The mixer is dead. Long live the mixer!
April 4, 2020 8:49 AM   Subscribe

The noises and smell say that I just about killed my ~20 year old 325W Kitchenaid mixer. 575W Kitchenaid or Bosch universal+?

Normal job for this might be a box of angel food cake mix -- but we have a hand mixer that can do that too -- or a 4--6 cups-o'-flour bread batch. Kitchenaid 575W or Bosch Universal+ are in the same ballpark of price.

Willing to look at others at or under the USD500 mark.

Which? What do?
posted by GCU Sweet and Full of Grace to Home & Garden (20 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Magic Mill Is the best for bread.
posted by Ideefixe at 8:56 AM on April 4

I would at least check out the motor/gears on the one you have now. Mine was making some weird noises but it was because the nuts that held the speed control board in place had come loose.

The smell is more concerning but it's still worth seeing if it's something you can fix.
posted by Ferreous at 8:58 AM on April 4 [2 favorites]

And as an addendum they do need periodic changing of the grease in the gear assembly if used heavily.
posted by Ferreous at 9:02 AM on April 4

It's been having enough trouble getting through normal batches of baguettes that I'm honestly willing to move on.

Magic Mill / Ankarsrum / Electrolux (sp) is too expensive.
posted by GCU Sweet and Full of Grace at 9:05 AM on April 4

But thanks for the link to that reviews page!
posted by GCU Sweet and Full of Grace at 9:07 AM on April 4

A 325W Kitchenaid shouldn’t have any trouble with the jobs you’re asking of it, unless the bread is some unbelievably stiff bagel dough or similar. The smell and the fact that it’s been struggling suggest you smoked the motor some time ago, and it’s now a shadow of it’s former self. I say this because the big Kitchenaid seems crazy overkill for what you’re doing, will take more counter space, be harder to move around. I’d consider replacing it with something similar, which could be done for <$300.
posted by jon1270 at 9:40 AM on April 4 [1 favorite]

We have one of the larger Kitchenaids (where the bowl goes up and down, rather than the head tilting; I can't remember the motor size). I did have to replace some of the gears at one point after it made both terrible noises and smells; that was actually really easy and cheap to take care of. I would suggest at least opening up the housing and taking a look in case there is a similarly simple and easy fix before you commit to replacement.

Our Kitchenaid has worked well (gear replacement aside) for 10+ years of fairly hard use and we already have the attachments, so if it died today I'd probably just get another.
posted by Dip Flash at 9:51 AM on April 4

unless the bread is some unbelievably stiff bagel dough or similar

King Arthur baguette recipe.

will take more counter space, be harder to move around

It's going to get put down once and never move except to occasionally clean underneath it.
posted by GCU Sweet and Full of Grace at 10:01 AM on April 4

I have a 575W Kitchenaid, the Professional 600 Series Bowl-Lift Stand Mixer. I'm not a serious baker. It seems to do the job well; I regularly make pizza dough and the motor is working and gets warm but is fine. The problem is it is terribly noisy, like the whole house is listening to the grinding and spinning of this infernal machine. I went so far as to take the thing apart; the gears are metal, well lubricated, it's just a noisy design. I don't know anything about the Bosch but if it's quieter that'd be a big argument in favor.
posted by Nelson at 10:37 AM on April 4

In your place, I would go with another KitchenAid. The reason: accessories. You never know when you may suddenly get into making pasta or sausage or whatever. I have the pasta add-on handed down from a friend, and I found the ice cream freezer bowl at a garage sale.
posted by dogmom at 10:46 AM on April 4 [1 favorite]

One last bid for repair, because I'm a repair kind of guy. Could it be the carbon brushes of the motor are worn down? Most electric motors have them, and they are a consumable part, as a small bit of carbon wears off every time the motor is turned. Modern brushes on consumer appliances last a very very long time, but 20 years could do it.

Brushes cost around $10 and some kitchen aids can have brushes replaced without opening the case.

