If you are looking to buy a juicer, the two most common words you will find are “centrifugal” and “masticating”. These are the most popular forms of juicer and are both very different from one another.
Regardless, it can be quite confusing to understand the difference between the both if they seem to make the same product (juice).
As both have their differences and work in different ways, it’s important to understand their advantages and disadvantages to know what is best for you.
You may be looking for a quiet juicer or a fast juicer - but which one is that?
We have made the ultimate guide to deciphering the difference between centrifugal and masticating juices, from their benefits to their downfalls, and which is best for making the healthiest juice.
Centrifugal juicers are the most commonly found juicers in department stores and online, as they are generally the most affordable type of juicer.
You are most likely to see these juicers on television ads due to the cost point.
How Centrifugal Juicers Work
Centrifugal, by definition, is moving something away from the center. These juicers work primarily by spinning the produce using spinning blades.
These blades grind the produce by separating the juice from the pulp - the juice falls through to the cup as the pulp is pushed to the sides of the juicer (or moved away from the center, according to the definition).
The speed of these blades is fast - often 3k to 16k reps per minute. If it wasn’t this fast, the food would merely be chopped and ground to a mushy consistency rather than juice.
So, how do they get rid of the pulp? The pulp is moved to the sides of the juicer as the blades move. In cheaper models, the sides of the juicer will simply have a filter where excess juice from the pulp can be collected.
Some products will talk about how “dry” the pulp residue is, which essentially means how much juice has been drained from the pulp. With this in mind, cheaper centrifugal juicers don’t dry out the pulp enough just by the fast blades.
More pricey options will often have a pulp container which makes it easier to extract and remove the pulp.
The pulp is one of the main downsides to centrifugal juicers, especially if they don’t have designated pulp containers, as it makes the cleaning process slightly more tedious.
Centrifugal juicers with pulp containers mean that you don’t have to consistently stop the juicing process to remove any pulp that could be blocking the juice - especially if you are juicing a lot of produce!
Due to the potential pulp issues, centrifugal juicers are better suited for hard and dense fruit and vegetables. This is also because the fast-spinning blades can grind harder and larger chunks of produce than a masticating juicer (which we will discuss further later!).
One of the biggest advantages of centrifugal juicers is their ability to handle large produce, which is mostly down to its wide feed chute.
The feed chute is where the food is dropped or pushed down into the juicer. The narrower the chute, the more you will have to cut your food.
Although this isn’t exactly the biggest issue and it doesn’t take long to chop fruit and vegetables, it’s quite a nice bonus to simply drop your fruit or vegetables into a larger feed chute.
Feed chutes on centrifugal juicers can be up to 3-4” wide, which means you can drop entire apples, oranges, and other foods of similar sizes straight into the juicer!
This feed chute will come with a lid and, depending on the model, may come with an object to help push the food down if need be.
Whilst larger chunks and whole pieces of fruit and vegetables are suitable for centrifugal juicers, they are not suited for leafy greens and soft produce such as wheatgrass or spinach.
This is because the pulp to juice separation isn’t as good as a masticating juicer, which means you will probably spend more time clearing away the pulp than waiting for the juice.
The fast blades will just spin and spin the leafy greens, cutting them into pieces, rather than press them into a juice.
The simplest way to describe a centrifugal juicer is to imagine a washing machine. A washing machine will rinse and squeeze out the water from clothes at the end of its cycle by forcing a faster spin.
A centrifugal juicer works similarly to a washing machine, as they work quickly to release the juice from larger volumes of produce.
- Generally more affordable as they are so common
- They can handle large chunks of produce and even whole pieces of food, which means they are great for large families
- They produce juice faster than other types of juicer
- The feed chute size and power of the motor means centrifugal juicers are best for dense fruit and vegetables
- The pulp can get stuck if a model does not offer a pulp container, which can make the cleaning process more tedious
- The speed and power of the motor means they are noisy
- Fast spinning blades means there is more oxidation, which shortens the shelf-life of the juice as enzymes are destroyed
- Juice can often come out foamy or bubbly due to the speed of the spinning blades
To masticate is to chew food, which is the best way to quickly explain how masticating juicers work.
