on January 21, 2004
My wedding gift mixer (a Sunbeam Mixmaster) turned 33 a week before Christmas, and my husband thought it was time for me to have a new one. He gifted me on Christmas with the KitchenAid 5 Qt. Artisan in white. I love this mixer and leave it out on my counter, something I never did with the Mixmaster. I recently purchased the citrus juicer attachment from Amazon and am very pleased with it as well. I have not read all 109 previous reviews on this site, but I have read a few that were disgruntled because their Artisans did not mix well. I initially had the same problem with the beater/bowl clearance. It is very simple to remedy. There is a beater adjustment screw on the mixer and the manual describes how to make the adjustments. I got even better instructions by calling customer support at KitchenAid. The technician told me to drop a dime into the empty bowl, turn the mixer on (about setting 2) using the flat beater, and it should move the dime 1/4" to 1/2" each time it rotates around the bowl. This is the right clearance for the beater to mix everything at the bottom of the bowl, but not low enough to cause wear on the beater from constant friction with the bottom of the bowl during usage. I tweaked the screw setting 1/4 turn each time until I got that dime moving. At this setting, I can now beat a single egg white to stiff peaks in the 5 qt. bowl. That's impressive.
This mixer is as sturdy as a tank, and you can hear the quality as it mixes. Although I had previously purchased a KitchenAid mixer for my daughter as a gift, I would never have splurged on one for myself. I am so happy my husband thought I was worth it!
on February 26, 2012
In short, don't be. Most of the relatively small percentage of negative reviews on this mixer fall into one of three explainable categories, so if you're considering it, follow along:
The most worrisome category of complaints about this mixer involves a very small number of stories about the food-grade grease that lubricates the internal bearings leaking out of the mixer and into the food-bowl. Although reported in only a tiny percentage of reviews, this was probably the one complaint that worried me the most, simply because if true, let's just say it: it's disgusting.
The first thing to keep in mind in evaluating this complaint is that EVERY electric mixer requires lubricated bearings. Changing models or brands won't change that, and although there may be design differences that make the possibility somewhat different across various models, it's just going to always be there to some degree on every mixer. It's pointless to waste time, in other words, worrying about something that is going to be a possibility on ANYTHING you can possibly buy. So that's the first category.
The second category category of complaints has to do with the mixer dying somehow, either arriving dead or dying quickly. It seems a lot of these complaints are dated from 2007-2009, so maybe there really *was* something going on, but those seem to have tapered off. For the rest, I can only say that speed matters: 2=LOW for dough, 4=MED for batter, and 6=HIGH for creaming. Speeds 8 and 10 are ONLY for whipping air into cream or egg whites with the wire whisk. Anything faster than 2 for kneading dough and you're literally playing with fire.
I can say this with the authority that only comes from wrecking a lot of motors. The quickest way to burn out an appliance is to exceed the available power with the requested load, so the number one way to kill a mixer is to simply add a large quantity of sticky dough and then crank up the dough hook while saying "if 2 is good, then 4 is better and 10 is best." Turning up the speed increases the load, leaving the motor with no reserve capacity as the dough gets tougher. The result is easy to predict.
The second way to kill an electric motor, surprisingly (and you won't be warned about this one by the manual) is to use it with an extension cord, especially a light-duty one. This is the appliance equivalent of running a race while breathing through a straw. You don't run your stove that way, you don't run your refrigerator that way, and you shouldn't run your mixer that way, either. Even WITH the recommended amount of dough, and AT the recommended speed (2), you can still kill it this way. (Please see the comments on this review if you're interested in more discussion on this).
Anyone who is unaware of either of these points will naturally and understandably blame the mixer when it starts smoking and burns out. I'm certainly not saying one of these types of abuse explains every single case of mixer failure--there have to be SOME manufacturing defects--but I'd be willing to bet one of these two things explains 8 out of 10 of them. If you really do need a mixer for large quantities of dough every day, then please invest in a commercial-grade mixer like a two- to four-thousand dollar Hobart mixer, where the designers KNOW the duty-requirements you have in mind. You shouldn't try to haul two tons of rock with a half-ton pickup truck all day and expect it to last, nor should you make the equivalent mistake with a mixer.
The remaining category of complaints seems to be some version of the beaters hitting the bowl. This is a simple adjustment that has been covered elsewhere, but if you missed it, all you need to do is place a dime in the bowl and use the adjustment screw (in the crook of the tip-up hinge) to lower or raise the flat beater until it moves the dime just 1/4 to 1/2 inch on each sweep. This is only end-user adjustment you'll ever need to make, and it likely solves the entirety of the remaining category of complaints I read about.
