old, so it has the breakaway gear.

                        So there are no plastic gears in any of the newer Kitchenaids, and the one they used to have was a good thing, not a bad thing. There has never been more than ONE plastic gear in any KA mixer, and that was a design FEATURE, not a flaw.

                        Just FYI.

                        1. re: ZenSojourner

                          ummm...there still using them in the Artisan mixers. Just had a newer one apart not to long ago and was shocked by this. metal center with a plastic gear fused to it, and the plastic gear was broken in four pieces.And the tilt head mixers suck to work on too to much work to get into gear housing.

                          1. re: ZeroSignal

                            and to add the large ones like 6qt professional have $h_+ chinese motors in them that you cant even replace motor brushes on along with a soft brass gear that wears out against the steel follower gear.

                            1. re: ZeroSignal

                              As of 2007 they had replaced them in all their mixers, as I understood it. I'll check with them tomorrow. It might not have taken place until 2008.

                              But what you are describing sounds like the one nylon breakaway gear. It's SUPPOSED to break to keep the motor from burning out.

                              The one nylon breakaway gear is supposed to function the way you describe when the motor is overloading to keep it from burning out. Unfortunately people sometimes don't realize they are overloading their motor until the gear actually breaks, but it's been weakened by past excesses. Then they haul it out to whip cream, the gear breaks, and they think it broke from making the whipped cream. Which is not the case. It broke from that time they were making whole wheat bread with 10 c of flour and pushed the speed control all the way up because the motor was bogging down, then they shut it off just before the motor reached the melting point. LOL!

                              I read about one guy who broke his breakaway gear while grinding turkey bones. But he knew he shouldn't have been doing that!

                              Having that one breakaway gear is a GOOD thing. I think it's way safer than an electronic control. I'm not sure about thermal fuses. I've heard they're using thermal fuses in some KA mixers now.

                              The point is its not plastic GEARS. It's ONE purposefully designed sacrificial gear to protect the motor should you overload it, which has been in all KA mixers since they first started making them. This is a commonly used protective mechanism in any good motor-driven appliance. It should cost about $25 to repair if you're doing it yourself. Beats having to replace a $300 motor.

                              1. re: ZenSojourner

                                Yeah its cheaper to just replace a gear, thats if you have the know how to do it. Otherwise your two thirds of the way to a new mixer when said and done with parts and labor. And dont froget sometimes the grease has to be replaced depending how many pieces of the gear are floating around the grease..

                                1. re: ZeroSignal

                                  Just got word the gear I said was plastic. Is actually a Kevlar materialaround a S/S center and this is still being used on all Tilt head mixers.

                                  1. re: ZeroSignal

                                    Yes, a high-heat substance intended as a breakaway gear.

                                    Not the same thing as having plastic gears. I guess they only stopped using them in their OTHER mixers. I did mean to call them today.

                                    At any rate, this is not a bad thing or a reason to stop buying this or any other KA mixer. There may be other reasons to make that decision, but its not because they have "plastic gears". They don't. This gear is supposed to be there and its supposed to function the way it does, which is to break in order to stop the motor and keep it from burning out. It's not a "cheap plastic gear", it's a purposeful design feature which has been present in KA mixers ever since they were still owned by Hobart.

                        2. Consumer Reports just named the KitchenAid Classic K45SS the best stand mixer available. (That's the Artisan!)

                          3 Replies
                          1. re: CharlieKilo

                            Did they test the Commercial? Or wait, let me ask more specifically - what models did they test?

                            1. re: ZenSojourner

                              Messenger here! Ease up.

                              1. re: CharlieKilo

                                Huh? I was just wondering what models they tested. They probably didn't test them all, did they? Plus they wouldn't have tested just KAs. I don't think so, anyway.

                                I don't have a CR subscription so I don't know what they tested. If anybody who has a subscription wouldn't mind letting us know what they tested it'd be interesting. I assume this was fairly recently?

