If you are pressed for time in the kitchen, a food processor can go a long ways towards speeding up the time it takes you to produce healthy and nutritious meals or whipping up your next superfoods drink.
With so many options out there, however, it can be tough to find the best one. No worries–our research team looked in-depth at the top models on the market and ranked the ten best food processors that you can get.
1. Breville BFP800XL Sous Chef
For true top of the line technology Breville’s BF800XL is the way to go. The capacity of the bowl is gigantic, at 16 cups. That’s an entire gallon of food processing capacity.
As you’d expect from a top-notch product, all the specs are great. The bowl is made of plastic that’s free of the organic contaminant bisphenol A (BPA), and the business end comes with five discs and three blades to chop up whatever you need.
The chute is much bigger than many other competitors, at 5.5 inches in width. No more pre-cutting fruit and vegetables to fit down the chute. Depending on your affinity for automation, you might find the sophistication endearing or absurd: it’s got a digital timer with a programmable countdown function, meaning you can “set it and forget it.”
It’s probably a bit much for the casual cook, but if you want the very best technology has to offer, or if you want cutting-edge kitchen efficiency, this is undoubtedly your best option.
2. Braun FP3020
You might call this the BMW of food processors. The German-engineered 12 cup food processor left nothing out of the design equation, which is why it has seven different blade and disk attachments, and eleven different speed settings.
Oh, and if that wasn’t enough, it’s got a citrus fruit juicer to boot. The Braun FP3020 uses several clever design tricks to minimize its counter space footprint, even though it has a hefty capacity.
This makes it better-suited for people who have small kitchens but like to cook up large meals, and because of the precise speed control and versatility in blade attachments, it’s an excellent choice if you like to exert the greatest degree of control possible over your food preparation devices.
3. KitchenAid KFP1466CU
Simple but sophisticated–that’s the appropriate analysis for this KitchenAid food processor. It’s got the technological specs of all the other top of the line food processors, but it doesn’t get overcomplicated.
It’s got just three modes, low, high, and pulse. It has two disks and three blades for slicing and dicing, as well as grating and shredding. It actually comes with two bowls; one small one, with just a 4 cup capacity, and a full-sized 14 cup bowl for larger dishes and prep work.
The base is plastic, so it’s a little more lightweight than stainless-steel footed models, but it’s still got a reputation for durability. Do note that this is a seriously big appliance in terms of footprint: it takes up nearly a square foot of countertop space, so it’s not the best choice for an efficiency kitchen. However, if big, straight, and simple is what you want, the KitchenAid KFP1466CU is what you need.
CuisinArt has a reputation for extremely popular and well-liked food processors, and it is well-deserved. Their best model right now is the DFP-14NRY, which combines pure simplicity with a large capacity and sturdy construction.
It doesn’t have all the fancy options and extensions as some other competitors–it has just two discs and one blade, but using it is dead-easy. It has two settings, on and pulse. The brushed stainless steel base is sturdy enough to keep it from tipping over, even when it’s loaded up to its capacity, which is an impressive 14 cups.
Users looking for more options and control over how they process their food will want to look elsewhere, but if you find hyper-customizable settings and a full array of blades overwhelming, the CuisinArt DFP-14NRY is the perfect option for you.
5. Oster Pro 1200
This is really a blender-food processor combo, which is great if you do a lot of blending, or want to branch out into smoothies and green drinks at some point. The device comes with a stout glass jar, which is a step up from the flexible plastic on competitor models.
The sheer number of blending and processing options can seem overwhelming, but it’s a necessary evil when the food processor doubles as a blender. The major downside of the Oster Pro 1200 is that the actual food processing attachment is quite small, at only five cups.
But if you live in a small apartment with limited counter space, getting two kitchen appliances in the counter footprint of one is often worth the sacrifice. It’s a no-go if you plan on whipping up big meals for dinner parties, but it’s fine if you plan to cook for one or two.
6. BLACK + DECKER FP1600B
Though known more for power tools, BLACK + DECKER branches out into the kitchen appliance market fairly well with the FP1600B. It’s no super-appliance, to be sure: it’s got a lightweight plastic construction, a relatively small motor, and a medium sized capacity of 8 cups.
The selection of blades isn’t incredible, but it will get the job done most of the time. The product is very well-reviewed, and it’s one of the best economy-grade food processors out there.
Users praise its versatility, but note that it can be quite loud. That’s not usually a problem, given that you’ll only be using it for a few minutes at a time, but if you have sensitive ears, it could be grating.
7. Ninja Master QB1004
Ninja Master takes a very unusual approach to food processing, but the result is pretty successful. Gone is the standard chute opening to the bowl, with the motor driving the blades on the bottom.
Instead, the motor unit sits on top, and you load the bowl before you snap the motorized lid into place. Like a few other competitors, the Ninja Master QB1004 comes with another pitcher that functions as a blender, making it great if you want to get into making smoothies and shakes.
