With the wealth of information available to you through the Internet, television advertising, and other sources, people interested in juicing are faced with what can seem like a bewildering array of choices when it comes to the “best” juicers out there. While it’s important to do your homework before investing in any kitchen appliance, it’s also important to keep in mind that most of the information is designed to get you to choose one product over another. But whatever you choose, remember, the best juicer is always the one that fits your needs.
Centrifugal juicers are by far the most popular because of their low-to-moderate pricing and can be the right choice if you’re new to juicing. Using a simple design, they operate by a spinning basket that shreds the produce and forces the juice through a strainer while the pulp is usually ejected into a container. The process adds oxygen to the juice and some models can produce a fair amount of froth or foam. Many of the newer machines come with celebrity endorsements and some attractive high-tech features. But at the low end, they can be loud, difficult to clean, and without enough power to handle the demands of a two-week juice fast. Of particular note is a tendency to “walk” during operation, making some models hazardous for kids and even some adults to operate. After all, you don’t want fresh juice all over the kitchen floor!
Some juice enthusiasts maintain that the higher speeds of centrifugal models can lead to oxidation and destruction of phytochemicals and enzymes through overheating, but it’s doubtful than any machine will heat the juice to the point where it loses significant nutritional value. High speeds do produce more foam though, so be sure to mix your juice thoroughly before drinking it.
Single-gear or “masticating” juicers are more expensive, but their slower process delivers higher-quality nutrition. Using a “cold press” method, juicers compress fruit and vegetables to “squeeze” out their juice. Rugged and long lasting, they are also terrific for creating healthy kitchen concoctions like gourmet nut butters, pestos, mustards, herb blends, and other delights. They can be quite heavy, however, and the less compact models take up a fair amount of real estate on your countertop. So if you’re short on space or ready outlet access, consider one of the more “portable” models.
Double-gear or “triturating” machines tend to be the most expensive, and proponents insist they deliver the highest-quality juice. Twin-gear triturating juicers are built to provide you the best in terms of yield and nutrition. Perhaps the greatest recommendation is that they don’t just make juice. They can also make salsas, ice creams, and even baby food. Their slower process takes more time, and in some models, cleanup can be more complicated. Still, they remain the optimum choice for hard-core juice aficionados due to the superior efficiency at juicing things such as wheatgrass and sprouts.
Ultimately, your choice of juicers depends on a number of factors- budget, space, time, ease, and efficiency of operation and cleaning. Do look for a juicer with multiple speeds, an adequately sized feed tube so you don’t waste time pre-chopping, and for a machine with at least 400 watts of power to start.