Surely you’ve heard of the amazing benefits of drinking all-natural juice. While diet fads and health trends come and go, this is one wellness practice that is here to stay. While juice bars are becoming widely popular, they can get pricey, especially if you are trying to get your daily green juice. What can you do to combat this? Buy a juicer!
I’ve been professionally and personally involved in the juice business for almost seven years. Interestingly, I’ve found that a lot of people are intimidated by the thought of making their own juice at home. It can be a costly judgment call if that machine ends up sitting there, unused. Maybe you’ve considered buying a juicer for your home but don’t know where to start?
I’ve tried all the popular juicer machines – not just for home but the commercial models as well. I’ve done all the legwork for you. Sit back and read up on three models for your home that are great choices depending on your needs.
The Top Choice: Cuisinart CJE-500 Compact Juice Extractor
I own three juicers, but this is the one I use on a daily basis. It’s small but mighty. This model is surprisingly powerful yet an easy choice for quick juicing. Let’s go through the machine’s specs and what it can do. Then we’ll break down if this is the right choice for you according to my three key determinants:
- What are you juicing?
- Volume (How many people are juicing, and how often?)
- How much time you have/are willing to put into the process
Not only is this model compact, super quiet and easy to store, it’s easy on your wallet. In fact, it’s so small, you can take it on your vacation if you become a true juice freak like me. There’s not a lot of parts to deal with on this model which makes it not only easy to use but less cleanup time for you.
The base is solid but small. The entire dimensions of the machine are 11.75 x 11.5 x 14.25 inches. No matter where you live, you can easily fit this in a cabinet or on the shelf somewhere. The basic parts of the machine that require the bare minimum in the assembly are:
- Bottom base. It’s sturdy. It has suction cups on the bottom, so even when I throw in a whole cucumber, it does not move or cause a mess.
- Top base with a spout. Place this on the bottom base. This is where the juice is “caught”. It features an open/close switch that can be a lifesaver…more on this later.
- Mesh basket with a blade. The blade is sharp and durable. I have had mine for over two years and use it multiple times per week but have not needed to replace the blade yet.
- Top cover. This is plastic. Simply put it over the above parts and snap into place with handle.
- Compost container. Place snugly behind the machine. This part will catch your pulp which you can then use in a variety of ways, or compost it.
- Plunger. Durable and a decent size, this feature shoves the produce into the feed tube.
- Juice pitcher. This part is actually optional. You can directly place a glass or small pitcher beneath the spout if you want to avoid using it.
- One-touch operation. A five-year-old can do this (when properly supervised of course). One button is all it has. For juicing at home, one setting is all you need.
- Open/close switch on the spout. I LOVE this feature! Sometimes when I’m making a bigger batch I need to put the machine on pause. Or maybe I’m serving one juice to my child, and I accidentally add the jalapeño for my next juice. There’s a lot of scenarios where this feature will come in handy.
- Basket brush for cleaning. I love this little brush. It makes cleanup even that much quicker.
What are you juicing?
If you’re like me, you want to juice a lot of leafy greens for the insane health benefits. This little guy can and will effectively do this for you if you know what you’re doing. Always place the leafy stuff like spinach, kale, parsley, etc. in the feeding tube FIRST. The other produce will push it out so you’re left with a good amount of juice from the greens.
The feed tube is a little under three inches in diameter, so you won’t be able to squeeze whole apples into it. I don’t find myself using the cutting board overtime, but you have to be mindful. As mentioned earlier, it’s powerful enough to juice a whole cucumber at once.
This model gets a great amount of blending turmeric and ginger, which I drink often. As with the leafy greens, put these in first.
I’ll be honest, this machine is not ideal for making a ton of juice at one time. The pitcher is only 16 ounces and is meant for single servings. In fact, you will need to clean out the compost container after every two to three juices. If you don’t, the pulp will invade your juice.
However, for small households, this isn’t a big issue. If you’re making four or less 16-ounce juices per day, this will easily handle the volume.
If you’re low on time, this is hands-down the best thing for you. You won’t spend too much time cutting veggies due to the wide feed tube. There are so few parts to clean, all of which are small. Prep, make your juice, clean up and store in seven minutes or less.
