What are the main differences between these models? Which do you recommend?
The Professional has more wattage - 575 watts and capacity - 6 quarts compared to the Artisan's 325 watts and a 5 quart capacity. I'd definitely go with the Professional, especially if you do any bread making. The Cook's Illustrated review from 11/2005 recommends the Professional as it's top choice with the De Longhi DSM5 a close second.
The Artisain also has a tilt-head, whereas the professional models have bowl-lift mechanisms.
That may or may not be important to you (it was to me). The real question is budget: A stand mixer is a major---hopefully one-time---purchase, and you should get the best you can afford.
If you plan heavy use, frequent attachment use, whole grains, get the Pro 600. This is what I gleaned from my calls to KA customer service. They did not try to sell me a higher priced model -- they assured me I would be happy with a smaller model until I mentioned the workout I planned for my mixer. If your use is lighter this may not be an issue, particularly with KA replacement policy.
Rebates, refurbished units (check KA site), Costco etc all help with the cost, but I wouldn't go into hock for too much machine. The Costco model coupled with Costco's return policy is persuasive.
FWIW, there's rumbling on the KA website re a smaller bowl that will be available for purchase to fit the Pro 600. Once that's available the 600 will be far more versatile.
Depends on what you'll be doing with it. I agree with the above posters; if you plan to do any breadmaking at all, spring for the heavier-duty model with the larger bowl.
If you plan on doing nothing heavier than cake batters, the less powerful one would be more than enough. I got a 350 watt KA a while back, and it's just barely enough for stiff bread doughs. I ran across a heavier duty model at an auction and got it, and haven't looked back. Haven't used the original one since.
Among those who have researched mixers, there seems to be a strong liking for the Electrolux/Magic Mill "Assistant", with the Bosch mixer in 2nd place. The Kitchen Aid is said to be of much lower quality than it once was, and always has been rather a pain the way the big motor blocks access to the bowl.
Just an alternate opinion. Please enjoy whatever you end up with! :-)
For those in the market for a new mixer, it would be great to start (or re-activate) a GENERAL thread on mixers. Those looking beyond KA, for example, will not check into a KA thread, same for Bosch etc. Mixers such as Electrolux are virtually unknown in American kitchens for obvious reasons -- not sold anywhere in person and difficult to research online.
(In fact, if anyone has a photo to post of an Electrolux using an attachment, I would love to see it. I'm not in the market anymore but others probably are.)
I agree that the KA design is annoying as you add ingredients. Very annoying, in fact! Crazy or not, I'm happy with my big red KA due to price, ease of attachments, & nostalgia. But if I primarily made bread, and lots of it, I would certainly want to know about the Electrolux & other choices out there.
If anyone is lurking & considering a new mixer, start a new thread as a gift to yourself & your forum pals! I suspect there is untapped wisdom here, as well as some fun photos!
(And if anyone from Electrolux is lurking, hey! a little marketing never hurt business!!!!!)
You might want to check out the test results on mixers on the 'American's Test Kitchen' site. I found it most interesting.
Here is a link that might be useful: America's test kitchen
I had a perfectly good 20year old artsian ,just got tired of the yellow color, sold it to a friend for $ 75.00 it was mint. Bought a white professional style KA and now like the color , hate the way the bowl attaches and the fact that you cant raise the beater, and motor , It,s not the same as I find it harder to add ingrediance to the bowl. Must note bowl is larger. Should have bought artisian like on Martha,s show. My opion but it is an issue for me.Good Luck with your choice David.
David, I don't know anything about the professional style, but I find it a pain to add ingredients and to scrape the bowl of my Artisan. There's just no room left when you tilt the head back.
Adding ingredients to any KA is a pain in the keister. I have the Pro 600 and the optional chute. At first I thought it was just a gimmack, but it's acutally a great accessory.
So, whichever model you choose, I would consider the optional ingredient chute for it.
The KA mixer offered by Costco is a 475 watts & 5 qt. I don't seem to be able to find the model on the KA website. I want a color that Costco doesn't have. Anyone know if this is a Professional model or the Heavy Duty?
nutkin, Amazon has a 450 watt with a 6 qt bowl on sale in other colors besides white. This site may give you some more information about the different KA mixers.
