These stand mixers are built to withstand the test of time. Long-time KitchenAid owner Tiffany Noel Froese explores why.
KitchenAid stand mixers have been around for over 100 years.
As the story goes, an engineer for Hobart, Herbert Johnston, saw a baker mixing dough for bread by hand and thought there must be a better way, so he invented the stand mixer. The first model was a 60-quart commercial model, and during WWI, the U.S. Navy was the first to equip the galleys of their ships with the new mixer.
About six to seven years later, the home model, Model H, came out. It was a scaled-down, 65 lb. version of the commercial mixer with its motor stacked vertically.
In 1937, industrial designer Egmont Arens changed the game for KitchenAid with the iconic bullet silhouette design that is so well known today.
While KitchenAid doesn’t publish a life expectancy for their stand mixers—lifespan depends on use and care, after all—if you ask your friends and neighbors, you’ll find that the lifespan of these beautiful and iconic mixers is legendary.
My family’s experience with KitchenAid stand mixers began in the 1970s when my mom took a food science class in college. There was a KitchenAid at every workstation, and she fell in love with the machine.
When she went home for a break, she convinced my grandmother, an avid cook, and collector of kitchen appliances, great and small, to replace her Sunbeam mixer with a KitchenAid.
A few years later, when my mom had married and moved away, my grandmother found a used KitchenAid stand mixer in the “Classifieds” section of the newspaper and bought it for her.
Almost 40 years later, my mom still has that Classic white model and uses it to whip up cookies, cakes, sauces, quick bread, etc.
When I moved into my first apartment, my parents bought me my red Artisan Series 5-Quart Tilt-head Stand Mixer, and it’s been a staple of my kitchen through four different homes over 15 years.
There are countless stories like ours—KitchenAid stand mixers given as gifts or passed through generations, that are treasured parts of family lore.
What makes a KitchenAid Stand Mixer So Durable?
While some of their less expensive counterparts are made of plastic and aluminum, KitchenAid makes their casings out of die-cast zinc, produced locally to the plant where the mixers are assembled in Greenville, Ohio. Zinc is the heaviest metal used in die-casting, so it’s extra durable.
The zinc casings are polished, drilled, washed, and prepped for painting. An electrostatic charge is applied to the colored powder paint so that it adheres to the zinc in the oven, where the enamel melts into those beautiful colors KitchenAid is known for.
The process makes sure that the paint actually becomes part of the mixer. Each mixer is then hand-tested—a real person puts the beaters on to make sure they fit and runs the motor to ensure it sounds correct.
Watch this video of how the KitchenAid mixers are made:
The casings aren’t the only durable thing about KitchenAid stand mixers.
The accessories stand the test of time, too.
Beaters, Hooks, and Whisks
KitchenAid has been making entirely dishwasher-safe beaters and hooks since 2018. They come in the classic white polyester coating or, if you prefer the burnished metal look, a silver polyester coating called “subtle silver”.
Most wire whips that come with the mixer have a burnished aluminum base and stainless steel wires that are not dishwasher safe (aluminum oxidizes in the dishwasher), but some models come with an all-stainless-steel wire whip that can go in the dishwasher.
(The stainless steel wire whip can also be bought separately if you’re someone who hates to hand wash.)
If you bought your mixer before 2018, it’s likely that your beaters and hooks are not dishwasher safe. They should be hand washed in warm water, with a gentle soap.
No matter when your mixer was made, the beaters, hooks, and whips are just as durable and long-lasting as the rest of the mixer if you give them proper care. My beaters and whip are like new, as are my mom’s—remember, we’ve had our mixers for 15 and almost 40 years, respectively.
The standard KitchenAid bowl is durable stainless steel, which is dishwasher safe. As are the ceramic and glass bowls that are sold separately from the mixer.
Despite many years of use, the stainless steel bowl of my mixer maintains its polish—though I never put it in the dishwasher.
The Power Hub
Another aspect of the KitchenAid mixer that helps it stand the test of time is the power hub.
That’s the metal knob that protrudes off the front of the head of the mixer where you attach the add-ons like the pasta maker, juicer, or meat grinder.
The design of the power hub on today’s mixers is the same as it was on the very first kitchen aid mixer in 1918. That means that if you have a pea sheller from the 1940s that you inherited from your grandma, it will work on your 2022 KitchenAid mixer.
In a world where products are constantly being redesigned and attachments becoming obsolete, this seems like a revolutionary idea.
Caring For Your KitchenAid
Keeping your KitchenAid clean and properly caring for its various parts will go a long way towards making sure it has a long and happy life.
Even though many of the attachments are dishwasher safe, they should still only be placed on the top rack in the dishwasher.
And if you really want to take care of them, consider hand washing them anyway. The water in dishwashers ranges from 130°F to 170°F. That’s considerably hotter than tap water, and over time, it’s a lot harder on kitchenware—especially plastics.
Some attachments, like the pasta roller, can’t be washed at all. So make sure to read and abide by the directions.
The care you give your KitchenAid stand mixer will help increase its longevity.
Do KitchenAid Mixers Last Longer Than Others?
KitchenAid has been making stand mixers for over 100 years, so they’ve had many years to demonstrate the quality of their product. Other brands only recently started making stand mixers.
So, while there may be other comparable products out there, they simply can’t compete with a centennial of happy customers. And the products that are a lot less expensive are made overseas of much less durable materials, so they’re likely to break down a lot quicker.
If you’re looking for a mixer that is durable and long-lasting, as well as beautiful, then a KitchenAid mixer is the way to go. Known for lasting decades, KitchenAid mixers become part of the family—shaping happy memories of great food and great companionship that are carried through the generations.