It comes with a third pitcher that’s specially designed for chopping, giving it extra versatility at the expense of taking up more space. The Ninja Master is very well-loved by its users, though the unconventional design does limit its range of uses in the kitchen.
While it can blend when other food processors can’t, the absence of a grating and chopping disc is a real limitation if you want to grate a lot of cheese or shred garlic to just the right consistency.
8. Hamilton Beach 70730
This economy model from Hamilton Beach has several clever design elements to make food processing life easier. To avoid processed food riding up the edges of the processing bowl, it incorporates a plastic spatula that runs around the inner rim of the bowl, even while the processor is functioning.
You do have to turn this spatula manually, and its plastic construction makes it prone to breaking, but it’s still a nice solution to a common problem.
As an economy model, the processor’s bowl is made out of clear plastic, but the capacity is pretty good for such a small model, at 10 cups.
With only one cutting disc and one blade, it does not have nearly the versatility of better models, and the motor control doesn’t offer the precision functioning that many advanced chefs might like. Still, it’s a good efficiency option.
9. KitchenAid KFC3516BY
This miniature food processor from KitchenAid is right for a very select crowd. If you yearn for a food processor, but can’t spare the counter space for a full-sized model, this is what you want.
Its capacity is absolutely tiny, at 3.5 cups, so you can forget about shredding a whole head of cabbage, and it’s only got one cutting blade (and no cutting discs) so it’s pretty subpar when it comes to things like shredding cheese, too.
Still, if you have no countertop space, this tiny food processor can fit just about anywhere when not in use. For small studio apartments and older houses with a high premium on appliance space, it might be a better choice than no food processor at all.
10. Hamilton Beach 58149
With the 58149 model, Hamilton Beach caters to people who want a blender as well as a food processor. That combo is difficult to get right to begin with, and unfortunately, with this product in particular, the attempt falls especially flat.
This kitchen appliance is really mostly a blender; the functionality of the food processing attachment is very poor. Without a true chute and a pushing aid, it’s not well-suited for grinding or shredding much of anything, and you won’t be able to cook up much with the tiny 3-cup chopping bowl.
Users find that food gets stuck around and below the blades, leaving an irritating buildup of un-processed food. The motor is fairly loud, and has a tendency to break down.
With so many better options out there, it’s hard to recommend the Hamilton Beach 58149, despite how popular it is.
Food processor benefits and limitations
Once you have a food processor, how can you use it to maximize convenience and time-saving to cook up healthy meals? That’s a matter of understanding the benefits and limitations of a food processor, plus knowing how to use it effectively and safely.
A good food processor can automate just about any manual task you have in the kitchen. Whether it is grating cheese, slicing and dicing vegetables, or functioning as a blender to chop blueberry and other superfoods, a good food processor is more than capable of the task.
The biggest and most obvious benefit of a food processor is being able to rapidly shred, cut, or dice a large volume of food. But the maximum volume of food you can process is going to be directly related to the capacity of your food processor.
Models range from miniscule 3.5 cup bowls all the way up to huge 16 cup bowls that are ready for the biggest families and largest dinner parties.
In addition to the capacity of your food processor bowl, you should always consider the number and style of the cutting blades and discs that come with the product.
Cutting blades are for dicing and shredding, and pretty much any model will have at least one cutting blade. The real distinguishing factor comes in the discs. Without at least one good disc, it’s very hard to shred cheese or get garlic to the right consistency.
Some models have special slicing discs which can cut perfect dough, meat, or cheese slices every time. Think about the kind of food prep work you do now, as well as the food prep work you might do in the future, when choosing a model with the right accessories.
When used properly, a food processor is a great tool for the kitchen. But it can’t do everything. Models without a cutting disk will not be able to shred cheese or grate garlic with much precision, and overloading a food processor that’s too small for the task at hand is never a good idea either.
A major factor limiting food processor performance is something electrical engineers refer to as the “duty cycle”–this is essentially how much “rest” an electric motor needs to cool down after a period of prolonged use.
Many people who opt for a cheaper or low-quality food processor are surprised when the motor burns out or even melts the plastic blade housing after they use the food processor almost non-stop during a long cooking session.
Keeping this in mind is critical when selecting a food processor–for casual use, like cooking for one or two, an economy model can manage just fine.
But if you are cooking big meals for a large family, or if you like to throw large dinner parties or prep several nights’ worth of food at once, it’s well worth your money to get a more expensive model with a higher-quality motor that can handle prolonged use.
If you are finding manually chopping, dicing, and shredding food in the kitchen to be a major time sink, a food processor is a worthy investment.
When selecting the right food processor for you needs, you should keep in mind not just your capacity needs (bigger meals demand a larger processor) but the versatility and usage duration that you need out of your food processor.
In general, it’s best to get the largest and sturdiest food processor that you can spare the counter and storage space for, especially if you think you’ll be cooking big meals once in a while. However, even if you can only manage a small efficiency model, you’ll likely find that a food processor makes your cooking prep work much easier.