KitchenAid Classic Review: Too Puny For Real Baking?

It’s Classic. It’s been here since grandma’s time. It’s gotta be good. Right?

No so fast.

Expectations and reality seem to diverge significantly when it comes to the present version of the KitchenAid Classic.

Stuff has happened since grandma’s time.

The brand has gone through two owners, and people are saying that this stand mixer is not the same.

The current Classic mixer is the descendant of the Model K-45 which some lucky third generation kids have inherited. But recent units aren’t your grandma’s Classic.

This KitchenAid Classic review will clarify what the present version is capable of.

In a hurry?

Check the KitchenAid Classic 4.5-qt. mixer now.

What’s in the Package?

The 250 watt KitchenAid Classic is delivered to you with standard accessories…4.5 quart metal bowl, flat beater, dough hook and wire whip. It arrives with a 1-year replacement warranty.

The features of this model are the same as the Artisan series and Classic Plus models. The only difference among them is power and capability.

What Is The Power and What Can It Do?

One look at this model and I can tell that its 250-watt motor is not for tough jobs.  It’s noticeably smaller than the KA Artisan or Pro 600 stand mixers.  My research confirms that it is a basic or entry level stand mixer. It’s for you if you’re a household baker who prepares mostly cookies, cakes, meringues, etc., and rarely ever makes bread.

It’s great for light to medium mixtures and will suit you well if you work on mostly smaller batches. You can load multiple batches of cookie mix on it in a one go, but don’t abuse it by almost filling the bowl.

KitchenAid claims it yields 3-3/4 loaves of bread and 6-3/4 dozen cookies. Don’t go by it. Only 1 to 2 loaves of bread and maybe 3 – 4 dozen cookies at a time.  To stay safe, I usually reduce the recommended load by half for tougher mixtures.

It can get by with the weekly pizza dough.

Some people ask why include a dough hook if it’s not for bread making. Well, you can make bread with it but rarely and avoid whole wheat. Two loaves will cause it to struggle but it gets by. But don’t use it daily.

There is a way around if you do like to make bread more frequently, but with a bit of work from you.

You can let it do the mixing and you knead the dough by hand or you do most of the procedures by hand.

If you are a bread baker, you need a bread mixer. Not this mixer.

How Many Speed Settings Are There?

There are six speed settings in the KitchenAid Classic 4.5 quart mixer if you are to go by what is printed on the unit… “STIR”, 2, 4, 6, 8 & 10.

But isn’t it advertised as having 10 speeds?

Yep. Speed 3, 5, 7 & 9 are between the printed ones. KitchenAid says the unlabelled speeds can be used if you want finer adjustments. Six speeds are sufficient for most mixing tasks.

The speed you choose may not be consistent under heavy load or when using attachments like the Pasta Maker or Grain Mill.

How do you select a speed setting?

Via a sliding lever on the right side of the mixer head. It moves smoothly and is easy to control.

What does each speed mean?  Use the following recommendations as a guide.

  • STIR.  Use this when beginning the mixing process and when adding ingredients to minimize splatter and splashes.
  • SPEED 2.  Stick to this speed setting with bread dough. This is very important. Don’t exceed “2”    for tough dough. This is also for heavy batters, cutting shortening into flour and for when starting to mash potatoes.
  • SPEED 4.  For blending sugar and shortening, moderately heavy cookie batters and for meringues.
  • SPEED 6.  This is for beating, whipping and creaming and for finishing cake batter.
  • SPEED 8.   Use this for whipping egg whites or cream, boiled frostings and for recipes that require fast beating.
  • SPEED 10.  Need to whip small amounts of egg whites and cream? Use this speed.

Speed should also be set appropriately for each attachment:

  • STIR           –       Ice Cream Maker
  • Speed 4    –        Food Grinder, Rotor Slicer/ Shredder, Fruit & Vegetable Strainer
  • Speed 6    –        Citrus Juicer
  • Speed 10  –        Pasta Maker, Grain Mill

What’s A Tilt-Head For?

Short answer: access.

Tilting the head provide space so you can attach or detach accessories or scrape content off the bowl.

How do you do it?

First, unlock the pin that fastens the head to the base. Then, in one smooth sweep lift and tilt the head back. That’s it. You don’t have to lock the head when it’s raised.

To put it down, hold the head securely and lower slowly down. Make sure to lock the pin before operating to prevent wobbling.

Ideally, locking the head should keep it steady during operation and keep the beater close to the bottom of the bowl.  The locking pin is located on the left side of the motor head.

Locking, unlocking, raising and lowering the head is convenient as it can be done with one hand.

What Other Features Are Important? 

Planetary Action. Describes the mixing action of this stand mixer.  The bowl does not rotate.

