With all of the many KitchenAid stand mixers on the market, it can be difficult to know exactly what sets each model apart.
Many of us are initially unsure about which class of mixer would best suit our needs. The fact that there is some overlap between the features of the different classes can add to the confusion.
For this reason, I’ve decided to break down the most important differences—as well as the similarities—between each of the classes. Hopefully, this will help to make the decision-making process a bit simpler.
There are three primary KitchenAid mixer classes: Classic, Artisan, and Professional. Let’s go through them one at a time in order to better understand each class.
KitchenAid Classic Stand Mixer
As you may surmise from the name, this is the classic, basic stand mixer that has been around for years. There have been improvements, of course, to the design and construction over time, but the basics remain the same.
This mixer really stands out when it comes to affordability and ease of use. As the cheapest class of KitchenAid mixers, the Classic is a great choice for budget-conscious shoppers who still want the quality and reliability that KitchenAid is famous for.
It’s also incredibly user-friendly, making it ideal as a starter mixer for those who are still newer to the world of stand mixers.
The Classic mixer is great for those of us baking primarily for our own families. With a smaller motor than the other models, it will struggle with larger quantities, but it does an exceptional job on smaller baking projects.
A few dozen cookies, a birthday cake, a couple loaves of bread—this mixer is ready and capable!
- Smaller size: makes storing, lifting, and moving the mixer easier
- Most affordable class of KitchenAid mixers
- Easy to use
- Tilt-head design makes adding ingredients during mixing quick and easy
- Comes with the coated dough hook, wire whip, and coated flat beater attachments
- Covered under a 1-year warranty
- The bowl doesn’t have a handle, which can make pouring a bit more cumbersome
- 275-watt motor, while powerful, will strain with larger quantities or denser doughs and batters
- Only available in two different colors, so not as customizable for individual kitchen décor
Who is the Classic mixer best for?
The Classic is best for home bakers who bake mostly for their own immediate family.
This is a great choice for those who plan to use their mixer once or twice a week and want a machine which is sturdy and reliable without being overly large or expensive.
Recommended Classic model: KitchenAid K45SS 4.5-Quart Classic Series Stand Mixer (view on Amazon)
KitchenAid Artisan Stand Mixer
If you’ve ever dreamed of a stand mixer that is exactly the perfect shade of blue to match your kitchen, the Artisan may be your answer.
Available in over 40 different colors, this mixer will delight the decorator in any of us. Aesthetics aren’t the only thing which sets this class of mixer apart, though.
With a somewhat larger bowl than the classic, and a stronger motor, the Artisan—in many ways—can be thought of as a modestly enhanced version of the Classic. With the Artisan, you can bake in larger quantities, and you can knead heavier, denser doughs.
These improvements over the Classic are mirrored in the price, though. Just as the Artisan is a modestly better mixer, it’s also a modestly more expensive one. The same goes for size.
While the Classic weighs around 24 pounds, the Artisan comes in at around 26 pounds. Again, it’s not a huge difference, but if you’re trying to lift it onto a high shelf, you’re likely to feel it.
Another benefit of the Artisan is that it comes with a pouring shield which fits around the bowl. This comes in handy when you’re adding things to the bowl quickly or mixing lightweight ingredients like flour or powdered sugar which are apt to fly out of the bowl.
The shield does a great job of keeping everything in the bowl, thereby making clean-up easier.
There is one thing to note here, though. Although the Artisan comes with the pouring shield, and the Classic doesn’t, keep in mind that the shield can be purchased separately, and it fits the Classic as well.
So, if this is the primary thing pushing you toward an Artisan instead of a Classic, you might want to consider just buying the pouring shield separately for your Classic, which makes things significantly less expensive.
- Bowl has a handle, making pouring easier
- In addition to coming with the wire whip, coated flat beater, and coated dough hook, this class also comes with the 1-piece pouring shield.
- Available in over 40 colors
- Slightly larger bowl than the Classic, allowing you to mix more at a time
- 325-watt motor is capable of kneading denser doughs and batters
- Like the Classic, this has a tilt-head design making adding ingredients while mixing easier
- Covered under a 1-year warranty
- More expensive than the Classic, although still more affordable than the Professional
- 5-quart bowl, while large, is still not big enough if you are truly baking for a crowd
- Motor works great for most needs, but will still struggle under the toughest projects, such as kneading large amounts of very dense dough
Who is the Artisan mixer best for?
Frequent home bakers who use denser ingredients or bake in larger quantities will love this class of mixer. It’s also great for those who appreciate the stylish aspect, with its array of available colors.
Recommended Artisan model: KitchenAid KSM150PS Artisan Series 5 Quart Tilt-Head Stand Mixer (link to Amazon)
KitchenAid Professional Stand Mixer
Pretty much anything lacking in the Classic and Artisan series mixers is perfected in the Professional. It has the largest bowl—so can handle the biggest projects—as well as the most powerful motor.
This class of mixer can stand up to daily kneading of dense doughs, and it can mix the batter for up to 13 dozen cookies at a time.
With this in mind, though, it is important to note that there are downsides to this class as well. If you didn’t already guess, the price reflects these extra capabilities. The Professional usually costs over a hundred dollars more than the Artisan.
Likewise, just as the Artisan weighs more than the Classic, the Professional is even heavier than the Artisan—by as much as 3 pounds. At 29 pounds, this isn’t a mixer you’ll want to be moving around often.
For most Professional series users, this machine gets a permanent home on the countertop.
Another thing to point out about the Professional class is the bowl-lift design, which contrasts with the tilt-head design of the Classic and Artisan series. Because the Professional is designed to do the hardest work, mixing and kneading large amounts at a time, the bowl-lift design makes it sturdier because it doesn’t have the additional hinges necessary to make the head tilt.
You won’t notice the benefit of this sturdiness with basic icings and batters, but you’ll definitely appreciate it with dense doughs.
The drawback, however, is that it’s a bit more work to add ingredients and change attachments. You need to crank the bowl up and down with a lever on the side throughout the process.
Honestly, it’s pretty easy and quick to do, but slightly more cumbersome than with the tilt-head mixers.
- Mixing bowl has a handle, making pouring easier
- Super powerful 550 or 575-watt motor (depending on which Professional model you choose)
- Very roomy 7-quart bowl can handle huge projects
- Not as many colors available as the Artisan, but the Professional series does come in over 20 colors
- In addition to the wire whip and coated flat beater, this class comes with the PowerKnead spiral dough hook which does an incredible job with large amounts of dense dough
- Bowl-lift design means the mixer won’t vibrate and move around under powerful kneading
- Covered under a 1-year warranty
- Heaviest and largest class of mixer, making moving and storing more difficult
- More expensive than the Classic or Artisan classes
- Bowl-lift design, while beneficial in other respects, makes adding ingredients and changing attachments slightly more time-consuming
Who is the Professional best for?
The Professional class is best for those who use their stand mixer quite frequently, need a powerful motor for dense doughs, and often bake in really large quantities.
Recommended Professional model: KitchenAid KSM7586PCA 7-Quart Professional Stand Mixer (link to Amazon)
So, which class wins in the KitchenAid Classic vs. Artisan vs. Professional competition? The answer, as you’ve probably figured out by now, is that it truly depends.
Each class has its benefits, and while one person may truly need a Professional mixer, another will be much happier with a Classic.
Consider your own unique needs, and then check out the recommended mixer in the class that’s best for you.
Sarah is the founder of Baking Kneads, LLC, a blog sharing guides, tips, and recipes for those learning how to bake. Growing up as the daughter of a baker, she spent much of her childhood learning the basics in a local bakery.