Out of all the different mini-choppers we have looked at, the Ninja Express Chop is our absolute favorite and did by far the best in our testing process. It does a great job at cubing carrots, mincing garlic, pulverizing cilantro, and chopping nuts, all while being much less expensive and much less of a hassle than a full-size food processor. While it doesn't do amazing at chopping onions and definitely leaves plenty to be desired when chopping tomatoes, it is a solid, all-around mini-chopper that is easy to use and quite easy to clean, all for around $20.
Ninja Express Chop NJ110GR Review
Pros: Best at chopping by far, dishwasher-safe, inexpensive
Cons: Hard to clean blades by hand, struggles a bit with chopping tomatoes
Of the three mini food choppers that we have tested, the Ninja Express Chop is the only one that we would really feel comfortable recommending to anyone, finding the BLACK+DECKER HC150B and the Cuisinart CTG-00-SCHP to be quite flawed and to be far from our favorite overall. However, the manual food chopper, the Cuisinart, does do better at actually chopping some items, like onions or tomatoes, without pulverizing, but it is much harder to use overall and did much worse in our other tests.
To see which mini-chopper reigns supreme, we did tons and tons of research, then picked the three most promising models to test head-to-head and see which one is really a cut above the rest. We ranked the performance of each miniature appliance at chopping onions, carrots, garlic, tomatoes, nuts, and cilantro, as well as evaluating the ease of use and ease of cleaning of each product.
The Ninja got off to a great start in this test, though it couldn't quite match the consistency of the Cuisinart, even with multiple tries and some practice. We could fit an entire onion there, cut in half, and it easily chopped with only four pulses. However, the size of the chopped onions wasn't terribly consistent, but they weren't watery and crushed like the BLACK+DECKER. You can get a more consistent chop with some practice and a very light touch on the button, but you are still going to be disappointed if you are expecting the uniform cubes from manually chopping with a kitchen knife.
Moving on to some harder produce, the Ninja moved to the top of the pack in our carrot chopping challenge. We used an entire carrot for this test, snapped into thirds, with the Ninja easily being the best and giving us the least amount of trouble by far.
Overall, the Ninja delivered the finest chop of the group, with only a handful of larger chunks left over
For our garlic test, we used three medium-sized peeled cloves of garlic in each chopper, then essentially ran each one until the garlic was so finely minced that the blades were no longer doing anything. The Ninja did a particularly fine mince, but it did drop back to the second position, again outmatched by the hand-powered Cuisinart — the color and overall consistency were just a tiny bit better on this model.
There were a few larger pieces of garlic that weren't minced as finely as the rest, miraculously escaping the myriad of blades in the Ninja, but the vast majority of the pieces were minced almost perfectly.
Right off the bat, none of these products is a great choice if you are getting them to exclusively chop tomatoes. The Ninja basically just pulverized the tomato, essentially pureeing it, rather than chopping it.
All of the food choppers we tested are below average when it comes to chopping tomatoes, with the Cuisinart doing marginally better than the BLACK+DECKER or the Ninja. However, the Ninja could at least puree the tomatoes successfully — something the BLACK+DECKER couldn't claim. The Cuisinart could kind of chop them if you were extremely careful, but usually just ended up pulverizing them.
The Ninja regained the top spot for this test, doing the best job of the bunch at chopping up a half-cup of almonds. It produced a relatively consistent spread of sizes, though there were a few whole almonds that entirely escaped the blades — true for all products. However, we found that the Ninja would completely obliterate the majority of the almonds if ran for long enough to get the whole ones, so it's much more preferable to simply live with a few larger pieces and pull the whole ones out if necessary.
For our final chopping test, the Ninja continued its top-notch performance, again delivering the best performance of the group. This chopper did an amazing job at pulverizing the half-cup of cilantro we used. There were only a few leaves that eluded the blades and weren't completely chopped, but nothing really to worry about.
The Ninja only took about 6 seconds to accomplish this and we particularly liked that the cilantro appeared to be very cleanly cut and quite dry at completion, rather than mashed and wet, as was the case with some other products.
Ease of Cleaning
For our final test, we looked at how much work it took to clean each of these products and all of their various components. The Ninja's bowl is about average to clean by hand, with no hard to clean nooks and crannies — though the removable anti-skid ring could potentially harbor some water and mold if not dried thoroughly. The blade on the Ninja is a different story, with the potential to cut yourself inadvertently definitely existing. Luckily, it is also dishwasher-safe, along with the bowl.
If you are searching for a mini food chopper to add to your existing arsenal of kitchen gadgets, then the Ninja Express Chop should be your first choice. It did very well, claiming the top spot in most of our tests and we found all kinds of uses for this little appliance, ranging from dip to dicing carrots. Ninja's signature stacked blades made short work of most tasks, though it didn't do terribly well with tomatoes and can be a bit dicey to clean the blade by hand. Despite these, it is definitely our favorite food chopper and we highly recommend it.