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I am planning to buy a KitchenAid mixer for my wife as a birthday present. However, there are multiple models and I am not sure which one to pick. My wife will be using the mixer for making cookies, cake, pizza dough, and possibly bread.

One of the main differences between the models is the wattage, with some models having 325 watts while others having 575 watts. How important is the increase in wattage for my wife's uses?

Another difference that I found is that some model has a burnished metal dough hook while the other model has a nylon covered dough hook. Would this be a big advantage/disadvantage for either models?

Thanks.

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Shopping advise is off topic across the SE network. –  SAJ14SAJ Jul 14 '13 at 0:02
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@SAJ14SAJ But objective equipment questions, like "what should I look for in a mixer that will be used for these purposes?" are exactly the kind of questions we love to have. (Gti09 - edit your question to be a bit more specific along those lines and I'm sure it'll work out.) –  Jefromi Jul 14 '13 at 0:04
    
ANY KitchenAid mixer will serve the uses listed above. –  SAJ14SAJ Jul 14 '13 at 0:36
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@SAJ14SAJ : How is this off-topic? We used to have a ton of these sorts of questions, but you had to know how to word them ... like the one that makes this a duplicate : cooking.stackexchange.com/q/17497/67 (although, I don't know if the material of the dough hook has been covered.... that might warrant a separate question) –  Joe Jul 15 '13 at 22:36
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@SAJ14SAJ : I don't see how it's any less of a pure shopping question than it was before. We are not other SE sites ... we are cooking.SE. Policies from other sites don't belong here unless it's gone through meta first. (see Kev's comment in cutting boards.) Gti09 was first asking about how worthwhile the motor wattage is, and now he's also mentioned dough hook material. The trick is in how you answer the question -- focus on features, not specific models (which might not be available in all areas or discontinued in a few months). –  Joe Jul 16 '13 at 1:15
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I would recommend against gatting the models below 325 watt. The 325W models is easily strong enough for breads, cakes, and cookies. Although it does sound a bit tortured on heavier dough and doesn't like mixing tough stuff for extended lengths and gets warm.

The higher power models tend to have a different release mechanism where the bowl lifts into position and the mixing head doesn't tilt. This is generally handy (less dripping, and no wobbling of the mixing head). If you plan on using it multiple times a day, the pro models with higher wattage are the way to go.

I personally find the metal dough hook just fine, I believe the other one you refer to has a spatuala attached to scrape the dough off the sides during mixing. Sometimes useful, but not the end of the world without it.

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On the issue of wattage : if it gets warm enough (because it's working harder than it's meant for), it'll trip a thermal sensor that will shut the whole thing down. You'll think it's broken, but if you turn it off and let it cool down, after a while it'll magically work again. I've typically run into this with kneading dough, but my mom tripped it once when juicing a few bags of citrus for a large (huge) batch of glühwein. –  Joe Jul 16 '13 at 1:09
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