Important Features - What to Look for
These are the most important points that you should look for in a combo, and the ones we considered when evaluating the appliances in this roundup and picking the top performers.
The capacity refers to how much food your system can process at once. If you’re looking to make family-sized portions, you’ll want to choose a combination food processor-blender with the most capacity possible.
In contrast, if you’re looking for single-serving blending or food processing, a smaller capacity may be more convenient.
Depending upon how much kitchen space you have, you’ll also want to keep an eye on size and storage space. If you’re working with limited space or small cabinets, take a look at the appliance’s physical dimensions to make sure it will fit and make sure you have room to store all of the accessories.
Power refers to how much power the base unit’s motor has. If you’re looking mainly for food processing and to make the occasional smoothie, 700 watts should be sufficient. Less than that, and the machine tends to struggle with anything tougher than soft fruits.
If you would like to process tougher ingredients such as nuts, you’ll want upwards of 1200. However, you may still find that a lower watt motor can still produce enough rpm for what you need to get done. So, make sure to consider this as well as you make your decision on which combo to purchase.
For maximum functionality, you’re best off with a system that has a wide range of speeds, with slower speeds for chopping and slicing, and high speeds for blending tough ingredients such as ice.
These combined machines are generally quite versatile with many functions. You’ll want to prioritize based upon your needs and what you plan on making.
Some common functions include blending, chopping, slicing, grating, dough making, mixing, shredding, and softening butter.
Pre-programmed blending and food-processing settings are ideal, as they allow for hands-free blending, and may also produce better results than manual controls.
In general, the more settings, the better, but prioritize based upon what you plan to make. Personally, I’d shoot for a minimum of chop, whisk, grate, shred, puree, and ice crushing.
Check out my product reviews above to see how loud each prospective model is.
In general, most systems make about the same amount of noise as a normal blender and are noisier when blending tough ingredients such as ice.
Ease of Cleaning
Cleaning is easily the least fun part of cooking, so you’ll want to select a system that’s as easy to clean as possible. Ideally, the bowls and attachments should be dishwasher-safe, and the base unit should be sleek and easy to wipe down.
Durability and Warranty Period
You’ll want to select a system that has a proven track record of durability and is also backed up by a manufacturer's warranty in case of any manufacturing defect. The duration and terms of the warranty can vary not only by manufacturer but also by model, so be sure to do your homework.
Also, check to see if the manufacturer has a good reputation for customer service, what the repair/replacement policy is, and if shipping is covered. The extent of the warranty is usually an indication of the confidence the manufacturer has in the durability and longevity of the products they are offering.
A blender food processor combo is definitely a small investment you will make in your kitchen, so you want to make sure all of your bases are covered before you spend the money. Make sure to read through all the warranty terms. Additionally, research the cost and availability of replacement parts that you may find yourself needing in the future.
There are many accessories available for these all in one machine. Most systems include at least a few of the following.
In the end, it comes down to what you’re planning to make with your new appliance, but make sure you select one with the accessories required for recipes you plan to make often.
- Mill: A mill is usually a separate bowl attachment that’s used to grind solid ingredients such as coffee beans, grains, or spices.
- Knife blade: Most food processors have a multi-purpose knife blade that is used for mixing, mincing, mashing puréeing, and chopping.
- Dough blade or hook: This is usually a blade that attaches to the food processor bowl and is used to make pizza doughs or pie crusts.
- Shredding and slicing blade: Many food processors come with several sizes of shredding and slicing blades for different consistencies.
- Chipping blade: A chipping blade usually attaches to the food processor and is used to make homemade chips or French fries.
- Grating blade: A grating blade attaches to the food processor and is used to shred cheese or vegetables.
- Potato rasp: A potato rasp is used to finely grate hard vegetables such as potatoes or hard cheeses such as Parmesan.
- Beater: A beater, or whisk attachment, is used to make whipped creams.
- Feed tube: A feed tube usually attaches to the top of the food processor bowl and is used to feed in food during mixing.
- Matching Spatula: Some systems come with a matching spatula, which is sometimes designed especially for use with the appliance.
Some systems have safety features such as auto shut-off and auto-lock. The auto-lock function may be important if you have young children at home.
There are a few additional features that aren’t completely necessary but may make using your new appliance easier.
These include a citrus press or juicer that allows the machine to be used as a juicer, a straight-sided processor chop and micro-serrated blades that don’t need to be sharpened.
Food Processor Versus Blender
Some people may not know the differences between the functionalities of a food processor versus a blender, so they may not be completely aware of how beneficial a combo appliance of this nature can be.
Countertop blenders are used most often for making quick purees, sauces, and emulsifications. They can also make a delicious smoothie in just minutes. They are made to be durable and versatile but are often not used as frequently as one might expect because the functionality of the one appliance is rather limited.
You also don't want to use a countertop blender for mashing potatoes, chopping vegetables, or grinding breadcrumbs.
Food processors, on the other hand, excel at the above. They can easily chop, grate, and shred with no problem. If you have the right attachment for the food processor, it can also be used to knead dough. You can't use a food processor for blending smoothies.
So, if you have a household that does all of the above, then you will want to have the convenience of both of the appliances in your kitchen. With a high-performance blender and food processor combo, you can have both and take up less space.
In the end, it all comes down to what you plan to do with your food processors and blenders. That's why in the buying guide here, I've covered in detail the different uses and considerations.
I hope I’ve been able to shed some light on which is the best blender food processor combo might be ideal for your needs, and on what to look for as you make your selection.
If you're not sure if you need a food processor at all, and rather invest in a good blender, then check out our blender buyer's guide here.
Have any experiences or insights that you’d like to share with us?
Please leave a comment below!
Blender & Food Processor FAQs
What is a food processor, and why use it?
A food processor usually consists of a wide-mouth bowl, often with an attachment to the lid that’s used to feed in solid ingredients.
They usually come with several blade attachments for cutting, chopping, slicing, shredding, and even dough hooks.
This kind of appliance is best for chopping, slicing, and grating solid foods to make recipes such as salsas, coleslaw or hummus (my favorite use!).
What is a blender, and why do we use it?
A countertop blender usually consists of a pitcher with rotating blades at the bottom. A blender jar is also narrow at the bottom and creates a vortex that brings ingredients into contact with the blades more frequently.
A blender is best for turning solid ingredients like fruit and vegetables into liquid smoothies or purees. It’s also best for combining liquid ingredients with solid.
What does a food processor do that a blender doesn't, and vice versa?
Although blenders and food processors are similar appliances, both have different applications, and there’s less crossover than you might imagine.
A food processor has chopping blades that can chop, slice and grate ingredients, while a blender will turn solid ingredients into a pulp - not so great for your coleslaw.
On the other hand, food processors are bad at handling liquid ingredients, and generally, don’t produce a complete emulsion.
If you’re looking for maximum versatility in your new appliance, you might be best off with a 2 in 1 blender food processor for a few reasons:
- Buying both in one saves a substantial amount of money
- Using a combination machine reduces food prep time
- Requires less storage space
- It offers more functionality and flexibility
To summarize the differences between these two appliances, here's an interesting video: