What’s The Difference Between Cheap And Expensive Juicers?

It’s all about the extraction.
Liliboas via Getty Images

A cold-pressed green juice from a hip juice shop can set you back $10, but buying a juicer can cost hundreds. Most juicers range in price from $50 to more than $500, and like blenders, you get what you pay for.

That doesn’t mean you absolutely need to buy the most expensive option on the market, though. Your needs (including budget) and plans for your juicer are important factors in determining which juicer is best for you. If you’re interested in buying a juicer, here’s what you need to know.

There are three main types of juicers: centrifugal, masticating and cold-press

For juicers, the main factor impacting price is how it extracts juice. Centrifugal juicers are the cheapest. Masticating juicers are more expensive. And true cold-press juicers, mostly reserved for commercial use, are the most expensive.

Centrifugal juicers have a flat spinning blade that you push fruits and vegetables through. From there, it uses centrifugal force to push the juice through a strainer and separate it from the pulp.

Masticating juicers have an auger (a screw-shaped press) that slowly rotates and squeezes out the juice. “Masticate means to chew and that’s generally what it’s doing,” said Chase Brightwell, assistant editor at America’s Test Kitchen Reviews. “Instead of relying on centrifugal force, a masticating juicer relies on the force of its motor to push food up against the filter.”

These types of juicers are sometimes called cold-press, but true cold-press juicers grind produce into a chunky salsa-like consistency before squeezing it between two metal plates using thousands of pounds of pressure.

A true cold-press juicer will easily set you back a few thousand dollars. Khoran Horn, CEO of VIII XII Hospitality, chef-founder of Stripp’d Juice and chef-owner of Guardhouse Cafe, told HuffPost that the hydraulic cold-press juicer at his business costs a cool $27,000.

“Centrifugal juicers are generally less expensive because their technology requires less finesse and it’s easier to get right,” Brightwell said. “They’re like a food processor with a spinning basket.”

From his research and tests of nine electric juicers, Brightwell found that in general, there’s more innovation in masticating juicers, particularly from big companies like Omega, Kuvings and Tribest. “These famous juicing companies put a lot of time and energy throughout decades trying to optimize their designs, and I think that’s why the price tag on masticating juicers is a little bit higher,” he said.

Centrifugal and masticating juicers each have pros and cons

Centrifugal juicers are less expensive, and they make juices quickly. The produce passes through the juicer faster than in their masticating counterparts, and they often have larger feed chutes. This means you can throw in whole apples and lemons, and not have to spend extra time chopping.

While speed will get you out the door faster, it has drawbacks. Because centrifugal juicers are fast, “the juice is more likely to oxidize and heat up more easily,” said Olivia Roszkowski, chef-instructor at the Institute of Culinary Education.

It’s important to skim off any foam and to consume juices made from a centrifugal juicer as soon as possible because the fast-spinning blade introduces oxygen into the juice, which can degrade the quality faster, Roszkowski noted. Centrifugal juicers work great for semifirm produce like apples, beets and celery, but they’re not as great for leafy greens and grasses.

Masticating juicers are generally more expensive than centrifugal juicers. And while the juicing process is slower, you’ll get more juice out of your fruits and vegetables (especially if you’re using greens). Also, since less oxygen is introduced in the process, the resulting juices have a longer shelf life.

“The slower the revolutions per minute, the less oxidation,” Roszkowski said. “This means that the flavor, color and nutritional qualities are more intact. Because the masticating machines move slowly, they are better at extracting juice from thinner, less watery items like leaves.”

Juice made from a centrifugal juicer will usually have some pulp and a cloudy appearance. “Essentially, you’ve just whipped the crap out of all the cells, busted them up and put them in a jar,” Horn said.

At the other end of the spectrum, cold-pressed juices have a consistency that’s similar to water after the product is pressed through a fine filter (similar to nut milk) under a massive amount of pressure, Horn said.

When shopping for a juicer, determine your needs and priorities

If you’re planning on using your juicer once or twice a week (or even less), there’s no need to throw $400 at a fancy model. On the other hand, if you’re going to be juicing regularly and using some greens, a nice masticating juicer is well worth the investment.

“It has to do with the commitment level,” Brightwell said. “If you’re going to get a juicer and make juice every day, that really expensive masticating juicer will definitely pay for itself over time.”

At the mid-range price point of $100 to $200, Brightwell recommends a high-end centrifugal juicer over a low-end masticating juicer, which he finds isn’t as durable.

When possible, check the number of parts a juicer has ― or better yet take it apart to see how easy it is to disassemble and clean.

All of the experts interviewed for this story mentioned cleaning as the biggest pain when it comes to juicing, and a barrier to actually using a juicer. “At the end of the day, cleanup is why people don’t juice,” Horn said. “Because juicing is so time-consuming and messy, the first thing I look for is ease of cleanup.

Shopping for a juicer? Here are some great options.

HuffPost may receive a share from purchases made via links on this page. Every item is independently selected by the HuffPost team. Prices and availability are subject to change.

Hamilton Beach Big Mouth Juicer Machine (Centrifugal)
Boasting an extra-large 3-inch feed chute, you can throw whole fruits and vegetables into this budget-friendly centrifugal juicer. It has dishwasher-safe removable parts, which helps with cleanup, and comes with a three-year limited warranty.

Get it from Amazon for $64.99.
Breville Juice Fountain Cold (Centrifugal)
America’s Test Kitchen’s top centrifugal juicer outperformed the rest in terms of ease of assembly and cleanup; it even comes with a cleaning brush. It has two speeds, low (6,500 rpm) for leafy vegetables and soft fruit, and high (13,000 rpm) for dense fruits and hard vegetables. It juices produce fast and can deposit juice directly into a 70-ounce jug (also included).

Get it from Williams Sonoma for $159.95.
Omega Compact Nutrition System Juicer (Masticating)
The auger of this masticating juicer turns at a slow 80 rpm to minimize heat buildup and oxidation during the juicing process. It comes with attachments for extruding pasta, grinding coffee and more, and has a 15-year warranty on parts and performance.

Get it from Amazon for $234.99.
Kuvings Whole Slow Juicer Elite (Masticating)
With a larger feed chute than most masticating juicers, you can save on prep time. This Kuvings juicer uses a two-stage, low-speed system to produce high juice yields without aerating the juice. It comes with a custom strainer that lets you control juice texture (more or less pulp), plus a blank strainer for making frozen sorbet, hummus and more.

Get it from Williams Sonoma for $449.95.
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