                                If someone has seen it and has the time . . .

                          2. I have a KitchenAid Pro stand mixer, which I purchased back in 2002. I have made bread with it, cakes, cookies and dinner rolls. Creaming butter and sugar are a dream, but my one contention is the mixer's stationary head. While it operates as well as the day I purchased it (and it still looks wonderful with its cherry red finish), I really wish I had purchased the Artisan mixer that you can knock the head back out of the way when you need to add some ingredients or get to the batter with a spatula.

                            1. Hi, I've just started baking (Taking cake decorating class) and have all so been looking for a stand mixer.
                              I like the Kitchenaid Pro Stand Mixer, and the best price I have found on a new one is $269.?? at our local Sams Club.

                              2 Replies
                              1. re: coupco

                                You can get one from Amazon.com for $242.73. http://tinyurl.com/4gscy3c

                                1. re: coupco

                                  I also just finished taking a baking class as part of my Culinary Arts program. One of the first things I learned what that I need a decent stand mixer, so I started doing a lot of research. I really didn't like some of the reviews I was reading here and on Amazon about KA mixers, especially the Artisan series. Too many failures, IMO.

                                  Besides the really big Hobart floor-standing mixers, we had several old KitchenAid K5-A mixers in the kitchen for doing smaller batches of recipes, icings and things like that. These are also made by Hobart. Seeing how much they got used every day, I figured I'd get one of them. Well, they stopped making them many years ago. Bummer.

                                  Last week I found one on craigslist about 20 minutes from my house. I went to check it out and it looked to be in excellent condition, very few scratches on the white finish, the only thing it was missing was the paddle blade. When I gave it a test run, it was noisier than I expected, not a bad noise, it just sounded to me like it needed lubrication. $150 and it was in my car on the way home with me.

                                  When I got it home I took it out to the garage and took it completely apart. Lemme tell you, this thing is built like a tank. Nothing plastic at all under the hood. The gears were all in excellent condition, it just needed new grease. So I scrapped out the old dirty grease, reserved all the good clean original grease, then carefully cleaned everything off with lacquer thinner and brake cleaner. Then I re-distributed the fresh grease onto the gears and put it all back together. I finalized the project by giving it a polish and wax job with my Porter-Cable car polisher and some good Meguir's products. It looks amazing now, and it runs much quieter. I can't find any serial number on it anywhere but I'm guessing from the type of plug and cord that it's a 70's era machine. I ordered a couple of paddle blades for it on Amazon.

                                  Whipped out a batch of bread the next day, man this thing just hums along. Moral: if you are willing to take the risk for a used machine, the K5-A is a commercial-grade unit that will last a long time.

                                2. Hi, I am a KitchenAid employee. KitchenAid has just started to monitor Chowhound.
                                  I would like to give you a little information on the mixers KitchenAid manufactures.
                                  KitchenAid has 2 models of mixers Tilt Head Mixers, and the Bowl lift mixers.

                                  The Classic Tilt Head Mixer features are:.
                                  1. Powerful Motor -- 250 to 325 watts for everyday household recipes including batter, cookie
                                  dough, quick bread, pizza dough, and basic white bread dough.
                                  2. All Metal Exterior Construction is rugged, durable and will deliver many years of reliable,
                                  quiet service.
                                  3. 10 Speeds allow the use to select the right speed for the mixing job from very slow stir to
                                  very high whipping.
                                  4. Multi-Purpose Attachment Hub powers a variety of attachments to provide unmatched
                                  culinary versatility and convenience.
                                  5. Easy to Clean Design wipes clean with a damp cloth.

                                  The Classic Bowl Lift Mixers features are:
                                  1. Powerful Motor -- 325 to 350 watts for everyday household recipes including batter, cookie
                                  dough, quick bread, and bread dough.
                                  2. All Metal Exterior Construction is rugged, durable and will deliver many years of reliable,
                                  quiet service.
                                  3. 10 Speeds allow the user to select the right speed for the mixing job from very slow stir to
                                  very high whipping.
                                  4. Multi-Purpose Attachment Hub powers a variety of attachments to provide unmatched
                                  culinary versatility and convenience.
                                  5. Easy to Clean Design wipes clean with a damp cloth.