Like a human mouth, masticating juicers work to chew produce and separate the juice from the pulp.
Imagine you’re eating an orange: your teeth will chew the orange segments and squeeze the juice into your mouth, leaving the rest of the segment pulp behind.
How Masticating Juicers Work
Masticating juicers are often also called slow or single-gear juicers due to the way they create juice. They slowly chew and grind the produce that is fed to them, and effectively separate the juice from the pulp.
The juice and pulp go into separate containers, which means there is barely any cleanup from the pulp as this is already sorted for you.
This method does take longer than centrifugal juicers, which could be considered a disadvantage for those who want to create juice quickly. However, this is a hugely beneficial method for maintaining the nutrients and healthiness of the juice.
The chewing process takes away the cells from the fruit or vegetables and forces out the enzymes and nutrients that are closer to the core.
There is minimal oxidation as the speed is so slow (80-120 RPM), which means that all of the fresh enzymes from the original fruit and vegetables remain the same in the juice. This also means the juice can keep for up to 72 hours, as oxidation shortens the shelf-life of juice.
In short, if you want your juice to be the ultimate liquid version of your favorite fruit and vegetables, a masticating juicer is your best option.
Another bonus to this slow speed is that these juicers are virtually silent. Perfect if you want to make juice at 6 am without waking up the kids or neighbors!
As masticating juicers offer healthier and more nutritious juices, they are generally more expensive and less common than centrifugal juicers. This can be a major disadvantage for those who are on a budget, or for those who don’t plan to use it daily to make the most out of their money.
The feed chute is also significantly narrower than centrifugal juicers, which means there will be more prep time to cut up the fruit and vegetables into smaller chunks.
Mastication juicers also require the fruit and vegetables to be pushed into the juicer, so they are not as automatic as centrifugal ones.
This being said, they can suitably chew and grind juice out of dense foods as well as leafy greens and softer fruits and vegetables.
- The best juice quality is produced due to the lack of oxidation - meaning all of the enzymes are fresh and haven’t been destroyed
- Juice keeps for up to 72 hours and doesn’t have to be drunk immediately due to minimal oxidation
- Silent due to lack of spinning blades and powerful motor
- Separate pulp and juice containers for easy cleaning
- Juice is not foamy
- Generally more expensive than centrifugal juicers
- Slower juicing time than centrifugal juicers
- Smaller feed chute requires more chopping of fruit and vegetables
Which Cleans Easier?
How well and easily a juicer can clean can be a huge advantage or disadvantage for some buyers. You don’t want to spend 10 minutes having to scrub the juicer after each use, especially if you plan on using it daily.
Fortunately, the majority of juicers (both masticating and centrifugal) are made of BPA-free materials that are dishwasher safe.
Even if you don’t have a dishwasher, they can be easily rinsed and cleaned in warm soapy water - just make sure you do this quickly before any residue sticks to the juicer!
The majority of juicers also come with a small cleaning brush to get through to the small corners and edges as well as through the feed chute.
Despite this, centrifugal juicers tend to be the harder juicer to clean. If they don’t have a separate pulp container, not only will you have to scoop out the pulp during the juicing time, but this can also be a nightmare for cleaning.
It’s important to get all of the pulp and juice out of the juicer before you use it again to prevent any bacteria from growing on residue.
Masticating juicers are generally easier to clean due to the pulp and juice separations, and the lack of spinning blades means there is less to remove and clean from the juicer.
Nutritional Value and Oxidation
One of the main reasons people want to buy a juicer is because of the nutritional value. Ideally, you’d like to get all of the nutrients from your juice as you would if you ate the fruit or vegetable naturally.
Juicing these foods can help people to have their 5-a-day in a fast liquid form rather than eating them all separately. So, you want to receive all of the nutrients from the fresh produce, right?
Let’s discuss oxidation. Oxidation has come up several times in our guide, so we should explain this further.
Oxidation occurs when fruit or vegetables are cut open and exposed to oxygen for some time. For example, an apple that has been cut in half will begin to turn brown as it oxidizes. This process destroys the enzymes and therefore decreases the nutritional value of the apple.