I decided to take a chance on this mixer despite the negative reviews, after thinking it through in this way, and I'm very happy with it so far (and wow, is it ever better than the old Sunbeam stand mixer I had for ages!) If it ever quits or I change my mind about it, I'll let you know; otherwise, the deal on Amazon is as good as you'll find. (UPDATE: That last comment was made back when this mixer was selling for $229, but the price has risen dramatically since then. The rest of my review still stands...)
on September 23, 2002
I love this thing! I have friends who've had KitchenAid mixers for years and they've always raved about their quality and durability. Well, I finally went for it and I have absolutely no regrets. You want to talk about a solid piece of kitchen machinery? This is the epitome of what "Made in America" used to mean! Unlike all the cheapo mixers out there, I'm completely confident that this thing will even outlast ME! The only problem is now I'm wondering why I waited so long!
-----> This may help some of you - I read a review somewhere in which the reviewer gave this mixer a poor rating because it left dry ingredients in the bottom of the bowl - read the instruction booklet, people. It clearly states that if this occurs (or if the attachments scrape the bowl), there is an adjustment screw that raises or lowers the mixing assembly. I had to slightly lower mine and it now incorporates everything into the mix. The KitchenAid mixers are well worth the money....or you can keep buying junk mixers every couple years...the choice is yours.
on May 11, 2007
I own a KA Artisan Series 5-Qt. Stand Mixer in "Blue Willow." I am a casual baker and am relatively new in the kitchen and prior to making this purchase, I did quite a bit of research on stand mixers. I found that the questions you have to ask yourself prior to making this purchase are:
(1) Do you really need one, and, if the answer is yes, then;
(2) Is this a one-time purchase, and;
(3) Which stand mixer actually *fits* your needs?
Though I was tempted to get a big 6-Qt professional, bowl-lifting, super cool mixer, I realized that I generally cook for two people and that I would not need to ever really mix 14-cups of flour or 8 pounds of potatoes. Even if I did, I'd be doing it in smaller batches anyway. So that brought me back to my senses and I considered the KA Artisan.
Oddly, it only has 325 watts of power. Other stand mixers of this size offer up to 500 watts; the KA 6 Qt. Pro offers 525 watts and a bowl "lift" function. I don't know if this makes a huge difference, but my KA stands up to whatever I put in it. I use it to make mostly cookie and bread doughs. It comes with three accessories: flat beater, dough hook, and wire whip. The flat beater is very versatile and I have really appreciated not having to wrestle with my crappy hand-mixer when mixing things like softened cream cheese. I can throw it all into the bowl at once and walk away to start something else.
It's a snap. While I tend to still get flour all over "The Fuselage," as I call my mixer, it wipes off in a jiffy because of the sleek exterior. I don't find the "chute" of the pouring shield especially "easy" to add ingredients, especially when it's flour from a big mixing bowl. The chute is not quite wide enough and flour tends to spill, so sometimes I don't use it, but this creates "splash-up" instead, so it's kind of a no-win situation. The steel bowl is absolutely smooth and so there are no real ridges inside the bowl for anything to stick to. The accessories twist off in a one-handed motion, are very secure and heavy, and are coated with a slick, non-stick, white finish - washing up is absolutely easy.
You cannot put this away, or you will never get it out again. So for small apartment dwellers, you must think about your counterspace. I am a pretty small female, and to me, is HEAVY, HEAVY, HEAVY. While this is good because it doesn't wobble or "walk" across the countertop when it's mixing, this also makes it a gigantic pain to drag it out. So anticipate that it will take up about 1 cubic foot of your countertop forever and that you should have it somewhere where you don't have to move it.
It is very, very thorough. It has some weird "planetary mixing action," but whatever that means, it mixes mostly everything evenly. Turn it off before you stick your spatula in. It handles the stickiest focaccia dough to meringue perfectly, and the bowl "locks in" to the base, so you don't have to worry about it flying off.
These are super pricey in most cases, but the one that seems to draw the most raves is the pasta cutter (apprx. $100). KA constantly has deals and sometimes has nice packaged deals on their website, so check there as well. I have seen KA offer different accessories (including this one) for free on rebate, so watch for those. KA also is constantly flogging "The Mixer Bible" by Meredith Deeds and on their website, they sometimes have an ask-and-answer with the author. I do recommend getting a stand-mixer cover, or if you want to make one, there are several patterns available on the internet. I'm lazy and cheap, so I use a big dishrag and that has worked so far.
