The KitchenAid 4.5 qt Ultra Power was not the largest or most powerful stand mixer available, but it has been up to every task in my kitchen for years. It is a perfect compromise in it's size, power and cost. Mixing Performance This mixer has handled everything I have thrown at it... including the toughest dough. I have several accessory attachments such as the pasta maker and the meat grinder. All perform flawlessly and with no sign of straining this machine. It has an abundant selection of mixing speeds for every possible need. Ease of Cleaning The mixing bowl (of which I have an extra for ease of use) and the mixing attachments all rinse clean quite easily. I have never had the need to deeply clean the machine itself. Ease of Use The levers on this mixer make turning on and changing speed easy, even with an oven mitt on. Attaching the mixing paddles is effortless once you are accustomed to how the attach. The bowl itself can sometimes be difficult to remove if it has be tightened too much... but it is never more than a momentary inconvenience. Accessories attach easily as well. The most difficult operation is adding flour without dumping it on the counter... there are tricks to aid this operation, but I always opt for the fast and (sometimes) dirty method of just dumping it and cleaning the counter later. Design Overall, the design is quite pleasing. It adds a certain seriousness to the kitchen, but in a way that is elegant as opposed to the industrialized look many modern appliances have adopted. Durability This thing is quite heavy and equally strong. I can't imagine the frame ever breaking under normal use. I am not certain of the internals (the gears may be plastic) but mine has been going strong for many years with no end in sight.