Buying a commercial food slicer is an investment that requires a good understanding of your specific needs. There are many factors that go into finding the right slicer, and with this guide, we’ll walk you through what those are so you can find the best unit for your business. 1. What Are You Slicing? The first and most obvious question to ask yourself would be What Are You Slicing? Commercial food slicers are divided into various tiers depending on what (and how much) you slice. It’s very important to understand how much you think you’ll be using the machine as over-exerting it can cause it to burn out prematurely. a.) Light Duty/Standard/Economy Slicers- Designed to slice deli meat but frequency of use is kept to a minimum. (Note that it’s not recommended to slice cheese on a light duty/economy model.) (Less than 2 hours of slicing recommended per day) b.) Medium Duty Slicers- Designed to slice meats (and cheeses on occasion) but only for a couple of hours out of the day. (Between 2-4 hours of slicing) c.) Heavy Duty Slicers- Whether it’s frozen food product, blocks of hard cheese or large portions of meat, heavy duty slicers can handle it all and can perform for hours on end. (Over 4 hours of slicing) 2. Size and Power The next distinguishing factor to make a decision on is the size and horsepower of your slicer. Obviously, the higher the horsepower the more you can expect to get out of your slicer. When taking size into consideration, you’ll first need to know the size of the carriage (how big is the product being sliced? Will it fit inside the carriage?) Also, how big is the blade? Generally speaking, the light duty/standard slicers have a smaller blade (9-10 inches) and lesser horsepower while the medium duty and heavy duty slicers have larger blades (approximately 12 to 14 inches) and greater horsepower. 3. Price At the end of the day, price is a huge factor in the purchasing process, that’s why we strive to offer a product selection that will fit every price point. For a price-conscious, commercial-grade slicer you can trust we highly recommend the 10” and 12” semi-automatic models by Jaxpro Foodservice Products. With ETL and NSF listings, these foodsafe, belt-driven slicers deliver the best, precision-based slicing performance at a low cost and reliable efficiency. Slicers by Globe, Hobart and Univex to name a few are available at a considerably higher price point but they are equipped with different features and benefits, like removable carriages for easy cleaning and maintenance, that may or may not make it worth the extra dollars, depending on your unique needs. 4. Automatic vs. Manual At Mission Restaurant Supply you’ll find a large diversity of electric slicers, from manual to automatic and semi-automatic. Deciding which type you’ll need is a question of how much you’re slicing daily. Automatic Slicers are a great investment for the larger operation, like big grocery stores, that need a machine that will slice bulk product on a continual basis. The operator can program the unit to the desired slicing thickness and the desired number of slices, and it will perform without an operator needed. Doing this not only increases efficiency and productivity but it saves you time and labor. Note that most automatic slicers also have the option to be operated manually. On the other hand, a semi-automatic slicer has all the functionality that an automatic does except for that it can’t be pre-programmed to produce a definitive number of slices. In other words, it will continue to move the carriage back and forth across the the slicing blade until the unit is turned off. Lastly, the manual slicers require an operator to manually move the carriage back and forth over the slicing blade and these models are a great investment for restaurants, delis and other foodservice venues that simply want a reliable unit that can be used throughout the day for small batches. 5. Manufacturer Brand Recognition plays a significant role in the purchasing process for many restaurateurs, that’s why our shelves are stocked with commercial slicers by brands you can trust, like Globe, Univex and Berkel to name a few. Making a smart investment starts with having confidence in a product and knowing the history and details behind a brand. We encourage you to call us at 800-319-0690 should you have any questions on a product or manufacturer and allow us to help you make the best decision.