Picking The Right Juicer

Picking the Right Juicer
This month I have been focusing on adding more fresh juices into my routine and I have to say that I am loving all the feedback and excitement from our blog community! I’ve gotten so many comments, emails, and messages with your photos, recipes, and questions! Keep ‘em coming!

One of the things that I know everyone is curious about is picking the right juicer so I hope to explore this topic a bit more in-depth in this post. (Please know that I am only sharing my personal experience here and am not being paid to mention the brands I compare below.) I first began juicing in 2007 when I was working at a vegan and raw foods restaurant. I started my juicing journey using an industrial-sized centrifugal juicer. It was a beast! When it comes to juicers, there are two basic kinds: centrifugal juicers and masticating juicers.

The basics:

Centrifugal juicers are usually upright models with a rapidly spinning blade and mesh basket. The blade shreds the vegetables/fruits into pulp while the spinning motion pulls the juice through the mesh filter and out into the chute.

Masticating juicers can be horizontal or vertical, but the newer versions tend to be vertical. Masticating juicers are all a little different, but they generally work by slowly crushing the vegetables/fruits and pushing the juice out through the screen.

Cost: Centrifugal juicers are common because they tend to be more affordable (they generally range from $80 – $160).  On the other hand, masticating juicers are more expensive and generally start around $200.

Time: Centrifugal juicers are fast and efficient. If you are looking for a speedy juicer that juices efficiently, a centrifugal juicer is for you. Masticating juicers are much more time-consuming to produce juice and to clean. Since the juice is produced by crushing the fruits and vegetables, they must be chopped into smaller pieces and the juicer will take much longer to produce juice.

Juice Quality and Quantity: The differences in cost and time are important, but perhaps the most important factor is the juice quality and quantity. That is the whole point of juicing, right?One of the things to consider is that slow juicers produce better quality juice. Since the blade and basket in the centrifugal juicer rapidly spins, this adds a lot of oxygen to the juice, causing it to oxidize at a much-quicker rate. Hurom has a great picture that shows this oxidation (see below). If you are using a centrifugal juicer, you must drink the juice right away because it will immediately start losing nutrients. Since masticating juicers crush the fruits and vegetables, this helps to retain nutrients so you can make the juice in the morning and drink it later in the day.

Picking the Right Juicer

From my experience, I think the Hurom really excels at juicing carrots, tomatoes, and leafy greens. If you compare tomato juice between the two machines, it really does look like the picture above and the centrifugal model will produce less juice that has less color and more foam. Overall I noticed that the Hurom juices tend to have a deeper color and stronger taste. The machine also yields more pulp than a centrifugal model. This can be nice if you are juicing something like oranges, but when I make beet juice in there I am not a fan of the pulp.

My Personal Juicing Experience:

I have had my trusty Jack LaLanne juicer (a centrifugal model) since 2007 and have been pretty pleased with the results. I’ve used it several times a week for five years and it was only recently that I felt like it was time to replace it as the blade seemed to be getting a bit dull (although the motor still works great). I’ve never had any troubles with it or had to replace any parts. For an initial $90 investment, it has really served me well!

Through the SPUD Juicing Program, I had a chance to test out the Hurom Slow Juicer and this was the first time I had ever used a masticating juicer.  The Hurom Slow Juicer runs around $360 so it is an investment. These are the only two machines I have had direct experience with so I can’t give you specifics on other models, but from what I have found in my research, it seems like centrifugal models tend to be really similar and the Omega Juicer seems comparable to the Hurom.

In terms of cost, you really can’t beat the Jack LaLanne model (I bought the Power Juicer model for $80 and recently upgraded to the Power Juicer Pro for $150). And in terms of time, I think the Jack LaLanne model wins here too. The chute is much bigger and you can run whole fruits and vegetables through, compared to chopping them into smaller pieces and having to feed them in slowly in the Hurom.

One big problem I had with the Hurom is that celery pulp and herb stems kept jamming the pulp dispenser. When this happens, you have to stop juicing and take the entire machine apart to pry the stuck pulp out of the chute. Every time this happened it added an additional five minutes to juicing, which was a bit hard on rushed mornings.

I looked at the FAQ on Hurom’s website and it said that celery has to be cut to into ½- inch pieces to avoid getting stuck. When I first read this, I was so frustrated by the thought of chopping five celery stalks into ½-inch pieces that I swore I’d never juice celery in that machine again. But, I love the Hurom so much that I began doing this. Chopping up the celery did work much better, but the pulp still jammed again at the end of my juice. I typically use celery for the base of my daily juices, but when using the Hurom I’ve had to switch to a mostly cucumber base (which can be pricey).

For daily juicing, I typically use some combination of celery, cucumber, beets, greens, herbs, ginger and carrots on occasion. Both of the machines seem to yield the same amount of juice for these items and they have different pros and cons. I prefer juicing celery, beets, and ginger in my Jack LaLanne juicer and like juicing cucumber, carrots, greens, and herbs better in the Hurom.

On most days, I make my juice at home in the morning, but do not drink it until later in the afternoon when I’m at work. I used to feel bad doing this with my Jack LaLanne juices because I knew they were losing nutrients over time. One of the things I love most about the Hurom is that the juices will last over several hours. I also saw that you can make almond milk and soy milk in the Hurom. I haven’t personally tried this, but that seems like an amazing feature!

So, here’s my final verdict: I think it comes down to what types of produce you juice on a regular basis, what specific features you want in a machine, and what you are willing/able to spend.

As I mentioned, I really love both of these machines and think they both have unique benefits. If you are looking for an affordable option, the Jack LaLanne juicer wins. You know that your juicer will be affordable and fast, and you’ll just need to be conscious about drinking the juice right away to get the full benefits. And if all of your juices use a celery base, this might be a better option for you.

If you already have a centrifugal juicer, like to make juice to consume later, and/or are looking for a better investment that will give you better quality juice, go with the Hurom Slow Juicer. If you juice tomatoes, carrots, or greens on a regular basis this also might be a better option because you will definitely yield more and better quality juice on these items.

What are your thoughts about picking the right juicer? What models do you love and recommend?

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