Different Types of Juicers
So you’re going to buy a juicer
Good for you! Fresh fruit and vegetable juice is one of the healthiest things you can drink, and tastes amazing! But… what kind of juicer is right for you? There are seven main types of home juicers on the market today, and hundreds of different models from several manufacturers. They are not all created equal, either. The following guide will help you tell a masticating juicer from a centrifugal juicer, and help you select the type that is the best match for you, your kitchen and your lifestyle.
High Speed Centrifugal Juicers
A centrifugal juicer uses a rapidly spinning blade to cut up fruit or vegetables (much like a blender or mixer), then spins them to extract the juice (as in a centrifuge).
The chief advantages of centrifugal juicers is that they can process large pieces of produce, and extract juice very quickly. They also take up very little counter space.
The disadvantages of centrifugal juicers is that they produce a relatively large amount of waste pulp, and are quite noisy compared to other types. The juice is also heavily oxygenated, and does not generally keep well. Centrifugal juicers do not handle leafy greens well.
A masticating juicer uses an auger to crush pieces of fruit or veg in an action very similar to an old fashioned meat grinder before separating the juice and pulp through a screen. There are several different types, as you see below. All are considered ‘cold press’ juicers, and can handle even leafy green vegetables quite well.
1. Single Gear Horizontal Masticating Juicers
These juicers have a single auger, and is perhaps the most popular type of kitchen juicer sold today.
Their advantages are that they produce excellent juice quality and are quite efficient, in so far as little juice is ‘wasted’ in the discarded pulp. The juices are not too prone to oxidisation, and will last from one to three days before going ‘off’.
The disadvantages of single gear horizontal masticating juicers are that they are very slow in operation, and tend to take only very small pieces of produce at a time. They also take a bit of effort to clean.
2. Twin Gear Horizontal Masticating Juicers
These are also called Triturating Juicers, and use two counter-rotating augers to masticate fruit and vegetables. These are designed specifically to handle hard root vegetables and leafy produce like wheatgrass.
The advantages of this type of juicer are their power, their efficiency and their speed.
The disadvantages of these juicers is that they are relatively poor at handling soft fruits, especially citrus fruits, and that they tend to be fairly expensive.
3. Vertical Masticating Juicers
These are a fairly new type, but have recently become quite popular for home use. They were specifically designed to overcome most of the horizontal masticating juicer design’s convenience issues, and have generally succeeded.
The advantages of vertical masticating juicers is that they combine most of the horizontal masticating juicer’s strengths with increased ease of use, easier cleaning and quieter operation.
The disadvantages are that they are not quite as efficient as the horizontal types, and still struggle with leafy greens. Some produce relatively ‘pulpy’ juice, as well.
These are a long way from the ‘reamers’ of our parents’ and grandparents’ generations. They can be thought of as a crank or handle operated horizontal masticator, and actually look just like a ‘classic’ meat grinder.
The advantages are that they are small, portable and ‘off the grid’. They are also generally very inexpensive.
The disadvantages of manual juicer types are that they produce relatively little juice at a time, are quite labour intensive, and many work poorly on anything except leafy greens.
Kitchen juice presses are the descendants of wine and cider presses, though of course much smaller. They are not typically used to extract juice from produce directly, but rather to further process the pulp left over from using another juicer.
The chief advantage of a press is the efficiency – you can expect to boost the efficiency of even a masticating juicer by a further 10%, and substantially more for centrifugal juicers.
The disadvantages are that juice presses are fairly expensive and time consuming, especially when you consider that you have to run an entire juicing session on another juicer first.
Citrus juicers are specialised equipment, and only really good for juicing citrus fruit (oranges, limes, grapefruit, etc.) and pomegranates.
The advantage of using a citrus juicer is that it is very effective within that narrow window. They are efficient, inexpensive and easy to clean.
The disadvantage is obvious – they only do citrus (and pommies).
So what type is right for you?
As you can see, that depends on what you’ll be using your juicer for. If you just want fresh-squeezed orange juice for Sunday breakfasts, a citrus juicer will do everything you need, and won’t take up a lot of space (or fight with the toaster for the last power socket).
If you are new to juicing and want to try a little bit of everything before you specialise, a centrifugal juicer is a great place to start – they will handle almost anything juiceable and are easy to clean and store.
If you live for wheatgrass and nothing else and are trying for a tiny carbon footprint, a manual juicer is perfect, and isn’t a major investment.
If you want cold-pressed juice but can’t spare an inch more counter space than you must, a vertical masticating juicer is probably the best choice.
On the other hand, if you are serious about your juice, and need something that can handle anything you can throw at it, and in great quantities, you’ll need a twin gear horizontal masticating model.
If you’re outfitting a juice bar, or just can’t bear to throw out anything with food value, you’ll need a juice press as well.
The important thing is to choose a good brand, and to follow the instructions! Happy juicing!