KitchenAid Artisan Mixer Review: Not Worth The Fame?

kitchenaid artisan 5-quart mixerDo you covet a KitchenAid Artisan mixer?

Who doesn’t?

It’s pretty. It’s sexy. It’s famous. It’s the star of stand mixers.

But do looks and fame equate to quality? Do  you worry that the praises are overblown?

Is it a charming enchantress which in the end will leave you disappointed and your wallet broken?

How will you get the answers? Through due diligence.

You can either bury your head going through countless reviews and use up precious time, or you can continue reading to find out the answers to your most nagging questions.

In a hurry?

See Lowest Priced KitchenAid Artisan 5-qt. Stand Mixer on Walmart

We dug deep for days to come up with this comprehensive Artisan mixer review that separates the myths from the facts, addresses crucial concerns and tells you what this stand mixer can actually do.

No, this is not your typical review that only lists features. I’m sure you don’t believe that’s enough. You want to know their benefits and their limitations. You want to determine how they will affect your objectives.

Table of Contents
Click ahead!
1. Power2. Can It Make Bread?3. What Else Can It Do?
4. How Well Does It Mix?5. Tilt Head or Bowl Lift?6. Performance
7. Speed Settings8. Accessories9. Attachments
10. Care and Cleaning11. Dimensions12. Colors
13. Good to Know14. Pros15. Cons
10. Consumer Reviews11. Best Price12. Overall Opinion

What Is The Power and Voltage Of The Artisan KitchenAid?

A 325-watt direct drive motor which operates on 110 volts drives this kitchen mixer.

Is 325 watts powerful or not? This is not a heavy weight stand mixer. But, it has ample power for most mixing jobs.

Direct drive is a system of gears that transfers power directly to the bowl and contents. It uses power efficiently resulting in less electricity consumption.

If you’re in another country…can you use a transformer?

Firstly, model KSM150 is designed for the U.S which runs on 110 volts.

If you are from a place that operates on 220 volts, you can use a step down transformer. Or, you can just get the 220-volt model, but it is more expensive.

How Well Does It Handle Bread or Cookie Dough?

I’m not going to tell you that it is perfect for bread, because it is not a bread mixer.

It can knead bread dough and actually does a good job of it. But there’s a catch: it should be used occasionally or intermittently. Two loaves at a time is ideal which is enough for two to three persons who don’t feast on bread.

bread-1447647_640

Some owners do not recommend it for dry and hard dough as it labours, strains and shakes.

There seems to be a consensus that it’s not for mixing big amounts of high-load batters. It’s not for you if you make bread daily, or prepare difficult dough like sourdough or bagel often.

How about cookies? Go ahead, prepare a double batch of your favorite cookies. Fill those cookie jars with crunchy, chewy goodness come Christmas season. Yes, you can with an Artisan mixer.

cookie-1065911_640

Alert

Here are a few reminders that you must absolutely heed if you are going to use your Artisan KSM150P mixer for bread.

  • NEVER, EVER exceed Speed2 on bread dough and other thick batters like a double batch of thick cookie dough. Sticking to a low speed maybe the single most important step you can take to protect your mixer’s motor.
  • Be careful. One owner reported that she accidentally swept the speed control lever to a higher speed causing damage to her mixer.
  • Observe a maximum mixing time of 3 to 4 minutes, or even lower.

Tip

Preparing dough with a stand mixer is a bit different than doing it by hand. You may have to alter the recipe, use a different technique or change the procedure a bit. It might take a few trials to achieve the result you desire.

What Else Can The Artisan Mixer Do?

My sister loves making layered cakes and decorating them. She uses a variety of frosting…whipped cream, butter cream, boiled icing, fondant and even cream cheese.

whipped egg whites

She excels in cake decorating and delights in whipping up gorgeous cakes for her friends and relatives on their birthdays. She also loves concocting her own signature pies and pastries which she usually gives away as presents.

On the other hand, my aunt has perfected the “cookie”. Kids in our family always look forward to her Christmas cookies and she is more than happy to delight them with her attractive and delectable concoctions.

Guess what...my sister and my aunt both use Artisan stand mixers.

It was from my sister that I learned how to prepare cooked egg white frosting. In this method egg whites and sugar are heated over a pan of simmering water. Then the hot mixture is whipped.

Wondering if you can place hot content in the metal bowl of the mixer, and beat, blend or whip it? You can.  Not only hot but also cold stuff. Both will blend well.

How much can the 5-quart bowl hold? Three cake boxes. Only two if you are going to add nuts, dried fruits or chocolate chips.

How Well Does It Mix?

Do you need to scrape content off the bowl of the Kitchen Aid Artisan? This is a common question for almost all stand mixers.

