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Why are blenders $20 while food processers are $200?

Mr Taster Nov 6, 2006 06:19 PM

This is a question I've had for many years. I just can't bring myself to spend so much money on one piece of kitchen equipment, though I really, truly want a food processor.

I found this Hamilton Beach processor on Amazon and wonder if anyone here has had any experience with it?

Hamilton Beach 70550RL PrepStar Food Processor with Bonus Chill Lid

http://www.amazon.com/Hamilton-Beach-...

Thanks hounds!

Mr Taster

  1. c
    cheryl_h Nov 9, 2006 01:46 PM

    In the current issue of Consumer Reports, there is an article on food processors. The top picks (around 5-6 machines) were all Kitchenaids. Cuisinart was ranked below these. I haven't read the article yet but their pick for good value was a KA processor which had a price tag of around $80. You should see if you can find the issue, it might help you to find a processor which doesn't cost much.

    My Cuisinart is 20+ years old, on its second work bowl but otherwise all original. It has been a workhorse for its entire life. I can't imagine cooking without it and yes, I also have a selection of good knives and know how to use them. I have a blender, also about the same vintage, which is used for pureeing soups only. It does that one job well, but in terms of $ per hour of usage, the Cuisinart is far, far the better deal.

    1 Reply
    1. re: cheryl_h
      Robert Lauriston Nov 10, 2006 08:12 PM

      Old Cuisinart motors will last forever, but they switched to less reliable motors after the company was sold in 1987.

    2. cayjohan Nov 9, 2006 08:50 AM

      Aaak. I hate to be the atavistic voice, especially when all this talk of the Robot Coupe has me sweating a bit with jealousy.

      Still, I remain FP-less. I would love one, but I love, say paying other bills first. Do I want it for pastry? I can do it by hand. Do I want it for yeast dough? Same goes. Grinding nuts? Oh, I would really love it for nut crust pastries, but I have a heavy pin that does the same thing. Pesto? Mortar and pestle.

      I envy each and every one of you that has an FP that you love. However, I think that most dishes can be contrived without the processor. I do, admittedly, spend more time on veg prep than I may need to, given aforementioned atavistic tendencies, but I don't know that whirring something in a Robot Coupe would give me more satisfaction than using my knives.

      I love my knives.

      But please, if you have a fine FP you want to get rid of: send it to me so I can prove myself wrong.

      If you have only knives, remember that you can make almost anything.

      1 Reply
      1. re: cayjohan
        k
        Kelli2006 Nov 9, 2006 06:07 PM

        Cayjohan and others who remain FP-less, I mentioned the Robot Coupe as a lark,, as unless you had a unlimited budget and cooked for the VanTrapp family, they would be totally impractical in a residential kitchen. I have worked in many professional kitchens where we utilized Cuisinart with good results. I bake wedding cakes and help with catering and other small commercial baking, and I have a 10 year old 14 cup Cuisinart, and I have no plans on replacing it. I rarely use it when I cook for DH and my daughter. I don't like to clean it, and I would rather use a knife for most small tasks, as I enjoy the satisfaction of being able to do it as simply as possible.
        Those who have not worked in a commercial kitchen might find it perverse, but there is a feeling of satisfaction that I get from being able to efficiently break down 5lbs of aromatics and other veggies with nothing more than a good chefs knife, and years of finely honed skills. I prefer to make yeast doughs either by hand or in my KA stand mixer, but the F-P is nice for pie crusts and other pastry needs.
        I don't think that there is a time that you NEED a F-P in a residential kitchen, but they are helpful and nice to have that option during holiday cooking/baking projects. I might use my carafe mixer more than my FP, but its nice to know that its there when and if/when I need it.

      2. Carb Lover Nov 9, 2006 06:58 AM

        No, I haven't had any personal experience w/ the HB processor. I have seen it at stores, and my biggest concern would be that the bowl would chip/crack easily rendering it pretty much useless. You know the saying, you get what you pay for...

