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Which KitchenAid Mixer Is Right for Me?

Which KitchenAid Mixer Is Right for Me?

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Choosing which KitchenAid stand mixer to buy can feel a bit overwhelming for even the most experienced home baker. The variety of models and features available can seem intimidating at first, and it can be difficult to know which one is best suited to each individual’s specific wants and needs.

Is the fanciest model the best one for me? Should someone who bakes lots of bread get the same mixer as the person who specializes in making cakes? Is there a one-size-fits-all mixer that is right for everyone?

Honestly, there are some key differences between the different available KitchenAid mixers, so the right one for you may be different from the best choice for someone else.

With that in mind, I’d like to offer some suggestions of the right mixer for specific needs with the goal of answering the question “which KitchenAid mixer is right for me?”

Best Mixer for Everyday Family Use: KitchenAid K45SS Classic 275-Watt 4-1/2-Quart Stand Mixer

Many of us need a stand mixer primarily for regular family baking. We want to make cakes at birthdays, freshly baked bread once a week, cookies for school lunches, and the occasional special dessert.

If this sounds like you, the classic model is a wonderful choice.

What sets this model apart?

This mixer is designed with the everyday home baker in mind. As one of the most affordable models, it has an amazing amount of capabilities. It is great for all of the basic baking needs and works with most of the optional attachments.

Weighing in at 15 pounds, this is also one of the lightest models. That makes storing and moving the mixer much easier. At the same time, it is still formidable enough to stand up to the task of kneading bread dough and mixing thicker cookie batters.

With a 4.5-quart capacity, this works great for regular home baking—you can mix as much as six dozen cookies at one time. If you occasionally have larger baking products, you’ll need to mix in batches—which can be inconvenient—but if this is only an occasional occurrence, it is totally doable.

What to Consider Before Buying

It is easy to get overwhelmed with all of the available models and features. Many people get particularly attached to their particular KitchenAid mixer and will sing its praises on message boards and online reviews.

Keep in mind, though, that for many of us, this standard workhorse mixer is an excellent choice. It is very user-friendly and does an excellent job of mixing everything from cake batters to perfectly light and airy icings.

Best Mixer for the Avid Home Baker: KitchenAid KSM150PS Artisan Series 5-Qt. Stand Mixer

When shopping for a stand mixer, home bakers often end up with this question: Should I get the KitchenAid Classic or Artisan stand mixer? Which one is right for me? It’s a great question because both of these are wonderful options and similar in many respects.

While both will do the job and likely please most bakers, there are a few reasons that I recommend the Artisan for truly avid home bakers.

What sets this model apart?

When compared to the Classic mixer, the Artisan is somewhat larger and has a more powerful motor. Whereas the Classic has a 4.5-quart capacity, the Artisan’s capacity is 5-quarts; not a huge difference, but it means that you can mix up to 9 dozen cookies at a time, as opposed to a bit under 7 dozen with the classic.

Likewise, the motor on the Classic is 250-watts, whereas this one is 325-watts. That makes the Artisan the better choice for those of us who make bread more frequently or often make larger batches of denser cookies, for instance.

Another key feature of the Artisan is that it is available in over 40 colors. I think this makes it particularly well-suited to the avid baker because those of us who bake quite often also spend a great deal of time in our kitchens.

The kitchen becomes a place of comfort and enjoyment, and we often like to decorate it in appealing colors. With this model, you are sure to find the color to match any kitchen décor, and while that may be an unnecessary feature for many home cooks, it is an important detail for others.

What to Consider Before Buying

A bit pricier than the Classic model, this mixer requires a heftier investment. As mentioned previously, most home bakers can make do happily with either the Classic or the Artisan.

In the end, the deciding point may be just how often you bake and how important aesthetics are to you. If you are a truly avid baker, it is probably worth investing in this stronger and larger-capacity model.

Likewise, the everyday home baker who cares a great deal about kitchen décor might want to consider paying a bit more for this model.

