Electric food slicer recommendations?
I've been thinking of buying an electric food slicer, but I'm having a hard time finding good reviews. Amazon.com reviews are all over the place. It looks like the Waring Pro and Rival machines aren't very durable. Chef's Choice seems to be the brand sold by Williams Sonoma, BBB, and Costco. Do I need to spend $300 or would a $150 version suffice?
Does anyone have a food slicer? Do you like it? Do you not like it?
I was thinking I could use to it slice blocks of cheese, salami, frozen ribeye (for shabu shabu and such), and maybe loaves of bread. Things that don't fall into the realm of the regular electric knife or mandoline (like, I could slice potatoes easily on the mandoline).
I don't have first hand experience, so I could be wrong. I've read that home models of slicers are so crappy and industrial models are so expensive that you're better off just bribing a grocer to use theirs unless you're thinking of going into business yourself.
Again, could be wrong and my advice could be out of date. But I don't know of any home models that work like the commercial ones you've seen.
I have a home model. It slices poorly. But, that is a minor issue. Cleaning is a bitch and in my case almost impossible. It sits unused in the basement. I won't donate it to a thrift shop because I think the subsequent owner, might unwittingly, not be concerned about listeriosis.
IMHO, a cutting board and a qood quality slicing knife is a better combination in the home.
Edit:link below to Wikipedia article about commercial meat handling and listeriosis.
We had the Krups model, I don't remember the model #, but we paid about $80 (CA$) for it. It worked as well as you could expect, but was slow and underpowered. Couldn't really complain for the price. However, I did want something a little better. The Waring machines get vilified on Amazon (originally it was between the Krups and the Waring), so I was waffling between the Chef's Choice 632 Vari-tilt and a (possibly used) industrial model.
A small, used industrial unit was going to start upwards of $500. The Chef's Choice 632 was about $300. What I really wanted to avoid was buying the Chef's Choice, only to learn that I really needed (wanted) was the industrial model - I'd have spent almost $400 on two slicers that did not meet my needs. Ultimately, though, what really pushed me towards the Chef's Choice was that even a small industrial slicer really isn't that small, and none too light either.
In the end, I'm very happy with the Chef's Choice 632 - you certainly aren't going to whip through a piece of meat like you can on an industrial unit, but it gets the job done. I can slice carpaccio as thin as I like (too thin, even), a small brick of cheese creates quite a few slices, and so on. While I don't often use it to slice bread, I have, and it does a fine job of that as well. What usually happens is it gets pulled out for some specific task, then gets relegated to slicing pretty much everything else I can with it since it's out.
Cleanup is a bit of an ordeal, but I wouldn't say it's any worse than cleaning the food processor.
As to which model, I'm happy with my 632, but while double-checking reviews on Amazon, I noticed the 610 had 170 reviews, with 109 at 5 stars - and it's only $86USD. Might be worth checking out.
Hope that helps,
Thanks! That's the kind of review I was looking for. I'd read that the main difference between the 610 and 632 is the tilting function... not motor strength or anything.
Is the tilting on the 632 something you find beneficial?
I think the Chef's Choice would do what I want it to do. I'm not slicing thousands of items every day... just occasionally.
I've never used it without tilting it, it just seems more natural, the food falls away from the blade as you slice it. It's possible the only reason it tilts down is for storage.
The motor is rated at the same for both (100 watts). The 610 appears to be somewhat tilted as well. Quite a large price difference for what appears to be only the tilt function.
If you can purchase it form someone with a good return policy, I'd suggest trying the 610 first.
We have a Chef's Choice 640. About 3 years ago, I tried to give it away to relatives since I rarely, if ever used it. Then I started making my aunt's roast beef, which requires an electric slicer. Even for that one dinner, I am SOOO Glad I have this slicer!
It isn't fun to clean, but it's not every night....
The one thing that made this MUCH easier for me is this: I store it on a rimmed baking pan that is too big for my oven, but the PERFECT size for the slicer and the cabinet where I store the slicer. So, in effect, I made a 'sliding shelf' for the slicer. When I use the slicer, I pull out the entire cookie pan, with the slicer on it. And move the entire thing to my kitchen counter (altho I don't slice with it on the cookie pan).
I bet you could easily find one via Craig's list or Ebay or scouting yard sales etc.
HTH - Marion
(I know this is late in the game, but)
I have had a 640 for about 15 years. It is durable, reasonably easy to clean and cuts everything I've asked it to. We got it to save on deli meats but use it almost every day to cut something. I use it to cut beef very thing for carpaccio, for instance.
I have even used it to cut tomatoes and other veggies when I want thin, uniform slices.
Thanks, everyone. It sounds like the Chef's Choice is a reasonable unit. I've got a $25 Amazon.com gc coming in soon, so I think I'll use it on the 610 and give it a try. It looks like the 600-models all have a 7" blade and 100w motor, so it's probably minor things that are different between the models.
I did end up buying the 610. So far, I've sliced pound cake (to see how thin we could slice it - pretty darn thin!), provolone (nice deli slices, cheese has a tear in the middle, but still in one piece), salami (had to go slow to maintain even slices, but still went quickly), and 3 lb semi-frozen flank steak for jerky (so easy). Oh, and one loaf of homemade bread (awesome).
Since we've pretty much already gone through most of the uses I can imagine needing a slicer for, I thinkt he 610 will serve us well. I wish there was some indicator of what "dial number" corresponded to a thickness in inches, but I suppose we'll just have to keep playing with it and make our own marks on the dial. It's easy to take apart for cleaning, there's just a lot of lubrication on the back of the blade that makes a mess when you wash it.
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