        While I agree w/ others that it can be worthwhile to invest in a Cuisinart or KA, I understand that you may not be there right now. I get the sense that you want to experiment w/ an inexpensive food processor first and then graduate to something better should you really feel like you want/need it.

        So I will recommend what I use (drumroll please)........La Machine! My mother gave me this 7-cup model many years ago since it was an extra one she had. I don't use it as often as my blender, but it has served me well in making pie doughs, grinding nuts, etc. It's nowhere as nice as Cuisinart (used my roommate's before), but it's fine for what I need. I would get the 11/12-cup old blockish model of Cuisinart if I were to upgrade.

        I googled "la machine food processor" just to see if they even sell these models anymore, and I found one below that is called Regal La Machine. Looks like a modified version of mine although have no idea of the capacity. I recommend that you check out reviews on this model before buying. About $30 on ebay...

        http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?...

        1. b
          btnfood Nov 9, 2006 12:51 AM

          Sorry, here's the link:

          http://www.amazon.com/KitchenAid-KFP7...

          1. b
            btnfood Nov 9, 2006 12:50 AM

            I know $70 is not $30, but why not compromise and get this Kitchen Aid processor, which is sure to last a lot longer and perform a lot better.

            I've used processors like Hamilton Beach and practically consider them practically disposable, like trying to carve a turkey with a plastic knife. Also, if you can find another $55 worth of home merchandise, to total $125, on Amazon, you will get another $25 off.

            1. n
              niki rothman Nov 8, 2006 08:20 PM

              Well, Cuisinarts are still a real bargain. I got one for a wedding present in 1982 and it cost about $250 then. So if you consider that, today's price is a real bargain. Back then it was more of a luxury item, now there is no reason to be without this indispensible necessity. Practically everything else is much more expensive than it was then.

              And as far as which is the work horse - Kitchenaid or Cuisinart - I love Am. Test Kitchen but their tests are often confusingly close - and I've watched them enough times to feel comfortable making this statement. Their criteria may leave out important issues and fixate on trivial ones, and their ratings are very close within the ranges. Sure, the worst and best are worth looking at, but when you say Kitchenaid "edged out" Cuisinart it alerts me to a meaningless result. Take a close look at the blades. The Cuisinart are more heavy duty looking - the Kitchenaid blades/discs are kind of feather-weight looking. My last word: my full sized Cuisinart is used, and for tough jobs too - like grinding a pound of parm. into powder, certainly 4 days a week - for 25 years!

              1 Reply
              1. re: niki rothman
                Caitlin McGrath Nov 9, 2006 06:43 AM

                I have the KA food processor and it is excellent. The blades and discs are in no way "feather-weight." Plenty of chowhounds concurred in a thread on this board comparing the two brands that was pretty evenly split between satisfied customers of both brands. It's probably fair to say that they're both workhorses.

              2. Davwud Nov 8, 2006 12:20 AM

                On Good Eats they did something on FP's. One thing Alton pointed out is; direct drive motor. So look for a bowl mounted directly on top of the motor.

                DT

                1 Reply
                1. re: Davwud
                  h
                  Hapa Dude Nov 8, 2006 08:02 PM

                  For more info you could read the transcript from www.goodeatsfanpage.com

                2. h
                  Hapa Dude Nov 8, 2006 12:06 AM

                  America's Test Kitchen did a comparo of FP's. The Kitchenaids edged out the Cuisinarts in the test, but you can't go wrong with either of them. They did gripe about the newest Kitchenaid having a safety feature in the top-loading feed tube that requires the pusher to be in before the motor starts -- which forces you to cut your food into short blocks that allow the pusher to engage.

                  1. k
                    Kelli2006 Nov 7, 2006 08:18 PM

                    Mr Taster, It looks like a nice machine but I would not expect to knead heavy bread dough it on a weekly basis, and expect it to last more than 2-3 years. It would probably be fine for daily chopping veggies and pureeing soups and sauces.
                    I would check Consumer Reports reviews at the local library if possible, but as long as you don't expect it to perform as a $200 Cuisinart, it should fulfill your needs.

