My Disappointing New KA Stand Mixer

gr8daygwApril 12, 2013

I got this beautiful new KA Artisan stand mixer for Christmas. I have wanted one for years and years and finally got one this past Christmas. I was so happy to get it but I am disappointed with how stiff and rickety it seems. What I mean is that when I go to increase the speed levels the lever is really stiff in movement and just isn't smooth like you would think an expensive piece of kitchen equipment would be. It is actually a little hard to move the lever forward to increase the speed. Then I noticed that the motor sounds like it is speeding up until you get to 8 and then it sounds the same through 9 and 10 speeds. I don't think it is working right. I noticed when I was making something that was really hard to stir that the motor slowed down and almost quit. After that is when I noticed it not changing in speed at all on the higher levels. I wasn't making something that I thought it couldn't handle like a bread dough so it seems odd that it would not be able to handle it.

The other things is that it is hard to tell if the beaters are set correctly in height so that they hit correctly on the bottom of the mixing bowl. I adjusted the beater height because I worried it was too low but so much was being unmixed on the bottom of the bowl such as cream cheese when I was making a cheese cake, it was stuck on the bottom of the bowl and not mixed well at all. I then put it back to where it was and it helped a little but still disappointing. The speed problem at the top range is still a problem. I also bought the KA brand batter paddle that is supposed to help scrape the sides of the bowl while mixing and the dough hook, whisk and paddle came with it.

I wish I could have tried one out before purchasing and also tried out the Breville and some other brands to see if the way it mixes is just normal or troublesome.

I'd be interested to hear how you like your KA stand mixer or if you have a Breville how you like that one.

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From where did you purchase your mixer? MIne (looks like same model as yours) came from and the motor often makes a groaning sound when mixing the lamest stuff.

I had read somewhere online (and if it's on the Internet it must be true... LOL) that the appliances sold *by* Amazon are seconds, or not first quality. I've often wondered if that's true, based on the sounds mine makes.

This post was edited by Cavimum on Fri, Apr 12, 13 at 9:08

    Bookmark   April 12, 2013 at 9:07AM
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I purchased it from a retailer on Ebay. But because it concerned me about how stiff the speed control lever is and if these were seconds I went by Macy's to see how their's compared. They seemed the same for the most part. They had several on display so I tried different ones and some were stiff and some seemed smoother in operation. I am a loyal customer of Macy's most of the time for other purchases.

I cannot express how sad I am that things are not made in the USA anymore. I do voice my opinion on this matter but it makes no difference. Unless people in their target age group that they care about take action against products made in China it would not matter what I said or did since they don't give a rat's behind what I think because of my age. I think they should adjust their attitude because many people that are not in the 18-34 age group do a lot of purchasing and even those over age 54!!!

    Bookmark   April 12, 2013 at 9:25AM
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Kitchenaid Artisan isn't really considered a great mixer. I think more people purchase it because it comes in pretty colors and looks nice in their kitchen than because it is a quality mixer. It definitely lacks power compared to better mixers.

Amazon is a reputable store, I seriously doubt they would sell second without indicating such. They are such a high volume seller that they can get a good deal from Kitchenaid.

    Bookmark   April 12, 2013 at 9:25AM
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What brand mixer would you recommend? I'm open to it not being pretty : ) I do admit I love my pretty blue one but actually pretty is as pretty does so "bring it"...

    Bookmark   April 12, 2013 at 9:29AM
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See if you can take a look at the America's Test Kitchen ratings. I don't think they were against KitchenAid in general, just found the Artisan to be underpowered.

    Bookmark   April 12, 2013 at 9:35AM
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I have the same KA model also and even though it is not a second, I am unimpressed by it.

Although I knew KA mixers are not what they once where, I bought a new one anyway. Nylon gears instead of brass, sloppy tolerances, spotty quality, etc. My speed selector switch is similar to yours with some of the same issues and a few other wrinkles. My 1st and 2nd speeds seem to be too fast.

I bake at least twice a week and I hoped that for the money, my KA would be better constructed.

I forsee a replacement mixer in my future and the next time, it will be a 30 year old KA or a vintage 10qt Hobart if I want to go that big. I'll scout out the Brevilles and other top tier players also.

In any case, I'll put the mixer to the test before I buy it.


