KitchenAid offers two types of stand mixers: tilt-head and bowl-lift.
The main difference between tilt-head and bowl-lift mixers is the way you access the bowl.
Tilt-head mixers have a switch that allows you to tilt the mixer’s head back to add ingredients. With bowl-lift mixers, the head is stationary, but a lever allows you to move the bowl up and down.
That’s the basic distinction, but there’s much more to know before deciding which to buy.
In this comparison of KitchenAid tilt-head vs. bowl-lift, I dive deeper into the nuances between the two.
You’ll learn how they compare in terms of options, size, bowl capacity, power, price, and much more.
KitchenAid mixers are a significant investment, so read on to get all the facts before deciding which type is best for your kitchen.
Use the links below to navigate this comparison:
- What Is a KitchenAid Tilt-Head Mixer?
- What Is a KitchenAid Bowl-Lift Mixer?
- Difference 1: Models
- Difference 2: Size
- Difference 3: Bowl Capacity
- Difference 4: Power
- Difference 5: Motor Type
- Difference 6: Functions
- Difference 7: Design
- Difference 8: Storage
- Difference 9: Price
- Bottom Line: Should You Buy a KitchenAid Tilt-Head or Bowl-Lift Mixer?
What Is a KitchenAid Tilt-Head Mixer?
KitchenAid tilt-head mixers have a lever on the side that allows you to unlock the head and tilt it up and back, giving you access to the mixing bowl.
Since the head pivots backward, you can easily remove and insert various attachments, including a dough hook, a whisk, a flat beater, a meat grinder, a food processor, and much more.
These mixers make it easy to add ingredients. Simply lift the head for unobstructed access to the bowl.
Tilt-head models are the most convenient for home use because they’re compact and easy to use while still offering the power to handle all baking and mixing tasks.
You can use a tilt-head mixer for shredding, grinding, whipping, kneading, and mashing — and that’s just with what’s included in the box. If you add some of the optional accessories, you’ll be amazed by what you can do.
What Is a KitchenAid Bowl-Lift Mixer?
KitchenAid bowl-lift mixers are a more sturdy option, recommended for the serious baker.
Instead of accessing the bowl by tilting the head back, bowl-lift models have a stationary head. The bowl is accessed by pulling a lever that controls two arms attached to the bowl.
When you press the lever down, the bowl lowers, allowing enough space to add ingredients. When you pull the lever up, the bowl rises and is ready for mixing.
Like the tilt-head mixers, you can perform a range of tasks with bowl-lift models. They come with a wire whisk, a dough hook, and a flat beater. Plus, you can add on a range of accessories, including a meat grinder, a vegetable slicer, spiralizer, juicer, and much more.
With bowl-lift mixers, there’s a bit more space between the bowl and the head, so you can easily add ingredients while the mixer is running.
One drawback is that when the mixer is switched off, and the bowl has been removed, it’s a little trickier to replace the attachments since the head doesn’t tilt back.
Now that you know the basics, let’s take a closer look at the nine key differences between KitchenAid tilt-head and bowl-lift mixers.
Difference 1: Models
KitchenAid tilt-head mixers come in five models: Artisan, Artisan Mini, Classic, Classic Plus, and Deluxe.
KitchenAid bowl-lift mixers come in three models: Commercial, Professional, Pro Line.
The main differences between each model are power, size, and colors.
Let’s dive a little deeper into each of the options available within the tilt-head and bowl-lift categories.
Artisan (tilt-head): The Artisan collection offers more aesthetic versatility. The 5-quart model is available in 47 colors. Other models are only available in one or two colors, while the glass bowl option has six colors available. Artisan tilt-bowl mixers come with either the standard stainless steel bowl, ceramic mermaid lace bowl, glass bowl, or ceramic hobnail bowl. Like the Classic, you’ll also find ten speed settings and compatibility with ten attachments. However, the bowls in this collection are slightly bigger.
Artisan Mini (tilt-head): The Artisan Mini is similar to the Artisan in that it features ten speed settings, is compatible with ten attachments, and is available in a range of colors. The bowl is smaller at 3.5 quarts, but, at that size, you can still make five dozen cookies in one batch. It has the same power as the full-size Classic mixer; it’s just smaller and lighter.
