I have pitted two machines, the KitchenAid KFP750 and the Cuisinart DFP-14, against each other in a death match. I’m not actually going to kill one, at least I hope not because I can’t afford them both. But one of them will be dead to me, and will be returned to Amazon. I wonder if it will be resold as a refurb. Does anyone know what happens to unwanted used appliances that have been returned under a generous return policy?
Let’s begin by looking at the boxes. It’s interesting that the slightly smaller unit, the KA750 (12 cups) has a box that’s twice as big. It certainly aims to impress, but I always suspect that anyone who thinks that bigger and flashier is better is overcompensating for something. That’s why I always tell Hummer owners that I’m sorry for them.
The unit I’m replacing is a Cuisinart 7-cup, with which I’ve been extremely pleased. So you might think I’m partial to the Cuisinart brand, especially since I also own a Cuisinart hand mixer that I like very much. However, I have an older KitchenAid stand mixer and it’s very dear to my heart. I also own other brands of small appliances, so I really don’t have a strong brand loyalty. I’m sure brand-marketing directors everywhere gnash their teeth thinking about folks like me.
I originally purchased the KitchenAid because it came more highly recommended than the similarly sized Cuisinart, which has an 11-cup capacity. However, the Cuisinart I purchased for this comparison has the largest capacity available (14 cups), and is not the newer style that is usually tested for reviews. You could say I’m comparing apples and oranges (or perhaps more accurately oranges and tangerines) because the Cuisinart is larger, and maybe you’re right. But I wanted the largest available,
and KA doesn’t make a bigger model. OK, I'm a dummy. The KA Pro Line food processor has a 16 cup capacity. However, it's even more expensive - $299, compared to the $199 I paid for the Cuisinart. That's not a price I'm willing to pay, although I bet it's a humdinger of a food processor. I wanted to compare products in the same price range, and even though I got a steal on the KA (black only at $129), most places have these two products for about the same price.
Let’s first put them side-by-side on the counter and compare their aesthetics. I’m not going to use appearance as a factor in my decision, but I know some people want appliances to look nice on their counter. I’m all about performance over style (do I hear gnashing of teeth again?). You can see that the Cuisinart is a bit stodgy. What I find interesting is that the larger capacity Cuisinart is much more compact than the KA. It fits under my cabinets whereas the KA is about 1/4 inch too tall, which although not a deal-breaker, makes the Cuisinart more attractive to me. The “black chrome” on the Cuisinart is going to be a bitch to keep free from smudges and fingerprints, and I did not see an all-black version available. Again, not crucial but it is something to consider. Since beauty is in the eye of the beholder, I leave it to you to pick the winner of this swimsuit competition.
Moving on to construction, it appears to me that the blade of the Cuisinart is sturdier, although the bowl of the KA appears to be heavier. It would be interesting to do destructive testing on these pups to see which is in fact more durable, but I can’t afford that, so unless someone wants to fund a destructive testing, we’ll have to just guess. My older Cuisinart is still going strong; I just wanted a larger one. I feel that the buttons on the KA are more prone to failure than the paddles of the Cuisinart, but I have nothing but a gut feeling to back up that assertion. Other than that, I feel they are equal in sturdiness. They weigh about the same, and their motors are on par with each other. So we’ll call this a draw, with perhaps a slight advantage to the Cuisinart on the controls.
After appearance I looked at accessories. The KA comes with two slicing discs, I think 2mm and 4mm, which is nice. The Cuisinart only has a 4mm blade standard. Also, the KA comes with the mini-bowl, which is good if you have a small batch of something. The first thing that comes to mind is mayo - you'd have to make a monster batch if you were just using the large bowl. But that smaller bowl is juuust right. I don't think I would use the mini-bowl much since if I have just a few ingredients to chop I would rather do it by hand and not muck up the entire food processor. You can forget about using the mini-bowl and not having to wash the larger bowl - I whizzed up graham crackers in the mini bowl and not only did the lid get dirty but particles ended up in the larger bowl as well so all of it had to be washed (thanks for warning me anisette). Yuck. The KA comes with a plastic container to hold all the accessories, which is handy, although that means you have to find a place for it. I usually just tuck the blades in a cabinet or drawer. Both units come with a shredding disc, a dough blade, and a hard plastic spatula shaped to fit the bowl. I'm a little 'meh' on those spatulas - I prefer a flexible one. Some people swear by them, though. Again, in my opinion, the Cuisinart parts seem a little heavier, although the KA stem/blade is easier to assemble. It just slips on, whereas on the Cuisinart you have to hold in a little button, insert just so, and twist to lock. It's a bit more cumbersome but I think it feels more secure. Of course, I haven't heard of any blades flying loose on the KA so I'm probably just being paranoid. Given the fact that the KA comes with two slicing discs and a mini bowl/blade, I have to give it the nod for this category.
Capacity is next on the list since it's probably the biggest factor I will use to determine which one to keep. You'll remember that a few days ago I tried to make a double batch of cookie dough in the KA and it failed miserably. Only the stuff on the bottom got mixed together, and it never pulled down the stuff from the top. I tried a similar recipe in the Cuisinart, one that had the same proportion of ingredients but had more flour and sugar, so it made the competition almost exactly even, considering the Cuisinart has about 14% more capacity, and this recipe ended up being about 14% larger. While not perfect, the Cuisinart did a much butter job. When pulsed, it brought the ingredients down from the top and got them incorporated. I did have to scrape the bowl down once, but it got the bulk of the job done, unlike the KA. So I’m going to give dry ingredient capacity to the Cuisinart, which of course is bigger.
There is one thing I’d like to point out about capacity. Even though these are rated at 12 and 14 cups, there is no way you can use them that full, especially with liquid ingredients. The KA has an indicator for liquid level on the side. It took about 4 cups of liquid to get to that line, but even with careful pouring, it leaked around the stem before the line was reached. The Cuisinart’s liquid line only allowed 3 cups of liquid. I will process some liquid ingredients to see how well they each perform tomorrow.
Slicing and shredding were the next tasks I chose. I sliced a cucumber for a salad this evening, and put half in each unit. The KA750 has a small feed tube, so the cucumber barely fit. You'd have to cut a potato or anything bigger than a medium cucumber to fit it in the tube. However, for the same price as the Cuisinart, you can get the KA760 which has the larger feed tube, but I've heard that it is a pain to use. I thought the Cuisinart would ace the capacity test since it has an enormous tube. Well, yes but no. The tube is wide and deep, but the safety interlock is activated by the top of the tube, so anything taller than the tube (about 4"), needs to be cut down to fit before you can slice or shred. One caveat: if the item is very thin like a carrot or skinny cucumber, you can use just the middle portion of the tube and process a long item. That worked, barely, for this cucumber. But if I were going to do a bunch of carrots I'd have to cut them into pieces. A medium potato, though, would fit in the Cuisinart without cutting but not in the KA.
I don't know if the larger feed tube on the KA 760 has the same safety interlock "feature" but I'd bet it does. You see, a large feed tube means you can fit your hand in it so there has to be another safety device to keep stupid people from mangling themselves. (Sometimes I'm surprised we can still buy sharp knives in this country. We keep trying to make things idiot proof, but the idiots keep getting better at being dumb.) So the feed tubes are a draw.
Feed tube capacity aside, both did a fine job on slicing. The Cuisinart ended up with a little larger piece floating around on top of the blade, but that has more to do with my clumsiness at pushing it down than in the product itself. I'll do more slicing and shredding tomorrow and post some photos. But for now it's late, I'm tired, and my belly is full. Which is a good thing.