Food processor features explained

Lynn Wright / 25 May 2016 ( 15 May 2018 )

Shopping for a food processor but not sure what features are essential? We guide you through the most important features when it comes to choosing the perfect food processor.

A food processor is designed to make light work of labour-intensive kitchen tasks. From chopping, grating and slicing to mixing, whisking and kneading, a good model should prove itself invaluable as an everyday kitchen gadget.

Yet they aren’t cheap.  Knowing what features and accessories are essential can help you make a wise investment in a food processor that will prove a faithful kitchen companion for many years.

This guide explains the key features you should consider when choosing the perfect food processor.

Best food processor features to look for

Power A powerful motor will speed through chopping and slicing tasks. Power is measured in wattage and you should look for a model with at least 600 watts.

Another indicator of a quality is the warranty that a food processor manufacturer gives their motor, with several premium models offering a reassuring 20-year guarantee.

Opt too for a model with a wide, heavy base to stop the food processor from moving around while in use. Typically, you’ll find just On/Off power buttons on your processor, along with a pulse mode that’s useful for roughly chopping items or for light mixing.

Size and weight Food processors are large, hefty appliances so think about where you’ll place it in your kitchen. There needs to be enough room for it on your worktop and enough space above so you can use the feeding tube and lid.

If it will be stored in a cupboard, choose a lightweight model than can be lifted easily into position when you need it.

Capacity This depends on how many people you regularly cook for and how much cooking you do. Large 2-litre models with wide feed tubes let you process big batches of food, while a 1.3 to 2-litre processor is sufficient for small families or couples. It’s worth noting that capacity refers to dry ingredients – liquids can only be processed at about half the stated capacity to avoid leaks.

Look for a food processor with multiple bowls for versatility. Along with the main bowl, you’ll get a midi bowl and a handy mini bowl that’s perfect for chopping small amount of food such as nuts or herbs.

Wide feeding tube Saves on prep work as it can handle whole items such as potatoes and onions or large pieces of food.

Storage container Keeping blades and attachments safely stored together in one place means you can find items quickly when you need them.

Dishwasher safe Cleaning bowls and attachments can be a hassle, so look for a model with dishwasher-safe parts and attachments. 

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Your food processor will come with a number of attachments and tools so you can use it for wide range of tasks.

Blades Expect one or two S-shaped blades along with metal shredding, slicing and grating discs. Cheaper models may have a plastic disc with a metal insert that can swapped around for different function. Some premium food processors have adjustable blades so you can vary the thickness of your slices, even mid-slice.

Dough blade for bread or other yeast recipes.

Whisk for cream and egg whites. This will be either an emulsifying disk, or single or twin paddles/beaters.

Citrus press for juicing oranges, grapefruits, lemons, limes.

Blender Some processors have a jug blender that sits in a slot on the base or replaces the bowl itself. Others have a blend tool or canopy that fits in the main bowl to perform the functions of a blender. While non-essential, this saves buying and storing another kitchen gadget if you’re short of space.

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The opinions expressed are those of the author and are not held by Saga unless specifically stated.

The material is for general information only and does not constitute investment, tax, legal, medical or other form of advice. You should not rely on this information to make (or refrain from making) any decisions. Always obtain independent, professional advice for your own particular situation.