A food processor is undoubtedly a great addition to your kitchen. And why not? Thanks to its versatility that slices, chops, dices, shreds and grates ingredients within minutes. A good quality food processor will take 1/4 time or even less to shred hard cheese that typically takes 3-4 minutes manually. And who doesn’t love to cut down pre-processing time when you get the best results. All such qualities make the food processor a must-have device in your kitchen.
But the big question is, What Size Food Processor Should I Buy?
Food processors come in different sizes and their capacity is measured by cup size. From mini 3-cup chopper to commercial 20 cups, you get a lot of options to choose an appropriate unit. And this is where the confusion begins. But not to worry as some simple questions will lead to the right size food processor for you.
A simple guide to food processor size
If you cook only for you and your partner then a mini food processor with 3-4 cup capacity is a great choice. Such mini units are also referred to as food chopper. They help process basic and time-consuming jobs such as grinding nuts, chopping onions, etc. Also, bowls with small capacity are extremely useful in making mayo and sauces as they blend-in ingredients excellently.
A mid-size food processor is sufficing for a family of four who usually cooks at home. 7-10 cup capacity bowls can chop, slice, grind and shred a good number of ingredients at once. They normally include more than one feed chute to fit in different size ingredients. The benefit of having different size feed chute is you do not have to pre-cut vegetables or fruits before inserting them into the device.
Then comes large food processors with 12-14 cup capacity. Such a huge capacity is adequate to meet the requirements of a family having up to 7 members. There are a bunch of things you can do using the big, flat-base work bowl. Be it chopping of veggies or preparing dough for pizza night, a large capacity unit can do it all in one go. Therefore, no need to do batches for the same work.
Are you planning to set a small restaurant or own a food truck? Then a commercial food processor will be a great help. A commercial-grade unit comprises of a powerful motor that tackles difficult kitchen tasks with ease. These tasks include the mashing of potatoes, dicing of bulky ingredients, etc. Plus, they are capable of preparing large servings in a single turn without need to cool down the motor.
|Processor Type||Size||Best For|
|Mini/small size Processor||3-4 cup|
|Mid-size processor||7-10 cup|
|Large Food Processor||12-14 cup|
|Commercial/Industrial Processors||More than 20 cup|
Look for Attachments
Whether big or small, a food processor must come with a basic set of accessories. Different blades and attachments are useful for completing various kitchen tasks. While some unit comes with a complete attachment kit, others include a maximum of 3 blades. The extra attachments such as dicing kit, kneading blade, adjustable slicing disc are common with mid and large size food processors. Some of them even include citrus juicer that helps to extract fresh lime or orange juice instantly.
Speed & Power
The motor of a mini food chopper or processor provides enough power to do basic functions like chopping, grinding and blending of ingredients. However, you cannot keep them on continuously for a long time as the motor tend to get hot. Or the motor may burn out in the worst case. You need a powerful motor up to 600 watts or higher to handle tough jobs like kneading the dough, shredding hard cheese, dicing raw carrots, etc. Whereas motor of industrial food processor delivers enormous power to slice, shred, cut, mix, mash or blend up to 10 ingredients at a time. And the best part is, they can be kept on until you finish processing of a batch.
Generally, there are 3-speed options for any food processor. These include simple on and off buttons and a pulse mode. Pulse mode helps to understand your device better by pulsating ingredients. This mode is very useful while grinding dry ingredients such as nuts or spices. It helps to achieve the perfect texture of ingredients with minimal effort.
Feed tube size/Lid
The lid must lock properly onto the bowl to avoid any spills on the kitchen countertop. In addition to mess-free work, proper lock on the lid also ensures user safety. And many leading food processor brands like Cuisinart and KitchenAid offer BPA-free work bowls with good lid-lock system. And the majority of lids are transparent, allowing the user to monitor what’s going inside the work bowl.
The feeder tube is one of the important features to look for after the size and power of the motor. A wide feed tube allows you to add more than one ingredient at a time. Whereas you will have to pre-cut ingredients before passing them through the narrow feeding tube. But such narrow size feed tubes are best for slicing certain ingredients like carrot, cucumber, zucchini, etc.
A small food processor will not occupy much countertop space as compared to a mid-size unit. But then you have to check the features and power of the motor. Whereas a large unit will take up little countertop space but offers a lot more features and a powerful motor. Many of them offer a bunch of discs and blades of different thicknesses for precise slicing/shredding. As well as includes an attachment storage box to store all the discs and blades safely.
Food Processor and Blender Are Not The Same!
Food processors are designed for time-consuming kitchen tasks such as mixing the dough, slicing vegetables, or chopping hard veggies, while a blender is better for liquids and popularly used to make smoothies.
Often people use the most powerful blender available in the market for the work of food processors. You might want to be careful there as the motor can burn with such a high load.
You can check out our guide to understand the difference between blender and food processors. It will help you get a clear picture of its functions.
In the kitchenware industry, it is always advised to go with a trusted brand. Why? because a new company tends to make mistakes while designing the product and they also lack the support and warranty. Here are some of the top brands which makes food processor and have a solid warranty and customer support.
- Hamilton Beach
- BLACK + Decker
- Robot Coupe
Most of the food processors are backed by a limited manufacturer’s warranty on parts and labor. But some cheap food processors do not offer any warranty at all. This tells a lot about product quality and the sharpness of blades. So always check for a minimum of one year warranty on any new product you buy. Moreover, certain brands offer a 5-year warranty on motor and parts. If you are going to use the machine frequently or for heavy-duty work like chopping meat or grating hard cheese then it is better to own a warrantied unit.