There are so many different juicers on the market it can be difficult to know where to begin.
What kind of juicer should I get? What is the difference? Is one better than the other? Is it worth the investment?
Hopefully I can help answer some of these questions. First, let's look at what makes juice, well, a juice.
You may be familiar with the term "juice" from your morning orange juice, grape juice for the kids or that edgy new "juice" bar downtown. So what exactly is juice?
Juice is the drink made from the extraction or pressing of the natural liquid contained in fruits and vegetables. It does not contain any pulp and has a liquid consistency. You can pretty much make juice out of any fruit, vegetable or even from herbs. Most of the conventional juice found in the grocery store has been heated and pasturized or has chemical additives to prolong its shelf life. All commercially produced juice is required to undergo some kind of process to make it safe for human consumption. If a juice is labeled "unpasteurized"it has likely undergone an HPP or high pressure processing process. This process inactivates certain microorganisms, bacteria and enzymes in the juice which extends the shelf life. While this is great for people who want juice on the go, it does remove the beneficial bacteria and the remaining nutrients are not as bioavailable to the human body. It is still better than nothing as long as it does not contain any added sugar, citric acid or other preservative.
Juicing has many health benefits including weight loss, increased energy, reducing acne, and more. So, if you want to make your own juice that is fresh and as nutrient dense as possible, it may be wise to invest in your own juicer. But which juicer is right for you?
There are two main types of juicers, centrifugal and cold-press:
Centrifugal: These juicers use a high speed spinning action (centrifugal force) and sharp blades to chop and separate the juice from the pulp. The food is fed through a shoot in the top of the juicer where it meets a very sharp series of blades. The pulp is forced into one container and the juice that remains is pressed through a large mesh basket and filers into a separate container. Ever been on that ride at the carnival that looks like a spaceship? And spins you around and around while you're pressed up against the wall? It's kind of like that.
Cold-Press: Also known as a "slow juicer" or "masticating juicer." The Juice is prepared mechanically squeezing or macerating fruit or vegetable flesh without the application of heat or solvents. These juicers use a grinding technology with an auger that rotates an average of 75 rpm. This action slowly grinds the juice and presses it through a small mesh strainer. It is called a cold-press because the motor does not spin quickly enough to generate any heat that would kill the beneficial nutrients in the juice. The juice is pressed into one container and the pulp comes out the end of the juicer into another container.
Pros and Cons:
Centrifugal: These juicers are significantly cheaper than a cold-press. You can find centrifugal juicers on amazon for under $60. They also have a wide mouth so you can feed food in whole, which means there is little to no chopping or prep required. You can feed an entire apple or beet into this juicer and then press down with the tamper and it will sift through any seeds or woody pieces. Because of this, these juicers usually have two speeds, low and high. Low for softer fruits or vegetables like celery, cucumbers, pears etc. and high for harder foods like beets or apples, carrots.
Cons of centrifugal juicers are they are bulky and take up a lot of counter space. The pieces are bigger so clean up is more involved. You may also miss out on some of the juice benefits. Because the separation and extraction process happen so quickly, the juice is not as concentrated, which means that some of the essential minerals, antioxidants and phytonutrients are lost. The heat produced by the motor also causes these nutrients to break-down Not only does this affect the quality but it also affects the taste. Juice made using a centrifugal juicer is thinner, less potent and a little watery.
This type of juicer is better for bulky produce and less ideal for leafy greens and herbs. Foods like spinach, kale, cilantro and parsley mostly get lost in the juicing process and end up in the pulp waste rather than in your juice. Along those same lines, centrifugal juicers are more wasteful when it comes to your produce. They are great at chopping and pressing but it happens so quickly that you often need to use almost twice as many ingredients to get a decent volume of juice. You may save money on the juicer but you may spend more on the ingredients.
Cold-Press: These Juicers are usually smaller and take up about as much room as a bread box. (Do people still use those anymore?) They have a few smaller pieces which make them much easier to clean. Usually a quick water rinse will clean most of the pieces. All juicers come with a brush to clean the mesh strainers, which you will want to pay special attention to. Do not let your mesh strainer become clogged or your juicer will not work as well.
These juicers are designed to carefully and slowly break down the food using a grinding motion. This means that all of the beneficial nutrients are more available and preserved better. Ultimately you will get a better quality, more concentrated juice with a cold-press juicer. This also means they will keep a little longer. When you use a higher quality machine you are able to keep juices in a sealed container in refrigeration for up to 72 hours. However, they do start to lose some of their potency after a few hours so they are best consumed as fresh as possible. You get a better juice yield with a cold-press juicer so it will save you money at the grocery store. Also, many slow juicers come with attachments so you can make your own nut butter or nut milk! Bonus!
While these juicers are my personal favorite, they do have some cons. Number one con is the price. Not all cold-press juicers cost hundreds of dollars but most of them do. I have an Omega brand slow juicer that costs around $300 but I was able to save $50 by using the 20% coupon at Bed Bath and Beyond. There is also a little more prep work required. The feed shoot on most of these juicers is much smaller and some foods need to be chopped a little smaller in order to fit.
I have used both types of juicers and I personally prefer the cold-press method. I felt like my juicing game really picked up when I got one of these and I couldn't be happier. Deciding which kind of juicer to get really depends on your juicing needs. If you don't plan to use it that often or you mainly want to juice bulky foods you may be better off getting a less expensive juicer. If you are looking to juice celery or leafy greens such as kale and cilantro then I would recommend investing in a cold-press juicer. Check out a list of top rated juicers here. If you are an advanced juicer I would check out Tribest, Kuvings and Namawell brands. If you make a lot of juice the last two would probably be the best option!
Hopefully this answers some basic questions about juicers you never knew you had.
Let me know what you think!