So, you’re in the market for a stand mixer, but not just any run-of-the-mill model. You’re looking at the prima donna of baking appliances. The Ferrari of countertop accessories.
The iconic KitchenAid stand mixer.
Don’t panic, you certainly aren’t the only one that feels a little lost with this choice. KitchenAid doesn’t exactly make it easy for us to decipher their vast selection of stand mixers. These mixers are a pretty pricey investment, so it’s understandable that you want to make sure you are getting the right one, especially if you are new to baking and are still learning the tricks of the trade.
After countless weeks of researching when buying my own mixer, I learned a thing or two that will help you distinguish the differences between KitchenAid mixers. Allow me to share with you some of the biggest differences, and similarities, in an effort to provide the ultimate KitchenAid mixer comparison.
KitchenAid Stand Mixer Models
Let’s get back to basics.
Depending on which country you are based in, your selection of stand mixers will vary. Although the range is pretty similar, for some reason, the KitchenAid models vary slightly between the US, Canada, and the UK.
In the USA, there are now 13 different types of KitchenAid stand mixer models you can choose from.
- Artisan Mini
- Artisan Design
- Classic Plus
- Ultra Power
- Professional 5
- Professional 600
- Professional 6500 Design
- 7 Quart Bowl Lift (NEW!)
- Pro Line
That’s a lot of mixers! Choosing between these models is a pretty daunting task in itself. That’s before you have even started to think about the different colors or accessories available.
Stand Mixer Similarities
Although there are plenty of factors that set these machines apart from one another, there are a few things they have in common too.
The first thing to remember is that all mixers come with a multipurpose hub. In fact, every KitchenAid stand mixer since 1919 has come with this universal port. This allows you to attach all those extra accessories to your mixer and transform it into a pasta maker, grinder or juicer.
Because of this, most accessories will work with any KitchenAid mixer. There are exceptions to this rule, like the ice cream maker or precise heat bowl, which come in bowl-lift/tilt-head variations.
Another big similarity to bear in mind is that all KitchenAid mixers have the same speed settings. Regardless if you opt for an Artisan Mini or a powerful commercial mixer, they will all run at the same 10-speed settings. Don’t confuse this with motor power or torque though, that’s a whole different ball game altogether (we will get to that shortly.)
Now that you know the similarities between the machines, let’s have a look at how they differ from one another.
UPDATE: KitchenAid has released a new stand mixer, the 7 Quart Bowl-Lift stand mixer. This mixer has 11 speeds, which include a half-speed for gentle folding.
The KitchenAid Mixer Comparison
When you boil it down, there are five fundamental differences between KitchenAid mixers, these are; motor size, bowl capacity, attachments, aesthetics, size, price.
By looking at these factors individually, you will be able to decide which is the right mixer for you.
The motor is the heart of your stand mixer and one of the biggest differentiators between the KitchenAids models.
Although every stand mixer has the same 10-speed setting, models have different-sized motors. This allows the more powerful KitchenAid mixers to generate more torque. Stronger machines can mix ingredients more efficiently and can handle larger quantities of batter significantly easier.
It’s also worth remembering that a KitchenAid stand mixer can either have a DC or AC motor.
One of the latest additions to the KitchenAid line-up, the Artisan Mini, comes with the smallest motor of the lot, clocking in at 250 watts. However, because this is a DC motor, it generates the same amount of torque as the regular Artisan Series, which has a 325 Watt AC motor. The Artisan is really designed as an all-around home kitchen workhorse and can perform most baking or cooking tasks with ease.
If you’re looking to compare the Classic vs Artisan KitchenAid motor, then the Classic series mixers have a smaller 275 watt AC motor. This is the same for the Classic Plus and Deluxe models. Because of this, these mixers will produce slightly less torque than the Artisan series and can struggle with larger quantities of stiffer batters.
When it comes to mid-range motors, the Professional 5 and 600 are your choices. They have a 525 watt and 575 watt AC motor respectively, making them ideal for the frequent home bakers who make large batches or work with heavier batters and dense dough.
For the high-end, bowl lift models, the Commercial and Pro-Line pack the most powerful motors of them all, both using a beefy DC motor capable of producing a whopping 1.3hp. These are heavy-duty machines meant for home baking in large quantities or commercial kitchen businesses.
After motor size, the bowl capacity will probably be the next thing you will want to take into consideration. That said, don’t let the standard bowl size of your mixer dictate your decision too much. There are plenty of replacement bowls you can buy in different sizes to suit your needs. Here are the sizes available for the varying models.
As you can see, KitchenAid offers a range of bowl sizes that come standard with their different models, each offering varying holding capacities.
Unsurprisingly, the Artisan Mini has the smallest standard bowl (3.5 quarts) made from stainless steel with a handle. This is the perfect size for an individual or a couple who bake less often and are mixing smaller batches of dough. Remember, you cannot buy a bigger bowl for this model, so you are committing to only using a 3.5-quart bowl if you opt for the Mini.
The standard Artisan series come with 5-quart stainless steel mixing bowl with a handle, whereas the Artisan Design comes with a glass bowl. Want a bigger-sized standard bowl but don’t want to spend an arm and a leg? The Classic and Classic Plus series come with the 4.5-quart stainless steel mixing bowl without a handle. You can buy replacement bowls ranging from 3-5 quarts for these mixers.
When it comes to the mixing bowls for the bowl-lift models, the Commercial has the big 8-quart standard bowl to do large-scale baking, although this is probably a bit overkill for your home kitchen.
The Professional and Pro Line series offers a 6-quart and 7-quart standard stainless steel bowls (with handles), which are capable of handling multiple batches of baked goodies (12-15 cups of flour) at a time. Again, a pretty large selection of replacement bowls is available for these models, ranging from a 3.3-quart special mini bowl to the larger 7-quart bowls.
