A juicer is a wonderful machine for ensuring that you can gain all the nutritional benefits of fruits and vegetables. The opportunity to drink freshly pressed juice means that no nutrients have been lost to oxidation or processing. Store-bought juices lose a lot of valuable compounds through time and are often pasteurized to kill bacteria, which also denatures the liquid. Additionally, unwanted ingredients, such as sweeteners or preservatives, are sometimes added into juices that are commercially processed.
It’s important to maintain hygiene when juicing. Fruit, your cutting board and utensils should be washed thoroughly to get rid of any pesticides or bacteria. And only make as much juice as you can drink at once: fresh juice can spoil quickly and, at worst, cause food poisoning. Juicing, though, is generally a healthy choice: It may persuade you to try fruits and vegetables that you wouldn’t normally eat (adding valuable new compounds to your diet) and allows the opportunity of creating flavoursome drinks with personalised recipes combining different healthful ingredients.
There are two basic types of juicers: centrifugal (or ‘extractors’) and masticating (or ‘cold press’ or ‘slow press’). Centrifugal juicers operate by grating the fruit and then spinning it to force the juice out; they can be noisy but are usually cheaper and produce juice more quickly. Some users claim that centrifugal juicers destroy some nutrients because their fast spinning produces heat. Centrifugal machines work well on carrots, apples and oranges.
Masticating juicers are quieter and use an auger to grind and squeeze the fruit. These cold press machines have higher juice yields but are slower. Masticating juicers’ slower operation helps preserve vitamins and nutrients and they are preferred for tough greens like kale. In the end, it may be a ‘lifestyle’ choice: centrifugal juicers will suit people in a hurry while masticating machines are for patient purists.
What to look for in a juicer
Beyond price, what are some features worth looking for? We like machines with large chutes (which make them easier to load) and large pulp collectors (that need emptying less frequently). Centrifugal machines benefit by a variable speed setting (soft fruits don’t need to be processed as aggressively as harder vegetables) and cold press machines should have a ‘reverse’ to help release clogs. A more powerful motor can make it easier to process tough produce but ease-of-assembly and ease-of-cleaning are crucial. Dishwasher-safe components are helpful but many juicers have interlocking parts and we believe it is more important to find a juicer that can be disassembled easily for cleaning. Overall, we prefer to pay a little more for ‘known’ brand names in the hope that the machine will be more durable over time and that any warranty or guarantee will have value, if required.
Best Centrifugal Juicers
Von Shef Premium Juicer
The Von Shef brand is attached to several ‘budget’ centrifugal juicers. The Premium model has a strong 800 watt motor with overheat protection, a wide feeding chute and a large 2-litre pulp container. A single dial control is used for on/off and slow or fast operation; for safety, the motor will not run unless the cover is properly clamped in position. All detachable parts are dishwasher-safe and the base unit, which has a plastic housing and stainless steel facing, can be wiped clean. Von Shef provides a two-year manufacturers warranty. Reviews range from ‘fantastic’ to questionable but, used sensibly, this machine can provide a low-cost entry to home juicing.
Braun J500 Juicer
The Braun J500 is a centrifugal juicer with a two-speed operation (for soft or hard produce) drawing up to 900 watts of power. The loading chute has a wide 7.5cm opening so pre-chopping is limited. Removable parts are dishwasher safe and reviewers report that it is easy to clean; a brush is supplied with the machine to assist with the grater-basket. Braun-specific features include an anti-splash, stainless steel spout fitted with a press-button ‘drip-stopper’ and a 1.25 litre jug that incorporates a foam separator. Users confirm that the juicer works quickly and a glass of orange juice takes about 15 seconds to prepare. Braun offers a two-year manufacturer’s guarantee; this is a good quality, mid-priced machine from a well-regarded brand.
Russell Hobbs Aura Whole Juicer 20365
The Russell Hobbs ‘Aura’ juicer is a two-speed centrifugal machine with a 7.5cm feeder and a 2-litre pulp container. A rather nondescript 750ml juice jug is included. The design is simple and the casing is white, to match other appliances in the Aura range. A power control is located on the side of the base and the lid is held in place with a spring clamp. Four large rubberised feet help keep the juicer in place on the kitchen counter.
Users advise that clean-up and assembly are not a problem. Despite its relatively low power motor, it enjoys good user reviews for its performance. Competitively-priced, it is a great-value machine from a trusted manufacturer.
Best Masticating Juicer
Klarstein Fruitpresso Extractor
‘Klarstein’ is a range of household appliances from a German company, Berlin Brands. The Fruitpresso is a vertically arranged cold press with a 150 watt motor driving the auger at 70 revolutions per minute. Two 600ml containers are supplied with the machine. Indented carrying handles are set in the front and back of the casing, and assembly is straightforward. Correct assembly and alignment of the cover is needed to override a safety cut-off.
A reviewer reports a dry pulp, implying good juice extraction and that it is ‘solid and easy to clean’. Offered at a price comparable to some centrifugal machines, this is a good unit for first-time cold-pressers looking to access the superior juicing performance of a masticating extractor.
Panasonic MJ-L500SXC Juicer
This Panasonic masticating unit has a slim structure with a vertical screw. A 150 watt motor is geared to drive the screw at 45 rpm which should deliver plenty of grinding power. We like the silicone cover on the juice-spout (that prevents dripping after the juice is poured) and the arrows on the components that help with lining up the parts during assembly.
The dimensions of the loading chute mean that some produce will need to be cut up before juicing but reviewers are happy with the machine’s juice-producing efficiency and describe no particular problems with cleaning or assembly. The base unit is available with a metallic red, silver or gold cladding and a sorbet attachment is included for the preparation of frozen fruit desserts. This is a solid cold-press choice at a feasible price from an internationally known brand.
Biochef Synergy Slow Juicer
Biochef’s ‘Synergy’ juicer features a 150 watt motor driving the screw at 60 rpm. It has a modern compact, design (weighing a solid 6.4 kilos) and is available in four different colour finishes: red; white; black; and silver. Reviewers highlight its high extraction rate and very quiet operation. Features include a juice outlet cap, a pulp storage plug and a safety sensor to prevent overheating.
We like that it is delivered with alternative juicing screens, a fine and a coarse, to allow for some individual preference in the size of fruit particles within the juice. The manufacturer offers a 10-year guarantee on the motor and a 5-year guarantee on the parts. While more expensive than our other picks, this is a quality appliance that should provide good service over many years.