All basic models chop, shred, dice and puree, and deluxe machines can juice, whip, knead dough and even grind meat. To find the food processor best for you, check out these tips on must-have features.
Bowl size: The larger the work bowl, the larger and (usually) more powerful the machine and its motor. Midsize models generally have 4- to 7-cup bowls; larger models handle 9-cup and larger bowls. Some models come with extra bowls and blender carafes.
Blades: The range and variety of blades dictate the function and versatility of the processor. Even the most basic models feature a stainless steel chopping blade (or “S” blade) that purees, shreds, slices and chops.
Special blades & attachments: These include juicers, egg beaters, cream whippers, dough kneaders, French-fry cutters, and special veggie julienne blades. Some large food processors have attachments that allow them to function as stand mixers.
Continuous-feed chute: This propels processed food into separate bowl, so you’re not limited to using work bowl only (or spraying food all over your counter). Good for those big jobs.
Multiple speeds: For speed and versatility. Found on larger, more powerful machines. Most food processors have single or two speeds, with pulse “ON” buttons.
Mini bowl and chopping blade: This paired combo is good for precisely and evenly processing small items like nuts or berries.
Easy assembly, cleaning and use: If the processor is tedious to assemble, clean and use, you’ll be far less likely to use it. Look for models with dishwasher-safe parts and easy-to-use controls.
Dual-feed tube: Adjustable feed tube that can be made smaller, or additional smaller tube. Good for processing small items such as carrots, garlic or shallots.
Warranty: Manufacturers vary in length of warranty, from six months to five years. Most midsize food processors come with a one-year warranty.
Weight and noise: The heavier the base, the less likely it is to scoot across the counter during a slicing job. Keep in mind, however, that a lighter-weight model may be more desirable if you have to keep hauling the machine out of a cupboard. And not only do food processors vary in weight, they also vary in noise level – with some sounding like small aircraft.
What do food processors cost?
Depending on features, size and accessories, food processors range between $40 to more than $500. You can usually get a decent mid-size model for about $150.