Who doesn’t love sinking their teeth into a sandwich piled high with freshly sliced paper-thin turkey, pastrami or roast beef? Pure hoagie heaven!
And the word “fresh” here is important because I’m sure I’m not the only one who’s started sandwich prep only to find the deli meat has welded into a nasty slimy clump after just a couple days.
The solution to that, of course, is to do it yourself!
Oh, happy day when I brought my first meat slicer home! And beautiful fresh slices on demand is just one of many benefits of owning one of these excellent machines.
Saving money with bulk-buying, speedily running up a load of meat for a crowd, slicing to the exact thickness you want and perfect uniform slices are other delights you will not believe you ever lived without.
But how to choose? There is a meat slicer out there with your name on it. But finding it isn’t easy. So many choices, so many price points, so many features.
In this post, we’ll guide you carefully through all the details, features, specs and personal considerations you should understand to make a perfect choice and find the best meat slicer for your needs.
Then we’ll wrap up with a product roundup and in-depth review of our top picks to suit every budget.
At a Glance: The Best Meat Slicers Discussed in our Guide
- KWS MS-12NT Premium Commercial 420w Electric Meat Slicer 12-Inch
- KWS Commercial 320W Electric Meat Slicer 10 inch
- Tangkula Electric Meat Slicer
- Chef’sChoice Food Slicer, 15 x 11 x 11 Inches
Note: Clicking the above links will take you to further information, current prices and customer reviews on Amazon.
Contents (Jump to Topic)
- 0.1 KWS Premium Commercial 420w Electric Meat Slicer
- 0.2 KWS Commercial 320w Electric Meat Slicer
- 0.3 Tangkula 9″ Blade Commercial Meat Slicer
- 0.4 Chef’s Choice 615 Premium Electric Food Slicer
- 1 Why Would I Want a Meat Slicer?
- 2 Here are the Top 6 Benefits of Owning a Meat Slicer
- 3 What is a Meat Slicer?
- 4 Different Kinds of Meat Slicer
- 5 What Can You Slice?
- 6 What’s Right For You: Heavy-Duty versus Light Use?
- 7 Factors & Features to Consider When Choosing
- 7.1 Overall Size/Dimensions/Weight
- 7.2 What will You be Slicing?
- 7.3 How Much Slicing will You be Doing?
- 7.4 What Size Food will You be Slicing?
- 7.5 How Much Power Do You Need?
- 7.6 Build Quality
- 7.7 Belt-Driven or Gear-Driven?
- 7.8 Ease of Cleaning
- 7.9 Integrated Blade Sharpener
- 7.10 Price
- 7.11 Size of Blade
- 7.12 Rubber No-Slip Feet
- 8 What are the Different Parts of a Meat Slicer?
- 9 How to Use a Meat Slicer
- 10 Cleaning the Meat Slicer after Use
- 11 Pro Usage Tips
- 12 Other Important Safety Tips
- 13 Advice on Guiding the Meat
- 14 Conclusion
KWS Premium Commercial 420w Electric Meat Slicer
Our number 1 pick, and the best meat slicer for heavy use!
When I was first researching this machine, I came across someone online who actually thought it was a motorbike! If that doesn’t say power, then what does?!
Out of the box, this unit impresses immediately: sleek, gleaming, aluminum alloy construction and a powerful 420W .57HP pure copper motor. OK, I can see how it could be mistaken for a motorbike!
But know that this is a big unit. With dimensions close to 2’ by 2’ and weighing in over 60 pounds, this is not a machine you would lift in and out of your kitchen cabinet! This machine is designed to be permanently on the countertop and is the closest to a professional machine we have on this list.
Built for demanding work conditions, it’s well-suited to commercial use; farms, sub shops, catering businesses etc. If you make your own bacon or smoked meats, do a lot of slicing, and want a top performer that will not tire even after hours of continuous use, this machine is for you.
This premium-grade slicer that will go the distance, effortlessly and rapidly slicing everything from meats (cooked and frozen) and vegetables to cheese, bread and fruits.
I really liked the super-smooth Teflon-coated stainless-steel blade. As well as giving you total precision control with slicing anything from wafer-thin to .6”, it cleans up beautifully and food particles do not adhere as much as they do on non-coated blades.
