- A top performer in our juicing performance tests – perhaps the best performer among the horizontal masticating juicers we tested for review
- Well above average yields juicing grapes, carrots, celery, spinach, and wheatgrass
- For all produce we tested except for carrots it extracted an almost pulp-free juice
Comes with a very long 15-year warranty
- A good value because of its relatively low price and ability to extract high yields
- Difficult to assemble and generally use because it slides on the countertop
- Comes with a very small diameter feeding chute – only 1.25 inches
- Poor performance juicing carrots
- Its strainer is especially difficult to clean compared to strainers for other horizontal masticating juicers
- A number of its parts are highly susceptible to staining
- Requires that a lot of force be used to push produce through it when juicing
- Product registration is required before its warranty can take effect
- Is equipped with certain low quality parts
|Ease of Use||2.5|
All category scores are out of 5.
Table of Contents
The Solostar 4 (SS-4200-B), like most other masticating juicers we tested, can be said to be a highly versatile appliance. Why? Because it isn’t limited to just being able to extract juice, like centrifugal juicers are. It can also be used to homogenize or to make pasta. The parts list below includes all removable parts required for assembling the Solostar for juicing. To assemble it for homogenizing or making pasta, simply replace the juicing strainer with the included homogenizing screen and replace the juicing nozzle with the included fettuccini nozzle, spaghetti nozzle, or homogenizing nozzle. When homogenizing or making pasta, you also won’t need the juice container, as all processed foods will exit the juicer through its pulp outlet.
Take a quick look at the parts list and diagram below as we’ll be making repeated reference to these parts throughout our review. Further down below are a few notes on the listed parts and a full breakdown on how all of these parts are fitted together to complete assembly of the juicer for juicing only. We don’t cover assembly for homogenizing as it doesn’t require any different steps, only different parts.
Juicing – Parts List
- food pusher (plastic plunger)
- hopper (funnel)
- drum, feed chute (auger housing, feeding chute)
- juicing strainer (juicing screen)
- drum cap (screen locking cap)
- juicing nozzle
- main body
- juice container
- pulp container
- power cord
The general terms we use for juicer parts are listed. If the manufacturer calls a certain part by a different name it is listed in parentheses.
The juicer does have a juicing nozzle but it is non-adjustable. Of the five horizontal masticating juicers we tested, three of the five have a juicing nozzle while the other two do not. Of the three that do have a juicing nozzle, only one, the Omega NC800, has an adjustable juicing nozzle.
The Solostar 4 is also available with a chrome finish (model no. SS-4250-B). We tested the white finish SS-4200-B. Note that this review applies to both juicers as they are identical except for the finish of their main bodies.
The Assembly Process (The Good and the Bad)
Before we begin discussing the basic steps involved in assembling the Solostar 4 for juicing, we find it’s important to note that the most difficult part of assembly didn’t actually involve the assembly process itself – in other words, putting together any parts. To the contrary, the most difficult part of assembling The Solostar 4 was actually simply keeping it in place on the countertop while doing so. As we’ll discuss in greater detail later, two factors contribute to this. First, the Solostar 4 is one of the lighter masticating juicers we tested. Second, it has hard plastic feet that create almost no friction between themselves and the surface they stand on. The end result is that the juicer tends to move around much more than it should on smooth clean surfaces such as kitchen countertops, even when only putting the lightest force on the juicer (bumping a hand into it when moving produce around it, for example). This movement is especially pronounced when pushing produce down the juicer’s feed chute and is also, relative to the current section of this review, an issue when assembling the juicer. We want to make it clear that you will be frustrated assembling this juicer because of the fact that it simply doesn’t stay in one place while you’re trying to put it together. Many parts of assembly require that you push one part firmly into another. Doing so will absolutely move the juicer across your countertop and, take our word for it, you will be frustrated by this.
