Grinding meat yourself at home is not exclusively about feigning cooking prowess, although that is an excellent bonus why.
While picking up a pack of pre-ground meat at the store may be significantly less stressful, more convenient, and time-saving, there are many perks to getting dirty in the kitchen with a meat grinder.
Chief amongst these benefits is that you get to choose your meat cut, its type, quality, and juiciness, a privilege that you don’t always get when buying ground meat. Plus, grinding meat yourself gives you the ability to ensure that your end-result contains only meat. You can escape all the preservatives, seasoning, and other unknown ingredients that can come with more processed packaged ground meat.
Not So Fun Fact
Earlier this week, Food Lion, a major grocery chain with 1000 locations in 10 Southeastern and Mid-Atlantic states, recalled all of a single day’s ground meat production offered at one of its store points for a refund because it contained “foreign material.”
By grinding meat yourself, you get total control over what goes into your food, which is arguably the most significant selling point for getting a big grinder. Here, you get to choose prime, unadulterated meat from your grocery store or local butcher and get to oversee the entire processing, marinating, and cooking process.
The good news is that whether you are a gourmet chef, industrial cook, conscious eater, or grilling aficionado seeking a personal meat processing plant, there is an abundance of options on the market that bring the right specifications to meet your needs.
Pick on from the following excellent options below and begin creating the perfect fillings for your tacos, meat burgers, and casseroles in no time.
Info: The Meat Grinder Types
If you are in the market for a new meat grinder, you will have your pick of three main types:
Electric (automatic): This is the most popular type of meat grinder, and it includes all grinders powered by an electric motor and requiring no manual input to continue functioning. You can find electric grinders in a wide variety of sizes, from tiny low-powered options to industrial machines fit for significant food outlets.
Electric grinders are the go-to for most buyers as an electric motor is the most efficient way to grind meat, especially when handling large quantities. However, on the flip side, electric grinders are generally more expensive than their manual counterparts.
Manual (hand-cranked): These typically smaller and less expensive options are generally only a feasible option if you are occasionally working with small portions of meat. These grinders are slower to use and require you to crank them by hand until the grinding is complete.
Stand Attachments: these mini grinders provide an attractive third option for people who already have matching kitchen appliances. Stand attachment grinders attach to specific brands mixers—especially those from Cuisinart or KitchenAid—and tap power from the mixer’s power hub for grinding meat.
Stand attachment grinders are typically significantly low-powered, less consistent, and cheaper than full-on electric meat grinders.
Our Pick: STX Turboforce Classic 3000 Series
Many seasoned cooking enthusiasts will consider the 3000 Series grinder from STX International as the closest thing to a standard for general usage, and we would agree.
The STX Turboforce 3000 is a well-rounded grinding champ that is fully equipped to handle all your kitchen needs while bringing that much needed extra power for those full-house weekend barbecues.
At the core of this machine’s prowess is the combination of a robust 3000-watts-capable motor and a massive 12-inch grinding head.
A 12-inch blade is significantly larger than what you get on most other home-use options, as most industry-standard meat grinders for home use typically ship with grinding heads that are 6 or 8 inches long. A larger blade helps you handle larger portions of meat at once and significantly cut down the amount of time you spend grinding.
The STX Turboforce Classic 3000 also features a matching extra-large auger and meat pan and includes a meat pusher attachment in the package to further cut down on your time spend.
The STX Turboforce Classic 3000 also sports a 3-speed button control that lets you adjust the operating machine speed to match your needs. You can set the engine to either high, low, or reverse.
At the low setting, the Turboforce can handle 175 pounds of meat per hour, and the high-speed setting bumps its intake to 225 pounds, while the reverse feature is an excellent way to quick-clean the unit or clear up any jams.
Plus, when you add in the heavy-duty 3000-watts motor, what you get is one ultra-powered workhorse. Three thousand watts is more than enough to handle most regular kitchens. In most cases, the machine will only be operating in the 800-1200-watt range, and that would be enough to grind through most batches of meat. Hence, the motor on this meat grinder may seem quite an overkill for the traditional kitchen, and it is.