Given that cleaning slicers is a negative for some users (and still totally worth it when you sink your teeth into that fresh turkey and pastrami sub!), having an easier-to-clean blade is a plus for me.
- Powerful 420W .57HP pure copper motor
- Big 12” durable and anti-rust 304 stainless steel blade with Teflon coating
- Excellent slicing thickness range: 0 to .6”
- Waterproof on/off switch (reassuringly safe when your hands are wet)
- Skid-proof rubber feet for stability
- Large (11×8.5×8”) food tray to hold big pieces of food
- Blade rotation speed: 440rpm
- 61 pounds
- built-in “carriage return” (remember typewriters?!) so that after pushing the food through the slicer, the food tray will gently return automatically
- Built-in sharpener with dual whetstones
- Comes with an additional belt and sharpening whetstone in the box
- Quiet motor
- Ease of use, runs smoothly
- Easy-to-clean Teflon blade
- Good customer service including website that can provide replacement parts such as drive belts
- Written instructions in the package could be more in-depth
- Heavy, but this is also what makes the unit powerful and high-performance
- Would have been nice to have an interchangeable serrated blade although the blade provided pretty much does it all
- At the higher end of the cost scale, but then top quality always is!
KWS Commercial 320w Electric Meat Slicer
Our pick for the best meat slicer for light to frequent use – suitable for most home users.
We love the KWS 420w slicer so much, that we’re recommending it again…only this time with slightly fewer and smaller features and less power. Oh, and this one rings up $150 less expensive. Yeah, thought you’d be interested in that.
This is an excellent choice of slicer that delivers commercial-grade performance at a home-appliance price point. It’s still considered a semi-commercial-grade machine and will have no trouble slicing meats raw (semi-frozen works best) and cooked, cheese, vegetables and fruit.
It wows you with the same beautiful sleek design as the 420W when you pull it out of the box. So what’s different?
It’s not as heavy as its 420w relation, but still weighs in at a pretty hefty 39.2 pounds so, like the 420W, it’s not a machine you want to be moving around.
This unit features a good-sized but smaller food tray and will easily handle slabs of meat up to 7.5” high. We like the slightly smaller overall dimensions of the KWS 320W (20.1”L x 18.5”W x 15.5”H), because it can work in a home kitchen as long as there’s sufficient counter space.
If you love cooking your own bacon and pork joints, slicing up a pack of great deli meat for the week or even if you have a small catering or food-related business, this could be a great choice for you. The price point is excellent for a machine with this much power, and even running it continuously for an hour will not strain or overheat the .4HP motor.
So if you’re looking for a top-of-the-line slicer but don’t have room for the premium-grade KWS 420W, this could be a trusty workhorse for you that still delivers peak performance and promises unparalleled durability.
- Hard-working .4HP motor that will not tire on the job
- Large 10” steel Teflon-coated blade that will slice food up to 7.5”L
- Generous-sized food tray 7.5”L x 7”W x 5.5”H
- Excellent slicing thickness range: 0 to .4”
- The blade runs at 525rpm
- 39.2 pounds
- Waterproof on/off switch (reassuringly safe when your hands are wet)
- Skid-proof rubber feet for stability
- Built-in sharpener with dual whetstones
- Comes with an additional belt and sharpening whetstone in the box
- The 10” blade is made from high-quality steel with a nice smooth Teflon coating for easy clean-up.
- The unit fits on a counter without taking up the whole counter!
- Great range of thicknesses, will slice everything from hearty steaks to shaved prosciutto.
- A great price for a commercial model with significant HP.
- Hmm, we got nothing here! This is a great machine. Just be sure it’s not too much machine (weight and overall size) for your space.
Tangkula 9″ Blade Commercial Meat Slicer
Another great pick for light to frequent use home users.
Taking a step down in price, power and size made me not sure what to expect. Can the unit still do the job well? Will it get over-heated or strained with a larger load? But this machine made the short-list precisely because it checked all the boxes. Including coming out of the box!
Right away you see that Tangkula has succeeded in packing in all the top features into a smaller compact unit with plenty of eye-candy counter appeal: sleek easy-to-clean aluminum body, smooth curves and sturdy black knobs, handles and feet.
