Okay, as of yesterday I have officially Had It Up To Here with my KA Artisan and am going to replace it this week. Not only has the motor been operating in a definitely "complaining" voice for the past several months, I broke the handle off my THIRD (and last) mixer bowl. How? Because for the past year, the bowl has been getting "locked" so tightly into the (bleep)ing base as the mixer operates that many times I've often been unable to remove it from the mixer. And it's not that I'm a wimp, either; on two past occasions I had to call my son and ask him to drive over in order to get the bowl off and HE had trouble! Something is rotten in Denmark (China??) when a hockey player has to put a stand mixer onto the kitchen floor (for leverage) in order to be able to wrench the freaking bowl off the base.
So I had to resort to tapping the bowl's handle with a rubber mallet in order to loosen it enough to remove. Well, "tapping" is not quite accurate, it would end up being somewhere between a firm tap and a definite whack, as needed. I ended up with two handle-less bowls that way, one of which became instantly useless because the handle took a rivet with it and left a hole. Yesterday my third bowl became handle-less and that was the last straw. Er, handle. Whatever.
Anyway I've narrowed its replacement down to the Cuisinart SM55 or the Breville. I like the quick-release paddle option on the Cuisinart, and also the style of the bowl base lock which looks like it's an improvement over the blankety-blank KA's. Also the Cuisinart bowl seems wider/less deep than the KA, another thing that appealed. I've seen this one in person and am going to check out the Breville either today or Wednesday, at Sur la Table. Prices are the same on both ($299) and I have a 20% off BB&B coupon (for the Cuisinart) and a $50 SLT gift card (for the Breville).
I'd love some hands-on user input for these two mixers, especially regarding ease of bowl removal after heavy or extended mixing (don't want to have to pick up the mallet again!) , whether the Breville has a quick-release for the paddle, how the mixer handles heavy doughs, and how much bowl scraping you end up doing (with the KA it's a lot!). The mixer permanently lives on my countertop, so weight (lifting) doesn't matter in that regard.