Top Factors When Choosing an Electric Meat Slicer
You’ve heard a lot about the benefits of a meat slicer. You’ve never really thought you needed one as you’ve always considered a knife sufficient for your slicing needs. But then, all the stories of how they slice beautifully, evenly and quickly have got you thinking. Now you’re turning into a believer. And trust me when I say, once you give it a try, you’ll be surprised how you survived all this time without one. The electric meat slicer becomes more than just an appliance in your kitchen, it becomes your companion. It loyally sits in wait on the kitchen counter, waiting for that time you’ll hand it a chunk of meat to slice.
Now that you believe, you set forth to get one for yourself. But wait. There is a multitude of electric slicers in the market. If it’s your first time buying one, you’re going to be overwhelmed by the options. Take an easy first and get a few things straight in your mind. Ask yourself, what’s your intended use? That, people, is a good place to start. Think long and think hard. Are you looking for a slicer to complement your deli or restaurant business? If yes, then a mid tier to premium slicer is for you. Perhaps you only need one because you’re tired of spending a lot of extra cash at the deli. You only need to slice a couple of chunks in a day or week. If this is your reason, a light duty, entry level slicer is for you. Still, we’re only getting started. Whether premium, mid-tier or entry level, there’re still so many options, in each category, that bring different offerings to the table. So, what other factors should you consider? Let’s take a look.
It’s obvious, isn’t it? Once you know what your intended use is, you’ll know which category of meat slicer to choose from. For light home use, you’re hovering around the entry level category, right? The cost of the entry level ones ranges from $50 to $150. Mid tier slicers, on the other hand, will cost you from $200 to $300 and the premium slicers will cost your above $300 and might even go up to and beyond a whopping $500. How much are you willing to spend? If you’re running a busy deli or restaurant then it would make sense to go for the high end slicers as the cost might be justified by the number of customers you serve. You’ll probably have the capacity to serve more people because of your new acquisition. Same thing for you home users. If you only need to slice once or twice a week, I suggest looking at the lower cost slicers. However, if you’ll be using the slicer for a couple of hours a day, then the slightly more expensive entry level slicers would be a perfect fit. But cost isn’t everything, there’s more you need to look at.
That’s right people, design. When buying an electric slicer, you’ll hear of words like, RPM, blade diameter, build etc. It’s just like buying a car, I think. Now, to all you newcomers, let me bring you up to speed on the parts of an electric slicer. There’s the blade which rotates to slice the food, obviously. This blade is powered by a motor that is tucked away inside the body. Keeping our hands away from harms way is the pusher or meat grip. It holds the product and delivers it to the blade. There’s the gauge plate that surrounds the blade and move as you adjust the thickness of the slice. And, yes, the adjustment knob for adjusting the thickness. Now that we’re all on the same page, the important things to consider on the design are, first of all, the blade material and diameter. The blade does most of the heavy lifting so it has to be made of a hard wearing material. Most blades are made of stainless steel, which is good enough. Some mid tier to premium slicers have their blades made of the fancy carbon steel, which is like the Rolls Royce of blades. Some are even embellished with chromium plating. Of course, these bells and whistles add onto the cost so its good to take note of that. You’ll notice that most low tier slicers have a blade diameter of 7 inches. This is quite appropriate for light home use. Mid tier to premium slicers might have blade diameters of up to 12 inches. Clearly, these are made for medium to heavy use.
The blade does a lot of the work, that’s true. It’s the star of the show. But the unsung hero is the motor. This is where all the horsepower comes from. Ask about the RPM of the motor. Entry level slicers will have a horsepower of between 100 and 150 RPM with 150 being the more ambitious low tier variations. Mid level to premium slicers will mostly bear motor speeds from 180 RPM to above 200 RPM. Do you need all that power or would most of it go to waste? I’ll leave you to mull over that.
SIZE AND WEIGHT
The size and weight are also important when looking at design. A simple home slicer need not be very heavy. What you need is one that you whip out occasionally and shove back into its storage place when you’re done. This, therefore, has to be compact and lightweight for you to move around. Basic slicers weigh an average of 10 pounds. On the flip side, if you’re going to regularly use the slicer, then, the heavier mid-tier or premium slicers won’t be an issue. In any case, you won’t need to store it as it’ll constantly be whirring, right? These could way anything upwards of 20 pounds. This weight is also determined by the material used. Premium slicers are normally built of aluminum alloys. You’ll find that most, if not all, parts are metallic. The entry level slicers, on the other hand, have certain plastic parts to keep the cost down.
Finally, on design, the build determines the noise level. Unfortunately, most low tier slicers are quite boisterous as well. They cause such a racket when powered, you’ll barely hear your own thoughts. Again, if you’re not going to use it often, then perhaps you can bear with the fracas once or twice a week. You’ll still find less noisy slicers at this level though, but you’ll have to fork out slightly more. Mercifully, the heavy use mid tier and premium slicers are wonderfully noiseless. The strong metallic bodies conceal the noisy motors within to enable you use them without compromising your hearing.
Aluminum alloys produce a more rugged slicer. With the low tier slicers having plastic parts, an attempt at over working them would lead to faster breakdowns and added stress to you. The higher tier slicers have a strong metallic build and will withstand intense assignments thus obviously lasting much longer under heavy use. A gripe people tend to have with certain low tier slicers is the use of plastic in the gears which breaks down much faster. Ask about this when buying your slicer. For the mid to high tier slicers, manufacturers never use plastic, except maybe on the food grip handle. Everything else is metallic, giving them high durability. If in the highly impossible case a high tier slicer has plastic in the build, run. It won’t last.
CLEANING AND MAINTENANCE
Since the slicers handle your food, they need regular, thorough cleaning. Basic slicers are painless to take apart. Rarely do you need tools to dismantle them and just as easily reassembly is a cinch. Okay, mid to premium slicers might be a bit more complicated to put asunder. Definitely, this is because of the stronger construction. They almost always need a screwdriver to dismantle and you’ll find that, in most, only the blade and perhaps the food tray will come off. These are some drawbacks that you’ll have to contend with if you’re looking for a heavy use slicer. For simple home slicers, I wouldn’t want one that takes ages to dismantle and clean. Perhaps steer clear from those. An entry level slicer has got to be uncomplicated and idiot proof in all aspects of cleaning.
All right, there you have it. When choosing a meat slicer, the most important thing is what you intend to use it for. There are some really good entry level slicers that work just as well as mid level slicers. In the same light, there are some really disappointing premium level slicers. You don’t really have to spend big bucks to get good quality. Just take note of all the factors and you should be happy with your purchase.