KitchenAid is synonymous with mixers. If you're a keen baker and have ever considered buying a stand mixer, a KitchenAid model has probably made it onto your wishlist. They've got the looks, sitting proud on any kitchen bench, and are available in a range of colours to suit any kitchen design.
But they're also among the more expensive mixers on the market – the models we've tested range in price from $749 right up to $1299.
In comparison, mixers from rival brands can cost as little as $79, and you can even pick up one of our recommended models for under $300.
So is a KitchenAid mixer really worth it? What do you get for the premium price tag? And are there other brands worth looking at?
Do you really need a stand mixer?
You've heard good things, but is a stand mixer right for you? If you're an occasional baker, a hand mixer that's compact and easy to use might be all you need.
But if baking is your thing and you're regularly serving up cakes, pastries and doughs in your household, then a stand mixer will be a handy companion.
Consider the quantity you usually make as some mixers have very large mixing bowls, which makes mixing or whisking small quantities awkward and in some cases not possible.
Like all mixer brands, KitchenAid mixers have three main functions: whisk, mix and knead batters and doughs. A mixer takes away the grunt work of having to knead a mixture, whisk egg whites or mix a cake batter by hand, and their large mixing bowl capacities mean you can make things in bulk with ease.
What sets a KitchenAid mixer apart isn't functionality but rather aesthetics. KitchenAid mixers stand out from the crowd with a distinctive look that any keen baker will be able to recognise, and there's a lot you can do to personalise your mixer (including getting a message or name engraved onto some models).
You can also buy an extra mixing bowl in a different design and add additional attachments (like a pasta maker or food grinder) to increase the mixer's functionality and versatility, and there are other KitchenAid appliances like toasters, kettles and food processors that you can buy to complement your mixer and match the look.
KitchenAid mixer with the Food Grinder attachment. Photo credit: KitchenAid.
All KitchenAid mixers have an outlet at the front of the unit for attaching KitchenAid accessories that can be bought separately.
These optional extras can give your mixer more versatility, meaning you won't need to buy each dedicated appliance separately.
The attachments are universal and can be used on any KitchenAid stand mixer.
Along with various mixing tools, pouring shields and mixing bowls that can be bought separately, you can buy the following attachments for KitchenAid mixers:
- 3-piece Pasta Roller and Cutter KSMPRA ($299)
- Metal Food Grinder 5KSMMGA ($219)
- Fresh Prep Slicer & Shredder 5KSMVSA ($169)
- Sifter + Scale KSMSFTAA ($259)
- Pasta Roller KSMPSA ($149)
- Citrus Juicer with Strainer JE ($59)
- Gourmet Pasta Press KSMPEXTA ($399)
- 7 Blade Spiraliser Plus with Peel, Core & Slice KSM2APC ($229)
- Sausage Stuffer Attachment Kit without Food Grinder SSAA ($19)
- Food Grinder 5KSMFGAA ($119)
- Food Processor KSM2FPA ($399)
- Grain Mill KGM ($229)
- Pasta Cutter and Angel KSMPCA ($199)
- Ice Shaver 5KSMSIA ($169)
- Vegetable Sheet Cutter KSMSCA ($229).
Keep in mind that many of these attachments will add a significant amount to the cost of an already expensive mixer, but you'll need to make sure you have the storage space to accommodate the extra accessories too.
Our expert testers are avid bakers and know how to put mixers through their paces in the CHOICE kitchen lab. They whisk egg whites and make pizza dough and cake batters to test the three main mixing tools.
They also know the importance of having a mixer that's easy to use, so they assess the controls, using the locking mechanism and inserting and removing the mixing tools, and check whether you can lift and lower the head and remove and replace the mixing bowl with ease.
If your mind is set on KitchenAid, we've tested five models and found that they all perform well and are very similar in terms of features and functionality. They all have 10 speeds and come with a five-year warranty (not including the accessories).
