It wasn’t easy being a pirate: as if navies and other pirates weren’t dangerous enough, there was a very good chance that your diet would lead to scurvy. As one expiring pirate put it, “yarrrr! If only we’d invented the juicer!”
Thankfully today juicers are available to pirates and non-pirates alike, and there are models to suit every kind of person and budget.
There are three kinds of juicers to choose from. Centrifugal juicers spin to remove the juice from the pulp, and are very fast and very effective. Masticating juicers effectively chew the ingredients to extract every last drop of juice, and while they’re a bit slow they’re quiet and deliver superb results. And blenders are, well, blenders, in all their cheap, cheerful and noisy glory.
Don’t worry too much about power - even a 300W blender can mash up ice - but pay attention to the capacity, dimensions and whether the key bits are dishwasher safe, as even the best juicers get messy. And if you’re considering a blender, check the lifespan of the blades: for example Nutribullet recommends replacing the blades every six months. It’s not expensive - expect to pay less than £10 - but it’s a repeating cost.
1. L’Equip XL
Looks and juices like much more expensive products - an excellent all-rounder
RRP: £119 | Power: 600W | Capacity: 1l | Type: centrifugal | Dishwasher safe: yes | Dimensions: 310 x 197 x 385mm
The Independent newspaper rated the XL its best buy juicer in 2016, four years after it first gave the same product the same award. It’s well deserved: the L’Equip punches way above its price range with reassuringly solid build quality, a 600W motor, dishwasher safe stainless steel components and a 6 year warranty. It’s fairly easy to clean and while it’s not the quickest - the 11,000rpm motor is fairly slow compared to some rivals - the results are superb and consistent. It’s a big beast, though, and while that means you can chuck entire fruits and vegetables into its hungry maw it also means you’ll need to give it plenty of room on your countertop. Don’t buy a more expensive juicer without looking at this one first.
2. Nutribullet Pro 900
The iconic original gets more power and a bigger cup to boot
RRP: £89.99 | Power: 900W | Capacity: 0.96l | Type: blender | Dishwasher safe: yes | Dimensions: 365 x 130 x 130mm
The Nutribullet Pro 900 takes the existing and hugely popular Nutribullet and gives it more oomph, upping the power to 900 watts and spinning at 25,000 RPM. The blending cup is larger too at just over 0.9l, making the Pro more suitable for families or groups, and most of the parts are dishwasher safe. As with the original Nutribullet the aim here is to blend everything into a single smooth drink, so you can get the nutrients out of things you wouldn’t normally consume such as stems, seeds, skins and the chopped-up remains of your enemies. The main difference over the original is that everything’s much smoother, so it’s particularly good for making soup.
3. Philips HR1857/71 Viva Collection Quick Clean Juicer
A typically solid Philips appliance with big capacity and fast performance
RRP: £110 | Power: 700W | Capacity: 2l | Type: Centrifugal | Dishwasher safe: Yes | Dimensions: 457 x 255 x 255mm
The Viva is a little on the large side - its arms need plenty of space when you’re dismantling the juicer for cleaning, so if you’re short of space you might be better off with one of the smaller models in the range - but it’s worth making room for: it can extract up to 2L of juice from fruit and veg in a single go, its self-cleaning setting is fairly effective - although you’ll still need to get the j-cloths out or chuck the bits in the top shelf of the dishwasher - and the 75mm feeding tube is big enough for entire apples. It’s a typical Philips appliance, solidly built and cleverly designed and likely to last a long time.
4. Breville VBL136 Blend Active
Great for getting your fruit fix when you’re in a hurry
RRP: £32.99 | Power: 300W | Capacity: 600ml | Type: blender | Dishwasher safe: yes | Dimensions: 254 x 229 x 168mm
If you’re a fitness fan or just fancy drinking something more nutritious than a coffee during your commute, there’s a lot to like about the Breville: it’s designed to fill a 600ml bottle with whatever fruity goodness you fancy, it’s dishwasher safe and easy to clean, and spare bottles aren’t too expensive (£10.99 at the time of writing, which is much the same as you’d pay for a reusable water bottle). The 300W motor is small by juicer standards but it’s still capable of crushing ice, and it’s small enough to fit in even the most crowded kitchen. If you have a family you might prefer the family pack, which is £2 more and has four bottles, 2 x 600ml and 2 x 300ml.
5. Omega 8006 Juicer and Nutrition Centre
When you want a juicer that can also make… mince!
RRP: £319 | Power: 150W | Capacity: n/a | Type: masticating | Dishwasher safe: no | Dimensions: 370 x 165 x 394mm
Omega is well known in the US for its premium juicers, and the 8006 is certainly a premium product: it’s built like a tank with a 15-year guarantee for extra peace of mind, and it’s strong enough to make not just juice but pasta and mince with the supplied attachments. It’s a masticating juicer with a super-slow 80rpm rotation speed that delivers excellent performance and very dry pulp, which is the sign of maximum juice extraction. Unlike centrifugal juicers it’s quiet too, unless you start throwing in difficult things such as cinnamon sticks. Think of it as the Weber grill of juicers: it’s not cheap, but it’ll still be juicing long after cheaper rivals have gone to the great recycling centre in the sky.