Kitchenaid mixer: lift vs. tilt, help me please

beautybutdebtfreeJuly 21, 2014

Hello all,

I have a 27 year old 250 watt 4.5 quart almond classic tilt KA mixer that JUST WONT DIE and I just refreshed my kitchen so am treating myself to a new KA mixer in a fashion color.

I use my mixer for cakes and cookies but not stiff doughs like kneading bread. I'm typically working with recipes using 3 cups flours and usually not doing quantity, so if I need two batches I just do them serially but this is actually rare to need two batches. The 250 watts has always been fine for me, power-wise, for how I use it. I occasionally slop out of it so a slightly larger capacity is somewhat appealing but not a must have.

The main reason I'm considering a lift bowl model is that I have some under cabinet molding that I've banged into several times when tilting my tilt-head mixer and this cannot happen with a lift bowl model. I have 17 1/4 inches from counter top to bottom of molding, so the 16 1/2 inch tall lift bowl models would fit and slide out. I keep my KA on the counter on a slide pad and pull it out from under the upper cabs when I use it, then push it back when wiped and done.

I'm torn whether to get an artisan model that still has the banging issue when tilting, or to get a lift model which might have equally peeving issues with bowl access and stability that would offset the benefit of no banging.

What I'm wondering from you all who have the lift bowl models is this:

I like to tilt up the head and scrape the edges and beater a few times per batch. (I never use the pouring shield.) I also like to remove the bowl afterward and place it on the counter to cookie scoop from it. The lift bowl type looks hard to edge scrape (because the beater doesn't come up and OUT of it like it does on the tilt head model). It also looks like it might not sit stable on a counter for cookie scooping or in a sink for soaking before washing (because the bottom of the bowl looks round in the pictures I can see).

Can you tell me your opinions on these two issues, please?

Does anyone have either the gloss cinnamon or grenadine color? I'm wanting a true cranberry red (kitchenaid's "cranberry" color looks bubble gum pink to me in pictures) and not a fire engine/bright scarlet red that I think is what empire red is - I haven't seen either in person, just web pictures.

Thanks much!

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Can't help with those color choices -- well, actually, I shouldn't help with color. :>)

The base of the lift model bowl: not round. Concave, The convex side (interior of bowl) is designed to work with the whisk attachment. Note that bowl height is adjustable so you can fiddle with beater to base-of-bowl clearances when needed. When placed on the counter, bowl stablity is about the same as that of the tilt-head's bowl. As stable as any narrow-footed bowl. As with any narrow footed bowl, not so stable that you can do one handed scooping of cookie doughs -- you'll need to use the other hand to grab the rim or bowl-handle which I'd guess you already do with the present tilt-head's bowl.

Traditional side-of-bowl--scraping with a KA lift-bowl can be cumbersome but bowl scraping is mostly avoidable with a self-scraping "Flex Edge" paddle beater. Kitchenaid offers its own branded ones as accessories and there are very good third-party aftermarket ones, as well. Also available for the tilt-head models, too.

However, the Flex Edge only fixes the need for bowl-scraping; it does nothing for scraping the paddle beater itself. I rarely bother with scraping the paddle until I'm done mixing, but, once in a while, I drop the bowl down and poke the paddle with a small-bladed rubber spatula. YMMV, of course, as I'm probably not mixing the same doughs or batters you are.

This post was edited by JWVideo on Mon, Jul 21, 14 at 13:43

    Bookmark   July 21, 2014 at 1:40PM
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Fori is not pleased

Anyone who has a new KA who has had an OLD one will tell you "DON'T DO IT!!!" because the old ones, well, as you know, will not die. New ones are allegedly less eternal.

I have the lift bowl. Scraping the bowl is like JW says. Get the replacement beater, accept some awkwardness with side scraping, and poke at the beater with a spatula.

The bowl will stand by itself, no problem.

I do find it awkward to add ingredients while mixing, but I don't really know what I'm doing or use the shield thing. Go somewhere with a display so you can pretend to add stuff and play with the bowl.

