My stand mixer is the most used tool in my kitchen. It wins that race by a long way. Regardless if I am rustling up a Friday night pizza, or whipping up a fresh cheesecake, my trusty mixer is never far away. There’s certainly no shortage of good mixers out there, and many will do a decent job of kneading and whisking your tasty treats, but if there is one that stands out for its iconic design and amazing versatility it would undoubtedly be the KitchenAid stand mixer.
Unfortunately, a good stand mixer (especially a KitchenAid) is a pretty big investment. After eventually getting over the eye-watering price tag of my mixer, I was so glad I got one. These machines are totally worth it. After all, KitchenAid makes the most popular stand mixers in the world (holding about 25% of the US market alone), so it’s hard to argue with all those happy customers.
Here’s the problem though: They don’t make it easy for you to pick the right one. As I write this, they have 12 different stand mixer models in the USA alone. There are a bunch more variations in its European range too. Getting all the facts you need to make a proper comparison is a pain too, you have to do a lot of digging before you find all the information you need to properly compare each model.
Personally, the biggest sticking point when I was choosing my first KitchenAid was the battle between the tilt head vs bowl lift mixers. I was unsure which KitchenAid mixer should I get, if all KitchenAid mixers tilt back, and what advantage these different designs offered me.
Drawing from my own experience, a little research, and endless hours of bickering with my baking buddies, here are my thoughts on the matter.
Let me be clear, regardless of who I think wins the tilt head vs bowl lift battle, both of these KitchenAid mixers are amazing, they just offer slightly different advantages.
KitchenAid Mixer bowl lift vs tilt head
Some home bakers prefer the tilt head, while others swear by their bowl lifts. So before you join the ranks of either camp, it’s best to know the difference, and benefits, of each type of mixer.
Ultimately, the way the mixing bowls are attached and accessed is the main difference between a bowl lift and a tilt-head. The other differences include motor power, holding capacity, size, price, design, and functions.
KitchenAid Tilt Mixers
The KitchenAid tilt head mixer does exactly what it says on the tin. You tilt the mixer head to attach the baking accessories and your mixing bowl gets attached to the base of the mixer.
You unlock the head before tilting it back to add your chosen attachment, like a whisk or beater. You then secure the bowl to the base, add ingredients, and push the mixer head back to the position before locking it back in place. The main purpose of the tilting head is to attach and remove accessories as there is little room to maneuver your accessories when the head is down. Tilting the head back also makes it much easier to scrape and mix the contents in the bowl, or add ingredients at different stages of the mixing process.
The bowl capacity should be the first and foremost thing you consider here. The KitchenAid tilt mixers come with bowl sizes of 3.5, 4.5, and 5-quart capacities.
After this, motor power should be the next deciding factor. Tilt head mixers come with motor powers of 250, 275, 300, 325 watts, depending on which model you settle for. This is enough for most of our mixing and meal prep tasks (with special attachments, of course).
When it comes to model and color variety, tilt-head mixers soar over bowl-lift mixers. You will find endless color options, depending on the specific model, with the Artisan series offering nearly 50 KitchenAid mixer colors to choose from!
For KitchenAid tilt mixers, you can choose from three main types of mixing bowls (35+ bowls in total) – stainless steel, plain and painted ceramic, and frosted glass that come with or without handles. All the accessories and attachments, except the ones made with uncoated aluminum, are dishwasher safe.
Tilt head mixers weigh less than their bowl-lift counterpart and are 12.5 to 14 inches tall. This means they are easy to move around and take up significantly less storage space.
Finally, when it comes to different tilt mixer models, you have a pretty big selection:
- Artisan collection comes in 4.5- and 5-quart and has a 325-watt motor. The mixer body comes in around 50 shades to match your décor. The standard bowls in this series are slightly bigger than the ones in the classic range.
- Classic and Classic Plus feature a 275-watt motor. The color choice is limited to three and it comes with the standard 4.5-quarts bowl.
- Artisan Mini has the smallest motor at 250-watt and is available in many colors. It has a small mixing bowl with 3.5-quart capacity and is lighter compared to other tilt head models.
- Design mixer features a 300-watt motor and comes with a 4.5-quart bowl. The color range is again limited to three.
So do all KitchenAid mixers tilt back then? No, they don’t. This brings us to the other type of mixer.
KitchenAid Bowl Lift Mixers
Bowl lift mixers are taller, heavier and unlike the tilt mixers, have a fixed head position. They have clamps, or handles, on the body to hold the mixing bowls which move up and down by cranking a lever on the side of the machine. The beater or whisk has to be attached from below the head.
If you’re wondering about its holding capacity, bowl-lift offers 4.5-, 5-, 6 -and 7-quart capacity models with the Commercial series offering massive 8-quart bowls.
When it comes to color and models, you have limited choices. Bowl-lift mixers come in 6 colors and usually only come with standard stainless-steel bowls. However, models like the Professional 6500 Design Series do have some glass bowl options.
These mixers have more powerful motors compared to tilt head stand mixers. You have three models:
- Professional series of mixers with 746-watt of power are designed to handle heavy and stiff doughs mixtures. Choose between 5- or 6-quart models and between stainless steel or glass mixing bowls. It comes in different colors, too.
- Pro Line series with 969-watt motors are heavy lifters. They come in 6- or 7-quart models and are meant for making large quantities of baked goods. Pro Line mixers are the only ones to offer a 5-year warranty.
- Commercial mixer with a 969-watt motor is NSF® Certified for commercial baking use and runs for long periods without heating up. It is the only mixer with a huge 8-quart bowl and has five color options. This model comes with an optional stainless steel bowl guard to prevent food from entering the bowl while it’s mixing.
When it comes to price, it depends on the model, mixing bowls, and any special attachment that you buy. However, due to their heavy motors, bulky build, and larger capacity bowls, these stand mixers (capable of commercial use) are significantly more expensive.
Which KitchenAid mixer should I get?
You might be confused about which KitchenAid stand mixer you should buy and with good reason. After all, both the tilt-head and the bowl-lift models are efficient, sturdy, and durable.
Ultimately, the answer to this question comes down to one simple factor.
What are you going to use your stand mixer for?
If you’re looking for a mixer that does the basic baking and cooking prep, then tilt-head models, especially the ones with higher power and larger capacity, are good choices.
If you mix light batters every day, then the Artisan and Classic tilt-head models are perfect for you. Do you need to bake and cook for a big family, or a crowd, or your startup baking business? Go with the Professional bowl lift series.
For making stiff batters or for commercial baking, you need those heavy-duty, bowl-lift stand mixers with a powerful and durable motor.
Another consideration should also be how much spare space you have in your kitchen.
If you’re placing it on the countertop, then the mixer type isn’t really relevant. Bowl-lifts need a bigger cabinet. They take up a lot of space and are difficult to carry around, as they are taller and heavier.
In general, tilt-head stand mixers are designed for home use, while bowl-lift stand mixers were intended for commercial use. Both stand mixers are versatile and will dazzle you with their performance. If you want to see a more in-depth comparison of each KitchenAid stand mixer model, take a look at my KitchenAid mixer comparison article where I dive deeper into the specs of each model.
Whether you go for a KitchenAid bowl lift mixer or stick to a KitchenAid tilt head mixer depends on your baking needs, design and capacity preference, cabinet space, and most importantly, your budget.
What are your thoughts on the bowl-lift vs tilt-head debate? Which KitchenAid is right for you?