Serious Eats / Fred Hardy II
If there’s one rule I live by, it’s my three-beverage rule. The first is typically water (still or sparkling), the second is coffee (hot or iced), and the third is often some type of juice. While the first two beverages support life, the third is simply for fun. But what’s not enjoyable? Paying someone else to push some produce through a juicer and charge you upwards of $12 for it. Plus, maybe they overload it with ginger and send you into a sneezing fit (it happens!). So, if you’re a frequent imbiber of juices, you might consider investing in a juicer, which will allow you to buy several pounds of produce for the price of one fancy bottled juice.
And while most people are familiar with citrus reamers and manual juicers, here we’re focusing on electric, countertop juicers that can turn whole fruits and vegetables into sweet and tangy beverages. The two most common types of this style of juicer are centrifugal and masticating—but what do these science-y words mean? And which is better for your lifestyle?
What’s a Masticating Juicer?
Masticating juicers, also known as slow juicers, use a rotating auger to extract juice by crushing and pressing produce through a filter. This method squeezes out more juice and fiber, resulting in less waste, and also in thicker, fresher-tasting juices. It also takes a bit longer than a centrifugal juicer (hence the “slow juicer” moniker); our favorite masticating model, the Omega VSJ8443QS Vertical Slow Masticating Juicer ran at a speed of 46 RPM (rotations per minute). It takes a few minutes to finish juicing, but the machine is fairly quiet, and the slow speed prevents it from heating up and cooking the juice (no one wants carrot soup when they’re looking for carrot juice).
Masticating machines are also more expensive than centrifugal juicers, but the increased yield means that you could save money on produce over time. Cleaning-wise, masticating juicers often have more components, which can be a bit of a pain to wipe down. The other con is that the openings at the top of this style of juicer are often smaller, which means you need to cut larger pieces of produce down to size before running them through.
And What’s a Centrifugal Juicer?
Centrifugal juicers contain a high-speed spinning blade that grinds fruits and vegetables into pulp. The centrifugal force generated by the blade rotation separates the juice from the pulp—solids are sorted into a separate container and juice is filtered out of a spout.
Centrifugal juicers work more quickly than masticating juicers—some models list speeds upwards of 10,000 RPM. Our favorite model, the NutriBullet Juicer Pro Centrifugal Juicer Machine, boasts a 1000-watt motor. The extra power creates a few advantages: It means even tough vegetables like beets and carrots can be juiced in seconds, and they can also fit larger pieces of produce, requiring less prep work than masticating juicers. However, with great power comes more noise: these machines tend to be very loud. Plus, spinning at super-high speeds creates heat and exposes the juice to more oxygen (which could give it a more cooked, stale flavor). Juice made by a centrifugal juicer is also usually thinner, retains fewer nutrients, and is more likely to separate overnight (that said, you can always give it a shake to re-combine).
So, Which Should Be My Main Squeeze?
Serious Eats / Fred Hardy
In for a penny, in for a pound. If you plan on making juice frequently, investing in a masticating juicer is the best way to create nutritious beverages and reduce waste. Although they’re slightly more expensive, they produce smooth, high-quality juice.
That said, centrifugal juicers are a good option if your priority is a budget-friendly machine that yields quick results.
Which is better: a centrifugal or masticating juicer?
Masticating juicers produce thicker juice with less foam and more nutrients. They also reduce waste. For serious juice drinkers, masticating juicers are a great option. A centrifugal juicer may be better if you’re looking to juice particularly firm produce, like beets and carrots, or if you have a limited budget.
What is the best way to clean a juicer?
As a general rule, anything with a blade is annoying to clean. Juicers, unfortunately, are no exception. To clean a juicer, start by unplugging and disassembling it. Then clean each component separately with warm soapy water. For detailed steps, check the manufacturer’s instructions.
What can I put in a juicer?
You can put a lot of produce in a juicer. As long as they’re clean, juicers can handle tough fibrous fruits and peels. Avoid juicing fruits or vegetables that you wouldn’t want to eat raw—some people find that large amounts of raw broccoli can cause indigestion, and no one wants to eat a raw potato. Some produce has naturally low water content, so fruits like bananas, avocados, and coconuts don’t have enough liquid to produce juice.