Sous Vide 101:
A History & Shopping Guide
It doesn’t matter if you’re a seasoned chef or just getting started, cooking sous vide is accessible for everyone.
For as long as they’ve been around, stand mixers have been recognized as a kitchen staple for bakers. The casual, everyday cook may see it as a neat but ultimately unnecessary tool. Well, we’ve got news! KitchenAid stand mixers are not only a registry must-have, but they’re a masterful addition to anyone’s kitchen—from the casual cook to the seasoned chef.
Before it even received it’s signature KitchenAid name, the first consumer version of the stand mixer was introduced to the households in the 1920s after industrial-sized models were used in Navy ship kitchens. When it comes to kitchen appliances today, you can barely walk through a department store without seeing a plethora of KitchenAid styles, sizes, colors, and attachments. How many times have you stopped to examine a beautiful mixer, but were too scared to pull the trigger? How many times have you asked yourself, “is it really worth it?” Us too. And it turns out—yes, it’s totally worth it.
Given it’s the most popular registry gift and we get many questions about it, we created one place that covers everything you need to know—different models, features, attachments, costs, cleaning, maintenance, warranties, and even KitchenAid alternatives. Get ready to be equipped with the most detailed information about your new kitchen BFF.
In 1914, an engineer for the Hobart Corporation named Herbert Johnston, created the very first stand mixer called the model H. It was used for industrial purposes, and mainly on Navy ships before it took the KitchenAid name. Johnston saw a baker mixing dough by hand and believed there had to be an easier way. Little did he know the mark his invention would make on history.
The first home model KitchenAid stand mixer was called the H-5, and it was released in 1922. The first stand mixers were made with the intention of automating the baking process with evenly motorized whipping, beating, and kneading. With the addition of the attachment hub, however, a plethora of cooking and prep attachments turned the KitchenAid stand mixer a culinary supertool.
The model K, released in 1937, was the first model to include the attachment hub, and its design has remained relatively unchanged since then. The model K’s silhouette is now a registered trademark with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office and has even been featured in the SFMOMA as an icon of American Design. Color us impressed!
KitchenAid stand mixers are categorized into two main model types: Tilt-head and bowl-lift.
The most commonly found in everyday kitchens is the tilt-head style. With the release of a switch on the side of the mixer, the head tilts back. This allows you to remove the bowl from the base, and remove and replace mixing attachments from the beater shaft.
The larger, more industrial, bowl-lift KitchenAid mixers found in many professional kitchens uses a lever that lifts and lowers the mixing bowl to meet with the beaters. Within tilt-head and bowl-lift, there are several models that vary in size, materials, and finishes.
Note: The Professional Heavy Duty and Commercial Series models are not included in this post. The Professional Heavy Duty has been discontinued by KitchenAid, and the Commercial Series is more suited for commercial purposes. Our post outlines the stand mixers we believe are the best for the everyday cook and culinary enthusiast.
The one that started it all, the Classic Series and Classic Series Plus have 4.5 quart stainless steel bowls. They have 10 speeds, 59 planetary mixing points, and come with three mixing attachments: balloon 6-wire whip, white nylon-coated paddle, and white nylon-coated dough hook. The only difference is their motors, 250W versus 275W, respectively.
Apart from the motors and mixing points, the KitchenAid Ultra Power and Ultra Power Plus are exactly the same as the Classic Series models. Both the Ultra Power models have 300W motors. The Plus model boasts 67 planetary mixing points versus the Ultra Power’s 59.
Both the Artisan models come with 5 quart bowls. The Artisan includes a polished stainless steel bowl with a handle (handles are not included in Classic Series models), and the Artisan Design model comes with a glass bowl with a handle. They both have 59 touchpoints, a wattage of 325W, and have several colors to choose from. We’re especially big fans of the Design Artisan glass bowl for two big reasons:
First, it’s transparent, so you can see what deliciousness you’re mixing in the bowl.
Second, the bowl is microwave-safe! Think reheating mashed potatoes for whipping, or melting butter and chocolate. Oh yes.
If you have a small kitchen, this is the stand mixer for you. The Artisan Mini is the smaller version of the Artisan Series (about 20% smaller and weighs 25% less) with a 3.5 quart stainless steel bowl, 10-speed mixer, and a 250W motor. The wire whip, and nylon-coated dough hook and paddle are also still included. The Artisan Mini Premium, however, comes with a polished stainless steel bowl with a handle and a flex paddle for optimum bowl-scraping.
Do you consider yourself a pro (or semi-pro) cook? Are you an avid baker with a lot of people to bake for? KitchenAid’s bowl-lift stand mixers are bigger, more powerful, and can feed a hungry crowd. Although they’re still considered a home appliance, these models are well loved by professional chefs and enthusiastic home cooks alike. The motors are more powerful, the bowls are wider and more shallow, and of course, all attachments that connect to the power hub are compatible. Score!
This beauty comes with a 6 quart, polished stainless steel bowl with a handle, balloon whip, paddle, and a spiral dough hook to handle those big batches of dense bread doughs. This model has 10 speed settings, a 575W motor, and plenty of muscle to handle up to 8 loaves of bread or 13 dozen cookies in a single batch.
The Professional 600 Design Series stand mixers vary from the Pro 600 model only slightly. They include a glass bowl with a handle, so you can see everything that’s happening while mixing.
Very similar to the Professional 600 Design Series, the 6500 includes a 6-quart glass bowl and utilizes a quiet 1.0 horsepower (yes, you read that right… horsepower) motor. It includes the usual wire whip, flat paddle beater, and the spiral dough hook.
