Food Processors

Friday, 7 November 2008 | Tags: ,

We consider the food processor one of our top 10 essential kitchen tools. Depending on what you need it for, there are some basic things to know before you buy. We did a test drive of a few brands to see which ones slice, dice and puree the best.

The Basics

  • The biggest difference in food processor pricing is direct-drive vs. belt driven.

    • Direct-drive is a much more powerful, heavy duty machine, capable of handling things like cake and cookie batters as well as heavy bread or pizza dough.

    • Considerably cheaper, belt driven machines are not as powerful and are only good for lighter jobs like chopping and slicing vegetables.

  • Capacity: we recommend at least 11 cups (and that’s dry cups) for the most versatility.

  • The most important attachment you’ll use for 95% of your food prep is the steel blade.

  • Look for a machine that comes with a useful mini bowl attachment for smaller jobs like chopping garlic and mincing herbs.

Other Considerations

  • Make sure the feed tube is large enough to accommodate different sizes of food. The larger it is the less pre-chopping you’ll have to do.

  • Most food processors have a built-in safety feature that only allows the machine to run when the lid is locked in, preventing you from injuring yourself while placing ingredients in the bowl or adjusting the blades.


We tested these food processors at home in our everyday cooking, and also in a more extreme pizza-making situation.

  • Black & Decker 8-cup belt-drive: $59
. . Amazon.ca Amazon.com
  • T-Fal 6-cup belt-drive: $129
. .
  • KitchenAid 12-cup direct-drive (w/ additional smaller bowl and blade attachments): $339
. . Amazon.ca Amazon.com
  • Cuisinart 14-cup direct-drive: $399
. . Amazon.ca Amazon.com

(Note: prices listed above are approximate and in Canadian dollars)

Everyday Use Test

  • From the beginning, the heavier duty direct-drive machines were the favourites.

  • The belt-drive machines didn’t measure up. One even started to smoke during our tests!

Pizza-Making Test

  • Our pizza chef favoured the Cuisinart for its ability to mix dough and then perform other slicing and shredding well without damaging or squishing the food

  • We liked the KitchenAid for its smaller bowl and blade attachment for smaller jobs, not to mention the colour choices!


For many different types of light- to heavy-duty jobs, a direct-drive machine is a must. Our top pick, the KitchenAid, won out for its extras, attachments, and style versatility.


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