There are a ton of things to think about when you’re choosing a food processor, and they go way beyond just what you’re planning to make with the machine. There are a lot more options in the world of food processors than I think I even realized. I really had no idea there were so many different power options, blade choices, and things to keep organized. Granted, you won’t necessarily need the most versatile option, but you do need a machine that will do what you want it to without any issues.

Power

The power you can get on a processor varies from a whisper to what sounds like a lawn mower. It makes a huge difference for the size of the machine and what you’re trying to accomplish. In general, larger bowls require more power because there is more to move around inside, but every now and then you’ll see a smaller bowl with a kick of power.

A small 4-cup processor will be likely to sport a 250 watt motor, but it could be a little more. When you get machines that handle up to 14 cups, you could see 800 to 1,000 watts. Most people don’t really care about the wattage as long as the machine works, and they’re probably right. It’s important to have a frame of reference, though, because you don’t want to go home with a 13 cup machine sporting 400 watts of underpowered-ness. I don’t think that would actually happen, but anything’s possible.

With Great Power Comes…

Great noise. While it may sound awesome to have a huge machine that can process a whole lot of food at one time, keep in mind that larger motors tend to be louder. Your small 4-cup mini processor is going to be way more quiet than one of the big beasts. If you’re adverse to noise, or only cook when your kids are asleep, you probably won’t get what you want with a big machine.

Versatility

processor bowlsSome processors seem to be able to do everything. Some even come with blending attachments or different bowls that won’t leak. If those things are important to you, you’ll want to keep an eye out for machines with those options. Otherwise, you’ll find plenty of more common options in the box, and they usually revolve around discs and blades.

When you set up your food processor for the first time, you’ll find something that may apear to be a deadly frisbee. There may even be a couple of them in box. The discs are usually used to grate cheese or slice up small pieces of softer items. The blades are what dice, slice, mince or get things into pieces closer to the size you want them to be. For the most part, the blades get the most use on my food processor, but I have used the discs for grating cheese and getting things really tiny.

Be Safe

One of the things I am famous for in my house is being really, seriously careful when I’m dealing with the blades in the food processor or the blender, and still managing to get distracted for just a second and injuring myself. It’s not good, and it hurts a lot.
I always check out the safety features before I bring something home because I am so clumsy. The safety features are a must since I manage to damage myself on even the most well protected things.

Safety LocksHere are some of the basic and important safety features you’ll want to look for. First, you want to make sure the bowl locks in place once the blade is inserted, and verify it is going to stay there. You also want to know your machine is going to stop moving immediately, should the blade or lid ever come out of place. Most machines are built with that kind of failsafe, but you want to be sure. Also, you want to make sure there is some kind of protective latch on the lid.

For the clumsy among us, we also need to check for stability in the base of the processor as well as non-slip feet, if the unit has feet. The non-slip feet are just rubberized pieces that go on the bottom to make sure the vibrations don’t cause the machine to move around on the counter. Stability in the base is important because it’s heavy, and you want to know it isn’t going to rock itself off the counter. To check this out, put the unit on the counter and push on the corners of the base. If it doesn’t rock, it’s stable.

So Much More

There is a lot more to look for in a food processor than you realized, I’m sure. There’s certainly more than I knew. But knowing what’s important can help you easily parse through what you need and what you want. Keep this post nearby so you can be sure you have your checklist.