What Is the Difference Between Food Processors & Mixers?

Updated April 17, 2017

Different kitchen chores call for different machines. If you only need to beat some eggs, a hand mixer is an excellent choice. When it comes to tougher jobs, both a stand mixer and a food processor are helpful, depending on the food preparation task required.


Hand mixers are inexpensive, compact and convenient. Stand mixers are considerably heavier; moving them in and out of storage is not convenient so many cooks leave them out on the counter. Food processors are fairly lightweight and compact. The price of stand mixers and food processors varies depending on the capacity and number of attachments.

What Mixers Do Best

Small hand mixers are good for beating eggs, whipping cream or gentle mixing. A stand mixer is much more powerful and is good for mixing thick batters or kneading bread.

What Food Processors Do Best

Food processors are good for mixing dough, slicing, chopping, puréeing and whipping. Most models have a pulse button, which allows short bursts of speed.


Stand mixers generally come with a beater, whisk and dough hook, and some can be outfitted with extra attachments which make pasta or grind meat. Food processors usually comes with a dough hook, whisk, and blades for shredding and slicing.

Considerations When Buying

The John Lewis website recommends considering a machine's motor type and wattage. Series motors (belt-driven and more noisy) have variable speeds, while induction motors (used in commercial machines) have one optimum speed. Be sure the mixer or food processor you buy will meet your capacity needs

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About the Author

Gwen Bruno has been a full-time freelance writer since 2009, with her gardening-related articles appearing on DavesGarden. She is a former teacher and librarian, and she holds a bachelor's degree in education from Augustana College and master's degrees in education and library science from North Park University and the University of Wisconsin.