As the name suggests, a juicer is used to create fresh juices from whole pieces of fruit and vegetables. The pure juice is extracted, while the fibrous pulp is collected in a separate container.
Juices are very different to smoothies. Smoothies are often made in a blender which blitzes entire pieces of food, creating a much thicker consistency. Juices are much thinner with a more concentrated flavour, as you only drink the liquid that’s been extracted from the ingredients.
Smoothies have the added health benefits of fruit and vegetable fibre, but juices have more nutrients in a smaller and more easily consumed drink. You can also drink more fruit and vegetables in a juice than you could in the equivalent quantity of a smoothie.
You can also consume more fruit and vegetables in juice form than you could in the equivalent quantity of smoothie or whole pieces.
There are two main types of juicer available: centrifugal and masticating (which is also known as a slow or cold press juicer). It’s important to choose a juicer that matches your lifestyle and juicing needs.
A centrifugal version is perfect for beginners, those on a smaller budget, or people who only want to make a few juices a week. However, a masticating version is better suited to those who like to prep juices in advance, or want to use harder items such as wheatgrass or leafy greens.
Centrifugal models use a flat cutting blade to chop up fruit and vegetables against a spinning strainer. The spinning force allows the juice to filter through to a jug or container, but isolates the pulp into a separate bin.
They’re easy to use, make juices very quickly, and can deal with whole pieces of food. This means that you don’t have to spend time peeling and chopping beforehand. They’re also easy to clean and are the cheaper option.
If you want to make batches of juices for the week, then a centrifugal juicer isn’t the right type. Due to the heat generated during the juicing process, these juicers commonly only have a few minutes of use before they need turning off.
This type can also struggle with items such as berries, wheatgrass, and leafy greens. Plus, they use a high-speed motor, which can be very noisy. The juices also have to be consumed quickly, as they can separate due to the high water content and often have foam from the fast spinning.
Centrifugal models use high-speed blades to chop up fruit and vegetables against a spinning sieve basket.
MASTICATING OR SLOW/COLD PRESS
This type of juicer squeezes fruit and vegetables with slowly rotating gears, while the juice filters out through a perforated screen.
The slower, crushing action makes masticating juicers more efficient at extracting all the juice. They also bring out a larger amount of juice from a smaller amount of produce, so can help to save you money in the long run.
As there’s no heat involved, the juices can be prepared in advance and stored for 48 hours. They’ve also got a higher nutrient and enzyme content. This type can juice ingredients such as berries, leafy greens, grasses and herbs.
They also bring out a larger amount of juice from a smaller amount of produce, so can help to save you money in the long run.
They will cost you more and they’re also much slower than a centrifugal version. This type of juicer will take longer to clean too, as it has more parts. Some even require you to peel and chop the food first.
Some extra features are included with higher-end models which can help make your life easier.
Removable filter and separate pulp
container – We recommend getting a model with an outside container for the pulp, as you need to stop juicing if you’re emptying an internal basket.
Multiple pulp screens – This allows you to choose how much pulp you’d like in your finished result.
Reverse function – This feature unclogs any food stuck in the juicer.
Calibrated jug/goblet – Measurements on the mixing chamber help you to check the quantity of fruit, vegetables, liquid, or yoghurt accurately.
Replacement blades – With some models, these can be ordered when the other blades wear out. This is much cheaper than buying a whole new machine.
Jug with foam separator – When the jug has a filter, it will ensure a smooth and froth-free juice.
Jug with lid – Some juicers have jugs with an attachable lid so they can be transported and stored in the fridge.
Some extra features are included with higher-end models.
Drip stop spout – A helpful feature to stop any leftover juice from dripping out onto the work surface.
XL feed chute – This can fit whole pieces of larger foods without the need to chop them first, which cuts down your prep time.
Soft fruit disc – This is useful for a centrifugal model, which can sometimes struggle with small berries or overripe fruit. It also adds a slightly thicker consistency to the juice. Some masticating models have wider juicing sieve equivalents, which can be used for fruit coulis.
Citrus press – Ideal for creating citrus juices. You just slice the fruit in half and use the press to squeeze out every last drop.
Cord and attachment storage – Many juicers have hidden cord storage and allow for detachable parts to be stored in the jug.
QuickClean – Some models feature designs which make it easier to clean. This can include a function which squeezes out the last drops of juice.
A drip stop spout stops any leftover juice from dripping out onto the work surface.
CONTROLS AND POWER
Juicers are usually a lot more powerful than a regular blender or smoothie maker. Motors range from 150-1500 watts, depending on the model and price range. Most have two speed options, one each for hard and soft produce, although some higher-end models can have more. Masticating versions often have a reverse button to help clear blockages.
Most juicer parts are dishwasher-safe, but some models may recommend washing some sections by hand. A special cleaning brush is included with some models to get into the awkward spaces, and their handles can double up as spatulas for removing heaps of pulp. To make cleaning easier, some brands feature designs which squeeze out the last drops of juice.
Juicers vary in price, depending on the type, size, and extra features.
Juicers vary in price, depending on the type, size, and extra features. They are more expensive than blenders or smoothie makers as the extraction process can be tough on the motor. However, many of them do come with generous warrantees.
Centrifugal versions are the cheaper option, ranging from £40 up to £200, while masticating versions can start at around £70 and go up to £500.
The size of juicer will affect its capacity for both pulp and juice collection. Plus, the stated total capacity is usually higher than the actual working capacity as ingredient sizes vary.
In most machines, the pulp container can hold between 1-3 litres, while the juice collector has a smaller capacity of 0.5-2 litres.
Juicers can come with a variety of safety features to ensure they work efficiently and safely.
Overheat Sensor – A motor thermostat which prevents the motor from overheating during use.
Non-slip feet – These are usually rubber pads or suction cups which keep your juicer steady during use, and stop it from moving around the countertop.
Safety interlock system – This stops the motor from turning on until all the components are locked into place correctly.
Food Pusher – This fits into the feed chute and allows you to safely push food into the juicer without using your fingers.
The pulp container can hold between 1-3 litres while the juice collector has a smaller capacity of 0.5-2 litres.