Otherwise, assembling the Solostar 4 is fairly straightforward, with a few caveats (which it shares with other juicers in its class as well). Assembly begins by fitting the drum onto the main body. The drum locks into place by turning the locking clip in the clockwise direction. The auger is then inserted through the drum to be seated in the main body. Next up is the juicing strainer. As is true for the Kuvings NJE-3580U’s strainer, the Solostar 4’s strainer is symmetrical and thus requires that it be labeled in a specific way to facilitate correct installation. Tribest has chosen to label the top of the strainer with the word “UPPER”. Make sure the part of the strainer marked “UPPER” is facing up when installing the strainer and you should be in good shape moving forward. What follows is the drum cap (or what Tribest calls the screen locking cap). Turn this cap counterclockwise onto the end of the drum to secure the strainer and auger into place. Finally, the juicing nozzle attaches to the drum cap by turning it counterclockwise also.
Like other juicers in its class (horizontal masticating) a primary criticism we have regarding the Solostar’s assembly lies with the method by which the drum cap and juicing nozzle are attached to the drum assembly. Both the cap and nozzle need to be turned counterclockwise to tighten them. This simply isn’t intuitive and resulted in our repeatedly turning the cap back and forth trying to tighten it by the normal convention of turning right to tighten only to find that it doesn’t work and only then turning to the left. We were still using this trial and error method to secure these parts in place even several times after assembling and using the juicer for the first time. Again, do note that this counterintuitive design isn’t unique to the Solostar. Every other horizontal masticating juicer we tested has both the drum cap and juicing nozzle tighten by turning them counterclockwise.
As a final criticism, we want to note that the locking clip for the Solostar isn’t labeled. You’ll have to reference the manual, rely on memory, or use trial and error to figure out that the drum assembly attaches to the main body by turning the locking clip all the way counterclockwise then placing the drum onto the main body and only then turning the locking clip about 45 to 60 degrees clockwise to tighten it over the drum and secure the drum into place. Most other juicers in this category do have the locking clip labeled and thus are easier to assemble in this regard.
The experienced user will be able to fully assemble the Solostar 4 from start to finish in a little over 30 seconds, assuming everything goes smoothly during the process. An experienced user will know that the body has to be firmly held in place because it moves easily on the countertop during assembly. Such a user will also know that the drum cap and juicing nozzle are tightened by turning them counterclockwise. Such a user will also know that the locking clip should be in a certain position to attach the drum assembly and turned to another position to lock in the same assembly without needing labels or arrows to do so. And so, many of our complaints regarding assembly of this juicer only apply to new users, or do they? The answer is, not exactly.
Even experienced users will still have trouble with the juicer moving around on the countertop during assembly. And not everybody juices every day. Those users that juice infrequently will more than likely have to fiddle around with the drum cap and juicing nozzle longer than they need to when they do decide to assemble the juicer to juice. The same type of user also may not remember how the locking clip mechanism works and without it being properly labeled might even have to go through the process of looking for the manual to use it as a reference if trial and error doesn’t work out. The bottom line is that all of the criticisms we have regarding the assembly of the Solostar 4, while seemingly small and inconsequential, may very well have a noticeable impact on the average user’s experience when using this juicer, especially those users that don’t juice every day. It is for this reason that we give the Solostar 4 a below average 3 out of 5 for assembly difficulty and recommend that you not only take this score, but the outlined criticisms above as well into full consideration when deciding whether or not to purchase this juicer instead of comparable easier to assemble options.
The Solostar 4 has the smallest diameter feeding chute of all of the slow juicers we tested. Its 1.25-inch diameter feeding chute is a full quarter inch smaller in diameter than the next smallest 1.5-inch diameter feeding chutes of the Kuvings NJE-3580U and the Omega J8006. It’s less than half the diameter of the 3 inch feeding chutes of the Kuvings B6000 and SKG wide chute juicers.
Feeding chute size is very important with regard to food preparation. The larger the feeding chute the less food preparation is required. For example, the aforementioned Kuvings B6000 and SKG wide chute juicers could accept many of the fruits and vegetables we juiced whole. Those produce items that did require cutting required very little of it. The Solostar 4, on the other hand, required that all of the fruits and vegetables we tested be cut prior to testing. Many of those same fruits and vegetables had to be cut into very small pieces.
