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Cuisinart Custom 14 Review
Price: $200 List | $159.20 at Amazon
Pros: Great at pureeing and slicing
Cons: No adjustability of shredding or slicing
Bottom line: This is the best food processor you can get shopping on a budget, while not sacrificing too much performance.
Cuisinart has a long history of making food processors, becoming so ubiquitous that they have become a generic trademark. The Cuisinart Custom 14's aesthetic remains similar to the earlier models, and this is what comes to mind for many people when they think of food processors. This model scored very well and has a reasonable price, combining to earn this model the Best Buy award.
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Our Analysis and Hands-on Test Results
Overall, this food processor had the second-highest score of the entire group, with no serious shortcomings or pitfalls. This is a great model for most kitchens, especially if you are shopping on a budget. It scored above average in every single one of our rating metrics, doing a particularly good job at pureeing and slicing.
We spent over two months testing the limits of these products, doing everything from slicing zucchini to mixing mayonnaise to determine the final scores. You can see how all the models stacked up in the chart below.
We created six weighted testing metrics, each receiving their own score. We created and conducted over 25 distinct tests, comparing the performance of each model in a head-to-head style competition.
The Cuisinart Custom 14 did alright in our chopping test, earning a 6 out of 10. We chopped almonds, carrots, and onions in each machine, looking for the most consistent, uniform chop with no aberrant large pieces. We also timed how long it took for the blade to stop spinning when the button was released, assessing the level of control you had over the food processor. You can see which models chopped the best in the chart below.
This model's blade stops spinning immediately, offering you precise control over how chopped your food it. This model did a good job at chopping almonds, tying for third place overall. The almonds weren't chopped as much as we would like but they weren't pulverized into dust like other models. This model didn't do the greatest when chopping carrots, earning one of the lowest scores.
The size wasn't the most uniform, and the mix got a little over-chopped while trying to reduce the larger chunks to an appropriate size. This model's performance did recover slightly when it came to chopping onions.
This food processor did about average, performing similarly to the Cuisinart Elite. The mixture was primarily uniform, though there were a handful of larger chunks thrown in.
Our mixing metric consisted of making pizza dough, pie crust dough, and mayonnaise from scratch in each machine and comparing the results. The Cuisinart Custom performed about the same as chopping, earning it a 6 out of 10. The scores for each model in our mixing metric are in the graphic below.
This model did a great job at making pizza dough, tying for the top-quality product with the Breville and the Cuisinart Elemental. This model was by far the fastest at mixing the dough, with no signs of a struggle from the motor. This model lacked a dough blade, but there were no apparent negative effects. Performance decreased slightly when we mixed pie crust dough in this machine. It would shoot flour out while mixing, failing to incorporate it and making dough that was a little less consistent than the KitchenAid models.
This model did fail at making our mayonnaise recipe, with the blades failing to mix the lemon juice and the egg. This model could potentially work if you doubled the recipe.
The Cuisinart Custom displayed its pureeing prowess in this metric, earning an 8 out of 10 — one of the highest scores overall. We compared the quality of the nut butter, applesauce, tomato sauce, and hummus produced by each machine, as well as determining how much water leaked out of the machines when they were filled to their maximum fill line and turned on. We scored each model's pureeing abilities, which you can see in the chart below.
This model produced the second best hummus, as determined by our panel of testers, only being beaten by the Hamilton Beach 10-Cup and the KitchenAid 9-Cup. However, both the tomato sauce and the applesauce were the perfect consistency after the prescribed amount of pureeing time, earning this model the top score in both of those tests. It took about 19 minutes to grind nut butter to satisfaction, though it did require a spatula scrape at the very start of the test to keep it happy. This need for human intervention did drop its score slightly
This model didn't leak at all, taking about three and a quarter cups of water to reach the marked line. The water was about a half inch below the seam when filled to this point.
The Custom does an above average job at shredding, meriting it a 6 out of 10 for this series of tests. We looked at how this model shredded potatoes, carrots, and cheese, as well as if the shredding blade had any adjustable settings on it. You can see which models can really shred in the following chart.
This model did a fantastic job at shredding carrots, earning the second highest score of the entire group. The shreds were crisp and dry, though not quite on the same level as the Breville.
This model did about average when it came to shredding potatoes, creating a product equal to the Cuisinart Elite. However, it did leave two large slices of potatoes un-shredded above the blade.
This food processor did a little worse when we shredded cheese with it, making strands that were a little on the weaker side, equivalent to the BLACK+DECKER or the Breville. This model also only comes with a medium shredding disc.
The Cuisinart Custom did better at slicing than shredding, tying for the runner-up position. We sliced tomatoes, potatoes, and zucchini, looking for consistent, uniform slices without any noticeable taper. We also compared the ability to adjust the blade to alter the slice thickness. The models that were a cut above the rest, as well as the ones that weren't, are shown in the chart below.
This model came with a 4mm slicing disc, though others can be purchased separately. This model had the largest feed tube, and easily fit even the largest of our test tomatoes. The slices were fantastic, with no noticeable taper or mangling of the tomato.
This food processor also did the best at slicing potatoes, producing as close to perfect slices as you could expect. The zucchini slices were about average, due to the fact that there were some botched cuts and slices of varying thickness.
The final metric, cleaning, is where we assessed how much of a pain it was to clean these products after using them. The Cuisinart Custom wasn't too bad, earning a 6 out of 10 for not causing much frustration at all when it was time for dishes. The easiest to clean models scored higher and you can see how all the models compared in the graphic below.
The bowl, lid, blades, and discs are all dishwasher safe, though it is recommended that they are washed on the top shelf only. The blade was a little on the short side, making it a little difficult to clean around where it attaches to the shaft. The bowl is simple to clean, with no extra plastic details that would catch food. The lid had a few problem areas, but nothing that was too bad.
This model is a great value — enough to earn it an award. It was the second-highest score overall and had a price that wasn't terrible on the wallet.
This model is a great bet if you want the best possible food processor you can get while still saving some cash. The Cuisinart Custom is still around $200, so if that price is too high, you may want to consider our other Best Buy award winner, the Hamilton Beach 10-Cup. This model only scored a little worse but has a substantially cheaper price.
— David Wise and Austin Palmer
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