People who are serious about the nutritional value of juicing agree: You can’t take a cheap approach. Actually, you can – but you’ll get what you pay for.
When it comes to juicing, inexpensive often means inefficient. Sooner or later, you’ll get frustrated and decide to upgrade to what you likely should have done in the first place – invest in a masticating juicer.
This type of juicer uses an auger to crush and then press fruits and vegetables to extract liquid. The process takes more time – but there’s a significant tradeoff.
This type of juicing produces less heat, and fewer nutrients are lost to oxidation. You get a higher yield of juice, and the machine is less noisy than most other kinds of juicers.
Let’s start with clearing up a common area of confusion as three names are often used interchangeably. If you hear someone talking about a slow juicer or a cold press juicer, they are referring to a masticating juicer.
Mastication is the initial part of the process. It happens slowly as fruits and vegetables are pressed and ground.
Unlike a centrifugal juicer, no heat is generated – and that’s where the term “cold press” comes into play.
Why are masticating juicers different?
Let’s cut to the chase. The main reason why many owners prefer a masticating juicer is that it’s significantly more efficient at extraction than a centrifugal juicer. You pay for the speed of a centrifugal juicer.
Sure, the juice is extracted faster, but you get about 15% to 20% less juice – and that juice contains fewer nutrients and enzymes.
There’s a difference in the richness and color of juice extracted from each type of machine.
We’re not here to bash centrifugal juicers. They’re good for certain types of fruits and vegetables. A masticating juicer is better at extracting juice from wheatgrass or sprouts.
The auger gear (or gears) is far more efficient at getting to the trapped nutrients and enzymes in leafy greens or even dense fruits like apples.
Masticating juicers also do things that are beyond the capacity of other types of juicers. They can, for example, transform nuts into butter or even milk. With attachments, these appliances can also prepare sauces, sorbets, and even fresh baby food.
Types of Masticating Juicers
There’s a growing number of manufacturers making masticating juicers. All of them make appliances that fall into four categories.
- 1. Single auger
- 2. Twin auger
- 3. Horizontal configuration
- 4. Vertical configuration
What’s an auger? It looks pretty much, just like a giant screw, and it works in the same fashion. As it slowly revolves, it pulls in and begins to masticate fruits and vegetables. The material is pushed at extremely high pressure against a very fine sieve or screen.
The process is highly efficient. It forces the juices out of fruits and vegetables, but it also effectively separates and discards the unneeded pulp. Because it really is the juice and that we’re after.
Single vs. double augers
It’s not hard to figure out the difference. The twin auger is considered a higher-end juicer because it employs the auger gears working together.
The auger, that screw-like element doing the masticating so the screen can trap the pulp but let through the juice.
Higher-end models employ two augers to make the extraction process faster and more efficient. Here’s what you should know about the difference between the two types.
- Single auger: This type of version is generally the less expensive of the two. The single auger has to work harder to masticate dense fruits and vegetables so that the motor will undergo additional strain.
- Double auger: The two augers work in tandem, so the juicer can operate at an even slower speed. This makes it extremely efficient at juicing – and usually faster than a single auger model, even though the gears will spin at a lower RPM.
There are more moving pieces, so it’s no mystery why these models are more expensive. But the resulting efficiency and longevity may be a better investment if you are a serious juicer.
Vertical vs. horizontal
Today’s manufacturers offer two main configurations for a masticating juicer.
- Horizontal: This is the most common configuration. The auger (it might also have two augers) that masticates and extracts the juice is situated horizontally.
The screw is running parallel to the floor as it turns inside the juicer. This horizontal configuration is the most efficient at juicing leafy greens.
The extraction process takes longer this way, but the reward for a horizontal masticating juicer is that many models offer attachments. Your juicer can become a multiprocess food processor.
- Vertical: Take the horizontal configuration and tilt it 90 degrees. The result positions the auger or augers vertically. Why did manufacturers bother?
There are a few good reasons. The first one is that it takes up less space on the counter. It the position of the augers also takes advantage of gravity, which helps to pull the fruits and vegetables downward toward the extraction screen. It helps to move the process along a little faster.
The vertical models are easier to clean because the parts are more accessible, but the configuration might make it less of a versatile assistant food processor. Many vertical models also feature a slightly larger chute, so you won’t have to cut fruits and veggies so small.
The vertical design also can speed up the juicing process ever so slightly. You don’t need a pusher to assist the produce down into the drum where it can make contact with the spirals of the auger. This is also helpful for anyone who is getting their fingers too close to the sharp spiral blades.
Both configurations excel at extracting higher-quality juice than appliances that use the centrifugal process. Ultimately, choosing between vertical or horizontal may just be a personal preference.
Keep in mind, though, the horizontal masticating juicer extracts more from leafy greens.
Amazing health benefits
Heat is not a friend to most nutrients. The important antioxidant lycopene – found in tomatoes, watermelon, and red bell peppers – has been found to increase when exposed to heat.
