With the numerous KitchenAid stand mixers on the market, it can be difficult to know exactly what sets each model apart.
Many of us may be unsure about which mixer class would best suit our needs. Also, the overlap between the features of the different classes can add to the confusion.
Because of that, 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.
To draw some headlines, there are three primary KitchenAid mixer classes: Classic, Artisan, and Professional.
Let’s go through them one at a time to understand each class better.
1. KitchenAid Classic Stand Mixer
This is the classic, basic stand mixer that has been around for years. There have been improvements to the design and construction over time, but the basics remain the same.
Affordability is one of the features that make this mixer stand out. As the cheapest class of KitchenAid mixers, the Classic is an excellent 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 new to the world of stand mixers.
All in all, the Classic mixer is suitable for those of us baking primarily for our families. Still, with a smaller motor than the other models, it may struggle with larger quantities, but it does an exceptional job on smaller baking projects.
A few dozen cookies, a birthday cake, a couple of loaves of bread—this mixer is ready and capable!
- Smaller size: makes storing, lifting, and moving the mixer easier.
- It’s the most affordable class of KitchenAid mixers.
- Easy to use.
- The tilt-head design makes adding ingredients during mixing quick and easy.
- It comes with a coated dough hook, wire whip, and coated flat beater attachments.
- It’s covered under a 1-year warranty.
- The bowl doesn’t have a handle, potentially making pouring more cumbersome.
- 275-watt motor, while powerful, will strain with larger quantities or denser doughs and batters.
- It’s only available in two different colors, so it’s 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 immediate family.
It’s a great choice for those who plan to use their mixer once or twice a week and want a sturdy and reliable machine without being overly large or expensive.
Recommended Classic model: KitchenAid K45SS 4.5-Quart Classic Series Stand Mixer (view on Amazon)
2. KitchenAid Artisan Stand Mixer
Available in over 40 colors, this mixer will delight the decorator in any of us. Aesthetics aren’t the only thing that sets this class of mixer apart, though.
With a slightly larger bowl and a stronger motor than the classic, the Artisan—in many ways—can be considered a modestly enhanced version of the Classic. Oh, and the bowl has a handle, which reduces the instances of those awkward slips.
With the Artisan, you can bake in larger quantities and knead heavier, denser doughs. However, these improvements over the Classic are reflected in the price.
It’s also slightly bigger compared to the Classic, manifesting as an extra two pounds over the Classic’s weight of 24 pounds. You probably wouldn’t feel it unless you’re moving the mixer around a lot.
Another benefit of the Artisan is that it comes with a pouring shield that fits around the bowl. No more splattering sugar or flour as you mix. Also, the shield does a great job of keeping everything in the bowl, making clean-up easier.
Note that while the Classic mixer doesn’t come with a pouring shield like the Artisan, the shield is purchasable.
So, if this is the primary thing pushing you toward an Artisan instead of a Classic, you might consider buying the pouring shield separately for your Classic; keeping the affordability theme.
- The 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.
- A large selection of colors to choose from.
- A 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.
- The bowl may not be big enough if you are baking for a crowd.
- The motor may struggle under the toughest projects, such as kneading large amounts of highly dense dough.
Who Is the Artisan Mixer Best For?
The Artisan Mixer is best for avid home bakers who frequently bake for family and guests. It’s also great for those who appreciate the stylish aspect, with its array of available colors.
However, it may not be the best option if you require professional cooking or if you constantly cook for parties and outings.
Recommended Artisan model: KitchenAid KSM150PS Artisan Series 5 Quart Tilt-Head Stand Mixer (link to Amazon)
3. KitchenAid Professional Stand Mixer
With the largest bowl and the most powerful motor, the Professional can handle just about anything you throw its way. This class of mixer can stand up to daily kneading of dense dough, and it can mix the batter for up to 13 dozen cookies at a time.
Still, 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.
You may have not felt that extra two-pound transition from the Classic to the Artisian, but you’ll feel this one. As such, it’s best to have this mixer in a dedicated place or even fix it somewhere.
Also, the user-friendly tilt-head design found in the Classic and Artisan is replaced by the bowl-lift design. The bowl-lift design has fewer hinges, which is why it’s a better choice for the hardest mixing work.
You may notice the benefit of this sturdiness with basic icings and batters, but you’ll appreciate it with dense doughs.
- The mixing bowl has a handle, making pouring easier.
- A powerful 550 or 575-watt motor (depending on which Professional model you choose).
- A roomy 7-quart bowl that can handle large projects.
- Over 20 colors to choose from.
- It comes with the PowerKnead spiral dough hook, suitable for dense dough.
- A Bowl-lift design for sturdier mixing.
- Covered under a 1-year warranty
- The largest class of Kitchenaid mixers, making moving and storing more difficult.
- More expensive than the Classic or Artisan classes.
- The bowl-lift design can make it harder to add or change ingredients.
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 KSM7586POB 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.