The purpose of this buying guide is to help you find the best food processor for your cooking lifestyle.

Remember to check the links to the complete guide:

In part 1 we went over the reasons why someone would even want a food processor. In part 2 we discussed which size food processor would fit which type of lifestyle.

Here, we will briefly discuss the different parts of a food processor so that when you read product reviews and descriptions you are educated on what is being talked about.

Let’s go!

How To Buy A Food Processor

Here Are Some Parts To The Food Processor It’s Good To Be Familar With


Motors dictate how powerful your machine can operate. There are two types you will find: side mounted and base mounted (solid state)

As an example, the Hamilton Beach 70450 8-Cup Food Processor (shown below: white) is an example of a side mounted motor and the Black and Decker FP1600B 8-cup Food Processor (shown below: black) is an example of a base-mounted solid state motor.

Hamilton Beach 70450 8-Cup Food Processor Pic  Black and Decker FP1600B Food Processor Pic

The base mounted motor usually feels more powerful, is directly connected to the blade shaft (think microwave turning plate fitting in the rivets of a microwave) instead of using belts and gears like a side-mounted motor. Not to mention, most people have issues of counter space, not counter height, which is why the base motors are much more popular.

For the type of motor: there are three general types of motor: (1) series motor which is installed in the more basic models and has the tendency to be noisy, but it can very well handle variable speeds; (2) induction motor which has the ability to automatically sense if the task requires more power and adjusts according, and (3) drive motor which works similarly with induction motor but demands less wattage. Generally, a heavier motor provides better stability to your food processor.

Power-wise, the more wattage, the more power, and generally 750-watts is the “line of demarcation” so to speak from when a food processor goes from small jobs to big jobs.

Feed Chute or Feed Tube

Food Processor Parts

The feed tube is the tube that fits into the top of the food processor. You will usually see this only in full sized food processors and not small compact ones. This dictates how large an item you can put into your food processor. So, as an example, if you routinely use whole tomatoes (or something similar in size) in your food preparations, you will need to make sure your food processor comes with a wide feeder chute. If you rarely use whole tomatoes (or something similar in size), then you can get away with a smaller one and then pre-slicing your larger items when you occasionally use them.

Feed Tube Pusher a.k.a Plunger and Lid

The feed tube pusher a.k.a. plunger does exactly what it sounds like it should: it pushes the food towards the blades through your feed chute. The lid is what keeps all the food from flying out so you’ll want to pay some attention to how well the lid stays on and seals in your food. Rarely do lids seal tight enough to keep out liquids (like a blender does), so in your reviews if you read about liquids leaking, realize most food processors will have this issue.


Bowls can range from the small size a.k.a. compact size food processors (3 cups or 4 cups) to the full size food processors (6 cups to 12 cups to more). We cover sizing more in part 2.

We also have read on some forums some interesting thoughts on bowl shape. You’ll notice that just about all food processors can be split into two categories: straight sided bowls and slope sided bowls.

As an example, the KitchenAid KFPW736OB Food Processor below (the black one) is sloped/curved sided and the Cuisinart DLC-2009CHB below (the silver one) is straight sided.


Just visualize how you cook and how you clean. Some people will prefer the sloped and curved bowl, and some will prefer the straight bowl. The majority of us on staff, by the way, prefer the straight bowl for actual chopping (so everything doesn’t fall towards the center) as well as dispensing of contents and cleaning.


The accompanying attachments of your food processor are responsible for its versatile functions. Most food processors come with a blades for chopping, mincing, and pureeing. Other common attachments are a dough blade (smooth, not serrated) and slicer/grater discs. The compact food processors will likely have fewer of these attachments while the full size processors will likely have more.

Any further attachments, by the way, then the ones listed above are probably not needed for the majority of food processor owners out there.

So decide on what you might want to do and how frequently and let that be your guiding light.


Be on the lookout for Part 4: This and That where we discuss other factors for you to think about when buying a food processor.

Remember to check the links to the complete guide:

See you next time!

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