While it might seem like a food processor and a blender are interchangeable, they both have their strengths (and weaknesses) in the kitchen. If you only have the space for one of these appliances or you want to prioritize which one to add to your kitchen arsenal first, it pays to think about what you’ll be using it for most often.
Let’s start with blenders. If the foods you prepare have more of a liquid consistency—soups, smoothies, milkshakes, frozen drinks, and so on—a blender will be your best... bet. Thanks to their tall, narrow jars and lids with a watertight seal, they can handle all those wet ingredients. And some even come with smaller cups or containers to allow you to make single servings of your breakfast smoothie.
Food processors, on the other hand, are better at handling drier ingredients or chopping veggies before you put them into your soup. The wide flat blade and larger, shallower container makes the food processor ideal for mixing pie dough, kneading bread dough, and shredding veggies or cheese.
There are a few areas of overlap, however. Food processors and most blenders (though high-powered ones really shine in this arena) can grind nuts into nut butter, make mayonnaise, whip cream, and some can even grind grains into flour.
Once you’ve decided which type of appliance is right for you, here are some of the best on the market right now to choose from.
Ninja has made a number of innovative and popular blenders, while keeping prices affordable. This professional-style blender has 1,100 watts of power and three speeds, along with pulse and single serve functions, so you can blend everything efficiently. The 72-ounce pitcher is large enough, with a 64-ounce maximum capacity, to crush ice into snow for a pitcher of frozen margaritas or to make healthy morning smoothies for the whole family in one batch.
This also includes two 16-ounce cups with... to-go lids so you can make single drinks without dirtying the large container. The pitcher, cups, and lids are BPA free and dishwasher safe, so cleaning is easy.
Need some more help finding what you're looking for? Read through our best blenders article.
Are you tired of replacing blenders every year or so, when the motors burn out? Add this one to your kitchen arsenal, and it will be the last blender you ever buy. It’s built to last and it can do everything you need, and more, from turning ice into fluffy snow to grinding grains into flour.
The blending speed is easy to adjust with a simple dial, and you can change that speed as you blend, so you can always control the speed to get the texture you’re looking for, while the pulse feature lets you... do a rough chop for the perfect salsa.
The blades spin so fast that you can heat cold ingredients to steaming hot in about six minutes, for smooth hot sauces, salsas or soups. While the food gets hot, the motor is designed to run cool, so it won’t overheat with extended blending time.
For frozen treats, the rapid blending means that your ingredients won’t have time to heat up, so you can make soft-serve frozen treats when you start from frozen ingredients.
This blender can also knead thick bread doughs, blend smooth batters for everything from pancakes to cookies, and grind nuts into smooth nut butters. Cleaning is just as simple. Just add a drop of dish soap and warm water, and the machine cleans itself in about a minute.
If you don’t need fancy functions or a high-powered motor, this blender is a solid machine that will do a great job making milkshakes and smoothies, and it will do a decent job with frozen cocktails as well.
It has a 40-ounce glass blender jar, multiple speeds, and high and low pulse functions, so you’ve got a total of 14 options for blending. While it won’t compete with the high-end blenders, it can handle the basic tasks that most people use blenders for.
This food processor looks much like the original version that made food processors so popular in home kitchens, but now it’s updated with a new chopping blade and a brushed stainless steel finish.
The operation is simple, with a single lever to turn the machine on, and a second lever for off/pulse functions. The bowl holds 14-cups, so it’s large enough for family meals and it has dual feed tubes, so you can feed whole large vegetables in the large tube or stand thin foods like carrots and celery... in the inner small tube, so they won’t fall over during slicing.
This includes a slicing disc and a shredding disc, so this can do everything you need, without including a lot of extra accessories that you’ll have to find room to store.
Need some more help finding what you're looking for? Read through our best food processor article.Continue to 5 of 6 below.
If you don’t want to spend a lot on a food processor, but want to keep all the features (and the size), try this model from Hamilton Beach. It doesn’t have quite as many frills and the motor is a bit less powerful, but if you’re only using your food processor occasionally, it will still do a fantastic job.
This model has a reversible disk that slices on one side and shreds on the other, along with a separate French fry disk. It also includes a chopping blade, but it doesn’t come with a dough... blade. This processor has three speeds, plus a pulse, so it can handle basic chopping, mixing, and shredding, but it might not be powerful enough for kneading stiff doughs.
This food processor has all the functions you’ll need, and the power to work with the ingredients you use most. It includes five multi-function discs and three blades that make short work of everything from dough to cheese to salsa. The large 16-cup bowl will handle large batches for the whole family, while the 2 1/2 cup mini bowl is ideal for making hummus for one or blending just a little chimichurri for a garnish.
The super-wide feed tube lets you process most vegetables without needing to cut... them into small bits, and the LCD screen displays a count-up and count-down auto timer, so you can monitor the processing time. The small feed tube makes it easy to handle small ingredients, while the small pusher doubles as a measuring cup. A silicone seal reduces leakage while the processor is running.
The variable slicing blade can be adjusted to 24 different slicing thicknesses, from paper thin to 8mm. The other discs are for julienne cuts, French fries, and whisking, as well as a reversible shredding disc. Blades include a universal chopping blade, a dough blade, and a blade that fits the mini bowl.
This includes an accessory storage box to hold the discs and blades to keep them safely tucked away when not in use.
Disclosure: At The Spruce, our expert writers are committed to researching and writing thoughtful and editorially independent reviews of the best products for your life and your family. If you like what we do, you can support us through our chosen links, which earn us a commission. Learn more about our review process.