Well, it happened. My Kitchen Aid Pro 600 replacement mixer (the first one completely broke, the gear on the head that makes the beater and all rotate, totally broke and would no longer turn after 11 months of careful use) has problems at 9 months since arriving. The first gear and soft start feature only work part of the time, sending flour and liquids all over my body and counters and walls when I get it to kick in on the second gear. So, I called Kitchen Aid and asked them to replace it and they promptly sent out a new mixer.
Yesterday the new replacement mixer arrived and I took it out and ran it through the gears to test it before shipping the other one back; it was loud, with a whine and grinding sound, and by the time I got to the 6th. gear position it started “ping-ing” and “clunking” in fits and spurts. I called Kitchen Aid and the gal said it shouldn’t be bad, they are product tested before shipping, so I turned it on and ran it through the gears while on the phone. At 6th. it was still running but when I turned it to 7 I turned to my husband startled, thinking he had dropped a pot on the stainless steel counter, but his arms were folded as he watched me testing the mixer. We both heard the distinctive clunk from the mixer, that could only be accounted for by something loose inside being tossed around.
So, I am sending the new mixer back instead of the one it was supposed to replace, and today I am going to see if I can return the other one for a refund. I no longer trust that this mixer will hold up, and it is way too expensive to break like this. And before you think it’s my usage, consider I make 2 loaves of gluten-free bread each week, never putting more that 6 cups of ingredients in the mixer at a time and never running it longer than 4 minutes or repeatedly back to back or letting it overheat. I also never take it over the second gear except for beating eggs or cream because they said it can’t handle more than that (although all the books on GF baking say to run it on 4 with a paddle attachment). I baby this mixer, I need it for the baking, but am very disappointed in what has been touted as a “professional” model mixer for the home user. When I talked to a rep from Kitchen Aid a week ago I asked her how many others were having these same issues, and the woman told me “Not many, only the ones who use the mixers”. She back-peddled and said it was mostly user mis-use and education was all it took to quit having the problems, however I have spent a few hours reading comments by customers on blogs and reviews and have found that of those with newer models only the people who have just received their mixer or seldom use it for anything other than cakes or eggs are happy. Of the others, repeatedly I saw they were people who owned an old Kitchen Aid from back when Hobart made them, and decided to “upgrade” to the newer model and more power only to have their mixer replaced over and over until they finally give up and go with either the Bosch or DLX Eureka mixers. The consensus is that if you use whole wheat flour or make more than a loaf every now and then, the Kitchen Aid mixers as manufactured by Whirlpool cannot even handle repeated use with the amount of flour and ingredients stated in the owners manual.
On the other hand, the DLX gets rave reviews, and has for a long time. It has been made for 50 years, and is still the same old heavy duty, reliable mixer as sold way back in the days when you paid good money for a good product. I don’t see the poor reviews of either Bosch or the DLX that I see on Kitchen Aid product of today. Even if Kitchen Aid won’t refund the money, I will find a way to get the DLX and compare the longevity of the two, and Kitchen Aid can keep replacing the mixer each year until one finally lasts until the warranty expires. It is a great mixer for the occasional baker, but I don’t trust them any more for my baking needs. I feel I would be better off buying a commercial one off ebay from when Hobart made them and pay $100 with no warranty than to buy a new one again, and I will continue to enjoy my little original Kitchen Aid made by Hobart that I bought on ebay for $30 three years ago.
*8/29/12 Note; I called Kitchen Aid and ran the new replacement mixer for todays customer rep and she said she could hear the problem, sounded like the gears. She eventually said they would like to offer to buy my other mixer back for the price I paid when I bought it and I agreed. I think the customer service at Kitchen Aid is great, and the mixers are great for most home users, however I don’t think they are the best for heavy, regular use of making whole wheat bread or even gluten-free baked goods; for that either the Bosch or DLX seem to be the way to go at the time of this post. I am going to save for the DLX and will post my thoughts on it as I use it and see how it compares for the things I use a mixer for.