Buyers Guide To The Best Food Processors On The Market
In this post, you'll not only get a list of some of the best food processors available; if you take the time to read before scrolling down to our list, you'll learn how to find the best one for you on your own. Models and designs change year to year as new technology emerges and we learn more about electric motors, blade design, and a host of other factors that determine the quality and longevity of the product you buy.
Ready to get started?
Let's look at the list of things that do matter:
1. Motor – the wattage of the motor is very important.
2. What the blades are made of
3. The height and width of the lower blades in comparison to the bottom and sides of the container area.
4. Quality of the processing container
5. The size of the chute where food is inserted for processing
6. Availability of replacement parts
Let's take each of these and break down why each is important. By the time we break these down, you'll be armed with the knowledge you need to buy the best food processor for you, your home and situation.
Guide To Food Processor Motors
This section is extremely important. There is a reason it's #1 on the list of quality factors. The cost of a food processor is largely determined by the cost of the motor and is usually the go-to part where production costs are cut, giving you an inferior product if you're not careful.
Have you ever used a food processor and it turned the foods you were processing into mush no matter what you tried? That is likely because of an inadequate motor. What about failing to knead dough? Have you burned up motors in the past or had them simply die prematurely? Again, likely the motor.
Motors are calculated in horsepower. A 750 watt motor in a food processor is very close to one horsepower. These small motors generally can't run but in short burst or short spans of time, usually less than one minute.
This will not serve you well if you're feeding a family of 3 or more, because of the amount of ingredients you'll have to process to make a single meal. The motor will burn out sooner than it should because it's being used for more than it should be used for.
So, what size motor is best for a food processor?
For a family of 3 to 4 you need at least a 1,000-watt motor and for 5 people or more, anything over 1,200 watts should be fine unless you do large dinner parties or you're a caterer or professional chef.
The information above is a general rule of thumb, so let's dig in and show you others factors in determining the quality of motors.
Remember I mentioned that if you don't have an adequate motor you end up with mush instead of uniformly processed foods? That happens due to a lack of torque.
When a blade is spinning into food, if there is not enough torque, it starts acting more like a hammer instead of a blade. With the resistance of the food, the blade slows and has less torque, making the food become pulverized, mashed, and like slop instead of uniformed cuts like it's supposed too.
Here is a good video that explains torque, speed, horsepower, and how they affect your results if interested in the finer details.
Any other tips on food processor motors?
Electric motors are fairly simple in concept, but when they are running, they build up heat that can end a motors life prematurely. Larger bearings and shaft have larger surface areas to heat up, and once heated up, dissipate heats quicker than small bearings and shafts.
All of these bigger parts makes for a bigger and heavier motor. When reading actual reviews by people who actually purchased these products, you'll see some complaint about the weight of the base, or motor housing on the food processor.
As a general rule, the heavier the base, the better the motor. Remember, they are attempting to give you the most power in a limited space. If you want a quality motor, expect your food processor to be heavy.
Let's summarize what you're looking for in the motor.
1 – 2 people. A 750-watt motor.
3 -4 people. 1,000-watt motor
5 or more people, 1,200 watts or more depending on usage.
Speed, torque, and horsepower
Go for the heavier base in the size you need, this will likely mean a better motor with better and bigger parts, and the extra weight helps to keep the processor stable while using it on a table or countertop.
What Are The Blades Made Of?
There are so many different alloys out there that it's very hard to ensure quality blades absent customer reviews, but there is one tip to finding the lower quality blades. They're extremely shiny, almost like chrome rather than stainless or some other metal better suited to cutting your food.
Take a good look at the blades and see if they look like they have plating on them instead of a solid alloy.
Does The Position of The Food Processing Blades Matter?
Absolutely! There have been several independent companies test this theory and all have come to the same conclusion. The tips of the bottom S-type blades need to be very close to the wall and floor/bottom of the processing container. The further they are from their bottom and side, the more uneven your cuts will be. It allows food to remain unprocessed and making nothing uniform in size, which is important for cooking times and temps, as well as presentation.
Quality Of The Processing Container
This one is important too, but not as important as the others thus far. You don't want thin walled processing containers. They need to be clear and sturdy with as smooth of a surface as possible so that food can't escape the blades.
Size Matters With The Food Chute
The entire goal of a good food processor is to eliminate as much knife work for prep as possible, which saves you time and gives a uniform cut. This means your chute should accommodate most veggies and fruits without having to cut them into smaller pieces. Root plants such as potatoes come to mind.
Availability of Replacement Parts
Name brand food processors like Breville, Hamilton Beach, Cuisinart, and Kitchenaid tend to have replacement parts more easily available for their units than do off brand food processors. You can usually get replacement parts from the manufacturer, Amazon, or even from eBay.
The solid truth is that while there is definitely a “best” food processor on the market, it might not be exactly what you're personally looking to get for your own kitchen. What makes something the best will depend on what you plan on doing with it and the capacity and quality of the machine, so keeping that in mind, we've compiled a list of what we consider the best food processors in their respective classes below.
Here are the best food processors available today.
Breville BFP800XL Sous Chef Food Processor
Best Food Processor Available Now
This food processor deserves the title of “sous chef” for a reason: it does everything you could want it to do, plus includes a nice storage box for all of its components: blades, discs, and cleaning utensils. It can be mounted vertically or sat horizontally, depending on your storage space.