While the STX Classic 3000 does pack more power than your regular home-use meat grinder, it is still a grinder designed exclusively for household use. Hence, you shouldn’t expect industrial-level performance with this grinder, and you should anticipate some limitations when attempting some more adventurous use cases.
The STX Turboforce Classic 3000 can encounter some motor stalling resistance when dealing with larger cuts of meat. It is best to cut up your meat supply into smaller pieces before stuffing the grinder.
Furthermore, the 3000 will most likely have issues handing tendons or bones.
If you need to grind bones often, you should consider stepping up to the more heavy-duty STX-4000, a more high-powered household-use model. The 4000 can handle bones, tendons, and larger cuts of meat. It also features an on-and-off foot pedal for hands-free control that further enhances the user experience.
However, with the robustness of the STX 3000 series, you can always rest assured that you can handle even the occasional chewy cuts of meat without issues.
Plus, the high-powered internals of this STX grinder will help significantly cut down your total grinding time. At its max performance, the STX 3000 Turboforce can handle up to 360 pounds of mass per hour, implying that for most of your home meals, you will only be spending a few minutes grinding each time.
Furthermore, the STX Turboforce Classic 3000 is a bastion of versatility, especially compared to many other top offerings on the market. In addition to the primary grinding head, you also get three extra grinding plates that offer fine, medium, and coarse grinding, ensuring you have the perfect tools for even the most obscure meal recipes.
Inside the box, you will also find sausage stuffing tubes in three different sizes, a sausage stuffing plate, two meat shredding claws, a Kubbe attachment for preparing lamb for the traditional Middle Eastern recipes, and a 3-in-1 burger press.
The STX Turboforce Classic 3000 Series is arguably the most robust home-use meat grinder out there. Plus, it also packs the physical toughness to match its superior performance.
All of the Turboforce’s components feature either stainless steel or polished aluminum, two sturdy materials you would expect in a grinder designed to last a long time. All the included grinding plates in this package feature sturdy tempered steel, while most other components (including the attachments) sport an uncoated, food-grade aluminum construction.
Tempered steel is ill-suited for the dishwasher as the machine can quickly diminish the material’s integrity. Hence, it would be best if you considered washing the grinding plates by hand with soap and warm water.
Plus, you will also find rubber feet underneath the grinder that helps keep the unit stable, consequently reducing vibration and wear and tear and extending the machine’s lifetime.
If you grab the STX Turboforce Classic 3000 Series, the chances are that it will serve you for a long time. The manufacturer also takes extra steps to ensure you do not bear any risk with this purchase, offering a 100% no-questions-asked money-back guarantee for up to 30 days after the purchase. You also get a 3-year warranty that includes coverage for repair costs, including parts and labor.
- 3000-watts-capable motor and a massive 12-inch grinding head combine to create the ultimate meat grinder for all your household needs
- Sturdy industrial-grade construction with stainless steel blades and plates and a polished, food-grade aluminum chassis
- With speed selection options, a reverse setting, and a circuit breaker for the ultimate power control
- A prime selection of attachments including three extra grinding plates, sausage stuffing tubes, a 3-in-1 burger press, meat shredding claws, a Kubbe attachment
- With circuit breaker for increased safety during operation
- Easy to clean
- 30-day no-questions-asked money-back warranty
- Three-year warranty with coverage for repairs, including parts and labor
Tip: Choosing the Perfect Meat Grinder
Similar to what you get with other home appliances, with meat grinders, you have an abundance of viable options on the market. Hence picking the perfect one for your needs might get confusing quickly.
The key to getting the best bang-for-your-buck is to opt for a powerful machine to match your most demanding task, yet pick one that isn’t too overpowered and consequently too expensive and wasteful. With a grinder that packs excessive power, you will be committing unnecessary extra funds that could have a better use case elsewhere in your kitchen.
A good rule of thumb is to opt for meat grinders with a motor rating in the 1000 to 3000 watts range. This range represents a sweet spot where the machine will deliver enough power to handle all your grinding tasks.
Other peculiarities to look out for that can further enhance your experience include:
Durability: even the perfect machine power-wise is only good as long as it maintains its structural integrity. You want to opt for meat grinders that pack a reliable construction and feature sturdy materials like aluminum and stainless steel.
