Monday, December 11, 2017

Whether you’re watching your weight or you just wake up in the mornings thirsty for a glass of something cold and healthy, a juicing machine can be life-changing. No wonder they’re becoming an increasingly common sight in today’s kitchens.

And it’s not just about apples and oranges. Asparagus, celery, raspberries, ginger, beetroot and kale are just some of the ingredients that people pile into their juicers to produce nutritious, tasty juices. With no end to the number of recipes now available, it sometimes seems as though there’s no fruit or veg that you can’t extract juice from.

The problem is that not all juicers can cope with all ingredients. Some machines don’t even cope with the basics very well. So read on to find out whether you need a fast or slow juicer, what features to look out for and – perhaps most importantly of all – discover the best juicers to buy from £30 to £399.

How To Buy The Best Juicer For You

What type of juicer do I need?

There are two main types of juicer – centrifugal (otherwise known as fast juicers) and masticating (also known as cold press or slow juicers).

Centrifugal juicers – so-called because they work with centrifugal force to extract the juice – are the most popular machines because of their speed and affordability. They work by pushing the fruits and veg down a feed tube (which ideally is big enough for whole fruit, although be warned that’s not always the case) onto a toothed blade on the bottom of a spinning sieve, where the juice is separated from the pulp.

Masticating juicers take longer to produce juice, as well as being more expensive and often larger. But they break the produce down better, extracting a more nutritious drink and because they don’t incorporate as much oxygen during the process, the juice can be kept for longer – usually 48 hours and, with some machines, 72 hours.

In addition, masticating juicers – whose augers slowly squeeze the fluid out of your pulp – yield more juice from the ingredients and are far superior at juicing greens, wheatgrass and very soft fruits like berries, which centrifugal machines usually can’t cope with well (or at all). Some also perform other kitchen tasks, such as grinding coffee and mincing.

Do they require a lot of awkward cleaning?

Most juicers have at least five separate parts that will need cleaning every time you use them – and nobody wants to waste half-an-hour doing that every day. So ideally, either buy a juicer with dishwasher-friendly parts or with special cleaning accessories, such as a cleaning brush or spatula for scraping out pulp from hard-to-reach nooks and crannies.

What features should I look out for?

For centrifugal machines, we’d advise looking for a machine with a drip-stop spout. A generous feed chute is another handy feature, particularly if you want to juice larger fruits like apples and pears.

For masticating juicers, check the machine produces a high yield and little pulp (earlier iterations, as well as Chinese copies, often give a more pulpy juice). Extra attachments for making nut butters and purees are also worth looking into if this appeals to you. As a general rule, horizontal slow juicers will offer these attachments but not vertical ones. Don’t be put off the lower wattage motors. Because masticating juicers work at a slow speed, they don’t need powerful motors.

Whichever type of juicer you go for, remember not all machines come with a jug. If it does, try to get one with a foam separator and better still, a lid for storing your juice in the fridge.

Also think about noise, particularly if you live with people who won’t thank you for blasting out a commotion while they’re trying to get a lie-in. Centrifugal machines tend to be a lot noisier than their masticating counterparts.

Finally, consider durability. Do you plan to make your juicer a permanent kitchen fixture or are you happy to upgrade it every few years? Again, masticating juicers come out better here. Because the motor turns at a slower speed and is under less strain, they tend to age much more slowly and come with longer manufacturer warranties.

The Best Juicers

1. Dualit Dual Max: The Best For Making Orange Juice

Key specs – 800W motor; dual speed; comes with 800ml jug with froth separator and 2 litre pulp container; 1 year manufacturer’s warranty.

If you like a daily orange juice fix, where only the best quality will do, then this is the machine for you. It produced the most flavoursome and smooth OJ of all the machines we tried and other fruits didn’t disappoint either. Even vegetables, which machines in this price range usually struggle with, didn’t come out badly. Plus, it’s super-quick and you can bung the parts in the dishwasher. The chute could be wider (although it will still fit smaller pears and apples) and it’s not the quietest. And the machine is prone to slight dripping, but we think these are compromises worth making. £97.55, buy on amazon.co.uk

2. Magimix Le Duo Plus XL: Best For Versatility

Key specs: 400W motor; single speed; 3-year manufacturer’s warranty (and 30 year motor warranty)

Available in white, black and cream, Magimix’s handsome-looking machone is much more than just a juicer. It comes with a coulis maker, citrus press and even a patented smoothie maker attachment, all for an impressibe sub-£200 price point. We were even more impressed how well all these functions worked, making this a fabulous option for keen cooks who like to experiment – and indeed for parents of babies who are being weaned on purees.

