The Cuisinart name has long been synonymous with food processors, and most sources recommend this brand for full-sized food processors. Leading the pack is the 11-cup Cuisinart Prep 11 Plus DLC-2011CHB (*Est. $200). In professional tests, this model performs well at nearly every task -- although one source said it was only average at chopping. Most owners also find the Prep 11 Plus easy to assemble and use, although some find the feed tube a bit tricky. Professionals and users agree this machine is solidly built and quiet, and is easy to clean thanks to dishwasher-safe parts.
A smaller version of this machine, the Cuisinart Prep 9 DLC-2009CHB (*Est. $160), gets similar reviews. On the larger end of the spectrum, the 14-cup Cuisinart Custom 14 DFP-14BCN (*Est. $200) earns praise particularly for its dough-making performance, but its chopping and slicing are less satisfactory, and some owners find its feed tube awkward. One complaint we saw about all Cuisinart models is that dealing with customer service can be a real pain -- the biggest blot on an otherwise excellent overall record.
There are a few exceptions to Cuisinart's dominance of the world of food processors. The KitchenAid KFP750PK (*Est. $160), for example, earns very high marks from both professionals and owners for its performance and ease of use. There are a few complaints about leakage, however, and its warranty is only 12 months. At the opposite end of the price spectrum, the Magimix 4200XL (*Est. $350) offers great performance, durable construction, a dazzling array of attachments and an amazingly long warranty. Although undoubtedly a great food processor, its performance isn't all that superior to that of the Cuisinarts and the KitchenAid, making it hard to justify the high price tag.
Although most top-rated food processors cost at least $150, we discovered one model that's a little less expensive and earns strong recommendations: the Cuisinart Pro Custom 11 DLC-8S (*Est. $130). Like more expensive Cuisinart food processors, this 11-cup model is quiet and well built, with dishwasher-safe parts. However, reviewers say its performance isn't as consistent: Though great for puréeing and shredding, it has some difficulty with chopping and slicing and isn't great for kneading dough. It also lacks the extended motor warranty of higher-priced models. Still, it offers the best performance we've seen in this price range.
An even cheaper option is the Hamilton Beach Big Mouth Deluxe 70575 (*Est. $60). Owners say this 14-cup model is easy to use and clean, but it only performs so-so in professional kitchen testing. Users find this machine versatile and like its wide feed tube, but they also report problems with spillage and noise. The Big Mouth's warranty is just one year, but we saw no complaints about durability.