Speed Control: Meat grinders that offer the ability to choose alternate speeds can help to simplify your workflow considerably. With these machines, you can easily select a higher rate to cut down your grinding time, especially when handling larger meat portions.
The best grinding machines also include extra modes like reverse, which can help with quick cleaning and circuit breakers that can immediately stop the machine’s operation, providing a safety buffer for whenever you need it.
Added Functionality: The best meat grinders are all-purpose tools for handling meat that goes beyond merely grinding meat and adds a significant amount of functionality to your meat processing setup.
When buying meat grinders check for the inclusion of attachments like sausage makers and Kubbe components that provide the tools for creating specific specialty dishes. The last thing you want is to buy an extra tool to handle a simple routine task.
Also, ensure the package includes core attachments like grinding plates, stuffing tubes, meat packers, meat shredding claws.
Best Meat Grinder
Our top pick, the STX Turboforce Classic 3000 Series, is one of the most effortless meat grinders to recommend. Its mix of a powerful motor, a 12-inch grinding head, and enhanced versatility thanks to an abundance of useful attachments makes it the go-to for reliable performance and a one-size-fit-all for all your meat grinding needs.
However, like with most other home appliance types, no one brand offering is suitable for everyone. The good news is that whether you need less power, more power, or a different set of functionalities, there is something for you on the market.
Based on our research, here are a couple of other top performers that you should consider.
Deluxe Option: LEM Big Bite Electric Meat Grinder
For folks who value elegance as much as performance, the barebones typical kitchen gear look you get with the STX Turboforce Classic 3000 Series may not cut it. For these folks, the Big Bite meat grinder from LEM packs some refined aesthetics that is the answer.
You can immediately tell the manufacturer put in extra effort to give the Big Bite one of the most sophisticated looks and construction you will find anywhere from your first look.
This meat grinder sports a modern brushed steel construction that immediately stands out from most of the competition. This chassis is easy on the eyes, eliminates fingerprints, and creates a contemporary allure that is sure to impress.
Other small touches that add to the Big Bite Grinder’s exquisite construction include an added tray in the chassis that is suitable for both knife and plate storage. You also get massive grinding heads that use an extended auger and a rifling pattern to push the meat in place consistently, allowing for a faster grind and reducing the need to repeatedly prod or push the meat supply into place while grinding. You also get a heavy-duty handle that makes moving the massive grinding machine significantly easier.
With this description, you can easily infer that the LEM Big Bite Electric Meat Grinder is more massive than the Turboforce Classic 3000, and you are right.
While the LEM grinder uses a similar 12-inch grinding head and a lower-powered motor (you can choose several motors with this grinder within the 0.35 – 1.5 HP, 223.71 – 1118.55 watts range), everything else is bigger.
The LEM Big Bite packs a massive meat grinder pan that measures 12.25 by 9.125 inches and is 2.25 inches deep. When you combine this enormous inlet with the oversized construction of this machine, what you get is a meat grinding beast.
Despite packing smaller motors, the LEM Big Bite grinder outperforms the Turboforce Classic in meat processing speed. The LEM machine can take up to 660 pounds of meat per hour compared to the 220 pounds per hour capacity you get with the Turboforce.
Another sector where the LEM Big Bite grinder outperforms most of the competition is in noise control. This grinding machine features a permanently-lubricated motor that considerably reduces the motor’s noise output and ensures some of the most silent operations you will find anywhere. This quiet performance further adds to the premium feel you get with this grinder.
As you would expect from any deluxe offering, the LEM Big Bite grinder goes all out regarding the included accessories. You also get a steel knife, meat stomper, stuffing plate, coarse plate, fine plate, meat plate extractor, and three stuffing tubes with your purchase. Plus, the LEM Big Bite also features an in-built storage locker where you can fit any of these accessories while not in use.
Furthermore, you get an extended 5-year warranty and lifetime customer support with each purchase, guaranteeing your money’s worth throughout owning this product.
The LEM Big Bite Electric Meat Grinder currently retails for over 600 bucks, which is significantly higher than most other home-use meat grinders on the market.
- Refined, aesthetic with a modern brushed steel chassis
- The motor features permanent lubrication with an improved formula that enables noiseless performance.