As well as a mixing bowl, every KitchenAid mixer will come with at least three standard mixer attachments; a beater, whisk, and dough hook. However, the more expensive models also come with a few extra accessories thrown in for good measure.
Just like the bowls, the material of attachments can vary too.
The Classic models come with a no-frills nylon-coated dough hook, flat beater, and 6-wire whisk. The Artisan has a similar setup, with the exception it also comes with a pouring shield. For the Mini, instead of the flat beater, you get a flex edge beater. This is a nice addition and especially handy for those sticky batters.
For the more expensive tilt-head mixers (the Artisan Design and the Deluxe) you get silver-coated accessories instead of the white nylon-coated ones that come standard on the ‘cheaper’ KitchenAid mixers. You will probably find these silver-coated accessories are a little bit more robust and chip-resistant than their nylon counterparts.
For every bowl lift mixer, instead of the traditional C-shaped dough hook, you will get the KitchenAid Powerknead dough hook, a spiral shape design that is more efficient at kneading large quantities of dough.
As the Professional 5 is a budget bowl-lift offering, it comes with the nylon-coated flat beater and Powerknead hook, and a 6 wire whip. When you compare Professional with Pro-Line, both the 600 and proline come with a pouring shield but not the 6000 series. The Pro-Line mixers are fitted with an 11-wire whisk that does a better job of whipping.
Beware: Some of the stock images show the stand mixers with stainless steel attachments, rather than the coated ones they actually come with. Make sure to read the product descriptions thoroughly before purchasing your mixer.
Aesthetics and Colors
I don’t know who came up with that age-old “never judge a book by its cover” proverb but whoever it was, they clearly never saw the amazing KitchenAid stand mixer color selection.
When it comes to aesthetics, you are spoilt for choice. The Artisan comes with more color options than any other model, with over a mind-boggling 70 colors to choose from. The Classic mixer has the smallest color range, limited to only black and white.
If you are looking for the bowl-lift mixer with the largest selection, then that would be the Professional 600. This model has over 35 different colors to choose from. If you want to see every KitchenAid mixer color, we have logged every color released (there are over 90 colors in total!)
Color aside, there are other subtle aesthetics to consider. Some savvy shoppers might have already noticed that some mixers have an embossed logo on the silver trim, whereas some do not. Unsurprisingly there is a pretty strong correlation between price and trim finish. If you opt for a budget mixer (the Classic model for the title head and the Professional 5 for the bowl-lift) then you will get a printed KitchenAid Logo. All the remaining models have an embossed logo.
Size and Weight
Although this is probably the least important factor in our KitchenAid mixer comparison, it is certainly worth mentioning. After all, size and weight matter when you have a smaller kitchen or less storage space.
If you are really short on space, then the Artisan Mini will be your best friend. It’s the smallest and lightest KitchenAid mixer ever made. It weighs 18 pounds and is only 12.3 inches tall. That makes it over 25% lighter than the standard Artisan mixer!
The Classic and Artisan mixers are very similar in terms of size and weight clocking in at 13.9 inches and 25 pounds.
When it comes to the bowl-lift stand mixers, the Commercial is shorter than the others at 16 inches. The Pro Line surprisingly weighs less than the Professional mixers at 32 pounds. It measures 16.2 in height. The Professional 600 and 6500 both weigh 34 pounds and stand tall at 17 inches. The bowl-lift mixers are heavier and need a lot of counter or storage space.
Last, but certainly not least, we have to talk about price. In truth, this is probably the important difference between KitchenAid mixers for most of us. The reason why I am talking about this last, rather than first, is because all the other factors I mentioned above have a direct impact on the price of each mixer.
That age-old saying “you get what you pay for” is just as relevant when it comes to choosing KitchenAid mixers as it is in every other walk of life.
If you are on a tight budget, then the Classic model is the cheapest KitchenAid mixer on the market, usually on sale for about $300. Of course, for that lower price, you are sacrificing some motor power, color selection, and accessories. The next cheapest mixer is the Mini, which you can pick up for around the $350 mark. Again, you are going to sacrifice the luxury of bowl capacity and superior motor power, although you are getting the benefits of a smaller and lighter machine, so there is certainly a trade-off here.
The Artisan series and the Design series range from $400 to $500. These mixers represent the middle ground offering in the KitchenAid range, giving you enough torque for tougher ingredients, moderate bowl capacity, a good selection of accessories, and an array of colors to choose from.
Because of the larger motors, the price of the bowl lift machines jumps up another level, starting at the $500 mark for the Professional 5. True to its name, the Pro-Line will set you back by $799 and this is without the power hub attachments or additional mixing bowls. The Professional 600 costs $200 less than the Pro-Line while you have to shell out $629 for the Professional 6500.
Which stand mixer model should you choose?
The answer is – it depends.
Budget bakers probably aren’t interested in all the bells and whistles that come with the higher-end models, and most often just want a mixer that does the job and fits their budget. If this sounds like you, then pay special attention as we compare the Artisan Mini with the Artisan later on.
For many of us who bake quite frequently, the mixer needs to be powerful enough to handle a heavy workload, yet still, be economical. It might come down to a coin toss between a Classic vs Artisan model or the KitchenAid Classic vs Deluxe, after all, these are the most popular models in the KitchenAid arsenal.
For more serious home chefs, the price tag doesn’t matter as much as what the stand mixer can do for them. They will mostly be eyeing up some of the bigger machines like the Pro-Line vs Professional.
Each model has its own benefits, special features and functions. Consider your budget, what you plan to bake and how often you will use the mixer.