While feeding chute size is definitely the greatest factor affecting food preparation requirements, it is by no means the only factor. Other factors to consider are juicer type and produce type. For more information on how these factors impact food preparation requirements see here.
Food Preparation Results
The tables below show how much cutting was required for each of the fruits and vegetables we juiced with a few of the horizontal masticating juicers we tested, including the Solostar 4. The tables list the size of the cuts (halves, quarters, eighths, etc.) and how much time (in seconds) it took to make those cuts for 1 lb. of each particular type of produce we tested. Note that both specific times and average times are listed.
|Fruit/Veg.||Size of Cuts||Time to Cut||Avg. Time to Cut|
|Grapes||no cutting required|
|Carrots||1" to 2" pieces||52||50|
|Celery||1" to 2" pieces||62||66|
|Chute Size||1.25" diameter|
|Fruit/Veg.||Size of Cuts||Time to Cut||Avg. Time to Cut|
|Grapes||no cutting required|
|Carrots||1" to 2" pieces||46||50|
|Celery||1" to 2" pieces||76||66|
|Chute Size||1.5" by 2"|
|Fruit/Veg.||Size of Cuts||Time to Cut||Avg. Time to Cut|
|Grapes||no cutting required|
|Carrots||1" to 2" pieces||55||50|
|Celery||1" to 2" pieces||66||66|
|Chute Size||1.5" diameter|
For most tests we needed to prepare 1 lb. of each fruit or vegetable for juicing. The number of that particular fruit or vegetable required to fulfill the 1 lb. weight requirement would vary. For example, it took us anywhere from 6 to 11 carrots to fulfill the 1 lb. weight requirement for carrots for all of the slow juicers we tested. Obviously it takes a longer amount of time to cut 11 carrots to a particular size than it does to cut 6 carrots to the same particular size. In this way, specific times for each juicer are an inadequate means by which to compare them. It’s unfair to say that it takes a longer time to prepare carrots for one juicer compared to another just because a greater number of carrots were required to fulfill our 1 lb. weight requirement. So instead, we recommend that you compare the average preparation time for each juicer we tested. The average time is the average of all of the times it took us to cut each type of produce to that particular size for all of the juicers we tested that required that same type of produce to be cut to that same particular size.
All of the horizontal masticating juicers we tested required that carrots be cut into small approximately 2-inch long pieces. It took us a different amount of time to cut 1 lb. of carrots to this size for each of the juicers we tested. This is demonstrated in the tables above – note the difference in specific times listed regardless of the fact that exactly the same quantity of produce was prepared and cut to exactly the same size for each horizontal masticating juicer we tested. The average time, however, does not vary. The average time is the average of the five times carrots had to be cut to the same size.
Food Preparation Summary and Score
The Solostar 4 receives a below average 2.5 out of 5 for food preparation. It shares a below average score with all other horizontal masticating juicers we tested as all of these juicers have similarly sized feeding chutes and all are the same type with the same additional food preparation requirements associated with being of this type (we discuss this further here).
We tested the Solostar 4 (SS-4200-B) and 13 other slow juicers for yield by subjecting them to 8 different tests. Each test, except for the last, involved juicing a different fruit or vegetable by itself. The first test – the orange juicing test – involved only juicing oranges. The second test – the grape juicing test – involved only juicing grapes, and so on and so forth. The last test involved juicing a combination of most of the same fruits and vegetables that were juiced individually for the first 7 tests.
The quantity of produce juiced for each test varied. The first 6 tests involved juicing 1 lb. of each fruit or vegetable for each test. For the orange juicing test we juiced 1 lb. of oranges. For the grape juicing test we juiced 1 lb. of grapes and so on and so forth. For the 7th test – the wheatgrass test – we only juiced 4 oz. of wheatgrass. For the last test – the combination test – we juiced 2 lb. of produce – 1 lb. of oranges, and 4 oz. each of spinach, celery, carrots, and apples.
