Making fresh fruit and vegetable juices at home is a great way to get more nutrients into your diet. But to make juice, do you need a dedicated juicing machine like a centrifugal or masticating juicer? Or can you simply use a trusty blender that you already own?
In this article, we’ll compare juicers and blenders to help you decide which is better for juice-making. We’ll look at how they work, their pros and cons, and how their juices differ in texture and nutrition.
How Juicers Work
Juicers are designed specifically for separating juice from pulp. They work in two main ways:
- Centrifugal juicers grind up produce using a high-speed spinning metal blade. The juice gets separated from the pulp through centrifugal force and passes through a strainer while the pulp gets discarded.
- Masticating juicers (also called cold press or slow juicers) crush and press fruits and veggies to squeeze out the juice. They operate at slower speeds and tend to produce higher yields and less oxidation.
How Blenders Work
Blenders use fast-spinning blades to blend and puree foods, rather than to separate juice from pulp. When you put produce in a blender, the entire thing gets pulverized and incorporated into the juice – pulp, fiber, and all.
- Designed for juicing: Since juicers are made specifically for juice extraction, they tend to do a better job separating pulp and yielding more juice.
- Less fiber: The pulp gets separated out, so you get a smoother, drinkable juice without excess fiber.
- Better nutrient extraction: Juicers are optimized to break down cell walls and extract vitamins and minerals from fruits and veggies.
- Faster: Centrifugal models can juice most produce in seconds. Masticating juicers take 1-2 minutes but are still faster than blenders.
- Less oxidation: Juice made in a masticating juicer oxidizes slower, so more nutrients are preserved.
- Wider variety: Juicers can handle leafy greens, sprouts, herbs, and wheatgrass, which blenders can’t really juice.
- Retains fiber: All the pulp stays in, so you get extra fiber for digestive and heart health.
- Thicker texture: Blender juices have more body from the pulp and fiber left in.
- Blends better: Blenders excel at blending or pureeing whole fruits and veggies into smoothies.
- More versatile: Blenders can make smoothies, nut milks, batters, sauces and more – not just juice.
- Typically cheaper: You can find basic blenders for under $50, while most juicers start around $100+.
- Easier to clean: Blender jars and parts are simpler to wash than juicers with small mesh strainers.
- Pulp waste: A lot of fiber-rich pulp gets discarded in the juicing process.
- Oxidation: Centrifugal juicers expose juice to air, causing some nutrient loss.
- Not as versatile: Juicers really only do one thing – make juice. They can’t make smoothies, nut milks, etc.
- Slow juicing: It can take a while for a masticating juicer to juice veggies and leafy greens.
- Trickier to clean: Juicer parts have small mesh screens and strainers that are hard to scrub.
- Takes up space: Juicers tend to have a large footprint, so they take up more cabinet or counter space.
- May heat juice: Friction from blending can damage nutrients and degrade enzyme quality.
- Not ideal for greens: Blenders don’t extract juice well from leafy greens and grasses.
- Fibrous texture: The pulp left in blender juice gives it a thicker, fibrous consistency.
- Sediment: Bits of blended pulp settle and separate in the juice over time.
- Strong flavors: Blender juice can taste more vegetal or grassy compared to juiced fruit flavors.
Juicer vs Blender Nutrition
Because juicers remove the fiber and blenders retain it, the nutritional profiles of juices made in the two appliances also differ:
|Nutrients||Highly bioavailable||Less bioavailable due to fiber|
|Enzymes||Preserved in cold press juicers||Damaged by blending|
|Oxidation||Minimal in cold press, higher in centrifugal||Moderate|
Choosing Between a Juicer and Blender
So should you buy a juicer or just use a blender to make your juices? Here are some factors to consider:
- If you want smoother, fiber-free, pure juices, a juicer is better. But blenders give you extra fiber.
- For green leafy veg and wheatgrass, a masticating juicer extracts juice much better than a blender.
- Blenders give you more versatility. Juicers really only juice.
- Blenders tend to be cheaper and easier to clean than most juicers.
- Cold press masticating juicers yield juice with the highest nutrient quality.
- Centrifugal juicers are quicker if you need to juice in a hurry.
In the end, it depends on your priorities. If you want to juice leafy greens and wheatgrass, a masticating juicer is likely your best bet. If you mainly want to make fruit juices and smoothies, a blender may suffice in most cases.
You may also consider getting both – a blender for smoothies and basic juices, along with a cold press juicer for leafy greens and when you want the highest quality juice. This combo gives you the most flexibility to make different recipes.
Tips for Making Juice in a Blender
While juicers make the overall process easier, it is possible to make juice in a blender. Here are some tips:
- Dice or chop produce into small pieces before blending to maximize juice extraction.
- Blend fruits and veggies with some liquid like water or nut milk to get the blender spinning.
- Blend in batches and strain pulp through a nut milk bag or cheesecloth.
- Add herbs, greens, sprouts, and soft fruits like berries, oranges, kiwi at the end.
- Don’t overfill the blender jar. Leave room for food to move around.
- Let the machine run for at least 1-2 minutes per batch.
- Store juice in a sealed container in the fridge and drink within 24-48 hours.
While it’s ideal to have a juicer if you want to make fresh juices regularly, it is possible to DIY juice using a blender. With some adaptation, you can still make flavorful blends full of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants – just with a bit more pulp. If you already own a blender, give it a try before running out to buy a juicer. But for frequent juicing or leafy green juices, a juicer is likely worth the investment.