With autumn well under way and the holiday season fast approaching, many of us turn our attention to baking, as visions of artisan breads and light, fluffy cakes dance in our heads.
But the reality of baking is that it’s time consuming and labor intensive. Yes, the biceps on one arm will get a good workout if mixing dough by hand.
But unless you’re striving for the Popeye look, you might want to consider using a stand mixer.
They produce superb results for a wide range of cooking techniques including mixing dough, and they’re so much faster than working by hand. Which frees up your time to do other tasks while the mixer does the hard labor.
Stand mixers do yeoman’s work in the kitchen and can be pricey. So if you’re considering making a purchase, it’s valuable to compare features on a variety of mixers before making a decision.
To that end, we’re continuing with our look at the most popular stand mixers in the market today. You can compare the features and benefits of one model to another and make a choice to best serve your kitchen needs.
Synonymous with quality stand mixers, the KitchenAid name has a solid reputation of producing well-made kitchen appliances that stand the test of time.
KitchenAid KP26M1XCE Professional 600 Series 6-Quart Stand Mixer, Copper Pearl available at Amazon
With several series of mixers to fit pretty much all baking and food processing needs, this model driven by a robust, powerful motor that handles large, double-batch capacities, and the stiffest and heaviest of dough.
And its bowl-lift design, as opposed to a tilt-held model, gives it the necessary stability to process large quantities of thick, dense mixtures.
Designed for heavy use, the Pro Series is ideal if you’re considering replacing an older model, or as an upgrade to a more powerful stand mixer. If you’re serious about baking and value effective and efficient tools, then you’re in the market sector that this was elite machine was made for.
Kitchenaid Pro 600 Stand Mixer KP26M1XAQ, Aqua Sky Color, Large available at Amazon
A very telling vignette in the history of this appliance is the gear box story. Ten years ago this series was getting slaughtered in online reviews from very unhappy customers.
The plastic gears and cover were constantly breaking under heavy workloads – basically rendering an expensive, professional grade machine useless.
To KA’s credit (and their bottom line), they listened to their customers and redesigned the gears and gear box from plastic to all metal; effectively turning it into a top performer in the world of stand mixers.
A very nice turnaround indeed.
The Nuts and Bolts
This high quality machine is driven by a commercial-quality 575 watt motor. One of industry’s largest and most powerful home mixers, it gives all 10 speeds plenty of energy for working through dense and heavy mixtures.
To handle all that power, the stand, housing unit, and internal gears are all made of rugged metal for reliable performance and durability – this model is designed to work a lot, and to work hard.
One of the features that makes this mixer appealing is the adjustable screw that allows the height of the beaters to be raised or lowered for proper clearance. Using a flathead screwdriver, a slight turn will restore the ideal calibration between the surface of the bowl and the beaters to cleanly pull all ingredients into the mix.
The larger than average, 6 quart bowl is constructed of polished stainless steel and is securely riveted with a comfort handle to make lifting heavy mixes easier. It’s held in place on the bowl-lift ledge with riveted bowl supports that slip over locator pins, snaps into place with a spring latch, and is easily lifted and lowered with the convenient bowl-lift handle.
This bowl-lift feature adds much needed stability when mixing large, heavy batches of stiff batters or kneading dough, as it keeps the bowl securely in place. A great feature if you’re doing a lot of bread making.
There are really only two other models that can outwork this fine machine – the Ankarsrum Original and the KitchenAid 7-Quart Pro Line, both of which cost significantly more (but have the power and extended warranties to justify this extra cost).
And unlike many of its contemporary competitors, all of KitchenAid Stand Mixers are still manufactured in the US.
- The generous 6 quart stainless steel bowl is large enough to make up to 8 loaves of bread, 13 dozen cookies or 8 pounds of mashed potatoes.
- This model comes with three standard attachments. The trademarked powerknead burnished spiral dough hook, a burnished flat beater, and a stainless steel wire whisk. A plastic pouring shield is also included.
- The planetary mixing action ensures 67 touch points per rotation as the beaters rotate around the bowl for superb and comprehensive mixing.
