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    I tried the KitchenAid's top-of-the-line $500 stand mixer, and now I get what all the hype is about

    Abstract:KitchenAid stand mixers are some of most useful appliances you can add to your kitchen. We tried the KitchenAid Pro Line — here's what we thought.

      A high-quality stand mixer is an indispensable tool when making pies, cookies, cakes, breads, and other baked goods. You can also add accessories to make pasta, ice cream, sausage, and more.

      I like the KitchenAid 7-Quart Pro Line Stand Mixer because it has a roomy stainless-steel bowl, ergonomic levers, and it makes quick work of mixing, kneading, and whisking tasks.

      Though it's more expensive than most stand mixers (currently $499.99 on Amazon), KitchenAid mixers are known for their durability and the company offers a five-year limited total replacement warranty.

      There are a few kitchen appliances that are dominated by a single brand. For instance, Vitamix is the king of blenders. Instant Pot has cornered the electric pressure cooker market. And, when it comes to stand mixers, experts and home bakers alike consider KitchenAid to be the best stand mixer around.

      For 18 years, I have used KitchenAid stand mixers in my kitchens. The KitchenAid stand mixer gets its own counter space because of its attractive design and — I'm a little sheepish to admit — it shows that I have good taste in appliances.

      Until recently, I used an older Professional 5 model. Then, KitchenAid sent me its 7-Quart Pro Line Stand Mixer to test. Below are my experiences with this top-of-the-line unit.

      Specs

      The KitchenAid 7-Quart Pro Line Stand Mixer is available in several colors, including candy apple red, sugar pearl silver, and frosted pearl white. I went with onyx black to match my kitchen's decor.

      The mixer comes with a 7-quart stainless steel bowl, spiral dough hook, flat beater, stainless steel wire whip, and a pouring shield.

      Here are some more specs:

      10-speed slide control

      1.3 horsepower (about 970-watt) motor

      Capacity for 14 dozen cookies or over 8 pounds of dough

      16-cup flour capacity

      5-year limited total replacement warranty

      13-inches wide by 15-inches deep by 16-inches high

      Weighs 25 pounds

      Set-up process

      The KitchenAid Stand Mixer is ready to go out of the box. It even comes with the whisk already attached. However, I recommend washing everything before your first use.

      If you want to do some mixing, first make sure the speed control is set to off and the unit is unplugged. Fit the bowl supports over the locating pins on the machine. Then, press down on the back of the bowl to snap it into place. Next, attach the whip, hook, or beater by locking it into place on the beater shaft. You can then raise the bowl using the lever, plug in the mixer, and select the speed you want.

      I decided to start by grinding meat. Within five minutes of opening the box, I had my meat grinder attachment on the mixer and was making burger meat.

      What makes the KitchenAid Pro Line stand mixer stand out

      The large stainless-steel bowl is nice and roomy. I like that it hooks into place — rather than twisting in like other models. The bowl's handle also feels more heavy duty than those of previous models, and it's rounded for a better ergonomic hold. The speed-control lever and bowl-lift lever have nice round knobs that feel comfortable in the hand.

      Previously, I'd had a pouring shield that was two pieces and didn't work too well. I really appreciate the shield that comes with the Pro Line. It's only one piece, and it fits easily over the bowl while it's in position. The pouring chute sticks out enough so you can add ingredients without getting to close to the beater. And, the shield keeps flour and other dry ingredients from flying out — a must when adding flour to a bread dough.

      A good test of a mixer is how it does whipping up stiff-peaked egg whites. I made cloud eggs to test this out. To get stiff peaks, I added the whites from four eggs to the mixing bowl. There was room to whisk at least a dozen egg whites, but I only needed four. I attached the whisk and slowly turned the speed control up to 8. In less than two minutes, the peaks were stiff. It sure beat the 10 minutes or more it takes to do it by hand.

      I made countless other treats with the help of the stand mixer, including cookies, brownies, pizza dough, ground meats, sausage, pancakes, French toast, ice cream, and more. I never experienced any jams — even with harder pizza dough. And, at no point did it seem like the motor was straining.

      The KitchenAid stand mixers are great because of the variety of attachments you can buy to make everything from pasta to tomato sauce. I like that the cover for the attachment hub has a hinge that keeps it connected to the unit so you don't accidentally lose it. Older KitchenAid stand mixers feature hub covers that you remove completely.