Oxidation in a juicer occurs when the juice is exposed to too much oxygen. This is why centrifugal juicers are more likely to oxidize the juice, as the fast-spinning blade pumps so much oxygen throughout the juice.
This doesn’t necessarily mean that the juice is already oxidized, but it means that it needs to be consumed within 24 hours to make the most of the fresh enzymes.
Masticating juicers, on the other hand, don’t pump oxygen throughout the grinding process. This means that the enzymes are maintained and deep-seated nutrients are pushed out.
Juice from masticating juicers can last up to 72 hours when stored in the fridge, as they can withstand oxygen for longer.
This is highly beneficial for those who like to make large batches of juice to take to work or to drink throughout the day.
Is Slower Better Than Faster?
As the main difference between masticating and centrifugal is the speed, you may be wondering whether one speed is better than the other.
In reality, it all comes down to personal preference. Some people may want a juicer to quickly make a juice before work, whilst others may prefer a slower juicer for the sake of less noise.
This is where masticating juicers have their biggest downfall. The speeds at which they create juice are much slower, 80 - 120 RPM, compared to centrifugal juicers, which work between 3k - 6k RPM. Whilst this may not seem a problem to some people, others may require convenience over quality.
However, if you are looking to make the most out of your juicer to consume all of the nutrients from fruit and vegetables, faster options aren’t always the best.
As we explained earlier, centrifugal fast-spinning juicers force more oxygen into the juice which shortens its shelf life and lessens the number of enzymes. Whilst it may taste great, it won’t offer the flavor that a slow juicer has to offer.
Masticating juicers, whilst slower, do offer the best quality juice. There are no spinning blades to whip up the juice which can often create a foamy or bubbly texture (something that can happen with centrifugal juicers).
However, it also depends on the type of food you intend to put in your juicer! Centrifugal juicers are fast and powerful for a reason: because they can grind larger and harder fruits and vegetables.
Masticating juicers, on the other hand, are the best for soft fruits and vegetables and leafy greens such as wheatgrass. This means that the quality of the juice will be different depending on what type of food you put in what type of juicer.
A centrifugal juicer will grind hard produce better than masticating juicers which can juice softer produce better.
Pulp and Waste
You will want to make the most of your money and your juicer, which is why it is important to understand which juicer leaves the driest pulp.
The spinning design of centrifugal juicers pushes the pulp to the sides, which means that there is potential juice that has been pushed to the side.
This will all get chucked in the bin. If you are conscious about waste and making the most out of your food, a centrifugal juicer will not make the most juice.
A masticating juicer, on the other hand, literally pushes everything from the fruit and vegetables. When the pulp is pushed into the pulp container, it comes out in a thick consistency that is fairly dry.
It is said that masticating juicers give around 20% more juice than centrifugal juicers due to the “chewing” design and process.
Whilst masticating juicers are more expensive than centrifugal ones, they could be more worth your money in the long run as you won’t have to buy as much produce.
The difference may only be the cost of an apple, but this will add up eventually!
Taste vs Health
If we have confused you with all of the health benefits of juicers and you’re only interested in making juices from berries, a centrifugal juicer will work fine for you!
Fortunately, there isn’t a difference in taste between both centrifugal and masticating juicers. So, if you want a juicer to make sweet juices, a centrifugal one will work well - but remember that berries contain lots of natural sugar which isn’t necessarily healthy in excessive amounts!
If you want a juicer to fit in your five-a-day, a masticating juicer will be your new best friend.
These juicers can squeeze the juice from healthy leafy greens (unlike centrifugal juicers). The slow-motion also limits oxidation, which means you get every benefit from the enzymes and nutrients if you were to eat the fruit and vegetables normally.
At the end of the day, it all comes down to personal preference as to which juicer is the better option.
There are multiple factors why someone may prefer a centrifugal juicer over a masticating one and vice versa, which we hope we have explained in this guide!
If you’re looking for speed, convenience, and taste - a centrifugal juicer is the best option.
If you’re looking to improve your health and consume as many nutrients as possible - a masticating juicer will be your new companion.