Is a juicer or blender better for smoothies?

Smoothies have become an increasingly popular healthy drink option over the past few years. Blending together fruits, vegetables, and other ingredients into a cold, refreshing beverage is a tasty way to increase your nutrient intake. But should you use a juicer or a blender to make your smoothies? There are pros and cons to both appliances.

Juicer Overview

Juicers extract the liquid contents from fruits and veggies while removing the fibers. They work by grinding and crushing ingredients, then straining out the pulp. The resulting juice contains most of the vitamins, minerals and plant chemicals with little or no fiber.

There are three main types of juicers:

  • Centrifugal juicers: The most common type, these have a rapidly spinning blade that forces ingredients against a mesh filter. Centrifugal models are inexpensive, fast and easy to use but don’t extract as much juice from greens.
  • Masticating juicers: Also known as cold press or slow juicers, these crush ingredients between gears to press out juice. Masticating juicers are pricier but yield more juice and retain more nutrients.
  • Triturating juicers: The most efficient but expensive models, triturating juicers have twin gears that crush and press produce. They extract the highest yield of micronutrient-rich juice.

Blender Overview

Blenders pulverize and puree whole fruits, vegetables and ice into smooth, drinkable smoothies. They finely chop and mix ingredients rather than separating out the fiber from the liquid. The resulting beverage contains all the fiber and pulp in a thick, smooth texture.

There are several blender types:

  • Countertop blenders: The most widely used option, countertop blenders come in a range of speeds and power levels. Budget models under $50 can handle most blending tasks while high performance blenders over $200 excel at tougher jobs.
  • Immersion blenders: Also known as hand or stick blenders, these compact devices blend by submerging the blade end into a container. Immersion blenders are affordable and good for pureeing small amounts.
  • Personal blenders: Ideal for single servings, these small blenders typically use travel mug-sized containers. Many personal models are portable and rechargeable.

Nutrition Content

One of the biggest differences between juicers and blenders is the nutrition content they retain. Juicers remove the fiber pulp, yielding a beverage with more micronutrients but fewer beneficial plant compounds and antioxidants. Blending keeps the fiber intact, resulting in a thicker drink with more overall nutrients.

Vitamins and Minerals

Juicing extracts a higher concentration of many water-soluble vitamins and minerals like vitamins C, some B vitamins and potassium. Because there is no fiber to slow absorption, these nutrients are rapidly absorbed by the body. Blending provides less micronutrients overall since there is fiber diluting the juice content. However, the fiber helps slow sugar absorption, allowing a steadier nutritional uptake.


Blending retains all the dietary fiber from the ingredients. Fiber aids digestion, promotes gut health, stabilizes blood sugar and lowers cholesterol. Juices have little if any fiber since it’s removed with the pulp. Lack of fiber can cause hunger and sugar crashes.


Many beneficial plant compounds like polyphenols and carotenoids are found within the skin and pulp of produce. Blending retains these antioxidant compounds, while juicing strips them out. Antioxidants help reduce inflammation and oxidative stress.

Other Plant Compounds

Research shows that phytochemicals in fruits and veggies work synergistically for greater health benefits. For example, compounds like flavonoids need fiber to be fully absorbed by the body. Juices may contain less of certain plant chemicals since the fiber was discarded.

Smoothie Nutrition Comparison

To compare the nutritional difference, here is the breakdown for 12 oz green smoothies made with spinach, kale, cucumber, celery, apple, banana, lemon and ginger:

Juiced Smoothie Blended Smoothie
Calories 112 257
Protein 2g 3g
Fat 1g 2g
Net Carbs 23g 45g
Fiber 0.4g 7g
Vitamin A 15% DV 45% DV
Vitamin C 60% DV 70% DV
Calcium 4% DV 10% DV
Iron 6% DV 10% DV
Potassium 15% DV 15% DV

As you can see, the blended smoothie has a higher calorie count and more fiber and fat since it includes the whole fruits and veggies. The juiced version is lower in calories but also much lower in fiber, meaning less prolonged energy and more sugar spikes.

Vitamins like A and C are higher in the blended smoothie thanks to retaining the skins and pulps of produce. However, the juiced smoothie has higher percentages for certain minerals like calcium and iron since the fiber has been removed.

Overall, blending provides more complete nutrition with a mix of micronutrients and plant compounds. Juicing may offer an immediate vitamin boost but lacks the full spectrum of benefits.

Benefits of Juicing

Despite their lower fiber and antioxidant levels, fresh juices still offer advantages for health and nutrition, including:

  • Increased vegetable intake – Juicing makes it easier to consume more veggies. You can pack pounds of produce into one drink.
  • Enhanced micronutrient absorption – The body can more readily absorb vitamins and minerals without fiber.
  • Support detoxing – With high nutrient levels but lower calories, juices can aid cleansing programs.
  • Nutrients for compromised digestion – Juices require minimal digestion and are easily absorbed.
  • Weight loss – Juices can help reduce calorie intake while still providing nutrition.
  • Hydration – Juices have high water content to hydrate the body.

Juicing is especially popular for detoxes or short-term nutritional boosts. But for daily smoothies, blending may be a better option.