- With included storage tray and space for storing attachments and extras
- Massive grinding tray and tubing for increased meat intake
- A heavy-duty handle on the side of the meat grinder for increased portability
- An extensive list of attachments and accessories, including a meat stomper and a steel knife
- Ample 5-year warranty and lifetime customer support
Budget Option: Cuisinart Electric Meat Grinder
For many amateur cooks, and even some cooking enthusiasts, the two grinders we mentioned earlier in this article may be overdoing it. If you would instead opt for a smaller, lower-powered machine for handling the occasional meat grinding task, this electric meat grinder from Cuisinart fits the bill perfectly.
Plus, with its retail price of only 100 bucks, the Cuisinart Electric Meat Grinder is one of the most cost-effective purchases you can make as it retails for only a fraction of the price of other more premium offerings available in the category.
With this grinder, you get a significantly smaller motor that only outputs 300 watts of energy, which is unsurprising considering the massive price discount.
However, you shouldn’t underrate the Cuisinart grinder’s potential performance. The 300-watt motor combines with any of the two included grinding plates (coarse and medium thickness options) to create an efficient grinding axis that can chop through 120 pounds of meat per hour, an outstanding output for a small machine.
Furthermore, the operation of the machine is relatively straightforward and easy to understand. You get a simple on/off switch that starts and stops the grinding process, a reverse function that is excellent for unclogging the machine and routine cleaning, and a circuit breaker for shutting down the engine during emergencies.
You do not get any blade speed adjustments with the Cuisinart Electric Meat Grinder. The grinding machine operates at a single grinding speed that maxes out the 300-watt motor. This issue might be a dealbreaker for some.
Plus, despite this electric meat grinder’s budget pricing, Cuisinart does not skimp out on creating a durable chassis. The Cuisinart Electric Meat Grinder features a stainless steel construction that makes it one sturdy machine while adding some good looks.
While the Cuisinart Grinder isn’t the best in the attachments department—unsurprising considering its price point—, you do get two sausage attachments in the package. The grinder features pull-out accessory storage where you can store them when not in use.
With its mix of durable construction and reliable performance, the Cuisinart Electric Meat Grinder offers one of the best bang-to-buck ratios in the category. Consequently, it is the obvious pick for a budget meat grinder that can handle all your home meat grinding tasks effectively.
- Affordable pricing at only $100 for a full-fledged home meat grinder
- 300-watt motor capable of outputting 120 pounds of meat per hour
- Two included metal grinding plates with variable thickness (coarse and medium)
- Brushed stainless steel chassis provides increased durability and superior aesthetics
- With two included sausage attachment for making sausages or breakfast links
- With pull-out accessory storage included in the housing
Best Manual Meat Grinder
While reading through the first half of this article, many home cooks will be taken aback by the quoted grinding capacities like “200 pounds of meat per hour.”
For many average citizens, 200 pounds is as much meat as they would consume in a typical year. Some folks even consume significantly less meat than the average, and for them, justifying the purchase of a full-on electric meat grinder may be challenging. A manual meat grinder may provide a more suitable and less expensive alternative for the people in this category.
Manual meat grinders are typically smaller units that work of physical energy. You have to continuously crank these machines by hand to grind batches of meat until the entire grinding process is complete.
While using manual grinders is significantly more labor-intensive and slower, if you only handle small portions of meat for the occasional homemade burger patty or sausage, they can be a worthy alternative to more expensive electric grinders.
If you would opt for a manual meat grinding machine, here are the best options on the market you should consider.
Top Pick: Gideon Manual Meat Grinder
If you only grind meat occasionally, a manual meat grinder is often enough for the job, and what better way to start than with the best the market has to offer? The Gideon Manual Meat Grinder is a reliable, compact best-in-class meat grinder that is guaranteed to handle all your beginner meat grinding tasks with ease.
While this machine will be unable to match the power output of even our budget pick for an electric grinder, what it lacks in capability, it more than makes up for in the seamlessness and efficiency of its grinding process.
The Gideon meat grinder features a modern, improved design, complete with stainless steel and plastic components, to provide easier and smoother cranking than the predominant old-style all-metal grinders. Consequently, you can expect to use far less energy cranking this grinder than you would with most other models on the market.
