Choosing a Juice Extractor: Buying Guide
Just a few years ago, choosing a juicer meant picking one of several appliances that produced fresh juices or perhaps allowed the user to make cooked juices suitable for canning. Today, there are more options than ever before, and some of the juice extractors on the market have the ability to serve up delicacies such as frozen desserts, homemade pasta, and even gourmet homemade baby food for your little one.
We’ve written this buyer’s guide to provide you with the insight you need concerning the advantages and disadvantages of various juice extractors, so that you head into the shopping process armed with the information you need to make a good decision.
Types of Juice Extractors
If you’re brand new to juicing, or even if you have juiced in the past and are looking for a newer, better juice extractor, you might be wondering which model is best. Before you narrow your choice down to several models though, it’s a great idea to learn about the different types of juicers. In general, there are three main juice extractor types, all with their own pros and cons.
Centrifugal juicers are common, and they are also among the most popular. Like the Breville JE98XL Juice Fountain Plus that Joe Cross used in his documentary, Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead, these juicers quickly transform fruit and vegetables into tasty, nutritious beverages.
Usually configured with a large central chute that leads into a chamber fitted with spinning blades and a mesh screen that separates the juice from the pulp, these machines are user-friendly. Many have just one speed, but some, like the Breville BJE820XL Juice Fountain Duo Dual Disc Juicer, have more speeds, making it easier to juice a wide range of hard and soft produce.
Who doesn’t love a bargain? In most cases, centrifugal juicers cost less than triturating juicers and masticating juicers. While it is true that there are some centrifugal juicers that cost more, the cheapest juicers on the market also happen to be centrifugal juice extractors.
Centrifugal juicers are fast. If you are very busy and have just a few minutes to spend juicing each day, a centrifugal juicer might be ideal for you.
Most centrifugal juicers can handle large pieces of fruit and whole vegetables, making for less preparation time and adding even more convenience.
Many people appreciate the speed with which centrifugal juicers work, but there are a few common issues to be aware of. First, the juice that emerges is typically covered in lightweight foam. Some manufacturers get around this by incorporating foam skimmers into the juice pitchers that come with their juice extractors. Some don’t feel the foam is a problem, and to be fair, many consumers like its creamy texture and sip it happily. Others just stir it into their glasses.
Second, people who are on raw food diets tend to steer clear of centrifugal juicers, as these extractors generate a small amount of heat that is transferred to the finished product. While it does not cook the juice, it does contribute to oxidation in some cases. This can cause the juice’s color to change, and it can destroy some of the enzymes in the fruits and vegetables. The juice is still nutritious, filled with vitamins, and full of powerful antioxidants, but is not considered optimal for anyone following a raw diet.
If you’re on a budget or have a limited amount of time to juice, you will probably appreciate a centrifugal juicer. You’ll reap plenty of health benefits along the way. The Cuisinart CJE-1000 Juice Extractor is a good entry level product, as is the Hamilton Beach 67650A Big Mouth Pro Juice Extractor. Breville’s centrifugal juicers offer a step up from these models.
Masticating juicers use an auger to chew and mash fruits and vegetables, squeezing the juice out by crushing the produce against a fine screen before sending it into a small pitcher. Pulp is ejected through a separate exit.
While most masticating juicers have larger footprints than centrifugal models, there are a few with vertical profiles that combine the benefits of a masticating juicer with the space-saving size of the centrifugal juicer. The Kuvings Silent Juicer SC is one example of a juicer like this, and the Omega VRT350 Heavy Duty Dual-Stage Vertical Single Auger Low Speed Juicer is another.
Masticating juicers can handle nearly any produce, and some can do things other than just make juice.
With a masticating juicer, you can easily process all kinds of greens, fruits, and vegetables. You can also juice wheatgrass, which is impossible with a centrifugal juicer.
Juices made with masticating type extractors retain all their nutrients, enzymes, and antioxidants. They do not separate when refrigerated, and can be kept fresh for up to 72 hours in the refrigerator.
Many masticating juicers perform functions other than just making juice. The Omega J8006 Nutrition Center juicer is a good example of one that does lots of different things. It comes with attachments that let you use the machine as a pasta maker, frozen dessert maker, food processer, and more.
If speedy operation is important to you, consider a centrifugal juicer. The same low-speed process that contributes to the “pros” of this juicer type also contributes to a longer wait time for fresh juice.
Most masticating juicers accept only small bits of produce, so you have to spend a longer amount of time prepping your fruits and vegetables for juicing.
Masticating juicers tend to cost more than centrifugal juice extractors. While you will be spending more money up front on a good masticating juice extractor, it will eventually pay for itself.
If you follow a raw food diet or want to use your juicer for more than just making juices, you are likely to be very happy with all that a masticating juicer has to offer. It’s true that the process takes a bit longer and the machine costs more, but these units are so versatile that they will quickly end up saving you money on nut butters, healthy desserts, and many other things.
Consider Your Reasons for Wanting a Juice Extractor and Read Reviews
Before making a selection, be sure that you spend at least a little time thinking about your reasons for wanting a juice extractor. Your goals may have changed now that you know a little bit more about what some of these appliances are able to do! By making a quick checklist, you can compare your needs with the models available.
Once you’ve narrowed your choice down to just a few options, read some reviews to see what others have experienced while using the juice extractors you are considering. Taking a little time to learn what people have to say will almost certainly pay off. Some tips for reading juicer reviews critically follow:
- Look for reviews that talk about various features on the juice extractors you are considering, and don’t’ give too much weight to general reviews that simply say the juicer is good or bad without providing details that explain why the reviewer feels as he or she does. You want to learn as much as you can about the appliances you are considering.
- Pick a few different juice extractors to compare, either in the same category or in different categories. Although this type of careful side by side comparison will add a little time to your decision making process, it will give you a much better feel for what is available. You may find that keeping a few notes will help make it easier to keep all the details straight.
- Look for juice extractor reviews that break the machines’ features down and provide specific information about how they work. Are they easy to assemble? Easy to clean? Loud? Quiet? You’ll be surprised at the kinds of details you will find when you start reading juicer reviews.
- Recognize that as with all appliances, manufacturing details are possible, and the same defects are likely to be repeated across the spectrum. Even the best juice extractors sometimes fail right out of the box due to a defect. Do not let a few bad reviews detract from the overall picture.
Where to Buy a Juice Extractor
While a few department stores and big box stores keep a good selection of kitchen appliances including juice extractors in stock, you are likely to find more to choose from by shopping online at sites that carry a wide variety of merchandise, i.e. Amazon. Remember to consider the unit’s cost, ease of use, features, and of course quality as you make your decision. After all, a good juice extractor is an important addition to your kitchen, and it’s something that can make a positive difference in your health. The best juicer is the one that will meet your budget, deliver fantastic beverages, and pay for itself by keeping you from paying high prices for unhealthy choices during the months and years to come.