Cuisinart vs. Kitchenaid stand mixers

Discussion in 'Cooking Equipment Reviews' started by anneke, Dec 11, 2007.

  1. anneke

    anneke

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    I know there's been some discussion about this, but nothing conclusive. If you've had experience with both, I'd love to hear from you.

    I'm looking at a Kitchenaid, 425 w or more, 5 qt, budget is a consideration, preferably an all-metal construct.

    Would like to know how it compares to the Cuisinart 5 qt, 800w (is the power difference as dramatic as it sounds?).

    This is for a household, some breadmaking, may like to get attachments eventually.

    Thanks for your input!
     
  2. robeezee3

    robeezee3

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    I own the pre-cursor to the Cuisinart (the DeLonghi 7 Qt), as well as a few KitchenAids and a genuine Hobart 5 Qt N-50. Hobart originally made the 4.5 and 5 quart mixers, but sold its KitchenAid division to Whirlpool about 20 years ago, and Whirlpool has been making modifications ever since - some good and some not so good.

    You also may want to keep in mind that the current Cuisinart line started out life as the Kenwood brand mixer (originally sold in UK), was then sold in the US under the Rival brand for a while, then under the Delonghi brand, and now, with a very modest redesign (more plastic) the Cuisinart brand. DeLonghi was responsible for ramping up the wattage of the mixer to 800 watts for the 5 qt. and a Frankensteinian 1000 watts for the 7 quart model - all as an advertising gimmic. While the lights do temporararily dim when I turn on my 1000 watt mixer (as in a vintage prison movie), this is because of its wasteful draw of electricity, and not because it is delivering more power at the beater, as you will see in my explanation below. Reviews have not been stellar for the Cuisinart - for either sized model. Depending upon how well this unit sells for Cuisinart, you may find it popping up under yet another brand name, with or without slight modifications, or it may just go away, leaving you scrounging for accessories (those that are available now are few and far between) and repair parts as well. So, this is not a mixer for the person to whom it is important for the brand to persist for years to come.

    KitchenAid began putting plastic gearbox covers (the housing that holds the gears together and keeps them properly meshed as they turn) in their mixers some years ago, which has lead to durability problems and millions of complaints about them. KitchenAid has promised to revert to a metal gearbox cover in future, but I find it very difficult to trust a company that has cheapened an appliance advertised and sold as being of "heirloom" quality and durability. KitchenAid has "retaliated" by flooding the consumer market with a confusing array of mixers (in 1985, they had two models, the 4.5 qt head lift up and the 5 qt crank up). From making a few simple models well, they now have opted to make many models poorly, or so it seems.

    Either brand should be fine for the non-breadmaker who does light chores like whipping cream (high speed but low torque requirements). However, if one makes bread, one will find the Cuisinart skipping all over the counter (it is light), versus finding the KitchenAid's gears stripped after comparatively few uses. Its not a pretty mixing landscape for home bakers unless one is willing to shell out the money for the Hobart N-50, which is the granddaddy of them all, and has only 3 speeds. (The Viking mixer has also fallen into disrepute due to reliability problems, and so fails to offer any relief on the reliability front).

    My suggestion would be to phone KitchenAid and inquire if they have gotten around to correcting the gearbox cover problem of the past few years. The rep will invariably tell you that their mixers are made with all steel gears, but this is not the issue - if the gearbox cover cracks from the heat, those steel gears misalign and basically self-destruct, leaving you with pieces of steel gears inside your machine after you've heard some terribly expensive-sounding gnashing. The question is "what is the gearbox cover made of - plastic, or metal"? If KitchenAid can assure you that it has returned to the use of a metal gearbox cover, I would go for the KitchenAid. Also, with KitchenAid, you'll always be assured of an adequate variety of accessories because the brand is unlikely to go away.

    Regarding your inquiry about wattage, wattage has NO correlation with power. Wattage is the measurement of how much power the mixer motor consumes. And the notion that the more watttage one feeds into a motor, the more power it will put out out is completely false. A poor quality motor that is inefficient will consume lots of electricity (wattage), but not give it back to the user in the form of task power. For example, my industrial Hobart N-5 purrs along with a tremendous amount of task power, all the time using only 300 watts of power. My Delonghi (1000 watts) generates more heat and noise, but is the less powerful of the two, though each is adequate for light chores. Much of my pleasure in cooking comes from using appliances and implements that are finely and adequately engineered, as opposed to being on the ragged edge of their engineering, ready, in this case, at the sight of heavy cookie dough, to require a trip to the repair shop, requisite with all the awfully annoying and time consuming phone conversations with reps to get the thing fixed.....Which is why I bought the Hobart N-50 and abide by its 3 speed limitation and high (~$1000) price tag.