Best of all (in our opinion) it’s also quick and easy to clean, with dishwasher-friendly parts. Although it’s not the fastest to clean out of our review roundup group, so anyone who’s looking for a juicer to use before rushing out of the door might want to look elsewhere. It also doesn’t quite squeeze every last drop of juice out of the ingredients, so perhaps not one for those who hate wasting food. £179.99, buy on amazon.co.uk

3. Braun J500 Spin Juicer: The Best All-Round Juicer Under £150

Key specs – 900W motor; dual speed; includes 1.25 litre jug and 2 litre pulp container; two-year manufacturer’s warranty

Braun released this centrifugal juicer back in 2013, but it remains a bestseller because it wolfs down whole fruits as big as apples and pears through its extra-large chute to produce startlingly smooth juice, with absolutely no wastage. And being able to leave your chopping knives in the drawer isn’t the only thing it has going for it. It’s a cinch to put together and to use and it takes less time than other juicers to clean too, with all removable parts being friendly and easy to slot back in. There’s no annoying dripping afterwards and it doesn’t make as much of a din as most other machines in this price bracket. £125.99, buy on amazon.co.uk

4. Sage By Heston Blumenthal The Compact Nutri Juicer: The Best Juicer For Smaller Kitchens

Key specs – 900W motor; single speed; includes spatula and cleaning brush; 1-year manufacturer’s warranty

This compact machine is proof that good things can come in small packages. Not only does it make short work of both fruit and veg, leaving behind practically bone-dry pulp, but the juice itself is smooth and tasty without a hint of that awful foam that you get with some poorer performing machines. There’s no need for anyone to go thirsty because it produces plenty of juice in one go and the parts – of which there are five – feel particularly well made, as well as washing well in the dishwasher. We were surprised it wasn’t more expensive, in all honesty, but be warned it makes a loud rattling noise that might not be very welcome first thing in the morning. £130, buy on johnlewis.com

5. George Home Full Fruit Juicer: The Best Budget Juicer

Key specs – 700W motor; dual speed; includes 1.5 litre pulp container; 100-day manufacturer’s warranty

Despite the bargain basement price-tag, this is a superb machine that makes great fruit juice with ease. And you won’t need to stay thirsty long as it’s quick too, although the narrow chute does mean you’ll need to add on the time it takes to chop up larger fruit and veg first. We found it straightforward to set up and get going and the parts are dishwasher-safe. On the downside, it makes quite a racket and it doesn’t cope with vegetables as well as fruit, although the veggie juice is still passable. And while you’re not supposed to leave this juicer running for more than one minute at a time (with five minutes in between to ‘recharge’), we found that’s still enough time to produce juice for a small family. £30, buy on asda.com

6. Omega VSJ843: The Best Juicer For Greens And Soft Fruits

Key specs – 150W motor; single speed; includes 1 litre jug and 0.5 litre pulp container; 15 year manufacturer’s warranty

The ‘double-bite’ auger on this masticating juicer catches the ingredients twice as it rotates – just one of the hi-tech features that leads to more juice and less pulp. In fact, we found it produced the least pulp of all the slow juicers we tried and there were absolutely no vegetables or soft fruits that it struggled with – including harder leaves such as kale. Assembly is simply a case of slotting the parts together and the juice tap makes it easy to use while conveniently mixing your juice. There’s no gear mechanism, which helps with cleaning (there’s a great self-clean programme), as well as ensuring the machine lasts longer. Available in red, white or silver, it’s slim and tall, so won’t dominate your worktop. But it does take its time to extract juice and you’ll need to chop up ingredients first, especially whole fruits like apples. £399, buy on ebay.co.uk

This article first appeared on Coach’s sister website, Expert Reviews