Juice is delicious, nutritious (if high in sugar at times) and can help with everything from fitness regimes to fighting scurvy. It's also quite hard to make by hand and that is why you need the best juicer. It may also come in handy if you're looking to lose a bit of weight in the New Year.
What is the best juicer?
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This guide is a work in progress, but our favourite so far is the JR Ultra 8000 S. This combines the lower noise and tastier results of a masticating juicer, with the convenience of having the sort of wide fruit chute normally found only on old-style centrifugal juicers.
There is a, now, new version of it: logically enough, it's called JR Ultra 8000S 2. This is said to be quieter, it's dishwasher proof, which is a considerable boon, and it has a massive carry handle for yanking out of the cupboard when you want to use it. The fruit chute does seem a bit narrower, but it's still substantial.
We'll update very shortly with our findings on this exciting development. Ours just arrived in the post.
How to buy the best juicer
There are two 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.
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. Juicers are not exactly hard to clean, but it can be time consuming, and all the bits and meshes and plungers take up a lot of sink space. Obviously you'd ideally want your machine to do it for you.
The best juicers that we've tried
Masticating juicers like the JR 8000 S make better juice than centrifugal ones, in our opinion. According to some research, said juice also retains more nutrients – the rapid shredding employed by centrifugal juicers supposedly removes more enzymes and vitamins due to the heat generated.
However, masticators also tend to require you to chop fruit and veg so finely, you begin to question the point of having a juicing machine entirely.
Not so, the JR Ultra 8000S.
This brute uses a slow, 60rpm crushing of produce to create very good juice, but has a fruit and veg chute big enough to slide an entire apple down. The juice is perhaps not quite as free from pulp as some more refined masticators but frankly, we have no problem with that, especially if it means no more chopping carrots into batons before juicing.
You can't dishwasher the various component parts of the masticating juicing system, but it's all easy enough to rinse off with fairly minimal effort. It also includes an attachment for making ice cream. So that's a bonus.
Philips has a habit of trying to reinvent the wheel, and in the case of the Avance, its tweaked traditional slow juicing tech, relabelling it MicroMasticating.
This process 'is designed to open up the cells of fruits and vegetables to squeeze the maximum out.' Uh-huh. Philips claims the new technology can extract up to 90 per cent of the juice, and while this varies depending on the type of fruit you're using, the pulp produced is consistently dry which is always a good sign of efficient juicing.
It's expensive and lacks the cast-metal weight of many lesser-known masticating juicer brands, but it is a great looking, worktop friendly, design that's a relatively slimline 11cm wide and short enough to store permanently at the back of the work top under your wall-mounted cupboards.
The chute is wide enough, and the drill-like auger works methodically through your fruit. Skin, especially from small items like grapes and blueberries, is pushed one way into a waste container, and juice the other. It's not quick, but it is efficient.
Cleaning is also mercifully simple; either take apart and plonk in the dishwasher, or rinse under the tap, because there's no sieve for bits to get stuck in, which is a massive plus. There are arguably a few too many small plastic parts, and nut residue (no sniggering at the back) does take longer to remove, but most the time you're done in seconds.
For price, efficiency and nutritious, great tasting juice, this one is a toughie to beat.
This seriously impressive, easily affordable centrifugal juicer is for people who want to make gallons of juice in next to no time.
Its 85mm wide chute can handle a whole apple with ease, and while not designed for leafy greens, the two-speed motor does mean you can get more creative with harder fruits and vegetables.
The headline feature here however is the fact it doesn't excessively heat the juice as it smashes it against the blades. Known as Cold Spin Technology Sage estimates a meagre rise in temperature of just 1.8°C, which also means lower oxidation during the juicing process and longer-lasting juice. Given this comes with a huge sealable two litre jug, you can make juice for a few days and keep it in the fridge without it spoiling.
Compared to a masticating juicer, the BJE430SIL will produce less juice – around 70 per cent, and the waste pulp is significantly wetter – but it is fast and affordable, and comes with Sage's usual high quality build and rugged good looks. The jug lid is also well designed and helps to separate the fruit foam from your glass.
Being a centrifugal design with a mesh filter and super-sharp blades it is a pain to clean, but then we've yet to find one that isn't laborious in some respect. Some parts are dishwasher safe, but not the most fiddly ones, alas.
This gets its Mega Mouth name on account of the extra large feed chute that, as with the JR Ultra 8000S, allows for bigger chunks of fruit and veg. However, unlike JR's machine, I found you can’t simply jam whole Granny Smiths into this one, because they won’t fit. Surely that defeats the object of having a large opening, missus?
Furthermore, although it’s perfectly capable of mashing leafy veg like spinach, getting the leaves to the very bottom of the chute is another matter – instead of reaching the juicing area, it tends to bunch up just above the slow spinning mesh filter.
Even so, this is a fantastic masticator if you can live with a little more prep of larger fruits, and a bit of judicious stringy-veg-prodding action. The Omega produces an extremely impressive juice yield that’s both relatively pulp free and damn tasty.
It's also one of the fastest masticating juicers on the market and one of the easiest to clean; it comes with two small brushes and a really useful wraparound mesh cleaning brush that removes the vast majority of wayward pulp. Although being able to dishwasher it would be even better, but you can't.
This model weighs in at 7kgs and, at 45cm, is too tall for storage in the average kitchen cupboard unless you remove the top section, but it least has quite a small footprint. Again, it's like the JR 8000S in that respect.
This is smaller, quieter, cheaper and more attractive than the JR Ultra 8000 S and makes even better juicer. And it comes with an ice cream maker, same as its bigger rival.
However, all that is paltry compensation for the fact you have to chop up anything bigger than a bean in order to feed it into the low speed, high pressure chamber of juicing. The chute on this thing is TINY.
If you're way more patient than us, however, you may well love this juicer, especially if kitchen space is limited.