KitchenAid Classic Stand Mixer 5KSM45
- Price: $749
- Wattage: 275W
- Mixing bowl size: 4.3L
KitchenAid Artisan Stand Mixer KSM150
- Price: $899
- Wattage: 300W
- Mixing bowl size: 4.8L
KitchenAid Artisan Stand Mixer KSM160
- Price: $949
- Wattage: 300W
- Mixing bowl sizes: 2.8L and 4.8L
KitchenAid Artisan Stand Mixer 5KSM195PSAFT
- Price: $999
- Wattage: 300W
- Mixing bowl sizes: 2.8L and 4.8L
KitchenAid Pro Line Lift Stand Mixer 5KSM7581
- Price: $1299
- Wattage: 500W
- Mixing bowl size: 6.9L
Does the basics
If you're just after a KitchenAid mixer with the basics, the KitchenAid Classic Stand Mixer 5KSM45 is a good starting point. It comes with one 4.3L mixing bowl and the standard whisk, flat beater and dough hook accessories.
Does a little more
Moving up from this would be the KitchenAid Artisan Stand Mixer KSM150 with the same accessories in the box but a slightly bigger mixing bowl with a handle. Its wattage is slightly higher than the KitchenAid Classic, but we don't find this to be a differentiating factor when comparing KitchenAid mixers.
If you like to bake in small and large quantities, the KitchenAid Artisan Stand Mixer KSM160 and Artisan Stand Mixer 5KSM195PSAFT come with two mixing bowls in 2.8L and 4.8L capacities, and have a convenient pouring shield/splash guard. In terms of accessories, the 5KSM195PSAFT also comes with a scraper beater (KitchenAid refers to it as a Flex Edge beater) and a pastry beater.
For our home economist, Fiona Mair, a scraper beater is a must-have. "It's a really handy accessory as it scrapes the inside of the mixing bowl for you, meaning you don't have to stop and start mixing to scrape the bowl yourself."
If you bake often and in large quantities, the KitchenAid Pro Line Lift has a 6.9L mixing bowl that's perfect for bulk baking. It has a bowl lift feature where you can lift or lower the mixing bowl by using a large handle at the back of the mixer. Bear in mind you'll pay top dollar for this model.
KitchenAid mixer with the Pasta Roller and Cutter attachment. Photo credit: KitchenAid.
Fiona recommends taking a look at Breville stand mixers. "We've found the Breville models we've tested perform well and come with a double-sided scraper beater and spring-loaded motor head."
They also come with a two-year warranty (plus five years on the motor), and don't command the same high price tag. We've tested the Breville LEM 250 The Scraper Beater and Breville LEM750 The Bakery Chef Hub for $279 and $529 respectively.
CHOICE tip: Compare the KitchenAid stand mixers with models from Kenwood, Breville, Kogan, Kmart, Smeg, Sunbeam and more. See our latest kitchen mixers review.
A KitchenAid mixer is an investment that will become a statement piece in your kitchen. An entry-level, medium-sized model will set you back around $749, and that's without any extra attachments or accessories.
They have a solid construction and are built to last, and while they have a distinctive look, we're finding more brands offering aesthetically pleasing designs and more in terms of value for money.
According to Fiona, there are other stand mixers on the market that are "easier to use at a cheaper price, and they may also include other attachments like scraper beaters or an extra bowl".
Compared to other mixers we've tested, KitchenAid is only OK in terms of ease of use.
"They can be clunky when processing a heavy load and the motor head is heavy and isn't spring loaded, so you'll need to manually lift and lower the motor head," she says.
Her final tip? Try to nab a bargain during sales periods.
"If your heart is set on a KitchenAid mixer, wait for the sales – you may get a few hundred dollars off the RRP or extra accessories thrown in."
- Sturdy construction.
- Good performers.
- Five-year motor warranty (not including accessories).
- Available in a variety of colours and can be personalised to suit your taste.
- Many optional accessories and attachments available to increase their versatility.
- Relatively expensive.
- Optional accessories and attachments are also relatively expensive.
- Heavy motor head is not spring loaded, so can be heavy to lift and lower.
- Generally only OK for ease of use.
- Most accessories only have a one-year warranty.
Stock images: Getty, unless otherwise stated.