    Hope this helps.
    Bob
     
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  3. anneke

    anneke

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    Thank you Bob for being so thorough and insightful. Unfortunately, the Cuisinart was purchased. Haven 't heard any reviews yet from the giftee but so far they 'love the look of it'. I don't think they'll be using it that often and we got an extremely good deal on it. I wasn't thrilled about forking out big money for a 'cheap' Kitchenaid with plastic parts, but I did have my suspicions about the wattage on the Cuisinart, which you confirmed. I guess time will tell. Thanks again for the great review.
     
  4. robeezee3

    robeezee3

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    Well, the Cuisinart IS a very good-looking mixer, and happily, Cuisinart has wisely refrained from modifying the excellent tool design of the original Kenwood (the wire whip is the best design out there).

    Good luck and keep us posted on how your friends fare with it. I would be delighted to hear that its performance has pleased its recipient.
    Bob
     
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  5. foodpump

    foodpump

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    Hold on there, as many have said, do not get fooled by the "wattage", this is no indication of the "guts" of the machine, only how much power it draws, not puts out. There are many kinds of "Kitchenaids". The one I use, and have been using for many years is the 5 qt "professional series", mdl # k5ss. Used on daily in a commercial kitchen for almost 8 years without problems until it "dissapeared" one day (coincidenatlly when one of my employees left too), so I replaced it with the same model (k5ss) which I bought at Costco: Lift-up bowl and a choice of only 3 colours, I think. 4 yrs old and still going strong on a daily basis in a professional kitchen.

    Keep in mind that bread dough is hard on many mixers. Even the 20 qt commercial Hobarts are sold with the explicit warning that if used for pizza or bagel dough Hobart will refuse any warranty work.
     
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  6. rouxtheday

    rouxtheday

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    Bob, I think you may have gotten some of your brands muddled. FWIW, the Cuisinart brand started out as just that. The company was acquired by Conair about 20 years ago, and is still a division of that company.

    Kenwood, a UK manufacturer, joined the deLonghi group a few years back. DeLonghi still makes and sells stand mixers and other appliances under the deLonghi name. I just purchased the deLonghi 5-qt stand mixer.

    All the points about wattage are correct. Torque is what counts, and good luck finding that information. The best you can usually do is evaluate each model based on the pounds of flour it's rated to handle without overworking the motor.

    My main reasons for choosing deLonghi were (1) it has a 10-yr motor warranty (2) it's made of metal (3) numerous user complaints about the plastic gearbox in the KitchenAid and (4) my own expensive and ongoing performance and reliability experiences with the five, nearly-new KitchenAid appliances in my kitchen.

    I know you've already made the purchase, Anneke, but if you'll find it at all reassuring, Cuisinart has worked to significantly improve its products over the past few years, and they are almost always well-rated overall. The biggest risk probably lies in the fact that the machine is fairly lightweight, and that Cuisinart has only been in the stand mixer business for about a year, so the product is not yet proven.
     
  7. robeezee3

    robeezee3

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    Dear Roux,

    I don't believe I've gotten my information confused. While DeLonghi may still be selling its mixers, the identical mixers appeared in the marketplace a few years back sporting the Rival logo. Identical in key features that are telling.

    I am not claiming to know whether the changes in product monikers through time was the result of mergers, a line buyout, etc, but the acquisition of Cuisinart by Conair is an irrelevant aside. While Rival sold the Kenwood mixer, the typical "K" was obvious on the flat beater. When the brand was passed on to Delonghi, the first models sold bore the "K" on the flat beater, and was later revised so that it would not be so obvious that this was a former Kenwood product.

    Now that Cuisinart has made a few changes to the same product handled by Delonghi (witness the SAME 7 qt bowl that twists on to the base in the same manner, the identical gearbox, with outlets on the same parts of the machine body - these outlets accept the same accessories as did the Kenwood, Rival and Delonghi), the same whip with plastic bib, and the identical way that the machines fasten their tools to the hub - not similar, mind you, but the same). Minor changes have taken place. For example, when Kenwood and Rival owned the brand, there was a manually resettable overload/overheat fuse that could be accessed on the body of the machine when the head was in the far back position. Once Delonghi put its imprimateur on the mixer, the accessible, resettable fuse disappeared inside the mixer (in which case, if the mixer overheats, one needs to wait for the thermal overload to reset itself). Cuisinart appears not to have done much fiddling, and has left the overload switch inside the mixer, an unfortunate choice.

