Buying—and owning—a juicer is a commitment, but if you have an affinity for drinking your vegetables, you'll save money in the long run juicing your own produce than buying bottles at your local health food store. If you're going to spend a couple of hundred dollars on a juicer, it's important to find the best juicer—one that's easy to store, use, and clean. After evaluating a variety of models in 2018 based on their ability to liquify bulky produce, we determined the best juicers to be the Breville Juice Fountain Plus and the Kuvings Whole Slow Juicer Elite. In 2019, we tested two new juicers up against our old winners—and found that the Breville and Kuvings still came out on top. Read on for why we love each one; for the specifics of how we tested and what to look for in a juicer, scroll to the bottom of the page.
The Best Centrifugal Juicer (And the Best Juicer Overall): The Breville Juice Fountain Plus
We knew the Breville would be great from the moment we took it out of the box. At about 13 pounds, it was one of the lightest we tested—so much so that we wondered if it was missing any machinery. Once we began taking the parts out of the box, there wasn’t that wave of panic and confusion that usually accompanies setting up a hefty appliance. Though not a brand name synonymous with juicing like Omega or Juiceman, Breville has designed a product that's sturdy, straightforward, and powerful (it has an 850-watt dual speed motor and stainless steel cutting disc). We assembled it with ease, and though it isn't compact, the juicer is constructed to fit on a counter without taking up a vast amount of space.
The Breville has an extra-wide 3-inch feeder chute to push whole produce through, making things easy right off the bat. You don’t have to cut all of your fruits and veggies into tiny pieces. We chopped our carrots, apples, and cucumbers in half, but all of them could fit in the chute in their entirety. Whole leaves of kale didn't need to be tightly compressed, either. While all the other juicers we tested had "forward" and "reverse" buttons on their power switches, the Breville simply had "high" and "low" options. As the manual explains, the low speed is meant for leafy vegetables and soft fruits like pitted plums, blueberries, and peeled mangoes, while the high speed is for denser produce like carrots, apples, beets, and unpeeled cucumbers. Albeit a bit loudly, the machine juiced all of our inputs—cucumbers, carrots, apple slices, kale leaves, and celery stalks—in seconds. We found both speeds to work efficiently.
This was one of the only machines that had a lidded pulp collector and juice jug—a huge plus. No matter the produce, the countertop stayed clean and splatter-free. Even when we threw in lemons (rind and all), grapes, hunks of ginger, and blueberries, the Breville took them like a champ. The juicing experience was so pleasant that when the initial test was complete, we threw in extra kale leaves and carrots. The machine would be ideal in a household that favors quantity and speed—if you want to make a lot of juice in a short span of time, get the Juice Fountain Plus.
The cleaning process proved to be just as easy as setup. Every piece and part disassembled swiftly and seamlessly. The appliance comes with a cleaning brush, but we found we didn't need to use it. The were no clumps of pulp hiding in hard-to-reach corners. Breville even makes specific pulp container bags that are 100 percent compostable and biodegradable to keep things effortless. Overall, the Breville juicer made me excited about juicing and is the best juicer out there.
The Best Slow Juicer: Kuvings Whole Slow Juicer Elite
Though we found the Breville to be the best juicer in general, we also considered machines with slow-speed masticating technology. Instead of using a metal blade powered by centrifugal force to extract liquid, slow juicers squeeze out juice by pressing and grinding produce. This "low and slow" technique wrings out every last bit of juice and results in minimal separation, oxidation, and ideally, foam. Typically priced at $300 to $400, slow juicers tend to be more expensive than standard centrifugal machines and aren't as sought out by occasional juicers.
At 16 pounds, the Kuvings juicer was heavy but had a nice slim profile. When we began pulling all the parts out of the box, setup seemed like it might take awhile. Yet, with a quick glance at the manual and a note of a red dot locking system (a series of red markings on all the parts that line up when in the correct position), everything came together logically and trouble-free. Plus, the extra parts are exciting. There's a blank strainer for making ice cream and frozen fruit sorbet, a pulp strainer to adjust the amount of pulp in the juice, a hopper attachment for catching smaller items, and several cleaning tools.
The Kuvings juicer also has an extra-wide 3-inch feeder chute, and is constructed in a manner that made working with long, unruly pieces of kale easy. It was one of the only machines that had a transparent chute, so you can really see how the juicer is working to avoid clogging up the produce flow. The machine quietly juiced cucumbers, carrots, apple slices, kale leaves, and celery stalks, and when we got overzealous with the carrots—adding three at a time and clogging the flow—we easily reversed the auger to bring them back up the chute. There we could adjust, remove the mass of carrots, and resume juicing. No harm, no foul. Another favorite feature of the Kuvings model was the smart cap that keeps things drip-free, but also means you can make specific recipes or combinations of juice.
In the cleaning portion of the test, the wider parts were easy to scrub. Disassembly wasn't a headache, and the juicer comes with multiple cleaning brushes and a strainer that can be rotated with the cleaning brush to remove residue. There was a little extra pulp left in the spout, but it wasn't difficult to remove. The big, screw-like auger is also much less intimidating to handle than a sharp blade.
If anyone is in the market for a more meditative state of juicing, the Kuvings Elite is a winner. Slow juicing yields low-foam, low-temperature, high-volume, and nutrient-dense juice. Paired with an ease of use, a low level of noise, and a painless clean up, it's worth the high price tag.
