We love juices here at the retreat, they give our bodies such a boost of nutrients in one great tasting glass. Many guests have asked us about what to look for when they buy a juicer. We look at this in our juicing demo but thought you might also be interested in reading more about this at home. In this article we look at how to choose the best juicer for you.
What is a juicer?
In simple terms, a juicer separates (or “extracts”) the juice from the fruit and vegetables from the pulp.
This differs from a smoothie, which is where the fruit and vegetables are blended (chopped into tiny parts using a fast spinning blade), and everything stays in your glass.
Most juicers consist of a number of different parts:
- Motor and base – this usually contains the on/off switch, settings, arms for locking on the lid
- Blade or an auger (which is like a big drill bit used in masticating juicers – see below)
- Lid – this is the top part, where the chute is
- Bowl – this is what catches the juice, and has the spout
- Plunger (or pusher) – usually a plastic cylinder that guides the fruit and veggies down the chute
- Pulp container – to catch the pulp (waste)
- Accessories: e.g. a jug to catch the juice
There are some key considerations when choosing the best juicer for you which we describe below.
Types of juicer
There are two main types of juicers on the market, which make juice in a slightly different way:
1. Centrifugal juicer
Centrifugal juicers start by breaking down the fruit and vegetables into tiny pieces using a single fast-spinning blade (it’s like chopping the veggies really fast). The juice is separated from the pulp by forcing these pieces through a mesh (via something called the “centrifugal force”). The juice goes down the spout into a jug or your glass, whilst the pulp is thrown out into the pulp container (waste catcher).
One of the pros of centrifugal juicers is the speed – it literally can take 15 seconds to make your juice. You also need far less preparation time, for example you can simply wash your apple and put it down the chute. They tend to be easy to assemble, easier to wash and can be cheaper than a masticating juicer (see below).
One of the downsides is the quality of the juice produced. Once you cut into a piece of fruit, the oxidation process starts, which breaks down the vitamins – think about what happens when you take a bite from an apple, then put it down for 30 minutes. When you come back to the apple, the area where you took the bite is brown; this is a visible sign of the oxidation process. The fast spinning blades of a centrifugal style juicer can also generate heat, something that is also said to contribute to breaking down nutrients. This oxidation process is also why we make juice fresh and we encourage you to drink your juice at home, as soon as you have made it.
Centrifugal juicers also tend to be noisier than masticating (cold press) juicers.
Note, some centrifugal juicers do not produce much juice from small leaves, like herbs or small leaf spinach. Whilst you can make a “sandwich” (e.g. wrap herbs in a lettuce leaf, or place between two slices of apple), you might consider blending them into your juice, rather than putting through the juicer, or purchasing the masticating juicer.
2. Masticating or cold press juicer
A masticating or cold press juicer works in a similar fashion, in that you put the fruit or veggies down the chute. The auger (blade) then crushes the fruit, working like a grinder, squeezing and pressing out the juice. The juice then goes through a mesh or sieve-like part (like a filter) and the pulp is pushed out into the pulp container.
These types of juicers work slowly and tend not to produce much heat, hence the name “cold-press”.
Generally, this type of juicer yields more juice (so you get more juice from your ingredients, which cuts down costs). The pulp from a masticating juicer is typically fairly dry (much drier than the pulp from a centrifugal juicer). Some people argue that they provide a much higher quality of juice, which can last longer (a few days).
One of the downsides of a masticating juicer is that usually they are more expensive to buy. You have to take the time to prepare your fruit and vegetables, cutting into small enough pieces, so they do not get stuck and break the grinding part. Practically, it takes much longer to squeeze out one glass of juice, compared to a centrifugal juicer. Additionally, these types of juicers are often harder to assemble and more difficult to clean.
Masticating juicers are better if you plan on juicing a lot of leafy greens, like spinach or wheatgrass. According to the manufacturers, they can also be used to make sorbet and baby food (whereas a centrifugal juicer can only make juice).
Whichever type of juicer you decide on, remember to wash it as soon as possible after juicing – if left, the bits of fruit and vegetables harden onto the juicer making it difficult to wash.
There is a third type of juicer, the citrus juicer, which is more basic, tends to be manual and essentially squeezes the juice from oranges or lemons. This type of juicer won’t be discussed in this article.
Considerations when choosing the best juicer
There are a number of things to consider when choosing a juicer for you:
There is a wide range of prices for juicers, depending upon the type you want, so you can find one to fit every budget. Some start as low as 30€ and they can go up to over 1,000€ for a high-spec or commercial grade juicer. As a rule of thumb masticating juicers tend to be double the price of centrifugal juicers (for the same or similar quality).
Before investing in an expensive juicer, we recommend that you start with something cheaper that you can easily afford, to test if juicing works for you and if this is going to be something you would want to do on a regular basis. One you’re a fan, then buy a more expensive option.
We suggest starting with a centrifugal juicer, as they tend to be more affordable.
- Speed and speed settings
The speed refers specifically to centrifugal juicers, which is how fast the blade rotates. This is called RPM, or rotations per minute. The RPM can vary quite substantially, anywhere from 6,000 to 16,000 RPM. Some juicers offer different settings, which relate to different speeds. Generally, the lower speed is better for soft fruit and the higher speeds for hard fruit.
