A juicer is a wonderful machine for ensuring that you can gain all the nutritional benefits of fruits and vegetables. The opportunity to drink freshly pressed juice means that no nutrients have been lost to oxidation or processing. Store-bought juices lose a lot of valuable compounds through time and are often pasteurized to kill bacteria, which also denatures the liquid. Additionally, unwanted ingredients, such as sweeteners or preservatives, are sometimes added into juices that are commercially processed.
It’s important to maintain hygiene when juicing. Fruit, your cutting board and utensils should be washed thoroughly to get rid of any pesticides or bacteria. And only make as much juice as you can drink at once: fresh juice can spoil quickly and, at worst, cause food poisoning. Juicing, though, is generally a healthy choice: It may persuade you to try fruits and vegetables that you wouldn’t normally eat (adding valuable new compounds to your diet) and allows the opportunity of creating flavorsome drinks with personalized recipes combining different healthful ingredients.
There are two basic types of juicers: centrifugal (or ‘extractors’) and masticating (or ‘cold press’ or ‘slow press’). Centrifugal juicers operate by grating the fruit and then spinning it to force the juice out; they can be noisy but are usually cheaper and produce juice more quickly. Some users claim that centrifugal juicers destroy some nutrients because their fast spinning produces heat. Centrifugal machines work well on carrots, apples, and oranges.
Masticating juicers are quieter and use an auger to grind and squeeze the fruit. These cold press machines have higher juice yields but are slower. Masticating juicers’ slower operation helps preserve vitamins and nutrients and they are preferred for tough greens like kale. In the end, it may be a ‘lifestyle’ choice: centrifugal juicers will suit people in a hurry while masticating machines are for patient purists.
What to look for in a juicer
Beyond price, what are some features worth looking for? We like machines with large chutes (which make them easier to load) and large pulp collectors (that need emptying less frequently). Centrifugal machines benefit by a variable speed setting (soft fruits don’t need to be processed as aggressively as harder vegetables) and cold press machines should have a ‘reverse’ to help release clogs. A more powerful motor can make it easier to process tough produce but ease-of-assembly and ease-of-cleaning are crucial. Dishwasher-safe components are helpful but many juicers have interlocking parts and we believe it is more important to find a juicer that can be disassembled easily for cleaning. Overall, we prefer to pay a little more for ‘known’ brand names in the hope that the machine will be more durable over time and that any warranty or guarantee will have value if required.
Best Centrifugal Juicers
VonShef Premium Juicer
This centrifugal juicer has a strong 800 watt motor with overheat protection, a wide feeding chute, and a large 52 fl oz pulp container. A single dial control is used for on/off and slow or fast operation; for safety, the motor will not run unless the cover is properly clamped in position. All detachable parts are dishwasher-safe and the base unit, which has a plastic housing and stainless steel facing, can be wiped clean. VonShef provides a two-year manufacturers warranty. Reviews range from ‘fantastic’ to questionable but, used sensibly, this machine can provide a low-cost entry to home juicing.
Hamilton Beach 67601A Big Mouth Juicer
Another 800 watt centrifugal juicer, this budget choice from Hamilton Beach is a good no-nonsense option. Dishwasher safe parts and an extra large pulp collector make it a practical choice, while the large chute saves on fruit cutting before you can start juicing. It’s far from the quietest juicer and the affordable price means plastic is the most prominent material used, but it is a very capable juicer for a very tempting price.
Breville JE98XL Juice Fountain Plus
If 800 watts isn’t enough for you this Breville juicer pushes the power all the way up to 850 watts. In practice, this means it can make juice faster, especially when dealing with tougher fruits and vegetables. The motor can run at two speeds (6500 rpm or 12,000 rpm) depending on the toughness of what you are juicing, and the juice is collected in a 1 liter (34 fl oz) jug (34 fl oz) after passing through a froth separator. It is easy to clean thanks to the included brush and the fact all removable parts are safe to wash in the top shelf of a dishwasher.
Best Masticating Juicers
Panasonic MJ-L500 Juicer
This Panasonic masticating unit has a slim structure with a vertical screw. A 150 watt motor is geared to drive the screw at 45 rpm which should deliver plenty of grinding power. We like the silicone cover on the juice-spout (that prevents dripping after the juice is poured) and the arrows on the components that help with lining up the parts during assembly.
The dimensions of the loading chute mean that some produce will need to be cut up before juicing but reviewers are happy with the machine’s juice-producing efficiency and describe no particular problems with cleaning or assembly. The base unit is available with a metallic red, silver or gold cladding and a sorbet attachment is included for the preparation of frozen fruit desserts. This is a solid cold-press choice at a feasible price from an internationally known brand.
Biochef Synergy Slow Juicer
Biochef’s ‘Synergy’ juicer features a 150 watt motor driving the screw at 60 rpm. It has a modern compact, design (weighing a solid 14 lbs) and is available in four different color finishes: red; white; black; and silver. Reviewers highlight its high extraction rate and very quiet operation. Features include a juice outlet cap, a pulp storage plug and a safety sensor to prevent overheating.
We like that it is delivered with alternative juicing screens, a fine and a coarse, to allow for some individual preference in the size of fruit particles within the juice. The manufacturer offers a 10-year guarantee on the motor and a 5-year guarantee on the parts. While more expensive than our other picks, this is a quality appliance that should provide good service over many years.
Omega J8006 Nutrition Center Dual-Stage Juicer
This juicer only has a 150 watt motor and a juicing speed of 80 rpm but the manufacturer claims that this slow masticating protects and maintains healthy enzymes, prevents oxidation and extends the shelf life of your juice. The strong GE Ultern auger means you can also use the juicer to grind coffee or nuts for making nut butters. Reviewers report it is easy to clean and use and while it isn’t the cheapest option, it does a fantastic job of making healthy, nutrient-rich juice, while also offering an extra level of versatility.