4.5 or 5 Quart vs. 6 Quart? Which KitchenAid Stand Mixer Is Right for Me? (Size Does Matter!!)
Which KichenAid is Right for Me?
When I purchased my KitchenAid Artisian 6 Quart Stand Mixer, I basically picked it because it was red. Nothing scientific about that...just wanted a pretty red one. I had always wanted a KitchenAid Stand Mixer, but when I purchased it, I wasn't very familiar with the product so, like I said, I picked the red one (not very scientific, I know). It happened to be a 6 quart mixer. If I had a time machine, I wish I would've picked a 5 quart mixer. I believe I would have used the mixer more often, and been more satisfied with the results.
The KitchenAid 4.5 or 5-Quart Stand Mixer
There are basically three big differences between the 4.5 or 5 quart KitchenAid Stand Mixer and the 6 quart KitchenAid Stand Mixer: size, power, and style.
Size: It's..well...a lot....smaller. Nothing technical, or scientific, here. It's just not as big. Which, in this case, I found to be a good thing. Unless I was making huge batches of biscotti, pizza dough, or the like, I found the 6 quart bowl to be too big, thus allowing and my batter to flop and spatter about, instead of mixing with ease.
Power: The 4.5 quart Kitchenaid Stand Mixer provides you with 275W of mixing power, and a bowl large enough to mix dough for up to 6 dozen cookies, and dough for 3 loaves of bread. This size model is ideal for making cakes, cookies, homemade pasta dough, and light breads.
The 5 quart KitchenAid Artisan Stand Mixer provides 325 watts of mixing power, and effortlessly tackles thick brownie batter and bread dough. The bowl is large enough to mix dough for up to 9 dozen cookies, and dough for 4 loaves of bread.
Style: The 4.5 and 5 quart mixers feature a tilt-back mixer head, which allows for easy access to the beaters and bowl. A lock lever holds the mixer head securely in place when lowered, and the base of the bowl twists and locks to the base of the Stand Mixer.
KitchenAid Professional Series 6-Quart Stand Mixer
The 6 quart KitchenAid Stand Mixer is much more powerful that the 4.5 or 5 qt. model, as it comes with a 575W motor with a direct-drive, all-steel gear transmission, allowing you to whip up huge, dense batches of goodies. The 6qt. model also features a larger bowl with a "lift out design" vs. the smaller twist on bowl attachment. In this model, the mixer assembly is moved into an upward position when placing the bowl into position (by rotating the side crank), then lowered with a lever on the side when mixing is set to occur.
Features Common to All KitchenAid Stand Mixers
There are many features common to every KitchenAid Stand Mixer, regardless of the size. The mixing process is one - ingredients are thoroughly combined as the beater spins clockwise as the shaft spins counterclockwise; moving the beater around the bowl, eliminating the need to manually rotate the bowl. All KitchenAid Stand Mixers offer 10 speeds, and all models come with a pouring splash shield, that sits around the top of the bowl and prevents ingredient splash-out. There's a chute that makes it convenient and easy to add ingredients.
Finally, three attachments are typically included with all models: a flat beater, a wire whip and a kneading hook. All three attachments are easily secured to the beater shaft with a simple lift and twist, and add to the versatility of the mixer. The flat beater is the ideal accessory for mixing normal to heavy batters. The dough hook mixes and kneads heavier yeast doughs, eliminating the need of hand-kneading. The wire whip incorporates the air required for creating delicious whipped cream and yummy fluffy cakes.
And the Winner Is...
Unless you are a professional baker, and are "whipping up" copious amounts of batters and doughs, the 6 quart KitchenAid Stand Mixer is probably too large for you. It is for me. Sure, it looks gorgeous sitting on my counter, but so would the smaller 4.5 quart or 5 quart model.
All things considered, the 5 quart KitchenAid Stand Mixer wins. It's powerful enough to mix bread doughs and stiff batters, and large enough to meet holiday baking demands, yet not so large that my everyday family recipes get lost in the mix (get it?)!
No matter which size model best fits your needs, there are numerous attachments that can be added, allowing you to make pasta, sausage, and juices with ease. Of course, these attachments are sold separately.