Juicing is a full-fledged movement.

A lot of it has to do with the Internet and social media. We repeatedly hear that we don’t eat enough fruits and vegetables. The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) says we should eat between 5 to 13 servings daily.

It’s why the juicing industry has grown into a $9 billion annual industry worldwide. It accounts for $2.2 billion in the United States alone.

With all this newfound interest in juicing comes some confusion. Some people think that they can juice fruits and vegetables in their blender. Or that they can buy a juicer to make a daily smoothie for breakfast.

The appliances to make juices and smoothies are not the same. There’s a big difference between a juicer and a blender and you need to know the difference.

Juicers: A juicer is an appliance that extracts liquid from produce. The remaining solids are discarded. The most efficient methods leave no pulp or fiber. You end up with concentrated, pure nutrition. It’s quick to drink and easy to digest.

Blenders: Blenders do more than extract juice from produce. They mix and emulsify fruits and vegetables, along with other ingredients into a healthy drink. There’s nothing to discard. Blenders can incorporate ice and other ingredients into a healthy drink. It’s a more versatile appliance.

What’s the difference between a juicer and a blender?

Let’s agree on something right away. We can compare these two kitchen appliances, but one is not better than the other. There might be a slight overlap, but each generally has a specific use.

Juicers: A juicer will quench your thirst. The extracted juice has little or no fiber or pulp. It’s easy to drink.

A juicer offers concentrated nutrition because it extracts the digestible liquids from produce.

A juicer is all about simplicity. It reduces the requirements of eating 5 to 13 servings of fruits and vegetables to a single glass.

Blenders: A blender will satisfy your hunger. It’ll create a thick, rich smoothie with added fiber that will help you feel full and control your appetite.

A blender allows you to enhance nutrition by adding healthy ingredients like protein powder or yogurt.

A blender is more about flexibility. You’re adding and mixing, not extracting. So you can make more things, like salad dressings, nut butters, and other healthful foods.

Deciding between a juicer and a blender comes down to figuring out what you want to do.

Blenders combine or transform. Most people use blenders to make a morning smoothie by combining several fruits and vegetables along with yogurt.

Juicers extract. People use them to reduce a larger amount of fruits and vegetables to a quick drink. A type of juicer known as a masticating juicer can do some of the same things as a blender.

Why buy a juicer?

Studies tell us that we don’t eat enough fruits and vegetables. A juicer makes it easy to solve this problem.

The vitamins, minerals, enzymes, and antioxidants extracted from produce can be quickly absorbed. This fresh juice doesn’t lose any essential nutrients because of pasteurization. Most store-bought juices are pasteurized for longer shelf life.

People who advocate juicing say it offers these top benefits:

Extracted juices contain anti-inflammatory compounds that may help to boost your immune system.

These potent fresh juices appear to have the ability to flush toxins from the body.

Fresh juice from fruits and vegetables contain enzymes that aid with digestion. It can help the gut work more efficiently.

How does juicer work?

After you insert produce, the appliance uses various methods to extract liquid from the solids. It may spin and grate the produce. Or it may crush and press the fruits and vegetables.

The juice is collected in one area. The solids or pulp is collected inside the machine or in an external area.

Types of juicers

Juicers are classified by the method they use for extracting liquid.

Centrifugal Juicers

These are the most common and easy-to-use juicers. A high-speed rotating blade shreds produce you insert into a feeding tube. Centrifugal force pushes this through a mesh. The juice is filtered from the solids.

The more desirable models expel the discarded solids into a bin. You won’t have to stop the juicer when it’s full.

Masticating Juicers

This type is also called a slow press or a cold press juicer. It’s known as a masticating juicer because the appliance literally chews produce into small bits. A gear called an auger extracts liquid.

The process is slower than centrifugal juicing. No heat is produced by the method, either.

This method of juicing is more efficient. It’s able to extract from produce with low moisture content like wheatgrass.

Triturating/Twin-Gear Juicers

Take a masticating juicer and add another auger gear. The duo works in tandem to do an even more efficient job of extracting liquid.

Is it any mystery that these appliances are sometimes called twin gear juicers? Triturating juicers are undoubtedly the most efficient. They also are the most expensive of juicers.

Citrus Juicers

Citrus juicers can’t be used for any other type of produce, except for pomegranates. Some are manual. Others use a ridged rotating reamer to extract the juice.

Which juicer is best for you?

The best way to answer this question is to ask a few more questions. They’ll help you decide on the most important criteria for making your selection.

How much money do you want to spend? Centrifugal juicers are the most affordable. You’ll pay more for convenience features such as automatic pulp ejectors.

Masticating juicers are more expensive. They have more powerful motors and generally do a better job.

What type of fruits and vegetables do you want to juice? A centrifugal model is the right choice if you plan to juice only standard fruits and vegetables. Are you going to juice leafy vegetables like kale or wheatgrass? A masticating juicer is a better choice.

