Some juicers are more advanced than others, offering an assortment of extra features on top of their regular features. Sometimes these extra features are worth your attention; other times they are not. Sometimes these features are added to inferior machines to distract you from important areas where these machines fall short.
Before we even begin our discussion about extra features, I want to quickly point out that you should always be sure the juicer meets your needs in terms of function and performance before considering extra features. Ask yourself: Will this juicer do what I need to it do? Will this juicer be a reliable appliance upon which I can depend?
Once you have established that your juicer will meet your regular juicing needs you can begin to look at additional features. Some of these features are designed for convenience, and others have been designed for safety. Sometimes these features add cost as well as value, so be careful not go overboard and bust your budget.
Some special features are unique to centrifugal juicers, some to masticating juicers, and others to citrus juicers. In this article, we will take a quick look at the different types of special features available for each of these types of juicers. I will explore the possible benefits you may find as a result of these features, as well as any drawbacks which may be associated with them. The purpose of this article is to give you a better understanding of what is available to you in the world of juicers.
Centrifugal Juicer Extras
To quickly jog your memory, allow me to remind you that a centrifugal juicer is one which uses a fast-spinning blade to break down and extract juice from fruits and vegetables. This type of juicer is known for being a very quick and convenient way to make many types of juice, but is also known for having difficulties breaking down leafy greens. It is also known for creating large amounts of froth and pulp.
Pulp Ejection With a Large Pulp Cup
Large amounts of pulp are often created when juicing fibrous, non-citrus fruits. This is especially true if you use a centrifugal juicer to do so. A juicer with a pulp ejection system basically throws the pulpy remains from the juicer into an external “pulp cup”, much like a wood chipper throws pieces of trees into a bin.
Juicers with pulp ejection make it much easier to clean pulp from your machine, because they store the pulp externally. Juicers without pulp ejection systems usually collect pulp in an internal storage space which is often small and requires you to remove several pieces of the machine to get to it. Its small size means you will be emptying the pulp container of a non-pulp ejection juicer more often, making the juicing process much longer. Also, who wants the hassle of having to take apart the machine every time they want to empty the pulp?
A pulp ejection system with a large external pulp cup will allow you to easily and effortlessly dispose of pulp throughout your juicing process and will not require you to do so as often as other types of juicers.
Two or More Speeds
The option of choosing between at least two speed settings is very important when working with a centrifugal juicer. The speed at which the blades move determines how well the juicer will be able to break down different types of foods.
Juicing soft foods requires the blades to move at low speeds so that the food doesn’t get broken down too much and turn into froth instead of juice. Juicing hard foods requires fast-moving blades to avoid sending large chunks of non-processed juice-filled pulp into the disposal container.
The difference between these two speeds is also important, as is having a motor powerful enough to manage these speeds without breaking down. I would suggest finding a juicer with a range of 6000 to 8000 RPM for the low-speed setting and a range of 10,000 to 14,000 RPM for the high-speed setting.
Three speed settings would be ideal, allowing you a mid-level option for breaking down medium-density foods such as apples and pineapples. Some juicers feature as many as five speeds, but I find that this may not be completely necessary.
Wide-Mouthed Feeder Tube
The larger the feeding tube the less time you will need to spend prepping your food. I have seen centrifugal juicers with feed tubes as wide as three or four inches, allowing you to easily place an entire apple, orange, or carrot inside without cutting it up into small pieces. Such a feature is not important in a masticating juicer, which can only break down small pieces of food at a time anyway.
Masticating Juicer Extras
In case you are having difficulty comparing the different types of juicers on this list, allow me to refresh your memory about masticating juicers. This type of juicer works very slowly to squeeze juice from many different types of fruits and vegetables. Although it extracts much more juice than a centrifugal juicer and can handle leafy greens without a problem, a masticating juicer requires you to cut your food into small pieces and takes quite a long time to extract juices from it. Another important quality of the masticating juicer is that it can actually create many different types of foods, not just juices.
Pulp Ejection With a Large Pulp Cup
Masticating juicers do not create as large a volume of pulp as centrifugal juicers, mostly because they are able to extract more juices from the food, leaving the pulp dryer and more condensed. Still, it can be very nice to have a masticating juicer with a pulp ejection system and a large pulp cup so that you do not need to stop as often to empty it as you create large batches of juice or other foods.
