Start here BEFORE reading the reviews
Consumer reviews are a valuable resource when making any purchase, and a food processor is no exception. Reviews written by real people can offer information that you can’t find anywhere else. People who have actually used a product can tell you honestly what the pros and cons are and help you find the best option for you. However, reading reviews should not be the starting point of your decision process unless you plan on dedicating a great deal of unnecessary time to your quest. It’s better to spend a few minutes now thinking about what you’re looking for in a food processor.
There is a lot to consider when deciding which food processor is best for you. Size, power, reliability and accessories are all important. We suggest you first use these criteria to narrow your search. Don’t waste your time reading countless reviews for models that won’t meet your needs. When you are ready, the food processors are categorized to the right by size. Click on the size that best suits your needs for detailed information and reviews. There are also sections below that where they are categorized by brand. Use these categories if you’ve already narrowed your search down to a specific maker.
Size tends to be the determining factor for most people when purchasing a food processor. It won’t matter how powerful or reliable a model is if it’s too big to fit in your kitchen or too small to handle your workload. Think carefully about what your size needs will be.
The size of a food processor refers to the capacity of the work bowl and is measured in cups. It’s important to realize you won’t be able to fill the work bowl to the top. This is especially true with liquids, where the bowl can only be filled about halfway to prevent leaking. If you plan on making four cups of soup or other liquid at once, you’ll need at least an eight cup model. The general size categories are as follows:
Mini - 4 cups or smaller- Best for small projects such as chopping garlic or herbs. Won’t work well for pastry or bread dough. Can only process very minimal amounts of sauce or toppings.
Compact – 5 to 8 cups- Can do most of what a full size unit can do but on a smaller scale. Ideal for someone who never cooks for more than two people and has limited kitchen space.
Full Size – 9 cups or larger- Can easily accommodate large batches of sauce as well as pastry or bread dough. Perfect for slicing, shredding and pureeing. A full size model is the best choice for anyone who cooks often.
The limitations of a smaller machine are obvious. You can’t prepare much at once and will end up doing multiple batches for larger projects. Many people fail to realize that too large of a bowl can also be a problem. It will be difficult to effectively combine ingredients when dealing with small amounts of food. Without enough product to spin around, everything tends to build up on the sides of the work bowl.
If kitchen space is not an issue, the best option is a 12 cup or larger food processor with a mini-bowl. The mini-bowl is usually about 4 cups and fits into the same base as the larger one. You’ll always have the best sized bowl for the project at hand. It’s comparable to getting two food processors for the price of one.
In addition to the bowl size you will want to consider the size of the feed tube. Too narrow of a feed tube will lead to a lot of cutting and chopping before the food even enters the work bowl.
Power is an important aspect of a good food processor. A well powered unit will give you easy, consistent and uniform results. An inadequately powered machine will lead to uneven results.
What are “uneven” results? Here are a few examples: When processing vegetables, some are liquefied while some are still in large chunks. You shred cheese and end up with varying sizes. You are cutting the butter or shortening into a pie crust some of it remains in pieces that are too large while some of it melts prematurely into the flour. To sum it up, a weak food processor could make more work for you instead of less!
What size motor do you need? There isn’t an easy answer to that question. The larger the food processor the larger the motor will need to be. This is one area where consumer reviews are quite handy; they can let you know if a specific model has adequate power for its size.
Power isn’t just about wattage. There are two basic motor types: belt driven and direct driven. A belt driven model has the motor and work bowl side by side, connected by a drive belt and wheels. In a direct driven model, the work bowl sits on top of the motor. This allows for a more direct transfer of power and results in more usable power per watt. Keep this in mind when comparing models with identical wattage.
A more powerful unit will be heavier. This can be inconvenient when trying to get your appliance out of the cupboard but it will be able to deliver better results. The extra weight also adds to the stability of the machine, lessoning or eliminating shaking while in use.
This is definitely an area where consumer reviews are crucial. This is the best way to get unbiased information. Another way to gauge the reliability of a specific model is through the reputation of the maker. A good warranty can also give you piece of mind.
The most common repair food processors need is an adjustment or replacement of the belt. Buying a direct driven model avoids this problem.
Accessories and Special Features
Don’t worry about the number of speeds a food processor has to offer. You only need one speed and a pulse option. You control the speed of the processing through pulsing.
Most food processors come with a few basic accessories for slicing, shredding and chopping. In general, the larger models will come with more accessories.
Think about what you intend to use the food processor for to determine which accessories are the most important to you. If you are an avid baker, a dough blade might be at the top of your list. If you like to make homemade juices, be sure to find a model that is compatible with a juicing attachment. Many makers offer separate accessory packages, giving you the opportunity to upgrade later if needed. Not all accessories are available for all models.
There is one accessory considered indispensable by chefs but overlooked by most home cooks: an extra work bowl. Most meals will have more than one component that can be done more easily with a food processor. You won’t save yourself as much time in the kitchen if you have to wash the work bowl several times while preparing dinner. One extra bowl can make a huge difference, but you may even end up wanting more than that.
Check out the “Accessories” page. There you will find the accessories available for all of the most popular models along with detailed customer reviews. This will give you an idea of which accessories are available and how well they perform.
Read the reviews
Now you should have a better idea of what to look for to get the best food processor for you. To the right you will find them categorized by size and brand. There you will find detailed information on specific models as well as unbiased consumer reviews. Keep in mind that some of the reviews are written by inexperienced cooks who haven’t worked much with this handy kitchen appliance. If 9 out of 10 people are overjoyed with the performance of a food processor keep that in perspective when the 10th person says it’s junk. Some “problems” may just be a lack of understanding when it comes to proper usage and expectations.
We also provide an overview of the reviews to prevent you from wasting your time reading hundreds of reviews for a machine that isn’t well suited to your needs.
Most of the top food processors are available in several finishes. The picture might show something other than the finish you are looking for, such as stainless steel or brushed nickel, even though it is offered. Just click on the picture to find out what options are available for that particular model.
Looking for ways to break in your new food processor?
Start with our free recipes. Hungry for more? Move on to the “Cookbooks” section. It has books filled with recipes that will help you get the most out of your new kitchen helper. Now that you’ve picked out the best food processor you’ll want the best cookbook to go with it. You’ll find helpful consumer reviews available for those too!