Going into testing we had very specific intentions. We wanted to juice a wide variety of produce. We wanted to juice for maximum yield instead of juicing as fast as possible. In addition, we wanted to record not only the yield collected from the juicer directly (out of juicer yield) but we also wanted to record the yield after pouring the initial yield through a fine sieve (after sieve yield). The same sieve would be used for all of the juicers we tested. For more information on our testing methodology and the difference between out of juicer and after sieve yield see here.
Juicing Performance Results
The tables below show the out of juicer yield (OJ), the after sieve yield (AS), and the time to juice (given in the format minutes:seconds) for each juicing performance test. It shows results for the Solostar 4 and also for some of the other top rated slow juicers we tested. All yields are given in ounces.
|Tribest Solostar 4||10.3||9.5||14||13.9||7.7||7.0||12||11.7||10.4||7.9||10||8.4||2.8||2.6||20.5||NA|
Time to Juice
|Tribest Solostar 4||1:41||1:59||3:55||4:51||4:06||8:23||5:54||5:29|
Juicing Performance Summary and Score
The Solostar 4 did very well in most of our juicing performance tests. Its out of juicer yield was above average for 5 of 8 tests. Its after sieve yield was above average for 5 of 7 tests (there was no after sieve yield recorded for our combination performance test). The test in which it recorded the lowest yield compared to other slow juicers was the apple juicing test but even in this test its yield was still average. The Solostar 4’s yield was never below average – not even in one test – not even in the apple juicing test.
The only negative for the Solostar 4, in terms of performance, is how long it takes to juice. It took us consistently longer to juice different types of produce with the Solostar 4 than it took for most other slow juicers we tested. Note, however, that this is less of an indictment on the Solostar 4, specifically, than it is on the type of juicer that it is. Horizontal masticating juicers, in general, took much longer to juice most types of produce than the vertical slow juicers we tested.
All things considered we give the Solostar 4 a well above average 4.5 out of 5 for juicing performance.
The Tribest Solostar 4 is more difficult to clean than all other horizontal masticating juicers we tested. In our Kuvings NJE-3580U review, we talked about how that specific model’s juicing strainer’s design was the reason why it was so difficult to clean. The same applies to the Solostar 4. Like the NJE-3580U’s strainer, the Solostar 4’s juicing strainer is composed of several small rectangular metal pieces that are held together by a plastic frame. The metal pieces are all perforated. It is through these metal pieces that juice is strained – hence the name of the part that they compose – the juicing strainer.
With regards to cleaning, the problem with this design is that each rectangular metal piece, surrounded by plastic on all four sides, needs to be cleaned one at a time. You can’t just run the brush over and scrub the entire juicing strainer as a whole. You need to approach each of the smaller metal pieces – each essentially a mini strainer on its own – individually. This is necessary because pulp tends to collect in the outside corners of these metal pieces (where there the metal meets the plastic). Note that pulp does not necessarily collect on each and every corner of each and every metal piece. But, in order to clean the strainer thoroughly, it is absolutely required that you at the very least inspect each metal piece individually and then clean its corners if necessary.
Of the approximately 5 minutes it took us to clean the nine parts composing the Solostar 4 that need to be cleaned after juicing, almost 2 minutes were spent cleaning one of these parts – the juicing strainer.
Cleaning Tools and Method
All of the juicer’s parts, except for its juicing strainer, were cleaned by first either briefly soaking them or just dipping them in warm soapy water and then washing them clean using a standard microfiber cloth. All parts were rinsed by placing them under running water (under the faucet). The juicing strainer was soaked in the warm soapy water longer than all other parts. It was then scrubbed with the included cleaning brush under running water. It was the only part that required us to use the included cleaning brush to clean it.
Note that most parts were soaked while we were busy cleaning other parts, regardless of whether they were soaked for a long time (such as the juicing strainer) or a short time (just dipped in the soapy water). We applied this same technique for all of the juicers that we cleaned.
Only a few of the Solostar 4’s parts are susceptible to staining. They are the cleaning brush, food pusher, and juice and pulp containers. All of these parts are either white or clear in color. We observed each and every one of them staining during testing. Staining was most pronounced after our carrot and spinach juicing performance tests. Note that we were able to remove most stains with repeated brushing and scrubbing after testing was concluded. The juicer’s manual recommends soaking stained parts in a 70% white wine vinegar 30% water solution. However, we did not have time to try this method during testing.
