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Grilling aficionados can up their burger and sausage game with their own ground meats. Most home cooks rely on store-bought ground meat, which is convenient, but grocery store ground meats are usually made from a blend of cuts and scraps so you can never be sure exactly what you're getting or eating.
With a dedicated meat grinder, you can grind your own blends from whatever cuts of meat you choose, giving you complete control over the ingredients, amount of fat (aka flavor, juiciness, and nutrition), and quality of your ground meat. Whether you want to make gourmet blended meat burgers, juicier meatballs, or a ground beef filling for spaghetti sauce, casseroles, or tacos, here are the best meat grinders to consider.
Best Overall: Gourmia GMG525 Electric Meat Grinder
This electric meat grinder checks the boxes for power, efficiency, and ease of use. It features 1,000 Watts of max power, is easy to assemble and take apart for cleaning, and includes three stainless steel blades of varying sizes so you can get just the right cut. It also includes a food pusher, Kibbeh attachment, sausage horn, and recipe book to help you get cooking! There's a convenient three-way on-off-reverse switch that makes operation simple.
Gourmia is known for high-quality materials and this meat grinder features an ETL certification for safety. Reviewers say it's a great value machine but caution that it's important to read the manual and follow all care instructions to keep it working properly for years.
Best Design: Sunmile SM-G50 Electric Meat Grinder
The Sunmile Electric Meat Grinder is an elegant-looking machine that can grind large portions of meat quickly and efficiently. Built with a metal gearbox with large durable gears and a large capacity tray and grinding head, you’ll be able to feed this continuously—whether you’re grinding meat for burgers or stuffing sausages to stock the freezer.
This includes one cutting blade, three grinding plates, a plastic pusher, and three sausage stuffers, so you can make a variety of sausages and ground meats. The grinder head is made from polished aluminum, so you can chill it in the refrigerator or freezer before grinding to help keep the meat cold as you work. The cutting blade and grinding plates are made from stainless steel, so they can also be chilled.
This operates with simple switches for on, off/reverse, and to reset the circuit breaker that protects it from overheating. The cord tucks neatly inside the machine for compact storage.
"With the medium grinding plate, it got through 2.5 pounds of fatty chuck roast in about a minute without clogging." — Lindsay Boyers, Product Tester
Best Splurge: LEM 12 Big Bite Electric Meat Grinder
LEM makes a variety of meat grinders, but it recommends this particular model for frequent use. The brand's "Big Bite" technology allows the auger to handle larger portions of meat at a time and efficiently move it into the grinder head with fewer clogs. In addition to being able to grind 11 pounds of meat per minute, it boasts quiet operation, an all stainless steel motor housing, all-metal gears, and a built-in circuit breaker.
It includes a large meat pan, coarse and fine plates, three stuffing tubes, and a meat stomper. There's also a convenient tray at the bottom for storage. LEM offers a five-year warranty and lifetime customer support.
Best Budget: F&W Kitchen Basics 3 N 1 Manual Meat and Vegetable Grinder
If you’re looking for a budget-priced meat grinder, this model is great for smaller batches and is simple to use when you want to grind your own meat, vegetables, garlic, or even make homemade sausage.
The base is plastic but it has sharp stainless steel blades. When you’re done grinding meat, this can be used for making rigatoni or spaghetti pasta. It can also be used for crushing nuts for garnishes or recipes, so you’ll find plenty of uses for it in your kitchen.
To keep this stable during grinding, it has a suction cup base so it won’t move or wobble while you crank. This includes fine and coarse grinding plates, two stainless steel screens, and three sausage funnels.
The base should not be immersed in water, but all other parts are dishwasher safe for easy cleaning.
Best Stand Mixer Attachment: KitchenAid Food Grinder Attachment
If you have a KitchenAid stand mixer, it might make sense to get a meat grinder attachment rather than buying a stand-alone grinder. Like other attachments for the stand mixer, this attaches to the power hub and uses the mixer’s power to grind the meat.
This has a fine plate and coarse plate, so it can be used for grinding meats, dried bread, as well as firm fruits, vegetables and cheeses. Most parts are dishwasher-safe for easy cleaning. It also includes a meat pusher, which has a wrench on the opposite end for unscrewing the ring that holds the plates in place.
While this is all you need for grinding meat, there are add-ons that work with this grinder that make it even more useful. An optional food tray (Buy on Amazon) expands the surface area for holding food at the top of the grinder, making it faster and easier to keep feeding food into the grinder.
An optional sausage stuffer attachment (Buy on Amazon) works with the grinder to feed the prepared sausage mix into casings. It includes both a narrow tube that’s ideal for breakfast sausages, as well as a large tube for bratwurst, Italian sausage and other large sausages.
Best for Everyday Use: Cuisinart Electric Meat Grinder
If you buy meat in bulk, go hunting, or want to take up sausage making as a hobby, this grinder can handle pretty much anything you throw into it—and it has the power for frequent use. The powerful 300-watt motor quickly grinds up to 3 pounds per minute, so you'll be done with big projects in no time at all.
The brushed stainless steel housing is durable, and this product includes two cutting plates for medium and coarse thickness, plus two sausage attachments for breakfast links and regular sausages—along with a reverse feature which makes operation as simple as can be.
Reviewers praise this high-quality grinder for being able to make family favorites like burgers, meatloaf, sausages, and chili with ease. Reviewers also love how easy it is to operate and clean.
Best Manual: Gideon Hand Crank Manual Meat Grinder
If you aren’t sure if grinding your own meat makes sense, or if you know you’ll only be grinding small amounts, this manual grinder is just what you need. It’s designed to be easier to crank than old-style metal grinders (and it takes less storage space).
This has a suction cup base, so you don’t need to find an edge for a clamp. When you’re done grinding, just turn the knob to release the suction. The grinder comes apart easily for cleaning. Even better, most of the parts are dishwasher safe. Since it’s not electric, you can use it anywhere, even outdoors, when you’re grinding something messy.
This has two stainless steel plates for coarse or fine grinding, and can puree vegetables for soups or sauces. The fine plate can even be used for mincing garlic when you need a whole lot of garlic. It also includes a pusher.
Our top pick is the Gourmia GMG525 Meat Grinder (view at Amazon) since it checks the boxes for power, efficiency, and ease of use. If grinding your own meat is an occasional project, we recommend the KitchenAid Food Grinder Attachment (view at Amazon), which is easier to store than a stand-alone grinder.
What to Look For in a Meat Grinder
Manual vs. automatic
Hand-cranked meat grinders are less expensive and tend to be smaller than their electric counterparts, but they require more manual labor to use. If you expect to grind large batches of meat, you might want to upgrade to an electric model.
Metal or plastic housing
You’ll get the best results from meat grinding if you keep the meat cold during the entire process. Metal parts will stay chilled if you refrigerate or freeze them prior to grinding, which helps keep the meat cool. Plastic parts won’t retain cold as well, so you may need to grind in smaller batches.
Think about what type of food you plan to grind. Do you need multiple grinding plates or a sausage stuffer? Do you want a grinder that can handle more than meat? If you’re only planning on grinding meat for burgers, having options will be less important than if you want to grind other foods, too.
Why Trust The Spruce Eats?
Donna Currie is a food writer and product tester for The Spruce Eats. A cookbook author and self-professed "kitchen geek," she's written many roundups on a range of essential kitchen items, from the best holiday cooking gadgets to the top seafood kitchen tools of the year.
This roundup was updated by Sharon Lehman, a home cook who happens to be a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist. She happily makes space for any gadget that make cooking faster and easier and specializes in small kitchen appliance testing and reviews for The Spruce Eats.