It is the attachment (beater, whisk or hook) that moves around the bowl while it spins in the opposite direction. It moves to the side of the bowl to the middle and so on while spinning for full bowl coverage and even mixing.

It’s just like when you’re using a hand mixer. You don’t just position the beaters in the middle or at one point, you move it around the bowl to make sure you get everything mixed properly. Only that with a planetary stand mixer, the “hand” that moves the mixer is mechanized, sort of.

Beater Height Adjustment. You can adjust the beater height if you find that the beater is too far away from the bottom of the bowl that ingredients are left unmixed or if the beater hits the bowl. First, attach the beater and locate the adjustment screw underneath the mixer head. Turn the screw counter clockwise to raise the beater or clockwise to lower it.

How do you determine the ideal beater height? Simple. Place a dime on the bowl and set the speed to “2”. Turn the mixer on. The beater should be able to move the dime ¼ to ½ inch at each sweep. Adjust again if it does not and repeat the test until you get the ideal adjustment.

Power Hub. This is where you couple the pasta maker, juicer, ice cream maker and other attachments.

Performance and Ease of Use

How well a mixer incorporates ingredients is not the only gauge of mixing performance. There are other areas you should consider like mixing time and how the stand mixer behaves when running.

Assuming that the ideal beater to bowl clearance is set, how well does this stand mixer perform?

Scraping and a bit of manual mixing is almost a given for almost all stand mixers. So, have your spatula ready. You won’t be doing it a lot in this case.

When the head is down there is not much space between the mixer head and the bowl. Lifting it before scraping provides enough space to maneuver.

Same goes when adding ingredients. It can be done without tilting the head, but may require some patience (depends on your disposition).

If you’re like me, I prefer unobstructed space when scraping and adding ingredients, even if I have to lift and then lower the head.

Who doesn’t prefer things to be done quickly? The KitchenAid Classic 250-watt mixer completes the job fast. Therefore, you will have to reduce mixing time to avoid overbeating. You can do any of the following:

  • Use the recipes include in the User Manual
  • Use the recipes in the User Manual as reference to adjust mixing times for your own recipes
  • Experiment with your own recipes until you get the appropriate mixing duration

Next, how steady is this kitchen appliance?

It is stable and reliable for most household baking requirements. It tends to wobble and hop around the counter with denser batters like bread dough which causes the locking pin to disengage.

KitchenAid Classic Accessories

You’ll find the 4.5 quart brushed stainless steel bowl ideal if you don’t bake a lot. It’s best if you only often make single to double recipes everyday.  I have two sons and a single recipe of pastry everyday is enough for the three of us. Husband is only interested in bread.

Although it can yield 6-3/4 dozen of cookies, I would only go as many as 3 to 4 dozens in a single batch. My two boys will have enough cookies for three days with four dozens.

I prefer to always go below the declared capacity especially with thick cookie dough. It’s a precaution I think is worth taking to prolong my mixer’s life.

The bowl has no handle which can make pouring inconvenient, especially if it’s filled or if the mixture is sticky. A handle just makes it easier to control.

You can find a bowl with a handle on Amazon or from KitchenAid. It’s made of polished stainless steel and fits all tilt-head models.

They could have just supplied that and add a few dollars to the price so customers don’t have to shell out more. But, you can probably live with the no-handle bowl if you only prepare single to double recipes.

A glass bowl is not available for this stand mixer.

The C-shaped dough hook and flat beater are nylon-coated. Also, included is the standard 6-wire whip.

I suggest you get their Flex Edge scraper beater which has a flexible edge on one side. It’s the answer to the oft-repeated complaint of having to scrape content off the bowl manually. You can get one for this model from Amazon or KitchenAid.

You can also find a scraper beater with two flexible sides on Amazon. Caution must be taken as it may cause drag on the mixer. This one is cheaper but it’s not made by KitchenAid. One scraper edge is actually sufficient.

Another accessory that you can get separately from KitchenAid is a pouring shield if you’d like to minimize the mess you’d have to clean. However, you have to remove it if you are going to scrape the bowl. It’s better if you have the scraper beater, too.

You can get replacements for all accessories from KitchenAid or Amazon.

Classic KitchenAid K45SS Mixer Attachments

One feature that sets KitchenAid stand mixers apart from other brands is the option to use several attachments.

The plus side is you don’t have to buy another appliance that will take up storage space. But using attachments is more work for the motor.

The Kitchen Aid Classic is not even for regular bread making. Consider the Artisan or Professional models if you intend to use several attachments.

Note, however, that some attachments cost almost the same or more than a separate machine.

Here are the attachments you can use with this stand mixer. You can find them on Amazon or KitchenAid.

