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Cuisinart Vs. KitchenAid Mini Choppers
on September 25, 2004
When I starting searching for a mini-chopper I was surprised by the huge rating difference between the Cuisinart DLC2 and the KitchenAid KFC3100, so I bought both and did a side-by-side comparison. The only explanation I can give for the ratings difference is that Cuisinart buyers must have higher expectations. For most operations they have nearly identical performance and for some operations the Cuisinart is the clear winner.
Onions: Many Cuisinart reviewers panned its performance here, claiming it made onion purée, but most KitchenAid reviewers praised its onion chopping ability. I found almost no difference between the two. Maybe its an issue with the instructions - for chopped onions you must use a few short pulses. A few more pulses and you get minced onion - more than this and both give you onion puree. I wouldn't say either is great at chopping onions, but both are equally mediocre.
I also tested chopping nuts, and making breadcrumbs with similar results. Both performed about the same for a course chop, although the Cuisinart produced a more even chop on the nuts, but its when you want a really fine chop that the Cuisinart starts to shine. The first reason for this is the grind feature found only on the Cuisinart. This spins the blade in the opposite direction which allows the flat, back-side of the blade to impact the food. More importantly, it redistributes the food, so if you've got a couple of chunks that refuse to be chopped, a short pulse in the opposite direction helps it drop into the blade. For perfect, fine breadcrumbs I alternate between the normal chop mode for a few seconds, and grind for one second.
The other reason the Cuisinart gives a better fine chop is that it does a much better job of cycling the food through the blade. This is a real key when you're working with softer foods like spreads, pâtés or purees. When I made a cream cheese spread in both choppers the Cuisinart did a far quicker and better job of pulling the ingredients down the center and into the blade. The KitchenAid kept larger chunks bobbing on top. If you're making dips, spreads or baby food, the Cuisinart is the hands-down winner.
On the practical side, both choppers were equally easy to clean. Both have small holes in the lid for pouring in liquids on the fly, but only The KitchenAid has a slot for dry or thick ingredients - if that's important to you. Overall, I found the Cuisinart easier to use for several reasons. First, the Cuisinart blade drops on easily, while the KitchenAid blade is keyed and I found myself turning it several times before it dropped in. Second, the KitchenAid lid must be removed first before you can lift off the bowl, but on the Cuisinart, the bowl and lid can be detached as an assembly. Finally, the Cuisinart blade has a "handle" that extends to the top of the bowl like a popsicle stick allowing you to remove the blade without getting your fingers in the food.
After all my testing, I really can't understand the large ratings difference between these two. Neither is perfect - you'll never get a perfect, even, course chop with things like onions or chocolate, but they do come in handy. For many uses either one will give you pretty much the same results. Because of its advantage with softer foods and its ease of use, I recommend the Cuisinart.