UNDATED -- Many cooks rely on a food processor to handle the prep work. Consumer Reports just put 20 to the test and found that top dollar delivers top performance, but you can get quite a bit of bang for your buck by spending as little as $50.
The Breville Sous Chef model number BFP800XL/A vaulted to the top of the ratings, acing many of Consumer Reports' tough tests, including slicing mushrooms and shredding carrots. It's relatively quiet, so you can easily have a conversation while you're working.
The Sous Chef has a 16-cup work bowl, a mini-bowl insert, and a case where you can neatly and safely store a ton of blades and accessories. But it's 18 inches tall and weighs almost 20 pounds. It's clearly a high-end product that requires premium counter space. It also comes at a premium price, $400!
If you can live with less-than-perfect results, consider the $50 Hamilton Beach 70730. It has a decent-sized 10-cup work bowl and is fairly light for easy storage. And though it didn't do a great job puréeing peas, it was very good at slicing mushrooms and did an excellent job shredding carrots. The downside is it's very noisy, but it does a lot really well and at a price that's hard to beat.
Consumer Reports also tested food choppers. Those mini-processors don't slice or shred but are great for small, quick jobs, such as chopping nuts and herbs or grating a small chunk of cheese. Most are easy to store. Consumer Reports recommends the Cuisinart Mini Prep Plus DLC-2A, for $40.
Complete Ratings and recommendations on all kinds of products, including appliances, cars & trucks, and electronic gear, are available on Consumer Reports' website.
Consumer Reports/WFMY News 2