Juicing your own fruits and veggies is awesome. There are no downsides – you consume more fresh, all-natural nutrients in an easy and yummy way. However, when it comes to picking the right machine to make your morning elixir, things can get confusing.
You know that the two most common types of juicers are centrifugal and masticating. But what exactly are the differences between them? I’ll try to explain it in simple terms.
Masticating vs. Centrifugal Juicers
In simplest terms, a centrifugal juicer is the noisy one that does the job very fast, and a masticating juicer is the quiet, slow one that does the job thoroughly. One of these two types of juicers is present in so many homes around the globe – families everywhere love starting the day with a glass of fresh-squeezed juice.
1. How It Works
Centrifugal juicers are fast and furious. When you drop a piece of fruit down the chute, the centrifugal juicer spins it around super quickly. As it spins, the fruity chunk is shredded by sharp teeth and pressed to the cone-shaped mesh by the centrifugal (spinning) forces. This system gives you a speedy separation of juice and pulp material, making this a quick and easy way to get your 5 a day.
On the other hand, a masticating juicer is slow but very thorough. Masticating literally means chewing, and that’s exactly what the machine does: it crushes and chews your veggies for you. The system involves an auger that spins relatively slowly to separate and squeeze pulp and juice. And then it sends your juice directly to your glass, filtered through a mesh.
2. Overall Juice Quality
Centrifugal juicers like to play it rough with the plants, so the juice from this type of machine is generally considered lower quality compared to the one coming from a masticating juicer. From a nutritional point of view, this is not necessarily true. There’s a wide-spread assumption that some super-fast centrifugal juicers heat up enough to break down some of the healthy enzymes in plants, making the nutritional value of the juice slightly lower. Also, since the juice spins rapidly in the machine, it comes out with a lot of bubbles. The foamy delight is fun, but it does indicate that the juice is well oxidized, making it turn all brown and unappetizing in mere hours. All in all, a glass of juice from a centrifugal juicer will surely make you stronger and taste sweet and refreshing, as long as you drink it right away.
Masticating juicers are different. It takes a while to get a full glass of juice, but once you do, you know it was worth the wait. It takes me around 5-8 minutes to get a glass of fresh juice with my machine, though depending on the model, it might take anywhere between 5 and 15 minutes. The chewing juicer gnaws away at the chunks of fruit and veggies, giving you thick, fresh, colorful juice without foam. Since there is no excessive exposure to heat or oxidation, the juice coming from a masticating juicer tends to stay tasty and full of flavor for as long as a few days in the fridge. Overall, the juice from a masticating machine is the ideal choice if you value shelf life.
3. Plant Selection
Variety is the most important aspect of a balanced diet. That’s something we hear repeated over and over, and that’s why I decided I should get a juicer that can handle all of my favorite fruits and veggies.
A centrifugal juicer can handle most hard fruits like apples and carrots, as long as you chop them small enough to slide down the chute. Juicy produce like tomatoes, peaches, cucumbers, and oranges give you a big juice yield in a centrifugal machine as well. However, you won’t get much juice from leafy greens like wheatgrass and kale from this type of juicer, though. Centrifugal juicers also don’t fare well with very soft fruit like blueberries. You will get some juice out of them, but the mechanism doesn’t deal well with that kind of fruit, so a lot of the juice stays in the discarded pulp.
For soft fruit and leafy greens, you need a masticating juicer. This type of juicer grinds up and processes the thin leaves easily, along with most other kinds of hard, soft, or juicy fruits and vegetables.
4. Speed and Noise
One of the most striking differences between centrifugal and masticating juicers is the speed at which they rotate. Along with the level of noise, speed influences a lot of things about your juicer, including the quality of the juice, but more on that later.
Centrifugal juicers rely on the power of rotation to squeeze your produce, and as such, they need incredibly fast-rotating speeds. A regular, domestic use centrifugal juicer will spin anywhere between 3 000 and 10 000 rotations per minute. On the other hand, masticating juicers are also known as slow juicers, and they do live up to the name: a regular model makes between 40 and 100 rotations in a minute.
As you can see, the difference between these is quite dramatic. One of the things that are directly influenced by the speed of rotation is the noise that the machine makes. A masticating juicer makes barely noticeable noise. Centrifugal juicers are very noisy, but at least they’re quick so it doesn’t last long!
5. Hot and Cold
Speed doesn’t only influence the noise output of the machine. One of the reasons why people often consider masticating juicers better is that they’re slow… This sounds absurd until you learn what happens when your fruits spin a bit too quickly.
In essence, high rotation speeds cause a lot of friction, and a lot of friction creates quite a bit of heat. In most cases, you don’t need to worry about the heat making an impact on the quality of your juice. However, if a particular centrifugal model heats up more than average, the heat can break down enzymes, leaving you with a less nutritious drink.
On the flip side, thanks to their slow rotation, masticating juicers are also known as cold-press machines. In theory, a masticating juicer should leave you with approximately 10% more nutrients per drink compared to centrifugal juicers. However, if you don’t use your centrifugal juicer at top speed (to avoid overheating), chances are that your juice is just as good!
6. Juice Oxidation
When you take a bite out of an apple and leave it for a while, chances are that the exposed part of the apple becomes gummy and brown fairly quickly. This happens under the influence of oxidation. While oxidized part of the fruit doesn’t necessarily have reduced nutritional value, it sure tastes far worse.
Since centrifugal juicers make your produce spin very quickly, the rotation also introduces a lot of air into the juice. That is also the reason why your juice is very foamy. Because of the way that juice is oxidized, it can only last for a few hours before it turns brown and bland. Masticating juicers don’t oxidize the juice very much, and that’s why it keeps on looking, smelling, and tasting fresh even up to 3 days in the fridge.
7. Price Point
You probably noticed by now – centrifugal juicers are considered lower quality. That fact can be noticed in the price as well. While there is some overlap in the prices of centrifugal and masticating juicers, centrifugal models are generally cheaper. Of course, a high-quality centrifugal juicer can be way more expensive than a low-tier masticating one. It’s always important to keep in mind that price usually reflects build quality and longevity as well. Whichever you opt for, I’m sure it will help make your diet so much richer with vitamins!
If you’re the type of person who wants to have a carrot juicer for an occasional refreshing glass, there’s nothing wrong with getting a cheaper centrifugal model. Provided that you don’t mind the noise, a centrifugal juicer will quickly give you a tasty glass of juice that you should drink right away.
If you want to make fruit and veggie juice a part of your daily diet, plan to make plenty of juice to drink in the next few days, or you simply want to get the most out of each and every piece of produce, a masticating juicer is a great investment for your kitchen!
See also: Vitamix 5200 vs Vitamix 7500