Classic and Classic Plus (tilt-head): Classic Series mixers features ten speed settings and a 275-watt motor. It’s also compatible with ten attachments, including food grinders and pasta makers. It’s available in black, white, or silver. The bowl is 4.5 quarts, which is large enough for six dozen cookies.
Deluxe (tilt-head): The Deluxe mixer features a 4.5-quart bowl, ten speeds, and is compatible with ten attachments. It also has 59 touchpoints, which means the mixer touches the bowl in 59 different places for a thorough blend. It’s available in three colors: silver, mineral water blue, and dark pewter. Check out this comparison of Deluxe vs. Artisan mixers to learn more.
Commercial (bowl-lift): This mixer comes with or without a stainless steel bowl guard, which prevents items from entering the bowl while mixing. It has a huge 8-quart bowl and a 1.3 horsepower motor. Its robust motor can mix for long periods with minimal heat build-up, which helps extend the appliance’s life. It’s available in five sleek colors: dark pewter, empire red, nickel pearl, black, and white.
Professional (bowl-lift): This mixer is designed for heavy and dense mixtures. It has a 1.0 horsepower motor, which, like the Commercial series, minimizes heat build-up. You can choose this mixer in a five or six-quart option, with either a stainless steel or glass bowl. It features ten speed settings and is available in a wide range of colors.
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Pro Line (bowl-lift): This mixer features a long-lasting 1.3 horsepower motor. You can choose a six or seven-quart bowl, which can batch up to 14 dozen cookies. Pro Line mixers come with a 5-year warranty, which is the best warranty KitchenAid offers (the others have a 1-year warranty).
Difference 2: Size
KitchenAid’s tilt-head and bowl-lift mixers come in a range of sizes, so you can find one that fits your kitchen (check your cabinet height).
All tilt-head mixers are 14 inches tall, apart from the Artisan Mini, which is 12.3 inches.
The bowl-lift mixers range from 16.43 to 17 inches tall.
Weight varies by model and bowl type. For example, a ceramic bowl typically weighs more than a stainless steel bowl.
In general, the bowl-lift mixers are heavier due to the larger motor and the bigger size. Both types of mixers are heavy, though, weighing around 25 pounds depending on the model. The Artisan Mini is the lightest at 18 pounds.
Difference 3: Bowl Capacity
Bowl capacity, measured in quarts, is one of the most important factors to consider.
Tilt-head mixers are available in 3.5, 4.5, and 5-quart capacities.
Bowl-lift mixers are available in 4.5, 5, 6, 7, and 8-quart capacities.
The bowl-lift Commercial series is the only mixer that offers an eight-quart bowl.
Difference 4: Power
Power is one of the most significant differences between each KitchenAid tilt-head and bowl-lift mixers.
Across the board, the bowl-lift mixers are more powerful than the tilt-head mixers. But that doesn’t mean the tilt-head mixers can’t get the job done. For 95% of mixing tasks, the motor inside tilt-head mixers is more than adequate.
Here’s the motor power you’ll get with the tilt-head mixers:
- Classic: 275 watts
- Artisan: 325 watts
- Artisan Mini: 250 watts
- Deluxe: 300 watts
The bowl-lift mixers power is measured in watts and horsepower. One horsepower model is equivalent to 746 watts. Here’s the power of the bowl-lift models:
- Commercial: 1.3 horsepower motor (969 watts)
- Professional: 1.0 horsepower motor (746 watts)
- Pro Line: 1.3 horsepower (969 watts)
Difference 5: Motor Type
Most KitchenAid mixers, including all tilt-head models, use an alternating current (AC) motor.
An AC motor is typical in machines that use controlled acceleration and variable speed. The motor generates varying voltage, which results in a more uneven energy flow.
DC motors convert direct current electrical energy into mechanical energy to produce a steady flow of power. They use less energy and heat than AC motors while delivering more torque.
As I mentioned, the AC motors inside tilt-head mixers provide more than enough power for most recipes.
However, the additional power and efficiency you get with the bowl-lift mixer’s DC motors may save serious bakers time and money long term because they expend less energy and maintain consistent speed, even when kneading dense dough.
