Inexpensive Food Processors

Inexpensive Food Processors

CREATED Sep 18, 2013

WASHINGTON, D.C. - Many cooks rely on a food processor these days to handle the prep work. Consumer Reports just put 20 to the test and found top dollar delivers top performance, but you can get quite a bit of bang for your buck by spending as little as $50.

As a home pastry chef, Teryn Beyer saves tons of time by using her food processor.

"If I have a big order for carrot cakes, instead of sitting there with the grater and the carrots, I can just throw them all in here and it grates them perfectly… or it can chop nuts, or anything," says Beyer.

The Breville Sous Chef vaulted past the top-rated Cuisinart processor – facing many of Consumer Reports' tough tests – including slicing mushrooms and carrots.

"It's relatively quiet, so you can easily have a conversation while you're working," says tester Dan DiClerico.  

This Sous Chef has a 16-cup work bowl, a mini-bowl insert, and a case where you can neatly and safely store a ton of blades and accessories – but it's 18 inches tall and weighs nearly 20 pounds.

"This is clearly a high-end product that requires premium counter space. It does also come at a premium price — $400," says DiClerico.  

If you can live with less than perfect results, consider the $50 Hamilton Beach, model number 70730. It has a decent-size 10-cup work bowl and is fairly light for easy storage. While it didn't do a great job puréeing peas, it was very good  at slicing mushrooms and did an  excellent job shredding carrots.  

"The downside is, it's very noisy," says DiClerico.  

Still, it does a lot really well and at a price that's hard to beat.

Consumer Reports also tested food choppers. These mini-processors don't slice or shred but are great for small, quick jobs, like chopping nuts and herbs or grating a small chunk of cheese. Most are easy to store. Consumer Reports recommends the Cuisinart Mini Prep Plus DLC-2A, for $40.