Meat Slicers

Buying Guide

Here, we will explore everything you need to know about meat slicers, helping you improve the efficiency of your food service establishment and select the best meat slicer for your needs!

Deciding What's Best for You

When purchasing a commercial food slicer, it's important to take into consideration exactly what (and how much) you intend to slice, as different slicers have different capabilities for slicing meats, cheeses, and vegetables.

While entry level, lighter duty slicers offer a significantly lower price tag than larger, heavier duty models, they will quickly burn out if consistently pushed beyond their capacity. They are usually not designed to handle much, if any slicing of cheese.

Berkel 330M 13 inch Prosciutto Meat Slicer

Generally, heavier duty models also incorporate more usability and safety features. Depending on how much you use your deli slicer, you could make up the cost difference very quickly in increased productivity and safety, between a higher-end model and a less expensive option.

A specialty slicer, like Berkel's 330M Prosciutto meat slicer, is designed for slicing paper thin pieces of prosciutto and other gourmet deli meats. Blending the "wow" factor of its show-piece nature with the precision performance, it's a great addition to a classic bistro or deli.


In general, following these guidelines should help you find the perfect slicer for your facility:

  • Entry Level Slicers are best suited for operations where the slicer would be used for an hour or two at most per day. While designed for simple, safe operation, they are not recommended for slicing cheese, and do not offer as many safety or convenience features as higher-end models.
  • Mid-Tier Slicers generally have larger blades, a bit more horsepower, and can withstand more constant use than an entry-level model. Some models can handle occasional slicing of cheese, but are primarily intended for a few hours of vegetable or deli meat slicing per day. They usually offer a few more safety and convenience features than an entry-level model too.
  • Premium Slicers represent the top-of-the-line offerings from each manufacturer. Most are designed for heavy duty, constant use, and can slice cheese as well. These models offer design features that enhance the smoothness of operation, slice precision, and safe operation.