It is a valid concern because each time you scrape or mix manually, you will have to unlock the head, lift it, scrape, lower the head, lock. And, if you are using the pouring shield, you must remove it first before raising the head. It’s cumbersome if you have to do this several times.

The correct beater to bowl clearance is critical for thorough mixing and less scraping.

Follow these steps to get the correct adjustment:

  1. Insert the beater into the shaft.
  2. Drop a dime into the empty bowl.
  3. Turn the mixer on and set the speed lever to “2”. The beater should be able to move the coin ¼ in. to ½ in. with each sweep. If not adjust the beater height (next steps)
  4. Tilt the motor head and locate the adjustment screw at the bottom.
  5. Turn the screw counter-clockwise to raise the beater or clockwise to lower it.
  6. Lower the head.
  7. Repeat Step 3.
  8. Adjust and test until you get the correct clearance

It has to be repeated that setting the correct distance between the beater and the bowl does not eliminate scraping, but it is drastically reduced to about once or twice.

If you don’t want to scrape, I suggest you get a Flex Edge beater which has a flexible scraper on one side. Amazon.com has the lowest price.

Is The Artisan KitchenAid Mixer A Tilt Head Or A Bowl Lift?


It is a tilt head mixer because the head can be raised at an angle.

What for? Tilting the head provides space for attaching or removing beater, whip, hook and bowl. That space is also necessary when you have to scrape the bowl or mix manually.

Here are a couple of important reminders when using the tilt-head feature:

  • The locking pin must be unlocked before tilting the head.
  • Make sure the head is locked before running the mixer, otherwise it will wobble.

A tilt head mixer is your friend if you only have one good arm. There is no button to push. Simply raise the head backwards in one gentle sweep.

Note that the bowl of a tilt head stand mixer is fixed.

How Does It Behave When Running?

Does it shake and wobble? Yes, with difficult dough. Another issue attached to this is that the locking pin loosens when the head shakes.  Avoid using it for very stiff dough.

One more thing…

Is it quiet or noisy?

Not really quiet, but it’s not annoying. Lets’ just say you can use it with baby sleeping in another room.

Are There Really Ten Speeds in the KitchenAid Artisan Series?

Speed settings are shown in increments of “2”. It starts with “Stir”, and goes from 2 to 10. Yes, there are Speeds 3, 5, 7 and 9 which are located between Speeds 2, 4, 6, 8 and 10.

Do you need such fine adjustments in speed control? Not really. The five settings shown are sufficient for most mixing jobs.

Fast speed may not be attained or maintained with dense loads. Also, differences between speeds at higher settings may not be noticeable with heavy loads, big amounts or thick consistencies.

Is the slow start, slow enough?

The “STIR” function is to be used at the start of every mixing job. It runs at a slow enough speed just enough to incorporate the ingredients a bit before moving to a faster speed.

The goal is to prevent or reduce flour puffs and ingredient splatter.

If you have ever used an electric mixer without a slow start, you know what it’s like with flour and liquid flying off the bowl and into your work area or worst into your face .

Tip

Always start at “STIR” each time you add ingredient into the mix.

What Accessories Are Included With The Artisan Stand Mixer?

kitchen aid wire whiskIncluded in your purchase are the following accessories:

  • Coated Flat Beater for beating, blending and general mixing.
  • Aluminum Wire Whisk for incorporating air into cream, butter and egg whites to create a fluffy texture.
  • Coated C-Dough Hook for kneading dough for bread and pizza.
  • Stainless Steel 5-quart Bowl with handle
  • Plastic Splatter Shield guards against splashes and flour clouds.

The bowl with handle is easier to manage and move around. It reduces fatigue on the wrist, hand and fingers, especially, when the bowl is almost full.

Transferring batter from a bowl with no handle and scraping stuff that clings to its wall can be annoying. The bowl swings, and you have to hold tighter to prevent it which puts more pressure on your wrist and hand.

Let me tell you…the pouring shield has made my baking life easier.

Without it, I have to time the instance when I add powdered ingredients so they don’t fall into the turning beater. You know what happens if they do…flying powdery clouds.

With a splatter shield, there is one less matter to mind.

But, some folks are irked that it does not fit snugly on the bowl and just sits on top. It dislodges with a slight bump, which is true and which is one more thing to mind.

There is a reason for the loose fit:  it is quicker to remove and put back when you have to scrape batter off the bowl. Imagine if it fits tightly. You have to use both hands to remove it and put it back.

I prefer quicker manipulation and less mess to clean.

It’s individual. You can always choose not to use it.

What Attachments Come With KitchenAid Artisan 5-qt. Mixer?

If you haven’t already heard…

…this is not just a stand mixer.

Yes, you can turn it into an ice cream maker, a pasta maker, a grain mill, a juicer, a fruit and vegetable slicer, etc.

kitchen aid attachments

How is that possible?

