Juicing has become an incredibly popular way to get more fruits and vegetables into your diet. Drinking fresh, raw juice made at home provides a concentrated dose of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. There are two main types of juicers to choose from – cold press (also known as masticating or slow juicers) and centrifugal juicers. But is one better than the other?
How Cold Press and Centrifugal Juicers Work
Cold press and centrifugal juicers work in very different ways to extract juice from fruits and veggies. Understanding the mechanics behind each can help inform which is best for your needs.
Cold Press Juicers
A cold press juicer (also known as a masticating juicer) works by slowly crushing and pressing fruits and vegetables to squeeze out their juice. Here’s how the process works:
- Produce is dropped into a chute.
- A screw-like auger rotates and presses the produce against a screen.
- The auger spins slowly (usually around 80 RPM) to crush and press the produce.
- The juice is squeezed through small holes in the screen into a container.
- The dry pulp is expelled through a separate outlet.
This cold press process minimizes heat and oxygen exposure to preserve more nutrients.
In contrast, centrifugal juicers work at very high speeds to grind produce and separate juice:
- Produce is dropped into a chute.
- A fast spinning blade shreds the produce against a grater disk.
- The pulp and juice mixture is spun at high speeds (up to 14,000 RPM).
- The centrifugal force separates the juice from the pulp by pushing it through a strainer.
- The juice spins out through one spout, while the pulp is expelled through another.
The fast spinning results in some heat generation and oxidation.
Cold Press vs. Centrifugal – Key Differences
Understanding how cold press and centrifugal juicers work points to some key differences between the two types:
Cold press juicers are slow, operating at around 80 RPM. Centrifugal juicers are very fast, operating at up to 14,000 RPM.
The slow crushing of cold press generates little heat. Centrifugal juicers generate heat from friction of the high speeds.
Cold press juicers produce less oxidation. Centrifugal juicers expose juice to more oxygen.
Cold press retains more nutrients like vitamins A, C, E, minerals and antioxidants. Centrifugal loses some nutrients to heat and oxygen exposure.
Foam & Separation
Juice from cold press contains less foam and separation. Centrifugal juice can be frothier with more separation.
Centrifugal juicers tend to extract higher yields from produce. Cold press yields less juice but of higher quality.
Cold press juicers operate quietly. Centrifugal juicers are typically much louder.
Pros and Cons of Cold Press and Centrifugal Juicers
Here is a comparison of some of the main advantages and disadvantages of each juicer type:
Cold Press Juicer Pros
- Minimizes heat and oxidation
- Preserves more nutrients and enzymes
- Higher juice quality with less foam and separation
- Quiet operation
- Can juice leafy greens like spinach and kale
Cold Press Juicer Cons
- Slower juicing process
- Lower juice yields
- Higher price points
- Less juice per minute
- Not ideal for juicing large amounts
Centrifugal Juicer Pros
- Very fast juicing
- Higher juice yields
- Lower cost models available
- Can juice large amounts quickly
- Easier to clean
Centrifugal Juicer Cons
- Generates more heat and oxidation
- Less nutrient retention
- Lower juice quality with more foam
- Loud operation
- Not ideal for juicing leafy greens
Cold Press vs Centrifugal: How They Compare for Different Produce
How well each type of juicer handles different fruits and vegetables is another important comparison:
A few key points:
- Cold press juicers excel at juicing leafy greens like kale and spinach. Centrifugal struggles with leaves.
- Cold press is great for juicing beets, carrots and ginger. Centrifugal performance is decent.
- Centrifugal juicers work very well for juicing fruits and veggies with high water content like citrus, grapes and melons.
Special Features to Look for
Here are some special features and abilities to look for when shopping for either a cold press or centrifugal juicer:
Cold Press Juicer Features
- Reverse function – Allows you to clear jams by reversing auger direction.
- Pulp control – Adjust pulp amount in juice.
- Juicing screen – Choose fine or coarse screens.
- Auto-cleaning – Self-cleaning programs.
- Soft start – Minimizes stalling when first turned on.
- Large chute – Fit whole produce without pre-cutting.
Centrifugal Juicer Features
- Wide chute – Fit large produce.
- Auto-clean – Self-cleaning options.
- Multiple speeds – Adjust speed for soft or hard produce.
- Pulp control – Direct excess pulp to container.
- Drip stop – Stops dripping between pours.
- Dishwasher-safe – Parts clean easily in dishwasher.
Cold Press vs. Centrifugal: How Much Do They Cost?
In general, cold press juicers come with higher price tags while centrifugal juicers offer more budget-friendly options. Here’s an overview of the cost for each type of juicer:
Cold Press Juicers
Cold press juicers start around $200-$300 for basic models and go up to $500+ for more feature-rich options with larger chutes and higher power. The average cost of a good cold press juicer is $300-$400.
Centrifugal juicers have a much wider range of pricing. Basic models start at $50-$100. High-end options can reach $300-$500. But most good mid-range centrifugal juicers cost $100-$200.
Choosing Between Cold Press and Centrifugal Juicers
So when it comes down to choosing between these two major types of juicers, which is better?
Here are some key factors to help you decide:
If high juice quality is most important:
Choose a cold press juicer. The slower cold press process results in less oxidation and heat for better retention of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. Juice is also less foamy.
If you’ll be juicing lots of leafy greens and soft produce like spinach, kale or beets:
Choose a cold press juicer. Cold press juicers excel at juicing leafy greens that centrifugal machines struggle with.
If you want greater juice yields:
Choose a centrifugal juicer. The high speed separation of centrifugal models removes more liquid and results in higher juice output.
If you plan to juice citrus fruits or harder produce frequently:
Choose a centrifugal juicer. Centrifugal machines are great for juicing high water content produce like oranges or pineapples.
If you want faster juicing times:
Choose a centrifugal juicer. Centrifugal models can juice most fruits and veggies in seconds, while cold press is much slower.
If you’ll be juicing in large batches:
Choose a centrifugal juicer. The high speeds are ideal for juicing large amounts quickly.
If you want lower noise levels:
Choose a cold press juicer. Cold press juicers operate much more quietly than the loud centrifugal types.
If price is a major factor:
Choose a centrifugal juicer. While high-end centrifugal juicers can get pricey, there are many affordable options under $100. Good cold press juicers start around $300.
When choosing between cold press and centrifugal juicers, consider your priorities in juice quality, types of produce to juice, juice yields, speeds, noise levels and price. Cold press juicers operate slowly to minimize oxidation and heat for the highest juice quality. Centrifugal juicers are faster, louder and more affordably priced. Pick the juicer type that best matches what factors are most important to you.
Both cold press and centrifugal juicers have their advantages and disadvantages. There is no definitively “better” option – it depends on each individual’s juicing needs. By understanding the key differences in how they work, their features, performance with different produce, and prices, you can decide whether a cold press or centrifugal juicer is the best choice for the tastiest homemade juices.