Meat Slicers Buying Guide

Commercial Meat Slicer Buying Guide

Find out how to pick the best commercial meat slicer for your business, including the differences between light, medium and heavy duty slicers

The first step before investing in any commercial meat slicer is to figure out what you want to slice and how much of it. Slicers are categorized in light, medium and heavy duty grades, and many operators who struggle with their current meat slicer do so because it's not equipped to tackle the needs of their business. If you size too low to save cost, you could experience early motor burnout, but size too high and you're footing the bill for an expensive (and unnecessary) piece of equipment.

Learn more about meat slicers, and what type of features would work best for your needs in this buying guide.

Know Your Meat Slicer

There are various components that make up your meat slicer, and learning more about them helps you determine if you need an entry, mid-level or heavy duty slicer.

Meat Slicer Infographic
The obvious component of the meat slicer is the blade itself. The size of the blade varies between entry, mid-level and heavy duty slicers.

Blade Sharpener
Your commercial meat slicer will feature a built-in blade sharper to keep the blade razor sharp during use.

Product Tray
The product tray is where your product is placed for slicing.

Gauge Plate
Surrounding the blade, the gauge plate helps users adjust slicing thickness.

Blade Guard
The blade guard protects users from serious cuts.

A kickstand-style leg is present on some slicers and helps you prop up the equipment for easier cleaning.

Light, Medium or Heavy Duty Slicers—How Do You Pick?

It might be tempting to opt for the light duty slicer based on price alone, but not all slicers are created equal. Slicers range in capabilities, and opting for a particular model due to its low cost could hurt you in the long run. Choosing a light-duty slicer for your busy deli could spell early motor burn out, damaged gears or other breakdown issues. Conversely, purchasing a heavy-duty slicer when your needs only require an hour or less of slicing each day could cost you a serious chunk of change. Read on to learn the differences between a light, medium or heavy duty slicer to find the right meat slicer for your needs.

Light Duty Slicer Medium Duty Slicer Heavy Duty Slicer
Hours of slicing per day Up to 2 hours per day 2-3 hours per day 3+ hours per day
HP Typically 1/4 or 1/3 1/2 1/2
Blade Size 9-10 inch 10-12 inch blade 12-14 inch blade
Manual or Automatic? Manual Some are automatic, but most are manual Automatic
Cheese and frozen products No Can slice cheese up to 1-2 hours per day. Not recommended for frozen products Can slice any amount of cheese and frozen product.

More about commercial slicer features:

Safety Features
Most slicers should come equipped with standard safety features like a knife guard, which covers most of the blade and minimizes the risk of being cut. Other features like a gauge plate interlock requires the gauge plate to be at zero before the carrier tray can be removed, minimizing the risk of coming into contact with an exposed blade.

Manual or Automatic?
A manual slicer requires an operator to move the feeder tray back and forth, which pushes product past the slicing blade. A gravity-fed feeder tray, present on some manual slicers, ensures the product remains in the proper position for slicing on each pass. Automatic slicers are exactly that—automatic. Typically found on heavy duty slicer models, automatic slicers are equipped with an electric pusher that can slice continuously without manual intervention.

Belt or Gear?
Like your car, slicers utilize a belt or gear in the motor design. Though more expensive, gear-driven slicers are more reliable over time. Belt-drive slicers require some regular cleaning and a spot of oil here or there to maintain a longer life.

Cleaning and Maintaining Your Meat Slicer

Keep your slicer running like new by following a regular cleaning and maintenance schedule. Slicers should be sanitized regularly throughout the day to reduce the risk of cross-contamination. Also be sure to add a food-grade lubricant to your arsenal of tools; this will help ensure that all moving parts keep moving smoothly for years to come.

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