The 3 Types of Juice Extractors & How They Work Plus Smoothie Machines
Okay, you’ve decided to start juicing, and now you want a juice machine. What’s the best one? There are an overwhelming number of choices so my purpose here is to make your search easy and simple! Here’s a brief review of the different types of juicers and how they work, plus a look at smoothie machines. There are 3 major types of juice machines: centrifugal, slow, and press juicers. For comparisons and reviews of all the major juicing and smoothie machines go here.
These are the least expensive on the market today. Consumer Reports recommends the Hamilton Beach Big Mouth Pro as the ‘Best Buy’ at $80, but also recommends the Juiceman Pro at $180, and the West Bend Performance at $130.
I don’t recommend these for 3 reasons explained below, but if you can’t afford the better ‘slow’ juice machines that I recommend, this is certainly better than nothing. I most trust John Kohler and his Youtube comparisons - hear what he thinks are the best juice machines here.
After you place rinsed and cut-up produce into the ‘food chute’ of a centrifugal machine it first grinds with a rotating cutting blade or disc. Juice is then ‘wrung’ from the fruits and vegetables by means of a spinning strainer, like the spin cycle of your washer. The fibrous pulp remains in a ‘basket’ within the machine which must be removed after extracting one to two quarts of juice.
A subcategory of Centrifugal juicers is the Centrifugal Ejection Juicer. This style adds one extra feature which automatically ‘ejects’ the pulp from the juicer. For this reason the Centrifugal Ejection machine is referred to as a ‘continuous action’ juicer.’ It does not need to be stopped to empty the pulp.
Centrifugal juicers are easy to use and tend to be least expensive.
However, they are the least desirable for three reasons. First, they are the noisiest machines. Second, they do not juice herbs, leafy greens, or wheatgrass. And third, these machines introduce the most heat and oxidation which diminishes nutrient content. Think of a slice of apple left out: the browning or spoiling happens due to oxidation.
These are a bit more expensive but I highly recommend them. For the sake of simplicity I'm lumping into one category what many experts further divide into several more categories such as "masticating,' 'single auger,' 'dual stage,' and 'twin gear.' Consumer Reports which I trust most has not yet tested any ‘slow’ juicers. Other reviewers consistently rate Hurom 100, Breville CRUSH, and Omega Vert among the top machines in this category. They all start at about $300.
These machines use one or two gears or augers that crush rather than grind produce. The slower speed (RPM) and auger action reduces oxidation which increases the yield and nutritional value of the juice. These juicers ‘chew’ fibrous fruit and vegetables including greens, breaking down the ‘cell walls,’ producing a juice higher in digestible fiber, vitamins, minerals, enzymes and amino acids. ‘Twin gear’ or ‘dual stage’ types of ‘slow’ machines do the best job with leafy greens, herbs, wheatgrass, and pine needles, but they are more expensive.
These machines are less noisy and easier to clean. You can also use these machines to make baby foods, sauces, nut butters, and sorbets. A number offer an optional attachment which grinds grains into flour.
These are the very first juicers, used primarily to hand-press fruits such as oranges and lemons. The most basic models do not use electricity. The larger electrical machines press any kind of produce.
They are the quietest machines. The most basic presses are the least expensive juicers and the easiest to clean, but only juice citrus fruit. The larger presses require the most time to prepare produce and clean the machine, but they are the best in terms of creating the most nutrient rich juice. They are also the most expensive at about $2000.
These are a different kind of machine. It does not separate pulp from juice but instead grinds up everything – juice, pulp, skin, seeds – into a very fine thick shake. Because it includes more of the fruit and vegetable it has more nutrients and calories. A common household blender is not adequate for the job though I know some who have no complaints use a cheap blender.
In an informal poll of the leading proponents of smoothies, one machine was consistently recommended, the Vitamix which starts at about $400. Although Consumer Reports rates Vitamix very highly in terms of performance and customer satisfaction, it does not recommend it due to the price.
For descriptions, reviews, and customer comments about all the best-selling machines in each of these categories go here.