The best meat grinder is the one that you can afford and will do exactly what you need it to do. There’s a lot of options to consider (such as the STX 3000-TF, the Weston #22, or even just the LEM hand cranked meat grinder). Choosing the right one for you doesn’t have to be hard–not with the help of this buying guide and the meat grinder reviews here.
Which One is the Best Meat Grinder for You
When I was in the market for a meat grinder not too long ago, I started out by searching for what others thought were the top models (like the Weston #22 & Weston #12) or in other words, “The Best”. I read countless meat grinder reviews just like what you’re doing now. I wasn’t wrong to do so, and neither are you. In fact, I think it’s critical to look at reviews before even considering buying anything.
The only problem with doing that first was I had no idea what I should’ve be looking for. There were a lot of reviews out there (both good and bad) and I wasted a lot of time reading them all. Some of them were too expensive for me and I would have never been able to afford them. Others were either not going to do what I needed, or they were an overkill and I would have wasted money paying for something I did not need.
Wasted time was just one problem. The other was I had no idea what to look for in a meat grinder. How do I know what is good and what is bad? What would make a meat grinder good? What would make it bad? These were some very important questions that I should’ve known the answers to, but didn’t.
I would have saved a whole lot of time and avoided a lot of unnecessary reading if I had known what I needed to look for and quickly narrowed down my choices to just maybe 2 or 3 specific models. After a thinking about the whole experience, I feel things would have been a lot easier and I would have saved quite a bit of time if I had just asked myself these three simple questions:
- How much money can I afford to spend?
- What do I want my meat grinder to do for me?
- What should I be looking for in a meat grinder?
How Much to Spend
Everyone has a budget—a limit to how much they can spend. I was aware of this truth, but kind of ignored it when I first started looking for a meat grinder. The only thing I got out of ignoring this truth was a lot of wasted time spent looking at meat grinders that I couldn’t really afford, and reading through countless meat grinder reviews.
I’m not going to lie. I had wanted the top model available (who doesn’t?). I had ignorantly assumed the top model was the best meat grinder; which it was only if I didn’t have a budget I needed to work with. It would have been great to get the most powerful and most expensive thing out there. I could use it for whatever and not have to worry if it was going to be good enough (and get to show it off a little). But I, like many other people, had a budget I needed to work with. If you’re tempted to just get the top model like I was for similar reasons, then I highly recommend that you pause and think it over carefully first.
Before you go out and just buy something you need to consider if you can actually afford it. That’s why the first thing you need to consider is your budget (how much you can spend). Knowing how much you can spend not only helps you avoid spending more than what you have, but it also helps you narrow down your options quite a bit.
You don’t have to be too specific with the price. Make it easier on yourself by selecting a price range like I did.
- Under $100 for the lower end, basic use.
- Under $200 for mid-range, good general purpose use.
- Over $300 for high end, heavier user and for top of the line stuff.
Under $100: Basic Use for Occasional Users
Meat grinders that fall within this range is good enough for the home user who will only need to use a grinder occasionally. What defines an occasional home user? An occasional home use will only need to use it maybe once/twice a month. At most, he/she will only need to grind a few pounds of meat in one session. Many basic meat grinders within this range will not be able to handle any bones, nor will they be able to handle tough parts, like tendons, etc. You’ll have to spend a lot of time trimming your meat to make sure everything grinds smoothly through the grinder.
If you’re looking to buy something within this range, the cheapest you can find are usually hand grinders. They’re a little more work, but if you take care of them, they will outlast a cheap electronic meat grinder. As a matter of fact, for this price range, I don’t really recommend the electronic grinders unless you only plan to get a very limited life out of them. If you use it more than a few times a year for just a few pounds of meat per grinding session, you will want to stay away from electronic meat grinders in this price range. You’ll only end up spending more money replacing them.
If you’d like a reliable hand grinder on hand for those few times you need to grind something, I recommend either the Weston hand meat grinder, or the LEM. The Weston is dirt cheap, yet still good enough. It takes a little more work to take care of it, but if you do, it will last for a few years. The LEM costs significantly more than the Weston, but it is of way higher quality and should last you a very long time if you take care of it. Plus it’s made of stainless steel, so it’s a little easier to take care of.
