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Making cocktails at home doesn’t have to be complicated, but we can all aspire to more than dumping margarita mix in a blender. Over the past two years, we’ve spent 70 hours researching bar tools, speaking with some of the top bartenders in the country and testing five dozen models to bring you this guide to the absolute best items for home mixology.
Masticating juice extractors are also known as slow juicers because of their working mechanism that uses a slow rotating auger to crush the fruits against a stainless steel mesh at only 80-100 RPM. They do not shred or cut the fruits with blades like a centrifugal juicer, which makes them excellent for leafy greens as they get the best nutrients out of them at an extremely slow speed.
Part of a Healthy Lifestyle* According to the USDA, "The benefits of eating fruits and vegetables daily are undeniable. People who eat more fruits and vegetables as part of an overall healthy diet, are likely to have a reduced risk of some chronic diseases, including heart attack and stroke, certain cancers, heart disease, obesity, and type 2 diabetes. It's also been proven to reduce the risk of developing kidney stone, decrease bone loss, ease muscle aches, alleviate high blood pressure and add years to your life." * Source: USDA, 2012 "Healthy Eating on a Budget." www.choosemyplate.gov
"This is a gem of a juicer! I could not have purchased a better working, all inclusive machine. All the features I wanted without going overboard! Not knowing how much I would be using a juicer, I opted for a smaller price tag as they can run pretty crazy in my opinion. This one has a high & low optional switch which I mostly use the low juicing celery, cucumber, carrots, apples and some leafy greens. The wide mouth means I have to do very little cutting and prep, the juicer is thorough and i get very dry pulp leftover (which i've used in the puplp muffin recipe included in the manual). There is no extra assembly or dissasembly when I get it out of the cupboard it all pops together very quickly and comes apart easily for fast cleaning with the brush included. Overall I absolutely love it and definitely recommend it!"
It’s never been easier to juice at home with the die-cast and stainless steel Cuisinart® Juice Extractor. The 3" feed tube easily handles your favorite whole fruits and vegetables and the adjustable flow spout eliminates drips and spills for clean countertops. The 5-speed control dial is easy to operate, letting you juice the softest berries, leafiest kale, or crunchiest apple into the 1-liter pitcher. The unique filter basket reduces foam, and the unit is so quiet, you won’t wake the family while you’re making fresh, nutritious juice for breakfast!
With all of the above info in mind, you’ll be able to consider juicers, their features, and any specialized purpose they may offer with a fresh new perspective. Taking into account what features you feel will best serve your needs, you’ll be able to sift through the marketing jargon and really compare function. Many people new to juicing are often taken back by the prices of most of the juicers with good reviews. A typical juicer can vary tremendously depending on the quality of parts, the type of functionality, and any specialized features. High-RPM motors found in centrifugal juicers tend to raise cost more than the motors found in slow juicers such as masticating juicers. However, the Auger of masticating juicers often costs more than the filter and teeth used to grind up produce in the centrifugal models.
Lift the handle release (see Use and Care booklet for part names; the handle release is a rectangular shaped knob) and turn one quarter turn, rotate handle clockwise to extend. Lock handle release with one quarter turn. To fold for storage, allow the unit to cool, lift the handle release and turn one quarter turn, rotate handle into folded position, and lock handle release with one quarter turn.
Our top choice, the Cuisinart Juice Extractor CJE-1000, does a fine job extracting juice from tougher vegetables and fruits, leaving behind only a small amount of pulp. It struggled a bit with softer produce like lettuce and fresh herbs but still performed well. This is also one of the few juicers we tested that managed to make almond milk using water-soaked almonds and water.
Juicing isn’t for everyone. Registered dietitian Sylvia North warned us that “if you have a clinically diagnosed inflammatory bowel or kidney disease, some nutrients found in high concentrations in green juices may not be appropriate.” If you’re navigating any health challenges, it’s best to talk to your registered dietitian or doctor before you shop for a juicer.
Single-auger juicers: An auger is like a big, threaded screw that pulls fruit or vegetables into the juicing chamber and presses the juice out. The auger can turn anywhere from 43 to 80 rpm, resulting in slowly produced, low-foam, low-temperature, high-volume, and nutrient-dense juice. Single-auger juicers can be oriented vertically or horizontally and are very versatile, good for greens and hard roots. Although vertical and horizontal juicers work on the same principle, vertical juicers have a smaller footprint and slightly larger yield. But vertical models are generally in the $300 to $400 range, so they’re not for the occasional juice drinker. They’re best suited for those who include fresh green juice as part of a daily routine and are concerned about low oxidation and maximum yield. And certain models, like our pick, have food-mincing and frozen-fruit-sorbet-making capabilities. All of our picks are single-auger juicers: the Tribest Slowstar and Omega VSJ843 are examples of vertical single-auger juicers, and the Omega J8004 is a horizontal single-auger juicer.
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.
For those just trying out the juicing trend, on a budget, or who will only be juicing every now and then; the Hamilton Beach Big Mouth Pro is an incredible value. Retailing at only $50 it has features that rival much more expensive models. A 3” chute means much less time prepping fruits and vegetables for juicing–it even handled whole carrots and whole apples with no problem. Easy to assemble, clean, and use; this centrifugal model has a 1.1 horsepower motor (equivalent to about 820 watts). It’s small enough to fit under the counter but note that it’s largely made of plastic so it may not have the aesthetic you’re looking for. It comes with a small 20 oz pitcher but the height of the juice spout means it’s simple to use your own pitchers for larger batch juicing (and it has a large external pulp container too). This model did a fantastic job on all our tests and produced high quality, high volume juices–it even handled notoriously tricky to juice kale extremely well. We highly recommend this juicer as a starter model or for those who may not juice often but want the option to. It comes with a 3-year warranty and receives gret reviews online.
Auger-style juicers, sometimes referred to as masticating or cold-press juicers, crush and mash the produce. They're typically more expensive, and can also take some getting used to as the augers can jam when grinding tough fruits and veggies. For this reason, every one we tested has a reverse button. The upside with this style is they tend to leave more healthful and fiber-rich pulp in the juice.