Measure twice. Including the slider thing. And measure the exact spot where it'll live. I had one kitchen where it fit on one side but not the other. :P

    Bookmark   July 21, 2014 at 1:52PM
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Is that one of the old Hobart made models you have? Why not just get it painted?

My Artisan is about 10 years old but I don't think it's changed much. The screw grip on the bowl is surer than with the old Hobart one, the bowl is taller (less flying flour, harder to add ingredients and scrape), and there's a handle on the bowl (fab!). In quite a few ways, I liked the old one (mother's) better, though the better base lock screw and handle are really nice. The tilt head does still remove the beater from the batter, but it's harder to get one's scraper in and do a really good job quickly. I've gotten frustrated occasionally and pulled off the beater (up end it in a Pyrex measuring cup).

I get it about the molding, but it doesn't sound like hitting it is a usual occurrence. Maybe the trick is to make it so you can't use it without fully sliding it out?

I don't think you'd hate the bowl lift. Change is change. I'm still not fully used to how difficult it is to add ingredients with my taller bowl, but c'est la vie. For cakes and cookies, though, and a lot of scraping down, I think you'll like the tilt head more. But for the lift head's bowl, you might find you like it better for things like cookie scooping if you get a stand for it (think dog dish). Then you could tilt the opening toward you.

Your best bet is to take your usual tools to a place where they have both and play cake. See what feels good to you.

I looked at the colors. They're not on the current list, and I only found grenadine at, so do make your decision while you can still find them. Neither of them is a true cranberry, and the one they call cranberry is more like cranberry juice froth! If you really want a different color, get the old one painted. :)

    Bookmark   July 21, 2014 at 2:19PM
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Actually, the design has changed very little since Hobart. The new ones are as good and the customer service is excellent. Most issues result from improper use. See posts by "mixfinder" in the thread on another forum I've linked below to learn from a true expert.

Here is a link that might be useful: Old vs. new KitchenAid mixers

    Bookmark   July 21, 2014 at 3:10PM
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I was in the same exact boat as you. I have used a KA 4.5 QT tilt up mixer for 15+ years. It's ( running fine but we found ourselves making multi batches too often and needing the larger capacity.

I researched and found disappointment with the durability of the previous âÂÂproâ 6 QT KAs. The KitchenAid Pro Line 7-Qt, however is fairly new (it had a one year exclusive run at W Sonoma but that is up) and is nearly identical to the 8-QT Professional KA mixer except for the power cord color, the bowl capacity, and the residential has two additional year warranty. They both carry the beastly 1.3 HP variable DC motor. The DC motor here is the key both to the power, torque, and longevity.

This commercial motor powers through ingredients smoothly and quietly. Where my 4.5 'plus' mixer would labor through a single batch of pizza dough, the 7 QT Pro powers through a triple batch (9 cups of flour) with ease and no sign of strain. The dough hook and action is also much more effective than the classic. And even though the 7 is a bigger machine than the 4.5, it fits under the cabinets where the tilt head of the 4.5 would hit when I flip up.

My wife has yet to get used to setting (snapping) the bowl in place, but is very happy with the machine. The 7QT bowl can be a little on the large side for smaller recipes. The residential market 7QT mixer does not have a smaller bowl option but the bowls for the identical commercial 8QT mixer are compatible. We have the 5 Qt. Commecial Bowl - KSMC5QBOWL for smaller mixing and all of the 7QT attachments work fine with it. The 8QT bowl will also fit, but I haven't had need to jump up above the 7.

    Bookmark   July 21, 2014 at 3:56PM
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Thank you all for your input!

1) This was a gift many years ago, one which I would not have chosen (almond) and I've lived with it unable to justify ditching it for 27 years, so I'm READY for my own color!! It also has issues with the pin shifting that holds the top to the base, every so often I have to hammer it back in as it works sideways. Also, my particular unit has always had a small off center alignment problem, such that as you adjust the gap doing the dime test the dime will bind at certain places along the planetary pathway. This is probably why I'm sensitized to side scraping issues because I've had to keep my tolerance a bit wide to compensate for this mis-alignment that leads to a wider gap and therefore more edge gunk to scrape and bottom gunk to turn over. I'm kinda tired of dealing with this. If it weren't for those two issues, I'd seriously consider painting this unit and keeping it!