But many of the nutrients we need – such as vitamins B and C – are heat-sensitive. They are lost when heat occurs in the juicing process. It can also happen when fruits and vegetables are cut open and exposed to the air. This is known as oxidation.
How can you prevent heat during the juicing process? Slow it down! Masticating juicers do the work slowly, and it greatly reduces heat caused by friction. Fewer enzymes and nutrients are lost.
The juice extracted by this cold press process also lasts longer. Many manufacturers tell buyers that extracted juices from fruits and vegetables can be stored refrigerated for up to 72 hours.
What should you look for in a top-quality masticating juicer.
Here are the most important factors to keep in mind when choosing the best masticating juicer:
Juice yield.This juicer typ will extract more than its centrifugal cousin. That’s key to keep in mind when considering yield from these types of juicers. Just how much will depend on the size of the machine and the RPM of the auger or augers.
It’s easy to see the higher efficiency of a masticating juicer because the discarded pulp is much drier than that of a centrifugal juicer.
Not everybody wants pulp wholly removed, though. If you prefer some of it to remain in your juice, look for a model that features a pulp regulator.
Masticating juicers don’t make completely pulp-free juice to start with, but it’ll remove most of it.
Motor power. These juicers rely on muscle, rather than speed. It’s why centrifugal juicer manufacturers will often market the speed in RPMs while masticating juicer manufacturers will promote the horsepower. Generally, masticating juicers will feature motors with up to 2 horsepower.
Speed of the juicer. A manufacturer should share the speed of the motor, so you know the RPM of the auger gear or gears. The important thing is that for masticating juicers, slower is better.
The average speed of most brands runs between 80 to 100 RPM – and even slower for twin augers. Some will even feature variable speed.
Size of the juicer. There’s just no way to get around it. These juicers require a fair share of counter space – even more so than a centrifugal juicer. Many owners just designate a permanent place in the kitchen for it to live.
There’s more to keep in mind when measuring, though. You’ll also need sufficient perimeter space for the fruits and vegetables you’ll juice, as well as containers for the extracted juice and the discarded pulp.
Chute opening width. The majority of the masticating juicers on the market feature 3-inch chute openings. A wider opening is to your advantage. You’ll be able to spend less time chopping things down to the size that will fit into the chute.
Noise levels. It’s not even a contest. Centrifugal juicers generate more noise than masticating juice machines. It’s because some centrifugal juicers are reaching speeds of up to 16,000 RPM.
Masticating juicers are pleasantly quiet in comparison, but, it doesn’t mean they are totally silent. The main takeaway is that you likely won’t be annoyed by the sound your masticating juicer makes while you use it.
Ease of cleanup. Juicing is a messy process. When you chew food, you’re masticating and your juicer is replicating that process. Thankfully, it’s contained inside the appliance.
How much time do you spend cleaning your teeth? You’ve got a similar effort ahead of you each time you use your juicer.
So be sure to look for a model that promotes ease of maintenance and assembly. Once apart, the pieces are easy to clean because most will be made of stainless steel.
Hand-washing the removable pieces will take less than 10 minutes. It may take even less than 5 minutes once you’re used to assembling and disassembling it.
The vertical masticating juicers are easier to clean because of the upright configuration of the auger gears.
Newer models include a juice cap, which is a smart and useful addition. Not because juice might continue to come out after you shut off the machine – but because it makes cleanup much easier.
Once your juicing is complete, attach the juice cap and pour some water down the feed chute. Turn on the machine. Gravity will pull the water into the juicing bowl. Then remove the cap. You’ll find that this has flushed out a majority of residue as the water drains. The disassembled parts will be much easier to clean.
Horizontal models are slightly less easy to clean because gravity won’t pull water through. But you will receive an efficient cleaning brush that easily reaches any parts you can’t remove to clean in the sink.
Warranty policy. This is an appliance with moving parts that you will remove, clean, and put back into place after each use.
Spend a little extra time understanding the manufacturer’s warranty, so you know what’s covered. Parts can wear out or even break. What, exactly, is protected and covered?
A 10-year warranty might only apply to the heavy-duty motor, while the detachable parts such as the auger or augers may only be covered for two years.
A growing number of manufacturers have finally realized that consumers don’t like this seeming bait and switch approach to protection.
Many now have begun to offer warranty protection on everything for at least five years. You’ll find juicers from Kuvings, Omega Products, and Tribest who are transparent about warranty protection.
What can you do with a masticating juicer that you can’t do with, say, a centrifugal juicer?
It probably seems counterintuitive. 80 RPMs or slower versus many thousands of RPMs. The much faster revolutions of a centrifugal juicer should be the clear winner in a speed test.
And to be fair, it will whip through a bowl of fruit or veggies faster than the identical amount sent through a masticating juicer.
The difference in time for both juicers to get through the same amount of produce isn’t significant. But what’s going to impress you is the amount of juice that the masticating juicer extracted compared to the centrifugal model.
