A Buyers Guide to for Cost, Quality & Durability
Students often ask me: “What’s the best juicer or best blender to buy?”
I used to own and operate health food restaurants, so I’ve used and abused nearly every model of juicer and blender on the market. With that in mind, hopefully my experiences will help you decide which is best for you.
If you can only invest in one high-end kitchen device, I would recommend you get a great blender. I use mine daily (often multiple times) whereas my juicers, dehydrator, and other gizmos get used much less frequently.
For me, a good blender needs to be able to turn nuts and seeds into creamy smoothness, whip up fluffy hummus, and blend frozen fruit and ice chunks without breaking. This is no small task.
My top blended foods are:
- Baba ganoush
- Cashew nut cheese
- Dry-ground: flax, almonds, chia, walnuts, sunflower seeds
- Salad dressings
- Uber-thick raw chocolate smoothies
- Pureed soups / sauces
For all of the above, a normal blender just won’t do. How do I know? Because I’ve destroyed 5 different mid-range blenders, most within a couple months of purchase. When you blend thick/hard stuff, you need a powerful engine and a machine that is built for torque. The mid- and low-range appliances just burnout, crack, or seize up.
I keep thinking some company will come up with a $100 blender that is “good enough,” but I’ve never found one. With that in mind, here are my top 2 blenders (in order of preference).
#1 Blender: The Vitamix
The Vitamix is a workhorse. It’s super easy to clean, durable as they come, and has a mixing auger that allows you to stir thick ingredients (like hummus) while you’re blending.
This blender is not cheap, but I’ve never met anyone who regretted buying one.
- Very simple controls
- Auger for mixing while blending
- Extremely durable
- 5 year warranty
- Large, heavy and loud
- Plastic pitcher gets some discoloration over time
- $499-650 (depending on country and model)
TIP: all their models are great, but I do like the 1-to-10 rotary dial control options models (such as the 5200). Also, no need to buy any additional canisters or add-ons, you won’t use them.
#2 Blender: The Blendtec
If you haven’t seen the “will it blend?” series of Youtube videos, take a look. Live on camera, they grind up mobile phones, jewelry and trees branches to demonstrate the power and durability of this machine.
This blender is truly awesome. I prefer the rotary controls on the Vitamix to Blentec’s digital buttons, but this machine is just as strong as a Vitamix and has some advantages not the least of which is the lower price tag.
The only big drawback? No mixing auger. I use my mixing auger every day. I can’t grind almond flour without it, for example, so for me, it’s a deal breaker, though it’s an awesome blender all the same.
- Most affordable of high-end options
- Digital display screen (if you like that)
- Extremely durable
- Superior plastic container (better than Vitamix)
- Smaller, sleeker design
- No auger for mixing
- You end up grinding your spatulas in an attempt to mix
- 1 year warranty (not long enough!)
- $249-400 (depending on country and model)
TIP: avoid all the add-ons, you won’t need them.
Will it Break? For most at-home use, neither of these high-end blenders will break unless you try to make a brick smoothie. That said, I have broken multiple Vitamix blenders in commercial settings where they were getting used (and abused) all day long.
The motors burned out, the pitchers broke, and parts came loose. But this is atypical and the warranty covered it, so I still recommend Vitamix above all else. I’ve never broken a Blentec, but if I’d used it commercially, I’m sure I would have. With only a 1 year warranty, that makes me a little nervous.
If you’re serious about juicing, you’ll find yourself juicing leafy green vegetables, wheatgrass, fresh herbs, ginger, and loads of other weird plants that a normal juicer just can’t handle.
For juicing aficionados, you need a masticating juicer.
These juicers have an auger that moves slowly and “chews” fresh produce into juice. Because of my restaurant work, I’ve had over a dozen juicers including industrial monsters that look and sound like space pods. Those huge juicers have their place, but for average-to-heavy home use, you want to get a single auger, Oscar/Omega or a Hurom/Versapers juicer.
The first two brands are classic horizontal-auger juicers, a setup that has been used for decades. The second two are vertical-auger juicers, a newer twist on the original design with similar results. These juicers are all manufactured in Korea, the different brands offer slightly different exteriors and fittings, but are essentially the same product (think Ford and Mercury in the USA car market, same idea).
While I love the wider mouth of vertical-auger design of the Hurom/Versapers models, the old school Oscar/Omega juicer is a better all-around machine, probably because it has been through more design iterations. Both styles are great (I currently own both), but if you had to choose one, the chrome-colored Oscar is a beautiful machine and extremely versatile.
#1 Juicer: Omega
(Samson brand is also great and nearly identical)
This juicer is very compact for its power, and surprisingly efficient at juicing just about anything. Your press your produce down the tube into the slowly moving auger that chews it into juice that drops from the bottom hole, the pulp comes out the end.
This machine comes with a blank filter that can be swapped in to make banana or frozen mango sorbet in minutes (push frozen fruit through there and walah!). It also grinds nuts and seeds into smooth pastes.
- Very efficient juicing, high yield
- Amazing frozen fruit sorbets in minutes
- Small, compact design, quiet and sleek
- 15 year warranty (amazing!)
- Must chop product pretty thinly before loading
- You have to stop, clean, start again to juice larger quantities
- It will lock up (but not break) with too many nuts, seeds, or juicing items
- Cleaning can be a pain
- $225-325 (depending on country and model)
#2 Juicer: Hurom
(Versapers brand is nearly identical)
The design of this newer juicer is great. I love that it’s smaller on the countertop, easier to clean, and faster to put together. The larger tube for pushing produce through means less chopping required to prep.
The biggest disadvantage is the Hurom usually yields less juice (not always) and cannot be used for sorbets and nut butters the way the Omega can. I also find it wastes produce, sometimes leaving large chunks of cucumber or lemon un-juiced in the canister.
- Great design, compact and sleek
- Larger tube for produce (means less chopping/prep)
- Very fast/easy to clean and setup
- Faster at juicing than Omega
- 10 year warranty
- On average, less yield in juice than Omega
- It locks up (but doesn’t break) frequently
- It cannot do nut butters and sorbets like the Omega
- $200-300 (depending on country and model)
What about infomercial juicers? All the juicers you’ll see for sale on television or in big box retailers are centrifugal juicers. There is a mesh basket that spins and crushes the produce, whipping out juice. For fruit and juicy vegetables (cucumbers, tomatoes, etc), these juicers work well. They oxygenate your juice which isn’t ideal, but if you drink it fresh, it’s not a big deal. They are cheap and easy to use, but the big drawback is that fruit juice is not the best for your health.
The saying goes, “Eat your fruit, drink your vegetables.” The best way to use fruit in your juices is in small quantities and to just add a little sweetness. Green juice is where it’s at, and for that, you need a masticating juicer like those reviewed here.
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Got Questions? Post them in the comments below, and I’ll do my best to answer them…