Meat grinders are a straightforward concept. Chunks of meat are fed through a tube and pushed through a turn screw, which forces the meat through a cutting plate. This determines the final size of the cut pieces of meat. Incredibly, it takes only a few minutes to grind enough meat for six burgers. The key benefit is improved taste; the most delicious burgers are ground fresh, sanguine when they go into the grill. Moreover, if you like to blend meats (perhaps with meatballs), a grinder can help to develop your technique. Dishwasher friendly stainless steel parts are another bonus.
Some of the top chefs are known to pass veal and pork separately through a coarse plate, apply seasoning and then use finer plates to give a more even consistency than hand-mixing usually allows for. You can apply your own creative fervor, too. Instead of getting into the habit of using lean burgers from the supermarket as your staple, you can formulate your own signature blend – say half sirloin, one-quarter brisket, with short rib or rib steak as the remainder. The combinations are endless. With the best meat grinders, you are empowered to choose your own meat adventure.
Before we move onto the reviews, however, it’s worth finishing with a reminder that grinding machines are practical for more than just ground meat and sausages. They can also be used to cut vegetables for relish and pickles. Bologna and ham are ground to make remarkable salads. Cheese can be processed through the grinder to create pimento cheese and myriad variations.
The Best Meat Grinders
The hamburgers you can make with this machine will look as good (if not better) than what’s available at your local butcher shop! It’s an outstanding, solid machine; highly aesthetically appealing with its polished aluminum grinder body. Usefully, it takes only around 15 minutes to clean. This grinder empties the whole grinding tube and there are hardly any chunks left behind that need to be scraped out and thrown away, which is what you can expect of the typical hand grinder (some reviewers claim they routinely lost eight ounces of product using hand operated devices).
Granted, the STX 3000 will struggle if you get carried away and throw a larger chunk of roast in. But it has a good rep for not overheating like so many other models. One gripe of reviewers is that the auger does not provide as tight of a seal as some of its rivals, but this is rarely a problem unless you are planning to fill sausage casings or meat bags from the actual grinder. Unfortunately, the unit is not dishwasher friendly or suitable for soaking – you must wash and dry all parts immediately. Despite some minor drawbacks, this beast can chew through tough cuts with plenty of sinew.
Grinds between 320 and 360lbs of meat hourly
Size Number 12 meat grinder
Three speeds and a circuit breaker for safety
Three year warranty
- BrandSTX International
- Weight12 pounds
If you prefer the old-fashioned approach, the Gideon manual meat grinder is incredibly easy to use – simply place your desired meats into the grinder and work the hand crank! The meats are quickly transformed into a finely ground paste, ready to be cooked in your favorite style with tasteful seasoning. It’s made of heavy-duty plastic and durable stainless steel blades and screens, so it should last for many years. Thoughtful design ensures that its blades are totally enclosed, which eliminates the possibility of injury. It’s portable and lightweight.
Some customers have warned that you’ll need to chop the meat into small pieces and remove as much fat as possible to reduce the difficulty in turning the handle. Reviewers claim that the suction on the bottom works well. The Gideon grinder is a compact unit, which you’ll appreciate if you’re hoping to save room on your kitchen counter. It’s also easy to disassemble and clean and safe to put in the dishwasher. Remember this is a modern replica of an antique tool! If you want a proven grinder that does an acceptable job and doesn’t break the bank, try this one.
Powerful suction base
Fully enclosed blades for safety
Comes with two stainless steel screens, fine mincing plate and coarse mincing plate
- Weight2.55 pounds
This budget machine can grind nearly anything. Aim to cut your meat into one-inch chunks first, though. Even if it’s semi-frozen it should grind up easily with no jamming. However, some customers have complained that it takes a large volume of meat to push the product out of the machine. A quick spray of vegetable oil (or a thin layer of mineral oil) before putting them away in a ziplock bag should keep the metal parts from rusting. Aficionados recommend forcing some bread through the grinder to help clean the unit when you’re done.
Yes, the supplied instructions are a bit of a joke. The blade is counterintuitive (the cutting edge sticks outwards, not inwards). But the good news is that there are several YouTube videos showing you how to use this specific model if you’re stuck. Above all, the Sunmile unit is an effective but cheap grinder designed for sporadic home use. Some customers make a point of only using it for super lean pork or chicken. The maximum locked power is only 800W, so you may still have to look elsewhere for the toughest projects. Our handy guide to the best steak knives features more great products like this.
250W rated power, 800W max locked power
Grinds 150lbs per hour
Cutting plates and blade are dishwasher safe
- Weight7.9 pounds
This is a fast, powerful grinder that can run through 15lbs of meat in just seven minutes. The Megaforce machine never bogs down! The working parts are very robust, well finished and easy to clean. It is made of aluminum of sufficient thickness, so it’s strong enough to do the job it’s designed for. The main problem according to past customers is the sausage stuffing. Apparently, running sausage meat through the machine often produces mush (the machine re-grinds the meat). Ideally, there would be another attachment to run the meat through without grinding.
