Shopping for a juice extractor and deciding which juicer to buy can be confusing. When you read the descriptions and you are not familiar with all the mysteriously sounding terms – RPM, masticating, triturating, and centrifugal – you may be left wondering which juicer is best for your needs and lifestyle.
A juicer or juice extractor is a machine that mechanically separates juice from the solid part (pulp) of fruits, vegetables, leafy greens, and herbs. The pulp is usually discarded, but can also be used in other recipes (for instance in soups or baking) or composting. A juicer differs from a blender: a juicer separates the juice from the pulp, while the blender blends everything together, producing what some people describe as “whole food juice”.
Keep in mind is that while there are several types of juicers and hundreds of different models and brands available on the market today, there is no “perfect” juicer that will perform every juicing operation with equal quality. That is why, when shopping for a juice machine, you should first ask yourself, what factors are important to you, considering your needs and lifestyle. (Read more about this in my post Choosing a Juice Extractor: Which Juicer Machine Should You Buy?)
Types of Juice Extractors
Manual Versus Electic Juicers
Manual Juice Extractors. Manual juicers require you to do most of the extracting work, but they can be a handy appliance to have in the kitchen, as they don’t need electricity to work and are usually easy to clean.
Manual juicers can juice a surprisingly large variety of fruits and vegetables. Commonly used manual juicers today are citrus juicers. The press style juicer squeezes the juice out of the produce by pressure, such as the Hamilton Beach 932 Commercial Citrus Juicer.
Many people use manual juicers to squeeze wheatgrass. Most reviewers seem to recommend Z-Star Manual Juicer by Tribest as the best juicer for its price. With Z Star juicer you can not only juice wheatgrass. The Z Star Manual Juicer can also extract great-tasting and nutritious juice from a variety of fresh fruits, vegetables, and leafy greens. It is lightweight, portable, and versatile, so you can enjoy fresh juice wherever you go! Another great choice is the Hurricane Juicer.
If you are just starting out and don’t want to make a big investment in a juicer, if you need a dedicated juicer for wheatgrass and greens, or if you a portable juicer to use it when traveling instead of the larger and heavier electric model – then a manual juicer may be a great choice for you.
Electric Juicers. Most of the juice extractors used today in homes and restaurants are electric, which means they require much less effort to produce juice than their manual counterparts. There are three main types of electric juicers: centrifugal juicers, masticating juicers – also known as single gear juicers or single auger juicers, and triturating juicers – or twin gear juicers.
Centrifugal, Masticating and Triturating Juicers
Centrifugal Juicers are electric juicers that use blades and a sieve to separate juice from pulp. They first grate the produce into a pulp, and then the centrifugal force is used to force the pulp through a strainer screen by spinning it at a very high RPM speed. Centrifugal ejection juicers produce juice by first shredding the produce that is placed into the juicer, next the small shreds and juice that is released is centrifuged into a screen where the juice passes through the screen, and the pulp is “ejected” into a pulp collection bin.
Centrifugal juicers are the most popular and inexpensive type of juicers. The vast majority of juicers you will find in department stores are centrifugal juicing machines. They have many advantages: they produce juice quickly and easily, and on average take much less time to clean than other types of juicers. Their feeding chutes are wide enough that little or no chopping of fruits and vegetables is required as preparation to juicing – making the process even faster.
Although centrifugal juice extractors can juice almost any type of fruit and vegetable; they are not the top choice for leafy greens, such as spinach, kale, parsley or wheat grass. Although you can certainly produce juice from greens with centrifugal juice machines, the amount of juice you will get will be much than if you used a single or twin gear juicer.
Also, the pulp expelled by most centrifugal juicers is still relatively wet, which means that some juice is wasted.
Another important consideration for some people may be the shelf life of the juice made by a centrifugal juicer – especially if you would like to keep some of your juice for later use. Because of the high speed required to extract juice, a considerable amount of oxygen is dissolved into the juice. The oxygen bubbles in the juice cause the juice to oxidize (spoil) rapidly. So, the juice made with a centrifugal juice extractor should be consumed immediately and cannot be effectively stored for any length of time without loss of nutritional value. If you plan to store juice, consider a lower speed juicer like a single or twin gear juicer.
When buying an inexpensive centrifugal juicer, check the length of the warranty period and avoid machines with warranties shorter than 1 year.
Read my reviews of some great centrifugal juicers: Breville 800JEXL Juice Fountain Elite 1000-Watt Juice Extractor and Breville Juice Fountain Compact Juicer
Masticating Juicers – also known as single gear juicers or single auger juicers – are juicers that “chew” fruit to a pulp before squeezing out the juice.
Masticating Juicers use a single gear or auger that literally chews and crushes fruit and vegetable matter pushing it against a static screen allowing juice to flow through the screen while pulp is expelled through a separate outlet. Masticating juicers are generally more efficient than centrifugal juicers because they can extract more juice from the same amount of food (i.e. the pulp comes out drier).
Masticating juicers are very capable at juicing virtually any fruit and vegetable, and single gear juicers will also extract juice from leaves and grasses, like wheatgrass, spinach, lettuce, parsley, and other leafy greens and herbs. (Champion Juicers are the exception as they do not juice wheatgrass or greens very well).
Masticating juicing machines operate at slower RPM speeds than centrifugal juicers, producing less foam and heat, which results in less oxygen and more nutrition in your juice. The low speed also prolongs the shelf life of the juice so you can usually keep your juice for a few days.
Masticating juice extractors are more versatile than centrifugal juicers because they can also juice wheatgrass, and, in addition to juicing, these juicers also homogenize foods to make baby foods, sauces, nut butters, ice creams and fruit sorbets. Some of these machines may even make pasta, bread sticks and rice cakes.
Triturating Juicers – twin gear or triturating juicers – are juicers with twin gears that first crush fruits and vegetables and then press them.
Twin gear triturating machines are usually the most expensive juicers offering the best juice yield (one of the most expensive juicers Norwalk juicer Model 275 costs about $2,400). Twin gear juicers turn at even slower speeds (RPMs) than masticating juicers, resulting in even less oxidation from foam and less destruction of nutrients from heat. Low temperatures and rpm minimize oxidation so juice lasts a long time, meaning you can refrigerate and keep your juice for a few days.
Twin gear juicers operate by pressing food between two interlocking roller gears. This juicing process yields a larger volume of juice. The high pressure squeezing force of the twin gears breaks open tough cell walls and releases more enzymes, vitamins and trace minerals.
Twin gear juicers are the most efficient type of juicer available and can extract higher yields of juice from fruits, vegetables, leafy greens, wheatgrass, and herbs. The pulp that comes out of twin gear juicers is the driest of all the types of juicers. These juicers extract as much juice from wheatgrass as the wheatgrass-only type of juicers.
A downside to twin-screw type juicers like the Green Power is that it takes quite a bit of force to push items like carrots into the juicer, because there is no cutting blade action, just the gripping/squeezing action of the twin screws.
Just like masticating juicers, triturating juicers do more than just extract juice. They do a great job homogenizing baby foods, nut butters, ice creams, fruit sorbets and many have optional or included attachments for making pasta, bread sticks, and rice cakes.
Wheatgrass Juicers are juice extractors used solely for making juice from wheatgrass and other leafy greens, as well as some soft fruits like grapes. Wheatgrass juicers are not suitable for extracting juice from vegetables and most fruits. Wheatgrass juicers are available in both electric and manual models.
Read more about buying a juicer in Choosing a Juice Extractor: Which Juicer Machine Should You Buy?
Read more articles on my Juicer Recipes and Juice Extractor Reviewsblog. Some of my favorite recipes include V8 Juice Recipe, Watermelon-Grape Delight and Apricot-Mango Ambrosia. If you still don’t have a juicer and are considering getting one, read my review of a great juicing machine Breville 800JEXL Juice Fountain Elite and learn How to Make Juice With a Blender?.