In the kitchen, size matters and speed doesn't. At least, that is, when it comes to selecting a food processor. Perhaps the most important factors to consider are kitchen/counter space and the types of tasks for which you plan to use the appliance. As measured by bowl size, processor models range from 2-3 cup minichoppers, perfect for small jobs like mincing shallots and garlic, to 22-cup behemoths capable of feeding both a small army and a large, hungry family. Keep in mind that processor capacities measure dry ingredients only.
Shoppers should also consider the size of a processor's feed tube. The wider the tube, the less pre-processing prep (slicing, etc.) required before using the appliance. Additionally, some models have two feed tubes, allowing the user to add multiple ingredients at the same time.
The number and type of blade and slicing attachments that a particular processor offers should also be considered since this determines what the appliance can actually do. A minichopper, for example, will likely use only one blade. Shoppers should think about the types of tasks they want to take on with the processor before selecting one. Although a number of models tout a variety of speed settings, how fast the blades and discs move is typically not important as one speed is sufficient for most jobs.
Fancy add-ons are part of the deal too, some of which are useful. At the top of the list are nesting bowls – for when you need to use the processor for more than one job in a row – and a water tight sealed bowl cover, which will prevent spills when pureeing. Chrome and stainless steel parts, meanwhile, make a food processor more expensive and also less likely to break. Flashy, less utilitarian extras include digital scales and LED touchscreens.
For more information on these and other kitchen appliances, visit the links below.
- Bittman, Mark. "The Food Processor: A Virtuoso One-Man Band." The New York Times. Sept. 14, 2010 (Feb. 8, 2012) http://www.nytimes.com/2010/09/15/dining/15mini.html
- ConsumerSearch. "How to Buy a Food Processor." Oct. 2011 (Feb 8, 2012) http://www.consumersearch.com/food-processors/how-to-buy-a-food-processor
- Fante's. "Mandolines & Other Food Slicers." (Feb. 8, 2012) http://www.fantes.com/slicers-mandolins.html
- Kenwood. "Kitchen Chef: Key Features." (Feb 8, 2012) http://www.kenwoodworld.com/uk/KenwoodCookingChef/Home1/The-Cooking-Chef/key-features
- The Reluctant Gourmet. "Choosing the best food processor." (Feb. 9. 2012) http://www.reluctantgourmet.com/food_processors.htm
- Time. "Blade Battle." May 18, 1981 (Feb. 8, 2012) http://www.time.com/time/subscriber/article/0,33009,951688,00.html
- Whistler, Lisa. "How to Choose the Best Food Processor." Best Food Processor Ratings. (Feb. 9, 2012) http://foodprocessorguru.com
- Whistler, Lisa. "Standard Food Processor Features to Consider." Best Food Processor Ratings. (Feb. 9, 2012) http://foodprocessorguru.com/standard-food-processor-features