There Are SO Many KitchenAid Stand Mixers—How Do I Choose?!

Five expert bakers weigh in with their faves.

July 27, 2022
Photo by Ty Mecham

When my boyfriend of six years (now fiancé) proposed a little over a year ago, two thoughts kept running through my mind. The first, of course, was how excited I was to spend forever with the love of my life. And the second? That we needed to put a KitchenAid stand mixer on our future wedding registry. I know it sounds silly, but I’ve been pining over it for years. You see, I loved to bake when I was in high school. I would regularly give my friends cookie cakes and other sweet treats—so much so I garnered a reputation for being our group’s resident baker. But when I went to college, I hung up my apron and have been looking to get back into baking ever since. (I know, even I’m surprised that I didn’t succumb to the sourdough trend in March 2020.)

With multiple speed ranges, a planetary rotation that hits every part of the mixing bowl, and a bunch of fun colors to choose from, KitchenAid’s stand mixer is sure to be the golden ticket to my confectionary future. Not only will it take some elbow grease out of the recipes I know and love—here’s looking at my precious cookie cakes—but it’ll also give me the confidence to try new ones, too. Of course, KitchenAid’s stand mixers aren't a one-type-fits-all situation, so which model is the best? To get to the bottom of it, I asked five professional bakers about their favorite KitchenAid stand mixer. Though each model has small nuances, their advice will hopefully help point you in the right direction.

Photo by Wayfair

1. KitchenAid Classic Series KitchenAid 10 Speed 4.5 Qt. Stand Mixer, $329.99

Calling all small-space dwellers: KitchenAid’s Classic Series 4.5-Quart Stand Mixer is a worthy addition to your culinary corner. With 10 speeds and a tilt-head design, this pared-back option has the power and versatility KitchenAid is known for, but it is a fraction of the size and price of the other models. It’s no wonder why Bianca Dodson is such a fan. “I use it for everything, from whipping meringue and making cake batter to shredding chicken,” the Lenox Bakery blogger explains. “It’s the ultimate kitchen gadget and one that I use daily.”

Photo by Ty Mecham

2. KitchenAid Artisan Series Tilt Head Stand Mixer, 5QT, $449.99

For a reliable stand mixer that can take on recipes of all sizes and consistencies, the KitchenAid Artisan Series 5-Quart Tilt Head Stand Mixer is a clear favorite among the professionals—and for good reason.

“I love the fact that it's big enough to make large bakes—all my huge showstoppers were made with my trusted KitchenAid—but the machine is not too big, meaning you can also make small-batch bakes in there,” explains Crystelle Pereira, a cook and baker who appeared on The Great British Bake Off.

According to chef Ryan Pollnow, who is responsible for the decadent pasta dishes at San Francisco–based restaurant Flour + Water, every professional kitchen he has ever worked in has had this particular model. “The bowl size is perfect for the production needs of a small restaurant—plus all at-home needs,” he says. When it comes to cooking at home, chef Pollnow loves to take advantage of KitchenAid’s handy attachments.

“The pasta-roller attachment makes for an easy rollout at home, especially if you have a small apartment kitchen, like mine,” he says. “On my days off from the restaurant, it's nice to be able to use the bowl to bring the pasta dough together before I finish kneading it by hand. After I let the dough rest in the bowl, I can easily put the roller attachment on and, in the very small footprint of my kitchen, I can use one machine to make pasta at home.”

Not only does Baking With Blondie’s Mandy Merriman also love the 5-quart tilt-head model, but she takes full advantage of its attachments, too. “I use the paddle attachment for American buttercream,” the author and entrepreneur adds. “I also really enjoy using the pouring shield when adding confectioners’ sugar to my buttercream; it's less of a mess, and I don't have to worry about sugar clouds going all over the place.”

Photo by KitchenAid

3. KitchenAid Professional 5 Plus Series 5 Quart Bowl-Lift Stand Mixer, $449.99

Looking for a heavy-duty mixer that could rival that of a professional bakery? The brand’s 5 Plus Series is a sound option. “While I have several different models of KitchenAid hand mixers and stand mixers, the one I reach for the most is the Professional 5 Plus 5 Quart Bowl-Lift Stand Mixer,” shares Kristin Hoffman, the author and baking educator behind Baker Bettie. “The bowl-lift design makes it much easier to get into the bowl to scrape down the sides without taking the entire bowl off the stand. I like this size compared to their 6-quart bowl lift mixer because it's a little lighter and less bulky and is plenty big for a home baker. I also do a lot of bread baking, and the motor is strong enough to knead even a stiff bread dough!"

Photo by KitchenAid

4. KitchenAid Pro Line 7-Quart Stand Mixer, $679.99

If you’re looking for a happy medium between KitchenAid’s professional-grade collection and its classic Artisan series, reach for the brand’s Pro Line Bowl-Lift Stand Mixer. “It is simple, not too many bells and whistles, and it works really well,” explain Pam Weekes and Connie McDonald, co-founders of Levain Bakery. “It's better for us than their ‘professional’ version. We’ve always preferred making the bakery cakes in the mixer multiple times versus scaling the recipe for a larger mixer; it’s just as easy and the cakes are much better!”

Though Weekes and McDonald prefer the 5-quart—which is no longer available—the 7-quart model offers the same perks and even more space.


What’s the Difference Between a Bowl-Lift and Tilt-Head Stand Mixer?

