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Stand mixer: Bowl lift or tilt head?

I've only had experience with my friend's bowl lift model Kitchenaid stand mixer.

I was wondering if there are any specific benefits of the tilt head model?

Which do you prefer, and why?

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  1. The bowl lift ones are rather awkward BUT they are steadier and better able to handle heavy/stiff doughs than the tilt-head models. Not positive, but I think their motors may have more horsepower, too.

    1. We are a family of 3 (1 brother, 1 daughter & me) tilt head Kitchen Aid mixers (Artisan model). My other brother has the lift (Pro Model). The Pro model has more power. I have never felt like my Artisan lacked for power though. It is 10-years-old, well-loved, and made its share of bread dough, cookie batter and meringue.

      It probably comes down to personal preference and budget. I think the lift is a pain and is more expensive.

      On the pro side for the Pro... My brother uses attachments for grinding meat and making sausage. I don't use any attachments. So, I don't know if power matters for the grinder or pasta attachments.

      My neighbor thought she wanted the Pro (because she read that the Artisan didn't have enough power) and borrowed my Artisan for a couple of weeks to play with it. She ended up buying an Artisan.

      No matter which you get, HAVE FUN!!! KitchenAid mixers are the best toy ever made.

      1 Reply
      1. re: deeseiffer

        If the OP is actually shopping for a KA, I recommend searching eBay for a Hobart-era model, since those, now mostly 50+yrs old, have a better track record than the newer models. Unless you really luck out (I did, because the seller described it as a Hobart Dough mixer, omitting mention of KA), you won't pay much less than you would for a new one.

      2. I grew-up using a bowl-lift and now have my own tilt-head mixer. Let me tell you: the tilt-head mixer is annoying. 100% Annoying.

        Especially if you are used to the bowl-lift, I find it very hard to scrape around the bowl because the annoying whisk attachment is sticking/pointing in my face. Annoying. Also, with the tilt-head, I usually turn the speed up just a bit, for a second while the bowl is down to just get the extra batter off of the whisk or paddle.. however, with the tilt-head, there is no way to "speed"-it-off since you cannot move the bowl down.

        6 Replies
        1. re: GraceW

          I'd expect it'd be hard to use that spatter shield too (really should be called the Flying Flour Shield!).

          Bought both of my KAs old - first one off the ground at a flea market, battered and in need of about $100 worth of work; second one refurbished from an antiques mall for $110, plus a new meat grinder attachment for another $20. Both ca. 195?. Attachments from any era fit and work just fine. I won't ever have a tilt-head.

          1. re: Will Owen

            My tilt-head one is also used/secondhand so... if/when it had a shield, then I don't have it. If/when I need one, I suppose it is a good idea to look online for that too. Thanks.

          2. re: GraceW

            Proofread, please. You've mixed up the styles.

            1. re: greygarious

              No, I do not have them mixed up. I have a tilt-head, and I do not like it. And if/when the tilt-head ever came with a shield, I do not have one of those either. End of story.

              1. re: GraceW

                "...with the tilt-head, I usually turn the speed up just a bit, for a second while the bowl is down to just get the extra batter off of the whisk or paddle.. however, with the tilt-head, there is no way to "speed"-it-off ..."

                Surely you meant lift-bowl in the first line. As it reads now, you are contradicting yourself.

                1. re: greygarious

                  Yes, you are correct--however, I thought you were commenting on my follow-up post to Will Owen, and I did not find an error in that portion. Therefore, I do hereby apologize for the error in my original post; I apologize if such an error offended you. I try otherwise to avoid errors in posts and real-life. Thank you and apologies.

            1. I have a tilt-head that I got with some kind of points that were about to expire. I love it, BUT, IIRC the bowl lift has a bigger bowl and stronger motor. I would like the bigger bowl as some dough recipes are hard to knead in the smaller bowl.

