I'm about to bite the bullet and order one. I have to order from Chefscatalog.com as I have $225 in gift certificates from them. I vaguely think that more wattage is supposedly better (but after watching a recent Good Eats episode where wattage was discussed and dismissed as being a bar for quality/power I'm not so sure anymore). I don't know the benefits of a bowl lift versus a tilt head. I am not an experienced baker. I make cookies from October to May....It's too hot to bake in the summer for me. And I've recently started baking bread (thanks to all for your suggestions...I turned out a lovely rosemary focaccia with olives and tomato last night). The biggest bread recipe I made yielded 3 loaves and took roughly 8 cups of white flour. I understand that the mixers handle considerably less specialty flour which KitchenAid defines as bread or wheat flour. I have yet to make a bread with anything other than white flour. How long does one need to knead using the mixer? By hand I've been averaging about 7 minutes. My Cook's Illustrated cookbook says that stand mixers make better bread as the risk of overflouring is reduced. They also mention that instant or fast acting yeast is preferable to the regular dry active. But I suppose that is another post. So basically I'm stuck. Doing this research is like reading webmd.com. I end up reading so much information that I'm totally conflicted, completely confused, and worse off than when I was just totally ignorant.
Thanks for sticking with me, if you've read this far. It's not an insignificant purchase for me, and I'd like my decision to based on something other than ordering the model with all the pretty color choices.
I've done a search on this board and I've seen the merits of buying refurbished discussed and I've seen wattage discussed....The majority seem to say that more is better. So I apologize if my questions have been asked and answered.