Overall, I'm glad I made the purchase. When I do use "the Fuselage" for baking jobs, it performs flawlessly and makes the baking much, much easier - you can get a good look at your dough consistency, etc. instead of worrying about if your frosting has unmixed chunks in it, or if your hand mixer is going to tip your entire bowl of pudding over while you run to get some missed ingredient. By proxy, its ease of use turns you into a better cook in the end. More relaxed, anyway, and if that's worth a couple hundred dollars to you, then by all means, buy it.
I grew up with one of the first KA mixers - my mom bought it at a fair over 35 years ago. With 5 kids in the house, it was used several times a week for years (cookies, cakes, desserts, bread, etc.). It finally started to give out last year (gear was slipping) so I bought her a new one. And I have 2 myself - one I got for a wedding present 18 years ago (it lives in my weekend house) & I just bought the red artisan for at home. I also have the meat grinder (as does my mom) & that is a handy device. Mom always used it to grind leftover turkey/beef roasts into the best sandwich spread. I can't say enough good about this mixer. I wouldn't bake half as much without it. It's powerful & dependable. I would give this mixer 10 stars if it was an option. You can't go wrong with this machine.
Update: 2/2/2010 I would now rate this 3 stars at most. I am shopping for a replacement to this mixer - ALREADY! And I don't think the replacement will be KA. My 20+ year-old KA is still going strong - this new Artisan has been a disappointment. Underpowered, cheap beaters (paint flakes off) & the head & the mixer itself jumps all over the place when mixing.
The wobbly head problem has become a common complaint with KA mixers. I found how to fix that at least temporarily 1. Unplug the mixer 2. Lock the head in place 3. Make sure the visible hinge pin that goes through body of the mixer is pushed all the way flush 4. Remove bowl & beaters 5. Turn the entire unit on its side 6.Look all the way down the shaft & you will see a screw. (My screw actually fell completely out & was thankfully on the counter, under the mixer!)6.Tighten that screw with a flat head screwdriver. This should fix the wobbly head problem. I was going through beaters - flaking paint issue(these new beaters are CHEAP junk) because the head was jumping all over & making the beater hit the bowl. I thought my beater to bowl clearance was wrong, but it was not. My old mixer never had this problem.
It hasn't died yet but I don't want to be without a mixer so I'm shopping for something better. KA has really slipped in quality. Jeez - I'd be willing to pay a bit more if I could count on KA holding up for more than a few years. They've been concentrating on pretty colors & not quality. The one year warranty should be a red flag!
By the way, the KA I bought my mom - DIED a year ago! What a disappointment. I have been a KA "cheerleader" for years, but no more. This is painful for me because I grew up using a KA stand mixer & have fond memories.
on September 26, 2003
This KitchenAid mixer is an excellent investment! I just love mine! The dough hook attachment is the greatest invention ever. No more kneading! I used this wonderful machine to make 4 pounds of Pizza Geina dough without breaking a sweat. Add your ingredients, turn it on and it does the rest! It has a very powerful motor and every part of this mixer is excellent quality and well made. It is simple to lock in the mixing bowl and it is also a breeze to clean. The different attachments are very easy to attach and remove. It would be impossible not to love it! Did I mention how easy the clean up is? I love it so much I bought the KitchenAid quilted cover for it. Once you use this mixer you will never want to use anything else! The Best!!!
on June 24, 2007
My mother used a Kitchen Aid mixer her entire life, and when I got older and became serious about baking, I too thought I would buy a Kitchen Aid mixer, and I expected the mixer to be the only mixer I would ever have to buy. Wow, was I wrong.
I bought my mixer (WS4494931, Model KSM15OPSWH) yesterday and from the first use I had nothing but problems, odd sounds, odors, along with sparks flashing from the inside of the motor, and finally the device simply would not turn on. I returned the mixer to the store, and being the open-minded person I am, decided to give Kitchen Aid brand another shot. The second mixer still omitted an odor, but I was told that this was normal for a new mixer motor, and seemed quieter; however, speed 2 does not work. When I move the speed selector from Stir, to 2, there is no change in speed.
I bought a Kitchen Aid without doing research because I trusted the brand name, and of course because my mother used hers for so long, but once I started researching Kitchen Aid on the Internet, I see that I am not the only person who has experienced the same issues with Kitchen Aid mixers.
