A Guide to Buying Commercial Meat Slicers


A true workhorse of any delicatessen, the commercial meat slicer is also an integral part of contemporary bistro and pub kitchens. These appliances are used to slice smoked and cured meats like hams, prosciutto, pastrami, etc., as well as various cheeses and vegetables, such as tomatoes and onions. They are also used to thinly shred lettuce to prepare one of the most common sandwich toppings. Manually slicing these foods is time-consuming, dangerous, and highly inefficient. Moreover, if cut by hand, it is near-impossible to get uniformity between slices. Investing in an appropriate meat slicer for your operation will make your sandwich station or deli section a well-oiled setup. A good commercial meat slicer will save you labor costs, drastically reduce cutting time, and help more customers, while minimizing wastage of the product.  

An employee should be careful while using a meat slicing machine because of its sharp moving parts, but operating the slicer itself is easy. Once the worker has prepared his/her hands by washing them and wearing gloves, the pusher arm is lifted and the food is placed on the surface of the slicer. The weighted arm is then put back over the food, locking it from the top. The slicer has a gauge that can be used to tune the blade to cut the food to your desired thickness. After adjusting it, the unit is turned on. If the meat slicer is manually operated, the worker then pushes the moveable carriage back and forth across the sharp, spinning blade to obtain the first slices of the food being cut. If any adjustment to the cut is needed, the gauge can be moved to fine-tune the thickness of the slice. Once the gauge is set to the appropriate setting, the carriage is moved back and forth until the desired amount of food is obtained. The slicer is then turned off, the gauge is set to zero and the product is removed. The slicer is finally wiped down and cleaned to prepare it for the next round of slicing. If the slicer has an automatic function, the machine can take over the part of moving the carriage back and forth, freeing the employee to multitask.

Types of Commercial Meat Slicers

Light-Duty Slicers: These are meant to be used sparingly throughout the day, for a total operational time of about an hour or two, at most. These are best suited for establishments like bistros and pubs that would only require them for certain menu items. Light-duty slicers are not suitable for slicing cheeses or frozen meats, as pushing these machines beyond their capabilities will likely end up in malfunction. These are mostly of the manual operation kind, with the blade size varying from 9-12”. The motors on these entry-level appliances can have from 1/16 to ⅓ hp of output.

Standard-Duty Slicers: These slicers are more robust than their lighter counterparts and function well in a small deli or pizzeria setting. These can also perform the task of an exceptional restaurant meat slicer. Standard-Duty slicers can be used for about 1-4 hours per day for primarily slicing vegetables and meats, although they can handle the occasional block of cheese as well. Standard-duty slicers offer more in terms of safety and convenience features than light-duty variants. The operation of these models may be manual or automatic and they have blade sizes that range from 10-14”. These usually come with motors that run between ⅓-½ hp.   

Heavy-Duty Slicers: The most reliable and robust of slicers make it to this list. These are premium, top-of-the-line offerings from manufacturers and are designed to run continuously for most of the day without risking burnout. Only the best meat slicers are available in this category. Heavy-duty slicers offer the most in terms of convenience, safety, and precision. These can conveniently slice regular meats, cheeses, and even frozen products without a hitch, making them ideal for large delis and supermarkets. The customer can pick these in either automatic or manual styles and they usually have a blade size of 13-14”. The motors on these models pack about ½ hp of output.   

Factors to Consider When Buying a Commercial Meat Slicer

Power OutputThe motors of commercial meat slicers are measured in horsepower and higher ratings are an indication of the durability and robustness of the model
Blade SizeThe size of the blade determines how fast and reliably the slicer can cut through the product. Light-duty slicers vary from 9-12”, standard-duty models are usually between 10-14”, while heavy-duty meat slicers come with a blade that is either 13” or 14” in size
Carriage SizeThe size of the moveable carriage determines the size of product the slicer can hold while cutting. Slicer models start with a size of 5” × 6” and go up to 13” × 15” or higher for the larger variants
Automatic vs. ManualThe operation of a meat slicer could be either done by hand or set to automatic, which increases productivity by freeing the employee to multitask, while the appliance is busy slicing the product. The best part about automatic machines is that they can be used in manual mode as well. These are best suited for busy delis and supermarkets while the manual models are more appropriate for smaller-scale operations
Belt vs. Gear DrivesCommercial meat slicers can be either driven by a belt or a gear. The most common system found in meat slicers is the belt drive, which requires a little more care and regular maintenance. In case of a malfunction, however, they are much cheaper to service than the gear models. The latter, though, has the benefit of being used in heavy-duty machines and can be used to regularly slice frozen products without the need for regular servicing
Cleaning and UpkeepMeat slicers are used for slicing a variety of products - from meats and cheeses to vegetables and it is very important to properly clean the machine between uses to prevent cross-contamination. Before making a purchase decision, it may be beneficial if you look for a model that has large gaps between components for an easier clean-up, and perhaps a kickstand that can prop up the slicer for cleaning underneath and all around the appliance

