Quad Blade Chopper CH580
If you're tired of doing everything by hand in the kitchen, there are plenty of handy gadgets available to take the labour out of cooking and baking jobs.
You can spend anything from £5 to more than £400, and you'll find some products that are great all-rounders, while others excel at a particular task.
Discover the pros and cons of food processors, mini choppers, stand mixers, hand mixers, blenders and hand blenders to help you choose the best one for you.
Get a quick rundown of what's what in our video:
Food processors usually come with a range of accessories to handle common food prep jobs – from chopping, slicing, grating and puréeing to kneading, mixing, whipping and whisking. Some also come with a blender attachment for making smoothies and soups.
Prices range from around £30 for a basic model up to more than £400. More expensive models usually have more accessories, more bowls or a larger capacity.
If you like preparing lots of fresh veg, sides or dips, a food processor can help whip through these jobs in seconds. However, the worst models won’t chop evenly and are a pain to set up. Head to our round-up of the to see our top picks for speedy and efficient chopping.
Mini choppers do exactly what they say on the tin - they are mini food processors, designed for processing small amounts of food, such as a handful of nuts or an onion. They tend to be very basic, with just one blade attachment and one button that you press to chop or purée.
They can be a useful secondary gadget for small tasks where you don’t want to unpack your main food processor. Prices start from as little as £10, although you can pay up to £80 for the premium brands.
A good mini chopper will be quick and easy to use, but we’ve found that some work slowly and struggle to chop evenly. Take a look at our to find out which ones really take the hassle out of small prep jobs.
Stand mixers (also known as food mixers or kitchen machines) are built for baking tasks. They tend to have a large mixing bowl, so you can bake bigger batches, too.
Kneading, mixing and whisking are their key strengths, but some come with extra attachments for blending, grating, slicing and mincing food. Brands such as and sell a wide range of accessories you can use with them, from ice-cream makers to spiralizers, although these can be expensive.
Stand mixers tend to be bigger and pricier than other food prep gadgets. Prices can range from £70 to £800, although they typically cost around £250. They can be a worthwhile investment for regular bakers, as they tend to do a better job of key baking tasks.
The best models take the effort out of heavy-duty baking jobs, but some stand mixers leave lots of ingredients unmixed and struggle with kneading dough. Check our round-up of the to get a model that will produce perfect patisserie.
Handheld mixers usually have attachments for mixing, whisking and kneading and get the job done faster than you would by hand. They are a cheap and space-saving alternative to a stand mixer that you can use with any mixing bowl you have to hand.
A hand mixer may be all you need if you make the occasional sponge cake or want to whip cream every so often. There are some premium models available, with extra attachments and a stylish metal exterior, but these can be more cumbersome to hold for longer jobs.
The best blenders can quickly blitz smoothies and soups to a smooth consistency. Most can also crush ice and make dips, and some come with additional blades or mills for grinding and milling things like coffee, nuts and spices.
Some have a larger jug for blending bigger amounts, while others have a compact blending cup that converts into a travel mug and makes one or two portions.
Handheld stick blenders excel at chopping, blending and puréeing. You can use a hand blender to blend or chop food directly in a bowl or saucepan, so they can be a good option if you want to be able to process varied amounts but don't have the space for a larger gadget.
Prices range from £5 to more than £100. Pricier models may come with extra accessories, such as a beaker for blending smoothies, specialised blending feet for mashing potato, a food processing bowl or a balloon whisk for whipping. The most expensive may be cordless or have a wider range of blending speeds to choose from.
Hand blenders can be heavy and tiring to use, and some can only be used for 10 seconds at a time, so they aren’t always ideal for heavy-duty jobs. You’ll also have to be careful that food doesn’t splash out onto your worktop.
There are plenty of different gadgets to choose from. What's right for you depends on your budget, what you like to cook, and how much space you have. If you're keen to take your cooking to the next level, make sure you've also got a , as we've found that some models have that could spell the end for your soufflés.
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