The Cuisinart is my top pick because of its combined score under the three determinants. It will juice even the tough stuff like leafy greens and roots, provided you follow my suggestion and put them in first. It can’t handle a lot of volume at one time, but unless you have a huge family or are running an illegal juice bar, that doesn’t matter. Finally, you cannot beat the time management it offers you.
This particular model is slightly more expensive but more popular with consumers. I believe much of that is due to Breville’s marketing department and the ability to buy their products practically everywhere. Still, the Breville is a viable option for home juicing for a few reasons.
- It’s compact. Like the Cuisinart, you don’t have to lug this thing in and out of the pantry each time you use it. The dimensions of the entire juicer are only 75 x 9.5 x 16 inches.
- Less to clean. It also has a limited amount of parts. Less cleanup time for you means you’re likely to use the machine more often.
- Dishwasher-safe. Other than the base, you can throw the rest in the dishwasher. Out of sight, out of mind.
- Make more juice at once. The juice pitcher holds almost 28 ounces or roughly two servings of juice. You can also make about four to five 16 oz juices before having to dump out the compost.
- It’s powerful. The 700-watt motor operates at 14,000 RPM. For you, this means less time cutting vegetables. You also don’t have to worry about the machine shaking or tip over.
- One-touch operation. Again, simplicity is the name of the game here and Breville nailed it. You do not need multiple electronic settings, even on a commercial juicer.
- It won’t take up the whole counter. The compost container is actually an internal part of the machine. It’s a sleek design, not some bulbous thing that will dominate your counter space. It helps lower cleanup time too.
- One year warranty. If something is going to go majorly wrong with your juicer, it will usually happen in the first year. A friend of mine has this machine and a few months in, noticed an internal problem. Breville promptly replaced the juicer and was very helpful and cordial about it.
What are you juicing?
For me, this is where the rub lies with this machine. While yes, it is very powerful and will effectively extract juice with most produce, it just does not get the job done with leafy greens or roots. Maybe it is due to the larger surface area of the basket. I’m not quite sure. But organic greens are expensive, and you would be wasting your money trying to juice them in this model. You simply won’t get the yield you want.
Volume is a good selling point in this case. This is a great machine for big families or, for example, someone who is making a half gallon pitcher of orange juice every morning. Unlike the Cuisinart, you do not have to empty the compost and wipe the bin after just a couple juices. This machine is powerful and can hold more pulp. For the people consistently making more than two or three servings at once, this is a good choice.
The Breville is a great time-saver, mainly in the cleanup department. You can rinse off and wipe the debris from the parts, throw them in the dishwasher and be done with it.
The popularity of this model among juice enthusiasts and newbies alike speaks for itself. It’s sturdy and reliable, and you can go crazy making juice daily for the entire family. You also can’t beat the fact that your dishwasher will help you out with the cleanup. The drawback with this one is based on preference; the yield is low on leafy greens and roots. But if you’re not heavily juicing these things, it’s a non-issue.
Honorable Mention: Norwalk Juicer
This is one of the top juicers on the market. It is one of the most expensive and powerful juicers you can own. I call mine “Betty” and I guard her with my life. This machine does not mess around and is not for the juicing novice. It costs over 2k and is very labor intensive.
However, if the money doesn’t scare you and you are committed to this healthy juice lifestyle in a real way, it could become your most prized possession too. The Norwalk is a great option for you if:
- You want to make cold pressed juice. The other models use centrifugal methods to extract juice from fruits and veggies. This is a completely different process. The produce is first fed through a small feeding tube and finely ground. You must then carefully place the material into juicing bags or cloths. These are then put into the powerful press which uses hydraulic pressure to extract every last drop.
- You have cancer or another chronic illness. Cold-pressed juice is used in many cancer therapies due to its high phytonutrient content. One very successful approach is called The Gerson Therapy. It prescribes a wide range of plant-based healing regimens including cold pressed juice. This method has been met with a large amount of success among people with serious illnesses.
- You want your juice to last. The enzymes in cold-pressed juice are alive approximately 72 hours after being pressed. On the other hand, juice from centrifugal or masticating machines will lose its enzymes in roughly one to two hours. If you want to be able to make juice and keep it in the fridge for a bit, while maintaining nutrition, this is the machine you want.
- You want to make more than juice. The Norwalk has many capabilities other than juice making. It makes delicious and practically effortless nut butter. This machine will quickly and uniformly chop veggies when making a large amount of salad, say for a dinner party or fundraiser. It can also grind a variety of elements to make flour. I personally have used it to make highly nutritious baby food with the perfect texture. The culinary possibilities here are through the roof.
