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There are five types of food processors in the market: blender, mixer, all-in-one, hand-operated, and commercial.
Knowing the size, capacity, features, power performance, attachments, and average cost of each type of food processor will give you a clear understanding of which model to buy and whether it is a suitable kitchen appliance for your needs.
For instance, if you have a small kitchen space, commercial food processors may not be for you. You may also prefer to buy a food processor versus an immersion blender if you plan to chop large chunks of food ingredients such as vegetables and meat rather than making puree or smoothies.
A nuanced understanding of the different food processors available in the market, including their pros and cons, can shed light on which type to choose for your kitchen.
What are the different types available for a food processor?
The different food processors are blender, mixer, all-in-one, hand-operated, and commercial.
The following list includes the different types of food processors available in the market:
A blender is a type of food processor focused primarily on blending liquid ingredients.
Most blenders can only mix soft ingredients, while others have special functions that allow the chopping of chunky food items. Blenders often require liquid to blend efficiently, while other food processors like the all-in-one can do the job without adding water or juice.
A mixer is a food processor that blends batter, kneads dough, beats egg whites, whips cream and mixes icing. It comes in either a stand/benchtop mixer or a hand mixer.
Stand or benchtop mixers are often used for baking large quantities of cake, bread, merengue, biscuits, and other baked goods. They mix the batter, kneads dough and whisk the cream. Some models come with attachments such as pasta machine, citrus juicer, mincer, blender, fruit press, and sausage machine. They are often large and chunky, so they are not ideal for a small kitchen, counter space or storage drawers.
Hand mixers are great for baking small quantities and are used to whisk egg whites, whip cream, mix batters, and make smooth, creamy mashed potatoes.
- All-in-one food processor
An all-in-one food processor completes numerous cooking tasks, including chopping, blending, grinding, and dicing.
All-in-one food processors are designed to accommodate different sizes, quantities and capacities. They have multiple functionalities but are more expensive than mini- or full-sized units.
- Hand-operated food processor
A hand-operated food processor is an appliance that you manually use. Hand-operated food processors hold a small number of ingredients.
Hand-operated food processors are great for campers, travellers or users who like backyard barbecue as they don't need electricity in using these. They are manual, so while they can perform basic chopping of vegetable ingredients for salsa or soup, they can't handle large quantities or more rigid food items like meat.
- Commercial food processor
Commercial food processors are larger than processors designed for home use like the hand-operated or all-in-one. A commercial food processor holds many ingredients to make larger dishes.
Commercial food processors can handle various capacity sizes ranging from five to twelve cups. The prices of this type of food processor depend on power and the number of attachments.
What are the different ways to use a food processor?
The different ways to use a food processor include:
- Chop vegetables, like carrots and celery
- Grind or mince ingredients, like garlic or parsley
- Cut nuts
- Mince meats
- Chop bread to make breadcrumbs
- Grind oats for flour
- Puree baby food
- Blend salsa
- Mix salad dressings
- Shred cheeses
Food processors have various settings such as mixing, stirring, slicing, chopping, dicing, shredding, grating, kneading, zesting, pureeing, mashing, grinding and emulsifying different food items. Here are eleven uses of a food processor that involve these settings.
Chop vegetables, like carrots and celery. When preparing soup or stew, turn the food processor on chopping mode to cut fruits, vegetables and meat into smaller pieces.
Grind or mince ingredients. Use the grind mode to turn spices like garlic or parsley into powder.
Cut nuts. Turn your food processor on medium speed to grind and dice nuts into smaller pieces without turning them into powder.
Mince meats. Use medium speed to mince larger food items like meat and prepare for shepherd’s pie or pasta Bolognese.
Make breadcrumbs. You can chop bread to make breadcrumbs for your next schnitzel or lasagna project.
DIY flour. If you run out of flour, you can use the food processor to grind any oats lying around the kitchen into flour.
Puree baby food. Use the puree function to blend ingredients into a paste or fine liquid, perfect for making soup and baby food.
Blend salsa. Set the mode to “mix” to blend salsa and salad dressings.
Shred cheeses. Make a yummy mac and cheese by shredding the latter first using a food processor.
Once you learn how to use a food processor, you’ll find it has many functions and modes that can prepare various dishes – from sweet to savory!
What sizes do the food processors come in?
Food processors are designed in various shapes and sizes that range from three to twenty cups. Here are the approximate dimensions for each food processor type:
Blender: A hand blender’s dimension is approximately 6.5 x 6.5 x 41.3 cm. In comparison, a heavy-duty blender that can be used for domestic and commercial purposes typically comes in 21.5 x 22.5 x 48 cm.
Mixer: A stand mixer’s dimension is slightly bigger than a blender – approximately 39.5 x 20 x 38.5 cm.
All-in-one food processor: A unit comes in approximately 34.75 x 22 x 36.7 cm.
Hand-operated food processor: This type is designed with 22.5 x 16.5 x 24.5 cm.