- The 10 speed settings provides plenty of power for nearly any mixing task, from slow start through to power whip.
- And, you also have the versatility of a wide range of food preparation functions with the power hub, which will accommodate up to 15 of KitchenAid’s attachments. This makes expanding the number of tasks you can accomplish easy to do and all with a single appliance – from grinding grain to pressing pasta, there are many options are available.
- With a large footprint to handle professional processing, this beauty measures approximately 7 x 9 x 17” and weighs a hefty 28 pounds. If you don’t have a permanent home for it on your counter, you’ll want a sturdy shelf in a nearby cupboard that will handle its weight.
- Designed with the classic KitchenAid silhouette and handsome retro profile, the 600 Professional Series is available in over 20 vivid decorator colors… making it a very stylish statement in any kitchen. Note that the exact number of color options change from year to year as new colors are introduced and other colors are retired. You can check all of the available options on Amazon as most “brick and mortar” stores will only carry one on two at a time.
- It also comes with a manufacturer 1 year, hassle-free replacement warranty.
What others are saying:
After reviewing the verified purchasers’ comments at Amazon, this stand mixer seems to be almost universally loved – that is, after the manufacturer re-designed the gear box in 2006 to all-metal parts.
Since that design change, happy shoppers are heaping lots of love on the performance of this machine.
KitchenAid KP26M1XMY 6-Qt. Professional 600 Series – Majestic Yellow available at Amazon
In particular, the consistent output of the very powerful motor and the reliability of the metal gears wins top points, as it’s able to handle heavy batches of bread dough without fatigue or overheating.
From those that have worked in commercial kitchens, its workload is often compared to that of professional models.
The bowl-lift lever and large capacity bowl are other favorite features. The bowl-lift holds the bowl securely in place when mixing heavy loads, and without any of the head shimmying often found in tilt-head models.
Its elegant lines, sumptuous colors and heavy-duty, robust construction also make it a favorite with many foodies who appreciate the aesthetics and rugged, made in the US manufacturing.
Comments on noise levels seem to vary, but by far, most feel its operation is quiet for the work it does and compare the noise to that of hand mixers.
Another selling point is KitchenAid’s helpful customer support, with customer satisfaction being a priority.
As with any piece of electronic equipment, lemons and duds find their way into the kitchen, and a small percent of the over 3,000 reviews (at time of writing) reported having equipment failure after moderate use. But KA seems to be steadfast in honoring their replacement warranty.
On the critical side, the burnished beaters and dough hook need to be hand washed and quickly dried in order to maintain their finish – a trip through the dishwasher will result in heavy oxidization.
There are also those that find the bowl and bowl-lift lever awkward, with comments that adding ingredients is more cumbersome that with a tilt-head model.
And of course, there are many comparisons of today’s model to those of yesteryear. “My mother’s stand mixer was as old as Methuselah and could pull out tree trunks…”
Yes, well, different era, different economy and different values means different products. Comparing current models, one to another, is probably more helpful than comparing old to new.
While this machine is not a commercial unit, it does admirably meet the needs of most home users – even those that like to bake a lot of bread.
- Available Accessories
- Build Quality
But the included burnished aluminum attachments are a bit of a puzzle in light of its other hardy components. And it would be nice to see KA switch them out for stainless steel ones, given its high-end price tag.
High quality, a powerful motor that handles tough tasks, versatile performance and great value for the price makes this stand mixer a very popular choice and valued tool for serious cooks.
KitchenAid KP26M1XER 6 Qt. Professional 600 Series – Empire Red available at Amazon
If a kitchen appliance can be compared to a workhorse, then this model is a Clydesdale – big, brawny and beautiful.
Do you want to look at more options? Then take a look at all of Foodal’s stand mixer reviews.
About Lorna Kring
Recently retired as a costume specialist in the TV and film industry, Lorna now enjoys blogging on contemporary lifestyle themes. A bit daft about the garden, she’s particularly obsessed with organic tomatoes and herbs, and delights in breaking bread with family and friends.