Here is a link that might be useful: Kitchen Daily Deal
Thanks bryansda. I will check it out.
nutkin88, I called KA when I was shopping a few months ago & was told the company often makes special mixers for specific companies and these are not listed on the KA site. (the Costco 475 watt mixer & the Williams Sonoma Pro 600 in Empire Red etc are examples of special contracts) KA offers the same warranty no matter the model or price but you'll have to check mixer details with each store you shop. If you're thinking KA it's also worth checking the KA website for refurbished models. It's hit or miss but some of these deals struck me as better than other internet discount prices.
This morning I had the KA Artisan, and this afternoon I have the KA 600 Pro. (My kids just gave my the big one for my birthday). I made bread in both of them today. I make bread once or twice a week, and I must say, the Pro does a much better job, and I don't worry about the gears stripping if the dough is too heavy. It's no harder to use than the Artisan.
The KA mixers are quite different from my old Sunbeam Mixmaster, and I like the design much better. It takes some getting used to, but it's not rocket science.
If you don't do a lot of bread dough or heavy cookie dough, you probably don't need the Pro, it's a lot of mixer. It won't leave the counter, I can guarantee, it's very heavy.
My son did his research, and found the KA Pro 600 was the best mixer for the price. It comes well recommended and didn't break the bank.
Thanks Athomein for the information. I bought the mixer from Costco - at least if it doesn't work out I can return it. Keeping my finger cross that it will be just as good as those regular models.
nutkin88, hope you're enjoying your mixer! Can't go wrong with Costco return policy.
You have to be a member of America Test Kitchen to read the article.
Here's a link to the article in PDF format.
Here is a link that might be useful: Testing mixers
Either or - their are worth checking out. I got one for my parents as a present and they are quite happy with it - (at least that's what they say :) )
btw, for the kitchen aid fans - they are running some sort of promotion where they give away a bunch of stuff with every purchase
Here is a link that might be useful: kitchen aid promo
It's always worthwhile watching the KA promos. Sometimes they include kitchenware with a purchase. Almost always there's a rebate of some sort going on.
When I bought my Pro 600 about a year ago, BB&B had it on sale, to begin with. And there was a KA $50 rebate. Combined with a BB&B 20% off coupon, the whole shebang only cost me $269. A great bargain for a machine I like more and more every time I use it---which is once or twice a week.
Thank you Michelle for starting this tread and all for the follow up postings I really appreciated them all and read them all... I am looking to purchase a mixer and wasnt sure which one to choose. after reading all the postings here and checking out all the mixers that were mention I first was in AWW! then decided on the KA Artisian again Than You all for the support in this big decision for me.
Costco has a Professional KA 550 on sale for $250 after $50 off from Costco and $30 manufacturers rebate.
It has a 575 Watt motor, stainless bowl, comes in Grey, Black, Red. Just bought one for my wife for Xmas so have no idea how it is, though it does appear that KA like virtually everything today has gone way down in quality. Sounds as though it would almost be better to try to find one that is 40 years old, is probably still better and even though 40 years old still last longer than a new one.
But we shall see.
I got it from Costco so have no worries, if it does not work properly then BACK it goes without any problems at all for a full refund.
If for everyday/occasional use... go with whatever fits your budget!?! NEVER thought I'd shell out $200-ish for a mixer until SIL MADE me take her's home on T-Day... with strict orders to return it the following weekend. Standard, tily-head model. When I cranked out cookie dough for 4-5 different types with butter that wasn't really soft... I was sold.
A few years ago, found a "vintage" (faded yellow) KA stand mixer (crank up/down) at Good Will. Had paddle, dough hook and whisk and ran just fine. Was marked $39.99... since I already HAD a KA, was ready to pass. BUT it was half price and just couldn't leave without it. I cleaned it up really well (wasn't cruddy or anythiing to begin with), taped everything off, and sprayed it out flat black with left-over out-door gas grill paint. It's a work horse! Then found a spare BOWL for a few $.
Wow! I snagged a KA on Craigslist for $75. I wanted a new one but kitchen reno was over budget. Best part is the color blends perfectly with our backsplash. I could use a few more attachments as it came with only one beater piece.
When I add flour- I put a towel over top to contain the mess.
Not sure how I lived without this for my entire life!
I am spoiled now that I have it.