Commercial food processor: A standard commercial food processor has approximate dimensions of 26.5 x 18.5 x 51.2 cm.
What foods can be blended in different food processors?
The foods that can be blended in different food processors are listed below:
- vegetables, like carrots and celery
- spices, like garlic or parsley
- baby food
- salad dressings
What determines the best food processor type?
The best food processor type can be determined by the following: features, power, size and capacity, attachments and accessories, brand, and price.
Features. Some food processors, like the hand-operated units, come with a single-speed. Others like the all-in-one and commercial food processors have multiple modes, including a pulse function for short bursts of power, which are great for quick dough kneading. Other models are designed with a small tube opening and pusher to add ingredients with ease.
Power. Like the commercial ones, some food processors are more powerful than others. Electrical types are more powerful than manual hand-held units. When shopping for a food processor, make sure that it is powerful enough to knead tough doughs for an extended period or shred hard cheese. Full-sized processors with a capacity of nine cups or more should come with 600 watts or more.
Size and capacity. The smallest food processors come with three cups, while commercial units have up to 20 cups, ideal for restaurants and cafes. Consider the number of people you will feed, and you can determine the best food processor based on the size of your household. For instance, if you have a family of three to five, a food processor with 11 cups is suitable. If you only need a food processor to chop spices, then a 3-cup size should be enough.
Attachments and accessories. Mixers and all-in-one food processors combine several attachments and accessories to perform multiple functions. Accessories may include bowls, blades, disks, while attachments may come in a citrus juicer, feeding tube, and dough kneader. When looking for a food processor, evaluate whether you will need all these add-ons or if you only need a straightforward model.
Brand and price. The price of food processors varies according to the type and brand. Recognized brands are known for quality and reliability but are on the higher end of the price range. Consider your budget and whether you'll use a food processor regularly or sparingly. Commercial food processors are also more expensive than the other types used at home because of their capacity and power.
Are hand-operated food processors safe?
Hand operated food processors are safe provided an intentional and thoughtful use. Most accidents involving food processors are because of lack of focus or distracted use.
Some hazards involving food processors include the following:
- broken or amputated fingers
- lid not fully closed or attachments are not linked properly
To avoid untoward incidents, follow these precautions:
- Make sure that you stay away from the appliance while it's working. Never put your hands inside while it's on, and take extra care when cleaning the pieces and attachments.
- Do not overfill the food processor to avoid spillage
- Turn off the appliance when not in use or while changing attachments or accessories
- Make sure that the power cord and socket are dry when pouring food or liquid in and out of the unit
What is the average price for a food processor?
The average price for a food processor ranges between $20-$400.
Prices are based on capacity sizes, power performance, accessories and attachments, and available functions or pre-programmed settings.
Residential food processors with fewer ingredients are on the lower end of the range, while commercial food processors may cost even more.
What is the lifespan of different food processors?
The average lifespan of a food processor is 7- 10 years.
The factors that affect the lifespan of a food processor include frequency of use, maintenance and upkeep, brand and model, and material. Keeping up with cleaning and maintenance will also help your food processor last longer.
How does the food processor type affect the blending process?
The food processor type affects the blending process by the speed and power performance of the unit.
Food processors with variable speed allow flexibility in how powerful and fast the blending process is. Manual food processors like the hand-operated models are used for basic chopping of vegetable ingredients but can’t handle large quantities or tougher food items like meat.
Commercial food processors are powerful enough to perform multiple functions for higher quantities and larger capacities suitable in a restaurant.
The speed of the appliance also affects the blending process.
Fast is used to make a quick-and-easy drink or turn ingredients into an even puree.
Medium speed is for grinding larger, solid ingredients like vegetables. This speed is ideal for maintaining a rough texture for the ingredients or dicing nuts without turning them into powder.
Low is for grinding and turning food items into a soft, velvety paste, perfect if you want to achieve a fine, even texture.
Pulse/whip is for a rapid blend not lasting more than 30 seconds. This is typically used for quick bread kneading or crushing ice.
What effect does food processor type have on taste?
While blended food does not necessarily change the taste, some people find a slight difference in texture. Others also tend to compare blended food with consuming them as a whole, which some say takes some getting used to.
Is it better to use all-in-one food processors or commercial food processors in the kitchen?
Deciding whether it’s better to use all-in-one or commercial food processors in the kitchen boils down to kitchen space and functionality.
Kitchen usability is considered when deciding between an all-in-one or commercial food processor. It refers to the function and structure of kitchen appliances that make them easier to use. If you have a small kitchen, organizing appliances alongside other items is essential to maximize space properly.
If you have a small kitchen, counter space or storage space, it may be worth considering the standard sizes of all-in-one and commercial food processors.
All-in-one food processors are typically large and bulky, often coming in approximate dimensions of 34.75 x 22 x 36.7 cm compared to commercial units’ standard size of 26.5 x 18.5 x 51.2 cm.