Dishwasher Safe Parts
The juicer’s manual does not state outright whether its parts are dishwasher safe or not. However, the manual does state to not use hot or boiling water above 104° F or 40° C to clean the juicer. This warning can be interpreted to imply that the parts should not be cleaned using a dishwasher after all – an interpretation that is further substantiated by the fact that 11 of the other 13 slow juicers we tested also cannot be cleaned in a dishwasher.
Cleaning Summary and Overall Score
The Solostar 4 takes longer to clean than all other juicers of the same type (other horizontal masticating juicers) that we tested. However, it still takes less time to clean than most juicers in other categories. On average, it took us approximately 5 minutes to clean vertical masticating juicers, 6 minutes to clean centrifugal juicers, and almost 10 minutes to clean the most difficult to clean juicers we tested – the twin gear Green Star Elite and the Champion juicer. Thus, the approximately 5 minutes it took us to clean the Solostar 4 is still a very good time compared to most other juicers. That being said, the difficulty and frustration associated with cleaning its juicing strainer cannot be overstated. It also has several very easy to stain parts. Yes, the time it takes to clean is important, but the frustration of cleaning certain parts and the susceptibility of parts to staining are just as important with regards to how we score juicers for cleaning. Thus, despite its relatively low time to clean we give the Solostar 4 a well below average 2.5 out of 5 in the category, primarily because of its difficult to clean juicing strainer but also because it has several parts that stain very easily.
Ease of Use
The difficulty of using a juicer can be broken down into two distinct categories – the initial learning curve and the continued difficulty of using the juicer. Some juicers have unique design quirks or features that make them very difficult to learn how to use. These juicers have a high initial learning curve. Other juicers may not have any quirks or any special features and may be very easy to use right off the bat – these are juicers with a low initial learning curve. Either type of juicer may or may not be difficult to use over time. This difficulty over time is what we call the “continued difficulty” of using the juicer. Continued difficulty normally has very little to do with the initial learning curve as factors affecting continued difficulty are much different than those factors that affect the initial learning curve. Hence why these two types of difficulties are discussed separately below.
Initial Learning Curve
In order to use a horizontal masticating juicer such as the Solostar 4 correctly you will need to learn two techniques right off the bat – proper food preparation and proper juicing nozzle adjustment.
Proper Food Preparation
Feed chute size is not the only characteristic of a juicer that dictates food preparation requirements. The way in which the juicer processes food (which in turn is dictated by juicer type) very much influences food preparation requirements also. If produce isn’t cut in a specific way to accommodate the juicer’s design, the juicer will juice less efficiently. Lower efficiency results in lower yield. This is something you obviously don’t want when you’re juicing expensive produce. You therefore want to learn as soon as possible how to cut produce correctly for the type of juicer that you purchase. Since the Solostar 4 is a horizontal masticating juicer, you’ll need to learn how to cut produce for this type of juicer, specifically. For a detailed discussion about proper food preparation for horizontal masticating juicers see here.
A part unique to a horizontal masticating juicer that can influence how difficult it is to use initially (relating to initial learning curve) is its juicing nozzle. If the juicing nozzle is adjustable it is absolutely crucial that you learn how to adjust it in order to allow the juicer to juice efficiently. The Solostar 4 does not feature an adjustable juicing nozzle and therefore you won’t have to worry about learning to adjust it properly.
Once you’ve learned how to prepare food properly for juicing for the Solostar 4, the only thing left to do is juice every day you can. Juicing on a day to day basis is either more or less difficult to do using the Solostar 4 than it is with other juicers we tested, depending on those factors we outline below.
How Hard Is It to Push Produce into The Juicer?
Every time you juice you’ll need to push produce into the juicer using the included food pusher to get the juicing process started. How difficult it is to push produce into a juicer varies depending on a variety of factors. We discuss those factors next.