    Of course, I agree with you on wattage, and its being a red herring as far as providing information on how much power the machine has - in fact, all the issues you raised about reliability drove me to purchase the original Hobart machine, which, I thought, was the equivalent of purchasing a 20 year old KitchenAid.
    Bob
     
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  8. mikerocha

    mikerocha

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    Wow. Robeezee3, you really put your heart and soul into your reviews. How do you get your information? I think you must be a small appliance dealer or repairer to know so much. Anyway, thanks for the info.

    I, personally, have a KitchenAid Artisan mixer that I bought around a year ago. It's rated at 325 watts. I'm not a huge baker ... I don't make bread. But, my son and I make chocolate chip cookies fairly often. To me, that dough seems fairly heavy, but my mixer handles it with ease. That's my 2 cents on the KitchenAid mixer.

    As far as a Cuisinart stand mixer goes, I had my friend write a review for the Cuisinart 5.5 Quart Stand Mixer in White. You can follow the link to read the review on my web site. He swears by his Cuisinart, although I've never been over there while he's been using it. I hope this info helps.

    Mike Rocha

    Publisher, SmallApplianceDepot.com
     
  9. eyescreamscoop

    eyescreamscoop

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    I can't say I've ever used a Cuisinart mixer.... But I HAVE gone through 5 "professional" quality Kitchen Aid mixers in the last 4 years... As soon as you do something other than lightweight use... BOOM! Grain mill, grinder... That's what does it at work, hands down. There's a 500 watt KA at my parents' as well, bought in... 2006? 2007? and it griiiiiinds on bread dough. Anything heavier than whipped cream, I swear it wants to snap into pieces. We sent it back the first day after we bought it, and the replacement had Exactly the same issue!!



    ...And yet, I own a Kitchen Aid older than I am (30!)-- It was my parents' wedding gift-- that works consistantly better than anything I've encountered in a working kitchen... So I'd recommend checking eBay for KA from the early 80s, when they were still made by Hobart. The parts all still fit, so... I know that when mine finally dies, I'll be on eBay, and not a store at the mall... Just my opinion, though...
     
  10. pat32rf

    pat32rf

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    As a retired service electrician I had to sign up and jump in about this power subject.

    If you need more power/speed/torque you MUST up your wattage. All things in the geartrain being equal, a 600w motor will give you TWICE as much power/torque than a 300w motor. I believe it's Newtons 3rd law (or something). There is NO free lunch. You cannot get out more than you put in (unless you are in politics).

    A 600w motor will not consume 600w at all times however. If the load is light, it may only be using 150w, just like a 300w unit would under the same conditions. If you increase the load on a 300w unit to the point where it NEEDS 400w, you will either trip the overcurrent device/breaker/overload, or burn out the motor.

    All of this assumes that the rest of the gear train can withstand a 300 or 600watt load in the first place. The older units could, the newer ones are more "engineered" and operate closer to the failure line. Just a cost cutting step that most companies must do to keep the bean-counters happy. (plastic gear casings and white metal gears)

    My compaint is with those stores that do not give satisfaction garranttees, but direct you back to the manufacturer once you have left the premises. If the unit I bought cannot do the job, I don't want it repaired/replaced, I want a DIFFERENT model !
     
  11. thegreatfixer

    thegreatfixer

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    robeezee3 said

    "You also may want to keep in mind that the current Cuisinart line started out life as the Kenwood brand mixer (originally sold in UK), was then sold in the US under the Rival brand for a while, then under the Delonghi brand,"

    this is great info just one point the Brand name in the US was Hamilton Beach not Rival
     
  12. abunker

    abunker

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    What about the bosch mixer?  How does that compare.  I have the Jr. and there is nothing it can't handle, but I want the big one so I can do five loaves of bread at a time instead of one or two.
     
  13. boar_d_laze

    boar_d_laze

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    Is there any actual evidence that Cuisinart acquired the rights to build the DeLonghi/Kenwood?  Or is that all [ahem] speculation?

    Similarly the Hamilton Beach commercial machine has some of the same styling cues, but is there some reason to believe it's a secret DeLonghi/Kenwood?  Hamilton Beach merged with Procter Silex in 1990, but they compete with DeLonghi -- again AFAIK.  If there's information that HB or HB/PS ever marketed Kenwood built machines, I'd be very interested in seeing it. 

    DeLonghi bought Kenwood in 2001, outright and is doing just fine, thank you very much.  They stopped selling mixers in the US, but they continue in production (in China) and are still sold under the Kenwood name in the UK.

    I'm open minded about both Cuisinart and HB, but would like to see the bases for the beliefs.  As nearly as I can figure out most of the speculation in this thread is [cough] mistaken. 