With overall dimensions roughly 17 x 14 x 14” and weighing in at 34 pounds, this slicer is just about light enough to lift in and out of a cabinet, but heavy enough to stand firm during operation without slipping. And of course it takes up less counter space than the previous two models reviewed.
The 150W/.2HP motor does a nice job of slicing meat, vegetables, bread, cheese and fruit. If you’re going to work with raw meat, make sure it’s only partially frozen so that the machine can handle it.
The Thickness Adjustment Knob gives you a great range of slicing options from 0-.47” and the 9” steel blade with built-in whetstone sharpeners will stay razor-sharp and effortlessly slice food up to 7”.
- Good power in the 150W/.2HP motor for light to medium slicing jobs
- Solid sleek aluminum construction
- 9” stainless steel blade
- Slicing range 0-.47”
- Overall dimensions 17.7”L x 13.8W x 14”H
- Built-in whetstone sharpeners
- 34 pounds
- Rubber suction feet
- Heat output holes underneath to disperse heat which builds up faster in machines with smaller motors
- Has a great ring guard for safety which is standard but still good to see in a machine that overall down-sized from the big guns
- Waterproof on/off switch to keep wet hands safe
- Quiet running
- All parts run smoothly and effortlessly making this machine a pleasure to operate.
- This machine will need a break after 30 minutes or so continuous use. But hey, that’s a lot of slicing time! For the home user, this unit can still crank out enough for a good pile of deli sandwiches.
- You have to remember to freeze raw meat…but not too much! Set a timer, and get it just right for this machine to handle. Couple hours in the freezer should be just right.
Chef’s Choice 615 Premium Electric Food Slicer
This is our ‘best budget pick’, and the meat slicer most suited to light and infrequent use.
Right out of the box, we could see that this was a slicer in a different category. Design and build is more straightforward and basic than the other three models we’ve reviewed here. But read on, because this slicer is an excellent choice for people who slice meats only occasionally, and are not looking for a machine to take on big burly slicing jobs.
The 120W motor brings in this slicer just a little under the Tangkula in power, and it also has a smaller 7” blade which means you will not be slicing big pieces over 5” high.
But with a manageable size of approximately 15Lx10Wx11H, this unit is definitely a great choice if you want to store the machine out of sight and then bring out to use occasionally — without busting your back!
We were impressed at the range of thicknesses the Chefs Choice offers — 0.1-.75” — is a range broader than many larger models. And the machine de-constructs beautifully into multiple pieces for easy cleaning, which is really important where raw meat and impeccable hygiene is concerned.
- Overall dimensions: 15.5”L x 10.4”W x 11”H
- 7” steel serrated blade
- All structural components are cast aluminum and stainless steel
- Gear-driven for added longevity of operation
- 11 pounds
- 120W motor
- The power cord tucks neatly into the unit for storage
- Removable plastic receiving tray for slices. Just toss it in the dishwasher!
- Gear-driven motor for premium durability and longevity
- Many pieces come apart for easy cleaning
- Excellent range of slicing thickness for a lower-priced machine: 0.1-.75”
- Special lock button to ensure the blade doesn’t move when the machine is not in use
- Light! 11 pounds is an easy lift for most.
- Gear-driven motor (ah, you noticed it was in “what we liked” too!) because while gears are more durable than belt-driven motors, replacing or repairing them eventually costs more than just quickly switching out a new drive belt.
- This unit struggles with soft cheese like pepperjack, but will handle a hard cheese ok.
- Super-thin slicing jobs may give better results with a non-serrated blade which is not included, but you can buy separately.
- Good little worker for light use, but will need regular rests to cool down if you have a lot to slice.
Why Would I Want a Meat Slicer?
It’s a good question. You don’t want to needlessly fork over a load of dosh and fill your kitchen with more stuff. So let’s talk about need. Take a moment now to ask yourself the following:
- Do you have a large family?
- Do you host large gatherings, cookouts, tailgates, brunches?
- Do you make or smoke your own meats, bacon and/or cheese?
- Do you make a lot of sandwiches?
- Do you struggle to safely knife-cut meats and cheeses into uniform slices?
- Are precise size and weight of a slice vital to you for portion control?
- Do you like to save money?
OK, we know that’s a yes to the last question, but if you answered yes to any other questions, read on.
