Whether you are looking to make your own homemade baby food, you want to finely chop onions without having to worry about your eyes tearing up, or you want to make your own salad dressings or diced vegetables, a food processor is exactly the appliance that you need. Food processors are some of the most popular small kitchen appliances, and for good reason; they are capable of doing a variety of tasks and can really make cooking and preparing food a lot easier and enjoyable.
Unlike blenders, a standard food processor can do various tasks, including mixing, blending, chopping and pureeing, and you don’t need to add liquid to do it. With the right food processor and the right accessories, you can do almost anything! There are a lot of food processors on the market, which gives you a lot of options; however, having so many options can make it difficult to find the best food processor for your specific needs. To help guide you, we have done some in depth research and put together this useful buyer’s guide, which is full of valuable information that you can use to find the best food processor to suit your specific needs.
Types of Food Processors
There are various types of food processors on the market, and each type offers different designs, functions, power and speeds. The type of food processor that will work best for you will depend on your specific needs.
Bowl Food Processors
Bowl food processors can do a wide variety tasks in the kitchen. They consist of a vertical unit, which is located above the bowl, and once dropped into this unit, the food is passed through the food processor device and then comes out into the bowl. The manner in which the food is chopped, cut or pureed depends on the settings you choose. The bowl food processor is one of the least expensive options, and they are also very compact and lightweight, making them a great value and an excellent choice if you are working in a kitchen that is tight on countertop space.
Continuous Feed Food Processors
As the name suggests, a continuous feed food processor allows you to put food through the processor on a continuous basis. Once the food is placed into the processor, it is deposited into a separate container. The continuous feed allows for faster chopping and dicing, and also allows you to process more food at one time.
Combination Food Processors
A combination food processor is the combination of a bowl and a continuous feed food processor, which makes them highly versatile. Because you can do both of the functions that a bowl and a continuous feed food processor does, you have the freedom and flexibility to do more experimentation and to prepare more varied types of food, allowing you to make a lot more recipes.
Buffalo Chopper Food Processors
The Buffalo Chopper Food Processor is the heaviest duty food processor available. It is specifically designed to perform heavy duty cooking tasks, as it has the ability to chop, puree, slice and dice even the heartiest vegetables and meats. These food processors also are the largest, which is something that you should take into consideration is storage is an issue for you. They can be outfitted with a wide range of accessories, which further maximizes their abilities.
Specialized Food Processors
These food processors are designed to do specialized cooking tasks with the greatest of ease. Juicers, choppers, blenders, mixers and spice grinders, which all fall into their own categories of kitchen appliances, yet are still considered food processors, as they process different types of food.
Factors to Consider When Buying a Food Processor
When you buy and product, there are certain factors that you are going to want to take into consideration to ensure you are making the best choice for your needs; this is true when you are purchasing a food processor, too. After doing our research and testing out several different types of food processors, we believe that the following factors are the most important to take into consideration when making your selection.
Capacity of the Bowl or Container
The capacity of the bowl or container is definitely an important factor to consider when purchasing a food processor. You want to make sure that you are purchasing one that can accommodate the amount of food that you want to prepare. Buying one that is too small for your needs will mean double the work for you, as you will have to empty out the bowl or container in between processing and start the job again. We recommend buying a bowl or container that is around 10 cups in size for a family of four. If you cook larger meals or have a larger family, we recommend choosing a larger bowl or container, such as a 14 cup option.
The best food processors come with a variety of blades, which enable them to do a variety of tasks with ease, including chopping, grinding and pureeing. You should also consider the material of the blades; the highest quality material for food processor blades is stainless steel, as they are quite durable and provide outstanding performance.
You won’t need too much power to perform the basic functions that a food processor can perform, such as chopping or cutting; however, there are certain functions that will require more power, such as mixing dough. Consider your intended usage for your food processor when considering the wattage. It is always better to err on the side of caution and choose a food processor that offers more wattage. We recommend 700 watts, as this is generally enough power to accomplish even the hardest jobs that you would want your food processor to perform.
