After much debate, the time has come: you’re going to buy a Kitchenaid stand mixer! While your time with hand mixers and stand mixers from other brands has been fun, you’re looking to level up. For this, your instinct is correct: go Kitchenaid. 

Once the decision of pro-Kitchenaid has been reached, it would seem like the hard part is over, but there are different versions of Kitchenaid mixers. This is the tricky part!

There are two main types of stand mixers: tilt-head and bowl-lift mixers.

A tilt-head mixer’s head can be tilted back from the body from the appliance. When it’s raised, you can easily switch accessories or add ingredients into the bowl. 

A bowl-lift, meanwhile, has a fixed head and the bowl moves instead. The bowl, held by clamps, is moved up and down with a lever. The bowl needs to be lowered to change out accessories. To operate the mixer, the bowl needs to be lifted.

Kitchenaid Tilt-Head MixerKitchenaid Bowl-Lift Mixer
Easy to use and operateProfessional look
Numerous decorative optionsLarger motor and capacity
Perfect for familiesPreferred for bread making

Your need for either mixer type depends on your baking habits and personal preferences. Let’s break down the details of the Kitchenaid mixer lift types to make the decision easier. 

Mixer Purposes

Tilt-head mixers were designed with families in mind and are most at home, well, in homes. They are best suited for average home baking. This includes everyone’s favorite treats, like cookies, cakes, and muffins, but it goes beyond sweets. This handy countertop appliance can help you shred chicken for dinner or throw together a dip for entertaining.

A bowl-lift mixer can do all of the above and then some. This mixer type tends to be considered professional-grade and preferred by those making a living with their baking. It’s favored because of its powerful motor and large capacity (up to 8 quarts). Kitchenaid also offers a bowl-lift mixer that is NSF certified

Still, you don’t have to have professional needs to benefit from a bowl-lift mixer. One word: bread. If you prefer to bake your own fresh loaves over store-bought, bowl-lift mixers are better equipped for the job. The bigger motor and higher horsepower mean the bowl-lift can mix thick doughs, like bread.

Mixer Size

Kitchenaid mixers, for most customers, are similar to the story of Goldilocks and the Three Bears.

The Mini line of mixers is too small, while the bowl-lift models are too big. Typically, the tilt-head mixers are just right. 

That nonsensical fairy tale comparison is generally true for the average at-home baker. This demographic often has a small family and bakes casually. 

When is the bowl-lift “just right”? You should consider a bowl-lift model if you have a large household to feed. You should also go bowl-lift if you often find yourself needing to make double or triple batches. 

Don’t misunderstand though – you don’t need a full house to bake a lot. Maybe you enjoy baking for friends. You may entertain often and find yourself needing to feed a crowd. 

Counter space is a consideration too. Since bowl-lifts move up and down, they are tall and take up significant vertical space. In some kitchens, such mixers might not fit on the counter at all if the cabinets are low enough. Tilt-head mixers are smaller and more counter-friendly. 

Also, due to its size, a bowl-lift’s mechanism can be difficult to operate. It does involve putting a little muscle into it. For some customers, this makes it inconvenient to use.

In summary, if you go big, go bowl-lift (assuming you have the counter space!) Instead, if casual baking for a small family is all the action your mixer will see, a tilt-head mixer is more than enough. 

Mixer Options

Do you like having options in your life? Is your closet a flurry of variety or do you go the capsule wardrobe route? Do you thrive with choices or do too many overwhelm you? 

The appearance of a mixer is important. Mixers take up valuable kitchen real estate and because of this, they tend to live on our counters, always in full view. Since your mixer will be a visible fixture in your kitchen, you’ll probably want to make sure it fits your style. In terms of design, one style of the mixer has significantly more design choices. 

The first design choice is the color of the mixer itself. Kitchenaid tilt-head mixers have far more color choices than the bowl-lifts. Kitchenaid produces over 50 different color finishes. For the most varied options, you’ll need to choose the Artisan mixer, which is a tilt-head model. With tilt-head mixers, you can match nearly any kitchen decor

Meanwhile, Kitchenaid bowl-lifts come in less than 20 shades. While the colors are limited, they are, nonetheless, hues that would look attractive in any kitchen. Colors include Empire Red, Toffee Delight, and Kitchenaid’s most popular color, Blue Velvet.

The choices keep going with the mixer bowl. If asked, most of us would picture stand mixers with a stainless steel or glass bowl. Kitchenaid bowl-lift mixers are produced with both of these types. Their average bowl-lift models have stainless steel bowls, but for added costs, they can have a glass bowl

Tilt-head mixers have fun bowl options though. Of course, you can get one with a stainless steel or glass bowl, but you can also get hammered glass, frosted glass, or ceramic. While they don’t change the quality of your baking, these upgraded bowls look amazing on a countertop.

Price Comparison

As I’m sure you can guess, there is a significant price difference between the two styles of mixers. If you’re picturing a bowl-lift mixer in your life, you’ll be hard-pressed to find one retailing for less than $200 and even that price range is usually reserved for refurbished models. For the professional look and professional gravitas of a new bowl-lift mixer, expect to shell out $400 at a minimum.

By far, tilt-head mixers are more affordable. A Kitchenaid Classic mixer, which has a tilt-head lift, averages just a little over $200. If you’re lucky, you can snatch up one up on sale for around $170 from discount retailers. 

Kitchenaid Tilt-Head vs Bowl-Lift – Pros and Cons

At this point, you might be thinking this is a whole lot of information for one decision. If you’d like a quick rundown of the differences between the two mixers, here’s a quick visual in a pros and cons chart.

Kitchenaid Tilt-Head Mixers

ProsCons
Lift is easy to operate
Smaller motor
Counter-friendly sizeSmaller bowl capacity
Numerous decorative optionsNot ideal for bread making

Kitchenaid Bowl-Lift Mixers

ProsCons
Professional look
Tall and heavy
More horsepowerLift difficult to operate
Large bowl capacityExpensive

Conclusion

As with any appliance, the correct choice of a Kitchenaid mixer is determined by your own personal needs. Not everyone needs a heavy-duty mixer, while not everyone can get what they need from a basic mixer.

If you do decide on a tilt-head, you’ll need to further narrow down your decision by choosing between a classic Kitchenaid model or an Artisan.

If you opt for a bowl-lift, don’t forget to make room for it in your kitchen. Need some space-saving tips? We got you covered.

If you need to get more appliance shopping done, head over to our other guides!