It's remarkable how little you need to spend to get something that will slice and dice its way through a wide range of fruits and vegetables with ease.
Food processors are a great way to cut down on prep time, as well as on accidental knife cuts, in the kitchen.
We include a couple of budget-friendly offerings on our shortlist. It's fair to say that you often get what you pay for.
However, those with slightly deeper pockets will be fascinated by the range of features and functions available in our higher-priced bracket.
Our final five will fulfill your every food-processing need. They are:
Design & Power
This category isn't just about physical appearance. We rate each food processor on form and function. Does it deliver the power to make the most of the features available?
Capacity & Equipment
Some people find that a small, portable machine is enough to handle their chopping and mixing requirements. Others want a large capacity and a full range of food processing tools that go beyond the usual cutting and blending options.
Just about every food processor on the market has some kind of pulse function, but what else is available to make your kitchen experience easier? We examine the thoughtful extras that will help you turn out better meals.
There are some very cheap food processors on the market, but we've set a minimum quality standard for our top five. Does that mean we've only gone for the expensive models? No! We think you'll be pleasantly surprised by just how affordable many of these gadgets are.
Susan Sano Tuveson has been cooking for people for five decades. Educated in music, law, and languages, she left her legal practice to establish Cacao Chocolates in Kittery, Maine. A three-time Best of Seacoast New England winner, the shop was popular for its high-quality artisanal truffles flavored with unusual local ingredients.
At 400 Watts, the Ninja Master Prep Food Processor is the least powerful of our top five. However, that doesn't mean it isn't up to the jobs expected of it. While this machine is able to perform a variety of tasks, blending and making smoothies is the Ninja Master's top function. Rather than having its bowl on a separate base — which is typical of most food processors — the Ninja Master is a bit like a large plunge blender. The motor is enclosed in a separate unit that you pair with either a pitcher or a bowl, depending on your requirements. The Ninja Master provides an uncomplicated approach to food processing and is easy to clean.
The Hamilton Beach 10-Cup Food Processor is powered by a 500-Watt motor that is capable but not outstanding. The On-Pulse-Off switch is conveniently situated on the front of the chrome-finished body. The lid boasts a wide feed tube (so you don't have to do much pre-chopping) and turns upside down while in storage to keep everything nice and compact. This item is relatively light, so you won't have any trouble taking it out and putting it away as needed.
At 720 watts, the Cuisinart provides a step up in power from the Ninja Master and Hamilton Beach. The Hamilton Beach's feed tube is wide, but the Cuisinart's feed tube is positively enormous. Cuisinart likes to point out that you can insert a variety of fruits and vegetables into this machine whole, without any pre-cutting. The Cuisinart is heavier than the Hamilton Beach, and a little taller, too, but it is still of a size and weight that makes it suitable for counter top storage.
Although the Braun K650 Multiquick Kitchen Machine Food Processor delivers the same 600 Watts as the Cuisinart, it looks much more purposeful, or "no-nonsense," as the manufacturer puts it. It's not a heavy or bulky machine, but it's a powerhouse that gets the job done. While there's no built-in storage for accessories, it's an easy job to put them in the bowl and invert the lid to save space. If there's anything about the design that could be improved, it's the size of the feed tube, which is a little narrow for some owners' taste.
With its 1,200-watt motor, there's no doubt that the Breville BFP800XL Sous Chef Food Processor is a bit of a beast! Having said that, it's not unruly; in fact, it's quite the opposite. The manufacturer has clearly put a lot of thought into this processor's design. It even comes with a separate accessory storage box! If the Braun's smaller feed tube can be criticized, the Breville's tube, at 5.5 inches, certainly cannot. The whole package looks like something you might find in a professional kitchen. For cooks who crave precision, there's even a built-in LCD auto-timer.
Given that it's an entry-level machine, it might surprise some to know that the Ninja Master Prep Food Processor has not one, but two containers, both of which are made of BPA-free plastic. The first is a 48-ounce pitcher (equivalent to 6 standard cups); the second is a 16-ounce bowl (2 standard cups). Bases of both containers are non-slip, and each has its own lid so you can keep it closed for storage after preparation. There are two interchangeable cutter sets, one with four blades and the other with six. These blades are spaced along the spindle to maximize chopping/blending action. Both the blades and the bowls are safe for the dishwasher.