A good meat slicer can be a huge help in a large busy home, saving you time at the chopping board and saving you money at the supermarket.
When I was making lunchbox sandwiches for four kids five days a week, making my own slices from bulk meat and cheese on the weekends was a real time-saver and cost-saver. It was kind of a life-saver!
Here are the Top 6 Benefits of Owning a Meat Slicer
Your time is valuable. If you spend longer than you want prepping food for family meals, for a catering business or social events, you can hugely reduce the time you are spending cutting by hand by investing in a fast, powerful and highly efficient meat slicer.
Take control of the thickness of your food slices, from wafer-thin for sandwiches to beautiful thick slices to enjoy as your main meal. A meat slicer will deliver precision perfection with every slice and also allow you to cut slices thinner than you ever could with a kitchen knife.
3. Ease of Use
A meat slicer is very simple to use and safer than cutting with a kitchen knife. It’s also always ready to go, no special set-up required besides selecting the slicing thickness.
For something such as a rib roast, turkey or a brisket, I would still use a good slicing knife, but anything else (bacon, ham, cheese) a good slicer is just so much easier, it’s not even a contest.
4. Saves Money
Buying pre-sliced foods at the deli will always cost you more than slicing them yourself. If you regularly buy a lot of sliced meats, cheeses, and breads, you can quickly make back your investment in a food slicer.
5. Portion control
Many of us are trying to keep a closer watch on how much we eat. By cutting foods to uniform thickness and size, a meat slicer can help you manage portion control. You can slice up a bunch of steaks to freeze and know the exact size, weight, and calories you’ll be pulling out the freezer for each meal.
This is my personal favorite. The way fresh sliced meats and cheeses fold so beautifully on a sandwich, the sparkling, juicy freshness of just-sliced vegetables and fruits are as aesthetically pleasing as the food is tasty. Good looks as well as good flavor. Can’t beat that.
What is a Meat Slicer?
You’ve seen them at the deli, making short, neat work of slicing meats and cheeses. Heavy for stability with a large round blade, all meat slicers will have a thickness adjustment knob to allow you to choose how thick or thin you want the slices to be.
But you don’t need to go as heavy-duty and big as the supermarket version. An excellent selection of meat slicers is now available for the home user.
Here’s a great short video showing how easy and straightforward it is to use a meat slicer.[ty vid=”ZD93jyp8y60″]
Different Kinds of Meat Slicer
You basically have three options:
But seriously, we don’t recommend going back to yesteryear and manually cranking out your slices, unless you enjoy that Waltons kind of experience!
However, manual slicers will, of course, give you total control. So if you’re looking to slice small quantities and not on a regular basis, this could work for you. It’s not easy to find manual slicers these days though, so we will not be covering them in this post.
Automatic is the most popular option for big restaurants and food stores where volume is high because an automatic meat-slicer is turbocharged and can slice up to 60 slices in a minute. Just choose your settings and let it do all the work.
But these machines are massive and expensive. We don’t recommend these for home use. Total overkill and costing too much money.
Electric meat slicers are our #1 choice. Fast, efficient, powerful, safe and easy to clean. What’s not to like? Electric is the most popular choice for home use. Just plug in the machine and run the meat (or cheese, vegetables or bread) through the blade.
What Can You Slice?
A meat slicer is a misnomer! As well as all meats, raw and cooked (note that raw meat will slice best when semi-frozen!), many hard cheeses, breads, fruits, and vegetable can be sliced beautifully on a meat slicer.
So, vegetarians: don’t stop reading!
What’s Right For You: Heavy-Duty versus Light Use?
There are three “grades” of electric meat slicer: heavy-duty commercial, frequent home user, and light home use. Let’s take a look at these in more detail.
Heavy-Duty / Commercial
These top-of-the-line meat slicers are the biggest, fastest and most robust on the market …with a price tag to match.
If you’re looking to do a lot of slicing on a regular basis or kit out a restaurant or sub shop, this is for you.
These titans are big, bulky (70-130 pounds!) and built to last. Not designed to be moved in and out of kitchen cabinets.
They come with an abundance of safety and convenience features, such as moisture-proof touchpad controls, multiple speeds, automatic shut-off, removable carriages for cleaning and zero to minimal blade exposure for safety.
