The only manual food chopper that we tested, we were quite interested in seeing how the Cuisinart stacked up against its motorized competitors. Unfortunately, we weren't that impressed and would hesitate to recommend it, generally finding it to be too difficult to clean and operate to actually make chopping food more convenient or faster. It does do the best of the group at actually chopping the tomatoes, but this isn't enough to redeem its overall lackluster performance in our other assessments to warrant recommending it.
Cuisinart CTG-00-SCHP Review
Pros: Chops tomatoes well, great at mincing garlic
Cons: Hard to clean, doesn’t chop carrots or cilantro very well at all
This model tied with the BLACK+DECKER HC150B for the back of the pack, both ranking quite inferior to the Ninja Express Chop. It was only in chopping onions and tomatoes that the Cuisinart claimed the top spot and this advantage was easily negated by the hassle in cleaning it out after these tasks and its poor performance in our other tests.
To see which mini food chopper truly reigns supreme above the rest, we looked at tons of different models on the market today, then picked the three most promising to purchase and test head-to-head, comparing their performance at chopping onions, almonds, cilantro, tomatoes, nuts, garlic, and carrots, as well as ranking the convenience of using each one and the difficulty in cleaning them. Check out the sections below for a full description of how the Cuisinart stacked up and why we are reticent to recommend it.
Despite our overall lack of enthusiasm about this chopper, we must admit that it did quite well in this tests, actually doing the best job of the group. This manual chopper gives you the most control over chopping, allowing you to actually chop the onion, rather than turning it into mush. However, you can only fit about half of a small onion inside and it doesn't always cut all the way through it, usually leaving a residual skin with the last layer of the onion. It had the most consistent sized rough chop of onion after about 8 pulses and we easily could have continued going if we wanted a finer dice or even a mince.
The Cuisinart's performance plummeted in this test, doing the worst of the group. It takes a ton of pressure with the harder produce and the blades became stuck in the carrot the first few chops, requiring us to disassemble it to clean out the blades. After that, it didn't really work all that well for chopping the carrots. There isn't a ton of room for that much carrot to move around so the cut pieces weren't terribly uniform in size. It might have done a bit better with only half a carrot, but that can get quite tedious for chopping a larger amount. However, we did get a decently fine mince after chopping for a very long time — even finer than some of the motorized ones!
The performance of the Cuisinart rebounded in our garlic mincing challenge, doing the best job of preserving the appearance of the garlic while mincing it extremely finely. Unfortunately, it did take a comparatively long time to achieve a comparable level of fineness as the motorized models — on the order of 37 pulses with the manual Cuisinart compared to 4-6 with the other models.
The Cuisinart actually did relatively well with our tomato chopping test, but it still produced an overall mediocre result. None of these mini choppers were that good at truly chopping the tomatoes, tending to make a bit of a mush and more puree them, rather than actually chopping them. The Cuisinart does an alright job if the tomato half is placed skin side down, though it won't cut all the way through. If the skin side is placed up, then the Cuisinart usually ends up mutilating it, reaffirming that the best way to get a nice clean diced tomato is cutting it by hand or with a dicing-specific attachment on a food processor.
Next, we tasked each food chopper with chopping up a half-cup of almonds. The Cuisinart did alright, but it definitely took significantly more force to chop the nuts than the motorized models did. This also meant that a handful of almonds got stuck after the first two pulses, so we did have to pull apart the chopper to free them before continuing. It took about 10 pulses to get them satisfactorily chopped, doing slightly better than the BLACK+DECKER HC150B, but worse than the Ninja Express Chop.
For our final food tests for these products, we attempted to finely dice up about a half-cup of cilantro. The Cuisinart totally failed to impress, delivering an abysmal showing even after tons and tons of pulses. Even after we spent a ton of time chopping, there were still a ton of whole leaves left behind. Additionally, the chopped cilantro was very watery, essentially bludgeoned into small pieces by the Cuisinart, rather than cleanly chopped.
Ease of Cleaning
For our final assessment, the Cuisinart again delivered a disappointing performance. It has by far the hardest to clean blades out of the entire bunch and is almost impossible to get a sponge into all the little nooks and crannies to adequately clean the chopper. It is a bit of a balancing act to hold the plunger down and keep the blades out all while avoiding being cut when trying to force the sponge in between them to clean them. Needless to say, we weren't fans of cleaning it and even though it is listed as dishwasher-safe for the top rack, even then we don't think this chopper gets particularly clean. Food gets lodged way up in the chopper and it ends up being almost impossible to clean.
Overall, we found this chopper to be a bit more hassle than it was worth and are loathe to recommend it.