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Which Food Processor Is The Best For You?

Updated on April 25, 2012
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When Rachael isn't in her studio dyeing yarn (her real job), she's called to her passion for writing, and so here she is : )

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With the increase in cooking shows and celebrity chefs, there is more inspiration than ever to get back in the kitchen.

Once you get involved in all the fantastic recipes and food that you can bring together, it’s not long before the need for better equipment arises and you find yourself browsing for that next appliance you ‘must have’.

There is a vast array of available products, to suit any budget, but some kitchen equipment is incredibly expensive, so you want to make sure that when you spend your hard earned money, you get a good product that will earn it’s keep.

A good food processor is just one of the many appliances that anyone who spends a fair bit of time in the kitchen will eventually think about purchasing.

With all the different makes and models out there, how do you know which one is the best?

And is it the best that you need? Or do you just need something good quality and suitable for your kind of use?

Well here’s some questions to consider before you rush out and hand over your money:

How much will you use a food processor?

If you have just recently hit your stride with cooking, and previously didn’t do a lot of it, or you still don’t but you enjoy it when you do, you may want to wait a bit longer before investing in a food processor to make sure you will really get the most out of it. Too many appliances are bought in the spur of the moment, just to end up sitting on the kitchen counter or in the back of the cupboard because they really weren’t required.

What kind of cooking or baking do you do?

Do you do a lot of chopping, grating, mincing, slicing, mixing etc? Do you process a lot of food through making soups, sauces and preserves, or do you regularly bake mixing eggs, dough and batters? If any of these sound like the kind of work you do in the kitchen then having a food processor will make your life a LOT easier.

How much food do you process?

This might seem like a duplicate question but it’s not. Although you might process food often, you may only do small amounts. But if you do large amounts, like kilos or produce or gallons of soup, it is worth noting that a larger motor will probably serve you better to cope with the quantities.

What capacity bowl do you need?

The answer to the previous question will help you answer this question. Again, if you plan on doing larger quantities, you might consider a processor with a larger bowl. Otherwise you will need to split your quantities up. Smaller quantities aren’t usually a problem as most food processors come with a larger bowl, and a mini bowl for doing small quantities or herbs, nuts etc. It’s worth checking if a mini bowl is included though as procesing smaller quantities in the larger bowl can be very inefficient as the ingredients tend to get caught under the larger blades or stick up around the sides of the bowl.

What type of food are you going to process?

If you plan on doing most cooked foods for soups etc then a smaller motor will probably cope. But once you get into wanting to slice and chop harder, raw vegetables, again, a larger motor is probably worth spending the extra money on.

How many of those extra attachments do you really need?

A lot of food processors now come with a whole heap of extra attachments. And while it might seem they are ‘free’, you are paying for them. So do you really need them? Or is there a model of processor that is slightly cheaper that has less of the extras?

Are the parts dishwasher safe?

These days it’s unusual to find appliance parts that aren’t dishwasher safe but some part like the bowl are made with a plastic that is less durable when washed this way as over time they may become brittle and crack. If you are concerned about this, the other solution is to wash your bowls in hot soapy water rather than in the dishwasher. You may also consider washing your blades by hand too, to prevent them from dulling.

Are replacement parts available?

Many of the good quality food processors have motors that will last tens of years if used appropriately. Unfortunately though, the parts they come with are not usually quite so robust, particularly the bowls as mentioned above. A tired food processor can quickly get a fresh lease of life though with a new bowl or blade so check if replacement parts are likely to be available in 10 years, and if so, at what price? Obviously things can change in that time but if a company backs their product, and the warranty that often comes with the motor (up to 30 years) it’s likely they will hold spare ‘disposable’ parts.

How much space does the unit take up on your bench, do you have that space and do you want to give it up?

An appliance that is kept in the cupboard and has to be taken out and assembled each time is less likely to be used. If you can’t (or begrudge) storing your food processor somewhere handy to use, it may be worth considering getting a smaller unit that you can more easily accommodate in the kitchen.

What do the reviews say?

If you have found a food processor that you are considering buying, don’t rush to buy it just yet. Check out the reviews online and see what others are saying about it. You do have to be careful to weigh up the reviews as there are always those who nitpick but if you see an overwhelming trend towards the negative reviews, it’s probably a good idea to stay away from that product. Look at the pros and cons and the things people are saying to see if any of there comments apply to what you will be using the unit for, and how you will be using it.

What Brand Of Food Processor Did You Buy And Would Recommend?

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How much do you want to spend?

At the end of the day, if you there's no way you can justify spending high end hundreds on a food processor then don’t feel compelled to just ‘because the experts recommend this model’. They tend to have the money to spend. A cheaper, good quality model could do the job just fine until you decide whether paying out the extra is a worthwhile investment. A top end appliance might seem like the white elephant to you whereas a middle bracket model could feel like the best purchase you ever made.

Other things to consider:

  • Does the unit have a pulse button for quick bursts of power to control over processing?
  • Are there multiple or adjustable speeds?
  • What is the warranty period?
  • Ease of assembly?
  • What size is the feed tube?
  • What are the noise levels of the motor when it’s running?
  • Are there safety locks on the bowl and lid?

At the end of the day, buying the food processor that is most suitable for YOU is the most important thing. Experts, salesman and websites will try and sell you anything and everything but you need to consider what you want, and for how much.

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