There are many different kinds of juicers available for many different prices. When I began researching juicers, I was stunned to see that juicers could range from $20 to well over $400. I wasn’t sure if I should purchase a low-priced juicer simply because it was more affordable, a high-price juicer because it would likely be built better, or a mid-priced juicer. I knew it was time to learn more so that I could make an educated decision. I didn’t want to spend $400 if I didn’t have to, but I also didn’t want to purchase something which wasn’t going to work for me. I began to learn about things like wattage and RPMs – you can read more about those terms on other pages of this website.
The two words which confused me most as I began researching juicers were “centrifugal” and “masticating”. I even looked it up on Wikipedia (hereand here) but that didn’t really explain it to me.
I remember seeing the words come up again and again though. On the outside, most of the juicers I found looked similar to one another, yet they were still referred to as different types (centrifugal or masticating). I didn’t understand how they could look the same but be considered different. Then someone decided to throw a citrus juicer into the mix. “Hey, maybe you just need a citrus juicer,” someone said. “What’s the difference?” I asked myself.
Some juicers claimed to be the best two-speed centrifugal juicers in the world. Others claimed that, as far as masticating juicers are concerned, they reigned supreme. Some juicers were named with words such as Elite, Fountain, Big Mouth, and Nutrition Center; I knew it was time to figure out what those two words meant. Clearly, I thought to myself, these must be important to my research.
I am very happy that I learned their meanings, because they are extremely important to the performance of your juicer. What your juicer is able to do, and how well, quickly, and quietly it is able to do it, are all determined by which type of juicer it happens to be. For those reasons, I decided to gather all the information I could and present it to you in one easy-to-read package.
In this article, we will discuss the similarities and differences between centrifugal and masticating juicers in terms of how they work, how much food waste they produce, the amount of prep time involved in using them, how fast they work, and how that affects their overall performance, how much noise they make, things they may be used for other than juicing, and what they cost.
How They Work
The main difference between centrifugal and masticating juicers is the primary method by which they break down the food you place inside them to extract the juice. Centrifugal juicers have one blade which rotates at a high speed to slice and dice food, allowing the juices to flow free. In essence, it works a lot like a blender.
Masticating juicers make use of gears instead of blades and grind food instead of slicing it. Some masticating juicers have only one gear and simply grind food against nearby hard surfaces, while others grind food between two gears much like a meat grinder.
Citrus juicers are very different in terms of how they work. Instead of cutting and dicing or squeezing and grinding, they work by spinning reamers into your citrus fruits. If you have ever used a manual reamer you will know how that that process normally works. You cut your citrus fruit in half and twist the reamer into it to squish out juices and break down the fibrous interior, turning it into pulp. Essentially, citrus juicers work the same way; they simply take the effort out of the process by doing all of the hard work for you.
Centrifugal juicers are known to create much more food waste than masticating juicers. Centrifugal juicers are not able to break food down as well as masticating juicers. Although the spinning blades of a centrifugal juicer do bring juices out from your food, they do not utilize the squeezing action of the masticating juicer.
Many consumers have raised complaints about food waste from centrifugal juicers. They find themselves having to purchase a large amount of fruits and vegetables simply to make one glass of juice. As a comparison, the same amount of fruits and vegetables would produce about one and a quarter to one and a half glasses of juice in a masticating juicer.
Since citrus juicers are so different, it is difficult to make a comparison here. For the most part, they create just as much, if not more, food waste as the other types of juicers do when they break down citrus fruits. However, since citrus juicers are unable to break down other types of fruits and vegetables, it is difficult to make a fair comparison.
Although the centrifugal juicers appear to be lagging behind so far in this article, prep time is where they begin to gain on the masticating juicers. Centrifugal juicers allow you to place large chunks of food inside for fast processing. In fact, if the mouth of the feeding tube is large enough, you can often shove and entire apple inside at once. Therefore, there is little to no prep time required for juicing with a centrifugal juicer.
Masticating juicers, on the other hand, will clog if you try to place large chunks inside them. In fact, jamming the gears of low-quality masticating juicers could actually cause you to break the gears. Jamming and subsequently breaking the gears of a masticating juicer can be a costly mistake. For this reason, masticating juicers require considerably more prep time. Before beginning to juice your fruits and vegetables, you must first cut your food into small chunks.
Prepping your citrus fruits for use in your citrus juicer takes very little time. Honestly, all you really need to do is cut them in half and place one half on top of the reamer to get started.
Speed Versus Quality
Since centrifugal juicers work by slicing food as opposed to grinding it, they work much faster than masticating juicers. If you have ever seen a late night infomercial about juicers and watched the host drop in apple after apple in rapid succession, you can bet that he or she was showing off the speed of a centrifugal juicer.
Speed always seems like the best option. In the current get-it-to-me-faster era of microwaves and high-speed internet, people believe that whatever works the fastest must work the best. So long as you find yourself juicing soft foods such as grapes and strawberries, you should do just fine working with the speed of a centrifugal juicer.
However, if you are planning to juice hard foods such as carrots and apples, you will need to accept that faster is not always better. Masticating juicers take much more time to extract juices from your foods because they work hard at breaking down those foods. Whereas masticating juicers can easily deliver carrot and celery juice, a centrifugal juicer will often leave behind a great amount of food waste and will produce little juice. Sometimes, it is important to take the time to do things correctly.
As they operate, centrifugal juicers usually create much more noise than masticating juicers. I suppose that noise is the price you pay for speed. Since the blades of a centrifugal juicer must rotate so quickly, the motor and movement create a lot of noise. The slow movements and gear system of the masticating juicer are often much quieter.
Many masticating juicers can also be used for creating sorbet, ice cream, and baby food. They can even be used to make butter and milk from various types of nuts. Centrifugal and citrus juicers do not allow you these types of options. If you would like to use your juicer for these purposes, you may want to seriously consider purchasing a masticating juicer.
For the most part, masticating juicers are about two or three times more expensive than centrifugal juicers. That being said, if you need to use your juicer to process hard foods or plan to use it for long periods of time, a masticating juicer may be worth its price. With that sort of use you would likely find yourself breaking your centrifugal juicer, and purchasing two or three before realizing you would have saved money by purchasing the masticating juicer in the first place.
There is some overlap between the prices of higher-end centrifugal juicers and lower-end masticating juicers. I caution you to beware, however, of purchasing an item based on its price. There are large differences between centrifugal juicers and masticating juicers. It is best that you purchase your juicer on the basis of what you need it to do for you, not how much money it will cost. The price of any juicer – centrifugal or masticating – will also depend greatly on the power of its motor. Be sure to read my article about wattage for more information.
Citrus juicers are, by far, the cheapest type of juicer in terms of cost. Personally, I would never find a citrus juicer very helpful since I use my juicer to break down many different types of fruits and vegetables. However, if you plan to only use your juicer for citrus juices, why waste extra money purchasing a more expensive type of juicer?