Kitchen Essential: Finding The Best Food Processor For The Money (2016)

By Tessah | Blog

May 10

Food processors have been a mandatory kitchen appliance for professional chefs and serious cooks since their introduction in the late ’60s and early ’70s. Originally, their cost and size made them unappealing to most people, but today’s food processors are affordable, relatively compact and available in a host of colors and sizes. Not only that, but modern food processors have evolved from a single-function appliance to a jack-of-all-trades kitchen necessity. Whether you want to stop the tears when chopping onions or your carpal tunnel won’t let you knead bread dough, there’s a food processor out there that can get the job done.

Rated: Our Top 10 Best Food Processors For The Price

PRODUCTOUR RATING
Hamilton Beach 70740 8-Cup
Hamilton Beach 70740 8-Cup Food Processor
4.5 Stars (4.5 / 5)
Cuisinart DLC-2ABC Mini Prep Plus
Conair Cuisinart DLC-2ABC Mini Prep Plus Food Processor
4.5 Stars (4.5 / 5)
Breville BFP800XL Sous Chef
Breville BFP800XL Sous Chef Food Processor
4.9 Stars (4.9 / 5)
BRAUN FP3020 12-Cup
BRAUN FP3020 12-Cup Food Processor
4.7 Stars (4.7 / 5)
Cuisinart DFP-14BCNY 14-Cup
Cuisinart DFP-14BCNY 14-Cup Food Processor
4.5 Stars (4.5 / 5)
Hamilton Beach 70730 Bowl Scraper
Hamilton Beach 70730 Bowl Scraper Food Processor
4.5 Stars (4.5 / 5)
Hamilton Beach 70670 Chef Prep 525-Watt
Hamilton Beach 70670 Chef Prep 525-Watt Food Processor
4.6 Stars (4.6 / 5)
KitchenAid KFC3511ER 3.5-Cup Food Chopper
KitchenAid KFC3511ER 3.5-Cup Food Chopper
4.5 Stars (4.5 / 5)
Proctor Silex 72500RY 1-1/2-Cup Food Chopper
Proctor Silex 72500RY 1-1/2-Cup Food Chopper
4.3 Stars (4.3 / 5)
BLACK+DECKER FP1600B 8-Cup
BLACK+DECKER FP1600B 8-Cup Food Processor
4.0 Stars (4.0 / 5)

Food Processors Buying Guide

When you start to compare the best food processors on the market right now, you will notice a lot of variety and models among the top brands. To help you to determine which model and style best meets the needs of your kitchen, let’s take a look at some of the common features that you can compare among the models that you are considering buying for your own home use.

Bowl Size

Food processors come in a variety of shapes and sizes. From 3-cup bowls that make short work of dicing carrots, onions and celery for soup stock to 20-cup bowls that turn this summer’s crop of tomatoes into marinara, there’s a food processor to suit your cooking lifestyle.

One of the first questions you need to ask yourself is whether you’re buying the food processor for everyday or occasional use. They aren’t a monetary investment so much as they’re a space investment, so be honest about how often you’re going to use it and base your decision on bowl size accordingly. Seven-cup food processors are the average, but if you’re short on counter or storage space or cook for three or less people, you may do better with a three- to four-cup bowl. Smaller models are a good choice if you’ll regularly be returning it to the cabinet rather than leaving it on the countertop. If you regularly cook in large batches to freeze ahead or do lot of entertaining for groups, a 20-cup food processor will save you time. Larger-capacity models often come with an accompanying smaller bowl (up to 4 cups) that helps with multi-tasking.

Power

Power is an important consideration when shopping for a food processor. A powerful motor will help you get consistent results time after time. You will get even, uniform slicing and chopping. You will be able to make nut butters with ease without worry of motor strain. Bread dough is effortlessly kneaded in minutes. Pasta dough comes together quickly and painlessly. Caesar dressing or mayonnaise can be emulsified without fear of separation. You can easily see why adequate power is imperative when buying a new food processor.

All food processors perform the same functions, but they do vary in power in wattage. High power, fast speed and low noise have long been the standout qualities of the best food processors, and nearly all on the market offer 400 to 1,200 watts. If you’re looking for a good, one-wattage-fits-all-your-cooking-needs model, shoot for a power rating of 600 watts. Machines with this wattage have sufficient power and speed to handle most everyday jobs like slicing, dicing, chopping and pulverizing.

Functionality and Attachments

Most food processors come standard with three operational settings: low, high and pulse. If you’ve watched any cooking shows on the Food Network, you’ve heard tell of the control the pulse feature provides you over the ingredients you’re working with. If you do encounter a model that doesn’t offer the pulse feature, skip it and find one that does.

You might also consider a food processor that features multiple feed tubes to handle a variety of different-sized items. Larger feed tubes can accommodate carrots, celery or cucumbers without having to cut them into smaller pieces first. No matter how many feed tubes yours offers, they should be positioned well to guide the food easily to the blades without backing up. If you have concerns, save your receipt and know the return policies before using it.