    Bookmark   April 12, 2013 at 9:36AM
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I have a KA classic mixer that my husband got for me around12 years ago from Target so it's not top of the line. It's great! It is a little tight switching between levels but that's the way any that I have used seem to work. My first experience with a KA mixer was in a restaurant kitchen so I think of them more as a powerful workhorse than a luxury model. That's just my perception. I make pizza dough in it weekly and am not easy on it and it keeps chugging along. I just checked my paddle attachment and it sits on the bottom between the side and the little dome in the middle of the bowl. I've never adjusted it. You do have to scrape down the bottom of the bowl with a spatula to incorporate all of the ingredients with some recipes. My daughter was helping me make dough and she accidentally dropped a spoon in while it was running. It snapped the dough hook off and kept on going (on level 2). It's pretty powerful! I am also wondering if you got a reconditioned unit or a lemon. I really hope that it's not a sign that they are cheapening their components and making a bad product! I would contact them. It should be under warranty.

    Bookmark   April 12, 2013 at 9:46AM
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I bake a lot too and love it. I was hoping for lighter weight just for ease of moving it around since I don't keep it out all the time. I didn't want the bigger capacity model as I just don't need something that big and storing it is a problem apart from the weight of it. Also saw a comment that if you don't really have the bowl full when making smaller portions that the mix goes up against the walls of such a big bowl and it's a pain to mix. Something I hadn't thought about so I opted for the smaller Artisan rather than the bigger machine.

At this point I guess I'll adjust but as you said a replacement mixer in the future will require more hands on testing which can be hard to accomplish but I guess I could sell this one on E-bay if it comes to that. Just good to know I'm not imagining things and others have noticed the same issues.

Thanks so much for the comments and thoughts. Really appreciate your taking the time.

    Bookmark   April 12, 2013 at 9:47AM
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gr8day - Have you tried calling KA customer service to express your thoughts? They may be able to tell you if this is normal, or if there is some fix.

I have an ancient KA from the Hobart days and it certainly doesn't behave as you describe. I've ordered accessories from KA's customer service line and they've always been polite and responsive.


    Bookmark   April 12, 2013 at 10:11AM
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I would definitely get a hold of KA customer service. My KA mixer is over 20 years old and still works like a charm. Gosh, I adore the new colors, but am not ready to give mine up. I have the tilt head, but the bowl does not mount to the base, as many do now.

The reason I suggest you contact them is that I purchased a 7-speed hand mixer several years ago, and the position it would randomly go to different speeds while I was using it. They replaced it free for a 9-speed. Worth a try!

    Bookmark   April 12, 2013 at 4:20PM
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I think the stiff switching is normal but ours got smoother with time. The first KA mixer that we had needed to be returned becasue the motor was surging and just didn't sound very good. The replacement was fine. You should problaby go to a store and see if someone will plug one in for you so you can comapre the motor. We bought ours from one of the Big Box stores. I wouldn't trust what any manufacturer would tell you is normal. Unfortunately I've been down that road before. The best way is to try one and compare.

    Bookmark   April 12, 2013 at 4:29PM
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I have a Kitchen Aid 600 pro, and even that could not keep up with bread dough. After having it replaced three times for various issues (at least Kitchen Aid was great about standing behind their products), I now use an Electrolux DLX, now called the Ankarsrum - same as mine just now called the same as the company who has been making it for years. This machine is great and I have never heard any sounds of straining or had it overheat. I still have my Kitchen Aid, but I only use it for easy things like a cookie dough, never bread.

I know there are lots of people happy with the Bosch mixers as well. Kitchen Aids haven't been made as well as the olden days for over 10 years. I would not buy one now.

    Bookmark   April 12, 2013 at 5:47PM
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Fori is not pleased

It's pretty though!

You can improve mixing performance by replacing the beater with a rubber edged one--it's not an OEM part but a great improvement.

I have the pro version and I think I killed it making large batches of whole wheat bread. I retired it from breadmaking and it's fine for everything else. The switch is definitely crabby.

(The cooking forum will probably have an opinion of this topic, too.)

Here is a link that might be useful: beaterblade at amazon

    Bookmark   April 12, 2013 at 6:52PM
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I've had the KA model (now called "heavy duty") that redoingit posted in the photo above. It wasn't called that before; it didn't have a name and it only came in white.