2) As far as I can determine, it is not Hobart, although it may be made similar closely after the Hobart era, before the quality degraded too much (I know it is 1987 made as there is a sticker underneath that states that.). It weighs 22.2 lbs on my bathroom scale including the bowl but no other attachments.

3) We are a 3 person household, soon to be empty nesters in a few short years, so I have a hard time justifying buying a giant mixer at this time, especially since we are now wanting to moderate our refined carb intake!

4) Contenders are the Artisan tilt model, and the pro 5 or pro 6 series. I can't wrap my head around justifying anything larger power-wise or space-wise for MY usage. I'll probably carefully select a refurb unit from these.


It sounds like the bowl stability on the counter will not be an issue for me with the lift bowls, if they are similar to the tilt bowls. I do hold the handle with one hand and scoop with the other hand from the tilt bowl. I did double check and my clearance is consistent across the counter at 17 1/4 inches.

I'm reading some reports that the wide bowl pro 6 units require much less side scraping, I guess due to the shape of the bowl vs. attachment, relative to the artisans. I'd also consider the scraping attachment, but wonder how durable the flange is? I'd be just as happy side scraping and NOT having to buy an attachment every few years when the flange is toast.

    Bookmark   July 21, 2014 at 4:50PM
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"As far as I can determine, it is not Hobart, although it may be made similar closely after the Hobart era, before the quality degraded too much (I know it is 1987 made as there is a sticker underneath that states that.)."

If it doesn't clearly say Hobart on it, it's not Hobart. 1987 is right after Whirlpool bought the division. But, as I said before, today's KitchenAid mixers are just as good quality as the old ones, despite what some may tell you who have never even opened the things up. I would feel 100% confident buying one.

    Bookmark   July 21, 2014 at 5:07PM
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My Artisan also sometimes shifts its pin, especially when I'm kneading something thumpy. I just push it back. :) Despite HVTech42's assertions, I do know people who have run an Artisan into the ground, but not anyone who killed one of the old Hobart models to the point it couldn't be fixed. Given your description of your end of an era model (which may or may not be the same, given the timing, whether or not it has the Hobart badge), perhaps it's more about different generations' different perceptions. You just lived with the problems and adapted.

I seem to remember people having burned out the motors and broken some kind of gear. Calling working it hard "user error" is corporate weasel words. Straining to get through a stiff dough and refusing, or blowing a reset switch, is tolerable. Straining and dying is not. User error is appropriate for someone trying to polish rocks in the mixer. User error is not an appropriate label to for someone who uses it for dough three times a day, six days a week.

I don't like the scraper beaters, but I don't know if I had adjusted the action before trying them (one that allows for chunks and one straight). What I really don't like, however, is that they don't clear the bottom, they just wipe the sides. That is, they're no match for gravity. Because of the different bowl shape for the lift mixer, I'd bet they work a lot better with that, besides being more necessary.

Re point #3: You're not in the market for a giant carb machine. Your old mixer is as much carb machine as you need. You said so. You're looking for operable kitchen decor. It's cranberry (or the closest you can find) with glorious machine age styling. It's all about having something pretty that will also beat up eggwhites for a souffle.

    Bookmark   July 21, 2014 at 6:52PM
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You have to remove the beater on a lift up model to remove the bowl !

That doesn't work for my style of mixing, but may not matter to you. Then again , it may.

This post was edited by xedos on Mon, Jul 21, 14 at 21:55

    Bookmark   July 21, 2014 at 7:51PM
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I don't have a vote here but, if I did, I would vote that you get a new mixer in a color you like. You can cover part of the cost by selling your old K45ss mixer on eBay or craigslist or wherever. It was made after the Whirllpool acquisition of the KA brand from Hobart but the guts of the machine are the same as the ones Hobart was branding a year or so earlier. You may be astounded to see what people pay for even a late 1980s K45ss like yours.