If you’re shopping for a KitchenAid stand mixer, the biggest decision you’ll have to make is whether you want a tilt-head style or a bowl-lift style. Both styles have that speed and efficiency KitchenAid is known for, but these small design tweaks change how you’ll add ingredients or swap out attachments.

So what’s the difference? A tilt-head is designed so the top hinges back whenever you need to add ingredients. (Here, the bowl rests at the base of a stand mixer, so you’ll have plenty of room.) With a bowl-lift, the mixing bowl is suspended with two adjustable arms. So whenever you want to add more ingredients, you’ll need to raise and lower the bowl. Ultimately, it all depends on your personal preference, so you’ll want to think about which design is more conducive to your needs.

What Size KitchenAid Stand Mixer Should You Get?

When it comes to a KitchenAid stand mixer, you really can’t go wrong on its size—so it all depends on what you’re planning to bake. Anyone who is ready to open their own bakery—or is simply committed to making large quantities of cookies or cakes—will get a lot of mileage out of a 7-quart mixing bowl. Working with a small space? A 4.5-quart stand mixer is great for small batches and can fit comfortably within your limited quarters. But when in doubt, a 5-quart stand mixer is a happy medium that our experts swear by.

Do you use a KitchenAid? Let us know how you use it below!

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Kelsey Mulvey

Written by: Kelsey Mulvey

Kelsey Mulvey is a New York-born, west coast-based freelance journalist. When she's not writing for publications like Food Network, Apartment Therapy, and more, she's probably trying a new recipe in the kitchen or eating tacos.


HillJ August 13, 2022
I won a KA tilt head stand mixer 25 years ago. I use it often and it still runs like new. The contest prize included a grinder attachment and a second bowl. I’m not sure I would have spent hundreds on a mixer 25 years ago but all these yrs later I’m glad I entered the contest!
Bikegirl227 August 10, 2022
I have a first generation Classic 34 year old white tilt head Kitchen aid mixer. I have made hundreds of cakes, loaves of crusty sourdough, buckets of whipped cream, silky puddings, hundreds of meatballs, Italian-worthy pasta and juiced many lemons. In the event of a fire or weather hazard, I’m grabbing my Kitchen aid mixer and pocket book and heading out the door!
Ghislaine G. August 10, 2022
Funny! Ivan just see you.
Ghislaine G. August 10, 2022
I can just see you.
Carol V. August 8, 2022
I love my Kitchenaid. I bought it many years ago after I destroyed (burned up) the motors in two other brands of stand mixers. It can handle just about anything
Ghislaine G. August 8, 2022
I received mine as a precious and expensive gift 45 years ago, the tilted head. Sometimes I am tempted to buy a newer model because of the beautiful colors that are available but I can not part with my old friend. Really a working horse of a mixer. None better.
nita August 8, 2022
I gave my Kitchenaid stand mixer away.
When I'm making pizza dough or bread I prefer to knead by hand ( I depend quite a bit on "feel" ). When I make cookies I like my old bowls and my wooden spoons.
I alsoprefer having the extra countertop space.
Smaug August 8, 2022
I agree about the bread- I first learned to make bread using a Kitchenaid, but soon found that hand kneading was faster and really less trouble and gave much better control; also, the mixer had a limited range (about a 1 lb. loaf) where it worked at all efficiently. I make pretty much all pasty doughs, pasta etc. by hand, but I do like the mixer for cookies.
Smaug July 30, 2022
When I bought mine some 40 years ago there were only, so far as I know, two models- the tilt head and the raised bowl. Drive trains are all metal, which is why it's lasted this long; the motor brushes are now showing signs that they'll need replacing soon, and the rubber feet need replacing every now and then, but basically they just keep ticking. I bought the tilt head model, but I've used a friends raised bowl machine quite a bit; my main objection (I was making a lot of cakes at a time) is that to remove the bowl from the machine you have to dip the beater back into the batter.
Lune July 29, 2022
For me, the decision came to the space between the upper and lower cabinets in my previous tiny kitchen. The tilt one would have hit the upper cabinet. I went with the one with the bowl lift. I have a lot of the attachments and the ones I used the most are the pasta ones, rollers and extruder. Using the spiralizer to slice apples is a quick way to prepare a crisp.
adambravo July 27, 2022
We have four vintage mixers and rotate them on our countertop…
M July 27, 2022
It's alluded to here but not really addressed: Everyone's "all" is different, so the absolute first step to choose is to see if your choice has the strength and capacity for what you are going to make, because one person's "all" isn't the same as the next person's, especially when it comes to bread. Not all can handle bread, and not all can handle recipe sizes. If you want to make a lot of bread, you need more power. If you have any larger scale recipes, you want to go larger, and smaller scale - smaller.

Also, some have gears that wear down, others that stand the test of time. And if you get a special model, be sure to check if replacement bowls/scrapers/etc are available. There are sometimes minute differences that make replacement or additional bowls and such incredibly hard to find.
Smaug August 2, 2022
I learned to make bread- long ago- with a Kitchenaid mixer, but after a while decided it was more trouble than it was worth- hand kneading is at least as fast and I rather enjoy it, and I find that the bread hook has a very limited range where it works effectively; much more or less than a one lb. loaf it just doesn't handle well. I still use it for English muffins, which I make every week or so; they are made with something between a batter and a dough; too wet to handle by hand unless it's quite cold. I use the paddle rather than the hook for that.