Back in the day (1970s) that one was the top of the line. The "Artisan" (again it wasn't called that before) was the slightly smaller capacity machine with the tilt-back and the bowl that sat in the bottom of the stand vs suspended.

I've not used one of the newer KAs. However, even the older ones never did bread dough well at all. They walked all over the counter even though the machine came with a bread hook. I always used the Cuisinart for bread dough or did it by hand.

Also, there always has been a punt in the bottom of the bowl that was a small catch basin for unmixed ingredients. It requires spatula work -- always did.

My KA was made by Hobart. It was a "home" size mixer patterned after the industrial ones restaurants used. The strength of this mixer always has been the whip attachment which produced more volume than any other mixer. It also had a flat paddle attachment which is great for cake batters and cookie doughs.

Mine had a sausage-maker attachment and an ice cream churn (both lost). I still have the ice jacket that sits under the bowl and a copper insert for egg whites (anyone remember dacquoise and Italian meringue?).

But when you ran the mixer for more than 10 minutes it got hot. Anything super heavy slowed it down and then it had to be turned off.

No idea how they are marketing it now or whether there is a difference in quality at point of purchase. But it sounds like not much has changed performance wise.

The slider on mine has never been stiff but it's looser now than ever and perhaps too loose. I will say it's super heavy.

FWIW, this mixer always had fairly limited usage (attachments aside). And while it's been sold as an all-purpose machine that's supposed to dispatch any preparation, the old ones never did anything more than you are describing (at least not in my kitchen).

Sorry it's not what you expected. Maybe you can return it and find a whizzier brand with a stronger motor (if one exists).

    Bookmark   April 12, 2013 at 7:00PM
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Thank you everyone, some very interesting reading from you all. I will definitely take to heart all of your suggestions and see what happens.

I haven't ever used it for bread dough but the problem I had was when I was mixing a cookie dough. I guess I just had the wrong idea about what it would do and it's capabilities. It's good to hear your experiences to compare. Thanks so much again. dd

    Bookmark   April 12, 2013 at 7:10PM
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Regarding where it's made, I thought that KA is still manufactured in US. At least that's what they're boasting about the model Costco is selling: "assembled with pride in Greenville OH"

    Bookmark   April 12, 2013 at 7:21PM
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You should give very very serious consideration to the Bosch Universal mixer. They are by far superior to any Kitchenaid . I wouldn't trade mine for all the Kitchenaids in the world. It can out beat, out knead, easily handle more dough without ever slowing down and it only weighs about 11 pounds . It's not even as noisy as a kitchenaid.. good German stuff. . Anyone can pick it up off the counter and put it on a shelf or up/down in a cupboard.
You would NEVER regret buying one.

This post was edited by pkguy on Fri, Apr 12, 13 at 19:32

    Bookmark   April 12, 2013 at 7:30PM
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gigelus2k13 "assembled" being the key word. They assemble parts made in China or elsewhere. Like cars, assembly plants aren't the same as being manufactured in the US. Recently I read an article that said that China knows we don't like buying things made in a communist human rights violation country so they are going to great lengths to disguise it. Such as products that will say "headquartered" in the USA other tricks. I am sorry if I offend, well maybe not actually because I think it's terrible we have completely ruined small towns by taking away the manufacturing. Here in the south small towns are boarded up because the textile mills are gone and everything else that was made here. We used to have fabric outlet stores where you could buy beautiful fabric for 10 dollars a yard now all of the fabric is imported from China yes ALL of it recently from India and other countries such as Africa but not one thread from America. So the outlets now are selling the fabrics for $40 to over $100 a yard and no one even bothers to go there anymore because the ready made drapes made in China are at their local BBB or department store for $20 a panel. Sure they look like crap but the new generation doesn't know the difference and doesn't care. Also, it's just different. I am not all that old myself since 50 is the new 30 right? But it's just a new world that I'm having a hard time with. My heart is breaking for the small towns where no one will have a shot at being middle class since there is no pathway to middle class any longer if there are no factories. Not everyone can be or wants to be a lawyer, nurse, doctor which is the only professions somewhat safe although they import nurses and doctors too from third world countries. If you don't believe me simply visit grandma in the nursing home.