Some of the newer models of masticating juicers, usually the vertical types, are able to run through a self-cleaning process. Through this process, you are able to run water through the machine as many times as necessary, until the water coming out the other end runs clean. This option can save you plenty of time and a lot of hassle, as you will not be required to use a little brush to reach into the tiny spaces inside the machine. That being said, it is important to remember to run these self-cleaning processes as soon as you finish extracting juice, so that the remnants in the machine are still wet and can be easily swept away with water.
Masticating juicers work by grinding and squeezing food to extract juices from it without overheating the food and ruining its enzymes. Some, in fact most, masticating juicers feature one gear which breaks down food by grinding it against the flat pieces of metal or plastic which surround it. Twin gear juicers use two gears (or augers) to break down the food. The advantage of the twin gear option is that it works faster and is able to extract more juice than the single gear option.
Citrus Juicer Extras
While words such as “centrifugal” or “masticating” may be somewhat confusing, “citrus” is much easier to understand. Citrus juicers do exactly what you assume they will do – they extract juices from citrus fruits.
Some citrus juicers feature built-in slicers. The location of the slicer varies from one juicer to the next, but is usually located on the inside of the lid. You won’t have to worry about sticky fingers or dirty cutting boards because you simply set your citrus fruit in a holder cup and pull the lid down to slice the fruit in half. That being said, while this option does reduce sticky messes, it also often means that your juicer will be rather large since it must accommodate the extra holder cup.
Though I haven’t come across juicers with more than two reamers I believe that they probably exist, which is why I used the word “multiple” instead of the word “double” in the heading for this section. Double reamer juicers allow you to extract juice from both halves of a fruit simultaneously.
Again, this is an option that greatly increases the size of your citrus juicer. In order to accommodate extra reamers there must be an increase in the size of the juicer – it is basic math. Still, if you enjoy creating pitchers of juice (as opposed to one glass at a time), this may be a great option for you. You can cut your juicing time in half if you find a double reamer juicer.
Multiple Reamer Sizes
Many juicers come with multiple reamer attachments made to fit in the reamer slot. Oftentimes there are two options – large and small. Large reamers are perfect for large oranges or grapefruits, whereas small reamers are ideal for limes and lemons. Some companies claim that there is no need for multiple reamer sizes and I understand that some people may not want to house the extra pieces. Still, I haven’t had the best experiences with so-called “universal” reamers. In fact, I have found that one-size-fits-all options are unable to extract juices properly from any citrus fruit.
General Juicer Extras
Some special features are shared by all three types of juicers. Of those features, I believe that the following two are the most important for you to look for in your search for the perfect juicer.
Extra-Large Juice Cup
An extra-large juice cup allows you to create more juice with less hassle. If you are planning to fill an entire pitcher of juice it can be quite annoying to have to make one 8-ounce glass at a time then pour that glass into the pitcher and start again. The larger the cup the more juice you can make without having to stop the process.
Another option is choosing a juicer which stands quite tall and features a juice spout that is raised high enough off of the countertop to allow you to fit a pitcher beneath it. Such an option is rare but not only saves you time, it also saves you dishes.
More Metal, Less Plastic
I suppose that this isn’t actually a feature; still, I believe it is necessary to explore. When looking into purchasing a juicer it is very important that you consider the materials from which the juicer itself has been constructed. Whether it is a centrifugal, masticating, or citrus juicer, material makeup accounts for such factors as longevity, safety, and cost.
An obvious factor to be considered here is durability. The more metal featured in your juicer the more durable it will be. The more plastic is contains, the less durable it will be. Therefore, if you would like a durable piece of machinery which will last you a long time and stand up to a beating in the kitchen, you will want to consider a mostly-metal option.
Some plastics contain harmful chemicals, such as BPAs, which can leech into food and cause adverse health reactions. That being said, not all of them do. In fact, more and more companies are moving away from creating BPA plastics due to a growth in consumer concern. Also, choosing a stainless steel option over a plastic option may simply not be within many people’s budgets.