We were pleasantly surprised at how well the Hamilton Beach stacked up in taste testing, even against pricier cold-press models such as the KitchenAid (which featured sizeable chunks of celery in its juice. Many testers praised the smoothness of the Hamilton’s juice, noting that the Black & Decker and Oster were both grittier. You’ll get less juice and more foam than a top-performer like the Hurom, but the Hamilton Beach offers tasty results and a respectable performance for a much smaller price tag.
To look for the best juicers to test, we read editorial reviews of juicers from Good Housekeeping, Real Simple, and Top Ten Reviews, and watched video reviews and comparisons of new models. We also looked at the offerings from the four main juicer companies at the forefront of juicing technology: Tribest, Kuvings, Omega, and Hurom. John Kohler said that these companies innovate and improve upon their technology, and the cheaper versions are often Chinese knockoffs. Watching hours of side-by-side comparison videos and reviews also helped narrow what to include from each brand.
Easy to use: In our experience, the size of a juicer’s feed tube makes the biggest difference when it comes to ease. The smaller the feed tube, the more time you need to prep your produce—kale needs to be cut into thinner, more manageable strips, large apples can’t be cut into simple wedges, and those fat carrots need to be quartered lengthwise instead of simply halved. During the course of a busy morning, those minutes can really add up, so we looked for juicers with larger tubes.
For your absolute peace of mind, you can go for the more expensive brands and models which guarantee lifetime warranty. If you are a newbie at juicing, however, and are not sure if you could stick with juicing for life, it may be wise to go for cheaper brands which offer limited warranties. You may also look for cheaper brands which do offer lifetime warranties for certain parts.
Centrifugal juicers grind up produce with tiny teeth on a rapidly spinning basket. The juice is then forced through a fine mesh sieve. This method works quickly but tends to produce a lot of foam which some find unappealing or feel causes oxidization of their juice. Centrifugal juicers work best for juicing carrots, apples, and other hard fruits and vegetables versus high fiber leafy greens like wheatgrass and kale. They’re light, easy to set up and use, and easy to clean with removable dishwasher safe parts. These juicers are speedy but tend to be loud (which could be an issue if you’re juicing early in the morning while people are sleeping). They’re affordable and great for those just getting into juicing with quality models starting at $50.
The Hamilton Beach’s 3-inch chute was a breeze by comparison: We were able to drop in large apple halves and entire celery stalks without a problem. Most budget competitors we tested had an extremely narrow feed chute that required us to chop our apples into sixteenths to get them to fit — a process we’re reluctant to commit to for our daily juice.
The US Department of Agriculture warns against relying on juice as your sole source of nutrition. This kind of diet won’t give you enough protein or fiber to maintain muscle mass and keep you feeling full. When we spoke with nutritionist Shereen Lehman, she reiterated this point. “Juicing alone won’t fix an unhealthy diet,” she told us. “It’s also important to cut out the junk foods and eat more lean protein sources, dairy or calcium sources, whole grains, and more fruits and veggies.”
With this in mind, you can better understand what types of pulp ejection systems might best suit your needs. Many juicers, such as the Omega J8006 Masticating Juicer have pulp ejection systems that remove pulp as you are juicing. These types of systems are great if you are looking to make enough juice for several days, or several people. The Omega J8006 ejects pulp from the front, which should be placed over some sort of container device to collect the pulp. If you were, for example, be juicing on the edge of your counter and have the pulp ejecting into your trash can, you’d likely run out of fruit long before you ran out of room to hold your pulp. Other models such as the Breville 800JEXL come with specially-designed pulp collection bins. This is great for ease-of-use but poses a limited amount of space.
While most popular juicers on the market today are centrifugal juicers due to their ease-of-use and the fact that they are more commonly used an example of what a juicer is, the other two types do have their advantages over the popular guy. This is especially true if you want to do more with your juicer other than extracting juice from fruits and vegetables.
"Love it, love it, love it. Why'd I wait so long??? I love everything about this juicer (except maybe the extra time it takes to make all that juice from the leafy greens, but you know what, it's time well spent because it's SO relaxing watching healthy juice being created as you spin the lever). I'm ditching my centrifugal juicer forever. I set up the base of this unit on my counter permanently which means about a 1 minute set up time (and probably 2-3 minutes to take apart and rinse off). Unlike the bigger, heavier juicers, these smaller pieces are so easy to wash and manage and store, light and small it all fits in a drawer and doesn't take up half of my cabinet space. And it juices most everything. I make citrus juice, cucumber/celerey juice, etc. I get about 1 cup of spinach juice from those 1lb. containers, than I freeze the spinach fiber in tablespoon sizes and throw in my smoothies (especially good with bananas) or in my soups/stocks/eggs. As for the turning of the lever, you will turn it for a while, more than you'd like to in this fast paced society, but it is effortless and like I said, fun to watch the juice produce through the clear plastic cylinder. Time passes quickly. I imagine too that the more I do this the quicker I'll become. It also pieces together with such ease and safety (so great for kids!!!)..."
The commercial-grade Omega J8004 juicer does best with hard fruits and vegetables, and was more efficient than popular (and still great) juicers like the Breville Juice Fountain Plus we tested. It’s great for people on a budget with limited counter space. And with a 15-year warranty, the machine is built to last. In our tests, the J8004 extracted a fair amount of both green juice and carrot-apple juice, falling in the middle of the pack for both tests.
During juicing and cleanup, we also took note of how easy the machines were to use and clean. To see how efficient each model was at extraction, we measured juice yields by weight. In addition, we checked how much pulp was left over, looked for foam (which can be a sign of oxidation), and took note of if juicers backed up or jammed during juicing. We also measured the temperature of the juice, and compared it with the temperature of the produce we started out with. Finally, we tasted each juice for freshness and pulp, docking points from machines that yielded juice with unpleasant levels of fiber. Flavor is also an indicator of how much of the greens actually made it into the glass—sweeter juices had more grape and didn’t do as good of a job juicing greens.
Warranty: No matter what kind of juicer you're getting, you want it to last. You should always get small appliances with some level of warranty, but normally the longer the warranty, the better. Not only does it show that a company is confident in its product, but it also means that if something does break, you won't have to shell out any extra cash.