Types of Juicers
With obesity rates skyrocketing and the prevalence of preventable diseases in the United States, it is no wonder that more and more people are turning toward diet and lifestyle changes to improve their health. Juicing is just one of many ways people are introducing fruits and vegetables, along with their vitamins and minerals, to their diets. A juicer has started to creep into the realm of toasters and microwaves as must-have appliances in any household.
The growth in the popularity of juicing has also increased the availability of juicers even at the most basic household appliance stores. With all the different products on the market, it can be difficult to choose the right juicer for your needs. What are the different types of juicers, and why is it important to choose the right one for you?
Choosing The Best Juicer Type For You
There are three major factors that come into play in choosing the best type of juicer, and different juicer types offer different benefits.
What will you juice?
Whether you are juicing mostly root vegetables, fruits, wheatgrass, or leafy greens will affect your decision. Different juicers are more efficient at juicing different foods.
What is your budget?
Certain types of juicers trade efficiency for a lower price if you want to purchase a juicer at a certain price and can settle for a slower speed.
Do you care about the speed of the juicer?
If you want to juice every morning, you may want a faster machine so you can start your day earlier. If juicing is more of a one-a-week event, this may matter less.
Depending on your needs, different juicers will be a better fit. It is important to consider all the factors in deciding which type of juicer is best for you and your family.
Here are descriptions for 14 of the most common types of juicers.
Masticating juicers are a compromise between several other types of juicers. They employ a “chewing” mechanism that crushes fruits and vegetables with a single gear. This produces almost no heat or oxidation, meaning that precious active enzymes are preserved. While it can be slower than other types, these juicers are very quiet, meaning that morning juices will not wake everybody in the house.
They are versatile for a wide variety of vegetables and fruits, including the very-desirable leafy green. They also produce a very dry pulp, meaning that they are efficient in drawing out every bit of juice from a fruit or vegetable–less of the drinkable juice is wasted as pulp. Unlike other juicers, no heat is producedFor those who are interested in a wide array of cooking, masticating juicers are also able to make nut butters, sorbets, and baby food.
At about $200, pricing on these juicers is moderate–slightly higher than the most economical types of juicers, but reasonable for most kitchens. For those who are ready to make a commitment to juicing, but not ready to jump in head-first, these juicers are a great compromise.
Centrifugal juicers are what most of us think of when we think of a juicer, as they are the most common type. These juicers are sold everywhere from department stores to local household appliance stores. They work quickly first to shred fruit and vegetables into a pulp with metal teeth, then extract juice from the pulp by spinning it around a plastic or glass chamber. The juice funnels out through a spigot while the leftover pulp is collected in a separate chamber. These juicers can operate at up to 10,000 RPM and are one of the fastest types of juicers, perfect for a quick morning juice.
These juicers are perfect entry-level appliances as they are affordable at as little as $40, but leave a lot lacking in terms of advanced use. Because of its blade mechanism, these juicers are mostly ineffective with leafy green vegetables, which pack a whole lot of nutrition. Centrifugal juicers are best used with soft or hard foods rather than with leafy vegetables. One other drawback is that these juicers tend to oxidize and heat the juice they produce, inactivating many of the enzymes we want.
Cold Press Juicers
A cold press juicer is any juicer that does not produce heat during the juicing process. They can include several different kinds of mechanisms, but often employ a hydraulic press or “chewing” mechanism that crushes fruits and vegetables to extract a maximum amount of juice. These juicers are preferred by health freaks and those who are interested in retaining as many of the vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants from their fruits and vegetables as possible.
Cold press juicers tend to be on the more expensive side of the spectrum and are serious investments in kitchen space because they can tend to get bulky. On the plus side, these juicers are very effective on leafy greens, which pack a punch in nutrition, as well as fibrous root vegetables like carrots. Because of their versatility, they can also process nuts and legumes if necessary. They are perfect as all-around juicers for a family that is already fairly experienced in juicing.
