Picking the Perfect Juicer
So which is the perfect juicer? The answer is ..."it depends". Picking a juicer is kind of like picking an automobile...the perfect one depends upon the factors that are most important to you. No juicer is perfect in every area; therefore, CanningPantry.com offers many models of juicers from the companies that we feel offer the best quality juicers. We have access to other brands such as JuiceMan, JuiceLady, Samson, NutriSource and more. But we feel that the Green Star, Omega, Champion, and L'Equip juicers offer the best performance, reliability, and quality of juice, for the money spent. We feel that YOUR perfect juicer can be found among these brands.
Before discussing the factors important in picking a juicer, it is important to recognize exactly "what" a juicer is. Juicers are more correctly called "juice extractors". That is, they "extract" the juice from the cell walls of the fruits and vegetables passed through them. This is opposed to products such as the VitaMix, which is really a blender and not a juicer. People new to "juicing", sometimes complain about the volume of waste produced. The important thing to remember is that with a blender, the "waste" is produced after consumption by your body, while with a juicer, it is produced before consumption by the juicer. Our bodies do not have multiple stomachs like cows and horses and cannot extract energy from the fiber. The fiber has little nutritional benefit beyond aiding digestion. [Tip: rather than throw this fiber away, which still contains some juice & nutrients, freeze it in baggies and use it in casseroles, soups, hamburgers, meat loaf, breads, and other recipes as a low-cal/non-fat filler.]
The juice produced by a juice extractor, does contain some fiber, which is important in our diet for digestion. But by extracting out the excess fiber, a juicer will allow you to consume far more beneficial vitamins, enzymes and minerals, than you could otherwise comfortably eat in one sitting. Just try eating raw, the equivalent of one glass of extracted juice: 3 carrots, 2 celery stocks with tops, a quarter beet root and beet top, and a handful of spinach. Now, try to eat that much raw food two or three times a day along with the other foods that you like such as dairy, meat, cereal, and grains. You will quickly find that a juice extractor makes greatly increasing your consumption of vegetables and greens much more practical.
Two or three glasses of juice per day along with a fiber cereal, will provide all the dietary fiber you are likely to need. And the quantity of beneficial nutrients contained in the juice produced by a juice-extractor are considerably higher than that produced by a "juice blender". This concentrated "juice cocktail" will measurable add to your health and vitality.
Now, lets pick a juicer. To pick YOUR perfect juicer, we recommend that you consider how important the following factors are to you:
- Ease of Cleaning
- Type of Produce Most-Often Juiced
- Juicing Speed
- Quality of Juice
- Noise Level of Juicer
- How Often you Juice
- Reliability of Juicer
Let's take a closer look at each of these factors to help you determine which juicer is perfect for you.
Ease of Juicer Cleaning
Let's face it; if something is difficult to use and care for, it often goes unused. Some people claim that a Norwalk juicer is the world's best juicer. Let's see, a juicer that starts at $2200; weighs 3 times more than other juicers; is nearly as large as a microwave; and takes and hour to clean properly; is considered "the best". We believe that you're better off spending $2200 on a $200-$400 juicer and a gym membership or treadmill (and you'll likely have enough money left over to buy a lot of vegetables). The hour you save cleaning your juicer can be used at the gym or on the treadmill. Your health will be better and you won't break your back lifting your juicer.
The juicers that we sell are all fairly easy to clean. I would personally group and rank the ease of cleaning of the juicers that we sell as follows:
|Ease of Cleaning|
|Good|| Green Star/Green Power
|Better|| Omega 4000
L'Equip 110.5 & 221
|Best|| Omega 8003/8005
Please note that there is little difference in ease of cleaning between juicers listed above within the same box. In other words, the Omega 8003/8005 and SoloStar are about the same in ease of cleaning. Most of the juicers that we sell are fairly easy to clean with a simple rinse taking 30 seconds to 2 minutes, and a thorough cleaning taking 2-5 minutes. The Green Star/Green Power juicers are the most difficult due the the many parts.
