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Food processor dilemma: Cuisinart vs. KitchenAid

  • c

I know this topic has come up before, but am needing some personal feedback at this time. Want to buy a good-sized (11 or 12 cup) food processor for my mom. I envision her using it to make pie dough, grind meat, make desserts (she doesn't have a stand mixer).

After reading positive reports on this board as well as Amazon for the KA over the Cuisinart, I was fairly set on going w/ the KA...until I went to Macy's. They have both models and after poking and prodding at each, I was more impressed w/ the 11-cup Cuisinart's larger blade, more durable work bowl, relative compactness, and overall look than the 12-cup KA model. Looks aren't usually a big factor for me, but the KA top-flared model was an eyesore--downright ugly and cheap-looking.

Re: the Cuisinart--they have the older-style blockish version w/ the two levers as well as the more modern, rounded one w/ buttons. Opinions on differences and which one is better??

Would also be great if you can steer me to the best deals at stores or online. Best prices that I have found: Cuisinart at Costco (per my FIL's report) is $170, while the KA at Macy's is around $200 on sale. Thanks!

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  1. Not to be discouraging in any way, but before you spend the money (like I did) make sure it's something she really wants (like I didn't). I got a great Cuisinart for my mom because she is getting elderly (sorry mom) and thought it would make life better for her. I am sorry to say it sits in the cupboard unless she needs to grate a lot of something at once. As she said, I've been making things with my hands for 78 years, and why should I haul that big thing out of the cupboard and get it dirty to do something that takes less time and only one bowl to make with my hands? And that thing makes tough pastry that your father can't chew...and so on and so on.

    If she really wants one, I would get the Cuisinart over the KA any day of the week if for no other reason than I currently find KA to be unreliable and have experienced disappointing service from that company.

    2 Replies
    1. re: Cyndy

      Yes, my mother can be rigid and hard to please/change when it comes to her cooking practices. She's been the one dropping hints here and there about a food processor, so my sibs and I just asked her outright if she wanted one and what features. So she knows it's coming...

      Your comment about KA's customer service is interesting--I actually had heard more horror stories about Cuisinart's CS in my search. Well, if they have equally bad service, then I'll go w/ the Cuisinart.

      1. re: Carb Lover

        It's sad when we have to pick the lesser of two evils. As a tech support person, I was appalled by my experience with KA and my $550 mixer breaking after 20 uses. They refused to fix it...said it was an 'old model' and wasn't covered any more. Argh. Only cost $40 to fix it, but I had to drive it to another city. I would buy the Cuisinart at Costco if you can...they will take anything back, even after being used for years...I work for HP and we routinely use this as an out for out of warranty customers who bought them there. Gosh that sounds bad...tech support is like that.

    2. Oh Boy -

      I would DEFINITELY go with a Cuisinart. They are truly the top-of-the-line when it comes to food processors. Their new food processors are so good (including a "dough" feature) that I have not missed having a stand-mixer AT ALL. Currently in my miniscule (Boston-sized) kitchen, I can only afford one counter-top appliance and it's been the food processor. My hand mixer picks up where that leaves off. If that's not good enough, my mom has had a Cuisinart for YEARS and she's the one who bought me mine. It's been fantastic - I use it as often as possible (which is quite often!!!)

      Good luck!

      1. I can't speak from experience as I haven't used it yet, but I went through this same situation recently when I was registering for my wedding. I talked to tons of people and got feedback from this website and other sites and the majority said they preferred Kitchen Aid over Cuisinart, and so that's what I went with. People said it worked better and was more reliable. (Though I see that both people who've written back so far have said the opposite, so who knows!) Like I said, I haven't tried them both yet, but I spent two weeks researching it, and that was the conclusion I came to. Good luck!

        1. The January issue of Cook's Illustrated had a section on food processors- they tested major brands and did a run down of which brand did which task better. You might find the article on the America's Test Kitchen website. If not, and you have specific tasks in mind, I can look up the article and tell you what the recommendations are but I believe that KA came out on top overall but just slightly. I have a KA that I got new on eBay for $90. That's where I would check for the best deals. The only criticism I have for the KA is that I wish the feed tube was wider all around. I got the KA b/c I read that the Cuisinart blades weren't what they used to be, and that KA blades are better. If this is still the case, but you want a Cuisinart, you might be able to find a factory refurbished (like new) older model on eBay. Good luck!

