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Death of a KitchenAid – Replace with?


Snadra
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I was looking at a Hobart N50 last December and almost bought one. I then came across the new KitchenAid 7qt mixer which I got instead. The greater capacity is really nice and it has new dc motors in it which are hopefully better. I haven't had any problems yet and it works great. There is a 2 year warranty and you could buy 4 or 5 of them for the price of a Hobart so it was an easy call.

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  • 2 months later...

When I plug it in to use for the first time and turn the switch on nothing happens. Then after two more trys it works. I have to store it away so i don't leave it plugged in. This is happening consistently now unfortunately. The Hobart N50 is calling me!

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If it works anything like it's smaller siblings, it probably just needs adjusting. Here's a link to a service manual for the smaller models. http://www.kitchenaidparts.be/centers/servicemanual/mixer.pdf

Skip to page 22 on how to adjust the control unit.

Edited by mgaretz (log)

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I have a 5 QT. Lift bowl KA made by Hobart that I bought about 1980 and it's just like new. When I was heavily into bread-making I bought an Electrolux as well and considered selling the KA. I am SO glad that I didn't. I never use the Electrolux anymore as my breadmaking needs are much different now and I'm making just one loaf at a time, in fact, I quite often mix my bread doughs in my Zo bread machine, then bake in the oven since it's much simpler that way with a lot less clean-up.

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  • 2 months later...

Stop looking at Kenwoods if you are going to use it a lot.They had a twat on their design team some while ago that put nylon drive cogs in them,they sent us a bagful to replace them as they broke. Went to restaurant sale once that had six Kenwoods only the last one in working condition.We moved on to a Hobart no trouble. The current models may be better,but perhaps the idiot still works for them.

Sid the Pig

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Stop looking at Kenwoods if you are going to use it a lot.They had a twat on their design team some while ago that put nylon drive cogs in them,they sent us a bagful to replace them as they broke. Went to restaurant sale once that had six Kenwoods only the last one in working condition.We moved on to a Hobart no trouble. The current models may be better,but perhaps the idiot still works for them.

People keep on assuming nylon drives are put in for penny pinching. They're not. The Nylon drive is deliberately designed as a sacrificial cog, so that it breaks before something more serious is put under strain. If you're constantly breaking the nylon drive, that means you're pushing it too hard and you should either figure out a way to back off or put a metal cog of the same shape in there and accept it if the entire machine blows up.

Designing the nylon cog is about tradeoffs, make it too weak and you lose most of the power of the machine. Make it too strong and it doesn't protect against failure and you have a bunch of expensive repairs to make. Companies are understandably conservative given that most people barely push the capabilities of a machine.

PS: I am a guy.

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Shalmonese you are quite right ours kept breaking when we tried to use them for mixing bread dough,we were told by the manufacturers that they changed to nylon to make them run quieter but within 12months they reverted to metal.

Sid the Pig

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IIRC, Kenwood mixers are sold in the USA as Cuisnarts. Sometimes apparently identical products have different internals (don't buy anything from Wal-Mart if it's suspiciously cheap!), but I suspect they are internally identical.

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I've looked inside the Kenwood / Cuisinart / Delonghi mixers. If anything they strike me as a notch down from KA in robustness. For one thing, they are belt-driven, something that seems like a curious choice in a high torque appliance, and one that you never see in a professional mixer. As far as reliability, I get the impression that the Kenwoods and rebranded Kenwoods are about as spotty as KA and everything else.

The big difference is that in the U.S., there is excellent warranty service on KA but not Kenwood; in Europe the situation is reversed. I think the smartest bet, if you are going with a consumer planetary mixer, is KA over here and Kenwood over there, and realize that there's a decent chance with either that you'll need warranty service. Just be sure to use the bejeezus out of thing in the first year so you'll know something's wrong before too late.

The other choices are a professional mixer (like Hobart) at around four times the price, or a spiral mixer (like Electrolux) which require a different working style and which have different abilities and limitations.

As far as the plastic gear goes, Shalmonese is right. This did not represent a cheapening of KA mixers. They used a plastic gear (originally phenolic) since 1909. It was eventually changed to nylon. The larger bowl-lift mixers have an all-metal drive train. They get their protection from a thermal shutoff switch. This is a newer design. I find it works well, but it's by no means free of QC issues. My first one went back after 3 months. It didn't break; it just gave hints that something was wrong with the gears. The replacement's been going strong for 4 years.

I definitely recommend going to KA's site and getting a factory refurb. The prices are excellent, and the only downside is a shorter warranty (but if you get a bad mixer, it won't take you a year to figure it out).

Notes from the underbelly

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I've looked inside the Kenwood / Cuisinart / Delonghi mixers. If anything they strike me as a notch down from KA in robustness. For one thing, they are belt-driven, something that seems like a curious choice in a high torque appliance, and one that you never see in a professional mixer. As far as reliability, I get the impression that the Kenwoods and rebranded Kenwoods are about as spotty as KA and everything else.

With all due respect, your assessment is completely wrong.

First of all, the highest end mixers, including Hobart, are belt driven. Belt driven may seem like a disadvantage when it comes to reliability, but it isn't. The reduction in heat and vibration transfer from the motor to the gearbox improves longevity (it also reduces noise, and contributes to "smoother" operation.) These aren't rubber bands, they are steel reinforced belts.

Direct drives in mixers are a cost saving measure. There's some loss of power in belt drives, so a larger, more expensive motor is needed to get the same output power as a directly driven mixer.