Type of Produce Most-Often Juiced
This is perhaps the most important factor to consider as fruits and vegetables have vastly different properties. The juicing method that is effective for one may not work while juicing the other. Therefore, it is virtually impossible to engineer a juicer that is perfect for both fruits and vegetables. In addition, wheat grass, leafy greens, and stringy vegetables can present extra trouble for a juicer.
Fruits, have soft cell walls, and require a gentle extraction method. Apples, pears, watermelon, cantaloupe, and pineapple are some of the fruits that can be juiced peel and all. Very soft fruits such as bananas, berries, stone fruits, tomatoes and avocado, do not juice well and should be eaten whole or blended instead.
If you want to juice MOSTLY fruits, the centrifugal juicers (Omega 500, 1000, 9000 models) and the centrifugal-ejection juicers (Omega 4000 and L'Equip models) are good choices. They do not juice wheat grass and leafy greens but do a good job on carrots, celery (not tops), beets (root only) and other hard crops.
Juicing Leafy Greens and Vegetables
Vegetables have fibrous, "tough" cell walls, requiring more aggressive mechanical juicing action than fruit. If you want to juice MOSTLY vegetables and some fruits, the above listed centrifugal and centrifugal-ejection juicers are fast and easy to clean and do a good job with most vegetables as well as fruits. Where they have trouble is with wheat grass and leafy greens.
The Champion juicers can juice almost every type of vegetable efficiently. They do have some trouble with leafy vegetables and stringy vegetables like celery. By blocking off the juice spout (with the blank or solid plate), the Champion can be used as a homogenizer to make such foods as raw applesauce, tomato sauce and baby food. It can make peanut butter or other nut butters. It also makes wonderful ice cream-like desserts from raw frozen bananas and other fruits. By assembling the Champion without the blank or juicing screen, it can be used as a grater or to make shave ice. The Champion's do not juice wheat grass but do a better job with fruits than the single-auger and twin-gear juicers (which are better at leafy greens and also juice wheat grass).
The single-auger juicers (Omega 8003/8005 and SoloStarII) and the twin-gear juicers (Green Star and Green Power) receive our highest recommendation for juicing a wide variety of vegetables, including leafy greens, as well as being able to juice wheat grass. They do an adequate job with fruits but are not recommended for those that want to juice mostly fruits. For those on a "Living Foods" diet, cancer patients, and others who want to use a juicer to improve their health through increased vegetable intake; look seriously at one of these juicers.
Quality of Juice, Speed, and Noise Level of Juicer
These three criteria are quite different but go hand-in-hand as the quietest juicers are generally the slowest juicers, but produce the highest quality of juice. Juicers that turn at high speed (high rpm's) can be fast to use. However, the speed comes at a price - noise. The higher speed produces higher sound levels. The higher rpm's may also result in "micro-heating" which can destroy enzymes in the juice. The higher speed can also add air to the juice which slightly decreases the taste and will speed oxidation of the juice.
The centrifugal juicers are considered high-speed juicers. They are somewhat noisy (about like a vacuum cleaner), with rpm's of about 3600 (centrifugal juicers) to 6300 (centrifugal ejection juicers). The centrifugal ejection juicers are the loudest, but also allow for more continuous juicing due to the pulp ejection feature. These juices are fairly fast at producing juice.
The Champion juicers made by Plastaket, are medium-speed juicers operating at about 1725 rpm's. These juicers are "masticating" juicers that combine three operations into one. The Champion's first grate, then masticate or chew the pulp to further break down the cell-wall structure, and then they mechanically press or squeeze the pulp to extract the juice. The Champion's use a powerful slow-turning motor and require moderate strength to operate. They are not good juicers for physically limited persons. They produce good juice quality and are fairly quick to use as compared to the low rpm juicers discussed below.
The quietest juicers are the slow turning single auger (Omega 8003/8005, and SoloStarII) and twin-gear (Green Star/Green Power) machines. They operate at about 80-110 rpm's and produce the highest quality of juice with the least air content, best taste, and lowest potential for producing enzyme-destroying heat. They are slower to operate than other juicers. The twin-gear juicers produce juice the fastest of this low-rpm group and also produce the highest quality of juice. The juicers in this group sound about like an electric can opener in noise level.
