How to Choose a Juice Machine
You've decided you want a juice machine. Great idea! But all the choices out there are pretty daunting. How do you choose?
Well, the first question you need to ask is what consistency do you want in your finished drink? This is big because some people call what is really a smoothie or a watered-down puree a "juice." Don't get me wrong. There is a lot to be said for consuming the fiber in produce and if that is what you want, then please don't let me even attempt to talk you out of it. What you want, though, is not a juicer. You want a blender or food processor. Now which one you want really depends on just how much you plan to use it and what else you might like to use it for. A heavy-duty machine with reversing blades can cook your puree right into soup by the friction it creates. Be prepared to spend some money and be prepared for the machine to be loud. That said, if you use it and make smoothies from fresh produce, you will be doing your body a wonderful service and I have nothing but respect for you.
But suppose you don't really want smoothies or puree. Suppose you really want JUICE. That would be the natural liquid content of fruits, vegetables, and wheatgrass, separated from the pulp into a delicious, viscous liquid. When you get juice from a real juicer, you should not have to add water to thin it down to drinking consistency. Now, you may want to add a little water for the sake of taste, because some juices are so concentrated, but you're only doing it because the flavor is overpowering, not because the drink is too thick.
So now that we've determined you want a juicer (also called a juice extractor) and not a blender, which one should you get? There are a lot of juicers out there and all their hype may be confusing. First off, you should decide what you want from your juice extractor. An average, inexpensive juicer will make orange juice every morning for breakfast without much trouble. But you may want to juice some more challenging fruits and vegetables. A cheaper juice extractor will either not handle these well, or not handle them for long. Is the whole family going to be using it? Are you planning to throw in apples and kale and wheatgrass and carrots several times a day? Check the wattage and check the capacity. Check to see what the manufacturer suggests for usage.
Now if you want a juice extractor that gives an edge on nutrition, you want to look into cold press juicers. Centrifugal juicers have blades that create heat and tear the cell walls of the plants you're juicing. This oxidizes certain vitamins and enzymes and reduces the overall nutritional punch a bit. A cold press juicer uses an auger instead of blades. It takes a little longer to juice this way, but the premium juicers with cold press capability are really not "slow", just not as fast as the blade kind. A cold press juicer can often do some other food processes, like create nut butters, nut milks, or turn starchy frozen fruit into sorbet. However, one should never assume that all models can do what the top-of-the-line model does. Check the specifications and read the product descriptions. If there's a website, do your homework.
Once you decide what you want your appliance to accomplish for you, it's time to compare things like price, countertop footprint, ease of cleanup, wattage, and warranty. Juicers also vary quite a bit in the amount of noise they make, so if you can get a demonstration, that's something to keep in mind. But assuming you can't, just keep in mind that blades (blenders, centrifugal juicers) generally make more noise than augers (cold press). Happy hunting for your perfect juice machine!