How much time do you have to clean your juicer? There’s no getting around this. Juicers should be cleaned after each use. Some juicers take longer to clean than others. They are more complicated and have more parts.

Be honest about the time you’re willing to give to juicing. A juicer with minimal parts that can be put in the dishwasher may be a better option for you.

Some higher-end masticating juicers have begun to market “self-cleaning” features. These are built-in scrubbers that prevent solids from clogging the screen during juice extraction.

How much time do you want to spend preparing? Many centrifugal juicers have a feeder chute large enough to accept a whole apple. That’s a huge time-saver.

Other juicers have smaller chute openings to prevent you from overwhelming the appliance with produce that’s too large.

Horizontal masticating juicers are known for having smaller chutes.

Does the foam on juice bother me? The centrifugal juicing process can introduce air into the juice. Some people find this unpleasant. It’s an important consideration if you’re thinking of getting this type of appliance. But don’t let it deter you. Some higher-end models feature a separator that will strain foam from your juice.

Masticating juicers are not known for producing foam.

How long do you want your juice to last? This might seem like a strange question. Don’t you want to drink it right away? Well, maybe not all. Perhaps you don’t plan to juice every day. You’ll want to make enough for later.

Centrifugal juicers produce heat and oxidation, which reduces the peak nutrition of extracted juices. Most online reviewers say you should consume juice extracted this way within 8 hours.

Masticating juicers don’t have the problem of producing heat or oxidation. This type of extracted juice can keep its peak nutritional value properly stored up to 72 hours.

Why buy a blender?

Can you imagine the size of the kitchen appliance gadget graveyard? There are so many things that seem like a great idea. We use it a few times and then it collects dust.

A blender wouldn’t be one of them mainly because they aren’t just for blending today. Manufacturers have made them multipurpose appliances that accomplish some of what a food processor can do. Some blenders can even heat a liquid.

Powerful and versatile used to mean big and bulky, especially for a blender. Today’s most popular blenders can be small enough to tuck away in the cupboard when not in use.

How does a blender work?

It’s all about speed and power. A motor spins a set of blades to create a vortex inside the container. You’ll actually see the whirlpool if you have a clear blender jar.

That vortex is important. It pulls solid materials down and into the blades, so it’s chopped up and recirculated. The longer you let this process go on, the more homogenized the liquid becomes. Different speeds or blades allow for chopping, grinding, even whipping.

Types of Blenders

You’ve got plenty of choices when it comes to blenders. Manufacturers make them big, powerful and versatile. They also make them portable and small.

Traditional full-size countertop blenders

These blenders are larger and need a dedicated space on your countertop. They’re generally able to process between 48 to 72 ounces of liquid.

The blending jar or canister sits on a sturdy base that houses the motor and controls. They’ve got multiple speeds and settings. Many offer you the option to buy additional jars for specific purposes

They’re more powerful than immersion blenders and personal blenders. You want one if you plan to make frozen smoothies. The powerful motor can handle crushing ice.

Personal blenders

Does making a smoothie for yourself in a traditional countertop blender that holds 72 ounces seem like overkill? You might be better off with a personal blender.

It’s a smaller version of a countertop blender. The blender jar or container can make 1 or two servings. Many feature blender jars that also serve as drinking containers.

They’re just the thing for a regular morning smoothie, but they are not a viable substitute for a full-size countertop blender as the motor isn’t powerful enough.

Immersion blenders

You’ll also hear these handy gadgets called hand or stick blenders. Imagine a blender on a stick or wand. You don’t bring your food to it. You immerse the wand in a pot or pan and blend there.

A hand blender is powerful enough to puree soup, emulsify a salad dressing, or make fresh mayonnaise. Some are even cordless, making them even more portable.

It may be versatile, but it’s not a substitute for a traditional blender. You won’t be grinding nuts or crushing ice with it.

High-performance blenders

It’s your countertop blender, only bigger, more powerful, and even more versatile. These models blend brute power with technology to offer an appliance capable of transforming wheat into flour.

Many models feature timers, oversized blender jars, and digital touchpads.

Your blender vs. juicer takeaway

These two kitchen appliances don’t really have much overlap. It’s not fair to make a comparison if the goal is to decide which is better.

Both offer excellent ways to up your nutrition game. It’s just a matter of how you want to do it.

One of the top ways that juicers and blenders differ is that neither can do what the other does. Sure, some of the high-end models of each offer some overlap. A masticating juicer can make sorbet, for example.

For the most part, you need a juicer if you want to extract juice from produce. You need a blender if you’re going to make a smoothie. To be fair, the juicer is a more specialized appliance.

Does it mean you have to choose between the two?

Perhaps not. Centrifugal juicers are affordable. So are traditional full-size countertop blenders. Unless you see a pressing need to go for high performance in either appliance, you can afford both!