If you’re a discriminating shopper who only wants the best for your family, chances are you’re choosy about the meats that you buy from the supermarket. That can be a bit of a problem especially when you’re looking for ground meat for your favorite meatloaf family recipe.
That’s because store-bought minced meat is usually a blend of cuts, meat scraps, and sometimes, even bones. So unless you’re buying from a trusted butcher, you can’t really be sure about the quality of the meat that you’re getting.
One solution to this predicament is to grind meat on your own. Not only are you able to choose the amount and quality of the meat yourself, but also the amount of fat that you can add in order to make it really flavorful and juicy.
For that, you will need a reliable meat grinder to get the job done properly. They can be a significant investment, especially the automated ones, but the manual ones are more affordable, and sometimes, even more reliable in the kitchen.
A manual meat grinder is operated by a hand crank that pushes the meat through an auger to a cutting blade where it is minced before being pushed through a perforated grinding plate. Some models even include a sausage stuffer accessory to make it convenient for making sausages.
Because they can be fitted with other accessories, a hand crank meat grinder can be a multifunctional tool to have around the kitchen. Some models can even be used for shaping dough, extruding pasta, or even processing nuts or large amounts of spice. And if you’ve got a weaning baby in the household, it’s a handy tool for preparing meat-based food that’s appropriate for their age.
The best hand crank meat grinders are those that are easy to use and are durable. And because they’re gadgets with very sharp blades, they should also be safe enough to use. This means having special features like isolated blades, slip-proof handles, and a rubber bottom that sticks to the surface to help keep the gadget in place.
In this list, I’ve picked the best ones that are available on Amazon. Here are my top five best hand crank meat grinders.
Best Hand Crank Meat Grinders
- LEM Products Stainless Steel Clamp-on Hand Grinder
- CAM2 304 Stainless Steel Heavy Duty Manual Meat Grinder
- Huanyu Manual Meat Grinder Sausage Stuffer Filler
- Gideon Hand Crank Manual Meat Grinder
1. LEM Products Stainless Steel Clamp-on Hand Grinder
This is a heavy-duty, clamp-on hand grinder. It’s made from stainless steel so that it's easy to clean and rust-resistant. The wide clamp can be used on counters or tables that have a width of 1 1/2″ thick.
It comes with 2 stainless steel plates: course 3/8″ and fine 3/16″, 1 stainless steel knife, 3 stuffing tubes: 1/2″, 3/4″ & 7/8″, and 1 stuffing star.
Users report that it works pretty well for grinding pork for sausages. It also doesn’t take very long to grind 10-12 lbs of meat. Most problems encountered using this gadget had more to do with meat not fully prepped before being fed into the tube.
This product comes with a 1-year warranty.
- Comes with 3 filling tubes
- Easy to use
- Some users reported quality control issues
2. CAM2 304 Stainless Steel Heavy Duty Manual Meat Grinder
This is another stainless steel manual meat grinder that has a wide opening clamp that will fit on most countertops and tables. The crank handle is ergonomically designed for easy turning.
This is best used for smaller quantities of meat because of its small and compact size. It comes with two 420 stainless steel blades (coarse 3/8″ and fine 3/16″) and a filling tube to make sausage.
It also has a broad base that’s built on rubber pads. This helps protect the kitchen counter surface while using the machine.
This product has a 1-year warranty.
- Blades are replaceable in case of dullness or breakage
- Comes only with a single filling tube
3. Huanyu Manual Meat Grinder Sausage Stuffer Filler
This is a grinder and a stuffer that’s made from 2 kinds of stainless steel materials: 304 stainless steel for its shell bracket and 3cr13 stainless steel for its blades and augers. It includes a strong suction cup at the bottom and a stainless steel clamp.
It’s equipped with 2 meat plates (4.5mm round hole + 8mm round hole meat plate) that can finely grind and crush different kinds of meat. An ergonomic extended handle rocker makes it easy to operate. This grinder can be easily disassembled for cleaning by hand or dishwasher.
Accessories include an enema nozzle, an ABS plastic funnel and pushrod to add ingredients, and a cleaning brush.
- Made from 2 kinds of heavy-duty steel
- Dishwasher safe
- Heavy (weighs 7.1 lbs)
4. Gideon Hand Crank Manual Meat Grinder
This is a lightweight hand crank meat grinder that features 2 stainless steel screens, plus a fine mincing and a coarse mincing blade. The blades are full enclosed for safety purposes.
It also has a powerful suction base for added stability. It is easy to disassemble for cleaning and most of the parts are dishwasher friendly.
This is ideal for grinding small amounts of meat for fresh gourmet burgers, meatballs, sausages, etc. But this can also be used to grind vegetables, garlic, fruits, etc. Accessories include a meat pusher.
- Can also be used for pureeing vegetables
- Dishwasher safe
- Not for heavy-duty use
Buyers Guide to Choosing a Hand Crank Meat Grinder
Hand crank meat grinders are usually made from stainless steel or a combination of steel and plastic.
If you’re into grinding fish and tender cuts of meat and poultry, a grinder that has a plastic body is good enough. But if you’re grinding fatty or tough meats, a stainless steel meat grinder is more durable to take on the force needed to grind meat.
In general, an all stainless steel model is a more practical choice because it won’t wear out easily and you don’t have to be concerned about whether it is food safe and BPA free. It’s heavier than a plastic model, for sure, and will be slightly expensive, but if that doesn’t bother you, it’s the better choice. Just make sure that it’s constructed really well.
Crank design is an important factor in gauging the performance of the grinder. The shaft should be comfortably long enough while the handle should be ergonomic so that it has more turning power. The entire mechanism should also be sturdy enough to withstand countless cranking.
Overall, look for how flexible the grinder is in dealing with various meat cuts. Some will not be able to grind bone, for example. Others will require that the meat must be prepped first before being loaded into the grinder.
Pick one that’s best for your needs. If you don’t need to grind a large amount of meat, then a small-sized grinder is best for you. It’ll also be easier to store in a cabinet drawer.
Suction Cups or Clamp
Most plastic body hand crank grinders have suction cups at the base for added stability. But not every suction cup will be able to deliver this well so look for quality ones. Clamps are a much better alternative although this will depend on how thick your table or countertop is. Most can fit 1/2 inches of thickness. Measure your table surface first to see if a clamp is much more suited for your kitchen
The more attachments a grinder has, the more versatile it can be. Some models have attachments that can control the texture or thickness of the ground meat. Others will have sausage stuffers. There are even models that can be fitted with a pasta extruder for making hollow pasta. Choose according to your need in the kitchen.
Because a grinder contains very sharp blades, look for a safety feature incorporated into the design. In a hand crank model, this is usually provided with the addition of a meat tamper/pusher into the whole package. This allows you to push the meat down the feeding tube without getting your fingers near the sharp blades.
Can it be disassembled easily for cleaning? Are the removable parts dishwasher friendly? And, in case it’s not, how easy is it to clean and sanitize?
Pick one that has at least a 1-year warranty. And read it carefully, because some warranties can be misleading. A common complaint is when they’ll require you to shoulder the shipping costs to have the item fixed or replaced.
Also, check the reviews on its product page to see if its customer service is reliable and responsive to customer complaints.