The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Hobart N50 in a home kitchen, plus several other Hobart/KA questions

AllTheEggs's picture

Hobart N50 in a home kitchen, plus several other Hobart/KA questions

Hi all, first time poster here. I'm currently using an ancient Kitchenaid K5A, with plans to replace it with a newish KSM50 I was given needing some minor repair. In the meantime a mint 1950s Hobart N50 was donated to my church and I have first dibs if I want to buy it from them. Had a few questions for the brain trust before I make any choices, though:

1. Does the N50 have any benefit in a home kitchen for people who don't make large batches of bread? I've never overstressed my old K5A.

2. Does the N50 have any particular disadvantages? Right now I'm checking parts cost and it's stratospheric compared to the Kitchenaid models.

3. Are #10 attachments limited to Kitchenaid products these days? I only see #12 and larger Hobart stuff now. This machine has a #10 pelican but it doesn't have a good blade selection.

4. How many styles of modern Kitchenaid dough hooks are there? This N50 has a newer Ktichenaid hook and my K5A also has a hook, but they're different shapes and I can't tell what's what.

Probably will have more questions, but thanks in advance!

Old Baker's picture
Old Baker

Since no one has replied here, allow me to be the first.  I have a KA Artisan (don't know the model #) that has served me well.  It consistently ranks as the best stand mixer in reviews.  I'm like you in that I don't make large batches of bread.  Maybe three baguettes every three or four days.  My oven won't hold but three, maybe six, loaves at a time.  I bake for my family and some friends if I have extra bread.  I have no plans to get into commercial baking.  To answer your questions:

#1 I see no benefit of the N50.  This may sound like treason, but I've never understood the mythical love people have for the mixer.  Both the KA and the N50 are 5 quart machines.  My KA has never acted like it's overstretched and only gets warm to the touch with extended use.  The N50 uses a 400 watt motor, the KA is 325.  No big difference.  But the price difference is astounding:  $2500 for a N50 vs ~ $275 for a KA.

#2 I see several features of the N50 that seem negative to me.  Only three speeds vs infinitely variable on the KA.  And you have to turn it off to change speed.  I like the tilt head design of the KA for accessing the bowl and dough hook rather than having to reach over the motor to access the lever that lowers the bowl.  And it's heavy, ~55 lbs vs ~25 lbs.  Find a spot on your counter for it and you'll want to leave it there permanently.

I can't comment on your last two questions as I have no experience with the N50 other that what I see and read on the web.  So let the comments fly!

AllTheEggs's picture

Thanks. I'm a big fan of the lift-bowl mixers--it's what my Kitchen Aid K5 is. Hopefully one of the N50 brain trust members sees this thread at some point.

wilg's picture

Hello- I own two n50s but only one is sitting on our kitchen haha. I bought them used and restored both of them. I gave the other to my sis. We use the n50 for a variety of sorts (even making freshly made juice) except large batches of bread. I bought several vintage but compatible attachments from KA. The main decision points why I considered an n50 than a KA is the build quality, reliability, reliability, build quality, and reliability haha. joking aside, these are built like tanks! heavy duty. Im also old school. I dont go for fancy stuff that are made in china or disposable kitchen appliances . Have you looked at the insides of the KA? they are almost entirely made of plastic! Im not comparing your grandma's KA that were made by Hobart. Im talking about the KA after the washing machine company purchased them.On the other hand, the n50 and all Hobart mixers were and are still made of metal! this means they can take more abuse and are not susceptible to malfunction. 

In the beginning, I was not interested on making bread. But after awhile, I started missing the "artisan breads of europe and started experimenting. The job of our n50 expanded. If i had a KA, this option would not possible. The main disadvantage of the n50 is its weight. Because its heavy and comprised of heavy duty parts and components. So you need to ask someone if you want it to move all the time. Its true that the Hobart parts are more $$$ than KA but its so rare for an n50 to break! So the key is to find one that is in good shape and and had been oil/grease replaced. For compatibility, NOT all vintage KA will fit the n50. The key thing for an older gen KA is that it has to be no later than model G.

doughooker's picture

"Have you looked at the insides of the KA? they are almost entirely made of plastic!"

No they're not. I've had mine open for lubrication and it's 100% metal except for the failsafe gear which is plastic and designed to break if the load is too great so that the motor doesn't burn up..

Please get your facts right before posting.