The title of the Hamilton Beach 10-Cup Food Processor gives its capacity away-- yep, 10 cups. This model comes with two blades: a basic, double-sided chopping blade and a reversible disk designed to shred, grate, and chop. The blades, along with the Hamilton Beach's BPA-free plastic food container, are all safe for the dishwasher. Our research uncovered some concerns regarding durability, with several owners telling us that they experienced appliance failure after a year or so. This occurrence was rare, and it's difficult to pin the Hamilton Beach's occasional failure down to a single problem. It may have been a problem with a particular production run, although there's no way to be sure.
The Cuisinart's 14-cup capacity is larger than the Hamilton Beach, and you also get more in terms of equipment. There's a slicing blade, a blade for chopping/mixing, a blade for shredding, and a slicing disk. There's also a handy spatula and a small instruction booklet with recipes. The mixing jug itself is made of BPA-free Lexan, which is much less likely to shatter than plastic. The Cuisinart and its many accessories are safe for the dishwasher.
Like many modern kitchen appliances, the Braun provides dishwasher-safe, BPA-free plastic accessories. Bowl capacity, like the Cuisinart, is 9 cups. This unit comes with a wide range of accessories. Among the list: a universal chopping blade and an additional cutting system that offers two slicers, two shredders, a whipping attachment, a dough hook, and even a citrus juicer!
Like the Ninja Master Prep, the Breville BFP800XL Sous Chef Food Processor also comes with two bowls: a smaller bowl of 2.5 cups and a larger bowl of 16 cups. The 16-cup bowl, which translates to 128 ounces, reflects the serious capabilities of this machine. When it comes to chopping and shredding, the Breville provides an equally impressive list of accommodations: three different blades and a total of five disks, all housed in a box that's been cleverly designed to sit on its side if necessary, taking up minimal space in your cupboard.
To be honest, the Ninja Master Prep Food Processor is not big on features. It's a basic, effective machine. You put fruit, vegetables, ice cream, or whatever you choose in one of the two bowls, insert the blade and motor unit, and press the button for the duration required. It's this simplicity of operation that many people -- not just hundreds, but thousands of them -- find particularly appealing.
Like the Ninja Master Prep, the Hamilton Beach 10-Cup Food Processor is a "basic" food processor. Its top features are ease-of-use and convenient storage. It does have a pulse option, as most food processors do these days. In spite of its simplicity, many satisfied Hamilton Beach owners rave that this processor "gets the job done."
Most of the features of the Cuisinart have to do with the blades and disks we've already mentioned. The Cuisinart's 720-watt motor gives it plenty of power to chop, shred, mix, or puree pretty much anything you choose. The motor speed will adjust automatically when you're using it to make dough -- one owner told us his processor does an "awesome" job on that particular task. As with most Cuisinart products, this is a reliable machine. The product is supported by a three-year parts warranty and a ten-year warranty on the motor.
Where the Cuisinart's speed is automatically adjusted, the Braun K650 Multiquick Kitchen Machine Food Processor puts that decision into your hands. In combination with its wide range of tools, you decide how finely or coarsely something is to be chopped/shredded or how thoroughly something is to be blended/pureed. It's this sort of control that makes the Braun appeal to the "keen cook" more than the occasional user. The unit also includes a built-in safety system; the processor will not start until the lid (with its leak-proof seal) is properly closed and engaged in the body of the machine. Another benefit of this model is how quiet the motor is, even under heavy load -- several owners gave the Braun high ratings for this feature alone.
The wide food chute is one clear advantage the Breville BFP800XL Sous Chef Food Processor wields over other models. Such a big "pusher" can sometimes be a drawback if you're working with finer ingredients, but not in the case of the Breville, as the company includes a small pusher as well (it doubles as a measuring cup). The manufacturer also takes safety and spillages into account by featuring a silicon-sealed bowl that locks into the machine. This machine is big -- several owners have commented on how sturdy it is -- with rubber feet to keep in in place. It doesn't have the speed flexibility of the Cuisinart, but that's compensated by the array of blades and disks you get that cut anywhere from 0.3 inches to 0.01 inches. You can use this processor for whisking and making dough, too.