Entry Level

Model Type Blade Size Horsepower Cheese Slicing Max. Product Size Features
Manual 9" 1/4 Not recommended 7 1/2" x 5"
Removable product tray
Fixed ring guard
Aluminum construction
Manual 9" 1/4 Not recommended 7 1/8" x 6" (or 6" diameter)
Disassembles easily without tools for cleaning
Fixed ring guard
Stainless steel and anodized aluminum construction
Manual 9" 1/4 Not recommended 8" x 5" (or 6" round)
Non-stick coating on gauge plate and blade cover
Manual 10" 1/4 Not recommended 8" x 6 1/2"
Removable product tray
Fixed ring guard
Aluminum construction
Manual 10" 1/4 Not recommended 7 1/2" x 6" (or 7" diameter)
Disassembles easily without tools for cleaning
Fixed ring guard
Stainless steel and anodized aluminum construction
Manual 10" 1/3 Not recommended 8 3/4" x 6" (or 7" diameter
Disassembles easily without tools for cleaning
Fixed ring guard
Stainless steel and anodized aluminum construction
45 degree product table for easier product feed
Manual 10" 1/3 Not recommended 8 1/2" x 6" rectangular (or 7" diameter)
Non-stick coating on gauge plate and blade cover
Manual 12" 1/3 Not recommended 9" x 7"
Removable product tray
Fixed ring guard
Aluminum construction
Manual 12" 1/3 2-3 hours per day 8 3/4" x 7 1/4" (or 7" diameter
Disassembles easily without tools for cleaning
Fixed ring guard
Stainless steel and anodized aluminum construction
45 degree product table for easier product feed
Manual 12" 1/3 Not recommended 8 1/2" x 6 1/2" (or 7 1/2" round)
Non-stick coating on gauge plate and blade cover
Model Type Blade Size Horsepower Cheese Slicing Max. Product Size Features
Manual 12" 1/2 1 hour or less per day 11" x 8"
Removable product tray
Fixed ring guard
Aluminum construction
Manual 12" 1/2 4-5 hours per day 10 3/4" x 7 5/8" (or 7 3/8" diameter)
Disassembles easily without tools for cleaning
Fixed ring guard
Stainless steel and anodized aluminum construction
45 degree product table for easier product feed
Manual 14" 1/2 4-6 hours per day 11" x 8 1/2" (or 8 1/2" diameter)
Disassembles easily without tools for cleaning
Fixed ring guard
Stainless steel and anodized aluminum construction
45 degree product table for easier product feed
Manual 14" 1/2 4-6 hours per day 11" x 8 1/2" (or 8 1/2" diameter)
Disassembles easily without tools for cleaning
Fixed ring guard
Stainless steel and anodized aluminum construction
45 degree product table for easier product feed
Gauge plate interlock
Manual 12" 1/2 2.5 hours or less per day 10" x 7 1/2" (or 8 1/4" in diameter)
Removable carriage, product deflector, meat pusher
45 degree product table for easier product feed
Gauge plate interlock, carriage interlock
No-volt release
Manual 12" 1/2 1 hour or less per day 11" x 6 1/2" (or 7 1/2" round)
Non-stick coating on gauge plate and blade cover
Heavy weight meat pusher
Can use Vollrath's frozen food blade (sold separately)
Thermal overload protection
Manual 12" 1/2 1 hour or less per day 11" x 6 1/2" (or 7 1/2" round)
Non-stick coating on gauge plate and blade cover
Heavy weight meat pusher
Can use Vollrath's frozen food blade (sold separately)
Thermal overload protection
Safe blade removal system
Model Type Blade Size Horsepower Cheese Slicing Max. Product Size Features
Manual 13" 1/2 Continuous 10 1/2" x 6 3/4" rectangles, 7 1/2" squares, 8 1/2" rounds
One-piece polymer base
Removable carriage
Kick-stand supports slicer for cleaning underneath
No-volt release
Manual 13" 1/2 Continuous 10 1/2" x 6 3/4" rectangles, 7 1/2" squares, 8 1/2" rounds
One-piece polymer base
Removable carriage
Kick-stand supports slicer for cleaning underneath
No-volt release
Gauge plate interlock
Automatic 13" 1/2 Continuous 10 1/2" x 6 3/4" rectangles, 7 1/2" squares, 8 1/2" rounds
3 speeds, 3 stroke lengths
One-piece polymer base
Removable carriage
Kick-stand supports slicer for cleaning underneath
No-volt release
Automatic 13" 1/2 Continuous 10 1/2" x 6 3/4" rectangles, 7 1/2" squares, 8 1/2" rounds
3 speeds, 3 stroke lengths
One-piece polymer base
Removable carriage
Kick-stand supports slicer for cleaning underneath
No-volt release
Gauge plate interlock
Manual 13" 1/2 Continuous Up to 12"W or 7 1/2" diameter
Zero knife exposure, removable knife ("N" model is non-removable)
Removable carriage
Kick-stand supports slicer for cleaning underneath
No-volt release
Meets revised 2012 NSF standards
Automatic 13" 1/2 Continuous Up to 12"W or 7 1/2" diameter
4 speeds, 3 stroke lengths
Zero knife exposure, removable knife ("N" model is non-removable)
Removable carriage
Lift handle supports slicer for cleaning underneath
No-volt release, home-start position interlocks
Meets revised 2012 NSF standards
Manual 13" 1/2 Continuous Up to 12"W or 7 1/2" diameter
Zero knife exposure, removable knife ("N" model is non-removable)
Removable carriage
Kick-stand supports slicer for cleaning underneath
6 safety interlocks
Meets revised 2012 NSF standards
Automatic 13" 1/2 Continuous Up to 12"W or 7 1/2" diameter
4 speeds, 3 stroke lengths
Zero knife exposure, removable knife ("N" model is non-removable)
Removable carriage
Lift handle supports slicer for cleaning underneath
6 safety interlocks
Meets revised 2012 NSF standards
Manual 12" 1/2 Continuous 11 1/8"W x 7 5/8"H
Gear-driven motor
Non-stick coating on gauge plate and blade cover
Heavy weight meat pusher
Can use Vollrath's frozen food blade (sold separately)
Thermal overload protection
Automatic 12" 3/4 Continuous 11" x 6 1/2" (or 7 1/2" round)
Variable speed control up to 40 slices per minute
Non-stick coating on gauge plate and blade cover
Heavy weight meat pusher
Can use Vollrath's frozen food blade (sold separately)
Thermal overload protection
Manual 12" 2/3 3 hours per day 11 5/8"W x 8"H
"Clear slice" exit design permits maximum slice thickness up to 1 1/4"
Non-stick coating on gauge plate and blade cover
Heavy weight meat pusher
Can use Vollrath's frozen food blade (sold separately)
Thermal overload protection
Safe blade removal system

