Food processor vs. blender

Blenders & Food Processors

Food processors and blenders serve subtly different purposes, so you can’t expect to use just one of these appliances for everything.

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Which food processors or blenders are best?

If you’re looking for a small appliance to help you with kitchen prep, you might be thinking about a food processor versus blender and wondering about their pros and cons. Although they can carry out some of the same functions, these two products aren’t interchangeable.

The primary function of blenders is to liquidize ingredients, so they’ll usually produce something you can drink or drizzle, while food processors generally deal with drier mixes and produce foods you’ll eat with a fork or spoon.

Food processors

Food processors are small, versatile appliances that can tackle a wide range of kitchen prep tasks. The blades can dice ingredients or even make a chunky dip or puree, while the discs have options for slicing and shredding. Some food processors also come with plastic blades for kneading doughs. 

Food processors can range in price from around $20-$50 for mini models or basic full-size models to roughly $200-$300 for top-end options. For more information, head to the full guide to food processors at BestReviews.

Food processor pros

  • Food processors are extremely versatile with interchangeable blades and discs for chopping, dicing, slicing, shredding and more. 
  • Although basic food processors are priced similarly to basic countertop blenders, top-end options cost less than top-end blenders.
  • Standard food processors have large work bowls for processing large volumes of food, but you can also buy small food processors for more modest chopping tasks.  

Food processor cons

  • Food processors don’t work as well for wet mixes as they do for drier ingredients, so you can’t expect to perfectly blend soups or smoothies in a food processor. 
  • With all their blades and discs and their large bowl, food processors can be annoying to wash and dry after use. 

Best food processors

Ninja Professional Plus Food Processor

Ninja Professional Plus Food Processor

This powerful 1,000 watt food processor has standard blades and kneading blades, plus a reversible disc for slicing and shredding. 

Sold by Amazon

Cuisinart Mini Prep Plus Food Processor

Cuisinart Mini Prep Plus Food Processor

With its three cup capacity, this mini food processor is perfect for smaller tasks, like chopping onions or garlic, but it isn’t as versatile as larger models. 

Sold by Amazon and Bed Bath and Beyond

Braun FP3020 12 Cup Food Processor

Braun FP3020 12 Cup Food Processor

You can do so much with this high-end food processor. It comes with a total of seven blades/discs, plus a citrus press and a mini chopper attachment. 

Sold by Amazon

Blenders

Blenders are arguably less versatile than food processors since they can really only do one thing: blend ingredients into a liquid or fine puree. Nothing else can give you the same results, however. It’s hard to blend most foods by hand and even if you do mash or grind them to a similar consistency, your finished product won’t be anywhere near as smooth.

You can find a range of types of blenders available, including personal blenders and immersion blenders, but countertop blenders are still the most popular choice for large volumes. If you want further details, take a look at the countertop blenders buying guide at BestReviews. Expect to pay anywhere from $10 for a basic immersion blender to $500 for a top of the range high-speed blender. 

Blender pros

  • You can choose from a range of types of blenders, including immersion blenders for soups and quick blending jobs, personal blenders for individual smoothies and countertop blenders for any blending task. 
  • High-speed blenders are extremely powerful and can make perfectly smooth smoothies, shakes, nut butters and more.
  • Countertop blenders and personal blenders have relatively small footprints and therefore don’t take up much counter space, while hand blenders are compact enough to fit in a kitchen drawer. 
  • You can easily clean countertop blenders by whizzing some soapy water inside the blending jug then rinsing out the suds. Some blenders even have dedicated programs for cleaning them this way.

Blender cons

  • You need to add some liquid to the mix for a blender to work effectively, so they’re not suitable for chopping or mixing up dry ingredients. 
  • When blending soup or other hot liquids in a countertop blender, you must be careful to let the steam out occasionally while you work. If not, pressure can build up, causing the lid to blow off and the contents to splatter all over your kitchen. 

Best blenders

Ninja BL610 Professional Countertop Blender

Ninja BL610 Professional Countertop Blender

An excellent mid-range countertop blender that’s powerful enough for most tasks, including crushing ice. It’s extremely simple to use with touchpad operation. 

Sold by Amazon

Vitamix E310 Explorian Blender

Vitamix E310 Explorian Blender

One of the biggest names in high-speed blenders, Vitamix produces exceptional appliances that make light work of even the toughest blending tasks and give perfectly smooth results. This model is simple to use with 10 speed settings. 

Sold by Amazon and Bed Bath and Beyond

KitchenAid Variable Speed Corded Hand Blender

KitchenAid Variable Speed Corded Hand Blender

Sometimes all you need is a compact, highly portable blender such as an immersion blender. This model has all the quality you’d expect from KitchenAid with a metal stick, which is better than plastic when blending hot soups. 

Sold by Amazon

Should you get a food processor or a blender?

Food processors and blenders are both extremely handy in the kitchen, so keen cooks will usually want to own both appliances. If your budget is a concern, consider buying a two-in-one appliance with interchangeable blender jugs and food processor bowls on the same base unit. Alternatively, you can buy a cheap immersion blender and a more expensive food processor or a high-end blender and an affordable mini food processor.

It’s easier to manually take care of the tasks that a food processor can complete, such as shredding and dicing — compared to the tasks a blender can carry out, such as making perfectly smooth soups and smoothies. If you’re only going to buy one appliance or the other, it makes sense to buy a blender and just keep on dicing and shredding by hand.

 

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Lauren Corona writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money. 

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