Commercial Slicers Guide
A commercial slicer is a highly versatile piece of equipment suited for a variety of establishments including delicatessens, steakhouses, pizzerias and even cafes. Commercial slicers vary widely in terms of the features and benefits they provide, and it is important to consider which types of foods (meats, vegetables, and cheeses) will be sliced, and with what frequency.
The right commercial slicer will pay for itself in efficiency gains, but it's important to get a bigger picture understanding of the types of commercial slicers before embarking upon a purchase. Let's take a closer look.
The Best Commercial Slicer for You
The overriding questions are how often you envision using your commercial slicer and what foods you'll be using it with. From there, blade size and horsepower can steer you in the right direction of the best commercial slicer for you.
A 12 inch blade is the most popular size, and mid-tier slicers with this sized blade are often found in delicatessens and restaurants that serve meat throughout a busy day. These slicers generally come equipped with 1/2 horsepower engines and are considered the smallest commercial slicers suitable for slicing cheese - but only in limited quantities.
Smaller, entry-level commercial slicers with 9 or 10 inch blades and 1/5 to 1/4 horsepower engines cannot slice cheese at all, and are suited for slicing meat and vegetables for only up to one hour per day.
Premium slicers are designed for more constant use than entry-level or mid-tier commercial slicers, and are generally equipped with a 13 or 14 inch blade along with a 1/2 horsepower engine. The higher horsepower engine is designed for heavier output and more frequent use.
Premium slicers can handle all kinds of food products, including cheese, larger cuts of meat, and frozen food products, and can slice large quantities of them continuously throughout a full day.
Many premium slicers are equipped with features that enhance slice precision along with safety and smoothness of operation. If you're going to be using a slicer for several hours a day while working with meat, cheese and frozen products, then a premium slicer is the way to go.
Commercial Slicer Construction
Beyond blade size and engine horsepower, the materials that a slicer is composed of will impact its overall performance. Economy slicers will usually be made of lightweight aluminum, which is less durable than the stainless steel commonly found in premium slicers.
The materials that a slicer's blade are composed of will also impact performance and durability. Stainless steel is also commonly inserted into a blade to enhance performance and resist corrosion in the presence of acidic foods.
Additionally, some blades are coated with a layer of chrome to supply a degree of hardness that is superior to stainless steel. Many manufacturers trademark their own special steel alloy that is designed to provide additional benefits beyond traditional stainless alloys.
Commercial Slicer Features
A commercial slicer is either belt driven or gear driven in transferring power from the motor to the blade. Belt driven transmissions are common in less expensive slicers while gear driven transmissions are included in heavier duty slicers capable of producing greater output of denser products.
The downside to gear driven transmissions is that their greater power makes them more expensive to repair than transmission belts - though transmission belts will require replacement more frequently than gear transmission repairs.
There is also the option of choosing between a manually operated slicer and an automatic slicer. Manual slicers are controlled entirely by the user and are less expensive; automatic slicers perform the action that pulls the meat/vegetable/cheese across the blade to produce the slice.
Automatic slicers - though more expensive - cut down on labor costs, as they can be set to perform the task at hand while the employee steps away to do other work. Most commercial slicers include product trays ranging from 7 1/2 to 12 inches in diameter to accommodate foods of appropriate size.
Commercial Slicer Cleanliness
Because bacteria grows on poorly maintained food equipment, many manufacturers of commercial slicers include features that make slicer sanitation easier. For instance, many slicers come equipped with a kickstand leg that facilitates cleaning the underside of the slicer as well as the surface below.
It is also common for commercial slicers to include rounded edges, drip grooves and coved corners, all of which make it easier to keep the base and body of a slicer clean from food particles and juices that can harbor bacteria.
Additionally, because commercial slicers are complex machines that are not inherently easy to clean, manufacturers are now making some components dishwasher safe and readily removable without tools, including the slicer's product tray, knife sharpener and meat grip.