It's one of our favourite kitchen toys, making light work of chopping, slicing and pureeing for easy meal preparation. But with prices stretching well into the hundreds, do you need to spend big bucks to get a food processor that really works?
Judging by Target's $49 offering, the answer is no. In our recent CHOICE lab testing, this little food-prep whiz received an overall score higher than competitor machines from leading brands such as KitchenAid that cost four to five times as much.
"The Target food processor performed consistently well and, in some cases better than, models from other leading brands we've tested," says CHOICE home economist and tester, Fiona Mair. "It's a great little machine for just $49."
The CHOICE verdict
This is one the cheapest food processors we've ever come across, and we're surprised at how well it did in our tests as compared to significantly more expensive models.
We can't vouch for how long it will last after continuous use, but we think it's a good bargain buy that does the job.
We score how well the Target food processor performed doing standard tasks, such as slicing carrots, making breadcrumbs, shredding cheese, kneading shortcrust pastry and emulsifying mayonnaise (see more on how we test).
And because we know how annoying it is to wrangle an unwieldy appliance, we also look at things like how easy it is to operate and pull the pieces apart for cleaning.
This Target budget beauty is very good at handling all our key tasks with ease, holding its own over models from premium brands like KitchenAid. In our breadcrumb test, it scored 100% (which means 100% of the bread was evenly and finely chopped), as compared to two KitchenAid models that only scored 80%. On the slicing carrots task, it scored the same as food processors from Russell Hobbs and Kambrook, both of which are around double the price.
To find out exactly how the Target food processor scored against other food processors in specific tasks, see our food processor reviews.
Pluses for size, efficiency and safety
"This machine is a great size for a family," says Fiona. "It's compact, but still has a decent-sized bowl, and it doesn't come with many parts and accessories, so it's easy to store."
Known to be a little accident-prone in the kitchen? The Target food processor also gets the tick of approval from Fiona on safety and ease of use, with a safety locking feature in the large chute that surprisingly is not included in many of the food processors we tested (this feature can prevent little inquisitive, or clumsy, hands getting access to whirring blades).
It's also simple and safe to clean the blade (unlike the poor-performing Kogan food processor we tested, which has a blade that's difficult to hold and clean separately without coming into contact with the sharp bits).
What are the cons?
This is a strictly no-bells-and-whistles affair – it's plain white with no remarkable features, and as it doesn't come with as many attachments, there's no blade/tools storage provided like there is with some other models. It only comes with one size of shredding/slicing blade (most come with at least two).
Other drawbacks are that it's very noisy, even by food processor standards, and although there is a pulse button, it is not an automatic function (so you need to keep pressing it for the pulse effect, which could get tiresome).
Looking for the best food processor? We review models from KitchenAid, Magimix, Breville, Kenwood, Cuisinart and more in our food processor reviews.