Kitchen-Aid mixer quality

Kitchen-Aid mixers have a legendary status among kitchen appliances for their power and longevity. But in recent years, its seems more and more Kitchen-Aid mixers aren’t even lasting a year after purchase. Common complaints include stripped gears and motor failures.

What has happened to Kitchen-Aid?

Well, for one, Kitchen-Aid mixers were prior to 1986 made by Hobart, a manufacturer of professional food service equipment. In 1986, the Kitchen-Aid brand was sold to Whirlpool, a consumer appliance manufacturer.

This Usenet thread is very informative regarding the differences between Hobart-made Kitchen-Aid mixers and Whirlpool-made Kitchen-Aid mixers. The usual suspects are involved: plastic drive gears and an underpowered motor.

One thing you might notice, once you pick up a Hobart Kitchen-Aid on eBay is that a Hobart-made Kitchen-Aid is much heavier than it looks. That says something about the quality of the Hobart internals, but the simple reduction in weight of the Whirlpool models says volumes about the engineering tradeoffs that are commonly made in the name of marketing.

You can tell a Hobart model apart from a Whirlpool model, because the Hobart models all say Hobart somewhere on the housing or name plate.

Hint: To find a good eBay deal on a Hobart mixer, search for “kitchen-aid hobart”, but also click the box that says “Search title and description”. Most people will search for Hobart in the default title-only search and overlook the listings where Hobart is mentioned only in the description.

Also, if you didn’t get the instruction manual, one key warning is to be observed: don’t operate the mixer at a level above 2 if you are kneading bread dough.

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