Sure, fruits and vegetables look bright and beautiful and are crammed with so much good stuff. But honestly, can you always be bothered to peel or chop them to get all their goodness? Be honest now. If you're like us and want the goodness but don't always have the time to get it, enter juicers and blenders. The best juicers and the best blenders quickly and easily whiz through your produce, whipping up delicious drinks. Learn more about the differences between the two and which might be right for you.
What is a juicer and different types
A juicer makes delicious fruit and vegetable juices. It removes the juice from fresh fruits and vegetables, leaving behind the flesh and pulp (and fibre - more on that coming up). This can then be used in your kitchen or thrown away.
There are 2 main types of juicers:
- A cold press juicer, also known as a slow juicer or masticating juicer. Masticating juicers slowly crush the ingredients, pressing the juice and pulp out of 2 different chutes, which may result in smoother, less frothy juice. This takes around 5 minutes. They tend to be quieter than fast juicers and are handwash only. They’re usually multifunctional and can handle producing juice as well as nut butters and milk, sorbet, ice cream and pureed baby food. Their warranties tend to be longer, which reflect their higher price point.
- A centrifugal juicer, which is a fancy way of saying a fast juicer. Centrifugal juicers spin at high speeds to pulverise the ingredients, separating the pulp from the juice. They’re fast and usually have wide feed chutes which means less pre-cutting for you. Normally, you can put whole fruits (like citrus fruits and apples) and vegetables in these juicers. They’re easy care thanks to their dishwasher safe parts. They’re cheaper than slow juicers, but they’re noisier and can result in more frothy juice.
Marketers like to claim that slow juicers extract and preserve more nutrients than centrifugal juicers. However, CHOICE, Australia's leading consumer advocacy group debunks this by stating:
“There's no single juicer or juicer type that consistently extracts the maximum amount of nutrients from each juice tested”.
Juicers are great because they:
- Make delicious, highly concentrated fruit and/or vegetable juice that contain a large amount of natural, healthy produce.
- Leave all the indigestible fibrous pulp out. This lack of fibre means the vitamin- and mineral-filled juice is quickly and easily absorbed by your body, so you get all the goodness. It also makes juicers a good choice for people on low-fibre diets.
- Remove a lot of bulk from your juice, so you can use a lot more fruit and veg (and get more vitamins, minerals and nutrients) than you would with a blender.
Juicers are not-so-great because they:
- Make fibre-free juice that isn't as filling.
- Produce food waste.
- Need more cleaning.
- Are usually more expensive.
- Encourage you to drink too many calories. Fruit juices tend to be high in energy (kilojoules) but low in dietary fibre, so you end up drinking more to feel full. Whole fruits are more filling and contain the fibre your body needs for a balanced diet.
What is a blender and different types
Blenders use a fast rotating blend to process produce into thick liquids, like smoothies, including green smoothies, and sauces. Everything is blended - the produce, pulp and flesh. This means the fibre remains too and there's no waste.
There are 4 main types of blenders:
- A standard blender. This is normally a glass jug with a blade that sits on top of a base. They can handle most ingredients, even tough ones like leafy greens.
- A personal blender, like a Nutribullet blender or a Ninja blender. These are designed to create smoothies, juices and shakes that you can instantly pick up and drink. You normally blend ingredients and drink from the same bottle. Great for convenience - you can grab one and chug it on your morning commute - they aren’t as powerful as standard blenders. You can normally only use them for 1 minute at a time.
- A high performance blender. A fancier version of a standard blender, these offer even more versatility. An alternative to a food processor, these blenders are the ones that can handle tough ingredients (like hard nuts) to whip up nut butters and pesto.
- An immersion, hand or stick blender. These are normally used to puree soups or sauces in a saucepan or bowl.
Blenders are great because they:
- Make a thick, creamy, tasty smoothie that's more filling than juice and provides a slow energy release thanks to fibre not being removed.
- Can handle other ingredients, like milk, almond milk, coconut water, yogurt, protein powders, chia seeds and more.
- Produce less waste.
- Are easier to clean.
- Are normally more affordable.
Blenders are not-so-great because they:
- Don't normally fit in as much produce as juices (because all bits of the produce are in blended smoothies, not just the juice!).
Comparing a juicer vs blender
Now that you understand the ins and outs, let's get down to the details - how they stack up in comparison to each other.
1. Health benefits
They both produce healthy drinks, yes? Sort of. Juice is high in (natural) sugar and low in fibre. Why? A juicer extracts liquid from fruit and vegetables, leaving the pulp and flesh as compacted waste. Yet this is nutrient-rich stuff, and you end up throwing out the heart-healthy fibre. When you use a blender, it pulverises every part of the produce, so you get to drink all the goodness (think vitamins, minerals and fibre).
2. Food waste
Juicers produce waste - a somewhat solid patty of pressed pulp and fibrous material. Normally, this is chucked in the bin which adds to the problem of leftover food that's regularly chucked into Aussie bins. This is a big problem - 2.5 million tonnes of edible food each year big. With blenders, there's nothing left over because a blender, er, blends it all.
First there's the cost of produce (not cheap). Because a juicer only extracts the juice, it needs more produce to fill the same size glass of liquids as a blender. Second there's the cost of the appliances themselves. Juicers tend to be more expensive than blenders.
Use your juicer once and you'll see that the jug is coated with a fine, sticky mess of fruit and veg particles. Leave this to sit at your peril - the longer it goes, the harder it gets to clean. Be prepared to clean straight after you're done. In comparison, a blender can be filled with water and a few drops of dish wash and turned on - it's basically clean.
Some juicers do more than just produce juice. They can also whip up almond butter, nut butter and nut milks, sorbet, ice cream and pureed baby food.
Blenders tend to be more multifunctional. As the name says, they blend and liquefy ingredients to make milkshakes and smoothies. They can also make great purees, soups, dips and nut butters.
Should I buy a juicer or a blender?
Juicer vs blender - how do you decide which is right for you?
- Are you after a creamy smoothie that's filling and contains ingredients other than just fruits and vegetables? Go for a blender.
- Do you want to chop veggies, whip up frozen drinks, and make soups and purees? Go for a blender.
- Are you just after potent, concentrated juicers that aren't as filling? Go for a juicer.
- Are you on a tight budget? Blenders tend to be more affordable than juicers.