I was originally looking for a sausage making machine, which I've had trouble finding at a reasonable price and with any encouraging reviews. I happened to visit an excellent cookware shop whilst on a trip to Bath and was advised by a very helpful sales girl that the KitchenAid Artisan food mixers were suitable for the task as they had an optional attachment which could produce minced meat and fish and then an additional option attachment which would stuff sausages. I had looked at these mixers before but not with any real serious intention of purchase due to their size, weight and exorbitant cost. However, she carefully explained all that the machine was potentially capable of, including cake making, bread making, sauce making etc. As I currently make all my own bread by hand and usually do a double-batch of dough at a time to make rolls which I then freeze, I started to become a little more interested. Mixing 2kg of dough by hand is quite heavy-going, but the machine should be able to do it in an effortless few minutes. On making further investigations into the KitchenAid Artisan, I found a mixed bag of reviews, a lot of people had experienced problems with them, developing faults etc. The motor - although direct drive - is not particularly powerful at only 300w and the attachments - all of which are extras - were very expensive also. I then started to look at the alternatives which claim to do a similar job and the one I decided to opt for after much review-reading was the Kenwood KMC010 Chef Titanium, which has a 1400w motor, is lighter and comes with more attachments as standard. Also, additional attachments are much cheaper than for the KitchenAid. We have also had a Kenwood Gourmet food processor for around 30 years, which is now really at the end of it's life, so this was a good recommendation.
I have had the machine for a week and in that time I've made two sponge cakes (never had any success by hand or with hand mixers), one batch of buttercream icing, three batches of bread, two batches of creamy mashed potato. I've also used the food processor attachment for slicing vegetables for two curries. In short - so far the machine has exceeded my expectations. As Kenwood are currently offering a free attachment with any Chef or Major purchased until the end of the year, I've opted for the food grinder/mincer/sausage maker - which has yet to be delivered. Will update my review when I've had chance to use it.
The machine was considerably cheaper than the equivalent KitchenAid offering (although KitchenAid do offer a longer warranty - perhaps this is because so many of them go wrong....), came complete with food processor attachment, thermo blender attachment and additional free Flexi-Beater tool. It also had supplied with it a very useful full colour cookbook. It is a little lighter than the KitchenAid but it still doesn't throw itself around the worktop when kneading dough - so that's fine.
My only criticism of the machine - and I'm not alone in this opinion - is the plastic splatter guard is very flimsy, particularly the hinged chute, so extra care must be taken with this when washing and handling. Everything else feels very solid, heavy and well-made.
All-in-all, I am very pleased so far with my purchase, everything fits together well and is easy to clean and use. Would recommend to others.