Frequency of Use, Reliability & Price
The remaining three factors: Frequency of Use; Reliability; and Price, can also be lumped together as the higher cost machines tend to be the most reliable and are recommended for those that wish to juice daily. For customers that will juice infrequently, all of the juicers that we sell are quality products that will do the job. For those desiring to change their diets by juicing daily, we recommend selecting from among the higher priced models of each type, while factoring in the criteria as discussed in this article. I feel that the juicer models can be ranked as follows with regards to reliability:
1. Green Star & Green Power
2. Champion & Omega 8003/8005/4000/9000
4. Omega 1000/500
5. L'Equip 110.5
6. L'Equip 221
The L'Equip 221 is a great looking juicer. While they have a great warranty (12 years), our experience is that they also have a high return rate compared to other juicers. Therefore, we do not recommend them for daily juicing.
The last factor to consider is portability. For those that travel, the size, weight, and storage ability of a juicer is important. This is also a concern for those with small kitchens and those with limited physical strength to move a juicer around.
The single auger machines excel in portability. The SoloStarII is very compact and includes a handle. The Omega 8003 and 8005 juicers are also compact and include a great swing out handle. The SoloStarII is the smallest and lightest of the group.
The Champion and Green Star/Green Power machines are bulkier and a lot heavier than the above machines and not as well suited for travel. The Champion's have no handle.
The centrifugal and centrifugal-ejection machines are fairly light in weight but rather awkward to carry (no handles) and bulky and are not recommended for travel.
To summarize - the "best juicer" for YOU will not be the same as the best for someone else. In looking at the above factors our recommendations are as follows:
- Best for high quality juice & lowest noise - Green Star/Green Power & Omega 8003/8005
- Best for MOSTLY fruits - Omega 4000 & 9000 or a blender
- Best for both fruits & vegetables (no leafy greens) - Champion, Omega 4000 & 9000
- Best for MOSTLY vegetables including greens and wheat grass & some fruits - Green Star/Green Power & Omega 8003/8005
- Best for speed - Champion & Omega 4000
- Best for easy cleaning - Omega 8003/8005, SoloStarII, Champion, Omega 4000
- Best for portability - SoloStarII & Omega 8003/8005
Revised March 2005 - Recently I've personally switched from using the Omega 8003 to the Green Star GS1000 and I thought I would share my impressions. I have a love/hate relationship with the Green Star. I love juicing with the Green Star: this machine is heavy and stable and seems like it will last forever. It is rock-solid and very quiet. This is a great machine for those committed to daily juicing and that want a juicer to last for many years.
Now the "hate" part. What a pain-in-the-hind-parts to clean. The Green Star has many parts to disassemble and clean and then put back together. Cleaning takes about 6 minutes compared to 40 seconds with the Omega. The juicer is very large and imposing and isn't something to leave sitting out on the counter. In contrast the Omega 8003 is a breeze to clean and is much smaller and looks just fine sitting out in the kitchen. In my opinion, the Omega 8005 or 8003 is the perfect "juice anything" juicer for those just getting into juicing, or for the young or elderly to use. The Green Star is a great machine, but I question how easy to use it would be for the young or elderly due to its' heavy weight, size, and many parts. It is somewhat complicated to put back together after cleaning, and if you get it wrong, you can damage the juicer requiring an expensive repair. Suprisingly to me, the Green Star also produces more foam than the Omega. This may be due to the longer path that the juice must travel with the Green Star.
Don't get me wrong - the Green Star is a great juicer and my first recommendation for those really committed to juicing on a daily basis. But it isn't for the casual user nor those mechanically challenged or with limited arm strength needed to move its' bulk around. In many ways, I miss using the simple Omega 8003. Now if only some company could come up with a juicer that had the best qualities of both the Omega and Green Star; now THAT would be MY perfect juicer. The perfect juicer for YOU is up to you to decide.