Although it’s easy to clean, reviewers have advised prospective customers to dry the blades quickly – or the water will give them quick surface rust. In fact, you may find you have to apply some olive oil between uses to prevent rust – but that’s a fair trade-off for these hard, sharp blades. They work so quickly that you’re likely to struggle to cut up the meat fast enough! What differentiates STX International’s Megaforce from its Turboforce brother is the dedicated cooler for the motor. When grinding many pounds of meat at a time, this provides an extra safeguard against motor overheating.
Locked motor wattage of 3000W
Patented air induction cooling technology
Size Number 12 meat grinder
Comes with tempered steel grinding plates, beaner plate, three sausage tubes and more
- BrandSTX INTERNATIONAL
- Weight12 pounds
The GMG525 works well if you partially freeze the meat before grinding. Instructions are straightforward and easy to follow. While the unit is highly effective when grinding meat on a coarse setting, unfortunately, it’s not powerful enough to grind with its medium and fine grind attachments. Also, when putting ground meat through the device to stuff a sausage (or attempt to achieve a finer grind) it can run into serious trouble. Several customers have reported broken blades, frequent blockages and even chunks of a black grease-like substance appearing in the bowl.
It’s easy to shoot air into your sausages, creating a bubble if you don’t move at a painstakingly slow pace. If you enjoy traditional pepperoni or a kolbassa, then you’re out of luck here due to the plates and cutting blade. If there was a way to remove them during sausage stuffing, that would be a great help. Another issue is that Gourmia opted for non-standard horn sizes. Some reviewers wanted to make snack sticks with 19mm casing and found that the Gourmia’s tubes were too big. Finally, the tray would ideally be slightly larger, to enable the operator to keep up with the pace of the machine. Find more great products like this by checking out our butcher knives review.
Three durable stainless steel blades included
Bonus accessories (food pusher, sausage horn and kibbeh attachment)
Copper 800W motor and metal gears ensure proper grinding
Three-way safety switch
- Weight6.85 pounds
There are some major pros to this machine. It’s extremely strong; bone, blood, marrow, and meat are all ground superbly. It can hack through chicken backs, thighs, and drums without any complications. It will accept chicken quarters if you can maneuver them through the feeder. The 10-3201-W is easy to maintain since most of the component parts that get messy can be placed safely in the dishwasher. The housing itself is stainless and easily mopped up with bleach wipes. The device can run for long periods of time without overheating or needing a break.
The weaknesses make for a long list of small, niggling issues (though the pros massively outweigh the cons). Firstly, cleaning the auger in a dishwasher will make the attachment end rust. When it’s cold it can take a while to start up and even trip the breaker on the back. This Weston model is heavy. That’s reassuring, but you will need a sturdy surface. The thing is extremely power hungry and will blow fuses if you’re not careful. Raw feeders should know that it doesn’t like sinewy items such as chicken feet and turkey necks. They will get wound around the auger and trip the breaker. The main worry of reviewers is about the emergence of rust on the seat where the auger sets in. Make sure you also check our guide to the best vegetable peelers.
1500W air-cooled motor
Grinds 12-18lbs per minute
Quiet, durable precision-engineered steel gears
Tray guard keeps your hands safe
- Weight73 pounds
The Homeleader grinder is a solidly built machine that works quickly. It’s very light, but that means you must hold the motor cabinet when grinding or it rocks like crazy! It struggles a bit more with stuffing sausages. Some reviewers found they had to dice their meat into very small pieces, or it would jam. Frustratingly, it’s also a bit of a pain to clean (use cold and soapy water, as hot water can cause surface parts to deteriorate or lead to meat mince residue sticking to the grinding blade) but that’s not a huge problem in itself.
It’s recommended that you don’t run this machine for longer than 10 minutes continuously. It has its limitations, but a handy tomato juicer and vegetable shredder make this model truly versatile; soups and purees are easily made, so your money goes a bit further with the Homeleader. Usefully, the machine comes with a booklet containing extensive information on further help and parts. In summary, Homeleader’s unit does the job for occasional use at home. If you’re only planning to grind the odd hamburger for your BBQ, then this could be the machine to go for.
800W maximum locked power
Large capacity and detachable tray
Inside circuit breaker
Sophisticated copper motor protection
- Weight1 pounds
A real workhorse and a valuable time saver, LEM’s 0.75 HP stainless steel Big Bite grinder represents a considerable upgrade from the Number 5 or Number 8 Big Bite units. This extremely fast unit grinds around 11lbs in just a minute. Cleverly designed, it features a permanently lubricated motor with improved grease formulation to soften the noise from the motor. The heavy-duty handle makes it easy to move. Made of stainless steel, it’s child’s play to assemble and disassemble and thankfully also very easy to clean. It may be worth buying a bottle brush to wash the insides with, though.
