How to buy the best food processor
By Georgia Wilson
On the hunt for the perfect food processor? We explain what to look out for, and whether a more compact mini chopper might suit your needs better.
Whether you’re looking for a cheap food processor, a compact mini chopper or one that can also blend smoothies and crush ice, our expert guide will help you choose the best one for you.
Food processors are designed to take the hassle out of food prep tasks and save you precious time in the kitchen. But they can vary massively in price, size and what they can do – and we’ve found some can be more of a hindrance than a help.
We take a look at the key things to consider, from what size to go for to what features to look out for, to help you choose the best food processor for your kitchen.
In this article...
- Should I get a food processor or mini chopper?
- How much do I need to spend to get a decent food processor?
- What size and capacity do I need?
- What features should I look for?
You can also head straight to our list of Best Buy food processors to see the models which won't let you down at dinnertime.
Should I get a food processor or mini chopper?
If you’re choosing between a compact mini chopper and a full-sized food processor, as well as thinking about how much space you have, also consider how much you want to spend and what you’ll be using it for.
Full-sized processors usually come with a diverse array of attachments and can handle an impressive range of tasks. As well as chopping, slicing and grating, most can also whisk, whip, mix and knead. This is ideal if you also like to bake but don't have space or budget for a separate stand mixer. Some also come with a blender attachment for making soups and smoothies.
However, food processors can be large, bulky beasts and are often expensive. Bulkier models, or models with multiple parts, can also be more of an effort to clean.
- Come with a wide range of accessories
- Can handle most cooking and baking prep tasks in one machine
- Some come with a blender attachment
- Larger capacity – ideal for processing bigger amounts
- Tend to be expensive
- Take up kitchen space
- Can be fiddly to clean
If you only ever need to do small amounts of chopping or puréeing, a mini chopper might suit you better. Mini choppers are small, affordable versions of food processors. They take up much less space but are usually limited in what they can do.
- Simple to set up
- Easy to clean
- Usually limited to chopping and pureeing
- Small capacity
Not sure exactly what you need? Head to our guide on choosing between a food processor, mixer or blender.
How much do I need to spend to get a decent food processor?
This depends on which type of food processor you want. You can get a good mini chopper for around £20, but the popular brands often cost £60-70. Head to our mini chopper reviews to see top-scoring models for every budget.
Premium food processors can cost more than £400, but we've found brilliant models for less than £100.
If you have the budget to spend more than £100, you'll be able to get a model offering better build quality, longer guarantees and a quieter motor. More expensive models also tend to come with a wider variety of attachments, such as spice grinders, blenders and citrus presses. But be careful not to spend extra on fancy accessories if you’re only likely to use it for simple tasks.
Use the filters on our food processor reviews to compare models by features and price.
What size and capacity do I need?
A large-capacity bowl means you'll be able to make bigger batches. However, the bigger the bowl size, the more space it’s likely to take up in your kitchen. It’s also worth bearing in mind that bigger bowls can be more of a faff to clean by hand or may be awkward to fit in the dishwasher.
Use the capacities below as a rough guide when choosing a food processor.
Some models come with an additional mini bowl, which sits inside the main bowl and has its own blade – useful when you only want to process a small amount of food, such as herbs or nuts. Some models even come with a third midi bowl so you can pick the best size depending on how much food you're processing.
Size and weight
Food processors range massively in size and weight. Make sure you have enough kitchen counter space for the 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. If it's going to live in your cupboard, can you lift it in and out easily? Some are pretty hefty, weighing as much as 11kg.
What features to look for
Make sure the food processor has the tools for the tasks you need to do. 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. If you're buying a food processor, but like to bake, you may want to look out for a model that comes with a beater attachment for whipping and whisking and/or a dough blade.
Don't know your cubing disc from your Blendermix attachment? Read our guide Food processor attachments explained.
Large feeding tube
Some food processors come with a lid that has a wider feed tube so you can process larger items, such as potatoes or cucumbers, without having to chop them up first.
Dishwasher safe attachments and accessories
Washing food processor attachments by hand can be a real pain. If you have a dishwasher, look for a model with dishwasher-safe accessories so cleaning will be less of a headache – but don’t forget to check the instructions before putting them on a hot wash. Some manufacturers warn against washing in temperatures above 40°C, and to avoid the drying cycle altogether, which can also cause the plastic to split.
If you don't have a dishwasher, use our reviews to find models that are easy to clean by hand.
Storage for accessories
Some food processors 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.