The mechanisms employed by these juicers also produce little or no heat, which is important in preserving active enzymes. The lack of heat also means that the carbohydrates found in cold-pressed juice are longer-chain and less broken-down. The health benefits of cold-pressed juice versus pasteurized juice are currently being investigated.
A hand juicer, or a manual juicer, is a juicer that requires the use of physical effort to juice fruits and vegetables. They usually employ a crank mechanism that powers gears that pulverize whatever is being juiced. Others are even simpler, just a clamp that crushes sot fruits through a filter, leaving a pulp on one end and juice on the other.
Hand juicers usually work as well as the highest quality electric ones, but without the cost of power and noise. Like a cold press juicer, these juicers do not produce heat or oxidize the juice they produce, meaning that nutrition is optimally retained. Additionally, they are often small enough to maneuver without being a hassle. Because they do not require electrical components or complicated devices, hand juicers are among the most affordable juicers on the market.
Drawbacks of these juicers all go back to the fact that they are powered by you. This means that the entire time you are juicing, you must be at the counter working the juicer instead of letting it automatically work. These juicers also tend to work much more slowly because they are hindered by how quickly their users can reload and press fruit.
Electric juicers are juicers powered by electricity. This applies to many of the more powerful juicers on the market. The mechanism on an electric juicer varies depending on the type you are buying. In general, the term is vague and refers only to the source of power that runs the juicer itself.
Electric juicers are more expensive than manual ones because they tend to be more complicated, offering automated juicing. For this reason, they are also generally faster and produce a drier pulp. A drier pulp means that more juice is being extracted from the fruit or vegetable, signifying a more efficient appliance. In addition to being faster and more efficient, they are also able to work without human attention. This is particularly important when juice is only one component of the meal and your attention is needed elsewhere.
Juicers powered by electricity are not without their drawbacks, however. Depending on the type of juicer, they are probably also much louder than a manual one because of the many electric components involved in a juicer, each contributing noise. They also tend to break down more often than manual juicers, since they rely on multiple parts working together. Just one hiccup in the system can take down an entire juicer.
Those who are looking for a discount juicer should look for a manual one that relies on brute human strength to work. These usually employ simpler mechanisms that will not require attention or repair very often and retail for a far cheaper price. It is important to seek discount juicers made from durable materials if you plan on using them heavily, as they sustain a fair amount of wear and tear from you pushing on them. Although they are much cheaper, these juicers also require a lot of attention in their actual use because you will need to perform the juicing action yourself. They can also be much slower and produce a much wetter pulp.
An alternative to a manual juicer is a centrifugal juicer. These were described above and are serviceable at a relatively low price. Maintaining excellent speed and efficiency, these bladed juicers can pulverize fruits and vegetables are quickly as anything else on the market. However, they rely on spinning blades to help break down fruits and vegetables, and this adds heat to the system, destroying many of the nutrients and enzymes we want in our juice.
A discount juicer is recommended for somebody who is just starting out and does not know what he or she wants yet. For those who want a machine that lasts and can work day in and day out, it is recommended that you look at a higher-end model.
Citrus juicers are juicers made specifically for juicing citrus fruits. They are suitable for anyone who drinks and uses orange, grapefruit, lemon, or lime juice in large quantities. Few juices benefit as much from freshness as citrus fruit juices, as commercially available brands tend to offer stale juice reinfused with flavor. The fresh version of these store-bought juices also contain more vitamins and other essential nutrients.
Citrus juicers come in manual and electric varieties. Manual ones are usually just a single clamp with a place specifically made for citrus fruits and a sieve that separates the pulp. These juicers are quick, light, and cheap. These are ideal for somebody who wants to squeeze a few lemons or limes once in a while for a specific recipe and wants the fresh zesty citrus flavor you cannot find in store-bought juice.
Electric varieties work similarly, but employ an electric motor to turn a reamer in the shape of a citrus fruit. These are ideal for people who want fresh orange juice every morning and will make it by the gallon. They are much louder than their manual counterparts, but also much faster. These juicers tend to be relatively expensive, but the price differential is made up quickly with a few batches of orange juice.
