If you’re not entirely sure how important speed is to your food processor, you’re in good company. I didn’t even realize that some come with different speed settings. I have only ever had on, off and pulse. After conducting exhaustive research (ok, maybe not “exhaustive”, but I did check up on it), I have discovered there are some advantages to having various speed settings on a food processor, but not everyone needs them. I’m not positive anyone actually needs multiple speed settings, but some of the fancier processors come with them and some people do use them.

The Basics

Just in case you’re not familiar with the basics of food processors, let’s go over the fundamentals of how they work. For the most part, you put together all the pieces and parts, plug in the machine, put food in the bowl, and turn it on. If you want it to run for a while, you can leave it on. If you want it to stop after a few seconds, you hold down the pulse button until the food has been pulverized enough. You can pulse one time or a thousand. That’s totally up to you.

On a lot of machines, pulse is the same thing as off, so there are only two buttons on the front of the machine. That’s the easiest setup.

Going Beyond

If you’ve ever had a mixer, or pretty much any kitchen appliance, you may be used to having as few as five or as many as 20 different speed settings. Those settings allow you to have perfect control over the speed and movement your concoction is subjected to.

Food processors are different, because they aren’t used for getting air into a mixture or reducing the density of something to be baked. The only time I can think of when speed controls might be necessary is if you’re processing something very delicate. If that’s not the case, then it seems to me that using the correct blade or disc will give you all the control you need.

Even so, some higher end machines do come with two or three different speeds which can add another level of control to your chopping pursuits. That means you can take your time or you can put it on a slower speed rather than standing by and using the pulse mechanism. Or, if you really want to get busy on something quickly, the higher speeds might be your friend. Higher speeds usually mean more power in the motor to attain and sustain the chopping level, so machines with multiple speed settings are usually higher quality to begin with.

So Is It Worth It?

That’s really for you to decide. I think you can get everything you want done without multiple speed settings, but if you’re looking for a higher end machine, you’ll be likely to find one with them. It’s not something I would buy a machine for, but it would be kind of a nice perk if it was already included.