The bowl itself is a whopping 16 cups for dry ingredients and 12 cups for liquid ingredients, so there's not a lot you can't do with this. It includes a silicone seal, as well, which reduces the chance that you'll end up spilling thin liquid ingredients while you're processing them. Even with it, though, the maximum amount of liquid you should put in the unit is 12 cups due to the potential for leakage. This is still a larger capacity of liquid than most other food processors can handle, though.
The unit also includes a 2.5 cup mini processing bowl and mini blade, which is great for prepping small amounts of things.
- Variable slicing disc with 24 slicing settings from 0.3mm to 8.0mm
- Julienne disc
- Frency fry cutter
- Whisking disc
- Reversible shredding disc
- Micro-serrated universal S blade
- Dough blade
- Mini blade for the mini bowl
Ninja Smart Screen Blender and Food Processor System
Best Multi-Purpose Product
This is another great product from SharkNinja and the reviews don't lie. Whether you want to process, blend, or crush, this rig does it all. With 9 Auto-iQ settings and a 1400 watt motor, you won't get it wrong.
FreshVac technology is unique because it removes the oxygen from the container before blending, so when you're blending smoothies or other drinks, you end up with less foam and separation than you would with a normal blender.
Smart vessel recognition instantly recognizes which attachment you have on the base, which allows you to access each attachment's presets on the touchscreen.
- 1400-peak-watt motor base
- FreshVac Pump
- 9 Pre-set Auto-iQ Programs
- Touchscreen Blender
- 72oz FreshVac pitcher
- 20oz FreshVac Cup
- 40oz Precision Processor
- Slicing/shredding disc for the food processor
Cuisinart Mini-Prep Plus Food Processor
Best 3 Cup Food Processor
This food processor is small, but is great for chopping things like onions or grinding things like spices, seeds, or nuts. The work bowl is 24 ounces, has a handle, a lid, and it's dishwasher safe. It's not as versatile as other larger and more expensive units, but if what you need is to occasionally chop or grind things for one or two people, this is may be what you need. This is also for processing dry ingredients like bread crumbs or chopping onions, not mixing liquids.
With only a 250 watt motor, however, don't expect it to last forever or help you prep food for a family. The motor is simply not big enough. If you buy this and run it for a continuous 30 seconds for anything, it will burn up the motor. It's $30… but you get what you pay for. It serves the purpose it was designed for well, but only that.
KitchenAid KFP1466ER 14-Cup Food Processor
Best 14 Cup Food Processor
This 14 cup food processor from KitchenAid is the bomb diggity. It comes in 4 different colors, stainless steel, black, white, and KitchenAid's most recognizable color, Empire Red. This has 2 different work capacities, 14 cups and 4 cups. If you don't need the smaller 4-cup work bowl, you can grab the Cuisinart 14-cup unit below instead.
It has the “ExactSlice” System that you can use on the front of the device to control just how thick or thin you want your food processor to slice whatever you put in it. With its 800 watt motor, this unit is suitable for a small family that uses it to prepare meals regularly.
In the words of one user, “the dicing feature on this unit is nothing short of sorcery”. So, if you hate dicing vegetables and want to save some time doing it, this is the unit that you want to use.
- 14-cup work bowl
- 4-cup work bowl
- 2-in-1 feed tube
- Lid with Feed Tube
- Lid without Feed Tube
- Adjustable Slicing Disc
- Reversible Shredding Disc
- Multipurpose Blade
- Multipurpose Blade for 4-cup Work Bowl
- Dough Blade
- Dicing Kit
- Clean Out Tool
- Storage Case For All Accessories
Cuisinart 14-Cup Food Processor
Best 14 Cup Food Processor
This 14 cup food processor from Cuisinart is the bomb diggity. It's stainless steel with a 14-cup Lexan work bowl, an extra large feed tube, and comes with a large and a small pusher. With 7 different food prep functions, you'll have everything you need to slice, puree, mix, blend, knead dough, and more. It's also a quiet unit, so you don't have to worry about waking up a sleeping baby from across the house.
The lexan bowl is large enough to hold an entire 2lb block of shredded cheese.
- 14-cup Lexan work bowl
- Extra-large feed tube
- Small & large pushers
- Spatula, instruction/recipe booklet
- Detachable Disc stem
- Slicing blade
- Shredding blade
Thin slicing blade, dough blade, and blade and disc holder sold separately.
Hamilton Beach Food Processor & Vegetable Chopper with Bowl Scraper
Best Cheap Food Processor
This food processor, we're not gonna lie about it and tell you it's as good as the other units we've covered previously. It's a unit with a 450 watt motor. As we stated above, this makes it not the the “powerful” machine other online reviews have made it out to be. Used the way it's intended, it's fine and you'll probably be happy with it, as long as you don't use it to do any real “heavy lifting” like trying to run it continuously at high speed for any significant period of time.
- 450-watt motor
- Bowl scraper that works while unit is running
- 10 cup BPA-free bowl with large feed chute
- Stainless steel S-blade
- Stainless steel reversible shred & slicing disc
- Instruction manual
As an aside that's relevant here, another Hamilton Beach unit, the 12-Cup Stack & Snap Food Processor, has issues with the blade allowing water inside hollow crevices and ends up growing mold. If you've looked at this product and considered it, move onto something else; it's a health hazard. Other reviews tout the Stack & Snap as a great value, but this value is destroyed because of the mold issue.