Lemon juicers are usually small, hand-held pieces of plastic shaped with a reamer that you apply pressure onto with either your hand or another piece of plastic that clamps into place. Premium products may be made of higher quality materials like stainless steel, but plastic usually suffices.
Because most people do not require lemon juice in large quantities, these small manual tools work slowly and juice lemons individually. They are small, with the radius of a lemon, so they fit in any old cabinet drawer and can be added to a kitchen easily. On the other hand, because they are so small, they are just enough for a few lemons for a recipe that calls for a kick of sourness, but is hardly fast enough for drinking.
Their simple mechanisms and cheap material mean that these juicers are extremely affordable, usually available for less than $10. However, they are definitely uni-taskers and cannot do much else. Potential buyers need to ask themselves whether they juice enough lemons to warrant a device of its own. For those who cook often with lemon juice, it may be as necessary as a pot or a pan.
Electric orange juicers are appliances that look like a kettle with a lemon juicer attached to the top. An electric motor turns the reamer at the top and pulverizes the pulpy portion of an orange, extracting orange juicer, which drips into the kettle portion of the juicer. Depending on the quality of the orange juicer, efficiency may vary. On average, it takes about 40 oranges to produce a gallon of orange juice.
Orange juicers tend to be fairly loud–about the same as a blender–which can be a problem when juicing in the morning. Fortunately, they work pretty quickly, so this noise does not linger for long. They are also fairly efficient, with even lower-end models extracting upwards of 30% of juice from an orange. For those who drink lots of orange juice, this will save a lot of money in the long run by not relying on store-bought brands that contain much fewer nutrients.
These juicers also come in a manual version, which relies on a similar concept. A reamer pulverizes the orange, but instead of the force coming from an electric motor turning the reamer, a person must push down on a press instead. The manual version of this juicer is much quieter and more affordable. However, they are much slower and extract a smaller percentage of juice. For those who want to make fresh-squeezed orange juice daily, an electric version is much more preferable.
Sugar Cane Juicers
A sugar cane juicer is a juicer that relies on heavy duty rollers to crush and extract juice from sugar canes. These rollers are specially made to squeeze sugar canes between them, powered by electricity, gas, or diesel. These juicers are extremely specialized for sugar cane and cannot be efficiently used on other fruits and vegetables.
Sugar cane juicers are optimized for sugar cane, so they can extract sugar cane juice or syrup very well without heating or oxidizing it. Certain machines can handle five or six sugar canes at once while still maximizing the amount of juice extracted. These juicers are perfect for those who work commercially with sugar cane, but do not really belong in a household kitchen. Those who require large amounts of sugar cane juice for distilling alcohol, vinegar or sugar will find one absolutely necessary, however.
Sugar cane juicers are necessarily fairly large to accommodate for the size of sugar canes. It is difficult to operate one of these highly specialized machines in a kitchen, but sugar cane juice enthusiasts might find it worth the hassle. Starting at about $200, these juicers are a sizable investment and can only do one thing.
Commercial juicers are massive, hulking machines meant to extract enormous quantities of juice to sell to a decently sized customer base. They are perfect for a restaurant that wants to serve fresh juices or a bar that has many mixed drinks on the menu. Health-conscious customers are increasingly asking for fresher options that retain more of the nutrients in fruits and vegetables. A commercial juicer might be the perfect solution for somebody looking to add an edge to their business and attract these skinnier, healthier customers.
These industrial juicers tend to be built from higher-quality parts than their typical household counterparts, so they will last longer and work more quickly. They also tend to be more efficient, extracting more juice for the same amount of fruit. This is because restaurants and bars have profit margins to think about and will pay top dollar to save on ingredients. A commercial juicer can also be appropriate at home for an extreme juice enthusiast, but it is usually too big of an investment for an individual.
