Food processors: How to buy the best food processor
- Expert advice on buying the best food processor to suit your needs
- Discover what kitchen gadget you really need
- Our top tips for buying the right food processor
What type of food processor do I need?
There are three types of food prep gadgets: food processors, stand mixers (sometimes known as a kitchen machines or food mixers) and mini choppers. Scroll down for more on the different types and what they're best at.
Watch our video below to find out more about food processors - and how you can make sure you buy the best one for your budget.
Food processor video buying guide
Mini choppers, food processors and stand mixers – in brief
Food preparation appliances are designed to make preparing large batches of food quick, easy and hassle-free, but the wide variety of types on offer can be confusing.
You’ll still have to weigh and prepare food, but you’ll save more of your precious time by letting the food processor, mixer or chopper tackle the trickier tasks – often in seconds. Plus, the results are a lot more consistent than the average person could achieve by hand.
Keen bakers, who like to whip up large batches of cupcakes or batter, rather than slice or grate, would probably find a stand mixer most useful.
If you’re after something to help in the kitchen with slicing, grating, chopping or mixing, then a food processor may be a better choice – some also come with a jug blender attachment for making smoothies or blending soup.
For small amounts of chopping or puréeing, then a mini chopper could be the answer. Mini choppers are very small, cheaper versions of food processors – they take up much less space, but aren’t as versatile.
Go to our expert guide to choosing between a food processor, stand mixer or mini chopper to see each of the key types of food processor in action.
Top buying tips for food processors
Once you’ve decided which food preparation appliance you need and are ready to hit the shops (or the internet), read our top tips of what to look for when buying a food processor:
• Accessories Make sure the kitchen gadget will have all the tools for the tasks you need doing. If you’re after a stand mixer, but want to slice or grate, too, it might be beneficial to buy one with a food processor attachment. It’s worth buying a food processor with a jug blender attachment, if you want the versatility of blending smoothies or soup, as well as processing food.
Find out all about the most popular accessories and their functions in our food processors features explained.
• Size Make sure you have enough kitchen counter space for the kitchen appliance you choose – think about the height of any cabinets above where you’ll put the food processor, that may obstruct the feeding tubes or lids.
• Wide feeder tube on food processors These fit larger items, such as potatoes, without having to chop them up first.
• Bowl sizes A large-capacity bowl means you'll be able to make bigger batches, and some models come with a mini bowl, too. This sits inside the main bowl and has its own blade. It’s useful when you only want to process a small amount of food, such as herbs or nuts.
However, a mini chopper could also be a good alternative solution in this instance.
Stand mixers generally come with larger bowls than food processors, so aren't suitable for small amounts.
• Dishwasher safe Washing food processor attachments by hand can be a real pain. Look for a model with dishwasher-safe accessories, and cleaning will be less of a headache – but don’t forget to check the instructions before putting them on a hot wash.
• Storage for accessories Some food preparation appliances come with a wide variety of accessories, which can take up a lot of valuable kitchen storage space. If you think this is going to be a problem, look for a model with a storage box or storage compartment included.
Where’s the best place to buy a food processor?
High-street retailers such as Argos, Comet and Currys stock a wide range of food processors, stand mixers and mini choppers, as do department stores such as Debenhams and John Lewis.
You can buy food processors from most high-street shops, as well as online from manufacturer websites and sites such as Amazon.
Do you still have a burning question about food processors? Our food processors FAQs contain a helpful range of information, including a check list of food processing tips, and we reveal how you can make peanut butter in a food processor.
Got a specific task in mind? Find out what’s the best kitchen gadget for the job
Best for chopping
We test all of the machines with various foods used when cooking and baking in the kitchen, including onions, herbs and nuts. So whatever you need to chop, a food processor should be able to help you out.
If you've only got a very small amount of food to chop or purée, a mini chopper could be a smaller – and cheaper – alternative.
We all know how good the taste of homemade bread can be, and a food processor with a specific tool for dough can make the chore of kneading much easier. If you've got more money to spend, then a stand mixer will be the better option.
Best for mixing cakes
Good news for those of us with a sweet tooth – all food processors come with the attachments needed to mix cakes, as do stand mixers.
A mini chopper, however, won't be able to help you out with this task, unless it’s for chopping small amounts of cake ingredients, such as nuts.
Best for slicing
Whether you need to finely slice cucumbers for a salad or roughly slice chunks of carrot for a rustic stew, a food processor can do this quickly for you.
A stand mixer generally won't be able to help, unless it comes with a specific attachment, while mini choppers aren’t capable of slicing.
Best for grating
Food processors can grate both hard foods, such as carrots, and softer foods, such as cheese, but the results depend on the quality of the accessories used. Some food preparation machines need more force than others to achieve good results.
As with slicing, stand mixers don't cover this task, unless they come with a specific grating or food processor attachment. Mini choppers can’t grate, either.
Best for whipping cream
If you like to top your cakes, pastries and trifles with whipped cream, or make large batches of cake mix, then stand mixers really excel in this area
Some food processors come with a whisk or beater attachment, but not all do, so if this is one of your most regular tasks, check before you buy.
Twin-gear beaters give the best results for food processors, especially if they're metal rather than plastic.
Best for whisking eggs
Stand mixers really excel at this task, too, so if you whisk or whip a lot, a stand mixer is the best choice. Otherwise, look out for twin-gear metal beaters included with a food processor, as these give the best results.
Best for making mayonnaise
Food processors and stand mixers with a jug blender attachment included are the best bet here.
Some mini choppers can make mayonnaise, but they need a hole in the lid to do this, so check before buying. You can also make mayonnaise in the main bowl of a stand mixer using the whisk, if it doesn’t come with a jug attachment.
If making mayonnaise is a high priority, it might be worth considering a hand blender instead.
Best for puréeing
If you need to purée baby food, your best bet is probably a hand blender; otherwise make sure your food processor or stand mixer had a jug blender attachment, as these give the best results.
Mini choppers are also excellent at this task, but they can only purée small amounts at a time. Buying a mini chopper can save you money over a larger machine, but are are unsuitable for anything more than puréeing or chopping small amounts.
Best for making milkshakes and smoothies
Jug blenders give the best results for making milkshakes and smoothies, so this might be the best option if this is all you want to do.
Otherwise, make sure your food processor or stand mixer comes with a jug blender attachment to give it maximum versatility at tackling a wide range of tasks.
Jug blenders are also useful for blending soups or making dips.
Mini choppers aren't recommended for use with liquids, so aren’t really suitable for milkshakes or smoothies, but they can be used to make great dips.