The stuff about "all metal gears" in the "good old Hobart days" is just urban legend. Of course, all but one of the gears always were and always have been metal, but the K5 (5 qt. lift-bowl) and K45 (4.5 qt. tilt-head like yours) always had a fiber and resin fail-safe gear from the time they were introduced in the 1960s. Nowadays, the KA mixers use a fail-safe gear made out of pot metal just so the company can say the "majek woids" of "all metal gears." That one gear is still designed to break-way under excessive load just like a shear-pin in a snowblower. Old fashioned, low tech engineering, but inexpensive, extremely reliable, and very durable engineering nonetheless.

What pillog said about not needing a huge new carb machine is quite true except that it does not solve your problem of getting rid of the almond colored thing and not banging your new cabinets. Until recently, Kitchenaid had a line of lift-bowl models (Pro 500) which might have fit the bill (5 quart bowl and same 325 watt motor in the Artisan tilt-heads and my old K5ss). It still seems available as a refurb, but the color selection is going to be hit or miss. The current "Pro 5" models are similar with a slightly larger motor capacity and are available in more colors. If looking at refurbs, it might be more to your liking than Pro 6 you were considering. Again, though, I have no idea how to verify the accuracy of the online color charts.

thanks for the link. Parts of it are hilarious, but the info is dead-on. Have you seen the leolady blog? Covers a lot of the same ground in equal detail, albeit with a straighter face. The link is below for anybody for whom too-much info is not enough.

Here is a link that might be useful: KA and Hobart mixer history.

This post was edited by JWVideo on Sun, Jul 27, 14 at 0:09

    Bookmark   July 21, 2014 at 10:19PM
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I would keep it and have an automotive paint place/body shop paint it the color of your choice. My 30 year old one is going strong--but not strong enough for thick bread doughs.

    Bookmark   July 22, 2014 at 10:21AM
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I have dealt with local automotive paint shops and unless you can find one that feels sorry for you it might cost more than a new machine to have it painted.

    Bookmark   July 22, 2014 at 2:15PM
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We have a lift bowl from COSTCO. It is a fine machine, but unfortunately (at least on our vintage ~6 yr old) it will not accept any of the flex paddles because the bowl was slightly modified. I often realize that it is hard to scrape the bowl if needed and it is also hard to even add ingredients if I have forgotten them. I suspect the bowl lift is more rugged, but the above issues do make it cumbersome.

    Bookmark   July 22, 2014 at 2:53PM
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Thanks folks for the informative links, enjoyed reading them and learning ancillary history!

JWVideo: I was actually looking rather closely at the one below in the link.

This is really hard for me, because I'm fighting macho creep, meaning it's really hard not to want more muscle just because it's there, and I can get the one below the same price as an artisan refurb, in a color that is close enough.

I'm thinking HARD about my ACTUAL usage, though. I love big, powerful things and they tempt me. But the truth is that I think I'd rather watch my laziness bumping the cabinets and NOT have to deal with all that hitching and unhitching I suspect I'd have to do with a lift, to access the bowl contents or scrape. Something in me would rather be able to tilt out and scrape, and skip the fancy-dancy flanged beater. I scrape mostly cookie dough which would really strain a flange, and I don't want tough cookies from being over worked, either.

So if I do go with artisan, I'm thinking in the grenadine color, it looks awesome - a gorgeous rich dark metallic red. See this picture shown.

I refuse to let fashion be my #1 criteria, though. Function, first. And the proper function for ME, first.

So hard to pass up the extra muscle and power at the same price, though! (Both my options are $229 shipped.)

Oh, and I've pretty much decided I'm keeping the old one, just in case. If I get an artisan my old bowl and parts might fit it. If the artisan fries, I will paint my old one. I would absolutely KICK myself if I realized I had a near classic hobart and got rid of it for "fashion" only to have the fashion die much sooner. So we'll have to see how robust is the modern fashion.

