If you’re serious about juicing and you’ve got the budget for it, a cold press juicer is the best type of juicer you can buy. But be careful!
Not all cold press (also called “slow” or “masticating”) juicers are created equally. Literally. Let us explain:
Look out for the country of origin
Most juicers are made in one of two countries: China or (South) Korea.
Chinese made juicers are generally poorly built with low quality parts. The only exception is Breville centrifugal juicers, which are reasonably well made despite being made in China. Most made in China juicers (including Breville juicers) also come with a short warranty – 1 or 2 years max.
Korean made juicers are generally very well built with much higher quality parts. Most made in Korea juicers come with a long warranty – 10 to 15 years.
You really cannot get away from buying a Chinese made centrifugal juicer. Almost all of them are made in China.
You can, however, easily avoid buying a Chinese made cold press juicer. Just look at the price of the juicer. Is it under $200? Then it’s likely made in China. Is it over $200? Then it’s likely made in Korea.
Now, you may be tempted into buying one of these less expensive made in China cold press juicers. But please don’t!
Take a look at the photos below:
One of the most important parts of a masticating (cold press) juicer is its auger. The auger rotates to crush and grind the produce into juice. Needless to say, it needs to be made of a very hard and durable material to do so for the life of the juicer.
Neither auger pictured above fits this requirement. And please note that the photos above were taken BEFORE we ever attempted to use either juicer. In other words, this was the condition of these augers right out of the box. Notice the plastic peeling/chipping off of both augers (at the very center of the auger in the top photo and near the right tip of the auger in the bottom photo).
A chunk of plastic came off of the top auger (from a VonShef juicer) after handling it for only a few minutes. This happened while taking the juicer out of the box and assembling it for first use. Small plastic shavings came off of the bottom auger (from a Gourmia juicer) doing the same.
Now, you probably don’t recognize the brand names for these juicers because neither one of these brands makes cold press juicers any more. But, that’s not to say these same juicers aren’t being sold under different brand names today. And even if they’re not, similar models with similar build quality and quality control are.
Survey the landscape of cheap cold press juicers and you’ll only find models with a low number of reviews. There’s a reason for this. These juicers are taken off the market as soon as they receive an influx of negative consumer reviews. The reason for such an influx of negative reviews? Normally, something similar to what we described above – low quality parts breaking/chipping – sometimes very dangerously.
Remember, a juicer is an appliance that comes into direct contact with something (juice) you’re going to put inside your body. Is it really worth saving even $100 or $200 and running the risk of ingesting some broken off pieces of plastic?
The only reason to buy a cheap Chinese made cold press juicer is, well, because it’s cheap. But please, do not buy a cheap Chinese made cold press juicer!
If you’re on a limited budget buy a centrifugal juicer instead. The Breville Juice Fountain Compact retails at right around $100 and is an excellent juicer. Only buy a cold press juicer if you can afford to spend upwards of $200 to $300.
The biggest reason why you should consider a cold press juicer
The juice extracted by a cold press juicer does NOT taste the same as the juice extracted by a centrifugal juicer. It doesn’t matter if it’s a $200 or $2,000 cold press juicer. It doesn’t matter if it’s a $40 or a $400 centrifugal juicer. The juice extracted by a cold press juicer tastes different than the juice extracted by a centrifugal juicer.
And it doesn’t just taste different. One juice tastes better: the juice extracted by cold press juicers.
How does the juice taste better? Because of the way that it’s processed.
Slow masticating (cold press) juicers extract juice by crushing and straining produce slowly. This process minimizes aeration of (air entering into) the extracted juice.
Centrifugal juicers extract juice by cutting and straining produce using a very fast spinning disc (that rotates at upwards of 5,000 RPM). This process does aerate the extracted juice quite a bit.
The end result?
1. A difference in taste.
With cold press juicers you get a juice that tasted much better – a juice that’s not very aerated. With centrifugal juicers you get a juice that doesn’t taste as good – a juice that’s highly aerated.
2. A difference in color.
Aeration doesn’t just affect taste of the juice. It also affects the color of the juice – at the time of juicing and several hours after the juice is extracted.
Because the juice extracted by a cold press juicer is not highly aerated it’s more vibrant (less “browned”) at the time of juicing and several hours later than a comparable quantity/type of juice extracted by a centrifugal juicer. Think of an apple cut open, exposed to the outside air, and how the apple slices turn brown because of this exposure to the outside air. This is exactly what happens with juice that’s aerated – sliced up fruits/veggies exposed to air (aerated) turn more brown quicker the more air in the juice.