With KitchenAid attachments.

They are not included with the main mixer unit, but can be purchased separately.

You can’t get them in one package, which gives you flexibility. It gives you the option to spend for what you want, need or have the budget for.  You can always buy more later if your needs change or when you have the money to spare.

There are some, like the various pasta attachments, that are available in sets if you want to save a bit.

Here is a complete list and detailed description of all stand mixer attachments from KitchenAid.

How do you use them with a KitchenAid 5-qt. Artisan stand mixer?

On the front of the motor head is a power hub where all attachments, except the ice cream maker, are coupled. Remove the metal cover to locate it.

Once an attachment is fitted properly, switch the machine as you would when using it as a mixer.

What speeds should you use with each attachment?

We have you covered. Below is a simple Speed Guide:

KitchenAid Attachments Speed Guide

Speed Setting

Can OpenerSpeed 2
Citrus JuicerSpeed 6
Food GrinderSpeed 4
Fruit/Vegetable StrainerSpeed 4
Grain MillSpeed 10
Ice Cream MakerSTIR
Pasta MakerSpeed 10
Rotor Slicer/ShredderSpeed 4

If you already have attachments which you used with another KitchenAid model, you can use it with this model. Kudos to KitchenAid for having the customer in mind in this respect.

How Do You Care For And Clean This Mixer and Its Accessories?

Before you ever use a KitchenAid Artisan series stand mixer, there’s one thing you have to do to avoid frustration.

An issue with a number of people who bought this product is…

…their batters or dough turned grey during their first attempts. And, several washings and scrubbings with soap and water proved futile.

What? Why?

The bowl is covered with a special coating which can’t be removed with ordinary washing.

How do you get rid of the blackish stuff then?

Scrub it using one of the following recommendations:

  1. A mixture of lemon juice and salt;
  2. Baking soda paste;
  3. BarKeeper’s Friend.

Customers lament that this instruction is not in the manual or the box.

lemon annd salt

Unplug the unit after using and before attempting to clean it. Wipe it with a damp towel making sure to also clean the accessory shaft.

Hate hand washing? Don’t worry.  All accessories are dishwasher safe.

How Tall and Heavy is the KitchenAid 5-Quart Artisan Mixer?

The dimensions are approximately 8 ¾ inches wide, 13 15/16 inches high and 14 1/8 inches deep.

Total height when the head is raised is around 17 ½ inches. Take this into account if you are going to place this underneath cabinets.

It is heavy at 26 pounds. Moving it around is not a pretty prospect, except, perhaps, if you need to free up counter space on a rare occasion. Otherwise, just designate a permanent space for it.

What Colors Are Available For The KitchenAid Mixer Artisan Series?

kitchen aid stand mixers

Dressed in lovely and attractive colors, you can’t help but covet it if you happen to see them lined up on display.

It is one of the most wished-for kitchen gadgets on brides’ wedding registries.

It’s not hard to see why. It has the widest selection of shades (39): bold reds, fiery pinks, dainty greens, sunny yellows and a lot more.

One of the most sought-after is the pink KitchenAid Artisan. Other popular colors are ice blue, grape, onyx and white. See all Artisan colors now.

What Else Should You Know?

  • KitchenAid says that the Artisan series 5 qt. stand mixer has been factory-adjusted so that the beater just clears the bowl, but several owners found that this is not so.
  • Do not attempt to scrape the bowl while the mixer is running. Switch off the unit and tilt the head. Some folks are bothered by this. Well, this is how it is with a planetary mixer, the beater moves around the bowl.
  • Leaking oil from the motor head is one of the most common issues in years past, but which very rarely crops up now. This indicates that lubricating oil has separated. It is the result of either using the mixer heavily or non-use for extended periods.

The solution? Let your mixer rest. Or, run it on Speed 10 for 2 minutes at least once a week to keep the grease lubricating and not separating.

Indeed, I have seen reviews that mention they haven’t used the mixer for months or years or seldom use it, then when they put it to work, the oil leaks. But, some got leaking oil on first use or the first few uses. Maybe, those units had sat at KitchenAid’s warehouse for some time.

  • If you think that a significant amount of oil had leaked, the manufacturer’s threshold is ¼ cup (not sure if anybody would bother to measure it), or the leak is frequent or when in doubt, call an authorized repair center.
  • You will find that mixing times in the recipe guide are reduced. KitchenAid recommends cutting mixing duration in half if your recipe is not adapted to a KitchenAid stand mixer because it completes a job fast.
  • Cord length is approximately 45 inches.
  • This product is covered by a 1 yr. replacement warranty.