      Cons to consider

      As I washed the bowl, I noticed what appeared to be some stuck-on debris on the bowl interior. Upon closer inspection, it turned out there are slight divots where the handle attaches to the bowl. In my time testing this unit, the divots didn't cause me any problems, such as harboring unmixed ingredients or hard-to-clean debris. But, it's worth noting that the interior isn't perfectly smooth.

      The Pro Line mixer is expensive. At 7 quarts, this is more stand mixer than some buyers may need. If $499.99 is out of your price range and you're unlikely to ever need to make 14 dozen cookies at once, read below for our “Which model should you get?” section for more affordable KitchenAid stand mixers and the “What are your alternatives?” section for off-brand solutions.

      The bottom line

      The KitchenAid 7-Quart Pro Line Stand Mixer is outstanding. I love how the powerful motor can handle harder doughs. I also like the large capacity that allowed me to make double and triple batches of pizza dough. And, I appreciate all of the accessories that are available for the mixer.

      Should you buy it?

      Because of the price and size of the Pro Line mixer, I would mainly recommend if you have a larger budget, plan on using the mixer frequently, and you like to make larger batches of baked good.

      Which KitchenAid stand mixer model should you get?

      Previously, I compiled a guide to the best KitchenAid mixers. If you don't need something as heavy duty as the Pro Line, consider:

      KitchenAid 5-Quart Artisan Tilt-Head Stand Mixer ($273.95) — This model is KitchenAid's best seller and is tops on several expert lists, including our own. It comes in dozens of colors, features a pouring shield, and has a respectable 325-watt motor. The main negative is that it doesn't have overload protection.

      KitchenAid Classic Series 4.5 Quart Tilt-Head Stand Mixer ($199) — The Classic Series mixer is the most affordable KitchenAid in our guide. It has 10 speed settings and a tilt-up mixer head. The only downside is the motor isn't as powerful as other models. Still, it's a great mixer for beginners.

      KitchenAid Professional 5 Plus Series Stand Mixer ($399) — I used an older generation of the Professional 5 for about 18 years. It features a 450-watt motor and thorough 67-point mixing. The only negatives are its weight and it gets loud on high settings.

      KitchenAid 6 Qt. Professional 600 Series Bowl-Lift Stand Mixer ($329.95) — There's a lot to like about this model. It has a powerful 575-watt motor, large 6-quart stainless steel bowl, and comes in dozens of colors. If you want a good mix of power and affordability, this is the model for you.

      As with the Pro Line mixer, all of the above KitchenAid stand mixers are backed by a five-year limited total replacement warranty.

      What are your alternatives?

      There are alternatives to KitchenAid out there. Here are two that may be a good fit for your budget and needs:

      Hamilton Beach Electrics All-Metal Stand Mixer ($199.99) — For its price, this mixer has a strong motor (400 watts). There are 12 speed settings, and Hamilton Beach backs it with a three-year warranty. Unfortunately, it may have trouble with stiffer doughs, such as bread.

      Sunbeam Hand & Stand Mixer ($29.99) — This is a fun stand mixer that converts to a hand mixer. It comes with a three-quart stainless-steel bowl and has five speeds. However, it's fairly weak but may be a good alternative for smaller, light-duty tasks.

      Overall, the KitchenAid 7-Quart Pro Line Stand Mixer is the best, most powerful stand mixer I've ever used. If you love to bake and are looking for a statement piece for your kitchen, I strongly recommend going with the Pro Line.

      Pros: 1.3 horsepower motor, large 7-quart capacity, compatible with more than a dozen accessories, ergonomic knobs and handles, five-year limited total replacement warranty

      Cons: Expensive, may be bigger than what most buyers need

      Buy the KitchenAid 7-Quart Pro Line Stand Mixer on Amazon or Williams-Sonoma for $499.99

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    • Australia Dollar
    • Canadian Dollar
    • Swiss Franc
    • Chinese Yuan
    • Danish Krone
    • Euro
    • British Pound
    • Hong Kong Dollar
    • Hungarian Forint
    • Japanese Yen
    • South Korean Won
    • Mexican Peso
    • Malaysian Ringgit
    • Norwegian Krone
    • New Zealand Dollar
    • Polish Zloty
    • Russian Ruble
    • Saudi Arabian Riyal
    • Swedish Krona
    • Singapore Dollar
    • Thai Baht
    • Turkish Lira
    • United States Dollar
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