½ HP is the standard for commercial meat slicers and will stand up to frequent heavy use without overheating, slicing pretty much anything you can throw at them! #
Starting at around $400, these big boys can run into the thousands for top-of-the-line models.
Typically 13” but anything from 9-14” is considered commercial-grade. Some machines will come with an alternate blade so you can switch between serrated and non-serrated depending on what you are slicing
Restaurants, sandwich shops, and other food industry or catering businesses
Frequent at-Home Use
These mid-range slicers are an excellent choice for big, busy families, or if you regularly host cookouts and gatherings for lots of people.
Or maybe you cook and smoke your own meats and then like to do all the slicing prep for freezing? The meat slicer is your friend for any of these situations.
With a larger, more powerful motor and larger blade, they can easily handle a variety of meats, many can manage hard cheeses too, although, with lighter units, the motor can become strained if the machine is used for more than 30 minutes continuously.
Weighing in around the 10-40 pound mark means these are machines that can be moved in and out of storage if necessary.
Typically constructed from stainless steel and aluminum alloy, with some plastic parts, these machines aren’t as ruggedly built as commercial-grade models, but then again they are not expected to work so hard either.
240-320 watts of power is typical for these mid-range machines, which will quickly see you through a moderate job, but you will need to give the slicer a break after 30 minutes if you have more to slice.
9-10” blade is the standard for a mid-grade machine
Ideal for regular but not heavy use. 30 minutes slicing for family sandwiches, or prepping for a big gathering/brunch/cookout is the perfect task for these meat slicers.
Light at-Home Use
These meat slicers are designed for low volume applications with less than 1 hour of slicing per day. Great for slicing meat, bread, fruits, and vegetables, they aren’t meant for cutting raw or frozen meat and / or cheese.
The motor will need to have regular breaks to cool down if the slicing job is a big one.
Cast aluminum and stainless steel is the norm, with some plastic components such as the food pusher and the receiving tray.
Light-weight models will run more slowly and need breaks more frequently with their 120-150W smaller motors
7” diameter is typical for entry-level machines which means you can’t slice anything taller than 7” as the blade will not cut through the whole surface
A perfect machine for occasional light use.
Factors & Features to Consider When Choosing
Consider the overall machine (which can weigh anything from 10 to 70 or more pounds) and consider your counter space and kitchen storage.
Don’t forget to think too of your own muscle power! Are you up to lifting a big machine in and out of a cabinet regularly? Do you have enough space to just leave the machine out on the counter?
What will You be Slicing?
If you’re thinking big cuts of meat and large blocks of cheese, then you’ll be needing a big enough food tray to hold the food, and a blade large enough to cut through the whole piece cleanly in a single pass.
Also, you may be surprised to know that cheese is harder for these machines to slice than meat and entry-level models will generally not handle cheese at all.
How Much Slicing will You be Doing?
The motors on smaller “lighter” slicers will overheat with intensive use and require breaks to cool down. About 15 minutes continuous use would be the maximum for these models before needing a break.
That said, these lighter machines are perfect for occasional or light use. But if you’ll be using a meat slicer regularly and for long periods, you’ll need to opt for big, powerful and heavy-duty.
What Size Food will You be Slicing?
Thick slices of steak to serve up with mashed potatoes or paper-thin pastrami for sublime subs? Make sure the Thickness Adjustment Knob of your chosen model has the range of slicing you are looking for.
How Much Power Do You Need?
This is a question of how much and what will you be slicing?
Entry-level machines can handle cooked meats, bread and vegetables with 120W/.2 HP. Just know that you will have to let the machine rest after 15 minutes of slicing to allow the motor to cool.
But crank this up to a hefty 420W/.5HP if you need to slice semi-frozen meat, cheeses or any foods in quantity. Premium-grade machines with .5HP will handle anything you can push at them.
If you’re looking for premium quality, then big and bulky is good. Solid steel and cast aluminum construction will ensure durability and ease of use.
With meat slicers, the price will really dictate the quality of the product. You pay more; you get more.
Belt-Driven or Gear-Driven?
This is what powers the motor and while gears are more durable and longer-wearing – especially nylon gears which are top quality and quieter-running too – this is a mechanical system that will likely wear down eventually and need repairing or replacing which is expensive.
