By Pat Crocker

Knowing your level of engagement in the process of juicing is critical to matching the type of juicers available to your lifestyle, your health needs, and your expectations about convenience, so ask yourself the following questions and keep your answers in mind as you read about the types of machines available and their advantages or disadvantages.

  • How much time do you want to spend making juice?

  • Will your juice be a once-a-day quick snack or a health ritual that you want to put time and effort into?

  • Are you fanatical about extracting the most juice from your fruits and vegetables and obtaining the highest quality nutrients, or does convenience trump any slight increase in nutrients?

Centrifugal force juicers

This type of juicer takes fruits and vegetables through a feed tube and directly into contact with a blade that shreds them. The juice from the fruits and vegetables is thrown by centrifugal force of the spinning basket toward the sides of the basket and pushed through it into a jug (or glass).

If you have a continuously ejecting juicer, the pulp is forced out of the machine and into a pulp container. If the pulp isn’t automatically removed from the spinning basket, the basket becomes full and you have to stop the machine, remove the pulp, and empty the basket before continuing to juice.

Here are the advantages of centrifugal force juicers:

  • They have the fewest number of parts of all the juicers, which makes them fast and easy to assemble and clean.

  • They’re the fastest at extracting juice from fruits and vegetables, especially if the feed tube is wide enough to take a whole apple, cucumber, or orange and if the pulp is automatically ejected.

  • They handle soft fruits better than the masticating juicers.

  • They’re the most popular types of juicers, so you have many brands with different features from which to choose.

  • They stand upright and take up less space on the counter.

Although some brands are available for less, you should expect to pay between $200 and $300 for a high-quality centrifugal juicer.

And here are the disadvantages of centrifugal force juicers:

  • More oxidation of nutrients takes place as evidenced by the amount of foam on top of fresh juices from this type of juicer. (The nutritional quality is still excellent, especially if you drink the juice immediately and don’t store it).

  • In general, less juice is extracted from centrifugal juicers. (Some really good brands are available that produce a fairly dry pulp with not much juice waste.)

  • Unless they have variable speeds, most of these types of juicers won’t effectively process wheatgrass and other fine grasses.

Bottom line: These machines are for people who want to juice for the nutritional benefits but want to do it with as little effort, monetary investment, and time as possible.

Masticating juicers

Making use of a single auger (gear) that’s spiral in shape, masticating juicers press and chew, or masticate, the fruits and vegetables as they’re fed into the tube. Juice is slowly extracted and collected in a container that fits under the gear shaft, and the pulp is continuously ejected at the end of the gear shaft into a pulp container.

Here are the advantages of masticating juicers:

  • They work at a low rpm so they extract more juice from the fruits and vegetables and excel at juicing leafy greens, wheatgrass, and other grasses.

  • The slower speed preserves slightly more nutrients than are preserved by centrifugal force juicers because there is less oxidation.

  • They can function as grain mills and make nut butters and baby food.

  • They can process frozen fruits, such as bananas and strawberries, for instant frozen treats.

Here are the disadvantages of masticating juicers:

  • Due to the softer, lower fiber content of fruit, masticating juicers aren’t as efficient at juicing fruit as are centrifugal juicers. You need to include vegetables with fruit in order for the harder vegetables to help push the fruit through the screen.

  • Some have more parts that must be assembled and cleaned.

  • They have relatively small feed tubes in order to accommodate the size of the auger, which means that the food has to be cut into small pieces and fed one by one through the tube.

  • As a result, juicing with a masticating juicer takes longer from assembly and cleaning, to preparing the fruits and vegetables to waiting as each small piece or leaf is fed through the tube and into the auger.

  • Most are larger, wider machines that take up more counter space and aren’t easy to move around.

Bottom line: If you want the very most nutrients possible and you’re willing to spend more time juicing, a masticating type juicer is the machine for you, especially if you plan to juice grasses and you don’t have a high-performance blending machine to make sorbets and nut butters.

Triturating juicers

Similar to a masticating, single-gear juicer, the triturating juicer has two augers, and it separates the juice in two stages: First, it crushes fruits and vegetables; then it presses the juice out of them. This method of extracting juice releases more soluble fiber, enzymes, vitamins, and trace minerals from the pulp, making the juice extremely nutrient-rich. Some of these juicers actually have technology to slow down the oxidation process, which is important if you want to juice a day’s worth of juice at one time and store for consumption later.

Here are the advantages of triturating juicers:

  • Of all the types of juicers, they extract the most nutrients from fruits and vegetables.

  • The twin augers of triturating juicers turn at a lower rpm than masticating juicers and extract more juice from a wide range of leafy greens, grasses, herbs, and hard and soft fruits and vegetables.

  • They homogenize food to make baby foods, nut butters, fruit sorbets, and pasta.

And here are the disadvantages of triturating juicers:

  • They’re the most expensive of the three types of juicers.

  • They’re slow and have the disadvantages of masticating juicers in that the food must be cut up.

  • They’re large and imposing machines that take up more space on a counter.

Bottom line: This machine is for you if you already own a juicer and want to move to the next level or if you know you’re dedicated to a juicing regime and don’t mind the extra cost to get the very best nutrients from leafy greens, herbs, and a wide variety of vegetables and fruits.