    With a little physics, the wattage thing is not that complicated.  Otherwise, it's complicated.  Some machines with lower wattage ratings manage to do more work than some machines with higher ratings.  This has something to do with how the power is transmitted -- the gear train for instance -- and quite a lot to do with the difference between torque and wattage.  Lots of watts is very nice for turning high rpm against low resistance; but you want torque when your machine is cranking at a low speed kneading a stiff dough.  This is true whether or not you were an electrician. 

    My almost entirely internet based research leads me to believe that KA has resolved, at least for now, it's reliability problems.  Almost all of the complaints concerning KA are based on the long discontinued, older machines with plastic gear housings.  For those of us burned by the bad design, that's cold comfort. 

    The Cuisinarts have a decent reputation as well. 

    Vikings not so much.

    There's not much user information out on the "commercial" Hamilton Beach, but what little there is seems positive.  That said, I've heard they don't do well on beating small quantities of cream or egg whites -- amounts which are more conveneint to do with a hand mixer or a whisk anyway.  The smaller Hamilton Beach machines are very cute, but obviously not suitable for bread use. 

    I don't own either, but more internet research leads me to believe that the best mixers for home bakers who want to do a fair amount of bread are the belt-driven (as opposed to gear driven), come from beneath, Bosch and Elextrolux mixers.  If and when I buy another mixer, and if I can manage to tear myself away from all my KA attachments, it would be one of those.

    BDL
     
    Last edited: Sep 24, 2010
  14. ryan.brosseau1

    ryan.brosseau1

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    There is some evidence to support the claim that the Cuisinart/ Kenwood etc are all the same machine at least mechanically: if you buy aftermarket accessories they are interchangeable. If you look up new paddles and whisks etc, the same parts # is listed to fit all of those brands. Not definitive proof, but it's not likely that so many machines would have the exact same bowl shape to accommodate interchangeable parts.

    This is most likely a technology/ patent/ design etc etc licensing agreement. This happens all the time with appliances, cars etc. Did you know that Chevy you drive is really a Suzuki? and on and on. 
     
    Last edited: Sep 27, 2010
  15. cycle1667

    cycle1667

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    Robocoup has always been good to me.

    The worm gear in the kitchen aid is made of plastic and breaks easily.

    _________________

    Scotsman Ice Machine
     
    Last edited: Oct 12, 2010
  16. boar_d_laze

    boar_d_laze

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    Originally Posted by cycle1667  
    And "searing seals in the juices."  Time to update your store of conventional wisdom and old chef's tales.  KA went back to metal gears years ago. 

    Also, while I'm not a KA repairman, I destroyed a first generation "Pro."  It's my understanding that the "fail safe" spur gear, not the worm, which failed most often by far.      

    BDL
     
    Last edited: Oct 12, 2010
  17. boar_d_laze

    boar_d_laze

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    Originally Posted by ryan.brosseau1  [​IMG]
    It's a nice piece of reasoning, but flawed. 

    The meat of the question as to whether or not they're "same same," is whether or not the motors, drives and other guts are also standardized.  So far, all you've said is Cuisinart and DeLonghi use the same hub and bowl shapes.  The fact is the companies are separate business entities using unrelated manufacturing facilities. 

    It's safe to venture that at some point, for one reason or another, one, the other, or both decided to standardize some of the parts.  Possibly to get better OEM pricing, possibly to avoid going to the trouble and expense of setting up a factory to make their own, or any one or combination of other reasons.  It seems to me that anything beyond that is only speculation.

    Yes, I'd heard globalization was worldwide.

    BDL
     
    Last edited: Oct 12, 2010
  18. cycle1667

    cycle1667

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    My apologies, it's been awhile since I had to pull apart my mixer.
     
  19. chefedb

    chefedb

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    I know a few pastry chefs(mostly European trained who swear by Electrolux. I have no experience with them. What I can tell you is that 90% of the cruise ships use Electrolux commercial stoves, ovens,mixers warmers etc. and claim good results.The cruise industry is very efficient and EXTREMELY cost consciece .  If they can figure a way to save 1 toothpick they will.So I am assuming Electrolux comes in at good bid price and has fewer repairs, I will try and find out as I am going on cruise tomorrow. 
     
  20. boar_d_laze

    boar_d_laze

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    Electrolux stand mixers (called the Asssistent) are very powerful, very expensive, and very reliable.  First choice for a home bread maker who can afford one.   Bosch probably come in second in terms of their abilities to handle realistic batch sizes of a variety of bread doughs.  Then the various "come from the top" mixers.

    BDL