fori - that beater on Amazon though well disguised is not made by Kitchen Aid it is plastic and that is why it is less than the one expressly made for KA which is made out of metal. It is about $10 more to get the "real" one but worth it. People complained that the one on Amazon broke when mixing heavy cookie doughs. Best to get the KA one which I did at BBB. (Bed, Bath, Beyond). It works pretty well but still not perfect, but a good effort on KA's part.

pkguy - interesting Bosch. I did some research about it and would love to try it. The most complaints were about ease of cleaning. Another person said it bogged down too on some mixing and though it was a good mixer overall still preferred her KA, go figure! I do love German engineering, have a preowned Mercedes that was actually made in South Carolina more or less, certainly as much as a Ford or Mercury that is made in Mexico. German engineers do things differently that's for sure as far as ergonomics are concerned. Looking at the Bosch mixer is a good example of that, works like a champ but has some strange engineering faculties, gave me a chuckle. My husband is an aerospace engineer, he would love it!

Sorry to get off topic, I've been distressed lately at the level of merchandise coming from China well not lately since the '90's but lately it has really accelerated. Please forgive me for that rant. It's just that throughout the remodel of our home I've had to purchase so many more things than we would ever be doing all at one time and it's just been in my line of sight so much more and it is actually depressing to me. I guess I am a relic of the old days and don't understand what the goal is. Kill your own country to save others I don't understand...

    Bookmark   April 13, 2013 at 8:18AM
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Everyone, thanks for your input, especially pkguy. I'll look first at the Bosch Universal if I decide to change out my 30 yr. old KA Classic. It still works great but that weight is something else if you don't want it out on the counters all the time. I had wanted to upgrade to a beautiful copper KA to leave out on the counter, but the reviews were so negative now that they are coming from China that I nixed that idea. That Cosco claim about "made in Greenville, NC" makes me wonder if KA stand mixer sales had dropped so sharply that KA management learned the error of their ways and returned to made in America.

    Bookmark   April 13, 2013 at 8:36AM
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Having owned an older KA, as well as the Bosch Universal ( not the new model the Universal Plus), it is my opinion that the Bosch is more of a heavy duty machine than the KA, though it should be since it is much more expensive. I have not used the Electrolux, but it gets pretty good reviews on Fresh Loaf, though it is much more expensive than the KA. If you want to do a lot of kneading of dough, consider the Bosch Universal Plus - if the price puts you off, consider a used one on ebay - the prior model is the Universal ) not plus ) and they last forever. If you work with very small batches of dough ( under 300 grams of flour ( about 2 cups ) or very wet doughs like ciabatta, the Bosch has some issues, but for regular hydration it is fine.

    Bookmark   April 13, 2013 at 8:38AM
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"I haven't ever used it for bread dough but the problem I had was when I was mixing a cookie dough. "

That has been my experience, too. Anything thicker than cake batter and it groans. I usually use mine for meatloaf and it groans. In January, I made some white choc. chip w/chopped macadamia nut cookies. I thought the thing was going to die from the sound of the motor. Mine only sees action once a month if it's lucky, so I live with it.

    Bookmark   April 13, 2013 at 8:54AM
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"But it's just a new world that I'm having a hard time with."

gr8day you are not alone. Can't get started on this -- too off topic.

For dryer cookie doughs or bread 3 cups of flour or under (including pizza dough) I use my older Cuisinart. Fast, powerful.

    Bookmark   April 13, 2013 at 1:56PM
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I find all of the comments interesting. They confirm what I know about the tilt-head KA mixers but my experience with the bigger (lft-bowl) KA mixers has been markedly different. Here is my take on the above.

1. I have had a K5SS (5 quart "heavy duty" lift-bowl) model. It was one of the early ones with the nylon drive gear that was "assembled" in the US.. I've had it for 14 years. I see the nylon gears acting like a "fail safe" like shear pins on a snowblower -- if the machine gets overloaded, they break and save the motor from burning out. I replaced my gears once, about four years ago. Inexpensive fix, took about 20 minutes (including fetching the screw drivers). I understand that the metal geared KAs are supposed to have a burnout protection switch that shuts them off if the motor overheats. The numbers of posts that I've seen on burnouts, however, makes me suspect that the overheat protection may not always work well.

