In the world of stand mixers, one name stands above the rest: KitchenAid. When I was putting together my wedding registry, one of the first items I added was a pear-green KitchenAid stand mixer, crossing my fingers that someone might be nice enough to buy it. But then I was given a Breville 5-quart stand mixer to try out and test for review here, and a week later I took the KitchenAid off my registry. Why did I change my mind?
First, you should know I am a stand mixer newbie. I have never owned one, and can count on one hand the number of times I've used one at work or at a friend's house. I didn't care about brands when I pulled the Breville out of the box; I was just excited to try some of the recipes I had avoided (brioche! marshmallows!) because I didn't own a stand mixer.
So I put it to work, making cake batters, double batches of cookies, bread dough, and those homemade marshmallows. Along the way, I began to realize the Breville has features the KitchenAid doesn't, features I would certainly miss if that pear-green mixer actually did land on my front porch.
Here are the stand-out features of the Breville mixer. I know that the KitchenAid has some of these as well, but I just wanted to tell you what stood out to me.
• A well-designed front handle which makes it easy to lift the 20-pound appliance onto the counter.
• A thermo-cutoff system, which automatically switches off the mixer if the motor begins to overheat. I never triggered this feature, but I imagine it would help protect the motor if you do a lot of heavy-duty bread-baking.
• An easy to operate dial control, with clear, simple displays that translate the 12 speeds of the mixer into baking terms like "knead," "fold" or "whip."
• A digital timer that can count up or down, which is my number-one favorite feature. Counting down means you can set the mixer to a certain amount of time and step away. When the time is up, the mixer stops and your batter isn't overbeaten because you were distracted by a phone call. Counting up means you can figure out the timing of your favorite recipes — how long to whip the eggs before you fold them into the batter, for instance — making your baking even more precise. The control dial includes a "pause" setting, which stops the mixer and pauses the timer, so you can add more ingredients or wash a spatula without disrupting the timer.
The mixer is solidly built, with a 550-watt motor that feels powerful but is surprisingly quiet. Included with the mixer is a flat beater, a scraper beater, a wire whip, a dough hook, a spatula, and a pouring shield. For light batters, the scraper beater does an excellent job of reaching the edges of the bowl, as some of the above photos show.
My only minor complaint is that it takes two hands to tilt up the head — one to hit the tilt-release button and one to push up on the front handle — which can be inconvenient if one hand is slippery with butter or covered with wet dough. (That, and the fact that it doesn't fit under my cupboards! But that is the fault of my wonky rental kitchen, not the mixer.) It is a small issue with an appliance that is otherwise a pleasure to use. If I have to return the mixer to Breville post-review, it won't be a KitchenAid taking its place; it will be another Breville.
• Find it: Breville 5-Quart Die-Cast Stand Mixer, $271.90 at Amazon
Do you have a non-KitchenAid stand mixer? Why did you choose it?
Related: Should I Buy a Tilt-Head or Bowl-Lift KitchenAid Mixer?
Apartment Therapy Media makes every effort to test and review products fairly and transparently. The views expressed in this review are the personal views of the reviewer and this particular product review was not sponsored or paid for in any way by the manufacturer or an agent working on their behalf. However, the manufacturer did give us the product for testing and review purposes.
(Images: Anjali Prasertong)