Buying Guide: Slicers

Buying Guide: Slicers

If you are running a deli, coffee shop or sandwich shop, you will find that a slicer can save you time and money. They allow you to produce uniform slices of meat, cheese, or eggs, faster than with a knife. Before you begin searching fore the right slicer for your kitchen, be sure to consider the following tips.



When it comes to buying a slicer for your kitchen, there are many different options available and it’s hard to know where to start. Your first consideration should be the grade of the machine. How often and what products you’re slicing will determine which model is best for you. Though a light duty model might be tempting due to their economical price point, be aware that overloading your slicer will cause it to bog down and burn out.

Light Duty

Light duty slicer models are great for slicing deli meats, but that’s about it. They are not recommended for slicing cheese.

Medium Duty

Medium duty slicers usually have larger blades and a bit more horsepower. With these models, you can slice cheese for an hour or two a day, but they are not recommended for frozen products.

Heavy Duty

This slicer work-horse can run almost constantly and will cut any amount of meat, cheese or frozen products. With heavy duty slicer models, you will acquire better features that enhance slicing precision, safety and ease of operation. 

Blade Size

Blades can range from 9-14 inches, the most common being 12 inches. Be sure to buy a slicer with a blade diameter that is equal to the size of the product being sliced.

Manual vs. Automatic

Manual vs. Automatic

Are you slicing just a couple of pieces at a time, or do you need to cut a larger amount?

A manual slicer requires someone to manually slide the feeder tray back and forth over the blade. It is ideal for cutting just a few slices of meat at a time rather than in bulk.

An automatic slicer will automatically slide back and forth, without constant supervision. They are available in a couple of speed options: a two-speed machine equipped with choices for high and low speed operation, or a variable speed that has a range of operation speeds.

If you are going to run it for several hours at a time, be sure to get a heavy duty slicer that can withstand the extra workload.

Belt-Driven vs. Gear-Driven

Another consideration should be the motor design. Slicer motors are either belt-driven or gear-driven. Gear-driven slicers are more expensive, but will be more reliable and require less maintenance. The belts that drive belt-driven slicers don’t require much maintenance, but they do require regular cleaning and a bit of oil every so often. For high volume situations, the gear driven slicer is the way to go.


You can find slicers with a variety of horsepowers. Generally, the higher the horsepower, the more frequent use it can handle. You want to make sure you buy a slicer with enough power to keep up with your needs. The extra stress could affect the speed, reliability and lifespan.