The KitchenAid stand mixer is an iconic kitchen appliance. It was first released in 1919, and the now retro silhouette shape used in their logo was designed all the way back in 1937 by Egmont Arens and is still the premier shape on all their mixers today. In fact, all attachments available for the first machine with this design, the Model K, are actually compatible with every machine released subsequently.
This is the KitchenAid Artisan Stand Mixer, aimed at the enthusiastic home baker with capabilities to mix reasonably big quantities in its supplied 4.8L stainless steel bowl. It is definitely a pride of place sort of kitchen appliance because, even though the design may be time stamped, you can still express your individuality with a slightly overwhelming number of colour and finish options to pick from. We would likely fill half the review with them if we listed them all, but we’ll talk about ours briefly: We have the new terracotta colour, which looks very rustic and individually magical on the kitchen counter and really suits us. The colour is a matte shade and we especially like the fact its really easy to clean with a simple wipe of a wet cloth.
Build & Usability
We’ve tested stand mixers in the past on this site: the previously reviewed Andrew James 5.2L Stand Mixer sits itself at the budget end of the market retailing at £80, whereas this KitchenAid Artisan Stand Mixer is definitely the premium end of the market at £429. It’s built in the USA with a build quality like a tank, and has a weighty metal body that yields a truly substantial feel. Even the mechanism to tilt the motor top into the air has very obviously been given much attention, and it's efficiently light and satisfyingly smooth in motion. The same can be said about the slider controls on each side, controlling the speed and the unlock release for the mixer's head. It's a truly timeless design that has proven itself in practicality after hardly being changed in over 77 years.
Powering the KitchenAid Artisan Stand Mixer is a direct drive motor. This is a very important factor and the biggest difference between KitchenAid stand mixers and the budget end of the market like the Andrew James offering. To make mixers cheaper, some brands build the motor into the base of the mixer and use a belt to drive the mixing head. The belt-driven mixers are a great deal noisier than those with a direct drive motor, and being one of the latter the Artisan Stand Mixer is delicately quiet in operation, even with heavier mixes on a fast speed setting. And because a direct drive motor is directly fixed to the mixing head, no power is lost. This is a most interesting revelation, as the Andrew James 5.2L Stand Mixer has a 1500W motor and the KitchenAid Artisan Stand Mixer has a 300W motor, which when written down appear poles apart. However, after our testing, we can conclude that there are no noticeable differences in performance between the KitchenAid and Andrew James; in fact, we'd go so far as to say that the KitchenAid has the edge in performance, especially where torque is concerned.
We've been using the KitchenAid mixer to make brownie mixes, cake mixes, cookie doughs, whip cream, whip up marshmellow and various bread doughs too. The 4.8L stainless steel bowl, where all the mixing happens, is dishwasher safe and has a really useful handle on the side, making getting mixes into baking trays super easy. We're pleased to announce that the supplied high quality flat beater, dough hook and wire whisk tools have been sufficient in completing all the mixing tasks we've thrown at them. When whisking a small quantity of cream the wire whisk touches the bottom of the bowl, making sure it whisks all the product, something many mixers cannot do. Even though a silicone flat beater wasn't supplied, most mixtures with an elastic property didn't need manual assistance to scrape stuck ingredients from the side of the bowl and create consistent well mixed produce. When the mixer had the dough hook equipped it managed to knead extremely sticky pizza doughs, whilst the machine itself remained stable, which is no easy task. Across the board, we had no issues with either light or heavy mixtures; the machine's ten speeds thoroughly met the challenge and the machine never once moved about or reverberated, further demonstrating its tremendous build quality.
All attachments are interchangeable via a spring lock mechanism. Upon hearing that the mechanism hadn't been changed in nearly 80 years, we were sceptical how easy the tools would be to whip on and off, but it's easy and quick. A C-shaped splash guard is included within the box and it can be attached and detached when tools are already equipped, and has a moulded cut-out for inclusion of ingredients; we tended to use this only with very runny mixtures. Other attachments are available to purchase separately, such as ice cream maker bowls, glass bowls, etc., and more accessories are designed to be used with the power head which is located at the front of the mixer. This basically transfers the motor's power for use with attachments such as a food grinder, a pasta press, a fruit press, a grain mill, a fruit and vegetable strainer and many other useful implements.
KitchenAid have been designing and manufacturing stand mixers for nearly a century. This mammoth degree of experience is definitely present in the KitchenAid Artisan Stand Mixer. It's a capable, reliable and powerful, time saving kitchen appliance intended to be regularly used for years and years. Plus its timeless metal design, which we think is the best looking stand mixer we've seen yet, is practical and functional too. If you have the budget, we'd recommend the KitchenAid Artisan Stand Mixer over any similar competitors.