- Multiple grates for different purposes. The Norwalk comes with multiple grates that allow you to take advantage of all its capabilities. There is a particular grate for peanut butter, one for making flour, etc. You can always order additional grates through the company or replacements when and if yours actually wear out.
- Durable design. This machine is very heavy (almost 60 pounds) and is built to last. If you buy one, you will have it for life.
- The best warranty. Yes, the Norwalk is a very expensive machine, but it’s backed by a very good company. Norwalk is known for their customer service. They stand behind their products 100%. Your juicer comes with a comprehensive 12-year warranty guarantee. If something goes wrong, you ship your machine to Norwalk for repairs. They cover the cost of the repair. Also, you can send them your blade which they will sharpen for free. I love this company and only have positive things to say about them.
What are you juicing?
This is one of the top juicers around. It can juice anything. For example, the most nutritious part of the watermelon is actually the green skin and white mantle beneath. The average person doesn’t know this, and most juicers are not strong enough to extract anything from that part successfully. But the Norwalk can. There are tons of hidden gems in the nutrition world that you can actually realize with this machine. Plus, as already mentioned, it can do much more than just cold press juice.
Volume is a huge thing to think about if you’re considering purchasing the Norwalk. You will not get your value if you are making a few juices per week. This machine is for a high-volume juicer and culinary enthusiast that spends a lot of time in the kitchen. The cleanup alone is not worth it unless you are making large quantities.
This is probably the single most important determinant with the Norwalk. Making cold-pressed juice is labor intensive. First, you must learn how to do it. It’s not hard, but you’ll need to read a lot of instructions and watch a lot of YouTube videos. After all, you don’t want to mess around when you’ve spent this much money.
The process itself involves many steps. I actually recommend enlisting another person for help to keep your sanity. It’s physical and requires constant attention. Lastly, the cleanup is a monster. Cleanup time is for sure one of the flaws but not deal breakers. To give you an idea, from prep to cleanup completion, making 10 juices yourself will take an hour or more depending on how fast you are. The volume question again comes into play. It’s wisest to make as many juices as you can in one go.
You absolutely cannot go wrong with the capability and culinary prowess of the Norwalk. But it’s for a very specific customer. I’ve watched quite a few people fork out the money for it, full of lofty ideas of daily juicing and becoming a cold pressed guru. If you want to buy this machine, you need to already be committed to the lifestyle in order to get your value. If you have the time, the money, and are truly committed, you will cherish it forever.
The Best Juicer for Your Home
In most cases, the Cuisinart CJE-500 Compact Juice Extractor will work best for you. It’s quick, quiet, and easy. This is the device I grab every day. I can quickly make a couple of juices for my son and me and not spend time chopping and cleaning. I still marvel at the power in this little thing. Looks are deceiving in this instance.
The Breville BJE200XL Compact Juice Fountain 700-Watt Juice Extractor is a great alternative, and it’s popular for a reason. It won’t dominate your counter top and the parts are dishwasher-safe.
Finally, the Norwalk is amazing but it’s definitely for a very specific buyer with specific needs and enough time on their hands to actually use it. I do not recommend this machine en masse. But if you’re one of the few whose lifestyle corresponds accordingly, by all means, go for it.
No matter what juicer models you are considering for your home, do not forget the three key determinants: what you are juicing, the volume of items, and the time you have for it. You have to invest in the entire process. If you keep these things in mind, you can’t go wrong. Ask questions and do your research.
Hopefully, you will find the right machine for you and incorporate regular juicing into your lifestyle. Juicing has changed my life. Directly, it’s given my overall nutrition a huge boost. Through juicing, you can consume more fruits, vegetables, and roots. What’s more, juicing was one of the first steps that lead me down a path to wellness and could do the same for you. Making a lasting change in your health requires many mini changes. It’s not about doing a crash diet and fooling yourself into thinking you will magically transform your life.
It starts with one choice. Those choices build on one another. You drink a green juice every day. Later, you decide to incorporate more vegetables into your diet. After that, you maybe eliminate processed sugar or fast food. Succeeding in one small area at a time helps foster success in the longer term. Drinking juice is an excellent first step.
Want to take another step in the right direction? Check out these rad tips to save money for the lifestyle you really want.