AMy old stand mixer just went out and I have 6 cake orders for this week. I need a Kitchenaid that is easy to use and reliable but also large enough to make large quantities of buttercream at a time. I was looking at the Artisian 5 quart but then noticed that there is a Kitchenaid professional 6 quart that has a lot more watts of power. It is $100 more than the Artisian. If it will work better and last longer I would be glad to pay more since I make from 5-7 cakes a week.
AI don't bake professionally but I do have the pro 600 and I love it. I make my own pasta, bread and cakes of course, as well as grinding meat and grains. And I find the amount of power it has is a real plus. Sometimes I go to my mother's house and use her smaller artisan kitchen aid and find it can get the job done but you can hear that it is working a lot harder than mine does. You can get smaller bowls for it when you need to make smaller amounts. When making buttercream I always use the biggest bowl. I find when making bread I don't have issues with the dough climbing up the hook like my mother does with her smaller mixer. Personally for the price difference I think it is worth it since you will be using it so much.
AAre you aware of the 7Qt kitchenaid mixer? It was introduced about 2 years ago. It has an even stronger motor and is much quieter than the 6 Qt and will set you back @$550.
I have both a 6 qt and the 7 qt. I like them both but use the 7 qt more often since the bowl is bigger.
I think the Viking or the Cuisinart are better. But with 5-7 cakes a week, you need a Hobart!