A KitchenAid Stand Mixer is a fairly big investment for the average household. So you’re going to want to buy the one that is right for you. I’ve had two KitchenAids. No, the first did not break (that is very, very rarely a problem with KitchenAid). My husband bought me an upgraded version for Christmas. So the old one was given to my Dad.
I was surprised that the “bigger and better” version wasn’t quite as good for some tasks. In some areas, it was clearly superior. But on some…I missed my old, smaller one. That inspired me to do a post to share with you what I’ve learned about KitchenAid over the years. If you’re wondering “what KitchenAid should I get?”…well, I put all the info together and have an answer for you. Even better, I have a KitchenAid Comparison Chart so you can easily compare the different models, features, and decide what you need.
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In addition, I have links to both KitchenAid direct and Amazon for each item. You’ll want to price around once you pick which mixer you want. Sometimes one is cheaper than the other (and no, it’s not consistent…I’ve seen both the direct and Amazon be cheaper at different times).
Below is a summary table of all the models available as of me writing this. Below that I’ve got all sorts of tips you want to read…so scroll down!
What is the best KitchenAid Mixer to get?
Best for the “average” kitchen: Artisan Series.
Best for a lot of dough making: any Pro/Professional 6-quart.
KitchenAid Comparison Chart:
Are you wondering why some of the motor sizes are in horsepower and other in watts? It’s because some of their larger mixers are DC instead of AC. If you’re considering one of the DC ones, you might want to read this post: “AC or DC Stand Mixer: Which is Better?”
What information does this KitchenAid stand mixer comparison chart not include? I didn’t include some stats because tables with too much information are overwhelming and lose their usefulness. I hate having to scan through 15 columns to compare the one stat that matters.
• Dimensions. I think the size of the mixer and your preference for tilt-head versus bowl-lift are more important than an inch here or there.
• Bread loaf yield. The cookie measurement gives you a good idea of the size of the bowl. Beyond that, you should be buying the professional or pro models for bread-making. So it seemed like a wasted column to me.
• Specifics of the beater, whisk, and dough hook.
• Whether the bowl is brushed stainless steel or polished stainless steel.
The Major Differences
KitchenAid is excellent at what they do. With that in mind, they don’t mess with perfection. There are only a few differences between all the models above. So, what are the differences between KitchenAid Mixers?
• Bowl size. This is the big one. Bowl sizes range from the Mini 3.5 quart all the way up to 8-quart models. I didn’t actually include the 8-quart model in the table. Unless you’re doing serious, commercial baking, I’m not going to recommend these. The bowls would be much too big for the “average” mixing job. Plus the price (running around $1,000) is a bit steep.
Ask yourself…are you going to be making big batches (such as two loaves of bread?). If so, error on getting a slightly larger one. While the great old KitchenAid motor on my small one powered through all the dough, it was technically too small for such a batch. The dough would start to creep up the dough hook once it got the “clinging to the dough hook” stage. With my new, larger mixer, that isn’t a problem.
Are you going to be making a lot of small batch items- just a couple of egg whites? If so, error on getting a slightly smaller one. The larger bowl won’t allow the mixer to mix the small amount of liquid at the bottom of the bowl sufficiently.
• Motor size. This isn’t a large concern. While they vary with bowl size, KitchenAid has them scaled to the proper mixer size. So when you see this in the stats, don’t worry about it. Unless you’re making very stiff doughs…then error on the size of getting a bigger and more powerful one. As I said, my smaller one powered through the jobs, but wasn’t really designed for it. If you’re going to be making a lot of bread, get one of the Pro or Professional series. They come in multiple sizes, but have the motor to tough it out through frequent bread making.
Side note: don’t ever mix bread dough on higher than speed #2. You can damage your motor.
• Tilt-Head or Bowl-Lift. For the small ones, you can only get tilt-head. For the largest, you can only get bowl-lift. But for the 5 quart (which are the most popular), you can get either! So look at what you want.
