Choosing the best 16-cup (about 3.7 liters) food processor, one of the largest non-commercial sizes available, is all about determining what exactly your needs are. First, figure out what you will need the food processor to do, including what kind of chopping you plan to use it for and whether or not you want it to replace other appliances, such as a blender or stand mixer. Once you have a selection of products that will meet your needs, make sure that it has various speed settings so you can fully utilize the capacity of the food processor.
As with most purchases, the first step to buying this type of appliance is to determine exactly for what you need it to use it, as this will enable you to find a product with all of the attachments that you want or need. If you plan to use the 16-cup food processor primarily for chopping, look for appliances with various blades and cutting attachments to give you the most options. For those who will need to chop large quantities of food at the same time, a continuous feed chute is also a good option. In addition, finding a product with an over-sized chute can save you from having to chop up larger food items with a knife before adding them to the food processor, and can be useful for those who spend a lot of time in the kitchen.
Due to the size of this appliance, it can be worthwhile both financially and when it comes to storage to determine whether or not you should purchase a 16-cup food processor that acts as a stand mixer or blender as well. Unless you have a fair amount of space at home, having three separate appliances can become cumbersome, especially with a unit this large. If this applies to you, try to look for products that also come with dough hooks, mixing bowls, and blender attachments. You can typically use the 16-cup food processor for just about everything without overcrowding your home with kitchen appliances.
Once you know exactly what you need, it is important that you find a quality product, especially when it comes to speed options. Although smaller food processors generally work well with limited speed settings, a larger 16-cup food processor is typically best when it comes with several options. As you will likely be chopping, shredding, blending, or even mixing large quantities of food at the same time, having the capability of moving up from a low to high speed can give you the most even results, especially when dicing or pureeing foods. Being limited to only one or two speed options can make these tasks take significantly longer, and, generally, higher-quality food processors will have more than an on/off and pulse switch.