Under $200: Good General Purpose for Average Home Users
Any meat grinder within this price range is good enough for most average home users. Average home users will use it several times a month, and usually at most, 1-2 times a week. They will often grind a few pounds more than the occasional user, but they’re not trying to process a while animal or anything like that.
Anything in this price range will be able to handle some small amounts of soft bones, but you shouldn’t test your luck with anything more than that. You don’t have to spend so much time trimming your meat, but you’ll still want to exercise a little common sense and exclude any large tendons, etc. that will likely jam the grinder.
You can find a lot of options in this price range, but I think the best bang for your buck is the STX International 3000 Turbo Force. It falls right within this price range, but it’s performance is top notch compared to the many others in its class. I’ve found it easiest to find and buy it on Amazon.
Over $300: Heavy Duty for Heavy User
Anything priced within this range should only used by heavy users who demand heavy duty performance. That doesn’t mean you can’t buy one if you want one. It just means you’ll be wasting money for something that is beyond what you’ll be needing.
Who can be considered a heavy user? A heavy user will either grind meat several times a week, to as often as everyday, or they may just use it once a month. However, a heavy user will either grind more than a few pounds of meat, or they will be grinding some really tough stuff like lots of tendons and bones. Most heavy users are hunters who process their own meat, or pet owners who like to make their own pet food.
If you’re in the market for a heavy duty meat grinder then the only name that comes to mind is Weston. No, I’m not talking about the hand grinder. Weston makes some fine, heavy duty meat grinders. I recommend either the Weston #12, or the Weston #22. Check for deals on Amazon first if you’re going ready to buy.
Choosing a price range with just your budget is fine, but I recommend considering your intended use as well (more details below).
Once you have considered your budget, you can then think about what you plan to use the meat grinder for. Do you plan to use it very often? How many times do you perceive yourself using it per month? Per week even? How much meat will you be grinding on average per session? Less than a pound? More than a pound? Maybe even over 10 or 20 pounds?
Ask yourself these questions about your intended use:
- What will I be grinding?
- How often?
- How much?
Knowing your intended use for the grinder will allow you to choose something that is capable of meeting your needs; meaning it will do the job you want it to do. It will also help you choose a meat grinder that can withstand the abuse of being used on a daily basis—if that is how often you plan to use it. If you cheap out and buy a cheap meat grinder to use on a regular basis– maybe two, or more times a week– then chances are it will break down much sooner than anticipated and you’ll have to buy another one.
What you want to do is buy the right grinder so it will last. Having to buy 2-3 cheap units will end up costing you way more in the long run. Save yourself time and money and answer the questions above honestly. Buy something within a price range that will do what you need it to do.
What to Look for
So you’ve settled on a general price range. That’s good. Now you can start looking at the meat grinders in that price range. These are what you need to look for when you read meat grinder reviews and when you look at the product itself.
- Make sure it’s within your budget.
- Grinding power
- Look for more power if you plan to grind a lot of meat.
- Usually measured in watts, or horsepower. Higher means better.
- What’s it made of?
- Housing. All metal? Some plastic? All metal is more durable.
- Blades. Carbon steel or stainless steel? Both are good. Carbon steel tends to be a little sharper, but requires more care.
- Ease of use
- Reverse function in case it gets stuck
- Various speeds.
- Clean up
- Dish washer safe.
- Easy to take apart for cleaning.
- Any parts need to be oiled?
- How long is it?
- Look for a minimum of 1 year.
Buying the best home meat grinder for you usually means spending more, but you don’t have to buy the most expensive thing out there. You can get the best meat grinder for you by following the simple guidelines presented here and reading through the meat grinders reviews on this website. It’s really money well spent (especially if you can snatch a deal on Amazon) if you’re planning to grind meat at least once, or twice a month; plus, you get to choose exactly what goes into your meat.