$399.00, Williams Sonoma
An Honorable Mention, The Best Juicer for Easy Cleaning: Hurom Easy Clean Juicer
In our 2019 update to our best juicer product review, we tested the new Hurom Easy Clean Juicer. It's $200 less than the H-A1 Hurom model we tested last year, and it really is quite a bit easier to clean than any of the other juicers we tested. It doesn't utilize a fine-holed metal strainer insert that all the other juicers have, eliminating that scrubbing step that can be so tedious—you just rinse all the parts and let them dry. And like the Kuvings, assembly becomes intuitive pretty quickly. Even so, the Kuvings is still over $150 cheaper, works more quickly due to it's wider feeding tube, and still produces less foam than the Hurom (perhaps because of what the strainer does). But we think the extra-easy cleaning aspect of this juicer makes it worth considering for those who really want a juicer, but are held back by the daunting task of scrubbing it.
How We Tested
Having worked the juice bar at a health food store, I know firsthand about the intense labor juicing requires. Scrubbing a pulp-encrusted strainer basket is not fun, even if you're getting paid. So, finding a juicer that you want to pull out, simply use, and thoroughly clean, is important.
We focused our testing on three of the most common juicer concerns: high juice yield/low foam yield, ease of use, and clean up. We ordered nine juicers, and once they arrived, tried to even the playing field by sticking to those that were similarly built and had comparable speeds. We chose to test all vertical juicers versus horizontal ones—horizontal juicers tend to be cheaper, but also take up a lot more counter space and produce a slightly lower yield. We went through all of the juicers' features, weight, size, and style.
When we got down to juicing, we used the same amount produce for each machine. This included: half a cucumber (not peeled), two carrots (chopped into four pieces), half an apple (two slices, not peeled), one stalk of celery (chopped into two pieces), three leaves of kale (with the stem, one hunk of ginger (with the skin), 10 grapes, 10 blueberries, and half a lemon (two slices, with the rind). One at a time, we fed each item through the chute. We noted how the pulp came out, then measured the juice and foam. Because the yields were so close between each juicer, we didn't consider the differences a big dealbreaker (the Hurom and Smeg juicers did have about an ounce more foam than the rest of the machines though).
When we moved over to the task of cleaning, we noted how much scrubbing and disassembling was necessary to remove juice residue and pulp.
Factors We Evaluated
Besides examining the results of the individual tests explained above, we considered the following for the juicers:
1. Is it intuitive to assemble and use? Does it have any notable attachments or design features?
Most juicers have similar parts: a pulp container, a juice jug, a stainless steel basket, a blade or auger, a base, a feeder chute, and a food pusher. We made note of extras like brushes and alternate baskets, plus smart knobs, buttons, and speeds.
2. Does it feel well built? Does the construction and ease of use seem to justify the price?
Juicers need to turn your food into smooth, drinkable liquid, so the heft and substance of the machines need to be up to the task. For all the scrubbing and fibrous material involved, it's important that all the parts are going to withstand the work.
3. How much space does it take up? What's the visual appeal?
If you're going to be using your juicer regularly, it's going to take up valuable counter real estate. But how much? And if so, are you fine with keeping it out? If not, is it easy to store?
3. What is the juice yield? Is there a significant juice-to-foam ratio?
Aside from wanting to get the most juice out of fruits and vegetables, you should also consider the quantity of foam. Without getting too much in the weeds, some people claim that more heat and more oxidation (thus, foam) decreases the nutrients in the food. We wanted to avoid to avoid that.
Other Juicers We Tested
The Hurom H-A1 model was the only juicer we tested with a pulp container at the base of the machine, a feature that takes up little counter space. It also comes with a smart hopper that enables you to put all your ingredients inside a container and simply turn on the machine—no manual feeding required. However, despite all the extras and clever design, the juicer produced six ounces of foam and had a splattering issue. For $700, that felt like a loss. And though we were impressed with the add-ons that came with the Hurom H-AA model (an ice cream strainer, tofu press set, rack for assembling parts, and lid for the hopper), the chute was too small to fit produce that wasn't cut into tiny pieces and the foam yield was in the higher range.
The Smeg juicer is visually appealing, as all the brand's products tend to be, but the machine also had a tiny feeder chute. We had to cut an apple into a sliver to get it to fit. Meanwhile, the Omega and Tribest juicers had average performances. Both were a little on the messy side, with orange and green juice splattering onto the counter, and had small chutes that required a lot of effort on our part to fit kale and carrots. The Omega juicer was the only appliance that stopped mid-testing too (nothing major, just a little produce backup).
For our 2019 update, we tested Breville's new Juice Fountain Compact and weren't super impressed—the design eliminates the pulp cup, making the lid the receptacle for all the pulp. This made it more tedious to clean. And this design innovation doesn't actually save meaningful counter space (the machine is still bulky; the detachable pulp cup is the only component that makes it slightly smaller the Juice Fountain Plus). The Breville Juice Fountain Plus is still an excellent juicer, but it didn't beat out its superior cousin from the same brand.
If you're a green juice enthusiast who goes out to buy 16-ounce servings regularly or orders caseloads to your house, investing in the best juicer is an excellent idea. If you want to make a high quantity of juice fast, get the Breville. You barely have to think when using this machine, and it's less than $200. If you want a traditional slow juicer with controlled cold-press technology, spend a bit more for the Kuvings Elite. Finally for the best juicer for easy cleanup, choose the Hurom Easy Clean Juicer.
Originally Appeared on Epicurious