Anyway, I've been making 2 to 5 pound batches of bread dough once or twice a week for the last 14 years. I also use the K5SS for a host of other things including heavy cookie doughs, pasta, and mixing large batches of meat for sausages fillings that need emulsified meats (frankfurters, for example).. With heavy mixes, the machine will shake and "walk" a bit, but mine has had no trouble plowing through whatever I've thrown into the bowl and has never come close to a counter-top edge..

2. A friend of mine recently bought the current model 5.5 quart lift bowl KA from Costco. He has been putting it through its paces including making very heavy bread doughs like mixes of rye and oat flour. Being guys, we've done a little head to head comparison. The new model is rated for more input wattage than mine (575 watts versus my mixer's 350 watts), but this specification comparison is probably meaningless. It isn't input power (electrical power consumption) that matters. What matters is output power -- something like horsepower in a car. My observation is that there was not much apparent difference in horsepower between the old and new models. I do not see much difference in performance. One thing I observed was that the new model seems to shake a bit less than mine under heavy load. But, that might simply be due to the age of the machines. With metal gearing, the new model definitely makes more noise.

3. When my friend checked reviews, he found many very positive reviews and a somewhat smaller number of extremely negative reviews of the 5-6 qt. KA mixers. I just confirmed this in a quick scan of the 50-something buyer reviews on the Costco web site. Buyers love it or hate it. Makes me suspect some quality control issues with the parts so that some may be dogs and some not.

4. Cooks Illustrated's most recent stand-mixer testing was in 2009. The testing included the KA KP26M 600 watt model (the one roccogirl has), the Cuisinart SM55 (5.5 quart) model (which actually is a re-badged Kenwood), the Bosch "Universal" (the one Barryv and pkguy have), the Electrolux DLS "Assistent" (which I believe is the same as the DLX that risotto has), and the KA Classic and Artisan tilt-head models. CI's results were:

(a) KA 600 watt and Cusinart SM55 were highly recommended. PLowed through bread dough and everything else.

(b) the Electrolux and Bosch were excellent for mixing heavy doughs but not so great for other things.

(c) the KA tilt-head models were "recommended with reservations" with one of the reservations being that they are not particularly suitable for heavy doughs and bread mixing.

BTw, in the most recent CI publications, the Cuisinart is now listed as CI's top-rated stand mixer.

5. Some years ago, I checked out an Electrolux, which was then called "Magic Mill" and probably is still sold under that name. My impression was that it had the bread dough mixing capacity of the small commercial Hobart N-50 for about 1/3 the price. The Hobart N50 currently runs $2k + while the Magic Mill seems to be around $700. Both were above my budget but YMMV. The Magic Mill took its time but never lost its composure with a large amount of of bread dough. It seemed fussy and cumbersome to use for general mixing tasks like whipping cream and egg whites and cake batters. IIRC it needed a special whisking bowl for those tasks. I never mastered the general mixing tasks in the short time I got to play with one, but there are videos and plenty of testimonials from folks who swear by the things.. The unit I used was not quite built like a tank, more like a durable washing machine, but still more durable than your standard countertop appliances. Even had a belt drive (as opposed to gearing) which makes it powerful, durable and relatively quiet.

6. If you really want to explore mixers there is a yahoo group with tons of info. Search on "yahoo" and "mixer-owners" to find it.

7. I've used Kitchenaid tilt-head mixers several times and found them fine for anything other than stiff doughs, While definiely better than, say, Sunbeam stand mixers, the KA tilt-heads really aren't up to working with more than pretty small quantities of stiff dough.

This post was edited by JWVideo on Sat, Apr 13, 13 at 16:45

    Bookmark   April 13, 2013 at 2:45PM
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rococogirl, lol, I know girl, I gotta put a lid on it...and also thanks for the input on the mixers!

JWVideo, guess I should have sprung for the 6 qt. Of course just after I bought mine thinking how savvy I was finding it on e-bay for a better price, I end up at Costco just a couple of days later and upon walking in the door there is a huge display of KA 6 qt for about the same as I paid for the "great deal" (not) that I got on e-bay for the Artisan. Felt a little sick but no way to stop the wheels since I was the big lucky winning bid and it had been a few days. Some sort of Karma at work there.