You’ll get the same results from low-moisture produce, and leafy vegetables. Slow is better. The low RPM operation rewards you with superior extraction capability. What’s discarded is absolutely not drinkable. It also greatly reduces clogging
A wider range of filters for masticating machines allows it to move beyond juice extraction. The right accessory filter amplifies the juicer’s ability to homogenize what’s being fed to create delicate results like baby food.
The powerful motor and auger gear design can reduce nuts into a creamy butter. It can even extract liquid from nuts like almonds or soy to make non-dairy milk.
It’s this versatility combined with an efficiency that sets masticating juicers apart from centrifugal juicers – and it’s also what makes them more expensive.
But who would have thought that something with “juicer” in its name could grid coffee, crush spices, or create the perfect creamy frozen sorbet?
Do masticating juicers have drawbacks?
Nothing’s perfect. Some people might prefer to trade a fast centrifugal juicer for the slower but more efficient masticating type. Often they’ll do it for these reasons:
Familiarity. People tend to be more familiar with centrifugal juicers. This type of juicer has been around longer, and it’s less expensive – so there are more of them around. You might know somebody who has one of these fast juicers.
The more expensive masticating juicers are newer to the market. The idea behind them is not new, but noncommercial production wasn’t practical until recently when enough of the public expressed a willingness to pay $250 or more for a juicer of this design.
Learning curve. Let’s be fair; even an immersion blender has a learning curve. Most of the curve is just a matter of getting familiar with the juicer’s operations – especially disassembly and cleaning.
The rest is trial and error. It may take a few tries to get the preferred consistency of your favorite juice. You will have to get comfortable with the pace of feeding produce into the chute.
You’ll find plenty of advice online from other masticating juicer owners about cleaning and maintenance. Many also are generous with tips on the best ways to prepare certain fruits and vegetables, so they advance through the juicer without problems.
Patience is a recurring theme in online reviews for these juicers. It’s not a design flaw. Most masticating juicers feature smaller feed chutes – and that’s to prevent you from introducing too much too fast and overwhelming the appliance.
You’ll learn that it’s important to prepare fruits and vegetables by cutting them small enough to fit into the chute. If you have a horizontal model, you’ll also spend more time “helping” produce come into contact with the auger.
Tall and bulky. There’s a point of diminishing returns when it comes to size reduction. It’s fair to say that manufacturers would start to sacrifice performance and lose sales if they made these juicers any smaller.
This leaves the consumer with few options. A horizontal masticating juicer is going to be big and bulky, making a greedy grab for a sizeable portion of one of your kitchen countertops.
Horizontal models can be 17 to 21 inches in height. It means you might be able to store it on a countertop under the upper cabinet – but you might not be able to use it there.
Not the best choice for only soft fruits and veggies. We, humans, need roughage and fiber to clean our digestive systems, and it turns out that masticating juicers work better with some of that, too.
It’s a good idea to combine a fibrous ingredient with soft fruits and veggies because the roughage will help to “sweep” residual material from the soft ingredients through the juicer.
One way to accomplish this is to use organic produce. With no worry about pesticides or chemical residue, you can juice the entire piece of produce without having to peel or core it.
How quickly does a masticating juicer extract juice?
Juicing time depends on the model you buy, as well as what you plan to juice. Masticating juicers produce a liter or about 34 ounces of juice in about 10 minutes. That time estimate doesn’t include preparing for juicing by washing and cutting up the produce.
Does a masticating juicer yield more juice than a centrifugal juicer?
There’s no debate. Centrifugal juicers are faster, but masticating juicers will produce more juice with higher nutritional content. The slow process produces no friction or heat, which introduces oxidation. The resulting extracted juice is richer and more robust so that you can store it for longer periods.
Why are masticating juicers more expensive?
You will pay more for a quality masticating juicer than a centrifugal model. It has a more powerful heavy-duty motor, necessary to exert the force required to operate the auger gear. There are many sturdy, well-built centrifugal juicers on the market – but masticating juicers are designed and manufactured to be beefy and rugged. It makes them more expensive.
Is a masticating juicer as loud as a centrifugal juicer?
Masticating juicers are much quieter than fast-spinning centrifugal juicer models. Their motors operate at a fraction of the revolutions per minute RPM, of a centrifugal juicer. You’ll still hear the motor, but it will be a subtle noise compared to the louder buzzing noise of a centrifugal juicer. Many manufacturers now list the loudness of their motor in operation. You’ll find it expressed in decibels (dB). Any juicer with a rating of less than 60 dB is relatively quiet.
Is it true that a masticating juicer is difficult to clean?
A masticating juicer may require more of your time, compared to a centrifugal juicer. It’s mainly because you’ll want to wash it’s quality stainless steel parts by hand instead of putting them in the dishwasher.
Can you juice wheatgrass in a masticating juicer?
Masticating juicer is the ideal for wheatgrass because it will crush the blades instead of ripping and tearing them. More antioxidants and nutrients will be released, along with a higher amount of actual juice. This extraction process also prevents oxidation, which can reduce the nutritional value of the extracted juice.
Have you ever used a masticating juicer? What lessons did you learn along the way? Let us know in the comments.