While not as durable as gears, belt-driven models are more common these days as the drive belts are easy and cheap to replace yourself, without the need of a technician.
Ease of Cleaning
When you’re dealing with meat, sanitation has to be impeccable. And this is a job that’s necessary every time you use your slicer, so thinking about how easy it is to clean is important.
Some models will come with a special attachment to make removal and cleaning of the blade easier. If this is a chore you will not relish, make a note of just how many knobs and screws will be involved in cleaning so you don’t have to get out the toolbox every time you use your slicer!
Integrated Blade Sharpener
The best meat slicers these days incorporate this terrific feature. Whetstones for continuous grinding of the blade during use are housed above the blade saving you from having to hand-sharpen which, with a blade this sharp, is a dangerous job. A built-in sharpener is a nice feature!
As with all things, you get what you pay for. Premium-grade machines will last longer, provide better smoother service, and handle anything you want to slice.
You’re looking at anything from $350-$3000 for a top-of-the-line meat slicer. For light and occasional use, you can get away with spending $100- $200 on an entry-level unit. And mid-grade models will run $150- $400.
Size of Blade
A diameter of 7-9” is typical for lighter use, 9-14” for commercial/heavy use.
Rubber No-Slip Feet
You don’t want a 50-pound machine with a razor-sharp speeding blade to be shifting about as you use it!
Look for sturdy rubber feet or even suction cups to ensure your machine has sufficient grip and stability during operation.
What are the Different Parts of a Meat Slicer?
Let’s take a good look at one and see!
The most important feature of the meat slicer. Attached to the machine by a heavy-duty bolt from the back, these round razor-sharp blades are usually made from high-quality, corrosion-resistant 420J steel and are protected by a blade guard for safety reasons (not shown here so that you can see the entire blade).
Blades come in different sizes according to the grade of the machine (higher-grade models have a larger blade fitted) and will detach easily but safely for cleaning.
B) Blade Guard
Sometimes called the “base plate”, this all-important part covers the blade so that no part of the blade is exposed to the operator during use. (The blade guard is not shown here in order to show clearly the full blade itself.)
C) Blade Sharpener
Most quality machines now come with a sharpener built right into the machine. The blade will never dull, tear ragged slices or need sharpening. Love this feature!
Typically, the sharpener consists of two whetstones, housed at the top of the blade, one at the back and one at the front. These stones grind and hone the blade with every revolution making it a no-brainer and maintenance-free.
It’s also safer to have the sharpener built in because it means less handling of this dangerously sharp blade.
D) Food Tray
Sometimes called the “carriage”, this is where the food is positioned, ready to be passed through the slicer.
E) Manual Guide
This handle (on electric and manual models) is attached to and protected by the food tray itself so that your hand comes nowhere near the blade as it works.
On an automatic model, there is no manual guide because the food tray is fully automated and slides back and forth past the blade with incredible speed to churn out pounds of meat per minute.
The food sits in the food tray but rests at an angle against the ramp. As the blade turns, the manual guide is pushed firmly but steadily back and forth along the ramp and through the blade.
G) Baffle Plate
This is like the “after” ramp which the food slides against after slicing and before returning for another pass.
H) Thickness Adjustment Knob
Here’s where you select the thickness of your slices, from hearty slices of bread for sandwiches to paper-thin slices of meat for those sandwiches. The range of thicknesses will vary from model to model, but is typically .1-.6”.
I) Non-Slip Feet
Rubber feet or even suction cups are essential to hold the machine firmly in place during operation.
How to Use a Meat Slicer
Here are some simple steps to follow when cleaning a meat slicer. It’s not difficult, but it’s important to do this job carefully and with your full attention. You love all your ten fingers, right?
- Always wear cut-resistant gloves when using and cleaning the machine, and especially when handling the blade.
- Standing to the side of the machine so that the manual guide/handle is on your right, slide the food tray towards you. Note: If you are left-handed, you will still be operating the machine the same way.
- Load the meat onto the food tray and ensure that it is pressing firmly against the ramp.
- Using the thickness adjustment knob, select the thickness of slice you want.
- Plug in the machine and turn it on.