Difference 6: Functions
KitchenAid tilt-head and bowl-lift mixers can handle almost anything from doughs and batters to homemade pasta and ice cream (with the appropriate attachments). The attachments are compatible with both types.
However, there are a few differences between tilt-head and bowl-lift mixers in terms of functionality.
The tilting head on tilt-head mixers makes it easier to remove and add new attachments quickly. It’s also easy to add ingredients and scrape the bowl since there’s more space between the bowl and the mixing attachment.
On the other hand, adding ingredients to a bowl-lift mixer is a bit more difficult. In most cases, you need to pause the machine, lower the bowl, and then add the ingredients.
Bowl-lift mixers can handle denser and heavier mixes, like doughs and large batches of cookies. Whereas the tilt-head tends to vibrate more, depending on how much is in the bowl. The head may also move up and down slightly.
Lastly, some bowl-lift models are NSF® Certified for commercial use; tilt-head models are not.
Difference 7: Design
KitchenAid mixers come in a range of designs, but there’s a significant difference in the number of options available.
The tilt-head Artisan collection has the most variety with 47 color options. It also has several bowl types to choose from, including stainless steel, glass (pictured below), ceramic mermaid lace, and ceramic hobnail.
With other tilt-head models, you’ll find frosted glass, hammered glass, ceramic (pictured below), and stainless steel bowls. You can check out the full range of bowls on KitchenAid.com.
Bowl-lift mixers are available in up to 6 colors and come with stainless steel bowls. Some select models, such as the Professional 6500 Design Series, come with a glass bowl.
Bowls are available without a handle, with a flat strap handle, or with an ergonomic handle.
Bottom line — if the design is a key factor, you have many more options with tilt-head mixers.
Difference 8: Storage
Before you invest in a KitchenAid mixer, consider the storage requirements.
Tilt-head mixers fit more comfortably under cabinets since they’re approximately three inches shorter than the bowl-lift. Show it off on the countertop while you’re not using it, or if you have space, pop it in a cabinet.
Bowl-lift mixers are heavier, so you may want to consider a permanent space for it since moving it around a lot could become a chore. You will need clearance for its 17-inch height.
Difference 9: Price
The price varies depending on the model, bowl material, and accessories. But overall, KitchenAid bowl-lift stand mixers are more expensive than tilt-head models due to their powerful motors and larger capacity.
Check the current prices of the most popular KitchenAid tilt-head and bowl-lift mixers using the links below.
Bottom Line: Should You Buy a KitchenAid Tilt-Head or Bowl-Lift Mixer?
KitchenAid mixers are expensive, so it’s essential to do your research and find the right model for you.
Before I provide my recommendation, let’s quickly recap the primary differences between KitchenAid tilt-head and bowl-lift mixers:
- Tilt-head mixers are suitable for home use, while bowl-lift mixers are designed for professional use.
- Tilt-head mixers have a moveable head that tilts back, allowing you to easily add ingredients and change the accessories. Bowl-lift mixers have a stationary head, but the bowl moves up and down.
- Tilt-head mixers come in a wider range of collections, colors, and bowls.
- Bowl-lift mixers can handle larger batches of ingredients with a bowl capacity of up to eight quarts.
- Bowl-lift mixers are more powerful, with a horsepower of 1 to 1.3.
- The tilt-head bowl is easier to store since it’s shorter and lighter.
- Tilt-head mixers are significantly less expensive than bowl-lift mixers.
For people who occasionally bake at home, KitchenAid tilt-head mixers are the best option. They can perform a range of tasks, have adequate capacity, pack plenty of power, and are compatible with ten attachments.
Bowl-lift mixers are better for professionals or avid bakers who need a heavy-duty mixer to handle large batches. They’re larger in size and capacity, and power, so they can achieve more in less time. But they’re significantly more expensive.
Ultimately, the right mixer for you depends on your baking needs, storage space, design preferences, and budget. Either way, you’ll be thrilled with the performance and versatility of your KitchenAid mixer.
To check current prices, read other reviews, and learn more, check out KitchenAid tilt-head and bowl-lift mixers on Amazon and KitchenAid.com at the links below:
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- KitchenAid Deluxe vs. Artisan Mixers: What’s the Difference?
- KitchenAid Deluxe vs. Classic Mixers: 9 Key Differences
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