Meat ground at home has multiple benefits over ready-made products. Firstly, you will be able to see what exactly goes into the grinder. Secondly, given the inevitable oxidation and compression of minced meat in their packaging, you get a product that is superior in taste and quality.
So how should you go about finding the best kitchen device? Should it cost a fortune? There are guidelines and customer feedback to help you. Choosing the best model is not a challenging task if you familiarize yourself with these basic requirements. A lot is determined by what you will be grinding, how often and how much.
A reliable grinder is a good value for money. However, although the better the pricier, you do not necessarily have to splurge. We all have a budget to stick to. Do not automatically assume that the top model is the best choice. Some of the more affordable ones will offer everything you need. In general, there are three main ranges to compare:
- Under $100: models best suited for basic occasional use.
This implies grinding a few pounds once or twice a month. Hence, many of such models are simple hand grinders that cannot process bones or other tough parts. You will most certainly have to trim the pieces before loading them in. Despite the similar affordability, metal hand grinders usually outlast their low-cost electronic counterparts.
- Under $200: mid-range models good for general use.
These models are best for average use, which means grinding meat once or twice a week at most. Naturally, you may load more meat than an occasional-use model allows, but not a whole animal. Reasonably tough segments, including soft bones and tendons, are handled much better, so trimming will be limited. Really hard pieces will still jam the machine.
- Over $300: best choice for heavy users.
If you are looking for heavy-duty performance, be ready to spend this much. These models are commonly used by hunters and pet owners – those who either process their own meat or make their own pet food.
Hence, take some time to analyze your actual needs first. Are you really going to grind meat every single day, or at least several times per week? Do you need a device that will handle a lot of meat and all the tendons and bones?
Grinding Power and Durability
This is measured either in horsepower or watts. Naturally, the more meat you intend to grind, the more powerful your grinder must be. In any case, the higher the better.
A reasonable consumer is interested in buying a device that serves the longest. How can you identify the potential life span of a model? Pay attention to its housing, and blades. Metal parts are obviously more reliable than plastic. Both carbon steel and stainless steel blades should be good. In terms of the warranty, it is best to purchase models with at least one-year coverage.
Ease of Use and Cleaning
During grinding, chunks of meat may get stuck in the device, so look for models with reverse function. Like kitchen blenders, grinders may operate at various speeds, so the more options the better. To ensure convenience, opt for models that are dishwasher safe. Remember that any grinder should be taken apart for washing, and some of its metal parts may need to be oiled.
Overall, your most important considerations should be the intended use, durability and the level of convenience you need. The most expensive models are the most powerful and reliable, but an average user hardly needs that amount of horsepower.