Food Processor and Chopper
Buying Guide

Photo of a food processor in use.
Food Processor and Chopper Buying Guide

Kitchen Magicians

Whether you're a seasoned pro or just learning how to cook, food processors and choppers are incredibly helpful tools.

Food processors are jacks of all trade that can chop, slice, shred, and purée many different ingredients–sometimes in great quantity–plus tackle heavier jobs like kneading dough. Mini-choppers are good for lighter work and smaller jobs–especially useful when you only need to prep a handful of basil or chop some nuts.

You can spend as little as $40 for a basic chopper or ten times that amount for a tricked-out food processor. But paying top dollar doesn't guarantee top performance.

1

Thought Process

How Big is Big Enough?
If you regularly cook for a crowd or like to prepare multiple batches of a recipe, you might appreciate a bigger, 11-to-16-cup processor. But they tend to cost more, sometimes weigh more, and hog counter space. A capacity of seven cups or so is fine for most tasks.

Choppers make more sense for small jobs such as dicing half an onion or mincing a handful of parsley–plus they’re easier to clean.

When Should You Pay More?
Lower-priced models we've tested tend to deliver subpar performance in at least one processing task. They also made quite a racket, whereas most higher-end models we tested were quiet.

What About Capacity?

Claimed food processor capacities typically range from about 7 to 16 cups, although actual volumes often vary by one or two cups. Choppers hold only about 1 to 5 cups. They can be noisy, but you probably won't be using them for long periods.

2

Chop Shop: The Major Types

Full-sized processors are usually more versatile–able to chop and slice foods and knead dough. Mini-choppers look like little food processors, but they're for small jobs like chopping half a cup of nuts or a couple of shallots. Here are the types of food processors to consider.

Photo of a food processor.

Food Processors

Most easily chop vegetables for soups or stews, slice salad fixings, and shred cheese for tacos. Some models can knead bread dough, just know that these models are generally the more expensive ones.

Photo of a food chopper.

Food Choppers

The difference between food processors and choppers: Power, capacity, and function. Smaller, lighter, and less expensive choppers make quick work of cutting up small batches of nuts and herbs that would get lost in a food processor's large bowl. Choppers typically don't have shredding and slicing blades.

3

Slice of Life: Features to Consider

Standard equipment includes a clear plastic mixing bowl and lid, an S-shaped metal chopping blade (and sometimes a blunt blade for kneading dough), a plastic food pusher to safely prod food through the feed tube, and a safety lock. Here are additional features worth considering.

4

Brands That Matter

Plugs by celebrity chefs have helped to make food processors the fastest-growing small kitchen appliance. But celebrity cachet doesn't guarantee a place at the top of our tests. Nor is more power or higher price a sure bet. Some fancy models we tested actually made more work than they saved.

This is a major brand that offers models in the low-to-mid price range, and processors with capacity ranging from 2 to 10 cups. Available at department stores, big-box retailers, and online. Prices range from about $20 to $150.
A premium brand with high-end and mid-priced models. Available in specialty and department stores.
This is a mid-range to premium brand that offers models with capacity ranging from 4 to 20 cups. Some models also function as blenders. Sold in department, specialty, and appliance stores, and online. Prices range from $30 to $800.
This is a premium brand. Sold through department and specialty stores, and online retailers. Price is about $400.
This brand offers low-to-mid-priced units, and models with capacity ranging from 6 and 14 cups. Available through department, appliance, and big box stores, and online retailers. Prices range from $35 to $100.
This brand offers low to mid-priced models. Sold at Sears and Kmart stores and websites. Price range is $75 to $200.
This is a major brand within the category that offers premium products and models with various capacities. Some models come in various colors. Sold in department, specialty, appliance, and big-box stores and online. Prices range from $130 to $700.
This brand offers low-to-mid-priced units, and models with various capacities. Available through department and appliance stores and big-box and online retailers. Prices range from $25 to $200.
Bosch is another brand of food processor and chopper on the market today, although we don't currently have any Bosch food processors or choppers in our Ratings.