How to choose a juicer
There seems to be a growing interest in juicers and I am often amazed how mainstream it is getting – the people I least expect to be juicing often start telling me about the benefits they get from juicing. Many others I meet are keen to juice but just don’t know where to start, particularly when it comes to selecting a juicer.
Unfortunately, there isn’t a ‘one size fits all’ juicer or a ‘must-have’ juicer that suits everyone. There are things you need to consider such as the time you have, how often you will juice, what you want to juice, will you want to store it etc. that will help you select the right kind of juicer for you. To help you do this, I have put together a guide below where you can consider these key questions and decide which type of juicer is best for you.
Before, I start getting into the questions to ask yourself, I’d like to start by helping you get clear on the different types of juicers that are out there, as that in itself can be confusing. There are many categories of juicers, here I am introducing the main 3 types and I will discuss them in more detail later on:
This is the most popular type of juicer and as such is the standard type of juicer you will find in electronic stores. This high speed juicer works with spinning forces to extract the juice from the fruit/veg. Speed in the main advantage as you don’t have to pre-chop fruit and veg – most of it can be put through whole. Yield is low compared to masticating juicers and juice needs to be consumed right after preparation. Not great for soft fruits.
Some sample models include: Breville JE4, L’equip XL
Speed of juicing; no pre-cutting; Lower price
Juice doesn’t stay as fresh due to the heat and air exposure; lower yield of juice than masticating juicers; Generally a bit noisy, Most don’t do green leafys or wheatgrass.
Ideal if you don’t have a lot of time and want to juice daily.
Single gear (masticating)
These are low speed juicers but they can juice everthing (often have an additional part for juicing soft fruits) including green leafy’s and wheatgrass. Pre-cutting of veg required but give high yield of juice. They have a low RPM (usually from 70-160) which means that it reduces the oxidation of the juice and it will stay fresher longer (some say up to 48 hours). They often have lots of other features too such as making nut butters, ice-creams and milks. Cleaning is generally easy and quick depending on the model.
Some sample models include: Omega Sana, Champion 2000, Greenvalu
Can juice everything, high yield, quality juice that stores longer, quieter, extra functions
Price, takes longer to juice due to narrower feed chute
Ideal for someone who wants quality juice and doesn’t mind the extra time it takes.
Twin gear (Dual gear / triturating)
Great yield and quality of juice, the most efficient juicers but most expensive too. Juice is extracted at low temperatures when the fruit/veg is squeezed between 2 stainless steel cylindrical rollers. The produce is squeezed and extracted more effectively than any other type of juicer.
Some sample models include: Angel Juicer and Green Star Elite
Can juice everything, high yield, best quality juice that stores longer, quiter, extra functions, superior product with longer guarantees
Very expensive, takes longer to juice due to narrower feed chute
Ideal for the serious juicer who is happy to invest in an excellent juicer.
So you might have some ideas what would work best for you based on the different types of juicers but I would encourage you to consider these questions before you decide:
Questions to help you choose a juicer
How often do you want to juice?
If you plan on juicing daily then any of the juicers would be fine for you, however if you want to juice every few days and store juice then a masticating or dual gear would be best as they retain their nutritional potency for longer. Juices made with a centrifugal juicer should be consumed immediately as the oxidation has already begun in the juicing process. If you want to store juice to take with you or for a day you won’t be juicing then single or twin gear juicers will work well as there is less oxidation in the juicing processes.
Juices made with masticating juicers can be stored for up to 24 hours and those made with twin gears can retain their nutritional value for up to 72 hours. If storing juice you want to make sure to have as little air in the container as possible. There are storage containers that you can buy that remove the air so extend the life of the juice. I use NutriVac containers and find them great.
How much time do you have to juice?
If you don’t have much time to juice then a centrifugal juicer would be your best option as it is the quickest to use. Juicing does take time so you do need to be realistic in terms of how much time you are willing to commit to juicing. Another time factor, aside from the actual juicing is the clean-up time. Many people feel that centrifugal juicers are quicker to clean than masticating ones (single or twin) but my experience is actually the opposite. It depends more on the model that the type of juicer I think. Do bear it in mind when choosing though as no point in having a fab juicer if the thought of the clean up puts you off using it!
What kind of fruit and veg do you want to juice?
If you want to do a mostly hard fruits and vegetables then a centrifugal juicer would work just fine. If you want to juice leafy greens or wheatgrass though you would need either a single or a twin gear juicer. (Some masticating juicers do leafy greens better than others). Soft fruits (esp tropical fruits such as pineapples) are best juiced with a twin gear or masticating juicer. Many masticating juicers have a special attachment to use when using soft fruits.
Related to this is the subtle (and sometimes not so subtle!) differences in how the juice can look and taste. Juices from a centrifugal juicer tend to be more watery and foamy than juices made with a single or twin-gear juicer.
How important is maximum yield and juice quality to you?
Obviously as you are interested in juicing you will be interested in getting the maximum nutrition from your juice. Nutrients and enzymes are destroyed at high temperatures which is an issue when the juicer runs at a high RPM. The higher the RPM, the higher the temperature so look for the lowest RPM. Generally centrifugal juicers have the highest RPMs with single and dual gear juicers being much lower. Everyone wants maximum yield and high quality juice but this one is really a trade off against time and cost.
There is no point in having a masticating juicer that gives you high yield and quality but you don’t have the time to use it! If time is an issue then the centrifugal juicer would win as it is quicker to use and if that means you would use it more often then that is the one that would make sense for you. One final thing to consider in terms of yield is the cost of your produce. If you are paying for expensive organic produce you will want to get the greatest yield from it, so in this case a single or dual gear juicer would be the better options.
What do you want the juicer to do for you?
Aside from the obvious juice, many masticating juicers are marketed as ‘nutrition centers’ and offer lots of additional features ranging from making nut butters to ice-cream to pasta etc. Some people love all these extra features but to me a juicer is first and foremost for juicing so I would make my decision on the juicing abilities and view the rest as nice extras. Something else to consider is the noise the juicer makes – this can be an issue if you are in an apartment or have young children and want to juice early in the morning or at night. Generally speaking centrifugal juicers are much louder than masticating ones.
How much do you want to invest?
Unfortunately, at the end of the day, cost plays a big part in our decisions. A centrifugal juicer can run anywhere from €50 to €380 a single gear juicer from €195 to €500 and a dual gear from €490 upwards to 1,500! If cost is an issue, I suggest you start with a centrifugal or low cost masticating juicer and see how often you use it and like it. If you find you are getting lots of use out of it, then you can always upgrade to the next level. Although high-quality juicers tend to appear expensive, you will save a lot in terms of money spent on produce as they will give you a higher yield.
They are usually easier to maintain and you can enjoy juicing with a good quality product. Do consider guarantees as well as that will give you some security in your investment. They can range from 2-10 years depending on the model so do your research on this one, generally the more expensive the juicer the longer the guarantee but this is not always the case. I encourage you to see your purchase as an investment in my health and definitely feel I have had return on my investment in terms of my families health.
As you can see there is a lot to consider before buying a juicer, once you get clear on what your needs are, it is easier to select one. There’s no right answer – it’s just a matter of preference. The key thing I would say is to make sure that you go for the one that you will actually use!! Having a state of the art juicer sitting in the cupboard is not ideal – whichever one you choose you need to use it, so go with the one that suits you best.