              I got a "flying flour shield" with it and use that a lot. I also got a "regular" paddle with rubber scrapers on the sides as a gift. That is a fantastic addition and definitely worth the price. (I'm not enamored with the pasta roller, but we use the meat grinder to save on the price of ground non-beef meats.)

              1. Bowl lift. My mixer sits permanently and comfortably under kitchen cabinets. I never have to slide it forward to use it (which is what I used to have to do with the tilt head).

                2 Replies
                1. re: sherrib

                  Tilt head. My mixer sits permanently and comfortably under the kitchen cabinet and on a small thin poly cutting board - handle facing forward. When I need to use it, I can pull it out and easily add whatever my recipe calls for. Then when I'm finished, I can slide it back. No struggle. Also nothing splashes and flies out to land under the kitchen cabinet or on the back splash. Best of all worlds...

                  By the way, mine is the Accolade, not Artisan. More powerful, bigger bowl. All steel gears. It's an awesome machine. Too bad they don't make them any more.


                  1. re: Leepa

                    Small poly board = genius!

                    I can't open my food processor without sliding it forward, but luckily, that has little "feet". I put those sticky round felt pads on the feet and it now slides with ease.

                2. A dear, wonderful lady bought me exactly what I asked for, the new KA Pro model. I wanted it because it had more power and I was certain that someday I would make bread with it. I love the power of the machine and the large deep bowl.

                  However, I hate the lift arrangement because the lift arrangement makes removing the bowl difficult (and required) and moving the beater or beaters out of the way very difficult.

                  Now, I must say that I have never had a KA tilt model. My last stand mixer before my KA was a 1950s-era Mixmaster with a tilt head. It was so much easier to use than the KA.

                  You could remove the bowl from the machine without removing the beaters from the machine (which can be done with the KA, but is a hassle). You could add ingredients and scrape down the sides of the bowl with a spatula much more easily. You could remove the beaters and wash them (and then put them back without (1) lowering the bowl; (2) carefully pulling the beater or beaters straight down to remove them; and wrestling with the beaters to get them out of the deep-sided bowl which has sides so high that removing the beaters without removing the (lowered) bowl is a big hassle.

                  My KA has loads of power and I've never seen it labor on anything, but, if I had to do it over again, I would ask for the tilt model. But I have to admit, I have never owned a KA tilt model. I am just assuming that it would work much like the Mixmaster used to.

                  1. My Kitchenaid K5a is pushing age 40 and still going strong. VERY strong!

                    It is the bowl-lift model, which I chose because I consider a hinge a point of weakness. Mine is white (NEVER goes out of style), and despite its age, looks exactly like today's models, unless you figure out how to take it apart only to discover its ALL metal inside and out! No nylon or plastic parts. It was built in Ohio, at the Hobart factory.

                    I heartily endorse all recommendations that you shop eBay for a Hobart era model. But not to worry about accessories --meat grinder attachments, pasta makers, etc. -- as they all fit all models of this design, whether manufactured yesterday or "way last century." I'm currently arguing with myself over a meat grinder so I can be sure it's okay to eat a burger rare, but for that I'll absolutely be shopping for an older all-metal model!

                    If you want a no-fail-ever kind of mixer, a vintage Kitchenaid will see you AND your grandkids through years of fantastic mixing!!!

                    1. Bought a BASIC KA, tilt-top after SIL FORCED me to try hers!?! She was raving about it but I was thinking... she bakes a lot and I don't?? I LOVED it, and quickly bought my own. Bought that shield-thingie, but found that the basic model will STILL toss flour around when trying to make a double batch of cookie dough.

                      Then I found a "vintage"??, faded-yellow, crank type at a GOOD WILL thrift store for $20!! Could NOT pass that up, especially since it had bowl, paddle, whisk, dough hook, and ran just fine. Also found a spare bowl at GW a few weeks later. I cleaned up KA, taped everything off, and spray-painted it flat black... with left-over paint for outdoor grill... now all it needs is FLAMES on the sides. Think it has "Hobart" somewhere on it, so thinking it could be "old", but obviously has a lot of life left in it.

