If you’ve spent even as little as 5 minutes researching juicers, you’ve probably been bombarded with jargon terms such as ‘centrifugal’, ‘masticating’ and ‘cold press’ without anyone taking the time to explain what they mean.
Ultimately, that’s probably why you’re reading this right now, to understand these terms and perhaps which type of juicer you should buy altogether.
Well, without any further ado, let’s get straight into de-mystifying juicers while pointing out some of the fallacies that are frequently spread about them.
Some Quick Definitions
Fair warning, understanding the world of juicers properly isn’t as simple as you might assume. However, if you just want some quick answers, we’re happy to oblige. So, let’s get to explaining some of the most common juicing keywords.
Centrifugal - Typically this word refers to a specific style of juicer that works at high speeds to extract juice from ingredients by cutting them apart.
Masticating - Again, this term is normally referenced as a type of juicer, that instead works slowly to grind and press ingredients to release juice.
Cold Press - Either used as a synonym of masticating or to describe the juice produced by a masticating juicer.
Juice Yield - Quite simply refers to the amount of juice that a juicer can extract from ingredients. The larger the yield, the better.
Now, these definitions are still undoubtedly vague. So, if you have the time, we’d strongly encourage reading on, as we’ll now explore them all in greater detail.
Understanding Centrifugal Juicers
First off, let’s go into some greater detail on centrifugal juicers. This style, as previously mentioned, is defined by its fast operation speeds that can vary from 10,000 to 25,000 rotations per minute.
Centrifugal juicers work by using a cutting disc, which is effectively a disc-shaped grater, to tear and shred ingredients in order to release the juice stored inside them.
The released juice is then pulled by centrifugal force to the edge of the disc, which is surrounded by a fine mesh wrap. The mesh then separates the juice from any remaining pulp as it passes through.
The filtered juice then trickles down below the cutting disc and is funnelled out of the juicer through a spout into a receptacle of your choice.
Overall, this method of juicing proves to be ideal in some ways. It can be replicated cheaply and in practice it’s easy to use, making centrifugal juicers more accessible for beginners.
However, on the flip side, the juice they extract isn’t of particularly good quality and their fast operation speeds and frequently cheap production do lead to reliability issues.
Understanding Masticating Juicers
Now, serving as the opposite of centrifugal juicers, masticating/cold press juicers are instead defined by their slow operating speeds. As a result, they are commonly called ‘slow juicers’ within the juicing community.
Typically working between 40 to 150 rotations per minute, they take a very different approach to juice extraction that focuses on crushing ingredients under high pressure to push juice out of them.
To do this, they use an augur (a large screw) or a pair of gears, to grab ingredients while rotating and pull them downwards, pressing and masticating them in the process.
This process squeezes the juice out of the ingredients, which is then separated from any leftover pulp by a finely perforated screen. The juice then passes through the screen and is funnelled into a suitable collection container.
In sharp contrast to their centrifugal counterparts, this masticating style allows higher levels of vitamins and minerals to be extracted. Therefore, the final juices are of much higher quality and nutritional value.
However, despite this advantage, masticating juicers aren’t entirely perfect, as the technology is more expensive to produce and they generally require more time and effort to use.
Finally, to further complicate matters, masticating juicers are split into further sub-categories such as ‘vertical’ or ‘twin gear’ depending on their design and method of crushing ingredients.
So, if you want to learn about those, we’ve created a separate article covering all cold press juicer styles along with their strengths and weaknesses.
If not, then let’s see how masticating juicers and centrifugal juicers stack up against each other.
Which Juicer Style is the Best?
So, you now understand how centrifugal and masticating juicers work and the general positives and negatives of each style, but which of them is the best outright?
Well, sadly, this is a question that doesn’t have a clear and short answer. In all honesty, the answer will vary massively from person to person, as it depends on many criteria.
Now, if you’re keen to find out which style of juicer is going to be the best for you. We’ve covered that in detail in our guide to finding your dream juicer.
However, if you’re not ready to dive that deep yet, let’s quickly compare both styles to see which one typically comes out on top in the most important areas.
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As you can see, both styles are relatively evenly matched, but it’s probably fair to say that masticating juicers do have an edge on centrifugal juicers.
Although, do take this comparison with a pinch of salt, as the results represent a massive generalisation on both sides.
For example, when it comes to ease of use, some masticating juicers benefit from ‘self-feeding’ technology. Therefore, they’re arguably easier to use than even the best of centrifugal juicers.
Additionally, not all centrifugal juicers have short warranties or use low quality parts. Most models by Sage, for example, use stainless steel heavily and are built to a better standard than many masticating juicers.
However, while there are some exceptions, some of these results are pretty accurate and ultimately, all centrifugal juicers will produce lower quality juices and all masticating juicers will offer a slower juicing process. Some factors are simply inherent to their design.
How Much Does Speed Matter?
While we’re on the topic of fair representation and generalisations, this is probably a good time to dispel a large juicer misnomer.
When speaking to many juicing beginners we often hear comments along the line of “I’ve read that the slower a juicer is, the better it is.”
Now, while not entirely false, this statement is often taken too far. On a basic level, it is indeed true that slow-speed masticating juicers are superior to high-speed centrifugal juicers when discussing juice quality and yields.
However, this does not extend to fine differences between masticating models. For example, a slow juicer with a speed of 43 rotations per minute (RPM) will not necessarily be better than one that works at 120 RPM.
Therefore, while speed has some relevancy on a broad scale, never use it as a tool to decide a juicer’s superiority when comparing specific models at a detailed level.
Our Juicer Recommendations
Now, if you’ve come this far, odds are that you’d like to hear our recommendations when it comes to centrifugal and masticating juicers.
Starting off with centrifugal juicers, we always advise trying to buy models from reputable brands. Not only are they typically backed by longer warranties, but they are often more reliable and built to a higher standard.
Here are some of our favourites at the moment:
As for masticating juicers, again it’s best to ensure the brand is respected and reliable. Not only do you typically get to enjoy new innovations from the best brands, but the juicers last for much longer overall.
Honestly, we could probably list loads of these, but these are a few of our top picks:
Alternatively, if you want to keep learning, we’ve got loads of useful articles covering a variety of juicing tips, tricks and recommendations in our blog.
Don’t be Discouraged
Finally, it’s important not to be discouraged during your juicing experience. Don’t let juicer snobs or brand loyalists affect your decision and definitely don’t be ashamed of any juicer you choose to buy.
For some people, investing in a £1000 Angel juicer can be done without batting an eyelash, but that doesn’t mean that every juicer below that standard is unworthy for the many of us that can’t easily afford one.
Even the cheapest of supermarket centrifugal juicers can help to make a great difference to your mental and physical health. So, don’t be put off from juicing if you can’t afford your dream juicer yet.
Instead, purchase the best juicer you can, build juicing into your routine, and increase your savings over time until that dream juicer can be yours.