Pros

  • Suits the needs of the typical household
  • Planetary mixing action ensures efficient mixing
  • Direct drive motor for higher efficiency and speed control
  • Bowl with comfort handle for easy control and reduced hand and arm fatigue
  • Pouring shield reduces splatter
  • Available in lovely colors
  • Use of several attachments
  • Adjustable beater to bowl clearance
  • Easy tilt-head

Cons

  • The pin that locks the head to the base easily loosens
  • Not for frequent use on stiff dough
  • Cannot scrape or mix content while mixer is running
  • Grey coating on the bowl of some units

What Do Consumer Reviews Say?

[Latest Update: July 15, 2016]
There are more than 7,000  KitchenAid Artisan stand mixer reviews on Walmart. Majority are positive (5 and 4 stars).

 

A very tiny percentage of reviewers have issues with it. And, most were in earlier years. The number of complaints have tapered off in recent years, so much so, that in 2013 there were only sporadic reports.

Recently, some customers say it mixes and kneads bread dough pretty well. Others report that it does not walk on the counter. These reports are opposite to those of earlier years.

The most common issues before 2013 are:

  • Units arriving busted or lasting  a few short months or less than a year;
  • Oil leaking from the mixers head;
  • The screw that locks the head keeps getting loose; and
  • The mixer getting hot with heavy load.

The most common  issue in 2016 is:

  • grey residue coming from the bowl which can’t be eliminated by washing with soap and water.

What are we to make of the reviews from the owners of a Artisan stand mixer?

  • The number of sales has jumped in the last 2 ½ years;
  • The number of positive ratings has surged in the last 2 ½ years;
  • There are improvements in the Artisan, so much so, that past complaints have not been reported in the last two years

Our Overall Opinion

The  KitchenAid Artisan 5 quart stand mixer has maintained its leadership in the stand mixer market. In spite of issues in earlier years, people continue to swoon over it. What makes it so popular?

It is the sweet spot in the arena of stand mixers, including KitchenAid’s. It caters to the needs of the typical household.

It is not so small and basic nor is it too big and powerful

Aesthetic does play a big role. You can’t help but swoon how that fiery pink will look so good in your kitchen, or how that sunny yellow will brighten it up.

Overall, we think this KitchenAid mixer is the best in terms of  usability versus cost.

Is it worth the fame?

It is. If your baking requirements are typical: daily cookies, cupcakes or pies, holiday baking and occasional bread making, this stand mixer will serve  you well.

If you require a mixer for frequent bread making and loaves of it a a time, the Pro Line is the toughest and biggest for home use.  The smaller Pro 600 series has enough muscle for bread making.

See The Lowest Priced KitchenAid Artisan Mixer on Walmart

Do you think the KitchenAid Artisan lives up to its name? Do you have one? We’d be glad to know of your experience. Share your thoughts in the comment section below.

In Category: KitchenAid
Show 8 Comments
  • Valerie 08/08/2016, 3:58 am

    Thank you for writing this review, and updating it for 2016! It’s good to know the ratings aren’t just for the pretty colors! You gave a lot of helpful information that I’m saving for future reference. Thank you again.

    • Renee Wells 09/08/2016, 10:45 pm

      Hello Valerie,

      Thank you for the appreciation. It means a lot to us and pushes us to do more to make this blog more beneficial to our readers.

      Cheers,

      Renee

  • Frances Anderson 26/03/2015, 9:01 am

    This is a most thorough review. Rarely doI find so much information on an item I am interested in. I have a Custom model I purchased in 1999 which has a max of 350 watts, made in the USA. (Not sure if they are still made here.). I don’t use it much anymore now that I am elderly and my children are grown and gone, actually, hardly at all. I did grind some meat recently and noticed some grease on the grind worm, so, I looked further and discovered some grease at the hub socket. My purpose of searching this item is to see if others have had this problem and if it would be an expensive repair. I will first try what was mentioned in your comments which is to let it run and get the oil moving. Thank you for so much information on this product.

    • Renee Wells 27/03/2015, 1:06 am

      Frances,

      Thank you for taking time to read through my review. That must be a hardy Custom model you have. It makes me feel good knowing someone finds value in my reviews.

      Cheers.

      Renee

    • P Ash 25/03/2016, 1:10 am

      Likely one of the best reviews I’ve ever read. I recently received this mixer as a gift, and wanted to learn a bit more about it. Thank you. I wish more products came with such insightful, useful, and well-written reviews.

      • Renee Wells 26/03/2016, 12:33 am

        Hello P Ash,

        Thank you for dropping by and sharing your experience.

        Cheers,

        Renee

  • Betty 13/03/2015, 1:20 pm

    I just got the KA Artisan 5 qt stand mixer. Your review is thorough & useful.

    Betty

    • Renee Wells 15/03/2015, 12:11 am

      Hi Betty,

      I’m glad that my review has helped you make a decision.

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