Choosing a Juicer: Centrifugal or Masticating?
If you have started shopping for a juicer, then you have probably noticed that the market is dominated by two types—the centrifugal juicer and the masticating juicer.
You Spin Me Right Round—Centrifugal Juicers
Centrifugal juicers are the most common type of juicer; these are the ones that you will see advertised on television or in most department stores. And unless you are looking at a ridiculously high-end model, centrifugal juicers are usually the less expensive of the two.
Centrifugal juicers extract juice by rapidly spinning pulp around in its chamber (using centrifugal force). When veggies or fruits are pushed through the top of the juicer, they enter a mesh chamber featuring razor-sharp teeth on the floor. The teeth shred the fruit into pulp, which is then spun at high speeds to separate the juice from the rest of the fruit. The juice funnels out via a spigot, while the pulp goes into a separate collection chamber.
Centrifugal juicers work best with soft and hard foods, but are less effective with the oh-so-important leafy greens. They can often be found for as little as $40, but we suggest that you pay a little bit more, at least $100 or $150, to ensure that you get a model that will last and work as it is intended. The centrifugal juicer pictured here is the Breville 800JEXL Juice Fountain Elite 1000 Watt Juice Extractor, which is available for about $300. (Read our full review of the Breville 800JEXL here)
There is also some concern over the amount of oxidation caused by the centrifugal process; oxidation causes important enzymes to break down. Additionally, the heat generated by centrifugal juicers can also damage the end product, and can even cause the machine to overheat.
All Chewed Up—Masticating Juicers
Masticating juicers, also known as cold-press juicers, are the more expensive of the two juicer types, with some models costing over $500. However, their fans will say that the superior performance and quality of the juice that is created when using a cold-press juicer is well worth the money.
Masticating juicers have a horizontal design, as demonstrated by the Omega juicer in the picture. (The Omega is one of the most affordable masticating juicers available; read our full review to learn more) Food pieces are fed into the top of the tube, where they are then squeezed and crushed (aka “masticated”) at a much slower rate than the centrifugal process. Juice exits out of the bottom of the tube; the pulp is pushed through the end.
Cold press juicers extract more nutrients than their centrifugal counterparts and the juice created tends to last longer (though it should be imbibed as soon as possible because it starts to lose nutrients when it hits the air) because the masticating juicer greatly reduces the amount of oxidation that occurs during the juicing process. However, this type of juicer cannot handle whole pieces of fruit and it does not produce juice as quickly as the centrifugal type. One awesome bonus is that many, if not most, masticating juicers can also double as food processors and handle foods like nuts and meat.
Which is Right for You?
We recommend centrifugal juicers for juicing beginners, as well as those who do not plan on juicing leafy greens or wheatgrass. They are also the best choice for juicers on a budget due to their low cost.
Masticating juicers are for serious juicers who are concerned about nutrient loss and who like to use their juicer to process leafy greens and herbs in addition to fruits and vegetables. Those who live in close proximity to others will likely appreciate the quiet motor found in cold-press juicers (as will the neighbors). Lastly, because masticating juicers do not produce the heat of centrifugal juicers, there is no chance of overheating and no enzyme loss due to heat.
This is the highest rated Masticating juicer available right now, we highly recommend it….
The Omega J8006 Nutrition Center Juicer (read our review here)
Our Final Word
If you have the money and plan on juicing a lot, you just cannot beat the masticating juicer for quality results. Novices are advised to start off with a low-level centrifugal, and perhaps, if they so desire, upgrade to a masticating juicer a little later.