                    1. Mr Taster Nov 7, 2006 07:53 PM

                      Thank you for the replies but really what I am looking for is maximum value for minimum price. As an amateur hobbyist cook I can hardly bring myself to pay $75 for any piece of kitchen equipment, let alone $200. For comparison, I bought a cheap Oster blender about 9 years ago which I use sporadically and it's still going strong.

                      I just want a basic, solid processor which won't break apart in a year and am wondering that Hamilton Beach model I quoted above fits the bill.

                      Thank you
                      Mr Taster

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: Mr Taster
                        n
                        niki rothman Nov 8, 2006 08:28 PM

                        Compared to a full size Cuisinart, Hamilton Beach is a toy.
                        My 25 year old Cuisinart will dance on my grave.

                      2. k
                        Kelli2006 Nov 7, 2006 05:51 PM

                        a 11 cup Cuisinart food processor will be the bet fit for 90% of home cooks. I have had mine for 10 years and I use it for making wedding cakes and other commercial purposes. I would suggest that you get at least 1 spare bowl and a spare lid with no feed tube.

                        If you have money to spare and want the absolute best , buy a Robot Coupe processor. They are all stainless steel,have motors in the 1 Hp range, and the ability to mix concrete in small batches if you so desire. I used them when I worked professionally and they don't break a sweat when pureeing IQF frozen berries or other jobs that would kill a Cuisinart.
                        The prices start at $700.00 and can easily top $2K.

                        1. k
                          kayakado Nov 7, 2006 04:33 PM

                          $20 Blender = disposable.

                          $200 FP - good home cook equipment that will last for years.
                          $400 Vita-mix - a real blender that will out live you.

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: kayakado
                            l
                            Leolady Nov 7, 2006 11:09 PM

                            So true kayakado, so true.

                            I agree with you too Kelli2006! A robot coupe is the bomb!

                          2. rworange Nov 7, 2006 06:26 AM

                            Too bad, I just sold my $200 food processor that was used exactly twice for a lot less than I paid for it. I was tired of dusting it.

                            This link to Cuisinart has food processors from $29 to over $200. It depends on how big it is.
                            http://www.cuisinartwebstore.com/product_list.asp?SKW=FOODPROC&HDR=&PGN=1

                            I just happend to see the model you linked to for sale at Raley's supermarket. It is a small food processor with a seven cup capasity.

                            There are over 30 reviews on Amazon in that link, so that might help you decide if it is useful to you.

                            You really have to decide what you want to use if for. In my case, I should have bought the mini version. I don't cook much and cleaning the thing was more trouble than pulling out a knive. It takes a lot of room up and when storing it, pulling it out of the cabinet was a pain because it was kind of heavy. I hated that thing.

                            Here's a few links to help you decide if what you might need. If nothing else $30 is cheap enough to see how useful a food processor is to you, what features it may or may not have that you might want or not need ... and if it doesn't work for you there is always ebay or a yard sale.

                            http://www.ehow.com/how_5344_choose-food-processor.html
                            http://www.consumersearch.com/www/kitchen/food-processors/index.html
                            http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Food_pro...

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: rworange
                              n
                              niki rothman Nov 8, 2006 08:31 PM

                              rw, now I'm worried about you. When a chowhound chef sells their Cuisinart it's time to call suicide prevention hotline. Well, at least if you get it into your head to sell anymore valuable kitchen equipment...give ME a call first.

                            2. s
                              Sam D. Nov 6, 2006 08:45 PM

                              Good quality food processors have heavy duty direct drive motors strong enough to knead dense yeast dough and other chores. They also come with several different cutting/ mixing blades. That is what generally accounts for the price difference. However, there are also some blenders in the $200 range.

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