These industrial juicers are much more expensive than the typical juicer, and are targeted at professionals. Because they are meant to produce such large quantities of juice, make sure that you require such a specialized machine before making such an investment. Aside from the initial high cost, if repairs are necessary, you might need to order special parts from the manufacturer, which can be more expensive.
Wheat Grass Juicers
A wheatgrass juicer is a juicer made specifically for wheatgrass and comes in manual and electric versions. Deemed a superfood, wheatgrass juice contains all the minerals known to man, a multitude of vitamins, and is also rich in proteins. For those looking to harness the power of wheatgrass for health, a juicer is a necessity.
Manual wheat grass juicers usually employ a hand crack to pulverize and extract juice from wheatgrass. They are compact, save lots of electricity, and produce very little heat. In addition, because they are such simple machines, they can be taken apart and cleaned very easily. Usually made of stainless steel, these things last almost forever. The downsides of these types of juicers is that they can be slow and require manpower. They are also only capable of juicing wheatgrass, so other vegetables and fruit are out of the question.
Electric wheat grass juicers are simply masticating ones. These juicers are able to produce wheatgrass juice with no heat at high efficiency without tiring your arms out. They can also double as juicers for other fruits and vegetables when you get tired of wheatgrass.
Slow juicers are juicers that rely heavily on a masticating mechanism, which slowly pulverizes fruits and vegetables and extract efficiently. Compared to fast juicers, slow ones retain more nutrients and produce a drier pulp. They are also, as their name might suggest, slower because of the mechanism necessary to masticate fruits and vegetables.
The benefits of a slow juicer are many. They tend to produce more juice because they are more efficient and are optimized to extract as much juice as possible from the same amount of fruit. Healthy, natural enzymes and vitamins are preserved with this method as well, since heat is not introduced to the juice. The unsightly foam produced by centrifugal methods is also not present in a masticating, slow juicer.
The downsides of a slow juicer usually boil down to how slow they are. They can take many times as long to juice the same amount of fruit. They are also usually more expensive. The components of a slow juicer are more complicated than those of a fast juicer and therefore require a higher level of manufacturing. They also tend to be quite large and unwieldy, taking up precious kitchen space. Most people start out with a fast juicer and upgrade to a slow one once they are more comfortable with juicing.
Triturating juicers, or twin gear juicers, are high-end, slow juicers for those who care greatly about quality. Triturating juicers employ two gears that rotate inward with a tiny, gap in between them. These gears allow them to grind and juice even the most fiber-rich, stringy vegetables. These juicers also produce no heat, leaving the enzymes in vegetables and fruits active and minimally oxidizes your juice. Because twin-gear juicers produce high quality juice and can juice just about anything, they are a good choice for those who juice regularly and want to preserve raw enzymes.
These juicers are not perfect, however. First, they are huge investments in both time and kitchen space. These hulking juicers can weight up to 20 pounds and start at about $500, definitely not something you can shoehorn into a normal kitchen. Their size and weight make them very difficult to maneuver and require ample counter space. They are also extremely slow because the tiny gap used to grind vegetables, while very effective at catching every little particle, also takes a lot of time to do so. Only very serious juicers who want long-term, regular juicing should invest in a twin-gear juicer.
Fresh pressed juice is like a tonic filled with beneficial enzymes, essential minerals, antioxidants and natural antibiotics. With the right appliance and fresh, organic fruits and vegetables, fresh pressed juice is available to anyone who can commit just a small fraction of their day to making it. A routine of making and drinking homemade juice can promote healthy habits, control weight gain, and is a delicious way to consume more fruits and vegetables.
With a bit of research, it is easy to find a juicer that fits your needs. Juicing is a billion-dollar industry with plenty of options for the commercial and home user. Hopefully, with a bit of guidance, you can navigate this new and constantly changing industry that is always coming up with new products to keep up with trends. With some time and a clear purpose for what you want your juicer to do, you can find a juicer to fit your lifestyle, health goals, or business plans.