Replacing 40 year old Kitchenaid mixer - been baking bread at home for last year and want something a bit more heavy duty - space is issue - any recommendations?
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Space is an issue for me too and within that constraint it's to recommend anything better than just upgrading to one of their top models, maybe the Artisan. I actually have two Kitchenaid mixers, the Classic and the Artisan. There are other work horse stand mixers out there, but if space is an issue...
To be honest with you, the next time I buy a stand mixer, it will not be a Kitchenaid. In the past five years, I've had two - the first was the Professional 600, and within a year of regular (but not abusive) use, it was smoking and whining. Even though the mixer was well cared for, Kitchenaid would only refund part of my payment, which was frustrating.
I then upgraded to the Kitchenaid 610, thinking that I'd possibly just gotten a bad mixer (it happens, I guess?), but with my second mixer, I had the exact same experience. I took the mixer to a certified repair shop in our area, and as he worked on it, he told us he was surprised at the lessened quality of the Kitchenaid's working parts - apparently some of the "innards" that used to be solid metal have switched over to plastic. One of the plastic pieces inside my mixer had actually melted. And although the issue wasn't my fault, Kitchenaid outright refused to work with me.
I've borrowed my mother's Artisan mixer, which is working well for now, but my next stand mixer (and all subsequent ones) will likely be a Cuisinart.. or I might even spring for the extra cash and get a Viking. I know this is a long reply, but this has been my experience.. no more Kitchenaid mixers for me. Although my Kitchenaid food processor is positively dreamy. :)
I would recommend the Cuisinart stand mixer. Although they are new to the stand mixer game, their stand mixer is compact (less bulbous, than Kitchenaid), looks cool, and uses a digital dial to time your mixing preparation. Cuisinart also has a lot of attachments so you can use it for many things. Also, not that it should a total determining factor, but America's Test Kitchen prefers this model to Kictenaid. I have found Kitchenaid's quality took a major hit after Hobart stopped making their stand mixers. Finally the Cuisinart stand mixer is fairly inexpensive when compared to Viking's and Kitchenaid's offerings.
Definitely the Cuisinart per Mr Vittles. It got a "highly recommended" from Cooks Illustrated in 2008.