Mini Food Processors
I'm looking to buy a friend a mini food processor for her birthday, and I have no expereince with them.
She wants a "small" food processor, and so I was thinking of the Cuisinart Mini Prep, Mini Prep Plus, or Handy Prep OR the KitchenAid Mini Chopper (or Chef's chopper, whatever they call the 3 cup one).
Many people on Amazon complained of their Mini Prep/Mini Prep Plus burning out really quickly.
Not so many opinions on the other ones.
What do you reccommend? Any good/bad experiences?
I think the Cuisinart Mini-Prep is a dud. Someone gave me one as a gift too. I didn't really see the need for it, as I had a regular Cuisinart, didn't want to use up more counter space, but what the heck, it's a gift, I'll use it, right?
From the start, it seemed the motor was weak and the uses were very limited. I could make small amounts of salad dressing, chop herbs, or make breadcrumbs--anything else would stress the motor too much and the blades would slow to a stop. Even though I hardly used it, the motor gave out very quickly. I thought perhaps I had gotten a "lemon" so I took it back to Williams-Sonoma and they gave me another, but it was exactly the same as the first and it died very soon after. It kind of surprised me, since my big cuisinart is so heavy-duty and has worked well for years. I don't recommend it--how about a nice heavy roasting pan instead? ;>)
I love the concept of mini food processors but have had problems with the three of them that I have owned. I've had 2 mini-preps and both times discarded them because the plastic ring on the blade assembly cracked. Seemed like a bacteria trap just waiting to get me. I'm talking about a 1/16th inch separation, not a hairline thing. I never did smell the motor over heating at all. I now have a KithcenAid which seems to be a more stout design with a better blade assembly (can't crack like the other one). The problem I have with this one is that whenever I do things like make salad dressings or work with other wet ingredients the lid leaks like a seive. I'm only filling it about 1/3rd of the way but still spend a bunch of time wiping up stuff that spills. That is way more annoying than buying a new one every 3 or 4 years because the blade housing cracks.
I have had my mini prep since the first year they came out with this size-1987 maybe. I use it alt least one a month to chop up small batches of dip, breadcrumbs, salsa, herbs, onions etc. I have replaced the blade twice. Once because I dropped it (just missed my toe!) and once because it seemed like it was getting dull.
What I like about Cuisinart is that you can always get parts. About 10 years ago I ordered an extra bowl for both my mini and my huge monster one. It has made such a difference having two bowls when chopping lots of things. I save so much time.
I'm on my second Cuisinart mini-prep. The first didn't die but I decided to get the newer model last year. The bowl is somewhat larger and the blade is safer in that there's only one position. The old one had the blade itself sliding onto the stem (not sure what to call it) and you had to choose which way to slide it on depending on the sharpness desired. You you could cut yourself too easily. I still have that original machine and it's many years old and still works. I was using the new one last weekend to process cookie crumbs - graham crackers and Nabisco Famous Wafers. After fairly short periods of pulsing, I noticed a sort of burning-electrical-appliance smell. It did the processing very efficiently, and I was glad not to have to use my normal-sized Cuisinart, but the smell concerned me. I'm not sure that this motor is going to hold up very well.
I've had my Mini-Prep for 11 years and have never had a problem. I don't use it that frequently but it does a nice job and it is easy to handle and clean. The cup is small so you may have to process in batches. I also have a Cuisinart 11 that I got as a gift some time ago. I've never used it and find the big machines a little intimidating.
I had a Cusinart Mini Prep, which I absolutely adored. I used it realtively frequently, but it did burn out in about a year. I was really surprised. I didn't think I was abusing it - the most use it ever saw was when I had a bumper crop of basil leaves and made pesto.
When the Mini Prep died, my husband went out and bought me a piece of crap "mini processor" from Kohls - I think it ran about $14. A classic example of "you get what you pay for." It can't even process whipped butter.