Juicing 101: Finding the Right Juicer for Your Needs

Raise your hand if you’ve heard someone talking about juicing recently? I’m going to bet you have your hand in the air. I feel like everywhere I go, people are talking about juicing. The celery and green juice cleanse are getting a lot of buzz right now.

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I had previously dabbled in the juicing space but abruptly stopped during grad school. (I blame the lack of free time to go to the farmers market for fresh ingredients and the time constraints of long clinical hours for my hiatus.)

I recently decided to get back into juicing and found myself overwhelmed with the options available. I had previously owned a Jack Lalane juicer years ago, but it had since moved on to a new home and I found myself in the market for a new juicer.

So how to decide?

First: What type of juicer? 

I will preface this by saying, when I got my first juicer years ago, I don’t recall a masticating juicer even being an option. My only decision was between the few centrifugal juicer options that were on the market. Well…times have certainly changed.

There are many types of juicers, but for simplicity, we will be discussing the two main types: Centrifugal and Masticating.

Basic differences:

Centrifugal: This type of juicer works by using a high speed rotation (anywhere between 900-1600 rpm’s) to extract juice. Often this high speed technique leads to frothing of the juice as air and oxygen get entrained into the mix. The exposure to oxygen (oxidation) is responsible for the short shelf life these fresh juices have. Juices from a centrifugal juicer are meant to be consumed fairly shortly after juicing. You may often notice these juices tend to ‘separate’ in the glass as you consume them.

Masticating: (also called cold-press juicer): This type of juicer works at a much slower speed (roughly 80-120 rpm’s). This slower speed decreases the amount of air and oxygen the juice is exposed to, so it is oxidized less rapidly. Juices made with a masticating juicer are often able to be stored and consumed for several days after initial juicing. They will also experience some separation in the glass, but it is quite minimal.

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Feeling the heat:

There is an argument that the speed at which a juicer operates will effect the benefits you get from juicing. The thought is that faster speeds during juice extraction (as with a centrifugal juicer) can cause the ingredients and its juice to become heated during the process. This heat exposure inhibits or even harms the beneficial enzymes released during the juicing process and could compromise the nutritional value.

With a masticating or cold press juicer, the slower juicing speed produces less heat. Therefore the enzymes released from the fresh fruits and vegetables are not affected by heat and remain active, allowing your body to receive the maximum benefit.

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Amount of juice:

Let’s be honest, fresh fruits and vegetables are expensive! Even if you aren’t purchasing organic items, buying large quantities of fresh produce will still drive up the total on the grocery bill.

As such, I personally want to get the most juice possible out of the fruits and vegetables I am using. The most ‘juice’ for my hard earned dollar! Here’s where another difference can be appreciated between these juicers.

Centrifugal juicer: These juicers operate at such high speeds that they often don’t extrude all the juice from the fruits or vegetables. You can end up with more foam and less juice. Additionally, because they are operating quickly, users can sometimes find large pieces of produce, unused and in the pulp waste bin. They were missed completely during the juicing process.

Masticating juicer: These juicers, while operating at a slower speed, are able to extract more juice and produce more liquid than their faster counterparts. They also produce less foam. In reading reviews, there are significantly fewer complaints about produce that was missed or wasn’t juiced at all with these types of juicers.

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Efficiency:

A simple way to tell how ‘efficient’ a juicer may be, is by assessing the consistency of the pulp left behind. Simply put, the ‘wetter’ the pulp in the bin, the more juice that was left behind during the process.

Ideally, for the highest yield of juice, you want the ‘waste pulp’ to be fairly dry. This means that more juice was extracted during the process.

Additional differences:

Centrifugal juicers: Lower cost. Higher energy consumption. These types of juicers are good for making juice primarily. They have variable and limited abilities to properly juice leafy greens such as spinach, alfalfa, or wheat grass.

Masticating juicers: Higher cost. Lower energy consumption. In addition to juicing produce, some versions are able to make baby food, frozen desserts, nut butters or even nut milks. They are also able to handle leafy greens and grasses easily, while ensuring maximum juice extraction. They often have a longer warranty, but this varies with the brand.

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Something else to consider:

Juicers are often cumbersome to clean. There are many moving parts and lots of crevices for food particles and juice to ‘hide’. No matter what type of juicer you pick, you’ll want to choose a model that is fairly easy to dissemble and clean, otherwise you are at risk for not using it at all.

No one can say what type of juicer will best fit your needs, but hopefully these considerations will be helpful during your decision making process.

Regardless of what type you choose, remember that eating minimally processed fruits and vegetables will allow your body to enjoy the most benefit. Juicing is a step in the right direction for better health.

Brands and Models to consider:

While researching for this article, I tested and reviewed several juicers. In an effort to spare you from the same time-intensive endeavor, I’ve included some of the most popular juicers, with the most favorable reviews below.

(Disclaimer: I am not a brand partner or sponsor for any of these brands.)

Breville Centrifugal Juicer (under $100)

Hamilton Beach Centrifugal juicer ( $ 80)

Kuvings Masticating/Cold Press juicer. ($ 400)

Omega J 8000 Masticating/Cold Press juicer ( $ 270)

If you’ve made it all the way to the end, I hope you found this article helpful!

As a bonus: here’s my current go-to juicing recipe:

  • 4 stalks of celery
  • 2 carrots
  • 1/4 inch piece of ginger
  • 1 apple

Let me know if you are part of the juicing craze and what your favorite recipes are! Enjoy!

I'd love to hear your thoughts!

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