Stand mixer recommendations?

I know there's a decent amount of discussion over this on the hotline, but I just want to see if anyone else has any ideas. I'm getting a mixer (likely a KitchenAid) and can't decide what model would be best. The price differential between a pro lift-bowl really isn't that different from the normal tilt-head, and I've heard that the pros are better for bread doughs. I definitely will be using it for bread, but not exclusively. Are there any of the newer models I should actively avoid for quality issues? What's your preferred model?

  • Posted by: rachel
  • May 1, 2017


creamtea May 2, 2017
I have the Artisan (tilt head) and have had it for maybe 7-10 years. I more often use my hand mixers. It took me this long to notice that when creaming with the paddle, the butter rides up the sides and doesn't automatically get lifted by the paddle, I have to do that manually! It never bothered me or I never noticed it before, but I was making a compound butter this time--no sugar to fluff up the butter--and I had to "lift" the butter with a spatula to get the ingredients to incorporate.

Infrequently, the bowl can get stuck on the base due to the "planetary motion" (happened to me only once) and you have to put it on the floor and do an entire dance routine to unstick it... But this doesn't occur often.
sexyLAMBCHOPx May 2, 2017
Once I bought the flex edge paddle tasks like that were much easier.
Smaug May 2, 2017
I tried one of those paddles with the rubber edges and found it pretty useless for anything at all stiff, like creaming butter- it tended to just push it around the edge and out the top, and since it wasn't actually cutting through the material it didn't mix as well. It might be helpful for lighter batters, but they really don't need much help anyway.
Wendy May 2, 2017
I have just moved up from a 5 qt to 7 qt Pro Line Kitchenaid. My family has doubled in size (grandkids) so I am really happy that I don't have to mix and clean the workbowl twice but it is a huge adjustment from tilt to lift. I miss the convenience of the tilt bowl but definitely need the capacity. Think of it like a car:; nobody gets married and buys the minivan. If you are making single batches, the tilt bowl makes sense. If you find it is under performing for your needs then sell it quickly, and trade up to a larger model before you wreck the motor!
Smaug May 1, 2017
I have a tilt head model from back when they were indestructible- I made a bunch of cakes on a friend's crank style machine at one point, and was kind of annoyed that to take the bowl off I had to dip the beaters back into the batter; I usually clear them with the motor running slowly. Other than that, not much against either machine; I think the crank machine was a little better for scraping the bowl, but it's a slight problem on both.
Windischgirl May 1, 2017
I know it's difficult to anticipate, but it really depends on what you see yourself making and in what quantities. I have the KAM 6 qt and it does a good job on wetter/softer bread doughs up to about 3 1/2 lbs of dough; heavier doughs and greater amounts, forget it. Either ingredients don't get mixed, or the bowl dislodges.
It's fabulous for beating egg long as you are beating at least 3 or more. Two-layer cakes, just fine. Dough for 3-4 dozen cookies, sure; cookie dough for one way; the ingredients just sit at the bottom of the bowl. So there is a sweet spot in terms of amounts of dough/batter it handles best.

Mine is probably about 5 yrs old now, and it is LOUD, easily 90dB.

If you really get into baking, or if your needs change, you may want to size up then. I use the DLX for my bread baking, and it's fabulous (and quiet), but its quirks make it more challenging to prep cakes, cookies, and meringues. So I enjoy both!
Lainie May 1, 2017
If you make anything with a stiff dough, I would get the lift bowl. I wore out the indentations on the bottom of the bowl for the tilt head model so the bowl would spin when mixing biscotti dough. Of course, to be honest, it did take about 20 years and I gifted the mixer to someone who is still using it 5 years later.
It was a good excuse to get the pro style I really wanted.
Sam1148 May 1, 2017
It might be worth it to get a costco membership. They have store discounts for KA mixers, Also, the last time I looked into it...a few years ago, gears where an issue for the KA mixers.
They had a special model that was built for CostCo that used Metal Gears instead of nylon gears. So...use that as some more keyword in your searching.
sexyLAMBCHOPx May 2, 2017
The KA mixers are not "standard" mixes that are sold at other stores. So review your needs and its specifications carefully. It is made exclusively for Costco.
sexyLAMBCHOPx May 2, 2017
Also, make sure your existing or future purchases of accessories fit the model you're buying. When my MIL bought hers there to replace her old one had trouble.
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