  • Ice cream maker
  • Pasta Roller
  • Citrus Juicer
  • Fruit/Vegetable Strainer
  • All-Metal Grain Mill
  • Food Grinder
  • Rotor Slicer/Shredder
  • Thick Noodle Cutter
  • Angel Hair Pasta Attachment
  • Gourmet Pasta Attachment

Make sure any attachment is securely connected to the power hub before operating. Thoroughly read the instructions on the manual  and follow them.

Material,  Dimensions and Storage

The all-metal body gives this mixer a steady look. It is sturdy, stable and a bit heavy. It’s best situated in an area with enough working space.

The tilt-head design adds approximately 3 inches to the height. You have to take that into account if the working space is underneath a cabinet.

This mixer weighs 25 lbs. and measures 13 15/16 inches high, 8 ¾ inches wide and 14 1/8 deep. It’ll take up a little over 1 sq. ft. of space.

Your purchase comes with a one year replacement warranty.

Care and Cleaning of the KitchenAid Classic Stand Mixer

Caring for and cleaning is simple. Make sure to unplug the unit before cleaning. Wipe the body, mixer head including the base with damp cloth after each use. Remove any residue on the beater shaft.

The bowl, coated dough hook and flat beater may be washed in a dishwasher. Or, you can clean them in warm sudsy water, rinse thoroughly with water and dry completely.  Do not wash the wire whip in the dishwasher. Wash by hand.

All accessories and attachments must be stored separately. Do not leave the beater, hook or whip on the shaft.

I like to cover my kitchen appliances especially if they’re used sparingly. It keeps away dust and covers can act as decors. Some folks prefer to display their KitchenAid stand mixers. Whatever your preference just make sure to always keep your stand mixer clean.

Pros

  • Great for small batches
  • Ideal for light to medium mixes
  • Planetary mixing action for even mixing
  • Direct drive motor for more efficient power usage
  • Can use attachments with the power hub
  • Can adjust beater height
  • Most affordable KitchenAid stand mixer
  • Sturdy and stable
  • Easy to clean

Cons

  • Not to be used often for heavy dough
  • Not for big batches
  • Bowl has no handle
  • Heavy
  • Locking pin may get loose with denser mixtures
  • Head shakes when mixing dense mixtures

Price of A Tilt-Head KitchenAid Classic Mixer

This model is the least poweful KitchenAid stand mixer. It’s basic, so low cost is expected. But its price at Amazon which is over $200 does not differ much with the Classic Plus. And, it can be a bit confusing looking for it over there. This has the word ‘Classic’ is printed on the mixer head. Power is 250 watts and not 275 watts as indicated in Amazon’s description.

It’s available in White and Onyx black from Amazon and partner sellers. They are currently going for under $200. An awesome deal going into the sale events.

There is no red KitchenAid Classic mixer. The one labelled as “250-watt Classic” on Amazon is the Classic Plus model which is 275 watts.

Ratings and Reviews

There is a fair number of KitchenAid Classic stand mixer reviews on Amazon and Walmart. A huge majority of those are positive from folks who take note of its great value for the price they paid. Most satisfied buyers used them for basic home baking and the occasional bread. One owner used it for heavy dough and it lasted him 3 years.

There are a few negative reviews like two reports of the mixer going bust after 3 – 4 years with very light use. Three users report their mixers burned after 1 – 2 years.

There are about 12 reports of oil leak from 2007 – 2013. That is roughly 2.5% of the reviews submitted for that period. One report was submitted 2012 and another one in 2013. Based on reviews, most of the units with oil leak were seldom used.  KitchenAid says that the grease separates into oil and water if the machine is idle for too long or if heavily used. That is why it leaks.  Only the one reported in 2013 happened on first use.

There are significantly fewer negative reviews in recent years. Most of them were from years back. Some issues from 5 to 10 years ago were reported only once in years 2011 – 2014, like a gear breaking, a defective speed control and the bowl getting jammed with tough dough. In the same period, there are three reports of the stand mixer busting too soon with light use. Notably, most negative reviews including the very old ones have to do with mixing tough dough.

Overall, most users are satisfied with this KitchenAid stand mixer.

My Conclusion

When you get this stand mixer model don’t expect it to perform as well on tough dough like the more powerful models.

This is not meant for regular bread making. Use it sparingly for heavy dough.

Consider the Classic Plus or the Artisan if you plan to make bread more than occasionally.

The KitchenAid Classic 4.5 qt. stand mixer  is a reliable home mixer if you are looking for a basic model for use mostly on light to moderate mixing tasks. It’s definitely not for big families because it can only accommodate small to moderate quantities.

Looking for a great deal on the  4.5 qt. Classic? Get it new for less than $200  on Amazon.com now.



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