For masticating juicers, the speed is typically around 60 to 80 RPM.
Centrifugal juicers need to have a minimum of 700 watts power, to keep the blades moving at a fast-enough speed. Lower wattages tend to be really uneconomical in terms of the amount of fruit and vegetables that you need to make the same amount of juice.
The balance of speed and power is also important. If you are planning on making lots of juice, you need to choose a juicer that has high wattage – without it, the juicer can overheat, meaning you have to stop using the juicer to allow it to cool down.
For masticating juicers, as the RPM is much lower, the wattage does not need to be as high and is not really a major consideration.
- Design considerations
Look for a machine that has only a few parts to assemble. It should fit together easily and effortlessly. A long cord is useful, so that you can place your juicer on a surface of your choice. Consider whether you are bothered about the colour or how it looks – that’s your personal choice! Weight is not usually something to consider, as most of us will be looking to purchase juicers to stay in our kitchen, not to travel with.
Make sure the lid is fitted securely, without you having to hold it, to keep your kitchen splash-free. Most centrifugal juicers have arms attached to the base, which lock the lid into place. In our experience, the lid is the part of the juicer that tends to break first, as the fruit and veggies are flung out at high speed.
These arms also add to the safety of the machine, if the arms are locking the lid into place, they usually cannot be released whilst the machine is running, meaning you cannot get your fingers caught!
- Size of pulp container
If you are making a lot of juices for your family, one important consideration will be the size of the pulp container. The smaller the pulp container is, the more you need to stop juicing to empty it, which is just a pain. A pulp container of 2 litres (or larger) is a decent size for a family. We also recommend that you put a bag into the pulp container, to make it easier to discard of the pulp and clean up.
- Chute size
The wider the chute is, the less cutting you need to do of the fruit and vegetables, which makes it easier and quicker. An average apple is around 70mm wide, so chutes any less than this means you will spend more time cutting and preparing your fruit and veggies.
The plunger (or pusher) is provided to help guide fruit and vegetables down the chute. You do not usually need to force them down, the chute is normally on the top of the juicer, so the fruit can drop down using gravity.
- Anti-drip spouts and drip trays
One of the downsides of some juicers is that juice continues to dribble out of the spout, even when you switch the motor off. You can leave your jug there for a few seconds or place a small glass beneath the spout. Some juicers come with a drip tray, which would stop the juice from dribbling onto your surface. Some juicers claim to have an “anti-drip” spout – basically you click the end of the spout up once you have finished juicing (just be aware when you clear up that this means some of the juice stays in the machine).
Check how long the warranty is. More expensive models tend to come with longer warranties. Also, if you buy a more expensive juicer, you might want to consider how easy it is to get replacement parts.
Best juicer suggestions for you
Over the years we have used a number of juicers from a wide range of manufacturers. Given our current research (in April 2020), we would suggest the following juicers as a good option to buy. We provide a selection of options depending upon the amount of money you would like to invest.
There is a wide range of budget options available, however these juicers fit our criteria well:
Centrifugal: Pure Mate Naturo Pure Extractor (external link to Amazon)
1000watt, 2 speed, 75mm chute, 2 litre pulp container, 2 year warranty.
Masticating: Aicok Slow Masticating Juicer (external link to Amazon)
80 RPM, 3 year warranty
These are two juicers that caught our eye most in the mid-range category:
Centrifugal: Braun J300 Juicer (external link to Amazon)
800watt, 2 speeds, 75mm feeding chute, 2 litre pulp container, anti-splash spout, pieces are dishwasher safe. There is no statement about warranty, so please do check if this is important to you.
Masticating: Nebula Grande Cold Press Masticating Juicer (external link to Amazon)
Different strainers, 45RPM, wide chute, 5 year warranty (2 year on parts)
These high-end juicers cost the most but offer the most settings and options for your money:
Centrifugal: Sage BJE520 Nutri-Juicer (external link to Amazon)
1300 watts, 5 speeds, 3 litre pulp container, warranty for parts (2 year) and motor (5 year)
Masticating: Omega Juicer Nutrition Centre J8006
180 watts, 80RPM, 1000ml capacity, 15 year manufacturer guarantee, other nozzles (e.g. for fettucine)
Note: La Crisalida Retreats are an Amazon Associate and earn from qualifying purchases.
Looking for juice recipes?
Every month we publish juice recipes on our health and wellbeing blog, for you to make and enjoy at home. Go to the blog and search for “juice recipes”.
More information about juicing
We have also written two articles to get you started and to help make juicing even easier:
La Crisalida juicing retreats
Including one or more juices every day into your regular diet is a great way to give your body a healthy boost of vitamins and minerals. Here at the retreat, you can try a three-day juice retreat, or longer if you want. We have a fantastic menu of juices, which we prepare fresh for you to enjoy. Read more about juicing at La Crisalida here.
If you are interested in giving juicing a try, then come to La Crisalida Retreats on a juice retreat.
About the author
- Lisa is one of the founders of La Crisalida Retreats. She is an Epidemiologist, therapeutic hatha and yin yoga teacher and also teaches mindfulness meditation. Lisa has studied NLP and hypnosis, as well as nutrition (she designs the menus).