Aeration is not the only culprit
Remember that fast spinning disc that processes fruits and vegetables in a centrifugal juicer? Other than highly aerating the juice it also adds certain undesirable parts of certain produce to the juice. Here’s the best example: juicing oranges.
When a centrifugal juicer juices an orange, it does it so efficiently that it not only juices the fleshy part of the orange you want to juice, but it also juices the pith (the white part). When the pith of the orange makes contact with the blades of the fast spinning disc of the juicer it gets chopped up so well that it’s small enough to be strained through the disc’s filter. The end result is chopped up pith in the juice – and an orange juice that has a slightly more bitter taste than orange juice extracted by a cold press juicer.
Masticating (cold press) juicers don’t chop and they don’t do anything fast enough to cut into the orange’s pith. A cold press juicer only crushes and pulls. And it does it slow enough so that the pith of the orange is not strained into the extracted juice.
Centrifugal juicers certainly have their place. They make juice fast and cheap. And they’re not cheaper than cold press juicers by a small margin. The average centrifugal juicer retails for under $100 while we don’t recommend any cold press juicer under $300. This is a large enough price discrepancy that we actually recommend a centrifugal juicer to most consumers (most of which are first time juicer buyers) as the best juicer overall for most users.
All of that being said, if you’re serious about juicing a cold press juicer is really your only option. Not only do cold press juicers make a better tasting juice, but they have several other advantages over centrifugal juicers also. Cold press juicers can juice leafy greens and wheatgrass while centrifugal juicers generally cannot. Low speed (cold press) juicers can also homogenize (e.g. make nut butter) – something that centrifugal juicers simply cannot do. Cold press juicers are also much better built, are made of higher quality parts, and come with much longer warranties than centrifugal juicers.
Is all of this enough to justify the much higher price tag of a cold press juicer?
If you’re like most consumers and…
- You’re a first time buyer and
- You’re just looking to juice every once in a while and
- You’re on a limited budget
If you fit all of these requirements – then no, we recommend you buy a centrifugal juicer instead.
If, on the other hand,
- You have some experience juicing and/or
- You’re very serious about juicing (e.g. are looking to buy one for health reasons) and/or
- You have a more extensive budget that allows for it
If you fit any one of these requirements – then yes, we strongly recommend a cold press juicer.
Evaluating juicer performance
All juicers extract a liquid that contains some amount of
- pulp, and
How much of each is contained in the extracted liquid depends on
- juicer type and
- the make and model juicer
Maybe you like your juice with a lot of pulp. Then buy a juicer that makes juice with a lot of pulp.
Maybe you like your juice with only a little or no pulp. Well, what then? You have two options:
- buy a juicer that extracts a raw juice low in pulp
- use a sieve
We used a sieve extensively during testing. We first measured each juicer’s out of juicer yield (abbreviated RAW in the table below). This yield contained juice, pulp, and foam.
We then poured this extracted juice through a fine sieve (the same sieve was used for all juicers) to measure each juicer’s after sieve yield (abbreviated NOPULP below).
Note that while you can obtain a juice low in pulp (or even virtually pulp-free) with any juicer using a sieve this process does have a few drawbacks:
- it takes time for the juice to drain through the sieve – this adds to the overall time it takes you to juice
- if the juicer extracts a raw juice high in pulp it’s likely to have a much lower after sieve yield than a juicer that extracts a juice low in pulp right out of the juicer
Using the table below
If you like your juice with lots of pulp look for juicers with high RAW yields. If you like your juice with little to no pulp look for juicers with a high NOPULP yield and only a small difference between the RAW and NOPULP yields.
|Raw Out of Juicer Yield||RAW|
|Pulp Free After Sieve Yield||NOPULP|
|*Each numeric value listed below is a final juice weight in ounces after a starting produce weight of 1 lb. (16 oz.) for all tests except for the wheatgrass test which had a starting produce weight of 4 oz. and the combination test which had a starting produce weight of 2 lb. (32 oz.)|
Choosing the best cold press juicer involves more than just considering its performance (i.e. its yields). You also need to consider:
- Preparation time and difficulty
- Cleaning difficulty
- Overall ease of use
- Durability and
We’ve taken all of these factors (in addition to yield) into account as we make our recommendations below.
