Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Merry Christmas to ME!

I got my Christmas gift yesterday!

In November I wrote about the Cuisinart stand mixer I'd decided I wanted for Christmas.

Cuisinart stand mixer

At the time, I'd decided on the Cuisinart instead of what I'd originally planned to get, a KitchenAid.

Kitchen Aid Artisan mixer

When we were ready to purchase the Cuisinart, though, Amazon was out of stock. I could have bought it from a third-party seller on Amazon for about the same price, but I wasn't happy with the third-party sellers' reviews. And everywhere else was charging more.

So I decided to wait. And in the meantime, I remembered seeing that Kenmore Elite (by Sears) had come out with a heavy-duty stand mixer. I decided to look into it--and I liked what I saw. I waited for it to go on sale, and yesterday I picked it up for almost $50 off the normal price. Isn't is pretty?

Kenmore Elite stand mixer

Kenmore Elite stand mixer

Kenmore Elite stand mixer

I haven't used it yet (except testing to make sure it works, without anything in the bowl.) When I've had a chance to use it for various recipes, I'll post a review. But for now, I'll let you know why I chose it. This will be pretty in-depth, in the hopes of helping others who may now or in the future be considering these mixers. (In other words, if you're not in the market for a mixer...this may bore you to tears!)

Several features were important and/or interesting to me as I was comparing three brands of mixers: KitchenAid, Cuisinart, and Kenmore Elite.

Warranty:
  • KitchenAid: 1 year warranty. This is what put KitchenAid out of the running for me. As I read reviews on Amazon, I found that many people feel KitchenAid mixers aren't as sturdy as they used to be. I read multiple stories of people who had KitchenAid mixers for a relatively short time--but unfortunately over a year--and then had issues serious enough to make repairs impractical. Chances are the mixer would last for years, but I didn't want to risk getting a "lemon" that broke after 13 months.
  • Cuisinart: 3 year warranty, 5 years on the motor. Nice!
  • Kenmore Elite: 5 year warranty (does not cover beaters and bowls), in-store service. If something happens, I don't have to mail this heavy mixer to a service center; I just have to bring it to the nearest Sears where it will be repaired or replaced. Very nice.
Bowls:
My previous mixer (a Sunbeam, which has lasted me ten years) has a large and a small bowl, and I have loved that convenience.
  • KitchenAid: Tilt-head mixers come with a large bowl. (Size varies.) A smaller (3-quart) bowl can be purchased for a little under $30. Small bowls cannot be used with the lift-bowl mixers.
  • Cuisinart: Comes with a 5.5-quart bowl. No smaller bowls available. If a smaller bowl had been available, I would have stuck with the Cuisinart.
  • Kenmore Elite: Comes with a 5-quart bowl and a 3-quart bowl.
Attachments:
  • KitchenAid: Various attachments are readily available, since KitchenAid is such a popular brand.
  • Cuisinart: Various attachments (including some cool ones like a blender) are readily available online, though probably not sold by as many stores as KitchenAid.
  • Kenmore Elite: Uses KitchenAid brand attachments. That's convenient!
Power:
Wattage varies on the different brands/models, but I have read that wattage is not a true measure of how powerful a mixer is. From the reviews I read, I felt that any of the three brands would be powerful enough for me. (I would have purchased at least a mid-grade KitchenAid model.)

Timer:
  • KitchenAid: Not a feature.
  • Cuisinart: Built-in timer that will shut off the mixer after a certain length of time. I'm not sure how often I would use this, but I find it to be a very cool feature.
  • Kenmore Elite: Not a feature.
Pouring shield/splash guard:
This is to make it easy to add ingredients while the mixer is running. (Please see the second comment in the Comments section below--some users don't find this feature helpful. I have seen one or two reviews online that express a similar opinion.)
Price:
  • KitchenAid: The Artisan (5-quart) stand mixer is currently $242.99 on Amazon, with a $30 mail-in rebate bringing the price down to $212.99. No tax.
  • Cuisinart: The 5.5-quart model is currently $260.08 on Amazon. However, in the past I have seen it for just under $250 with a free food processor attachment by mail. No tax.
  • Kenmore Elite: Normally $249.99. It is currently on sale for $224.99 (through 1/16/10.) Online it is an extra 10% off, bringing the price to $202.49. You can order it online for in-store pick-up at that price. The black mixers are not online; only white and red are available. My local store matched the online price on the black mixer (even though the Sears website said that price was not eligible for price matching.) Sales tax added brought the total up to $219.20. These go on sale frequently. A manager at Sears told me most things go on sale about once a month, but I know this mixer has been on sale two out of the last three weeks. If you decide to buy one, wait for the sale.
In a few weeks or so I'll be back to report how my new mixer is performing!

8 comments:

Autumn said...

Ack!! Ok so you sold me on not getting the Kitchenaid brand (thanks!) but now I dont know if I want a Cuisinart or Kenmore Elite!! BAH! Lol. I guess I'll have to check into my own review......that splash guard feature alone might sell me though...I need one of those NOW and I have a simple handheld non brand thing from Walmart! Lol.
Thanks for posting this Beth, VERY HELPFUL!!!!

~Autumn

Buffie said...

Just my note on the splash guard. I have a KitchenAid mixer with the splash guard attachment. I've had the maixer for 7 years now and I only used the splash guard twice. I've just found it to be a nusiance that makes adding ingredients more difficult. If you know someone that has one you might want to borrow it and try it out before you spend money on the shield.

Call Me Cate said...

I have the KitchenAid. I don't remember the details exactly but we managed to get it for about $120 due to sales, coupons, etc. I've been happy with it but I don't use my mixer nearly as much as you seem to use yours.

That said, I must agree that I never use my splash guard. I don't even know where it is. It was such a nuisance for pouring in ingredients that I just never bothered. Splash away!

Hope you'll be very happy with your new mixer!

nopinkhere said...

If you want to try my K-A pouring shield, you are welcome to. On second thought, you can just have it! I never use it. I just clean up the mess if it happens. Let me know if you want it. It's just taking up space in my cabinet.

Our Scoop said...

I love my Kitchen Aid. Kind of in love with all Kitchen Aid products. Even toured their factory and outlet store when in Ohio with Paul on a business trip! I never use my splash guard either! How funny :) Your mixer is GORGEOUS. I love it and am so happy for you!! If a Sunbeam lasts 10 years - your Kenmore Elite should last 50!

Rabbit said...

I have a Kitchen Aid that is (seriously) at least 40 years old and I absolutely love it. I have had it in my possession for several years now (it was a hand-me-down) and never had a problem with mine at all. It's a trooper! Of course I am fastidious in cleaning and upkeep (thank you unmedicated OCD). But I will concede that the idiot splash guard is a pain in the hoo-ha. I have used it twice and both times made a bigger mess that I do without it. In theory it's great; in practice, it's a hot mess - and not the cute kind in a tutu and too much eyeliner.

addhumorandfaith said...

That is something I NEVER had, and always planned on getting "some day". Now I just don't do enough cooking to make it practical, so enjoy it for me too will you? :)

Anonymous said...

How have you liked it this past year? We (well.... really just me) have been thinking about adding a mixer to the Christmas wish list, and I remembered your post about them, and all the good reasons you had for not going with the KitchenAid. So I was just wondering what your review would be of it after having it for awhile? :)

Claire