KitchenAid KSM150PSWH Artisan Series 5 Quart Mixer
It took us a few cheap stand mixers years back for us to consider a KitchenAid artisan stand mixer. The reviews were always 5 stars but these mixers were 300$ or more back then and we really did not have too much use for them. Now though even the 5 quart Artisan Series is around 200$ and there is more a need than ever since we make our own bread / pizza dough. The dough hook attachment does wonders and there are a ton of other attachments like the juicer. You would be surprised how much money you save in the long run getting bulk ingredients to make your own healthy bread (we put Flax Seed in everything).
KitchenAid products earn instant respect as they are still made in America and you can tell by the quality and weight of their products. In turn it is built to last for a lifetime and you can see this in how long the warranties are for these products.
In terms of functionality the mixer is very simple. So long as you don't put massive amounts of ingredients in it (get the KitchenAid professional mixer if the 5 quart is not big enough) you will be able to see the mixer do the job by itself with no assistance from you. Compared to a handheld mixer the KitchenAid stand mixers process thoroughly. Everything is mixed evenly and in an orderly manner so you won't need a spatula to push the ingredients further in like a lot of cheap mixers.
The only real complaint one will find in reviews about these mixers is that they leave ingredients at the bottom of the bowl. When you buy one and read the instructions, they give directions as to how to lower / raise the adjustment screw at the bottom. So when you read a comment like that you will know it is from someone who bought the KitchenAid 5 quart stand mixer and did not read the directions.