Great info though and guess I'll just have to learn how to manipulate my new toy for best results. I went by Macy's again today and I'm sure people thought what is up with that lady pushing all the levers back and forth on every mixer but I just had to see again if it's just mine!!! They all were pretty stiff except for one and maybe that one was broken!!! But seriously from all of your posts I see that some of the issues are just that, "issues" and maybe not problems that can't be absorbed. At Christmas I was a baking fool but usually I am trying to think up ways to use it that doesn't involve sugar and lots of butter since DH and I try not to indulge THAT much but it's so much fun to bake that stuff. Everyone has warned me not to bring it to them and even the shelter wants more healthy stuff these days. I'm not big on converting things to healthy I mean it seems a little sacrilege if you know what I mean....if you are going to do it, go for it and not feel like what you made and took all day to do tastes like c-rap! I was thinking I could make my own dog biscuits but even my Golden Retriever and mutt are looking a little chunky these days.

I really enjoyed all the helpful information and I will go and research all the great advice and thank you soooo much again for taking the time to share your experiences with the stand mixers. I didn't realize some of the brands that we know make stand mixers too ~such as Electrolux. I think that I too have reached the top of my budget with what I have and for what I use it for, but if I happen upon one at a garage sale or something who knows???

Thanks again!

This post was edited by gr8day on Sat, Apr 13, 13 at 19:54

    Bookmark   April 13, 2013 at 6:45PM
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I don't know why someone would say the Bosch Universal is hard to clean? You remove the bowl and either wash it in the sink or throw it in the dishwasher. You do the same with either the whisks or the dough hook (that has to be handwashed). Little if anything ever sticks to the bowl because of whatever it's made out off, it's very non-stick. It can, I've tested it, beat one egg white into stiff peaks extremely fast as well. Where it also shines is that there is nothing over top of the bowl, no motor, nothing. So while you're mixing away you can add/pour ingredients in without the fuss of using a pouring spout attached to the bowl or gingerly trying to add stuff without spilling it off to the side.
But yes it really shines when making large batches of bread dough.

    Bookmark   April 14, 2013 at 12:07AM
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I have the same mixer and have noticed the speed control is not a fluid movement. My moms older K45 works more smoothly. I think over time it loosens up. The motor speed seems to vary depending on what your mixing. I've never really thought anything was wrong as I closely watch whats going on to not over mix things. Either way, we cannot fault the mixers for our type of baking and other use. The machines perform well for heavy cookie doughs, thick cake batter and the occaisional dough kneading for a few loaves of bread. The food grinder attachment does a good job too. The new flat beater with the spatula blade is a great improvement, it surely reduces the need manual scraping quite a bit.

My daughter has the new 7qt model and the control slides in a straight line with notable click stops for each speed. This mixer is a behmoth, and runs very quietly and has a much larger/wider bowl that makes adding ingredients very easy. Its on my wish list....LOL

Here is a link that might be useful: 7 quart mixer

    Bookmark   April 14, 2013 at 8:25AM
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charlyinfl ~you're right that 7 quart model is a beast but it sounds wonderful.

pkguy I don't know either why people were saying the Bosch Universal was hard to clean something about a center post? I haven't had the pleasure of looking one over but just read that on a review somewhere online. We've all gotten pretty lazy so maybe it was just user input/opinion? Would love to demo one. I'll be on the watch. Thanks again, learned a lot and in the end I think my Artisan is just normal from all the comments.

    Bookmark   April 14, 2013 at 10:47AM
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Echoing all of the comments here- I had an Artisan that lasted me about 5 years. It did fine with cakes, meringues, and anything that wasn't bread dough. (Heck, it even did ok with some doughs, and not others). I sold it to someone else when the tilt-head no longer stayed locked when I made bread doughs. In addition, I hated how tight the bowl got on the base when I mixed heavy loads.

I replaced it with the Costco KitchenAid 5.5 qt lift bowl setup, and wouldn't go back. More power at lower speeds- it stops a whole lot less than the Artisan, and handles anything I throw at it. I bought it during one of their rebates, and it cost me less than the original Artisan did.

The Artisan was nice to look at, at least.

