Juicing is a quick and healthy habit that can be easily worked into any daily routine, no matter how busy you are. The first step is buying the right equipment, and in particular choosing from the wide variety of juicers available.
It can get confusing so it is important to get a basic understanding of the different types of juicers available. Then you can start to look at brands, pricing etc. Take the time to do a bit of research up front and make sure you get the right juicer for needs and budget.
In this article we’ll take a look at the different kinds of juicer, how they work and their pros and cons.
The Different Types of Juicers
Centrifugal (Fast) Juicers
Centrifugal juicers are the most popular on the market because they are fast, easy to use and the most affordable.
These juicers work by spinning the produce around in a mesh chamber at very high speeds while grinding it down into a pulp (a bit like a washing machine!). The centrifugal force of the spinning basket draws out all the juicy goodness from the pulp which is then filtered into a container, while shooting the pulp into a separate collection container.
Centrifugal juicers usually have a wide produce chute, and in most cases whole fruits and vegetables can be used. This saves a lot of time on cutting, dicing and slicing making preparation quick and easy.
Because centrifugal juicers work so quickly, the juice tends to foam up and oxygen can become incorporated into the juice. This oxidation will decrease the shelf-life and nutrients of the juice compared to other types of juicer. This however is not a big problem if you are drinking the juice right away.
The spinning action of the centrifugal juicer makes it perfect for fruit and vegetables, however it is not so great with leafy greens. They can tend to just spin around inside and get spat out with minimal juice extracted.
- Fast – ideal for busy people who want minimum fuss with their juicing
- Minimal preparation required – whole produce can be used
- Work great with hard fruit and vegetables
- Easy to clean
- Affordable – models available from under $100
- Plenty of compact models
- Not good for leafy greens
- Lower juice yield
- Oxidation which can deplete nutrients
- Some models can be noisy
Masticating (Slow or Cold Press) Juicers
Masticating or slow juicers operate at a slower speed than centrifugal juicers and are generally more expensive. They work by masticating, or ‘chewing’ and grinding the fruit and vegetables with augers (like drill bits) or gears.
As the produce is pressed and crushed, it is pushed against the meshed walls of the juicer. The juice then flows through, while the pulp is held back. In effect, the juice is slowly pressed out and the result is a clear juice higher in nutrients.
The ‘masticating’ process is slower than the fast spin of the centrifugal juicer, so juicing can take a little longer. It is also necessary to cut up the fruit and vegetable into smaller pieces to fit the feed chute.
Masticating juicers work better with fibrous produce than centrifugal juicers and remove more juice from the pulp. This gives a higher yield, no oxidation and they are particularly good at making green juices. The masticating action gets the maximum juice and nutrients out of leafy greens.
There are two types of masticating (or slow or cold press) juicers – single and twin gear (or augers). The latter are also known as triturating juicers and are considered the cream of the crop when it comes to juicers, but come at a high price tag.
A great side benefit of many masticating juicers is they can also be used for processing other foods such as nut butters, baby food, sorbet and fruit sauces. The power of the juicer produces a smooth, homogenous result, while maintaining the full nutritional benefits of the food.
- Ideal for leafy greens and fibrous produce
- High juice yield
- No oxidation
- Quiet operation
- Many models can also make nut butters, sorbets, baby food and more, plus juice wheatgrass
- More prep work due to a smaller feed chute
- More costly than centrifugal models
- Take more time to extract juice, so slower than centrifugal juicers
- Large, heavy and bulky so will need more counter space
- More expensive (particularly triturating juicers)
There are a couple of others types of juicers worth mentioning that are used for specific needs. Typically bought as an extra juicer, they can’t handle all types of fruit and vegetables so have limited use. These are:
Citrus Juicer – These come in a few varieties in both manual and electric versions. Most homes will have a small, manual citrus juicer to squeeze a few oranges or lemons. For larger quantities, there are electric versions available. Some food processors come with a citrus juicing attachment which can handle larger quantities.
Wheatgrass Juicer – Anyone who is serious about juicing grasses, herbs and leaves will want this type of juicer. They are purpose built to extract the maximum juice from wheatgrass and similar produce. While they can juice other things as well, they are not ideal for this purpose and should only be used minimally for it.
What To Consider Before Buying A Juicer
As with anything you will get what you pay for. There is a massive price range when it comes to juicers and you should consider how important it is going to be to your lifestyle.
Will you be juicing everyday or only a few times a week? Is the nutritional value of juicing a critical aspect? Or is it more of an occasional addition to your daily diet?
If juicing is going to be a fundamental part of your life, then it is smart to invest in the best juicer you can afford. If, however, you’re only going to be juicing every now and then, then consider a less expensive model that will do the job.
Easy to Use and Clean
This may be one of your most important considerations. If you have a busy life, spending 20 minutes chopping and prepping ingredients and another 15 minutes on cleaning every time you juice will become a hassle. Your new juicer may quickly find itself in the back of the cupboard!
So, if this is something you would rather avoid, then choose a juicer with a big feed chute that requires little or no chopping of produce. Centrifugal juicers are definitely the best choice in this situation.
This is usually a secondary consideration, but worth noting. Centrifugal juicers are noisy when operating, similar to a blender. In contrast, masticating juicers are very quiet.
Incorporating juicing into your lifestyle certainly has many benefits but initially, deciding between the different types of juicers can be confusing.
If you are just starting out, are a ‘part time’ juicer or on a budget, then choose a centrifugal juicer.
In contrast, if maximum nutrition is most important, and your budget allows it, a masticating juicer is the definitely the way to go.
Product images sourced from Amazon.com