Think all juicers are alike? Think again. Before you get your apple/carrot/ginger on ask yourself these important questions:
What kind of juice do you want to make?
Juicers fall into two basic categories: a juicer and a juice extractor. A juicer is for citrus fruits only. A juice extractor chops up fruits and vegetables and then separates the juice from the pulp.
Still not sure? Think of it this way: if you're only looking to make grapefruit, orange juice or lemonade, buy a citrus juicer. If a kale/spinach/carrot blend is calling your name, invest in a juice extractor.
How much space do you have?
If all goes according to plan, your brand new juicer or juice extractor will spend a few minutes each morning out on your counter top, and the bulk of its lifespan tucked away in a cabinet. That said, you want to look for one that has a height, width and depth that fits comfortably in both places. If your cabinet space is limited, invest in a small-sized juicer, or one that's easy to disassemble.
What do the rest of your appliances look like?
You don't want a juicer that sticks out like a sore thumb. If your kitchen is full of stainless steel appliances, then pick a juicer with the same finish.
How much juice do you plan on making?
Fun fact: It takes about 3 pounds of produce to make 1 quart of juice.
Small juicers or juice extractors are great for singletons or couples only looking to churn out a glass or two at a time. Larger families looking to make juice for four or more people need an appliance with a large capacity pitcher (one that holds at least 5 cups).
Do you like pulp?
Not everyone does (even though it's a high source of fiber). If you fall into the no-pulp camp, look for a juicer or juice extractor that ejects it into a separate container. Know though, that machines that extract pulp produce less juice than those that don't.
How much speed do you want?
While high speed juice extractors work faster, they also create foam (oxidation) and heat. The end result is juice that has less vitamins and nutrients than one made in a juicer with a slower RPM. A high speed juicer can have a motor that works in and around 13,000 RPM, while a slow juicer works at about 80 to 90 RPM.
Typically, centrifugal juicers work at the highest speeds, twin-gear juicers work at the lowest speed and masticating juicers fall somewhere in between the two (but at a closer speed to a twin-gear than a centrifugal juicer). For best results look for a juicer that has a horsepower of at least 450 watts.
Do you want it to double as a food processor?
A tiny kitchen means you don't have the space for multiple appliances. If practicality rules, purchase a juicer that also has the blades and nozzles to make nut butters, baby food, dips and even soy milk.
How much maintenance are you interested in?
This is an important factor to consider for every step of the juicing process.
Assembly: If you're not clever when it comes to snapping and locking appliances together, purchase a machine that's easy to put together.
Chopping: If you don't want to spend a huge amount of time chopping, look for a juicer with a wide mouth that accepts whole vegetables.
Clean-up: Not all juicers are dishwasher safe. If you opt for a machine that needs to be hand washed, make it easy on yourself and look for one that is easy to disassemble and comes with cleaning and filter brushes.
What extras are you looking for?
Juicers come with all kinds of little extras to entice the buyer. Some common options include a silent motor, adjustable spout to fit different sized cups, a drip-stop to keep the juice from dripping all over your counter, a juice pitcher that you can store in the fridge and even a removable pulp extractor.