Few products in the kitchen – or the home, for that matter – are as enduring as the KitchenAid stand mixer. Based on well over a thousand reviews, we can say with confidence that the cooks of America have lifted their spatulas and been counted. The KitchenAid Classic 4.5-Quart Stand Mixer K45SS ($330) is the “Best Overall” stand mixer you can buy, winning the top spot in the 2013 Viewpoints Reviewers’ Choice awards.
KitchenAid stand mixer: “Best Overall”
Most cooks fondly remember when they got their KitchenAid stand mixer. I do. I went onto Amazon one holiday season about 15 years ago and, on impulse, placed a KitchenAid stand mixer in the cart, then had second thoughts on the wisdom of the splurge, when I was supposed to be shopping for others, right? A few days later, the doorbell rings, and there is the UPS man with a big KitchenAid box. Oh darn, it came anyway! I didn’t complain to Amazon, and my husband didn’t press the issue because he knew how long I had wanted one. I chalked up the misdirected delivery to fate. And in our home, like most, for 15 years, it has been a fixture of our kitchen, sitting in a place of prominence. The KitchenAid stand mixer is the universal sign that you’ve arrived as a baker.
About KitchenAid Classic 4.5-Quart Stand Mixer K45SS
The stand mixer was KitchenAid’s very first product in 1919 and believe it or not, it has actually changed little since the 1930′s. Today, there are just more models to chose from, the main difference being the size of the mixing bowl and/or color. All are heavier than they appear (which partly explains why they have a place of prominence).
We ask reviewers to grade their mixers on five attributes: mixing performance, ease of cleaning, ease of use, design and durability. It’s impossible to give 1,445+ reviews justice, so here’s just a sample of what cooks say about this Viewpoints “Best Overall” stand mixer:
Some people have a difficult time containing their affection for their KitchenAid stand mixer, like this cook in Florida.
“OMG this is the BEST BEST BEST mixer I’ve ever had! It mixes everything perfectly and I rarely have to even scrape down the bowl because it does that for me.” --CLS9, Tampa, FL, Reviewer since 2010
“And NOTHING whips up cream as well!”–VivC, Chevy Chase, MD, Reviewer since 2009
“Just the performance I need! High Power for whisking egg whites and low power for adding dry ingredients. Love it!”–arow97, Shawnee, OK, Reviewer since 2007
“Does everything! Takes the pain out of mixing cookie dough, if you know what I mean.”–nfurford, Aberdeen, WA, Reviewer since 2007
About the only complaint you’ll hear is that “sometimes the very bottom does not get mixed well despite the bump to help.”
Ease of cleaning/Ease of use
For all the glowing praise, some users think it could be a bit easier to clean. “Sometimes it’s difficult to get stuff out of the base crevices,” so says one reviewer. Another adds, “I tend to get sticky stuff on it and always in the little, hard-to-get places.”
By contrast, ‘ease of use’ earns the KitchenAid’s highest individual attribute score. What’s not to love about its “common sense controls?”
“It’s a mixer!! Put stuff in bowl and pick speed.” –katsdove, Branchville, NJ, Reviewer since 2007
There’s a lever on the side to select a speed, 1-10. The worst that might happen is that dry ingredients can fly out of the bowl if you start at a speed too high.
The KitchenAid stand mixer is “bulky and heavy,” but thank goodness it “looks attractive on the counter” because moving it in and out of a cabinet is work, say reviewers. According to KitchenAid’s website, the ‘Classic Plus,’ a close cousin to the ‘Classic,’ weighs a hefty 25 pounds. (Could this qualify as a workout?)
The weight doesn’t seem to bother most cooks, though. For them, it is simply a reminder that they made an investment in an appliance that will last.
“Whoever designed this is a genius. KitchenAid gave the public everything they could ever want or need in a mixer.”--aslaterock, Matawan, NJ, Reviewer since 2009
“I’ve had my Kitchen Aid mixer for over 20 years. Sometimes I think I want one in a new, fun color (mine is a boring off-white) but it never breaks down so I can’t justify it!”–scilisa, Marion, IA, Reviewer since 2011
What to know
With ten speeds, it’s easy to get carried away and use mixing speeds too powerful for what your delicate cake recipe requires. A gentle hand and cautious approach work best.
There are several accessories you can buy for the KitchenAid stand mixer, like a splatter guard, food grinder, sausage stuffer, citrus juicer and pasta maker/cutter. Most people seem content, though, with the basic business of making mashed potatoes, cookies and whipping cream.
The bottom line on the KitchenAid stand mixer
The KitchenAid stand mixer really doesn’t need the good PR of Viewpoints, but we’re happy to pile on the praise that has been a chorus for decades.
All in all, we don’t think you can go wrong with the KitchenAid Classic 4.5-Quart Stand Mixer K45SS, but if you’d like options, be sure to check out the Hamilton Beach Eclectrics All-Metal Stand Mixer 63220 / 63221 which sells for about a hundred dollars less. It wins our “Best Value” award for stand mixers.
About Viewpoints Reviewers’ Choice awards
The Viewpoints Reviewers’ Choice awards honor those products that positively delight consumers.
The Reviewers’ Choice winners are based solely on the opinions of you, the reviewer. The top awards are ‘Best Overall’ (most popular) and ‘Best Value’ (a bargain). We invite you to check out our list of all 10 winning mixers. You’ll also see the Reviewers’ Choice badge on the pages of award-winning products throughout Viewpoints. Click on the badge (left) for more information about the judging process and why the award is special.