We're hard on food processors. Help us find a new one?
June 29, 2013 11:39 AM   Subscribe

Our family has burned through two Cuisinart 11-cup models in five years. I'm trying to find something more robust in between the ubiquitous Cuisinart/KitchenAid models and $1000+ restaurant equipment.

We cook a LOT. We use a food processor 3-5 per week, and it takes a toll on these home models. The motors generally fare well, although we wear through the membrane that covers the switch. It's the bowls that die quickly. They go through the dishwasher constantly and the plastic just doesn't last.

As much as I would like a Robot Coupe, I really don't want to pay $1200 for a small kitchen appliance. I suspect it's a futile inquiry, but I'm hoping some MeFite knows about a hidden gem of a food processor, probably around the $350-600 price point.

Essential: must be able to make dough, not just slice. Bowl must be dishwasher-safe. Bonus if it is larger than 11 cups.
posted by werkzeuger to Home & Garden (15 answers total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
 
Can you look at restaurant auctions/used restaurant models on ebay etc to see if you can find a professional model at discounted prices?
posted by fermezporte at 11:44 AM on June 29, 2013


Have you thought about just replacing the bowls? I have found them online fairly cheaply.
posted by fshgrl at 11:47 AM on June 29, 2013 [4 favorites]


Really, the best answer is going to be to consider hand washing the bowls.
posted by rr at 11:59 AM on June 29, 2013 [2 favorites]


I used to replace the bowls a lot when I was putting them in the bottom of the dishwasher, where the heating coil is. The top rack isn't as hot, and plastics do better there.

Replacement bowls cost $30-$34 retail; $20-$25 on Ebay. That's just the bowl, not including the lid.
posted by wryly at 11:59 AM on June 29, 2013


I was also gonna suggest hand washing the bowl.

You could check your local restaurant supply store for sales or used pro-quality machines. Or just try to replace the bowl.

Honestly though, I feel you must be putting extraordinary stress on your machine to go through them so quickly. My parents' Cuisinart is at least 20+ years old, mine is 10+ years old, and they are both rock-solid.
posted by gnutron at 12:05 PM on June 29, 2013


Really, the best answer is going to be to consider hand washing the bowls.

I have no doubt that handwashing will help, but it's just not going to happen in our household.

Bowl replacement is an option, and is definitely the most economical. Maybe that's just what we'll do in the short term. But this question is partially a result of my dissatisfaction with the bowls themselves. They seem to be getting cheaper, with tabs that break off and intricate mechanisms that fail very quickly. Also our 11 cup prep plus has a stupid handle design that fills up with disgusting gunk from the dishwasher.

Honestly though, I feel you must be putting extraordinary stress on your machine to go through them so quickly. My parents' Cuisinart is at least 20+ years old, mine is 10+ years old, and they are both rock-solid.

It might be worth noting that we have the newer "prep" series, not the old-school cuisinart with the two big paddle switches. I have gotten the impression, indirectly, that the old design was more durable.
posted by werkzeuger at 12:09 PM on June 29, 2013


I bake weekly, and I don't use my Cuisinart for dough. The Magic Mill is perfect and is built like a tank. It doesn't chop, but it will also whip cream, grind grains etc..
posted by Ideefixe at 12:10 PM on June 29, 2013


A quick visit to the Cuisinart website shows that they still make the design with the two big paddle switches. My mother bought something that looks just about like this maybe 8 or so years ago, makes bread with it every 2-3 days, and it's still going very strong.
posted by psycheslamp at 12:55 PM on June 29, 2013


Magimix is Robot Coupe's consumer line of food processors. Much less pricey, still made in France.
posted by hwyengr at 12:58 PM on June 29, 2013


Maybe think about a heavy duty stand mixer for the dough portion of things? I have a Kenwood Chef mixer that I've just beaten on for years - bowls are steel too so far more durable than a food processor. Yes it's two appliances if you have a processor as well but for us that has worked better.
posted by leslies at 1:12 PM on June 29, 2013


If the heating coil in the dishwasher is the biggest culprit you might just turn off the dry cycle.

If the older Cuisinarts really are superior then perhaps try am old model off eBay?
posted by phearlez at 1:32 PM on June 29, 2013


I bought the very first Cuisineart model, and I inherited the first mechanical-switch pulsable model from my mother. Both machines were more than powerful enough for home use, but neither could take the kind of use you say you'll give it. There were no good old days. Mechanical switches wore out faster than today's push-buttons.

If you use a food processor all the time, bite the bullet and buy a Robot Coupe. If an essential machine in a busy restaurant kitchens goes down, they're out of business. They can't afford to have anything less than what will take a licking and keep on mixing.

You only pay for it once but avoid annoyances every day.

Also, restaurant kitchens use VitaMix blenders and professional-power stand mixers. They don't depend on the Robot Coupe to do everything.

And Robot Coupe parts wear out, too. Professional kitchens buy service contracts with Robot Coupe, under which RC's professional maintenance teams visit regularly and replace parts that show signs of wear.

A diamond may be forever. A food processor part, not so much. There's no magic spell.
posted by KRS at 2:10 PM on June 29, 2013


Depending on precisely what you use it for, what about a mixie?
posted by oflinkey at 2:23 PM on June 29, 2013


I have a low-end Robot Coupe marketed for home kitchens in the 1980s. I paid $20 for it at an estate sale. The safety mechanism, which is the fiddly breakable part on current Cuisinart and Kitchen Aid models, uses magnets instead of interlocking projections and is extremely durable. On top of that, new replacement parts are still available despite it's being like 25 years old. In contrast, the bowl on my much newer Kitchen Aid processor breaks every few years and now is no longer available as a replacement part.
posted by jon1270 at 2:41 PM on June 29, 2013 [1 favorite]


If the heating coil in the dishwasher is the biggest culprit you might just turn off the dry cycle.

We've got a Bosch with no exposed heating element, just an in-line heater for the water. The top and bottom racks are the same. It really comes down to dishwashing chemicals and frequency of exposure.

Thanks to all these thoughtful responses, every one is helpful. I think I'll probably obtain a replacement bowl for the short term, and start looking for a robot coupe through used channels.

It's a shame someone doesn't offer stainless upgrade bowls for the popular home food processors. I'd buy one in a heartbeat.
posted by werkzeuger at 3:16 PM on June 29, 2013


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