Plus, unlike most of the competition, with the Gideon Grinder, you get two stainless steel grinding plates with one for fine grinding and the other for coarse grinding.
The presence of dual grinding plates significantly extends this machine’s capability, making it suitable for grinding meat for a large variety of recipes, pureeing vegetables, and mincing bulbs like garlic and onions.
With manual meat grinders like this one for Gideon, you do have to prep your meat better than you would with a high-powered electric grinder. You may have to cut your meat portions into smaller pieces to fit into these smaller grinders.
This extra step can further extend the amount of time you spend grinding.
One feature that sets this machine from other cheaply built options is that the grinding blades come fully encased, which significantly increases safety by reducing the chance of injury as you couldn’t get your fingers into the feeder even if you tried.
Another central selling point of the Gideon manual grinder is the inclusion of a suction cup base, eliminating the need for clamping your grinder onto an edge. The suction cup base works with an easy-to-use knob that turns on and off the suction hold instantly.
Once you are done grinding, you can dismantle the grinder with ease and clean it quite effortlessly, as most of the grinder’s parts are dishwasher-safe. Plus, when you factor in the machine’s small footprint, its easy disassembly, and the fact that you don’t need a power source to operate it, what you get is the ideal meat grinder to bring on the road.
- Modern, improved design for easier and smoother cranking
- Two stainless steel grinding plates (coarse and fine)
- Fully enclosed blades for enhanced safety
- Compact and lightweight (9.5-inch height, 7-inch width)
- Easily disassembled
- Dishwasher-safe parts
- Sturdy construction
Budget Pick: Kitchen Basics Manual Meat Grinder
Most manual meat grinders already retail at low-dirt prices, so you should have any trouble finding one that fits your budget. However, every seasoned shopper knows that, in every market segment, there is always the opportunity for a better deal.
If you seek a manual meat grinder that brings considerable value at the lowest possible price, the Kitchen Basics Manual Meat Grinder fits the bill perfectly.
Like the Gideon Manual Meat Grinder, this grinder from Kitchen Basics is a modernized option with a similar (albeit less aesthetic) stainless steel and plastic construction that allows for quickly cranking and a smoother operation.
However, one major factor that the Kitchen Basics grinder has going for it is that it’s five bucks cheaper. A five-buck difference is massive in a market segment where most of the top offerings retail for 30 dollars or less. Hence, the Kitchen Basics meat grinder is the obvious pick for the die-hard deal hunter.
Elsewhere, the Kitchen Basics Manual Meat Grinder lives up to the expectations placed on other top market offerings. The model is a compact and lightweight (7.5-inch height, 5-inch width) meat grinder perfect for grinding meat and ultimately a host of other related kitchen tasks.
Inside the package, you will find two grinding plates (coarse and fine) that lend themselves to various use cases. You will also find three sausage funnels and two stainless steel screens for safety in the package.
Kitchen Basics markets its manual grinder as a 3-in-1 vegetable and meat grinder, pasta maker, and sausage stuffer. The included three sausage stuffers (3 different sizes) help to complete this allure. You also get a pasta maker bowl to make the process of making homemade pasta significantly smoother.
Similar to what you get with Gideon’s grinder, this manual grinder also features a suction base cup that keeps the machine in place, preventing any movement or wobbling during the grinding process.
Plus, all of the Kitchen Basics grinder’s parts, safe for the suction base, and the steel blades are dishwasher-safe, which significantly streamlines the machine’s cleaning process.
If you seek an all-purpose manual grinder for your kitchen at the lowest possible price, the Kitchen Basics Manual Meat Grinder is the apparent winner.
- Modern, improved design, with ergonomic crank for more comfortable and smoother cranking
- Two stainless steel grinding plates (coarse and fine)
- Fully enclosed blades for enhanced safety
- Compact and lightweight (7.5-inch height, 5-inch width)
- Easily disassembled
- Dishwasher-safe parts
Best Meat Grinder Attachment
Every home improvement enthusiast knows the joy of finding a fitting or gadget that can effectively handle two regular tasks, eliminating the need for an extra purchase. A meat grinder attachment offers you the closest thing to that paradigm when it comes to meat grinders.
