Meat Slicers Review
Why Buy A Meat Slicer?
The top performers in our review are the EdgeCraft Chef's Choice 610, the Gold Award winner; the Maxi-Matic EMT-503B Elite, the Silver Award winner; and the Nesco FS-250, the Bronze Award winner. Here's more on choosing a meat slicer to meet your needs, along with detail on how we arrived at our ranking of 10 products.
If you have a large family or a big party to plan, going to the store to get meats, cheeses and other foods sliced can seem like just another time-consuming item on your to-do list. Having your own meat slicer at home saves you time by letting you slice food whenever you need to. A slicer is a larger upfront purchase compared to getting a little bit of food sliced at a time at a deli. However, if you plan on using the slicer often, it will pay for itself fairly quickly.
Slicing your meat is just one way to process it. You can also use a meat grinder, which lets you finely or coarsely grind meats, vegetables, grains and nuts, or add an attachment to make sausages. Together, food slicers and grinders can make your collection of kitchen appliances become much better-rounded. For more information on meat slicer safety and features, check out our articles about meat slicers.
Meat Slicers: How We Tested, What We Found
We tested how each slicer was able to handle creating thick and thin slices of ham, pepperoni, cucumbers, bell peppers, mozzarella cheese and artisan bread. We looked for an even cut across the piece of food. Additionally, we scored each slicer on how easy it was to use and how safe it felt to use. Below are some of the important things to note when considering which slicer will work best for your needs.
Performance: More Power Is Always Better
In looking for a high-quality food slicer for your home kitchen, you'll want to ensure you find one with enough power. In general, any slicer with at least 130 watts is well equipped to work with most food types. Some slicer motors are gear-driven, others are belt-driven, and some are both. Typically, gear-driven motors are slightly more powerful, making them more capable of processing non-lean meats and fibrous foods. However, they can be louder and more expensive to replace. Belt-driven motors are better for lean meats and run more quietly.
Consider what you will be using the slicer to cut and make sure you buy on with the right blade type for your needs. Slicers typically come with either a serrated blade or one with smooth edges, though each have their benefits. Serrated blades are ideal for slicing bread and tough meat, but they can potentially leave vegetables with jagged edges instead of a clean slice. Smooth-edged blades, also known as non-serrated blades, work best slicing through lean meats and vegetables, but they can struggle to cut tough meats or crusty breads without obliterating them. If you will be slicing all types of foods, consider one of our top-rated slicers or buying an additional blade that you can switch out as needed.
All slicers have a numeric thickness control knob or dial that gives you control over the thickness of each slice, located behind the carriage area. While the number ranges are not standardized across all slicers, typically a lower number means a thinner slice and a larger number means a thicker one. Most of the slicers we tested offered slicing thickness well beyond what you would need for a party tray or anything similar, but it was nice to see that option. You will easily be able to judge thickness by your eye, so you likely won't have to rely on the numeric setting.
Safety: Built-In, Mindful and Easy to Use
The blades in food slicers are extremely sharp. While that is good news in regards to the food that needs slicing, it also poses an increased safety risk. However, slicer manufacturers have taken this into consideration, and you'll see that most units feature at least a few built-in safety features.
Most slicers have a recessed power button, which makes it less likely to be accidentally turned on if you are moving it around on your countertop while it's plugged in. They also have hand guard systems in place, which puts a barrier between your fingers and the blade as you slice each unit of food. A blade-lock function prevents the blade from moving, which is handy during storage or between slicing sessions. The slicers have either rubberized feet or suction cups, which can mount directly to a countertop for stability.
Some slicers have a dual safety switch, which provides extra safety but may be a bit of a hassle to use. This feature requires you to activate an extra switch in order for it to work, and some, like the squeeze-activated ones, may be difficult to use if you have arthritis or struggle with those kind of movements.
Ease of Use: Slice and Clean in Minutes
A good food slicer is easy to use not just when you slice food, but while you clean it as well. Most slicers have the food carriage – the place where you sit the food as you slice it – permanently mounted to a sliding rack bar. This means you cannot remove it to clean; however, most of these do swing outward, so once you unplug the unit, you can then lean the carriage over the sink and run a sponge over it. The blades take only a few seconds to remove, but you will need to exercise caution as you do so, since the blades are sharp.
The motors for these slicers produce a decent amount of noise, though all within a range of about 60 to 70 decibels (dB). This is standardly measured as the difference between a conversation held in a restaurant or at work (60 dB) and busy traffic (70 dB). Some of the slicers we tested started off closer to 60 dB but reached closer to 70 dB after running for five to 10 seconds, and others got louder as we sliced food, as the motor was working harder. A few of them sounded really labored no matter what we sliced.
All the meat slicers have fairly similar dimensions, but you will want to measure any cabinet or area you may store the unit in, as they do not collapse or condense in any way. Additionally, some meat slicers come with a food tray, which helps you collect food as it exits the slicer. However, few slicers make it easy to fit a tray or plate behind the blade.
Warranty & Support: Easy and Reliable Wins
Because of the type of product this is, with its safety concerns and small parts, it is important to look for a slicer that comes with a good manufacturer warranty. If you ever have questions or concerns about the product, the company should be easy to get a hold of and should offer you a couple of options for how to do so. Additionally, it is helpful when a company offers a FAQs section on its website or a product manual, for added convenience.
Top Ten Reviews seeks, whenever possible, to evaluate all products and services in hands-on tests that simulate as closely as possible the experiences of a typical consumer. We obtained the units in our comparison through retail purchase. The manufacturers had no input or influence over our test methodology, nor was the methodology provided to any of them in more detail than is available through reading our reviews. Results of our evaluations were not provided to the companies in advance of publication.
Meat Slicers: Our Verdict and Recommendations
Three meat slicers – the EdgeCraft Chef's Choice 610, our Gold Award winner; the Maxi-Matic EMT-503B Elite, our Silver Award winner; and the Nesco FS-250, our Bronze Award winner – rose above the rest in our comparison, mostly for their safety features, efficient performance and ease of use. These are the factors we gave the most weight in our rankings. The Chef's Choice 610 edges out the other two because of its superior performance capacity and how easy it is to use and clean. The Maxi-Matic slicer offers a slightly larger blade and works well with all food types, and the Nesco offers even more power and a larger blade.
If you are on a budget but still want to enjoy the advantages of a consumer meat slicer, the Knox KN-SSMS is a good deal at about $60 and offers many of the same features as the higher-end ones. The best consumer-grade meat slicers, typically priced between $60 and $130, have built-in safety functionality, come with good manufacturer support, and are powerful and easy to clean.