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The food processor is one of the great all-around kitchen gadgets, and modern food processors are less expensive and more capable than ever. Today’s processor will be able to mince, chop, dice, shred, grate, blend, puree, and much more. Whether you’re making a soup or a stew, a sauce or salad, a food processor will make the job easier, faster, and better.

Food processors rely on raw power for chopping and all the other tasks they’ll be handling. That’s why a good food processor will likely be much heavier than you expect it to be; there’s a sizable motor in there. Look for at least a 600-watt motor if you’re planning on adding in hard-to-chop items like ice cubes for smoothies.

Cuisinart

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Size is an important factor while choosing a new food processor. If you’re just going to be cooking for one, making smoothies and smaller servings of pesto, a six-cup model should do you fine. But if you’ll be using it for large, family-sized work, like soups, dips, and sauces, look for a larger capacity bowl. We think 14 cups is about as large as any home cook really needs.

Hamilton Beach

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Here’s a tip for food processor shoppers: they’re easy to use, provided you have a dishwasher. Food processor bowls and blades are full of little crevices and angles—necessary to snap into place for use—but they can be difficult to clean by hand. If you don’t have a dishwasher, make sure to rinse (and wash, if possible) small parts immediately.