Best Mixer for Baking for a Crowd: KitchenAid KSM7586PCA 7-Quart Pro Line Stand Mixer

Have you ever had to divide up your raw ingredients so that you could put them in the mixer in batches? Many mixers, while great in other respects, are simply not designed to mix large quantities at one time.

Unfortunately, mixing in batches can be tedious and time-consuming. If you only encounter this issue occasionally, it’s probably just a momentary inconvenience, and you can just power through using a smaller mixer; but for those of us who bake in large quantities fairly often, this is a great mixer to consider.

What sets this model apart?

First of all, this mixer has a very roomy 7-quart capacity—that makes it the biggest non-commercial bowl-lift stand mixer available.

With this hefty machine, you’ll be able to mix as many as 14 dozen cookies or knead eight pounds of bread dough at one time. That makes this a terrific choice for those who often cook for a crowd.

Likewise, this is great for bakers who like to set aside one day a week (or month) to bake enough to last several days.

The other important quality of this mixer is that it has a powerful motor. When it comes to mixing large quantities, the bowl size is obviously important, but so is the capacity of the motor.

Less powerful motors cannot stand up to the task of kneading large amounts of thick dough, for instance. With its high-efficiency DC motor, this mixer is not only extremely powerful, but it also works much more quietly, even under the strain of a very hearty dough.

What to Consider Before Buying

With its strong motor and large mixing capacity, this is understandably one of the pricier stand mixers. It’s an excellent investment, though, if you frequently bake in large quantities. Not only is it capable and convenient, but it is also a great time-saver.

If you only bake large amounts very occasionally, though, you may want to weigh the occasional inconveniences of dividing everything up and mixing it in batches against the expense of this larger and more powerful machine. Rest assured, though, that if you do decide to buy this model, it works equally well for mixing smaller quantities.

One last thing to consider is the size of this model. Weighing in at 31 pounds, this isn’t a mixer that you’ll want to be lifting frequently. It also takes up a fair amount of counter space, although with its attractive design, it can easily become an appealing countertop fixture, as long as you have a spare corner to keep it.

Best Mixer for Bread Bakers: KitchenAid KP26M1XNP 6 Qt. Professional 600 Series Bowl-Lift Stand Mixer

While many home bakers frequently make a large variety of baked goods, a significant number of people want a stand mixer primarily for kneading bread dough.

If you will be using your mixer mostly for making bread, you’ll likely prefer a particularly powerful machine with features specifically geared toward kneading dough.

What sets this model apart?

Kneading bread is one of the most challenging tasks for any stand mixer. Bread dough—especially the healthier whole grain varieties—can be exceptionally dense and requires a lot of strength.

The main thing that sets this mixer apart is its remarkable 575-watt motor. This is a mixer that was clearly developed with bread bakers in mind, and it can easily stand up to the task of frequent kneading with even the densest doughs.

This mixer also comes with the special Powerknead spiral dough hook attachment. Most KitchenAid mixers come with the c-shaped dough hook which, while quite capable at kneading most smaller quantities of dough, isn’t quite as spectacular when it comes to larger or denser doughs.

The spiral hook included with this model kneads quickly and efficiently, handling large amounts of dough without needing to have the bowl scraped periodically.

What to Consider Before Buying

The main thing to think about is what your stand mixer will be used for most frequently. If your answer is cakes, icings, or cookies, most KitchenAid models have motors and designs that are perfectly adequate for these uses, and there really isn’t any need for investing in a particularly powerful model.

But, if you are a dedicated bread baker, the KP26M1XNP is an amazing choice. Not only is it particularly well-suited to the task of frequent kneading, but it will hold up under the stress of thick doughs for much longer than less powerful models.

Final Thoughts

KitchenAid makes excellent stand mixers. They all tend to be quite capable and useful for home bakers. In the end, though, it pays to spend some time to carefully consider the differences before purchasing.

Think about where you fit in: Do you bake frequently for a crowd or just for your immediate family? Do you make a lot of breads? How important is kitchen décor to you?

Armed with a bit of knowledge about the differences between the available models, you can make the best choice for your own individual needs.

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