Meat grinder attachments are small meat grinders often produced by an OEM for use with their food mixers. This plugin taps into the power hub of the mixer to support its grinding process.
If you already own a mixer that supports this system, grabbing a matching grinder attachment can be an excellent way to handle all your home kitchen’s grinding tasks without having to shell out the big bucks for full-on electric meat grinders.
KitchenAid stand mixer, one of the most popular options in the space, is one of the few offerings from a top manufacturer that supports this meat grinder attachment system.
However, while you will find an abundance of off-brand options that work with this unit, the OEM-produced meat grinder attachment from KitchenAid offers some of the most reliable performances while retailing for less than 40 bucks.
Our Pick: KitchenAid Food Grinder Attachment
If you need a grinder for minor home tasks and already own a KitchenAid stand mixer, the KitchenAid Food Grinder Attachment is a no-brainer. With this easy-on gadget, you can add a grinder component to your stand mixer without breaking the bank or taking up any more of your precious kitchen counter real estate.
Consequently, with this grinder attachment, you can plug in and begin grinding without having to modify or reconfigure the base stand mixer. Simply attach the grinder to the mixer’s power hub and start grinding in no time.
However, don’t let the tag “attachment” fool you. The KitchenAid Food Grinder Attachment packs a reliable performance and robust functionality that is sure to rival some of the low and mid-tier standalone electric grinders while retailing for only a fraction of the price.
The unit ships with two grinding plates, a coarse plate, and a fine plate, offering you varying setups to match the requirement of specific dishes. This grinder also includes a ring pusher, auger, knife, stomper, and securing ring.
This setup offers you everything you need to grind the meat into different end-results, puree vegetables and fruits, and make breadcrumbs from dried bread.
However, unlike most standalone electric grinders, with the KitchenAid Food Grinder Attachment, if you need added functionality like sausage making, you will need to purchase another addon. These addons can significantly add to your total costs. KitchenAid sells an optional sausage stuffer addon to make sausages and an expanded food tray for faster loading, both of which attach to the grinder attachment to extend its versatility further.
Another big plus with this unit is that the attachment is super easy to clean, thanks to most of its components being dishwasher-safe. However, you have to handwash the metal grinding blades, cutting knife, and foot stomper.
- Attaches to the power hub the KitchenAid stand mixer and works without any external power sources
- With two grinding plates, a coarse plate, and a fine plate to enhance versatility
- Also includes a ring pusher, auger, knife, stomper, and securing ring
- Optional sausage maker and extended food tray available
- Easy to clean with dishwasher-safe components
- 1-year warranty
Meat Grinders: More FAQs
Should I purchase a meat grinder?
Figuring out if a meat grinder purchase is worth it for you depends heavily on how much you value your ground meat’s quality (texture and taste).
Store-bought pre-grounds like ground beef offerings typically get a large portion of their contents from cheap cuts and remainders. Since it is tougher to tell the cut’s quality when looking at already ground beef, these products are typically the destination for the worst cuts and portions.
Consequently, getting a grinder and grinding meat yourself can significantly enhance the quality of the meat you consume. While using meat grinders, you can choose your own cuts of meat, ensure the quality you want, blend multiple cuts or types of meat to achieve a specific end-product, and control other factors like the fat content and the ground texture.
Grinding meat yourself can also significantly reduce the risk of contamination by E. Coli and other potentially harmful microbes.
In large grinding plants, if a small portion of the meat is contaminated, the microbes can quickly spread to the rest of the plant’s offerings during the grinding process. Grinding meat yourself creates considerable isolation of the end-product, which markedly reduces the risk of contamination.
What is the difference between a meat grinder and a food processor?
Both meat grinders and food processors work to break meat, vegetables, fruits, and other food items into small bits. So, why get one over the other?
The significant difference between these appliances is in the texture of the end result. Food processors’ design makes a better alternative for slicing, mixing, shredding, and loosely grinding meat. This form of grinding meat often produces unevenly ground meat, containing both fine chunks, large chunks, and sometimes even pasty portions from over-grinding.
While this action may be suitable for some use cases, in most cases, when grinding meat, for the best texture, you want to use meat grinders
Meat grinders typically produce ground meat that presents a more even texture and is far less like to turn your meat pasty.