These two-in-one appliances save space and can blend, slice, and chop with the best of them
By Keith Flamer
No matter how you slice it, there are limits to what blenders and food processors can do on their own. While some dishes, like purées and salsas, can be made using either appliance, food processors are lousy smoothie makers and a blender won’t get far with shredding carrots.
But that doesn’t necessarily mean you have to shell out for two counter-hogging appliances. While blenders and food processors function differently and use different blades, the motors that power them are essentially the same, so they can share the same motor base and save you some room and even money, depending on which model you get. That is, you need a set that performs well at both tasks.
“There’s still a trend in small appliances where people prefer a multipurpose machine that can do it all,” says Marion Wilson-Spencer, a CR home testing market analyst. “It’s true for blenders, food processors, toaster ovens, and air fryers. For instance, with the right combination blender and food processor, you can make your favorite strawberry daiquiri, salsa salad, or hot butternut squash soup.”
Below, we’re highlighting a blender and food processor pair from Cuisinart, Ninja, Oster, and Vitamix (listed in alphabetical order)—each of which performs well enough in our tests of both blenders and food processors. For the Cuisinart and the Ninja, you get the whole package for one price (motor, blender jar, and food processor bowl). For the Oster, you can buy the blender on its own, or the blender plus a food processor attachment. In the case of the Vitamix, the food processor attachment is sold separately.
For our blender tests, we assess how well each model purées, makes smoothies, and crushes ice. For our food processor tests, we chop almonds and onions, grate Parmesan cheese, purée peas and carrots, slice mushrooms and celery, and shred cheddar. CR members with digital access can see the ratings for individual tests for blending and food processing.
For more on blenders and food processors, see CR’s blender ratings and buying guide and food processor ratings and buying guide.
Cuisinart Velocity Ultra Trio BFP-650This Cuisinart model comes with a 7-cup blender jar, a 3-cup food processor bowl, and two 16-ounce blending cups. When it comes to our blending tests, this model earns Very Good ratings in our tests for making smoothies, crushing ice, and puréeing vegetables. As a food processor, it earns an Excellent rating in our slicing test and Very Good scores for shredding and puréeing. Cuisinart blenders earned Good ratings for predicted reliability and owner satisfaction in our member survey. That’s about average among the brands in our survey. (CR doesn’t rate food processors for reliability.)
Cuisinart Velocity Ultra Trio BFP-650
Cuisinart Velocity Ultra Trio
Ninja Master Prep Professional QB1004Most blenders and food processors have a motor base with attachments that sit on top. The Ninja Master Prep Professional’s upside-down design puts the motor on top, incorporating it into the lid. All you do is place the motor over the blending container and press down to activate it. There’s only one speed and no programs; it’s like the fixed-gear bike of the appliance world, and that uncomplicated ease might be exactly what you’re looking for.
The 6-cup blender earns Very Good ratings for convenience and its ability to whip up smoothies with ease, but you’ll want to avoid blending hot soups because it doesn’t have a vent hole to release steam. The set includes 5-cup and 2-cup food chopper bowls. It earns an Excellent rating for grating cheese and a Very Good rating for chopping onions and almonds. Ninja brand blenders earned Very Good ratings for predicted reliability and owner satisfaction.
Ninja Master Prep Professional QB1004
Ninja Master Prep Professional QB1004
Oster Pro 1200In addition to the 6-cup glass blending jar and 5-cup food processing bowl, the Oster Pro 1200 includes a 3-cup blending container for to-go smoothies. In our blending tests, the Oster aces the purée test and earns Very Good ratings for making smoothies and crushing ice. For food processing, it earns an Excellent rating for grating hard cheeses, and scores Very Good ratings in our tests for slicing, puréeing, chopping, and shredding. Oster earned a Very Good reliability rating for its blenders, but its owner satisfaction rating was slightly lower.
Oster Pro 1200
Oster Pro 1200 Plus Food Processor Attachment BLSTMB-CBF-000
Vitamix Ascent 3500The Vitamix Ascent 3500 features technology that adjusts blending programs, speed, and power based on the blending vessel you use, whether it’s the full-sized 8-cup jar, the smaller cups, or the food processing bowl. Unlike the other sets above, however, the Vitamix 12-cup food processor attachment, $200, and blending cups don’t come with the blender; they’re sold separately.
This blender is one of the top-rated models from our lab tests, earning top marks for making icy drinks/smoothies and purées. The attachment chops, shreds, and grates with the best of the full-sized food processors, earning Excellent and Very Good ratings in those tests. Yes, the Vitamix system is a big investment—$800 for the blender and food processor—but it doesn’t disappoint.
Vitamix also stands out as one of only two blender brands to earn Excellent ratings for both predicted reliability and owner satisfaction. That means these machines last and their owners highly recommend them.
Vitamix Ascent Series A3500
Vitamix 12-Cup Food Processor Attachment with Self-Detect 067591
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