Ditto ditto for Kitchen Aid. I have the 6 qt, 525 watt professional model that handles 2 pounds (6-9 cups) of dough effortlessly. It's also used for grinding meat and juicing citrus fruits. A real workhorse that I use more than I initially imagined. Yeah, a real helper when it comes to screwdrivers made with fresh squeezed oranges!
If you, sadly, must get a bread machine, I believe that the brand Zojirushi has received the best reviews.
If you plan to make breads rich with whole grains and sticky starters, you must own a machine that has specific settings for them. The machines that outperform the rest at this writing (October 1999) are the Zojirushi (the "Zo"); Home Bakery BCC-15 and BBC-V20; Breadman TR800; Welbilt ABM7500; and Toastmaster Breadmaker's Hearth Breadmaker and Cook's Oven 1193. All have a strong kneading action and are able to work the stiffest doughs; many have a Dough Only setting for overnight starters.
I have been using the Kenwood Model KM 800 electric kitchen mixer for two years now. During the preceding eight year period, I owned and used the Kenwood 500. I have the three standard accessories (whisk, dough hook and K mixer)and we purchased additional accessories which have worked on both models. The latter include the juicer, blender, grain mill, and coffee grinder.
This fantastic machine is the ever-dependable, sturdy workhorse in our kitchen and I have used it successfully without ever having a single problem with it. I grind my wheat and corn to make flour using the grain mill; I make meringues and souffles using the whisk for the egg whites; I create fruit smoothies using the blender; I grind fresh coffee beans and make my own flavor blend with the texture I desire using the coffee grinder; most of all I use it as a mixer for all of my baking. We bake fresh bread and breakfast cakes every single day at home.
According to my friends who are the owners of my old Kenwood 500, the machine is still working great!