- With steady but firm pressure, guide the meat past the blade by pushing the manual guide away from you.
- Once the meat has passed through the blade, simply draw the manual guide back towards you, and repeat. So easy.
- When you’re done, turn off the machine and unplug it. Set the adjustable thickness knob to zero to take the strain off the machine when not in use, and also ensure that the blade is not exposed at all while being stored.
Cleaning the Meat Slicer after Use
Unplug the machine and set the adjustable thickness knob to zero. This will make the blade flush with the ramp which will reduce the chance of injury.
Different models will vary of course, but typically, after unplugging the machine, you detach the food tray and the blade cover by manually unscrewing a couple of knobs.
Wash any removed parts by hand in hot soapy water and dry.
Carefully, wearing your cut-resistant gloves and using hot water and soap, hand-wash the main body of the machine, paying particular attention to all parts that food has touched: the food tray, the ramp, the receiving surface and the blade. Note: use gentle strokes from the center of the blade towards the outer edge, never run your sponge along the blade itself.
Rinse and sanitize all parts using a spray bottle and clean cloth.
Remove the blade. Don’t forget your cut-resistant gloves! With the blade cover off, unscrew the small screws that connect the blade to the machine and very carefully remove the blade for washing, rinsing and sanitizing.
Don’t forget also to wash and sanitize the machine where the blade had been while the blade is removed as food particles and bacteria can reach these parts too.
Some models come with a Safe Blade Removal System that affixes to the front of the blade so that you can remove it from the machine safely, never exposing your fingers to a sharp edge. With the blade still attached to the Safe Blade Removal System, carefully wash, sanitize and dry the back of the blade before reversing all steps to re-connect the parts.
Every time the blade is washed, food-grade lubricating oil should be applied to it afterward.
For more detail on how to safely clean a meat slicer, check out this guide from the WebsaturantStore.com.
Pro Usage Tips
- Cleaning a meat slicer correctly is important but will take a little time, so cut back on this by planning out your week and slicing up what you ‘ll need for several days (lunch meat, cookouts, family dinners). This way, one use of the slicer (and one cleaning!) will have you set up for several days and your sliced meat will stay good in the refrigerator for a few days, or even longer in the freezer.
- Anything cold and hard is going to be easier to slice than soft and warm. So cheese right out of the refrigerator, semi-frozen meat etc.
Other Important Safety Tips
- Never use the machine to cut cooked meat after it’s been used to cut raw meat.
- Always make sure all safety guards are in place before starting the motor.
- Do not allow anyone under 18 years old to use a meat slicer.
- Always use the manual guide or handle to push the food towards the blade, never your hands.
- Always be sure to unplug from the outlet before removing any parts for cleaning.
- Never cut meat with bones in it!
Advice on Guiding the Meat
Unless you buy a fully automatic hands-free slicer that moves the food back and forth through the blade by itself, you will need to learn the “feel” for pushing the manual guide towards the blade.
Every machine will be a little different, but with entry-level units, you’ll hear the motor straining a little and the RPM slowing if you push too fast. Follow these simple tips for quickly learning the feel of your machine:
- Use a firm and steady pushing motion, never force.
- Listen to and watch the blade. Did it slow down? Did the motor sound change? If so, slow down your pushing motion a little.
- If the motor changes sound, turn off the machine and let the motor rest and cool down for a couple of minutes. This should not be an issue with premium units, but slicers at a lower price point with smaller motors will need regular breaks if you work them hard.
For efficiency, speed and cost savings, you can’t beat investing in a meat slicer. Even the premium models will pay for themselves over time when you think what you’re paying for the deli to slice for you, instead of buying in bulk and doing it yourself.
And when it comes to taste, there’s just no argument. Nothing beats fresh-off-the-slicer meats and cheeses, especially if you do your own bacons, pork loins and other large smoked or cooked meats.
We hope in this post we’ve helped you understand more about the features and operation of a meat slicer. And we hope that, with our handy buying guide, we’ve made choosing the best meat slicer for you an easier task. But one thing we’re pretty sure of, you want one. You want one right now! And you know it’s going to be one of your best kitchen buys ever!
Let us know what you thought of our meat slicer picks. Did you go with one of these models? How did that work out for you? We love comments and feedback so please join the conversation below!