Baking takes time but if you're in a hurry, here's a shortened version of my KitchenAid Artisan stand mixer review: yes, it is as good as everyone says it is. There's a reason it's been on Bake Off most years – and a controversial absentee in the years when it's not.
I think it’s safe to say that most top domestic bakers – and many pros – will recommend a KitchenAid stand mixer over most other brands. Aside from its iconic retro aesthetic – the current lineup has hardly changed in design since a bloke with the excellent name of Egmont Arens came up with the now ubiquitous ‘K’ shape, way back in the 1930s – the one overriding factor that makes any KitchenAid Artisan stand mixer stand out from the crowd is reliability. These mixers simply go on running for years. Because the design has changed so little, you can even use modern attachments with a mixer built in the 1950s, if you like.
There are 10 models in the current KitchenAid lineup (one small, five medium and four large) but we’ve chosen the medium-sized Tilt-Head 4.8L Artisan 5KSM175PS for this review because it’s available in a wide range off colours and it comes with an excellent range of accessories. You can even personalise it with an engraving of your choice.
While the KitchenAid Artisan isn't necessarily the best stand mixer you can buy, it is right up there in terms of quality, and is by far the best known and most lusted after. There are good reasons for that, but let’s dip a little deeper into the mix to find out why…
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KitchenAid Artisan stand mixer review: price and availability
This classic stand mixer is available the world over, at all good quality kitchenware stores, as well as Amazon, Walmart, John Lewis and the like. Prices vary – see our pricing widgets – but the recommended retail price for the 4.8-litre/5-quart model reviewed here is $429.99, £499 or AU$949.
KitchenAid Artisan stand mixer review: design and features
The classy KitchenAid stand mixer is a mainstay of TV cookery shows and a near permanent fixture on Great British Bake Off or 'British People Doing Some Baking' as it's known in the USA Hardly anything has changed since its inception in the 1930s – it still has the same, pleasingly old fashioned 10-speed lever with nice big speed lettering and a similar lever on the back to lift up the heavy-duty arm.
The Artisan 5KSM175PS is available in 14 striking colours and there isn’t a duff or tasteless colour amongst them. Although currently unavailable, the new Honey tone, as illustrated on this page, is as tasty as a nibble of seaside honeycomb.
This mixer comes with a 4.8-litre stainless steel bowl, a smaller 3.3-litre stainless steel bowl without a handle for smaller batches or extra ingredients for the same recipe, a plastic a whisk, a dough hook and two flat beaters, one equipped with a flat rubber scraper on the edge for removing any obstreperous floury and buttery bits from the wall of the bowl. In addition, you get a clear, removable plastic splash-back protector with a large portal for adding extra ingredients during the mixing process.
As is the case with all KitchenAid stand mixers, the Artisan 5KSM175PS is equipped with a front-mounted 'socket' for attaching a wide range of optional food-prep accessories. These include a meat grinder, a pasta maker, a shredder, a citrus juicer, a 'spiralizer' for coring and peeling fruit and veg, and a ravioli maker.
KitchenAid 4.8L Artisan 5KSM175PS review: performance
The Artisan 5KSM175PS is arguably the easiest to use stand mixer on the market though it does have a couple of eccentricities that often catch out unsuspecting newbies. Firstly, the speed selector comprises a sliding lever that moves up in notches and if you don’t select the speed carefully, it may miss a few notches and slam straight into high gear, whereupon the egg whites and sugar you just poured into the bowl will disperse all over your face. It’s happened a few times on Great British Bake Off and it is one of the main reasons I watch the programme, along with the occasional sight of contestants who fail to fit the bowl firmly enough in its plinth, causing hilarious mayhem when the bowl spirals off the table, splattering sticky ingredients everywhere. Oh what joy it is to watch such classic cases of user error.
Despite the fact that the motor is rated at just 300 watts against the Kenwood Titanium Chef KVC7300S’s much more substantial 1,500 watts, there is nothing this mixer won’t handle, whether it’s whipping up a meringue, mixing a cake or kneading dough. The 4.8-litre bowl provides enough room for about 12 egg whites and 2.7kgs of cake mix so you can be sure this baby will bake big.
KitchenAid 4.8L Artisan 5KSM175PS review: verdict
Few modern mixers match this classic retro beauty for both style and substance. Granted, it has far less tech on board than most of its competitors, but you'll reap the benefits in reliability, durability, efficiency and, above all, ease of use – user error notwithstanding.
If you start adding attachments, you may very well find that a KitchenAid stand mixer becomes not so much a baking accessory as a way of life. What a stylish, iconic and timeless classic this is.
KitchenAid Artisan stand mixer review: also consider
That's not to say, of course, that KitchenAid is the only game in town when it comes to mixers. Kenwood, Smeg and Sage are its most obvious rivals in terms of price and prestige – check out our guide to the best stand mixers to see which we rate highest.
However if you really want the true King of Mixers, even KitchenAid cannot hold a candle to Kenwood's Titanium Chef Patissier XL. This monster incorporates scales for in-bowl weighing, a heating element for proving dough, and looks like it would survive Hurricane Katrina and a meteor strike simultaneously.