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Nov 25, 2012 06:19 PM

"Best" food processor available today

I am looking to get a food processor and have read that the Kitchenaids and Cuisinarts just aren't that great anymore so I am looking into other brands - this is beyond the processors too, and so I am kind of wary of these brands (this may be unfounded too...). The Breville is too expensive. Any other options? Any KAs or Cuisinarts that are still pretty good? I keep reading of easily broken parts, leaks and crappy blades.

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  1. Cooks Illustrated agrees that the latest model from KitchenAid isn't up to it.

    Cuisinart Custom 14-Cup Food Processor
    We developed a real appreciation for this user-friendly classic, but came away with a couple of quibbles. First, precutting vegetables into 1-inch chunks (per the manufacturer’s recommendation) was tedious, and even then the results were uneven. Second, its feed tube was short—too short for a russet potato, which had to be trimmed extensively to fit into the chute (though once trimmed, the potato sliced perfectly). $199

    Recommended with reservations:

    Cuisinart Elite Collection 14-Cup Food Processor
    Cuisinart’s much-anticipated new release may pack power (good for pizza dough), heft, and plenty of extra bowls, but it didn’t do anything better than the cheaper, simpler, more compact KitchenAid [now discontinued]. Mayonnaise never came out perfectly emulsified, and chopped carrots emerged accompanied by wasted end pieces. The leakproof rubber gasket “SealTight” lid constantly trapped food bits. $235.37

    Hamilton Beach Big Mouth Deluxe 14-Cup
    On the one hand, this machine’s well-labeled blades and lock/unlock indications made it easy to use. (Other brands constantly left us guessing.) On the other, its wide-mouth feed tube was overcomplicated with pop-up lids and double-barreled inserts that were somewhat hard to clean. Performance-wise, it was generally fair across the board. $99.99

    1 Reply
    1. re: John Francis

      Thanks! Too bad the better choices are "with reservation".

    2. I've had 3 Cuisinart's and a Kitchen Aid. Cuisinart did go through a period where they were not as well made IMO. I bought my first one in the 80s and then eventually lost parts in a move and ended up replacing the whole unit. Hated my second one I bought in the late 90s due to easily broken parts ( I broke the stem a couple times), so I went to KA. That one worked fine but I eventually broke it also ( the center post stripped) so I bought a Cuisinart Elite. It is so much better than my previous FPs. Love that it is sealed and holds much more liquid, I've had no problems with broken parts either. I've had it for about 2-3 years now. I have the 16 cup model.

      1 Reply
      1. re: rasputina

        My mom had one of those Cuisinarts with the two flat buttons in the 80s/90s and it still works like a charm. I looked into the current model of it and the reviews of it are terrible. Too bad. I'll look into the Elite, thanks!

      2. I have a Cuisinart that I bought at Costco a couple of years ago and I have had no problems with it. I rarely use the slicing/shredding blade so can't really comment on that. But for pie and pasta dough using the sharp base blade I've never had a problem. (Once I got an immersion blender I stopped using the FP for pureeing hot items like soups and sauces--those get handled much easier right in the pan or pot.)

        1. While I can't recommend one (I've only ever owned one), I can tell you what to avoid: The Black & Decker wide-mouth combo blender and food processor. With the food processor part on it, it looks a little like the Hamilton Beach Big Mouth FP described in the Cooks Illustrated review, but with only one, uh, chimney-type-thingie.

          Anyway, it's an honest-to-goodness labour-making device. I hate it utterly.

          It has lots of very narrow spaces in the lid that food gets whirled into, and I have to use a mascara brush to get the food out of them. The sprayer at the faucet won't do it.

          If I have to grate something into fine pieces, I'll always still have pieces of food to dice with my knife; big, flat chunks of food stay above the grating blade, and some of the pieces that make it down into the bowl also need further dicing.

          With both the blender and the food processor (using the chopping blades rather than the grating one), very frequently only the food at the level of the blades gets blended/processed. So it's "turn the machine on, turn the machine off, open lid, get an implement that will scrape the sides of the 'bowl' but won't get stuck on or sliced up by the blades, push unblended/unprocessed food down gingerly, close lid, repeat, repeat, repeat, repeat...."

          I could use a food-chopping/slicing/grating/smashing machine to avoid the actions that aggravate the arthritis and deQuervain's tenosynovitis in my dominant hand (those actions include using knives, and washing dishes/pots/pans/utensils, etc). The machine we have is _not_ it.

          I hope you find a great machine.

          1 Reply
          1. re: vjb

            That sounds like a nightmare - thanks for the warning!

          2. You ask for the "best", but say a $400 model is too expensive. Either you want the best or you want something decent at a low price. You can't have both.

            10 Replies
            1. re: JayL

              I disagree that high price automatically means high quality and/or the "best". Consumer reports and Cooks Illustrated often prove that very point.

              Mojave- I have the Cuisinart CI recommended and love it.

              1. re: foodieX2

                Eh, CI is not the gold standard of reviews IMO. I've seen them write equipment reviews where they clearly had no idea what the heck they were talking about, because either they didn't invest time to learn how an item was different than what they were used to or they were just flat out biased.

                1. re: rasputina

                  Nor did I state they were the "gold standard" but CI, Consumer Reports and many other review based publications often find it is not always that the most expensive that is the best.

                  However if you are comfortable assuming that more $$$ equals the "best" by all means go for it.

                  I on the other hand will continue to do my research and if in fact my homework proves that the most expensive is the best possible product than I will make my decision based on what my research and pocket book can afford.

                  1. re: foodieX2

                    I didn't even mention money, money had nothing to do with what I posted.

                  1. re: JayL

                    JayL what kind of bowl does your R2 have? Do you put it into the dishwasher? I have an ancient Robot Coupe 350 but the bowl keeps breaking since I put it in the dishwasher (not going to hand wash it each time I use it!!). My DH thinks we should move up to the commercial line rather than spend $75 on a bowl every 10 months. TIA

                    1. re: AGM_Cape_Cod

                      Plastic bowl. I wash by hand. Hot water, like that in a washer, will cause the plastic to become brittle and crack.

                      1. re: AGM_Cape_Cod

                        I don't think that yours could be more ancient then mine....must be close to forty years old,I think one of the first sold in the USA (could be wrong though),you have to turn the handle on the bowl to do anything,no on and off switch. It's sitting in the garage but it still works. The bowl always went in the DW without a problem. I have two now,one up North (11 cup) and one down in FL (14 cup),have had them for a number of years without any problems. Love the brand.

                    2. re: foodieX2

                      That may often be true, but Cooks Illustrated's reviews of food processers - what we're talking about here, after all - rated only higher-priced machines without reservations, and the two that were not recommended at all were priced lower.

                      1. re: foodieX2

                        I agree with many things once you reach a certain dollar level there is a diminishing return. Having said that, mechanical devices that have motors and moving parts that work under a load are a whole different ball game. More expensive machines often have better motors & bearings at key load bearing points and are made to be taken apart and repaired where as less expensive machines often have light duty motors & bushings at key load points & they are usually not worth repairing and end up in the trash can. What it really comes down to is what a person expects the machine to do and how often it will be done. For normal light duty use either of the 2 mentioned will do the job. For a cooking fanatic who really puts a heavy load on their kitchen appliances on a regular basis a light commercial unit like the Waring will be more powerful and provide a significantly longer service life.