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The key features to look for when choosing the best food processor blades are durability, sharpness and functionality. Food processor blades can be made from plastic, metal, ceramic or a combination of materials. In general, metal is the most durable, but plastic can be more cost effective and sometimes safer to handle. By far, metal usually is the most durable of the different types of food processor blades, although ceramic can be equally durable in some cases. The blades can come in a variety of arrangements, so ensuring that the blades purchased are meant for the intended purpose also is important.
Choosing the type of material from which good food processor blades are made can help to narrow down the choices. Stainless steel is a common material that is durable, sharp and resilient. Plastic is a good option when the food processor is not used very often and for processors that mostly will be used for breaking up hard substances such as ice that would quickly dull a metal blade. Ceramic blades look like plastic blades but are made from heavy, specially treated ceramic and may stay sharper than metal blades for a longer time; they also can be more expensive. Some blades are made mostly from plastic but have strips of metal attached to form the blade, although this design usually does not perform as well for as long as other designs.
The shape and arrangement of the cutting blades can be important. The most common design, which is two curved blades attached to a central cylinder, is good for most general uses. Some blades have only a single cutting knife attached so food is more coarsely chopped. A few designs have several knives attached to the center, although these types quickly can turn vegetables and other foods into puree. There also are blades that have only flat paddles or fingers and can be used for mixing dry ingredients or making dough.
Not all food processor blades are appropriate for all units. Even though the blade might superficially appear the same as another blade, the attachment mechanism might be different so it will not fit a processor for which it is not specifically designed. It is important to ensure that the blade will attach in a secure way to the center axle of the food processor so it can be used safely. If choosing food processor blades from a company other than the manufacturer of the processor, then checking the measurements of the blade also is a good idea to ensure that it will comfortably fit inside the bowl without coming in contact with the sides.
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