The KitchenAid Classic Series Stand Mixer is well suited to light tasks such as whipping cream and blending cake batter. This stand mixer looks similar to the more expensive KitchenAid Artisan but it has a less powerful motor (250 watts vs. 325 watts) and a 4.5-quart bowl. It comes with a flat beater, dough hook and whisk. Several power attachments are also available for purchase. This model carries a one-year warranty.
Lots of bang for your buck. Reviewers and owners alike say the KitchenAid Classic Series Stand Mixer outperforms more expensive mixers when kneading bread dough, mixing cookie dough or whipping cream. However, some owners complain that the motor isn't quite powerful enough for kneading bread dough on a regular basis.
Professional reviewers, such as the editors at Cook's Illustrated magazine, agree. During testing, the Classic Series mixer performed well at creaming and whipping but editors say it's not "cut out for kneading dough." Furthermore, heavy jobs caused the machine to shake a lot. Still, editors say, "While not as powerful as more expensive KitchenAid models, this mixer is a great value."
Owners posting to Amazon.com, Viewpoints.com and Walmart.com are overwhelmingly enthusiastic about the KitchenAid Classic Series Stand Mixer; many say they have been using theirs for a decade or longer. On the other hand, several reviewers say that while older units tended to last for decades, newer units aren't built with the same quality. Users complain about plastic inner components that wear down easily with use. Still, most reviewers agree that the KitchenAid Classic Series is the best value when it comes to budget-priced stand mixers.
Saves time and effort. Owners praise the KitchenAid Classic for its ease of use and say the dishwasher-safe components make the unit easy to clean (with the exception of the wire whip). The mixer also receives praise for its simple controls and adjustable mixer arm, which reduces the need to scrape the sides of the bowl as you combine ingredients.
The Classic Series' bowl lacks a handle, which may be a drawback for some users. A few owners also say it's hard to add ingredients while the mixer is in use without creating a mess. A pouring shield -- available for separate purchase -- can help to alleviate this problem.
Sleek styling, but only available in one color. Much like the KitchenAid Artisan Series, many users praise the classic design of the KitchenAid Classic Series. That's a good thing, because the mixer takes up a lot of space, and most reviewers say it's too heavy to move frequently. One key difference between these two KitchenAid mixer lines is that the Classic is only available in white.
Not too loud. In professional tests, the KitchenAid Classic was relatively quiet compared to other stand mixers. User reviews don't often note noise levels.
The KitchenAid Classic Series Stand Mixer is a top choice because it excels at mixing and whipping jobs, although it struggles a bit with heavy-duty jobs such as kneading bread dough. Its 4.5-quart bowl is fine for most basic needs, but large quantities strain the motor. If you need a larger mixer, the KitchenAid Artisan Series Stand Mixer (*Est. $350) has a 5-quart mixing bowl.
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Excellent Editors at ConsumerReports.org test the KitchenAid Classic Series Stand Mixer and 29 other models. They provide an easy-to-read chart with ratings for whipping time, mixing, kneading, convenience and noise.
Review: Stand Mixer Ratings, Editors of ConsumerReports.org, June 2012
2. Cook's Illustrated Magazine
Very Good Editors at Cook's Illustrated magazine ask the question, "Can you buy a solid mixer for under $200?" These less expensive mixers have a smaller-sized mixing bowl (under 5 quarts). Eight models are tested with mixing cookie dough, kneading pizza dough, creaming butter with sugar and whipping cream.
Review: Stand Mixers (Inexpensive), Editors of Cook's Illustrated magazine, December 2007
Good The KitchenAid Classic Series Stand Mixer receives a high overall rating from more than 950 owners. Reviewers say it's perfect for making cookie dough and whipping egg whites and other items. Some reviewers say it has worked flawlessly for a decade or longer.
Review: KitchenAid Classic 4.5-Quart Stand Mixer K45SS Reviews, Contributors to Viewpoints.com
Good Several KitchenAid stand mixer models have accumulated hundreds of owner-written reviews at Amazon.com. The KitchenAid Classic Series Stand Mixer receives an overall rating of 4.4 stars out of 5 from nearly 450 owners. Overall, owners are pleased with the mixer's performance. A few say that it struggles with large batches of dough and don't recommend using it regularly for that purpose.
Review: KitchenAid K45SS Classic 250-Watt 4-1/2-Quart Stand Mixer, White, Contributors to Amazon.com
Good The KitchenAid Classic Series Stand Mixer receives an overall rating of 4.6 stars out of 5 from about 130 owners. Reviewers praise their KitchenAid mixers for their durability and performance while handling tough mixing tasks, like kneading dough.
Review: KitchenAid Classic White 4.5-Qt. Stand Mixer, K45SSWW, Contributors to Walmart.com