Food Processors Review
Basics of Food Processors
The top performers in our review are the Cuisinart DFP-14BCN, the Gold Award winner; the Cuisinart Elite FP-14BCN, the Silver Award winner; and the DeLonghi DFP250, the Bronze Award winner. Here’s more on choosing a food processor to meet your needs, along with details on how we arrived at our ranking of 10 products.
Every cook – professional or not – knows that slicing, dicing, shredding and mixing frequently happen in the kitchen. While a good knife serves as an appropriate tool for such tasks, a food processor can complete some of the same jobs in half the time and produce more consistent results. With the variety of components and blades food processors come with, you can grate hard cheeses and shred potatoes easily.
Food processors perform functions beyond those simple food choppers can. These electronically powered devices have many different blades and disks to chop, slice, puree, shred, grate and even knead. Food processors are versatile, helping you create salsas, soups, stews and other delectable dishes.
Food processors are versatile kitchen tools used for tasks other common appliances just can’t handle. For example, blenders are designed to process food but only to a smooth consistency, and they struggle to handle anything without added liquid. Food choppers are much smaller than processors. They are great for small and quick tasks like chopping up a few ingredients for a salad but struggle in larger jobs. Although stand mixers can perform many of the same processing results, you must purchase accessories for each type of food cutting.
In our articles about food processors, we identify not only the most basic elements you need to chop food and share findings from our testing of each product.
Food Processor Uniformity and Cleaning
The best food processors come in a variety of sizes and wattages. How well they perform and how easy they are to clean up afterward determine their true value. A food processor’s primary function is cutting food, and based on how long you run the machine or how many individual pulses you perform, the food should reduce to a specific consistency. More importantly, this consistency needs to be uniform. Key components in achieving uniformity are a powerful motor and high-quality blades or disks. Some low-wattage motors struggled to adequately shred or slice certain foods, and you may need to regularly sharpen blades and disks to achieve the best results.
Each time you process food, you need to disassemble the appliance and clean it. While some units are dishwasher safe, many require handwashing. Depending on the machine’s parts, it can be somewhat tricky and time consuming to remove food from all the crevices and corners. Processors that are easy to clean have large or few pieces. Cleanup is fast for processors with large spaces in the bowl and few places for food to get stuck like tiny feed holes.
Food Processors: What We Tested, What We Found
We tested and compared the food processors in our review based on their ability to chop, their design and their warranty. Here’s more on how we scored these products and what those scores mean for you:
For this score, we tested each food processor’s ability to uniformly chop, grind, slice, shred, knead and puree. We used a variety of foods and based the score on the uniformity of the end results. The score also factors in the ideal final size of the food and the number of pulses it took to reach that consistency. Although many of the machines achieved high levels of uniformity, we still found results for certain food types fluctuated widely between processors.
The main contributing factor to a food processor’s success is the design of the blades and disks, as well as the bowl in which the food is processed. These appliances often fell short in uniformity when working with hard foods and pureeing. Processors with low wattage also typically received low chopping scores.
Bowl capacity and ease of cleaning set the top-rated food processors apart from the rest. The design score factors in features like the processor’s overall capacity, power output in watts and noise level when running. The best food processors have high-capacity bowls and high-power motors.
While extra blades and disks contribute to a processor’s versatility, for the task of cutting food you need only the basic blade or disk component. For example, the Cuisinart DFP-14BCN only comes with one blade and two disks, but with its high-power motor, ease of use and easy-to-clean design, it is an excellent option.
As part of the testing process, we cleaned each processor by hand, factoring in how long it took to clean and how difficult it was to reach every nook and cranny on the device’s various pieces. Some units have more pieces than others, and these often have longer cleaning times. Many pieces on a processor may be dishwasher safe, but the majority of products require hand cleaning to remove all traces of chopped food.
Warranty & Support
The warranties offered on these appliances are relatively short. The standard period of coverage is between one and three years, with some exceptions on longer warranties for the motor. We factored in not only the duration of warranty but also the information provided with the processor’s operating manual. The best manuals contained information instructing owners on how to use the processor to achieve a wide variety of results.
Top Ten Reviews seeks, whenever possible, to evaluate and research all products and services in hands-on testing that simulates the consumer experience as closely as possible. The manufacturers had no input or influence over our test methodology, nor was the methodology provided to any of them in more detail than is available through reading our reviews. Results of our evaluations were not provided to the companies in advance of publication.
Our Verdict and Recommendations
The food processor you should purchase depends on your specific needs and what you will most often use it for. Based on our testing, we identified the products best suited to a variety of tasks.
The Cuisinart DFP-14BCN achieved the best results in all of our tests for consistency and earns our Gold Award because it uniformly chops all types of food, including potatoes, almonds and cauliflower. Our Silver Award product, the Cuisinart Elite FP-14BCN, comes with the highest rated wattage and powers through potential jams and hard foods alike while producing uniform results. The DeLonghi DFP250 earned our Bronze Award. With its multiple blades, speeds and disks, it efficiently processes food, including those that need to be grated and kneaded. While it didn’t land in our top three, if you often use a processor to prepare large meals, the Breville BFP800XL Sous Chef has the highest capacity at 16 cups.