    Bookmark   April 14, 2013 at 2:45PM
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Small powerful stand mixers like the capable Teddy Varimixer are heavy and expensive.

Big KA's can't do small jobs very well.

If you want small batches of bread almost daily, a Bosch or Electrolux might be the answer, and leave the regular KA mixer for lighter work.

    Bookmark   April 14, 2013 at 4:51PM
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I had a Kenwood, made in England for many years and it was great. It had all the attachments any Kitchenaid for home use did. I had them all. Gave it to my daughter and now she uses it. It fell on hard times and came out with several badges after. One was Farberware. It had a very smooth rotary speed control and came equipped with a clutch to prevent overload. I made several bread doughs that wer too heavy for it and the clutch rattled. Was always afraid I had done it in but the daughter says it works for her. Now I have a cheap Hamilton Beach look alike. It is much lighter and really not a bread maker tho I have used it for that. Never knew KAs were that troublesome. I think you should try for an exchange with the warrantee. Yours sounds bad indeed.

    Bookmark   April 14, 2013 at 5:02PM
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If you are still looking for a mixer, one that works great, and gets little publicity, is the Bosch Compact. They are hard to find in stock, but Amazon and Overstock both have them now for about $140., which is a great price. I have not used mine for cakes, but it does a great job for mixing dough, and I like it so much, I rarely use the Universal.

Here is a link that might be useful: amazon

    Bookmark   April 20, 2013 at 6:01PM
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Holly- Kay

I love my KA but it definitely has issues. The low speeds are too fast IMO. There is always the need to scrape the bottom of the bowl often as the indent in the bowl seems to hold onto food. I do love it though because as I am getting older mixing cookie doughs by hand is just something I no longer have the strength for and it really does a fine job for mixing our favorites and is totally adequate for mashing potatoes.

    Bookmark   April 20, 2013 at 6:25PM
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A reviewer on Amazon says it does not work well for heavy (mostly whole grain) doughs or soft doughs.

I am concerned because that is mostly what I bake: whole grain breads (heavy) and gluten free (soft) breads.

I have never had any problems with my Breadman bread machines mixing any type of dough. I am wondering if I should just stick with them instead of trying to find a "fancy" mixer. The only reason I wanted one was because many recipes call for a mixer not a bread machine.

    Bookmark   April 20, 2013 at 6:26PM
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Bread machines are fine for mixing bread doughs. I think it was King Arthur Flour that used to recommend them even if you decided you wanted to bake in the oven rather than the machine. (As you might when making multiple loaves, for example, or making baguettes or working with really extended rising times.). Of course, depending on the size of the recipe, you might need to scale it down.

    Bookmark   April 20, 2013 at 10:37PM
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Eleena, nearly everything I make is 100% whole hard wheat - so not sure what that reviewer was talking about. I made a Pain Au Levian that was similar to what the poster was reviewing and didn't have any problems. Much of what I do is very high hydration. I regularly use it for anywhere from 66% hydration to as high as 94%. When you get to the upper ends, you need to autolyse, and usually need to stop every minute or so for the first few minutes and push the dough back down the bowl. I have the KA with the lift bowl, and the Universal, and they are both sitting in my attic feeling neglected. I don't use it for soft wheat, so I can't say anything other than that I don't know why that would be a problem, and many pizza makers use soft flour. The link is to a pizza making forum, and they have a few videos of people using the Compact. I don't want to sound like a shill for the Compact, but when I first heard about it I had to search for a while to find any available, and they tend to be out of stock for months at a time.

Here is a link that might be useful: pizza making forum.

    Bookmark   April 21, 2013 at 9:50AM
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Just wanted to agree with those who have the lift bowl units. Ours seems powerful. The wife makes lots of cookies from it without issue. I occasionally use it for bread without issues although I don't add much whole wheat. It doesn't walk around and it doesn't struggle although it does make a lot of noise.

Ours was from COSTCO and the only issue is that the usual accessory paddle attachments won't fit it because the bowl shape was slightly different with their units.

    Bookmark   April 21, 2013 at 11:51AM
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I have a 5 qt. lift bowl KA that I bought in the mid 1990s. It's worked well, but like someone mentioned above, it doesn't work that well with small amounts. I wouldn't get the 6 qt version that has now replaced it for that reason. This size seems over the top to me.

