A commercial meat slicer is a workhorse needed to cut large volumes of meat and cheese in a professional kitchen. Slicers are designed to quickly and consistently make uniform slices for sale or serving. With so many features and specifics to consider, choosing a meat slicer might seem complicated. That’s why we’ve compiled this buying guide to help you find the commercial meat slicer that best fits your needs.
Kinds of Meat Slicers
Slicers come in a variety of configurations that meet different volume and usage needs. Before picking out a type of slicer, think about what you’ll be using it for. There’s no need to buy a heavy-duty slicer if you only plan on using it once per week. Similarly, if you plan to sell meat by the pound, a light-duty slicer won’t cut it. Read about the main categories of slicers below.
If you operate a restaurant, consider your menu when buying a slicer. If you serve a lot of sandwiches, pizzas, or burgers, you will want to look at a medium- or heavy-duty slicer. A slicer should keep up with your volume needs as well as how long you plan on operating the slicer per day. If your slicer will only get an hour or less of use per day, you may want to look at a lower duty slicer.
Meat Slicer Features
When it comes to picking out a slicer, the features are just as important as the capacity. Features on your slicer will help with things like easy cleaning, sharpening, quicker slicing, and more. We discuss the most common features available on commercial slicers and what they mean to you.
Automatic vs. Manual Slicing
When operating a slicer, the carriage will glide back and forth to move the product along the blade for slicing. An automatic carriage will move on its own while you push the product into the blade. Automatic is ideal for busy kitchens that need to quickly slice a large amount of product. Whereas manual carriages require the physical action of moving the carriage back and forth to slice product. Choosing automatic versus manual carriages is entirely about preference.
A slicer with a removable carriage allows for deeper and easier cleaning of the entire unit. Removing your carriage to clean gives you access to the surface area that gets dirty with food and juices and can be unsanitary for food. Look for a removable carriage in your slicer to get the best cleaning access in your unit. This feature is great for passing health inspections!
The knife on your slicer needs to be cleaned every day. This is much easier to accomplish with the use of a removable knife. A removable knife allows you to take the blade from your slicer to a washing area to clean thoroughly. Be sure to get a removable knife for the thorough cleaning of your blade.
No-voltage release is a safety feature on a meat slicer that protects the operator in the event of a power loss. This feature prevents the slicer from turning back on after power returns if there’s a loss of power. If a slicer gets unplugged or there is a power outage and is then connected back to power, this feature requires a hard restart on your slicer to continue use.
Gravity feed is a feature that assists in pushing the product into the blade more easily. A gravity-fed slicer uses an angle (typically 45 degrees) and product clamp to help feed meat or cheese into the slicer, requiring less physical effort to push the product through. This also helps eliminate product waste, unlike the traditional pushing design.
A traditional product pusher in a slicer has a handle and requires the user to manually push the product into the blade. This involves more effort than a gravity-fed slicer and can sometimes lead to more product waste due to the design.
Slicers typically come with a built-in knife sharpener that allows the user to keep their knife sharpened without having to remove it from the unit. Often a knife sharpener will be built onto the top of the carriage and allows you to run the blade through a series of stones to sharpen.
Horsepower on a slicer will determine the volume of use that it can handle daily. The higher the HP on a slicer, the longer and quicker it can slice. For example, heavy-duty slicers typically have ½ HP and light-duty will have ¼ HP.
The size of your slicer blade can also indicate how much volume your slicer can manage. A larger blade helps to handle larger volumes of product daily. A typical knife size for a heavy-duty slicer is 13 inches, and a medium-duty slicer would be 12 inches.
Meat Slicer Accessories
When you purchase a fully-loaded meat slicer, make sure to consider the types of accessories you will need. Covers are perfect to keep your slicer clean from debris when not in use. Look for ingredient chutes, food-safe lubricant, and cleaning tools to ensure your slicer works to its full potential.
Meat Slicer FAQs
Have some questions about the daily use and maintenance of meat slicers? We’ve answered some of the most common questions that we get about meat slicers.
How Often Should I Clean My Slicer?
You should wipe down your slicer after every use, or any time you change products. This will help facilitate safe food practices and keep your slicer sanitary. High-volume delis should take apart and wash their slicer daily. Be sure to clean in all the nooks and crannies to get any food debris or juices that have gotten in! Read our detailed instructions for cleaning a meat slicer.
What Can You Slice with a Meat Slicer?
Your commercial slicer is ultimately made to slice meats and cheeses. The type of products will vary from hard meats to lunch meats like turkey and ham. Check your specific model to see if it’s made to slice hard cheeses. Note: Not all meat slicers are meant for slicing cheese.
When Should I Replace the Blade on My Slicer?
While this will depend on a variety of factors like how often you use your slicer, what size of blade you have, and more – it’s a good rule of thumb that you should replace your slicer blade when the gap between the carriage and the blade is larger than the thickness of product you typically slice.
When to Sharpen My Slicer Blade?
You should sharpen your slicer blade according to how often you use your slicer. If you use your slicer daily and with heavy volumes, you should sharpen the blade at least once per week. Check out our sharpening equipment for knives and blades if your slicer doesn’t have a built-in sharpener.
How to Use a Meat Slicer Safely?
The key to safely using a meat slicer is to keep safety in mind. Some tips for operation include reading your owners’ manual, wearing cut-resistant gloves, and keeping your blade sharp. For more information on safely using your slicer, read the OSHA Safety Fact Sheet for Food Slicers.
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Kelsey Moriarty is a Content Specialist at Central Restaurant Products. Her focus at Central is in the Food Prep and Furniture areas. Kelsey’s background is in technology and marketing with particular experience in SEO and E-Commerce. She enjoys helping customers make better decisions as well as working on her copywriting skills!