If the gears and all other parts are OK, but the brushes are worn, it could cause reduced power as less electricity is getting to the parts that make the motor spin. It also may produce more arcing, and an ozone-electrical burning smell.

If the brushes are worn down to the point of scratching the commutator then the motor is probably toast.
posted by sol at 10:46 AM on April 4 [3 favorites]

Because I am lazy, I am copying in my comment from another thread:

I use a Bosch universal and bake whole wheat bread. I’ve been using the same machine for about 15 years and bake every few weeks (2 loaves in a batch - big loaves). My mom has used hers for probably 30 years at the same rate. I had to buy a new dough hook attachment about a year or so ago - I’d worn it down and it was hard to get on and off the mixer.

If my Bosch universal ever dies I will immediately replace with another.
posted by hilaryjade at 1:02 PM on April 4

(In addition to the brushes, the drive train contains a small plastic gear that's designed to strip its teeth & sacrifice itself when the load gets too heavy - this part is likewise cheap & easily replaced.)
posted by Rat Spatula at 1:04 PM on April 4 [2 favorites]

I also love repairing stuff but a more powerful mixer might be in order – I recently used a new 325W KitchenAid on this bread recipe and the mixer struggled so much I thought it might break. But maybe both things can happen. It would be a shame for the mixer wind up in the trash if it is a simple fix like new brushes, and it can go to a new home.
posted by exogenous at 1:07 PM on April 4

I've developed a general reluctance to buy things with AC motors originally designed and manufactured in Europe and then modified for the American market because higher European voltage allows much more power in a smaller package with less current, and I worry that manufacturers generally may not willing to beef the motors up enough because they want to use as many of the same parts as possible in both models.
posted by jamjam at 3:03 PM on April 4

Chiming in to provide another personal anecdote regarding the plastic gear that Rat Spatula mentioned above. Mine gave out under heavy dough duress, resulting in bad noises and smells. A quick fix, and my KitchenAid was back in business and still going strong at around 20 years of age.
posted by ReginaHart at 5:03 PM on April 4

Love my Bosch Universal. I've made hundreds of loaves from it. It's belt driven and bulletproof.
posted by smoke at 5:05 PM on April 4

it's just a noisy design

The Kitchenaid really is noisy. Even if you fix the gears and/or motor, it will always be noisy. I haven't had a chance to use the Bosch or most other competitors, but it it was a lot quieter, I'd be very tempted.
posted by Dip Flash at 6:08 PM on April 4

Okay, reconnaissance report. Tried to get into it to see if the gear was stripped. It's an old bowl-lift, so you need to take the motor head (overkill! overkill!) off the base to get at the last screws holding the "hat" on the top. And I can't, because the relevant screws are torqued waaaaaay the fuck down and the screw heads are these mega-extra-crappy things that are just about designed to strip because fuck you.

Anyway, I would need to go to the hardware store to get stuff to get them off, and I would feel REAL fuckin' stupid if I got the 'rona buying some wd-40 and whatever the exact size philips-head driver I need but will never use again, so fixin' ain't in the cards, at least like not until fall. It has also been kinda pissing me off in other ways for a while. Gonna put the parts I could take off into a baggy and put it out next garbage day with a sign to the effect of "I CAN PROBABLY BE FIXED BY SOMEONE HANDIER THAN MY PREVIOUS OWNER."

This is the sort of thing where we have to live with it for a long time, so I'm willing to get something kinda good and am thinking it's down to the Bosch or the god-this-is-embarrassing "proline" Kitchenaid with the dc motor that's by all accounts much quieter than the normal one.

Anyone ever used the proline?

How does the Bosch do with smaller batches, like 4 cups? We'd be getting the version that comes with the bakey package of extra paddles, scrapey boi, metal cappy-hub-thingy and such.
posted by GCU Sweet and Full of Grace at 6:32 AM on April 5

(ordered a Bosch)
posted by GCU Sweet and Full of Grace at 2:11 PM on April 5

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