Juicing has long been seen as a great way to get more vegetable and fruit nutrition in your diet. While juice shouldn’t been seen as a complete replacement for your recommended amount of fresh whole produce, it can be a significant step towards a healthier lifestyle. If you’re considering buying yourself a juicer, you might feel overwhelmed by the numerous different makes and models, all claiming to be your best bet. Understanding the differences between different types of juicers and knowing what to look for to find your ideal match is the best way to sort through the hype offered by so many manufacturers trying to catch your eye.
The first thing to understand is that a juicer is not the same as a blender. There are a number of gadgets out there that will turn whole fruits and veggies into drinkable juices or smoothies. In reality, these are just powerful blenders. If you have a “regular” blender that’s great at making frozen drinks, there’s a really good chance you already have what you need to make whole-food smoothies and drinks. Juicers are different in that they actually process your whole fruits and vegetables in a way that separates liquids from solids. You drink the juice and toss out the pulp.
When searching for a new juicer, you’ll see two main types: masticating and centrifugal. In addition to these two types of all-purpose juicers, there are models designed specifically for citrus fruits and others made for wheatgrass. The wheatgrass models also usually handle some of the softest fruits and veggies.
A masticating juicer mimics our chewing action in that it crushes and presses the food you put into it to separate the juice from the solids. These models tend to be more expensive and a little noisier, but do typically yield more juice.
Centrifugal juicers chop produce into pulp and then spin that pulp fast enough to separate the juice. Centrifugal models are usually the least expensive and quietest, but tend to extract less juice. Also, the spinning action tends to warm the juice up.
All juicers have some sort of intake chute. This is where your fresh produce is loaded into the machine. A larger intake chute will mean that you can put larger chunks of fruit or vegetables in; a smaller chute means you’ll have to spend a little more time cutting produce into smaller pieces.
All juicers also, naturally, have a reservoir that holds freshly-made juice. Make sure to look at any prospective candidate’s reservoir capacity. If you want to be able to make juice for the whole family (or for yourself for a few days) in one single juice-making session, make sure you find a model that has that capacity.
Another capacity issue to consider has to do with the wasted pulp. Some machines hold more than others, so be sure you know how much juice you’ll be able to make without stopping to empty the pulp receptacle. Obviously, different fruits and vegetables contain different amounts of pulp, so you’ll want to know what volume your new machine can handle.
When it comes to motors in juicers, more powerful motors generally do produce more juice faster, but, again, make sure you know what the various capacities are. Is it really worth the extra money that more powerful motors usually cost if it takes you two or three times longer to get as much juice as you want because you have to keep stopping to empty and reload the unit?
Juicers come in enough shapes and sizes that you might want to take a closer look at any prospective model’s footprint and weight if your counter space is limited. The juicer will definitely need to sit squarely and securely on your countertop or table. If your juicer can’t have a permanent countertop spot, make sure you find a model that’s light enough that you can move it around easily.
The last thing to know about any juicer you’re considering is how easy (or difficult) it will be to clean. Your juicer will need to be thoroughly cleaned after each use, so make sure you know what that will entail.