You should also consider the functions that you want your food processor to perform. The types of functions you will need will depend on your intended use.
What type of storage space do you have to accommodate your food processor? Are you going to be keeping it on your countertop, or will you be storing it away in a cabinet? Either way, you do want to make sure that you have enough space to accommodate storing this appliance.
How easy will it be to clean the food processor? Processing food can be a messy task, so you want to make sure that you choose a processor that is easy to disassemble and clean. Many food processors are easy to take apart and put back together, and also feature components that are dishwasher safe.
You should also consider the price tag when purchasing a food processor. They can range significantly in price, with the most basic models costing less than $100, and the most expensive costing upwards of $250 or more. Generally speaking, the larger the food processor is and the more features it offers, the more expensive it is going to be.
Food Processor Features
The most basic food processors will offer two speeds – high and low – as well as a pulse setting, which is basically all you need to get the cop of chopping and cutting you food done; however, there are several other features available that can make your food processor a more versatile kitchen appliance and that can make it much easier and more enjoyable to use. Here’s a look at the different features that are available that you may want to consider having for your food processor.
All food processors come equipped with a shredding and slicing disk; however, if you want to do more with this appliance, you will want it to offer more accessories. Some models come with a juicer attachment and interchangeable blades, which allow the appliance to do much more jobs with greater ease. Some food processors also come with dough blades, which is a blunt blade that can be used to knead dough; an ideal feature if you plan on making breads and other fresh baked goods.
For a much easier to use and easier to clean food processor, look for touchpad controls. Instead of dials, which can be difficult to set and clean, touchpad controls require the simple push of a button to operate and they have a flat surface, which makes them easy to clean.
Some food processors boast LCD screens. These screens make it easy to see what settings you have chosen, and also allow you to easily set timers and see how much time is remaining when you do set a timer.
Liquid Max Lines
There’s nothing worse than turning on a food processor that is too full and having the contents splatter all over the place. A liquid max line can help you avoid overfilling your food processor, which will, in turn, help you avoid those huge messes and wasted food.
If you really want to make it convenient to store your food processor and its different blades and tools, look for one that comes complete with a storage case. When the appliance is not in use, you can easily put the items into the storage case and tuck it away. This means that you will always have all of your tools on hand when you need them.
Side of Bowl Scrapers
If you don’t want to scrap the sides of the bowl with a spatula, look for a food processor that features blade-type scrapers that will scrape the bowl as it is in action. This feature makes it much easier to empty the contents of the bowl.
If you want to protect your investment, look for a food processor that comes with a warranty. Should anything happen to the appliance during the span of the warranty, or should you be dissatisfied with it for any reason, you could have it replaced or your money refunded. Do note that you should look at the details of your warranty to be sure of the specifications of what it covers.
Best Food Processor Brands
There are several different manufacturers that make food processors, which can make it difficult to find the best brand to suit your specific needs. We have tested out food processors from several manufacturers and have done a lot of research and compared a lot of reviews. The information that we have collected has lead us to determine that the following brands of food processors are the best of the best.
One of the leading names in the small kitchen appliance industry, Oster makes some of the highest quality food processors available. They offer various types of processors that come with an assortment of features. They are also very easy to use and can perform a variety of functions.
According to the reviews that we read, Cusiniart received the highest customer satisfaction rankings. Their food processors meet a variety of needs, are extremely durable, are made of high quality materials and use the most cutting edge technologies, which really set them apart from the crowd.
Black and Decker
Since 1917, Black and Decker has been making small appliances for the home, and their food processors are among the best of the best. We liked how easy their appliances were to use and how perfectly they performed their intended functions. We also liked that they offered a wide variety of features and that they came in a range of prices.
One of the leading distributors of small kitchen appliances in the United States, Hamilton Beach makes some of the highest quality food processors that we tested. We really liked how easy they were to clean, how many options they offered, and how quickly they got the job done. We were also impressed by their longevity; some reviewers said that they had Hamilton Beach food processors that they have been using for two decades or more!