                                  These mixers do have a Nylatron Gear, which is made of Nylon with Kevlar fiber fill.
                                  KitchenAid has used this Gear for many years.

                                  The New Generation Line of Mixers, are all Bowl Lift Mixers. They have a Powerful Motor, 450 to 575 Watts
                                  1. All Metal Gears provide a durable and rugged motor.
                                  2. Locked-Rotor Protection shuts down mixer automatically if mixing action becomes
                                  obstructed.
                                  3. Electronic Speed Sensor monitors operation to maintain precise mixer speed.
                                  4. 67 Point Planetary Mixing Action for quick, complete mixing.
                                  5. 10-Speed Control ranges from a very fast whip to a very slow stir.
                                  6. Soft Start Mixing Feature helps minimize ingredient splatter with gentle acceleration to
                                  selected speed.
                                  7. Multipurpose Attachment Hub with hinged hub cover powers a variety of optional
                                  attachments providing unmatched culinary versatility.
                                  8. Metal Transmission Cover.
                                  9. Easy to Clean seamless design cleans easily with a soft cloth.

                                  Hope this clears up any misconception on the materials KitchenAid uses for their Mixers.

                                  7 Replies
                                  1. re: KitchenAidUSA

                                    Isn't all of this information available at points of sale? This platform, chowhound, has always struck me as a consumer to consumer forum.

                                    1. re: olympia

                                      I hear ya, olympia, but I have to say that KA has been VERY helpful with some of their advice. Their comments regarding the grinder attachment and sausage stuffer is great. And, so far at least, they've put forth their info and not gotten involved in the backs and forths :) Sometimes I like more than a whole lot of anecdotes.

                                      1. re: c oliver

                                        Nice that they say who they are. I suppose there are less than candid reps on here.

                                        1. re: olympia

                                          Excellent point, o.

                                    2. re: KitchenAidUSA

                                      I'm wondering why you got rid of your forums when you redesigned your website? There was a lot of good info from actual users on that forum.

                                      BTW the Kevlar gear is the breakaway gear described in other postings on this and other forums - it is NOT a "plastic gear" but is designed to stop the motor if it binds before it burns out. Hobart was using a breakaway gear back when they still made these mixers so the design is well-established.

                                      1. re: KitchenAidUSA

                                        Does the New Generation Line have a different name in Canada? I don't remember seeing that term on any KA mixers that I've looked at.

                                        1. re: KitchenAidUSA

                                          I have a question. I have a Pro 5 bowl lift KA mixer. It has served me very well for 7-8 years, I'd guess. However I have recently had a couple of issues. There is a small metal ring that goes under the attachment hub. My ring is loose and it makes it very hard to attach things, because it has to stay lined up, but it is loose. This is irritating, I wondered if there was a solution.

                                          The other problem is when I try to turn off my mixer it bounces back on. I have to do it very slowly/carefully and then hold it for a few seconds. This will sometimes happen 4-5 times before I can get it to stay off. Any thoughts?

                                        2. In 18 months making bread weekly or every 2 weeks with no more than 5 cups of King Arthur unbleached regular flour, I have smoked the first Artisan motor (having gone no higher than speed 4) and now the gear has broken on the 2nd replacement one (6 months from warranty) having never put it above speed 2 (as directed by the warranty helpline - they know these things burn up easily). The bigger 6 Qt people quote here has the same power output so not sure you get more power, just a bigger bowl and drop down mechanism (I like artisan lift head). On a household move the 6 Qt was on its side and never worked right after than. In summary, I'm moving on from these products and will spend more for real steel and motor windings. Suggest this manufacturer make an old fashioned tough line please.