My kitchen gadget loving friend, Marie, and I love to talk about our different machines. One machine we often talk about is our free standing mixers. Marie talks with admiration about her 38 year old Kenwood Chef and let’s be fair, it is impressive that a machine of this age is still giving pleasure and is meeting the requirements of a modern gadget loving woman. I, on the other hand, like to proclaim the wonders of my 6 year old KitchenAid Artisan. So, when asked by many of my friends if I would recommend a KitchenAid, well in all honesty, I would say the KItchenAid is great, but look at the Kenwood as well.
After having to give this answer more then once, I thought it was time to draw a line in the sand and find the definitive answer. So the challenge is clear, KitchenAid versus Kenwood.
My KitchenAid Artisan stand mixer is model 5KSM15PS and the Kenwood stand mixer is model A109. Today’s equivalent Kenwood model would be the Kenwood Chef model KMC570. The main difference that comes to mind is that Kenwood is British brand; however, I understand that they moved their Kenwood Chef manufacturing from Britain to Asia around the year 2000. KitchenAid is an American brand and is still today manufactured in the US. Since I am a US/UK dual national, this is not a deciding factor for myself.
Aesthetically, I think the KitchenAid wins unless you like the retro look. Even the new Kenwood has a bit of a retro look and in a modern kitchen it may look quite nice. I think the overall look is important because if you want to get your money’s worth, it is best that these machines be left out for regular use. The Kenwood Chef weighs about 7.7 kilos and I the KitchenAid is about 40% heavier at 10.6 Kilos, which means that these machines are not easy to get in and out of a cupboard. The KitchenAid Artisan look gives an overall impression of a good quality machine with its stainless steel bowl and color finish. It can be noted that you have a choice of 26 colors with the KitchenAid The Kenwood Chef illustrated here is an old model, but the new Kenwood Chef gives an appearance of a similar quality to the KitchenAid.
The lifting of the motor units on both machines are quite similar. However, the KitchenAid did appear in this test to be much easier to use. This could be the age of the Kenwood used in this test? On the plus side of the Kenwood, I like the dial speed control versus the 10 speed set lever on the KitchenAid. Finally, both machines have the ability to adjust the clearance of the beater versus the bowl. Instructions for this is found in both instruction booklets. This apparently has been used by my friend with her Kenwood; however, I have never had to adjust my KitchenAid machine.
In talking with to KitchenAid representative I asked about the different wattages of the machines. It was pointed out that wattage was not as important as the rpm’s. I could buy that; but both machines rpm’s appeared to be very similar and perform well. Apparently another difference is that the KitchenAid motor uses a direct drive versus the belt system found on the Kenwood. Do you care as a consumer? Well, it is the performance and durability that count in the end.
The bowls are both of a similar size with the Kenwood being 4.6 litre capacity and the KitchenAid has a 4.8 litre capacity. As illustrated in the pictures the Kenwood in this demonstration is a heavy plastic which is not as nice as the KitchenAid stainless steel bowl with handle. The new Kenwood Chef KMC570 does come with a stainless steel bowl; however, there is no handle.
Kenwood do offer a bowl with handles, but this is a separate purchase. Both Kenwood and KitchenAid offer other bowls separately. Glass bowls are offered on both. KitchenAid offer a smaller 3 litre stainless steel bowl which I have. I must admit that I use this bowl more then the larger 4.8 litre bowl.
Both machines come with 3 standard attachments the dough hook, the flat beater, and the balloon whisk. Both the dough hook and flat beater come with different finishes for each machine. The KitchenAid comes with a white coating and the Kenwood Chef comes with a stainless steel finish. These are all apparently dishwasher safe, but I must admit I have always cleaned mine in the sink. Also, both my dough hook and flat beater have chips on the coating. This has not been a problem with the performance.
Both machines have a metal balloon whisk. Since this Kenwood Balloon whisk was made before the frequent use of dishwashers, I suspect that it is not dishwasher safe. The KitchenAid balloon whisk is not dishwasher safe.
To make the comparison we did 3 different recipes each using one of the three standard paddle attachments to the machine, the dough hook, the flat beater, and the balloon whisk.
Our first recipe was a pizza dough recipe using the dough hook. Because of our time limitation, we decided this would be the best way to see how the machines perform. We used a standard recipe.
- 15 grams of fresh yeast
- 500 grams of strong bread flour
- 10 grams of salt
- 50 grams of olive oil
- 320 grams of water
Both machines performed pretty much the same. I liked the way the dough pulled away from the metal bowl on the KitchenAid. However, with the new Kenwood Chef which comes with a metal bowl, I don’t think there would be a noticeable difference. Also, the Kenwood did move as the dough was being kneaded. This is most likely due to the weight difference of the machines. There was no movement on the KitchenAid.
The second recipe was a classic American style yellow cake which required the flat beater. The first stage was to cream the butter and sugar, then add eggs one at a time. The next stage was to alternatively add flour and milk. At each stage both machines performed pretty much identically. The results show that there was virtually no difference in texture and more importantly taste . For the this basic yellow cake recipe, click here
Our final recipe to use the balloon whisk was classic meringues with 3 egg whites and 165 grams of sugar. Once again there appeared to be no difference in the performance of these machines. The results were fantastic meringues.
The bottom line is that we could not find any substantial difference in performance using the 3 standard attachments. The next step is to look at the list of other attachments and of course price.
To review and list all the attachments that are available on these 2 machines is a big task. Kenwood claims to have over 20 attachments and likewise KitchenAid lists about the same number. So, another page will be set up on this website in the near future. All, I can say at this time is that I love my KitchenAid pasta attachment and meat grinder. I was not so impressed with the citrus juicer and I have not used the grater enough to give a fair assessment. I believe my friend has used the blender attachment that goes on the back of the Kenwood, which to me looks rather cool, but overall no performance comment can be made.
To make a decision on “good value for money” or price performance, we do have to consider cost. A Kenwood Chef KMC570 starts are around £269.00, this is a sale price found December 2014. This comes with the 3 beaters mentioned, plus a splash guard and Thermoresist glass blender. Not Bad!!
The KitchenAid Artisan on the other hand retails for around £379 and includes the 3 beaters mentioned plus a splash guard. Those good looks don’t come cheap! However, I have seen the KitchenAid classic on sale for £199 plus VAT (Costco’s Dec 2014).
Finally, customer service is another area that I like to consider. I have never had the need to use the KitchenAid customer service, so I can not comment other then the fact that it is a good thing that I have not had to contact them. The same for the Kenwood customer service; however, a Kenwood demonstrator has given instruction on how to make adjustments to the A109 so some of the modern attachments can work. That is impressive! It should be noted that the KitchenAid Artisan comes with a 5 year warranty versus the 1 year warranty for the Kenwood Chef. Even the KitchenAid Classic at £199 comes with a 2 year warranty.
To summarise I list the following points:
- Performance – Both machines are excellent!
- Price– If you compare the Kenwood Chef versus the KitchenAid Artisan, then the Kenwood wins on price. If you are prepared to look at a KitchenAid Classic then price is not the deciding factor.
- Attachment Options – If attachments are something that you want, then the fact that Kenwood Chef comes with a glass thermomix blender gives it a plus over the KitchenAid Artisan. For other attachment considerations, you would need to consider the extensive list of other options available on both machines and further research is probably a good idea.
- Use and Access – As mentioned early in this article, to get the most use out of your machine, it is best left out on your counter for regular use. So, the question is which machine looks best in your kitchen. For me it is the KitchenAid, but you may disagree. This is personal preference.
After reading this comparison, I think one can conclude that both machines will give pleasure to an enthusiastic cook for many years.