Food Processor & Chopper Buying Guide

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

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

You can spend as little as $13 for a basic chopper or more than 30 times that amount for a souped-up food processor. 

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 7 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 make quite a racket, whereas most higher-end models we test are quiet.

What About Capacity?

Claimed food processor capacities typically range from about 7 to 16 cups, although actual volumes often vary by 1 or 2 cups. Choppers hold only about 1 to 5 cups. They can be noisy, but you probably won’t be using them for long periods.

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, such as 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 do not have shredding and slicing blades.

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.

Brands That Matter

More power or a higher price isn't a sure bet on performance, and some fancy models we tested actually made more work than they saved.

This is a major brand that offers models in the low-to-midpriced range. Available at department stores, big-box retailers, and online.
A premium brand with high-end and midpriced models. Available in specialty and department stores.
This is a midrange to premium brand. Some models also function as blenders. Sold in department, specialty, and appliance stores, and online.
This is a premium brand. Sold through department and specialty stores, and online retailers.
This brand offers low-to-midpriced models. Available through department, appliance, and big box stores, and online retailers.
This brand offers premium products. Some models come in various colors. Sold in department, specialty, appliance, and big-box stores, and online.
Ninja is an infomercial favorite sold online, and at Target, Walmart, among other major retailers.
This brand offers low-to-mid-priced units. Available through department and appliance stores and big-box and online retailers.
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