Reviewers have complained that the storage space is too small to fit anything but the blades, or that the drawer would not stay shut. The stuffing feature is not this machine’s strong point. Unfortunately, there is no reverse function, which is another issue that may be off-putting to some. However, the sheer power of this unit makes it a compelling choice and the smart design touches (the foot switch is a delight) ensure that it really stands out from the crowd. The wide range of accessories is another plus. The LEM is not exactly cheap, but it’s worth looking into.
Permanently lubricated motor
Built-in circuit breaker
Five-year warranty with lifetime customer support
ETL Certified to UL Standards
- Weight33.1 pounds
Meat Grinder Buying Guide & FAQ
How We Chose Our Selection Of Meat Grinders
We’ve not just provided a list of the best meat grinders; we also want to show you how we made our decisions. This is important because it will help you make an informed choice when it comes to selecting the right meat grinder for your needs.
Brand – The occasional newcomer can put in a respectable performance. But we tend to find that the long-established, higher-priced brands and manufacturers have a well-deserved reputation (STX has shifted over 80,000 machines in the last few years). After honestly assessing the pros and cons of all the machines, we’re convinced that STX International’s technology really does live up to its prestigious image. In light of the fact that it very rarely overheats, the relatively attractive price of the Turboforce gives it a slight edge over the other quality models in that range.
Reviews – Reviews are an excellent way of gauging how effective a meat grinder is. The manufacturer can provide an impressive product description and plenty of technical detail, but ultimately the grinder needs to be put through its paces in the kitchen. We research two main types of review when we’re selecting products for our buying guides. Firstly, we scour the internet for professional reviews by chefs and foodie journalists or bloggers. These reviewers know the technical details well and have personally sampled hundreds of different models over a period of years.
Secondly, we look at customer reviews. These might not be the most detailed or technical, but they are the most eye-opening. We’re able to survey potential niggles with each grinder model and build an overall picture of the strengths and weaknesses. If the same flaw appears repeatedly in online reviews, then it shows that there is clearly an issue that needs to be addressed – and which prospective customers need to know about. The grinder reviewers we found are highly experienced and demanding, even including hunters looking to prepare the game they personally captured!
Features To Look For In Meat Grinders
Motors – Electric grinders have different motor power ratings. Most have a power rating between 350 to 700 watts. Naturally, the amount of meat that can be mashed up in an hour depends on the motor – the stronger the motor, the less time it will take for your grinding machine to make its way through the meat. If you plan on using a grinder for commercial use, then you’ll need to aim for a really powerful rating so that you can grind up those heavy bulk batches. However, most moderate home users will find that a motor power between 500-800W will be enough to satisfy their meat chopping needs.
Accessories – Look out for bonus accessories such as extra cutting blades for different coarseness, food stuffers, sausage making funnels, tempered steel grinding plates, and Kubbe attachments for more advanced grinding. The accessories can have very precise cleaning and storage requirements (often they are not dishwasher safe or must be cleaned and dried immediately after use), so be sure to research these details before purchase. Stainless steel or aluminum is always a good sign, which brings us to the next point.
Construction and materials – As a general rule, you want to avoid plastic components and go for stainless steel every time. For chefs who desire a commercial cooking experience, stainless steel grinders are the optimal choice. Stainless steel eliminates contaminants from food purchased from the store. It helps to improve flavor since users have better control over fat content and cuts with the machine. Stainless steel grinders work more effectively than other materials and reduce the likelihood of oxygen degrading the nutrients. Stainless steel also improves moisture levels and the texture of the food.
Types Of Meat Grinders
Electric – Their greatest selling point is that they are unbelievably easy to use. All you need to do is plug them into the socket, load up the feed tube with cubed meat, and then flick on the power switch. They offer the benefit of powerful motors, meaning they can plough through tougher and larger meat from game like deer or elk – but also through hefty chunks of pork, chicken, or beef. The problems are usually to do with internal components. Plastic gears can degrade with time, for example. Electric grinders can also be loud in operation, and they take up a large amount of counter space.
Manual – It seems like an odd choice and they can be very hard work. However, some customers may prefer a manual grinder because of the conventional style and simple aesthetic. Manual meat grinders are usually smaller than modern electric equivalents. They don’t use electronic components or motors, so you’ll typically find that they measure under a foot tall and weigh only a few pounds. Of course, they don’t need to be plugged in – so you can operate them just about anywhere. Above all, they are massively cheaper. If you’re on a budget, manual grinders can do a job for you.