I am totally disappointed with my purchase and will return it to the store that I purchased it from. I will also not buy Kitchen Aid appliances again.
It's a shame that Kitchen Aid has let the quality of their product go down hill.
on January 2, 2005
About me. Aircraft technician for 23 years, I love to cook, I am a perfectionist and, I hate cheap tools. I purchased this mixer as a to me gift for christmas. On New Years day I thought I would break it in by baking a red velvet cake. While mixing the light and fluffy frosting I heard something let loose in the mixer and in a instant there was a spark and than the circut breaker blew. Well I was able to frost my cake and than my attention was turned to this 200 dollar tool I had purchased. I reset the circuit breaker and atempted to run the mixer. It kind of ran but I could tell there was something other than my fluffy frosting holding the 350 watt motor back. Having had alot of expereance taking things apart and being very curious I had to take a look at what made the thing tick. I removed the back cover and it became very clear that this is not the Kitchen Aid stand mixer my mother used to make two cakes a week with when I was a kid. You would think that for over 200 dollars the machine would have some sort of solid state speed control. I was very surprised to see a very cheap looking reostat devise that looks like it came out of my old electric race car set speed controller that I had as a kid. What a disapointmant. The part that came apart was some sort of spring roller clip on the motor shaft. When it let loose it got stuck in the reostat and shorted the thing out. The reasons I am writting this review are 1. This mixer has almost a five star satisfaction rating. This rating influenced my purchase. 2. Kitchen Aid is living off an American made tradition of high quality. This mixer is not American made and the quality is low. 3. As a consumer I am tired of companies main concern being the bottom line. I would gladly pay more for solidstate construction. In conclusion this mixer may do the job its intended to do but don't be surpised if it breaks down. After all why would there be so many remanufactored units for sale if there wasn't a quality problem. Amazon . com will be getting this unit back and hopefully the replacement will hold together a little longer than the first.
This machine would get 4 or 5 stars if it didn't break within a week or two of use.
I purchased the Artisan for Christmas 2005. It failed (gears froze) a week after receiving it. The replacement unit failed on it's second use. I am now awaiting my third replacement.
Kitchenaid sends a replacement in 5 days and picks up the failed unit. That is good customer service. However, each unit has failed within short time, if the third one fails, I will request my money back and purchase a different brand.
Update March 2008: The third mixer was the charm. It's been working perfectly. Sorry to be so late getting back on this.
Update Sept 2009: The third mixer is starting to act up. The stirring blade is bumping the side of the bowl. You can see the mechanism is not spinning properly any longer. Only a little over a year and now it needs repair. No quality here. When it works, it's wonderful. But 3 times means you're out.
on August 22, 2006
I have celiac disease, which is essentially an allergy to wheat protein, and I've been GF for 5 years now. (Why does that sound like I'm at an AA meeting?) When I first started baking all my own breads, cakes, etc., from scratch, the books said that I needed a bread machine. I bought one and it didn't work so well with the GF "funny flours." A book finally told me to forget about the machine, buy a stand mixer and use the oven. Brilliant!
I bought my Kitchenaid and haven't looked back. I use this thing at least twice a week, sometimes every day. I don't know how I lived without it. My mom just bought one after she saw me calmly measuring stuff and dumping it in while the mixer mixed all by it itself. (She's been suffering with a handheld all these years.) Stand mixers also mix more thoroughly than handhelds. They also can mix chocolate chip cookie dough all the way to the end of the flour additions.
I've had my Kitchenaid for about 5 years now, though 3 moves, and it's still as sturdy and reliable as the day I bought it. The paint is still perfect. Not a scratch. Certainly not a chip. It's beautiful and lustrous. I have Onyx Black. While I like the look of the Onyx a lot, it's obvious if there's a little flour dusting the top of it. This makes it convenient to clean, but if you don't use it very often but do want it out, you might want to choose a lighter color that won't show dust.
Caveat: It's heavy. B/c I use mine so much, I display it on my counter, drag it forward, use it, wipe it off with a damp rag, and push it back. (And wash the bowl, of course.) But it's worth it's weight in gold. They are a lovely appliance. Not like a frumpy toaster.
Also, a previous review somewhere said that it left dry ingredients in the bottom of the bowl and didn't incorporate them. There's an adjustment screw that you have to fine-tune before you use it. Instructions are in the booklet. I adjusted mine before I used it for the first time (I compulsively read instructions,) and never had that problem.
Buy yourself a proper mixer. You'll be so glad you did.
Author of Rabid: A Novel and Callous: A Novel