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Stand mixer

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 
Hello all! I am wanting to buy a stand mixer- any suggestions for brand? I see the KitchenAid one everywhere- is that because it's a quality product or because the market is flooded with them? I'll only use it for home use, so it doesn't have to be the best machine out there- and cost is a consideration! Thanks

Luella :crazy:
post #2 of 12
Luella, I'm sure you'll get some good replies to this post- mine, for starters. But you can also use the search tool here at Chef Talk to look for earlier conversations about stand mixers. Do watch the dates of the posts, though; we go back several years.

I have a Kitchen Aid Ultra mixer. It's okay. If I were buying one now, I'd look at the Professional one because the bowl is wider on the bottom (translation: dry ingredients are less likely to shoot up the sides of the bowl at you!). I've heard some here say that Kitchen Aid isn't what it used to be because the company has been sold and some of the parts that used to be metal are now plastic.

Then again, a good old Mixmaster does a pretty good job too! Consider price, how easy it would be to get repairs if needed, how often you plan to use it, etc.

Happy hunting!
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post #3 of 12
I bought a KA Pro 600 3 years ago. The plastic transmission housing broke 6 months later mixing bread dough. The unit looked clearly underpowered for the task all the while. The bowl nearly popped off a couple of times and sometimes I swear it wanted to walk down the counter top while mixing bread dough. The advertised capacity of KA stand mixers (and all others) are 300 to 400 percent greater than they can handle. I replaced the plastic transmission housing with a cast aluminum one and the gears completely stripped not long after, rendering it useless. Then I bought a Viking Professional (7Qt.). This proved to be no better. Fortunately there is a safety release on it that will "pop" the head when it is overloaded. Annoying, but better than a burnt motor, I suppose. I now have an $800 machine to beat eggs! I have a 12 year old bread maker (with a huge dent in the side of it) that kneads 5 loaves of bread every week like a champ. My experience with stand mixers in general is that they are all VERY overrated. I have spent literally thousands of dollars trying to make bread in a stand mixer and it is absolutely futile. I've heard the stories about the KA mixers that keep going and going etc. I would like to travel to the planet that those mixers are sold on and bring one back. They don't exist in my world.
post #4 of 12
I have a warm fuzzy feeling about the classic style Sunbeam Mixmaster. I don't know if it's still a good appliance or not, but I get a flood of fond memories whenever I see one.
"The pressure's on...let's cook something!"
"The pressure's on...let's cook something!"
post #5 of 12
How serious are you about bread baking, and mixing (or kneading) other stiff doughs?

If you won't be making bread very often, one of the small KAs would be a great choice. They're available very reasonably and well enough built to last a very long time if you don't overstress them.

If you'll be using the machine for bread, there are currently three top brands on the market. Kitchen Aid (Pro), Cuisinart and DeLonghi. These days Viking gets very poor reviews compared to the others; and is more expensive to boot. Since you're starting from scratch you don't have to worry about whether your existing attachments will fit a new machine.

These machines differ from one another in styling and small detail. Prices are very similar for similar capacities. When it comes to design and reliability, in truth, none are much better than the others. Motor specs are misleading. Reliability is not what it was when everything was metal, switches were mechanical, and machines were manufactured by unionized workforces.

Don't trust "anecdotal" claims of reliability or lack of reliability. They don't mean much considering how many tens of thousands of machines are sold, and how often the machines are upgraded. What was true for one user, may or may not be true for you.

Buy from a retailer who offers their own guaranty or at least a generous replacement policy (such as BB&B). It's not easy to get any of the machines repaired by "authorized" service outside of a few large cities in the U.S.; and virtually impossible to find any other service.

Good luck,
post #6 of 12
Actually, my claim about the KA's transmission is not just my experience, but the experience of many thousands. If you look around on the 'net you'll see this is a huge design flaw. They make an aluminum cover now, but never bothered to recall the units. They would rather yours break first (?)

Good Luck and beware.
post #7 of 12
So the design flaw was fixed? That's important. Yet your story didn't include that particular fact. It's part of the reason I warned against placing too much weight on individual experiences. Another is that you're a datum. A single drop of water that without all of the other drops can't convey the meaning of the statistical ocean. Not to invalidate your experience, but to give it context.

Of course, I'm a datum too.

It's a tough choice, they don't build them like they used to. I love the looks of the DeLonghi, but the KA's attachments. Whatever I bought, I'd buy from someone to whom I could take it back for replacement more than a year down the line.


PS. My KA 600 Professional broke for the same reason, and I was and am no happier about it than you were or are. That doesn't mean though that the KA isn't one of the three consensus choices -- straight up.

I'd always done the last minute or two of bread kneading by hand, but while the KA was down (obviously) had to knead by hand all the way through. Dude! (or Dudette!) Big difference; better crumb structure; better chew. I'm still kneading by hand only. BDL
post #8 of 12
>This proved to be no better. Fortunately there is a safety release on it that will "pop" the head when it is overloaded. <

Sounds to me that you insist on overloading any stand mixer you've used, and then want to blame the machine.

I bought my Pro 600 about two years ago and have had no problems with it at all---other than the fact the 6 quart bowl isn't happy with light loads. I bake bread with it every week, most often using it for double recipes (i.e., two loaves) but often kick that up to three, and it doesn't even labor under that load of dough. Where talking about 12+ cups of flour in a machine rated for 14 cups. Let's say it really overloaded at 14, though (even though I have no reason to believe it would). That would be an over-rated claim of less than 15%---a long, long way from the 300-400% you becry.

It has a metal housing, and a built-in circuit breaker that prevents overload damage (mine has yet to break). And mine has never creeped, let alone walked, across a counter.

As BDL points out, each of us is just a datum in the statistical pool. But there are far more KA pro users pleased with their machines than not. So I suggest you look to your methods, and, perhaps, modify them.
They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
post #9 of 12
I think we are going off on a bit of a tangent here. The original poster asked for suggestions. My "suggestion" by way of sharing a personal experience still stands. Others may agree or disagree. It is up to original poster to wade through what they feel is relevant to making an informed decision.
post #10 of 12
I am happy you have had such success with your machine.
post #11 of 12
My Viking does two batches of bread every week. One batch has 3.5 #s of BF. Nary an issue with it. It didn't like a 5# batch though.

post #12 of 12

I have a couple of Kitchenaid Stand Mixers and I like them both. One is a Pro Series 6-quart and one is an Artisan Series 5-Quart. White I like both of these mixers, I tend to prefer the Artisan because I find the bowl easier to scrape down given the tilt-back head on the Artisan.

I also have a Viking 7 Quart mixer. I thought I would love it since it has a larger bowl plus the tilt back head. But, I'm sorry to say that I've been sorely dissapointed with it.
Maybe the problem is that the larger bowl is just too deep and maybe the better design option would have been to increase the size of the bowl by making it wider rather than taller. As it is, the shape of the taller bowl doesn’t allow the beaters to reach the bottom of the bowl. So, whipping a couple of egg whites doesn’t work with this mixer because the beaters don’t reach that far down into the bowl and the eggs are left pretty much untouched.

Anyway, just some thoughts. Hope they help.

Good Luck!
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