These days if you want an extremely powerful mixer that will last forever, Hobart has started making a 5 qt mixer again. Look for the N50. It adjusts speed with a real transmission instead of electrically. It should last forever.

    Bookmark   April 22, 2013 at 8:45AM
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I bought my wife the 5.5Qt lift bowl model number "KV25mexer5" from Costco.
It has all steel gears.
I got when they had basically 2 sales on it at same time.
$50 off from KA and $30 off from Costco so we paid $249.00 total.
For $250 it is probably the best choice you can find for a mixer, we have not had any problems with ours after 5 months of use so far.
Hasn't had any problem making a 3 cup batch of bread dough using the dough hook and on speed 2 like it says to do.
So far for us and especially for the price it was the best deal for our needs.
It is loud but so is every other mixer in this power range.
It seems rather solid, no grinding, everything works smoothly.

I seriously looked at the Bosch Universal which is definitely a better mixer especially if you make a lot of large 6+ cup dough batches.
But for the one I would buy (stainless bowl with blender) is $550 on sale.
So more than double the price.
For how much we use a mixer this Costco KA was our best deal by far, plus the added perk of if anything happens to it the first year or maybe even longer we could just take it right back for a full refund or replacement with no hassles.

IF you use the hell out of a mixer though I would pay the extra and get the Bosch Universal.

As far as where the KA "Stand Mixers" are made they are actually made in Greenville OH.
The KA hand mixers are however made in China.
But like most everything else made in China it is made there under the exact specifications that the American Company wants, unfortunately that happens to be cheap as humanly possible which is why they are made there.

IF the American company stated we want the best possible mixer you can make and stated exactly what they wanted, what materials to use etc that is exactly what they would get from China.
So while everyone continually puts the blame on China it really has next to nothing to do with them.
It is the American company that purposely wants crap at the cheapest price possible.

    Bookmark   April 22, 2013 at 9:52AM
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KA likes to mess around with the motor power rating in what appear as otherwise identical units.

The more powerful motors are well worth the price if you need to mix thick or viscous recipes.

A 20 year old KA is probably better made than any new one you can purchase in a similar size today.
It is likely to have things like actual metal gears instead of plastic.

It is like the old Hobart commercial mixers (and not just the huge industrial ones).
They are so overbuilt many are still going strong.

This post was edited by brickeyee on Mon, Apr 22, 13 at 12:06

    Bookmark   April 22, 2013 at 12:03PM
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I wonder if anyone has experience with the new top of the line Kitchen Aid--$699 at Amazon

KitchenAid KSM8990 8-Qt Commercial Bowl-Lift Stand Mixer
by KitchenAid

Should handle the dough problem!

    Bookmark   August 13, 2013 at 1:54PM
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Hi jwats612, I don't have any experience with the new TOL KA but wanted to update on my mixer. But first I want to say I hope you get some replies to your inquiry. I think it would be interesting to hear about this mixer. That's an expensive mixer! I hope it works well. It will be fun to see some comments on it!

I'm the OP that started this thread and please let me clarify that I have NEVER used my KA Artisan for mixing bread dough. I apologize for any confusion I may have caused concerning that.

Recently I have discovered something that has really helped me with my mixer slowing down and sometimes even stopping! I now do not lock the mixer in place when mixing something really difficult for the mixer to keep up with. This lets it bounce or move up and around the hard to mix clumps until it can break them down. Just doing this one thing has almost solved my problem. You of course will have to stand right there and monitor it but this is how I am coping with the issues I was having. After it has broken down the cookie dough or whatever else I am trying to mix up such as the cheese cake then I can lock it in place and walk away from it if I need to do something else for a moment.

I'm hanging in there with the mixer and recently ordered the clear glass mixing bowl that seems HUGE and was over $60 on Amazon, but I am excited to use it and be able to see better if something isn't getting mixed well. I do scrape the sides and the bottom while mixing ingredients but still sometimes I find that especially when making cheese cakes that it still was not mixed thoroughly. I don't think anything is made the way it used to be but making this adjustment has helped a lot "so far". Fingers crossed!! Have a wonderful day!

    Bookmark   August 14, 2013 at 10:52AM
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