I'm still mulling over the options. I do so love power and stability. I hate bumping my cabinet molding (translation: I want to be lazy and not have to worry about it).

But the facts suggest the artisan tilt head will functionally more than suffice and I really suspect the ability to lift the attachment out of the bowl and out of the way without un-attaching it is something I would greatly miss.

Here is a link that might be useful: one contender in my thought process

    Bookmark   July 22, 2014 at 3:58PM
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JWVideo, Thanks for the explanation! I have heard plenty of horror stories about blowing out the stupid plastic gear, but I didn't know (or maybe didn't remember) it was supposed to blow out as a fail-safe. BTW, my point about "not needing it" was that it's okay to want it, even though OP doesn't want to make it the number one reason.

Beauty, that color is great! I'm glad it's close enough.

I have to reiterate that it's harder to scrape the new model than the Hobart. It can be done fine, but it's awkward, whereas with the old it was done in a trice. And they have flange beaters specifically for cookie dough which have kind of angled scrapers that let lumps through while scraping. Not trying to talk you out of your decision. I just want you to have the full picture.

    Bookmark   July 22, 2014 at 4:09PM
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Just found the pictures I needed on the lift mixer, showing the angle of scraping when bowl is down. Now that I see them I don't really think scraping would bother me!

Oooooooo, that puts muscle closer to the finish line, as much as I LOVE that grenadine color!!!

This post was edited by beautybutdebtfree on Tue, Jul 22, 14 at 17:19

    Bookmark   July 22, 2014 at 5:08PM
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This lady would make your mixer a piece of art!

    Bookmark   July 22, 2014 at 6:07PM
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The mixers are not the same quality as the original. We had ours since 1975. Several years ago it died, and we bought a new mixer. What a disapointment! Motor speed control sticks, plus the copper finish now has small spots, under the clear finish. E-mails go unanswered.

Is the color is more important than the performance?

    Bookmark   July 23, 2014 at 10:57AM
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My KitchenAid Classic from 2011 has none of those problems. Of course, why should it, since it is the same rock-solid design as when Hobart made them. The only issue I've had has been with the ice cream attachment. One quick call and they sent me a brand new one two years out of warranty.

Now, some of the other, larger capacity mixers they are selling today were NOT around in the Hobart days. When you are comparing new KA's to old ones you need to compare apples to apples. I have no idea as to the quality of the other models as some of them may use different designs. I know certain models were using imported motors at some point. But the motor in mine was made right in Greenville Ohio along with the mixers themselves. It's the same motor they've always used.

This post was edited by hvtech42 on Wed, Jul 23, 14 at 12:35

    Bookmark   July 23, 2014 at 12:30PM
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Don't get rid of your old one!

The new KAs don't work near as well as the older versions - they are kitchen queens. Look good with lousy performance.

I have a newish 5.5 qt KA and it is very poorly designed and a weakling. I do use mixers hard but my 40 yr old Hobart shouldn't beat the pants off of a KA - but it does!

    Bookmark   July 23, 2014 at 4:49PM
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My 10 year old Artisan is fine. You do have to adjust the beater height now and then, but you know how to do that. I've recently been kneading some stiffer doughs with the hook, and it does thumpa thumpa, and rock a little, and vibrate the pin to the right, but it does it, and the pin slides right back, even without a mallet. These are doughs that the old Hobart model couldn't do because they're too stiff for the base grip on the bowl (ask me how I know!). The screw base is awesome!.

Perhaps that's another reason to choose the Artisan? They sell zillions of them, and there really aren't many complaints about quality for the model. Most complaints are from people who need a bigger, heavier duty mixer to make large batches of bread. (It holds as much as my oven does, so I'm good with that.)

Geoffrey B., I can't speak to the paint, since I have plain ol' white. Have you tried calling? Some companies aren't good at e-mail. As to the speed control, maybe it needs cleaning and service? I'm pretty sure my father took apart the old Hobart and serviced the motor now and then. I clean and oil my own sewing machines, and take them in for alignments, et al. If you don't want to open up your newer one, you could take it to a pro. Maybe gunk got into the control?

