Save yourself hours of chopping, mixing and blending with the right kitchen appliance. These labour-saving kitchen devices can make light work of normally boring and time-consuming preparation jobs. But which to choose? We'll help you to decide between the different types and to pick the one that's best for you and your kitchen.
The most multi-purpose of kitchen appliances, the right food processor can do it all: chopping, slicing, mixing, whisking, puréeing and blending. With powerful motors, large capacities and interchangeable blades, these units do cost more but will repay your investment with their versatility.
Smaller and cheaper than a food processor, a blender comes with a fixed blade and usually has just a single container. Despite this, they're great for chopping, pureeing and blending most foodstuffs, and are suitable for a wide range of jobs.
A specialised kitchen appliance that offers a larger bowl than most food processors. The food mixer is ideal for mixing and whipping large-volume foodstuffs such as cream, cake mixture, dough and meat mixes.
Hand-held blenders and mixers
A suitable alternative or helpful addition to a full food processor or mixer. Most hand-held blenders come with a blending unit and attachments for pureeing and whisking using your own bowls.
Things to look out for:
A food processor or blender's ability to chomp its way through the job is measured in Watts. The more Watts a unit features, the more power it will have to offer - ranging from around 300W up to 1000W. Look for multiple speed settings to suit the food you're processing and a pulse option for crushing ice.
The amount of food and liquid the processor can contain. Make sure to check if this is the total or working capacity, as the latter is less. Food processors go up to around 2 litres and mixers up to 5 litres, while blenders tend to be limited to around 1 litres.
The attachments provided will vary according to functionality and model. Food processors are usually supplied with a range of attachments for shredding, whisking, blending, mixing dough and grinding. Smaller mixers and blenders will also have durable attachments for mixing and very sharp stainless steel blades for chopping and blending. Other useful extras to look out include a mill, citrus press, integrated liquidiser and even built-in weighing scales for convenience.
These days, most removable parts (bowls, jugs and attachments) are dishwasher safe, saving you a lot of hassle. If you're buying a hand-held blender, look out for a model with a detachable shaft for easy cleaning.