Slicer Cleaning and Maintenance

To keep a meat slicer running in top shape, it should be regularly cleaned of debris and sanitized with a mixture of cleaning fluid and water. Daily cleaning and sanitizing reduce the risk of bacterial build-up on the surface of the blades and the carriage. You should also take care to regularly lubricate the moving parts of the appliance with a food-grade oil to keep them operating smoothly. This would prevent putting undue stress on the belt or gear drive and the machine would be less susceptible to breaking down.

Best Commercial Meat Slicers

meat slicer

Skyfood Equipment 220E Food Slicer, Electric, Countertop with Gravity Feed

The Skyfood Equipment 220E Food Slicer has a cast-Aluminum construction with an anodized finish, and comes with a 9” diameter stainless-steel blade. It is an economy model with a gravity feed and can slice with a thickness of up to ½”. Included in the kit are a top-mounted sharpener, a dual-action knife sharpener, a safety rear ring guard, and a removable carriage for easy cleaning. The slicer is powered by a ¼ hp motor and is available at Chef Buyer.

commercial meat slicer

Admiral Craft SL300ES Meat Slicer

The Sl300ES model from Admiral Craft is a manual-type meat slicer that comes standard with a 12” diameter stainless steel blade, gravity feed, a top-mounted sharpener with two grinding stones, a removable ball-bearing carriage, and non-slip rubber feet. The construction is high-quality anodized Aluminum and includes an adjustable knob that can be used to set the blade for a ½” thick cut. It comes with a ⅓ hp motor.

commercial electric slicer

Berkel 827E-PLUS Slicer

The Berkel 827E-PLUS is an angled gravity-fed commercial meat slicer that comes with a single-speed ⅓ hp motor. At the heart of the operation is a 12” carbon-steel blade that can slice up to 9/16” with precision. As a part of the kit, you also get a built-in knife guard and a built-in sharpener. The finish is stainless-steel with sanitary anodized Aluminum and the appliance is easy to disassemble for easy cleaning without the need for any tools. You can pick this fantastic meat slicer at Chef Buyer.

electric meat slicer

Globe GC512 Food Slicer, Electric, Countertop with Manual Feed

The GC512 commercial meat slicer from Globe is a superior ChefMate ™ series Medium-Duty slicer with a 12” knife, top-mounted removable sharpeners, and gear-driven system for worry-free long-term usage. It is rated for 4-6 hours of daily use and is driven by a ⅓ hp motor. The GC512 is one of the top meat slicers available from Globe. It can cut slices up to ⅞” thick and has enough room to handle products 10” wide and 7-½” in diameter. As an additional safety measure, the knife cover has an interlock and a ring-guard attached. The Globe GC512 Food Slicer is available at Chef Buyer.

electric slicer

Globe SG13 Food Slicer, Electric, Countertop with Gravity Feed

Amongst one of the best meat slicers on the market, the SG13 Food Slicer from Globe stands out as an excellent option for those looking for a feature-packed product at an affordable price. The manual slicer has an LCD display which gives the user a 4-hour cleaning notification as well as system diagnostics, a powerful ½ hp motor which can run all day long without a problem, a 13” steel blade and a belt-driven system. It can easily handle large products 8” in diameter and 11” in width. The chassis is anodized Aluminum and features a kickstand for easy cleaning beneath and around the appliance. This model from Globe is available at Chef Buyer.

Posted by Damon Shrauner on 
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