          1. My local Costco has the 11 cup Cuisinart with an extra bowl, extra blades, plus a blade-storage container. $169 if I remember correctly. Worth checking out.

            1. I researched this same question 3 or 4 years ago and bought the KA (in part based on the recommendation of Consumer Reports). i think it's the 12c model, but I'm not sure. I've been quite happy with it, though there are some quirks I'm not thrilled with.

              For example, you need to be sure to undo the bowl before the lid (or vice versa--can't remember). It took me a while to realize this was a 'feature' of the KA, not some screw up on my part. Plus, although it doesn't have an unusually large foot print, the 'attachments' take up a lot of space. Now, bear in mind, my guess is that if I had gotten the cuisinart I would have a similar list of small complaints--probably just different ones. I didn't test them side by side or anything.

              Bottom line, I would recommend the KA.


              1. I have a newer model Cuisinart with the rounded buttons and dough blade. The motor powers through bread dough and normal tasks just fine, and I didn't have any customer service problems getting a new lid when I cracked the original one during a move. (This was within the one year warranty on accessories. The motor has a longer warranty.)

                However, if I were to do it again I would buy an old-style blockish Cuisinart. The new Cuisinart has the annoying safety feature where you have to remove the pusher before you can unlock the lid. Also, the pusher has to be engaged before the motor will turn on. I suppose they do it so people won't shred their fingers, but I find the extra step annoying. I seem to recall the older model doesn't have that extra safety feature. It's been a while since I've used one though, so you should double check in the store.

                I've heard good things about the KitchenAid, though I have no idea if it has annoying safety features of its own. Since the older style Cuisinart is much less expensive for the same size workbowl, I probably wouldn't go for the additional cost of the KitchenAid.

                1. I can report one particular problem I had with the KA. I have a hard time removing the lid. It seemed to be suctioned onto the bowl, worse with a liquid. I would twist & twist and I felt like I was going to either crack the bowl or have food AND sharp blade flying through the air.

                  Now mind you, this was on a friends KA. I don't know if it had been previously damaged or dinged somewhere.

                  I'm sorry I'm not sure what model it was, I just remember it happened on the several occasions I've used her machine for cooking.

                  4 Replies
                  1. re: jill

                    I had the same issue with my KA when I used it recently, and had it in the past with my old Cuisinart. If I think about it ahead of time, I use a paper towel to wipe the tiniest bit of corn oil around the rim of the lid to make removal easier.

                    1. re: LBQT

                      Since you have first-hand experience w/ both brands, is there one you prefer over the other? Please elaborate...

                      I've appreciate everyone's feedback thus far and am slightly leaning towards the classic Cuisinart.

                      1. re: Carb Lover

                        I purchased an original cuisinart (france made) machine in 1978. I use it at least 3 times per week for 25 years . Still works fine It also outlasted 2 wives. I would never buy anything but a cuisinart food processor. Can't say the same for the coffee pots.....

                        1. re: Larry

                          I like the KA better because it is easier to clean (two part feed tube); the two part feed tube gives me a little more size leeway with what fits in it; it came with its own storage box for the blades; and, it has a small work bowl (2 cups or so) with its own mini-blade that's perfect for small jobs. My KA has held up to the jobs I've put it through (mostly slicing); I use the stand mixer for doughs and baking. We bought a Cuisinart about 23 years ago - it did not last, surprisingly. The blades warped out of shape after a while, and the switches eventually became non-operative. I've had good luck with my vintage 1975 KA stand mixer, so I have a lot of faith in KA's products, even though it's no longer owned by Hobart.

                  2. s
                    sally from LA

                    I have had the "blockish" Cuisinart for probably near to 20 years - it has been a wonderful workhorse, and when it dies, I'll certainly buy another Cuisinart.

                    1. Thanks everyone for your input. Interestingly, seems like the crowd was equally divided on this issue. Seems like both brands have their pros and cons and that quality even varies w/in brand.

                      Just to let you know, I've decided to go w/ a Cuisinart. I liked the look of that one better, and the parts actually looked sturdier compared to the KA. Leaning towards getting the more modern one at Costco as opposed to the blockish, classic model.

                      What sealed the deal is that KA only has a one year warranty while Cuisinart offers a 3-year limited warranty and a 10-year full motor warranty. If I'm wrong on this, then please let me know. Significant dif. IMO, and well, if it acts up, then at least mom won't have to pay to fix it. Thanks again.