Secondly, there simply is no comparison between the reliability of Kenwood based mixers and Kitchenaid. Everything in the Kenwoods, from the motor to the gearbox is much sturdier, even to the casual observer. I've come across 2 reports of broken Kenwood based mixers in the last 20 years, and they were defective from the factory. Kirchenaid's...well, 5 minutes of searching will found thousands of reported problems. Granted, there are a lot more Kitchenaid's in the US, but that doesn't account for the huge disparity. The beautiful casing of Kitchenaid consumer level mixer's is the only rock solid component of the unit.

Edited by GlowingGhoul (log)
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From Hobart's site:

True Hobart durability and reliability.

Like all Hobart products, our mixers are built to last. The body of the mixer is all steel. The spiral arm and the bowl are stainless steel. Together they virtually ensure durability and longevity.

Providing Hobart reliability is the belt-driven motor. The belt design decreases noise and vibration. The belts also contribute to the mixer’s longevity. Highly efficient and requiring very little maintenance, the Hobart belt-driven mixers are the perfect engines for creating the highest-quality dough for your customers.

Available in two sizes: 180-lb. and 220-lb. bowls.

Edited by GlowingGhoul (log)
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I've lost count of the number of second hand Kenwoods that I've bought for friends over the years, largely machines made in the 60s or 70s. Here in England these machines were often bought as wedding presents and then stored away. Years later they turn up for sale and you can pick up a little used machine for around £25 - £50 often with numerous attachments.

I use my Kenwood just about every day. It was a wedding present given to my parents some 50 years ago and much used by my mother before I inherited it. I make all of my bread with this machine. It manages all types of dough, brioche included. While the bowl is a good size it will manage small quantities as well as larger projects.

Some attachments have been more useful than others. No doubt it depends what you want to make. I've used the mincer to make sausages, the liquidiser to make soups and mayonnaise. The potato scraping bowl was great as well, so good I lent it out and it's failed to return!

I accept that the Kitchen Aid machines look more attractive but where I've lived I've never come across bargain second hand machines of that make. Kenwoods seem to be available in abundance, in good condition and at bargain prices.

Diana

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If you are thinking of maybe replacing it with another Kitchenaid, I just received the fall William Sonoma catalog and they have the Kitchenaid Artisan mixer for $149.99. It's probably a misprint, though, because I've never seen it anywhere that cheap. They are usually more than twice that.

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Some attachments have been more useful than others. No doubt it depends what you want to make. I've used the mincer to make sausages, the liquidiser to make soups and mayonnaise. The potato scraping bowl was great as well, so good I lent it out and it's failed to return!

Hi DianaB, nice information, I bought a Kenwood Chef recently and I'm evaluating some attachments. I already have the mincer. Have you tried other attachments? I'm considering the pasta maker, the colander&sieve, and the continuous juice extractor.

I hate that they sell two different full sets for pasta roller & tagliatelle, instead of just adding the different-sized cutters to the roller....

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Hi Enrique,

Glad you are enjoying your Kenwood. I'd be lost without mine. Unfortunately I can't help wit the attachments you list, save that a friend reports that the pasta maker works well.

I use the machine a couple of times a week to make bread, that requires only the dough hook which used to be part of the standard kit when you bought a Kenwood but I think now, at least in the UK, you have to buy it separately. I also use the liquidiser for soups and to make mayonnaise. The mincer is also used, with sausage stuffing addition, for various types of sausage. The potato scraper is great, despite the noise.

I'd be interested to know how you get on with the juicer if you buy that.

Sorry I can't help with your queries.

Diana

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  • 2 weeks later...

I've "gone primitave" and went back to a big bowl, super-stiff wire dough whisk, and huge wooden spoon for much of my everyday baking. Good for arm muscles and gives a much better feel for the dough.

Though KA mixers went through a bad patch of models with plastic gear housings a few years back, it appears that the metal ones are back. Mine (Professional 600 with metal gears) cranks through dense whole grain and similar doughs with no problem, but is rather noisy. I like the newer style "corkscrew" dough hook. The price of KA mixers is much lower than any of the other apparent alternatives, espeically if bought from KitchenAid's web-based outlet--got mine for around $200. I also have KA's original Model "H" mixer. It's now around 80 years old and still capable of kneading smaller batches.

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Ghoul, you are correct about the belt drive in the Hobart mixers. I looked at the diagrams and it appears to deliver power to the transmission before the speed is reduced and the torque is increased, which makes perfect sense.I

I don't find reason to agree with your assessment of superior Kenwood quality. It doesn't take much of a search to find plenty of people complaining about broken Kenwood mixers. The difference is that the complaints on this side of the Atlantic extend into the near impossibility of getting good service. KA mixers break all the time, but if they break under warranty, KA's doting service people apologetically send you a new one ... all the while maintaining the happy illusion that you're the first person this has ever happened to. If a mixer breaks out of warranty, parts are available everywhere, and the repairs are pretty straightforward. Plenty of independent techs can do it for you or you can figure it out yourself with online help.

I don't doubt doubt that the situation is reversed in other parts of the world. If I lived in Europe, I'd buy a Kenwood. No way would I buy one here.

I would greatly prefer it if KA did better quality control, but I understand their gambit. Probably only a small percentage of their mixers actually gets used. Most are eye candy and wedding present fodder. If ten percent of the five percent that get used breaks, then perhaps it's cheaper to pay for after-sales service than strict QC. Annoying as hell, but I get it.

If anyone actually wants Hobart quality, you're going to have to pay Hobart prices. No way around that. The best bet is to often to buy used, if you live near a city that has restaurant supply stores and authorized technicians.

Notes from the underbelly

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