Parts of a Meat Slicer

Commercial meat slicers all share the same basic components. Here's a quick rundown of what's what:

parts diagram parts diagram

Product Table, carriage, or product tray, is where you place the piece of meat, cheese, or vegetable to be sliced. These are often grooved and set at a specific angle so the product slides more easily toward the blade. On some models, this tilts up for easier cleaning.
Pusher: Also called "meat grip." It is attached to the product table, and holds the product still while you're slicing it. On some models, this is removable for easy cleaning.
Gauge Plate: This part surrounds the knife. When you adjust the thickness control knob, sometimes referred to as index knob, this is what moves.
Sharpener: All slicers have a built-in blade sharpener to keep the blade razor-sharp and in perfect operating condition. On many, it's removable for cleaning.
Blade and Blade Guard: On most slicers, the blade is permanently attached to the unit and protected by a blade guard, for safety. Depending on the model, the blade guard, or ring guard, is removable, in varying degrees, for cleaning. On some higher end models, the blade can be removed from the slicer using a special tool for a more thorough cleaning.

Other Design Features to Consider

  • Horsepower: Generally, higher horsepower slicers are designed for more frequent use.
  • Blade Size: Mid Tier and Premium slicers usually have larger cutting blades (12"-14") for all-around use, whereas entry level models often use smaller cutting blades (9" and 10") for lighter use. Industry-wide, a 12" cutting blade is the most common size.
  • Product Tray (Carriage) Size: Most slicers can hold products that range from 7 1/2" to 12" in diameter within the carriage. If you plan to slice products larger than 12", it is important to verify that the slicer's carriage will accommodate it prior to purchasing the slicer.
  • Manual vs. Automatic: An automatic slicer, where an electric motor moves the product tray back and forth, is convenient when slicing large amounts of product because it can slice continuously without constant staff assistance. Automatic slicers can also be operated manually, so the main deciding factor is how much slicing you do. Large delis or supermarkets would see the most benefit from an automatic slicer.
  • Belt Driven or Gear Driven: Nearly all of the slicers we sell are belt driven. In theory, a slicer with a gear driven blade will be more durable, but in actual practice, if your gear-driven slicer does require a repair, it will cost a lot more than simply replacing a drive belt.
  • Cleaning Leg / "Kickstand": Some slicers come with a special kickstand-style leg that lets you prop up the deli meat slicer to clean underneath it.

Cleaning and Maintenance

Meat Slicer Safety Cleaning Kit - 8 Piece Set

As proper cleaning and sanitizing procedures dictate, food slicers should be sanitized on a regular, daily basis. This can best be accomplished by using a properly mixed commercial sanitizing concentrate and water. Our professional meat slicer safety cleaning kit comes with everything you need to safely clean and sanitize your slicer, including detailed, step-by-step instructions!

It is important to properly lubricate each of the moving parts within the feeder tray, as well as the carriage assemblies. By using a food-grade lubricant regularly, you will ensure that your slicer operates as smoothly as possible and lasts for years to come.

Safety and Design Features

When you're talking about a piece of equipment that's operated by hand and uses a razor-sharp spinning blade to slice products, obviously safety cannot be understated. Proper training is essential for any employee who operates the slicer.

Knife Guard: Generally, all slicers expose as little of the blade as possible, to prevent cut hazards. On some slicers, you can remove it to clean the knife; on others it is permanently attached.
No-Volt Release: This safety feature requires the user to push the power button to restart the slicer after it has been unplugged for cleaning, or if the power was interrupted.
Gauge Plate Interlock: This feature requires the gauge plate to be set at "zero" to be able to tilt or remove the product tray/carriage for cleaning. This protects the blade's edge and the operator's fingers!