                      Back in August, sister gifted me some attachments. Seems she went a little crazy buying some but not "crazy" about all of them?? She kept the pasta roller thing... says it works GREAT. Gave me the grinder, that also hooked up to pasta extruder gizmo. Grinder works just fine, but pasta extruder... not so much. Made a nice dough (knew it would have worked on a hand-crank pasta roller), fed it into attachement. Pasta started coming out but immediately went back to beiing ONE solid mass?? Thought too dry, so worked in more flour (two more times) but results were less than satisfactory??

                      1. I have a tilt head that's going strong for 25ish years now. Not sure what was available at the time since I was a wee one when it was purchased. I do know that we were on a strict budget so maybe my mother bought this one as it was cheaper? She bought it to supplement income by baking cakes.

                        if I want to fling batter off the beater I just keep the speed going, unlock, slowly tilt head up and turn it off before it flings out of the bowl. Not sure if it's a good idea or not but I've done it for years.

                        How does dough fare in the bowl lift model? someone on YouTube mention how she sometimes has to hold the bowl down when using dough as the dough and action cause the bowl to bounce a bit. Isnt there a lock or something? Anyway I've never had an issue with my tilt.

                        6 Replies
                        1. re: youareabunny

                          Lift bowl has those 2 little "wings" with holes that hook over nubs on side. Also had a "button" on back of bowl that sorta locks it in place.

                          1. re: youareabunny

                            I have a tilt head that I bought new 26 years ago so same vintage as yours. I can see plenty of advantages to the lift type but honestly I can't justify replacing mine on account of it still works just fine. I have never really felt the need to fling batter off it. I make copious use of rubber spatulas.

                            1. re: youareabunny

                              As I said above, my Kitchenaid is around 40ish and is the lift bowl kind. I've never had a problem with spattering. However, if I have a large amount in the bowl (depending on what it is) I sometimes lift and lower the bowl a few times to make sure everything is incorporating well.

                              To get as much batter (or whatever) off the beater (especially the whisk) I lower the bowl all of the way before turning it off. The paddle usually has to be detached before getting everything off of it is possible, and then rather than use a rubber spatula to scrape, I just bang the paddle forcefully on the side of the bowl, and that usually shakes everything off. If that doesn't work, and it's chocolate cake batter, LICK...!!!! '-)

                              1. re: youareabunny

                                Yours was probably made by Hobart the mixer people before they sold the KA business off. Back then all the gears were metal, now most models are plastic and the motor on mine does not seem to be as good as my old one even though it's supposed to be the same power

                                1. re: mrpaul5052

                                  Exactly right! Which is why I highly recommend shopping Goodwill, thrift shops, and eBay for a Kitchenaid VINTAGE mixer!

                                2. re: youareabunny

                                  I have the 5 quart bowl lift and the bowl did jump off a few times. Don't like that I have to hold down the bowl for some dough recipes.

                                3. They both have their merits. I used to have the basic KA tilt and I loved it but coveted the bigger more powerful mixer so I bought the biggest one. I like it but find that it is too big to beat a few egg whites or half a cup of cream. It does die on me sometimes when I am making pizza so really not that powerful. All to say I miss my little KA. If you bake a lot and big quantities go for the bigger one but if not you will like the smaller one better.

                                  6 Replies
                                  1. re: Gloriaa

                                    That's a thought. I often cut recipes in half so the larger bowl wouldn't do me any good.

                                    What do you mean it dies on you? Does it come back? Or is the motor kaput?

                                    1. re: youareabunny

                                      Sorry for the confusion, it overheats and will shut itself off. Once it has cooled it will start again. This has been a regular occurrence for me when making pizza in both models.

                                      1. re: Gloriaa

                                        That's a pity! Have you tried contacting KA? I don't imagine your recipe to include quickset mortar... People make even marshmallows in their mixers just find.