The Ninja Master Prep Food Processor costs $29. It is much more than just a cheap food processor. It's true that there are a lot of other products on the market in this low price range, but few offer the bowl and blade choices of the Ninja Master. According to our research, no low-end model is as as popular with owners. True, it's mostly a smoothie machine, but people find a variety of uses for it, including making dog food! One or two of the customers in our survey voiced concerns about construction and durability, but the majority told us they think the Ninja Master is a "great little machine."
At around $44, the Hamilton Beach 10-Cup Food Processor is another capable machine for those on a budget. It's fairly basic, but most owners are more than happy with its capabilities, and many are surprised at all they get for the money. As is common with the less expensive processors, there were some reliability questions, but an overwhelming number of users rated this model highly.
The Cuisinart is on offer right now for $189. Given the bigger motor, extra tools, and convenient wide feed tube, you get a lot of features for your money — not to mention the longest warranty of any machine reviewed on our shortlist. Some consumers we spoke to did experience problems with faulty units on delivery. While frustrating, it shouldn't be a problem to return the Cuisinart if this should happen to you. In general, owners are very satisfied with this powerful product.
The Braun K650 Multiquick Kitchen Machine Food Processor is currently available for $199. In our opinion, that's an exceptionally good deal. It's a powerful machine with all the attachments that the most creative of cooks could want, and it's from a manufacturer with an impeccable reputation for quality. No product is without its critics, but they are far outweighed by owners who think this product is a superb -- and very quiet -- addition to their kitchens.
List price for the Breville BFP800XL Sous Chef Food Processor is $392. No doubt, it's an expensive machine. That being said, you have to consider what you're getting for the money. This is the type of food processor you find in professional kitchens. It's enormously powerful and hugely versatile. It will satisfy the demands of the most fastidious cook. Owners are, almost without exception, delighted — with several declaring that the product is "worth the price tag."
We rated dozens of different machines across a range of prices. Our conclusion is that the best food processor on the market is the Breville BFP800XL Sous Chef. All of the others processors in our review perform well, and each offers great solutions for your kitchen, but the Breville definitely stands out.
$392 is a fair investment, but what you get for your money is an exceptional kitchen tool. At 1,200 watts, this motor is far and away the most powerful one we've rated. It's strong enough to tackle just about any chopping or grating challenge you could think of. And yet, the Breville isn't just about brute force; it's also flexible. It can help you make dough, whip cream, even juice citrus fruits. It's the only model on our shortlist with a timer -- a really useful addition -- and while it's a substantial unit. you also get great stability (just one of the features that make the Breville one of the safest food processors on the market). As you would expect from a quality kitchen product, the Breville's plastics are BPA-free, and all of the removable parts are safe in the dishwasher.
We give the final word to actual Breville users. The people who put this machine through its paces day in and day out love its engineering standard, its build quality, and the fact that it offers two feed options. In fact, they love just about everything about it! One happy owner summed up her experience with the Breville by simply calling it "the best." We agree.
While each of our top five models will satisfy the needs of a range of different cooks, the machine that offers best overall value for the money is the Cuisinart DFP-14BCNY.
The Cuisinart offers the same motor size as the Braun (which is a very similar price), but it comes with a wider food chute, a more flexible set of blades, and a valuable package of safety features. It's not quite at the professional level of the Breville, but it's close enough for the majority of people, and few who buy the Cuisinart will be disappointed. They certainly won't be complaining about noise; nearly everyone we surveyed pointed out how quiet it is.
As often happens with well-priced, good-quality machines, there is not one single element of the Cuisinart that sets it apart from the rest. Rather, it's all the elements added together that make this product a fantastic buy. Some owners rave about the juicer, some praise reliability, some can't get over the variable speed and the ease of cleaning. Add all these elements up and you've got a top food processor -- at an excellent price.