This model is as far as we’d recommend for the home cook before venturing off into industrial-Hobart territory. The Pro Line is the biggest model designed by KitchenAid for home use, and it boasts a 7 quart stainless steel bowl with a handle, a 1.3 horsepower motor, 10 mixing speeds, and a hinged attachment hub cover (versus the screw-on hub cover on other models). Of course, the Pro Line model includes an 11-wire whip (versus the usual 6-wire), flat paddle beater, and spiral dough hook.
The beautifully designed model K KitchenAid stand mixer was released in 1937 and has stood the test of time remaining relatively unchanged over the last 81 years. All KitchenAid Stand Mixer models include an attachment hub so every attachment that connects to the hub is compatible with any machine.
Balloon Wire Whip: Comes with every stand mixer in the box and is perfect for meringues and creams in minutes.
Flat Paddle Beater: Also included with each stand mixer, a flat paddle beater is great for creaming butter, folding batters, and getting those mashed potatoes oh-so-smooth.
Dough hook: Included with every mixer, the dough hook expertly mixes dense bread doughs with ease. All the bowl-lift models come with the spiral dough hook to mix larger quantities of dough.
Flex Edge Paddle: Comes with some Artisan models. The silicone flex edge ensures every bit of mixture is scraped off the side of the bowl. No man is left behind!
Food Grinder + Sausage Stuffer: Simply attach to the attachment hub and use the mixer’s motor to grind meats and vegetables and stuff homemade sausages. The set also comes with a handy citrus juicer. These can be purchased as a set or individually.
Pasta Roller + Cutter Set: No more precariously clamping your pasta roller to the counter—mix your pasta dough with your dough hook, let it rest, and roll it out with the pasta roller and cutter set. Pasta rollers and cutters are also available for purchase individually.
Gourmet Pasta Press + Extractor: You’re not only limited to flat sheet pastas with this attachment. Bucatini, fusilli, and even macaroni—you’ll love all the pastabilities.
Juicer: Process fruits and veggies to give you delicious, nutrient-rich juices. It also comes with three pulp screens so you can choose your favorite juice consistency.
Food Processor: For shredding cheese and slicing veggies, every kitchen needs a food processor—and with this attachment you get both in one tool.
Grain Mill: Can you imagine grinding your own grains to use for your baked goods in your mixer? Well, now you can.
Ice Cream Maker: There are few things greater than homemade ice cream. This attachment is compatible with both tilt-head and bowl-lift stand mixer models.
Spiralizer: You’ve seen them everywhere—spiralized foods are taking over. Now they can infiltrate your own kitchen and power itself with the motor from your stand mixer.
Precise Heat Mixing Bowl: Temper custards and warm chocolate to precise temperatures, or use as a standalone slow cooker. Two models are available to fit tilt-head and bowl-lift stand mixers.
Our customer service team gets questions all the time from couples wondering which staples to add to their registry. We’ve found that most people know about KitchenAid stand mixers, but can’t quite decide if it’s right for them. Here are a few questions—and answers!—that we get on a regular basis from customers:
Should I add a KitchenAid stand mixer to my registry?
KitchenAid stand mixers are the most popular wedding registry item added. It’s also one of our favorite wedding registry staple items. They’re uniquely versatile, designed to last, and can complement your personal decor and culinary tastes.
Is it really worth the money?
In our research, we’ve found that reviewers can have their mixers for decades if cared for properly. There’s a reason these stand mixers have been around for 80+ years, and why KitchenAid remains the gold standard despite fierce competition. We have no problem saying that if you bake regularly, they will be worth the cost over the long term.
If you’re still uneasy about adding such a pricy gift to your registry, consider adding it as a group gift so your guests can contribute any amount they like.
How do you care for a KitchenAid Stand Mixer?
It may be tempting to throw the bowls and included attachments in the dishwasher, but KitchenAid recommends hand washing everything with warm water and dish soap. It takes a little bit more time, but with proper care you’ll extend the life of your mixing bowl and attachments. All attachments and attachment sets should also be hand-washed.
Don’t forget to occasionally scrub down the nooks and crannies of the mixer, too. Clean the beater and ventilation shafts, and any build up around the motor. Open the attachment hub and wipe down the inside. Always unplug your mixer before cleaning it.
Clean your mixer with each use, and don’t forget to wipe it down underneath, too. Use good dish soap, and even some baking soda if you need a little extra grit.
Is there a warranty I should be aware of?
All KitchenAid stand mixers purchased in the US, Canada, and Puerto Rico come with a two-year warranty. You can see more details on warranty information here.
Are there any comparable off-brand stand mixers?
Yes, there are comparable off-brand stand mixers that we like:
Cuisinart 5.5-quart Stand Mixer: The Cuisinart stand mixer is a great alternative. It has a 500W motor, 12-speeds, and comes with a wire whip, flat paddle beater, dough hook, and splash guard/pour spout attachment. Cuisinart also has compatible attachments for separate purchase.
Hamilton Beach All-Metal Stand Mixer: Hamilton Beach is the best budget option for stand mixers. They have other versions, but we’re fond of the all-metal model for its overall durability. It comes with a whip, flat paddle beater, dough beater, and 2-piece pouring shield.
Breville Bakery Chef Stand Mixer: Probably the most comparable to the KitchenAid stand mixer, the Breville has a powerful 500W motor, comes with several mixing attachments, microwavable glass bowl, 12-speeds, and even a handy digital timer.
There’s a lot to learn about KitchenAid stand mixers before buying or adding one to your wedding registry. You don’t have to be a baker to make the most out of your stand mixer. The landscape of culinary possibilities with the KitchenAid stand mixer broadens with every attachment and feature, and you’re sure to be a well-rounded chef in no time at all.