                                        1. re: youareabunny

                                          Thank you but I think it is my fault. In my 600 series I have learned the hard way that I cannot make a double batch of pizza dough. It is a little annoying considering it is supposedly so powerful...

                                          1. re: Gloriaa

                                            How big is a batch? I've done 2-2.5 batches in my KA tilt but my batch might be smaller than yours ;)

                                            1. re: youareabunny

                                              I made a double batch, 800 grams of flour. I think 1/2 a kilo is max if I want it to knead it for 10 mins.

                                  2. We found that the lift bowl model we had kicked any dry ingredients all over the place regardless of how slowly we started it. The tilt bowl we replaced it with doesn't have the same issue. Both were Kitchenaid mixers.

                                    1. In regards to power, I've never had a bowl lift model but my Kitchen Aid tilt head that was 20 something years old died a couple years ago. I replaced it with a KA artison tilt head. It is almost the same mixer but the motor is much less powerful than my original. Very disappointed. Yes, it's true. They don't make products to last like they used to! This baby will never make 20 years unless all I do is whip egg whites!

                                      1. Personally I like the lift. I have one in my house and one at my vacation house. Gave my daughter in law one for her shower gift before she married my son. The other sons girlfriend already had one. We all have the toys to go with them. I call it the work horse of mixers. One of my sons is now making pasta with his. I use them for bread kneading all the time since I have arthritis in my wrists. You can even grind meat.

                                        1. I haven't use the tilt head because I thought it would be a pain. Grew up with bowl lift. Keep it under a cabinet on counter ad was afraid if I left it there the tilt head would be in the way. In new kitchen I use it on the island so it isn't a problem.

                                          1. If you're up for shelling out $2K, you can always buy a commercial-for-home-use machine from Hobart themselves. It weighs twice as much as the comparable Artisan model, which bodes well for its metal content. I also hear they are built to order.
                                            You might be able to snap one up from a culinary school, too, if they're updating their equipment - it might need some TLC, though.

                                            1. I have the Cuisinart 7qt because every review I read said plainly that many bread dough's will get the best of the KA's. The Cuisinart has a heavy duty motor and a tilt head.
                                              Someone mentioned the inconvenience of scraping down the sides of the bowl with the paddle in the way and that's very true, but to me it's a small inconvenience to know that the motor will last.
                                              They're all pricey so this is an investment, and I need to know it can take the abuse.

                                              1 Reply
                                              1. re: coakes

                                                That may be true of modern KitchenAid mixers that are no longer manufactured by Hobart, but it is certainly not true of any of the all-metal Hobart made machines.

                                              2. bowl lift. i don't have to move it from under the cabinets......

                                                1. Wheresthelove16,
                                                  I would have to vote for the tilt head model. We have been using the Kitchenaid tilt head model for years and it is absolutely amazing. All you do is unlock the tilt feature, lift the head and you have full access to the bowl and the attachments. You can easily switch out from the dough hook to the whisk attachment and clean out the bowl at the same time. Its great and I wouldnt have it any other way.


                                                  1. The lift model wouldn't fit under my cabinet tops so went with the tilt. Pull it out to the front of the counter for use, (keep it on a thin plastic chopping sheet so it slides easily) the tilt works perfectly in that space. It's a heavy machine and if I had to carry it to the counter for each use, I wouldn't use it at all! Bought it for light uses, no bread, it works great for us.

                                                    1. I've had the bowl-lift for just about a month, and I thought it would be a learning curve--not so, loved it right away (never had a stand mixer, tilt or lift, before). Luckily, I had a cabinetless spot, so it fit just fine. Only disadvantage I see: just the 2 of us, so I don't need huge bowls of whipped cream or triple batches of cookies, so my 1/2 recipe of cookies looks a little puny in that 7 qt bowl. It does, however, mix well, even with such small amounts (I did have to adjust the beater to sit a whit lower in the bowl). All the breads I've made so far were kneaded perfectly, too, with no straining of the machine.