Top 3 Cold Press Juicers
#1 – Omega NC800
The Omega NC800 is the best all-around cold press juicer we’ve tested. It garnered average to above average yields in almost all of our juicing performance tests. It garnered especially good yields juicing leafy greens.
Because it’s a horizontal masticating juicer it’s more versatile and easier to clean than most other types of cold press juicers.
It’s more versatile in that it can be used for more than just making juice. Most vertical masticating juicers are exclusively juicers. All horizontal masticating juicers like this one can also be used as food processors (homogenizers) to process foods like pastas and nut butters.
A horizontal masticating juicer like the NC800 is also easier to clean than other types of cold press juicers. It’s comprised of less parts and those parts tend to be less complex (with less nooks and crannies to scrub) than equivalent parts on the average vertical masticating juicer. The NC800, specifically, has a dark two-tone silver and black body. All of its opaque plastic parts are black. All of its clear parts have a heavy tint. These darker parts are much more difficult to stain than equivalent parts on juicers with lighter bodies and lighter parts.
The NC800 is a great juicer that gets very good yields, is highly versatile, and is easy to clean but perhaps its greatest asset is its build quality and accompanying warranty. This juicer is perhaps the most solidly built juicer we’ve tested. The body and all parts used in its construction are of a distinctly higher quality than equivalent parts on most other cold press juicers we’ve tested. The juicer also comes with a whopping 15 year warranty with no listed exceptions or exclusions on specific parts (unlike the warranties that come with many other cold press juicers we’ve tested).
Lastly, we need to mention the juicer’s price. It retails for approx. $300. This is considerably less than the price of our #2 and slightly less than our #3 recommendation. Value was a strong consideration in making this list and the NC800 is by far the best value of our three recommendations.
If you’re looking for the best all-around cold press juicer that gets good yields, is easy to clean, offers tons of versatility, is highly durable, and still sells at a very reasonable price point, the Omega NC800 is our #1 recommendation.
#2 – Tribest Green Star Elite
The Tribest GSE gets consistently higher yields than any other juicer we’ve tested. Why then, is it only #2 on this list? There are at least a few reasons.
First, the juicer is very expensive. It retails for approx. $500. It’s difficult to recommend a juicer as #1 that requires such a high entry cost. This cost will absolutely be worth it to some users – namely, those users that are looking for the one juicer that will give them better yields than any other juicer on the market (while at the same time being able to look past the juicer’s shortcomings). However, for most potential buyers the juicer’s high cost will be prohibitive.
Second, the juicer is generally difficult to use. It’s difficult to assemble, it’s difficult to juice with, and it’s difficult to clean.
If you’re looking for maximum yields look no further than the Tribest GSE. But understand that it does require more effort and more time to use than most other juicers on the market.
#3 – Tribest Slowstar
The Tribest Slowstar rounds out our list of top cold press juicers as the only vertical masticating juicer in the list. Vertical masticating juicers come with several benefits. They take up less counterspace than other types of cold press juicers (although they are quite a bit taller). They are generally easier to use than other types of cold press juicers (less force is required to push produce into a vertical cold press juicer). And they generally require less cutting of produce before it can be juiced than other types of cold press juicers (usually due to a larger diameter feeding chute).
All of these benefits apply to the Slowstar compared to the #1 and #2 recommendations above. So, if any of these benefits stand out as something you really care about (e.g. you need a juicer that takes up less counterspace), the Slowstar can serve as a great alternative to those recommendations.
The Slowstar, like the NC800, was also a great all-around performer in our yield tests. It garnered average to well above average yield in most tests. The one caveat is that it does tend to extract a juice that’s a little higher in pulp content. If you like a juice with a lot of pulp this won’t be a problem. But, if you prefer your juice low in pulp or pulp free, you’ll likely need to run raw extracted juice through a fine sieve before consuming it when using this juicer.
The Slowstar is unique among vertical masticating juicers in that it comes with an additional altogether separate housing for mincing and homogenizing. Recall that this is one of the benefits of horizontal masticating juicers – all of them can be used for homogenizing (e.g. make nut butters). You can do the same with the Slowstar with this separate housing.
The Slowstar is not quite as well built as the NC800. It also doesn’t come with as good of a warranty (several exclusions apply). But it is still a very well built juicer that should last a very long time.
If you’re looking for the best vertical masticating juicer on the market, the Tribest Slowstar is our recommendation.