My smaller was was a tilt head…and (don’t tell my husband!) I actually prefer that. It allows for scraping down the bowl without having to take off the beater head. With my new, larger, bowl-lift, I have to take off the mixer, snap out the bowl, scrape down, re-assemble. With cheesecake and its multiple scrape-downs, it gets annoying. I’ve also had feedback from someone with arthritis that the tilt-head works better for her because it’s hard for her to operate the bowl-lift.
However, the bowl-lift allows you to “whip off” the excess stuff on the beater while you can’t do that with the tilt-head. The bowl-lift also usually comes with a cover shield with a pour spout for flour or other stuff that might “poof” out. And the bowl-lift ones- due to being steadier- generally have a higher power motor. Plus, they now have a flex-head beater to help with the scraping down. (I just bought one!) The bowl-lift has a “soft start” feature (minimizes splatters) and safety feature that automatically turns it off if it overheats.
Tilf-head versus bowl-lift is one of the major decisions with your mixer. Make sure you look at the benefits and downsides of both.
• Glass bowl or stainless steel bowl? Both have their advantages. The glass looks better and allows you to see if ingredients aren’t being mixed properly. In addition, it has measurements on the side. The stainless steel is MUCH lighter, which is a concern if you have weak hands or arms. You also don’t have to worry about breaking it.
Things to Know
•Price will vary by color. Especially on Amazon. Yes, I know this is ridiculous. So if you’re not attached to a particular color, do a search. Pick what model you want. Then search for that particular model. Sometimes Amazon will list single colors at a different price as a different item. So look around. On the KitchenAid site itself, the colors are generally more limited and the price standard across the colors. Use both of my links above (KitchenAid direct and Amazon) for each mixer and see what the differences are!
• All mixers have 10 speeds. No matter the difference in horsepower, the 10-speed is standard across KitchenAid. So if you’re upgrading, you might notice that your speed runs a little faster at the same number.
• All attachments are universal to KitchenAid mixer. KitchenAid has 10+ different attachments that do a variety of jobs. And they all fit all KitchenAid mixers. Yet something else KitchenAid is doing right!
• Wash your mixer before first use with lemon juice and salt. Then normal wash. This isn’t included in the instructions, but the polishing of the stainless steel (when manufactured) can leave a residue that normal washing can’t get off. Try lemon juice and salt. You shouldn’t have any problems after that.
• KitchenAid should be used regularly. If it sits for too long, the oil can start to separate and then might leak slightly. Don’t worry…you can lose 1/4 cup of oil before you need to worry about damaging things. I’ve never had oil leak. Ever. But wanted to put this out there just in case you run across this.
What Can You Use Your KitchenAid for?
• Bread! I love making bread and my KitchenAid has taken all the kneading out of it. Try out some of my bread recipes: “White Bread,” “Wheat Bread,” “French Bread,” or “Old-Fashioned Cast-Iron Skillet Cornbread.”
• Dough. Everything from pizza dough to bagels.
• Cookies. KitchenAid powers through even thick cookie doughs. And my cookies are thick! In fact, it was mixing cookies that first prompted my husband to take pity on me. He watched me struggle with my hand mixer and left without saying anything. He arrives back at the house 30 minutes later with a KitchenAid. I had never even heard of them. But wow! Yes, it’s worth it. Try out “Oatmeal Raisin Cookies,” “White Chocolate Chunk Macadamia Cookies,” or “Perfect Black and White Chocolate Chunk Cookies.”
• Cheesecake. If you’ve made cheesecake, you know there is a lot of mixing going on. But KitchenAid takes a lot of the hassle out of it. Just turn it on and let it mix. No more arm getting tired during the 3-minute slow-beat, make it fluffy mix cycle. Try “Layered Red Velvet & White Chocolate Cheesecake” or “Butterscotch Blondie Cheesecake.”
• Eggs whites for meringue.
• Rolls. Just like dealing with bread dough, the KitchenAid takes the hassle out of kneading. I have a great “Gooey, Soft Cinnamon Rolls” recipe you’ll want to try!
• Attachments. As I mentioned above there are attachments that do everything from grind sausage to make pasta.