Benefits of Blending

Blending smoothies offers its own set of advantages, including:

  • More complete nutrition – Blends retain vital fiber, antioxidants and plant compounds missing from juices.
  • Sustained energy – Dietary fiber stabilizes blood sugar for hours rather than quick spikes and drops.
  • Satiation – Smoothies with protein and fiber keep you feeling fuller for longer.
  • Heart and gut health – The fiber feeds healthy gut bacteria and lowers cholesterol.
  • Disease prevention – Phytochemicals and antioxidants reduce inflammation and oxidative damage linked to disease.
  • Bone health – Blending leaves in nutrients that boost calcium absorption for improved bone density.

In addition to a more comprehensive nutritional profile, blended smoothies require little digestion so the nutrients can be quickly utilized by the body.

Downsides of Juicing

Juicing comes with some distinct disadvantages:

  • Lower fiber – Lack of fiber can cause nutrient deficiencies, sugar crashes, hunger and poor gut health.
  • Less plant compounds – Juices lose antioxidant and anti-inflammatory compounds in the skins and pulp.
  • Nutrient absorption – The body may struggle to properly absorb certain vitamins and minerals without fiber.
  • Sugar spikes – Juices digest rapidly, raising blood sugar and insulin levels.
  • Hunger – Juices don’t satisfy appetite as well due to low fiber and protein.
  • Waste – The pulp leftovers can add up to pounds of wasted produce.

While juices can play a role in a healthy diet, relying solely on juicing long-term may deprive you of valuable dietary fiber and nutrients.

Downsides of Blending

Blending has fewer drawbacks, though these may be considerations:

  • Thicker texture – Some people dislike the thicker, chewier mouthfeel of blended smoothies.
  • Gassiness or bloating – Extra fiber can cause gas or abdominal discomfort in some individuals.
  • Lower vitamin content – The fiber may inhibit absorption of some micronutrients.
  • Oxidation – Blending can degrade vitamins over time by exposing them to air.
  • Sugar content – More fiber means blending more fruit, raising natural sugar levels.

Most of blending’s limitations can be addressed by adjusting your ingredients or getting a more powerful blender.

Juicer vs Blender: Which Is Easier to Use and Clean?

Convenience is also an important factor when choosing between a juicer and blender. Here’s how they compare:

Ease of Use

Blenders generally require little prep work besides roughly chopping ingredients and adding them to the container. Juicers need more prep time since produce has to be cut into small pieces to fit through the feed tube. Blenders are also quicker, taking usually 1 minute or less to make a smoothie. Juicers can take 3-5 minutes to extract a full glass of juice.

Clean Up

Juicers have more parts to clean and pulp that needs constant rinsing from the mesh sieve. Pulp can dry on the filters if left uncleaned. Blenders are easier to clean since there’s no pulp and the smoothie container can just be rinsed and washed.


Centrifugal juicers are often louder with their spinning blades and vibration. Masticating types are quieter but make grinding noises. Blenders also create noise from their motors and blades crushing ice, but are comparable or quieter than most juicers.


Juicers require exact measuring of water content to create the right juice consistency. Blenders can blend to the texture you want each time. With blenders there’s also less risk of variation in yields between produce batches.

Cost Comparison

In general, blenders are cheaper than juicers, with good quality blenders available for under $100. Here’s a cost comparison of top models:

Blender Price
Ninja Professional Blender $99.99
Vitamix 5200 $449.95
Blendtec Total Classic $279.95
NutriBullet Pro $99.99
Juicer Price
Mueller Austria Centrifugal $99.97
Omega NC800HDS $299.95
Tribest Slowstar Vertical $399.95
Breville JE98XL Juice Fountain $149.95

As you can see, quality juicers start around $300 while blenders can be purchased for $100 or less. High-speed blenders do come closer to juicers in price, but remain on the more affordable end overall.

Blending vs Juicing: Which Is Right for You?

So should you buy a blender or juicer for your smoothie-making needs? Here are some guidelines based on lifestyle factors:

For Overall Nutrition

If you want smoothies as a staple drink to boost daily nutrition, choose a blender. The whole food ingredients and fiber will provide more sustained energy and health benefits.

For Detoxing

Juicing is better for detox cleanses requiring low calorie, high nutrient beverages. The vitamins and minerals can be rapidly absorbed without fiber.

For Weight Loss

Juices tend to be lower in calories for those limiting intake for weight loss. But blends help suppress hunger and cravings better long-term.

For Calories

To keep calories low but nutrition high, juices are your best bet. Blending adds bulk from fiber to create thicker, more filling drinks.

For Convenience

Blenders are quicker and easier for on-the-go smoothie making. Just add ingredients and blend.

For Pleasant Taste

If you don’t like pulp or thick beverages, juicing makes lighter, clearer drinks. Blending keeps texture for rich mouthfeel.

For Budget

Blenders give you more for your money with quality models under $100. Expect to spend $200+ for a good juicer.

Best Juicers for Smoothies

These top-rated juicers do an excellent job extracting juice from greens and fruits to make nutritious, great-tasting smoothies:

  • Breville JE98XL Juice Fountain Plus – $149.95. Large centrifugal juicer with 850 watt motor and wide 3 inch feeder.
  • Mueller Austria Juicer – $99.97. Affordable centrifugal model with stainless steel blades and anti-drip design.
  • Aicook Slow Masticating Juicer – $159.99. Cold press juicer with 150 watt motor for quiet operation and minimal oxidation.
  • Omega NC900HDC – $299.95. Masticating style with adjustable settings for max juice extraction.
  • Tribest Greenstar Elite – $499.95. Twin gear cold press juicer with magnetic bioceramic technology.

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