I just received my new Kenmore Elite bowl lift stand mixer today. I got it in white due to silver being out of stock online. Silver would have been the better color for me but it was more important to me to make sure I had it since I have started making my own bread, pasta and all kinds of stuff. I've been trying to reduce the amount of non-basic ingredient type things my girlfriend and I buy. That's for a whole other thread though. Back to the mixer!
Kenmore sells a 6 quart bowl lift stand mixer. It's made as a competitor to the KitchenAid Professional 600 and is priced in the low $300s. It looked like a good potential candidate for a permanent home in my kitchen so I bought and and decided to put it through some tests.
The Kenmore wins here. It has a more modern design and look than the Pro 600.
I prefer the Kenmore on this one. They are similarly loud, but the Pro 600's sound is a much higher pitch and therefore a lot more annoying. Measured with a decibel app on my phone they hovered around the same area. The higher pitch on the Pro 600 does make it seem louder though.
Kenmore makes a point of saying their mixers are compatible with KitchenAid attachments. They are, but it's not quite perfect. Any attachments that get connected up to the drive shaft has a little bit of wobble in them. It's not as if there is any grinding or anything, they just move a small amount when being used. This of course does not happen on the Kitchen Aid mixers. I also tested to see if the freezer bowl for making ice cream would fit. The short answer is "kinda". It fits width wise, but it does not fit into the back where the second part of the locking mechanism is. For those keeping track this also means the Kitchen Aid and Kenmore bowls are not compatible with each other and also same with the mixing attachments.
The Pro 600 has none. The Kenmore has a timer as well as a bowl light. You can set the timer to stop mixing after a predefined time or just use it to keep track of how long you have been mixing. The Kenmore also comes with a second, smaller (5qt) bowl.
The Kenmore comes with a 5 year warranty (expandable to 8 if you pay $40). The Pro 600 comes with a lonely 1 year. Now it remains to be seen how easy any sort of warranty returns or work would be, but Kenmore giving their product a 5 year warranty does add some comfort.
The bowl lift mechanism has a much more satisfying lock. It feels a lot clunkier and heavier and I like that. I can also feel a lot more air coming out from the back of the Kenmore than the Pro 600. Some people complain about the Pro 600 getting really hot and I can see why. I think my Artisan pushes more air to cool itself than the Pro 600 does. When I used my Pro 600 to knead some wheat bread dough (3 loaves worth) it did get quite warm around the motor.
At this point I feel the Kenmore is ahead of the Pro 600. I prefer the Kenmore to the Pro 600 in all of the above areas. We are, however, talking about stand mixers and it doesn't matter how pretty, quiet or feature rich a stand mixer is if it can't mix and mix well.
The section you really wanted to read that I put down at the bottom because I'm disagreeable
So how does the Kenmore compare to the KitchenAid? Well I compared in different workloads/types. I began with pasta (hey, it was dinner time).
: I'm just going to be upfront about it. The Kenmore simply did not knead the pasta as well as the KitchenAid. Both stand mixers have a spiral dough hooks, but the KitchenAid has a slightly different shape and it's much chunkier. Something unsettling did happen while the Kenmore was kneading the pasta: the bowl jumped off
. Now at first I was thinking I had been careless and had just managed to miss the hole they have for securing the bowl. I put it back on and started watching it more closely. The bowl moves around a lot. Not long after starting again the bowl almost jump off a second time. I heard it jump up and get slammed back into position by the mixer. Point Pro 600. This is starting to not look good for the Kenmore.
Cookies (basic sugar)
: The bowl continued jumping around and moving. At least it didn't jump completely off this time. It certainly got the dough mixed, but it took few minutes and a bout of side scraping to do it. I put the same recipe in the Pro 600 and it came together a whole lot faster and with no scraping of the sides needed. KitchenAid scores another with the Pro 600.
Bread (whole wheat 8c flour)
: Oh dear. I'll just put it this way: I transferred the bread dough to the KitchenAid so that it would actually get kneaded properly. It was having troubles in the 6qt bowl so I switch to the 5qt. It didn't help at all. All it did was create a hole in the middle and rotate the whole mass around. After I added an additional cup of flour the Kenmore did a terrible job of getting the newly added cup mixed in. I got impatient and ended up transferring everything into the KitchenAid mixer and it promptly got the rest of the flour mixed in and did a great job kneading in general.
Whipping egg whites
: Another poor showing by the Kenmore here as well. The Pro 600 was able to get the egg whites beaten to perfection in 2 minutes. After 7 minutes, the Kenmore was barely there. Another point to the Pro 600.
Conclusion aka the part people skipped to when the saw the wall of text above
The Kenmore Elite came with some nice features. The timer and the bowl light make great additions to a stand mixer. If that stand mixer can't do it's main function properly though, then what use is it? That's what I found myself wondering with the Kenmore Elite. What use is it to me? The KitchenAid Professional 600 does better at any task I compare the two at.
Overall rating for the Kenmore? Avoid at all costs.