Next, you want to evaluate the blades or discs. After all, blades are what give the food processor its functionality. They come with a variety of interchangeable disc blades, the most common being the “S,” which is used for chopping without risk of pureeing, and another for shredding or grating. If creativity and versatility are driving your purchase, look for brands like Cuisinart that offer specialty blades, purchased separately, to slice at different thickness, turn out square julienne cuts or shred ingredients super finely. When reviewing standard or specialty blades, choose those made from long-lasting stainless steel.

As for other attachments, the general rule is the larger the model, the more you get. Attachments available today include whisks, beaters and citrus juicers and a host of others. Some may be included with higher-end models, so make sure to read what’s included. If the specialty attachment does not come with the model you’re interested in, it may be sold separately. Finally, if you’re planning on using your food processor to whip out pizza and other dough-based products, most high-end models come with the kneader attachment. Some slightly more expensive models feature specific dough-making speeds, but we found that many online reviewers think they don’t add much benefit dough can still be kneaded using the basic pulse speed.

Style

It used to be that what you saw usually white, gold or avocado green was what you got, and it was usually clunky. Today, you can find food processors in sleek designs that blend in with your rest of your kitchen decor. With bases that come in stainless steel and a rainbow of colors, you’re sure to find one that matches your chosen color scheme or the coffeemaker and toaster you already have.

Safety

There’s a lot of talk about how much food processors weigh and how awkward some people think they are to take in and out of the cabinet, but the truth is that the heavier the base unit is, the more stable it is. Stability is a key component when it comes to safety. Your food processor is going to pack some weight and that weight is a benefit, not a detriment. Choose one with a variety of built-in safety features like non-skid legs. Nearly all food processors have a mechanism in place that prevents operation if the bowl, blades or lid aren’t attached or secured properly. Some users find this inconvenient, but so is a trip to the emergency room.

Our Favorites: Food Processor Reviews

After checking out and comparing all of the top models on the market, we have selected our top five favorites to review here. We think that these represent the best of the best right now and any one of these makes a great addition to your kitchen.

Hamilton Beach 70740 8-Cup Food Processor Review

Hamilton Beach 70740Tired of chopping by hand? This food processor will quickly slice through all your fruits and veggies. Boasts 2-speeds and strong 450 watt motor. Its stainless steel blade is dishwasher safe and can be flipped over for shredding or chopping. Stores in a compact space, with its reversible lid that nests in the unit. A large chute allows for bulk chopping while protecting your hands.

Pros: Affordably priced, simple selection of settings, durable, powerful, fast

Cons: Plastic bowl cracks on occasion

Click here to view on Amazon

Conair Cuisinart DLC-2ABC Mini Prep Plus Food Processor Review

Conair Cuisinart DLC-2ABC Mini Prep PlusThe Cuisinart Mini Prep Plus Food Processor offers a sleek, modern design that will look great in any kitchen. The 250 watt processor has simple controls which allow you to easily navigate the machine, cutting and chopping with stainless steel blades. Perfectly chopping foods such as onions, nuts, and more, the Cuisinart Mini Prep Plus Food Processor makes time in the kitchen a little bit easier. It also is the perfect size, only 24 ounces so it isn’t too big or too small for your kitchen counter or kitchen storage. Adding to its convenience, the dishwasher safe components that are included make the post processing cleanup easy.

Click here to view on Amazon

Breville BFP800XL Sous Chef Food Processor Review

Breville BFP800XL Sous ChefThe Breville Sous Chef Food Processor has a sleek design that will look great in any kitchen. The perfect size, this food processor can fit well on the kitchen counter or storage. With a large tube to place fruits and vegetables in, you won’t need to pre-cut foods prior to processing. It also comes with two cups: 16 cup large bowl as well as a mini bowl holding 2.5 cups so there is some customization available for use. Adding to the high end look and feel, the Breville Sous Chef Food Processor has an automatic timer on display for added convenience. With 5 discs and 3 blades this processor is a great addition to any kitchen.

Click here to view on Amazon

BRAUN FP3020 12-Cup Food Processor Review

BRAUN FP3020 12-CupThe BRAUN 12-Cup Food Processor has everything a home chef could want-and then some. Not just a food processor, this is a juicer as well. Use the processor for a variety of different things such as chopping, whisking, and kneading. It comes with a variety of speeds and a pulsing option for optimal customization for your food. With dishwasher safe parts, the BRAUN 12-Cup Food Processor makes clean up easy. This great processor can be used for both soft and hard foods, so it makes for the perfect “all in one” food processor for your kitchen.

Click here to view on Amazon

Cuisinart DFP-14BCNY 14-Cup Food Processor Review

The Cuisinart 14-Cup Food Processor not only shines with its stainless steel base it is a prime, powerful food processor. It slices, shreds, and chops full fruits and vegetables in its large feed tube. The major features of the 14-cup work bowl and stainless steel mixing blade ensures for a no mess process. The power and capacity of the Cuisinart 14-Cup Food Processor are met with its dishwasher safe easy clean. Shine and shred at the same time while keeping counter-tops clean.

Click here to view on Amazon