    Bookmark   July 23, 2014 at 7:06PM
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Not sure of the vintage (probably 20yrs+), but my wife's smaller KA lift stand has given her no complaints. I bought her the 7qt 18 months ago, and it is great too. She uses both, sometimes simultaneously. When I was getting the 7qt, I couldn't find the correct dimensions -- even customer support gave me the wrong answer. It is only a tiny bit taller than the 5qt,

    Bookmark   July 23, 2014 at 8:18PM
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You need to know what your mixer is capable of and use it accordingly. If you don't, you'll have problems.

A Hobart N50 will be built to a higher quality standard and be capable of more than any of the residential KA's currently offered. This is not because it is built by Hobart instead of Whirlpool; it's because it's designed for commercial applications. It will also cost much more money. But if you need the best, that's what you'll buy.

Just like back in the old days when Hobart was making KA. Their commercial line held up better than their residential line and was more powerful.

A commercial Hobart today will be better than a K45SS from the early 80s. One of the new KA designs with the giant bowl and the import motor may be worse than a K45SS from the early 80s. But a K45SS today will be as good as a K45SS from the early 80s.

    Bookmark   July 23, 2014 at 10:22PM
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Well, that was a VERY hard decision for me. I just ordered a refurb Gloss Cinnamon Professional 600⢠6-qt. Bowl-Lift Bowl Stand Mixer. I hope I made the right choice!

I wanted pretty. But I wanted function, more. I decided if I'm going to CHANGE from my classic 1987 model then I may as well CHANGE. So I opted for a lot more muscle, in case I start to make artisan breads (I have an awesome Zojirushi breadmaker that makes terrific normal breads and my previous 250 watt kitchenaid mixer really wasn't up to kneading much so I never pursued it, plus I never liked the way the "C" hook kneaded, so I wanted to upgrade to a machine with the spiral hook), or use accessories. Then, I decided to go for the soft start, as one of my biggest pet peeves is slopping flour! I can't imagine I'll ever be using this thing for huge batches of things, so I should have way more power and a hefty safety margin on bread kneading for how I'll actually use it. I would like the capacity to fool around with artisan breads, though!

I LOVE the grenadine color, but the gloss cinnamon will work just fine too, and while I have a back-in-time vibe to my kitchen, the non-metallic look is actually a bit more appropriate as my vintage vibe is more toward antique than toward mid-century diner/50s where metallic would really resonate.

    Bookmark   July 24, 2014 at 9:59AM
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Good choice! I hope you'll find a good home for your old mixer if you aren't hanging onto it.

This post was edited by hvtech42 on Thu, Jul 24, 14 at 14:33

    Bookmark   July 24, 2014 at 2:32PM
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FWIW, I've had the KA Pro-Line 7 Qt. since December; it replaced my 15-year-old KA 325w.

I bake a LOT - spent my high school years working at a very popular bakery in New York, and tormented the bakers and decorators on staff to give me all of their secrets. As a result, rarely a day goes by when my mixer isn't full of bread dough or batter of some kind. I also use it to grind meat, make sausage, and sheet pasta.

The Pro-Line is as tough as nails, powerful as hell, and much less inclined to walk around on my kitchen counter when I jack the speed past "2". Short of putting a commercial-grade Hobart in your house, this machine should be capable of anything an enthusiastic home cook can throw at it.

The only thing I don't do in the mixer are egg whites - I still get better results with a hand mixer for those. They seem to have redesigned the whip in this odd, almost oblong shape to accommodate the larger bowl. Not sure what's going on there, but I find that egg whites in particular are prone to be unevenly whipped unless I put a ton of them in the bowl.

Congratulations on your purchase!

    Bookmark   July 24, 2014 at 8:54PM
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Great reasoning too. :)

    Bookmark   July 25, 2014 at 4:43AM
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