Unique to the Solostar 4 is the fact that the food pusher included with the purchase of this juicer is made of a very lightweight but highly resilient plastic material. Those food pushers included with most other masticating juicers we tested had quite a bit of weight to them, presumably to allow gravity to do its part in helping to push produce items down the feed chute and onto the juicing auger. Not so with the Solostar 4. You’ll have to rely on a combination of arm strength (your pushing down with the food pusher) and the juicer’s auger naturally catching items pushed down the feed chute to facilitate proper movement of these items through the juicing assembly.
Most other food pushers are also designed in such a way that the downward facing end of the pusher never makes contact with the juicing auger. There’s normally an extrusion in some part of the plastic molding of the food pusher that makes contact with the top of the feeding chute and thus leaves at least a half inch or more gap between the bottom of the food pusher and the juicing auger when the food pusher is pushed as far down the feed chute as it can be pushed. Such is the case for those food pushers included with every other horizontal masticating juicer we tested. This is once again not the case with the Solostar 4. The plunger included with the Solostar 4 is designed so that it can make repeated contact with the juicing auger. Two unique qualities of its design facilitate this functionality. First, it’s long and thin with no extrusions anywhere down the length of the pusher. Second, the same resilient plastic material that makes it lightweight, also makes it more durable, giving it the ability to withstand the repeated abuse of coming into contact with the Solostar’s juicing auger.
And so, juicing with the Solostar is definitely more of a “full contact sport”, if you will, than it is with other juicers in this class. You’ll have to not only push food items down the feed chute but also forcibly push them directly onto the juicing auger. How much force is required will obviously vary depending on what type of produce you’re juicing. Juicing soft fruits like oranges or grapes required hardly any force during our juicing tests. Orange pieces and grapes were easy to push down the chute and were easily caught and pulled into the drum by the juicing auger.
The first real challenge occurred when we juiced carrots. It should be noted that, using knowledge and experience we had gained from juicing the same vegetable with other horizontal masticating juicers, we already knew going into juicing carrots with the Solostar 4 that juicing efficiency would be greatly increased if we placed the carrot pieces vertically (vs horizontally) into the feed chute. This is so because carrot pieces that land vertically on the juicing auger have a much better chance of getting caught up by the juicing auger than pieces that land horizontally. Pieces that land vertically only require a tiny bit of force to push them into the juicing auger where they’re normally immediately cut in half and then caught and pulled by the auger into the juicing drum. Pieces that land horizontally require much more force, requiring you to push so hard that you actually crush the piece into the auger. We were able to land most pieces vertically when juicing carrots with the Solostar 4 which didn’t require much force to push down into the juicer. Certain pieces did land horizontally, however, and those pieces that did were more difficult to push down and into the auger of the Solostar 4 than pieces that landed in the same orientation (horizontally) when juicing carrots with the other horizontal masticating juicers we tested.
We experienced a bit less difficulty pushing celery pieces down the juicer’s feed chute. Yes, in contrast to carrot which is hard and brittle, celery is soft (at least compared to carrot) and flexible (once again, only in comparison to carrot). Thus, the celery pieces we were juicing might have been expected to not have the tendency to break apart and get crushed as easily as the carrot pieces we juiced. The carrot pieces breaking apart and getting crushed by the auger at the point of contact with the auger was crucial in how easily we were able to juice them. Since celery pieces might have the tendency of flexing and staying in one piece (vs breaking apart) they might have been expected to be much more difficult to push through the juicer. This was not the case, however. The overriding factor dictating how easy the celery pieces were to juice was the fact that they were simply softer and more crushable than comparable carrot pieces. Thus, it required very little force to push chopped up celery stalks through the juicer.
The same was true for juicing apples, spinach and wheatgrass – not much force was required to push these food items down the juicer’s feed chute. Apple is even softer in some respects than celery stalks and thus requires very little force to push down into the juicer while spinach leaves and grass very easily catch onto and get pulled through by the juicing auger. As was true for other juicers with similar diameter feeding chutes, it was more difficult pushing bunched up spinach leaves to get them through the Solostar’s feeding chute than it was to push them onto the juicing auger. Bunched up leaves (especially leaves with a bit of moisture on them) have the tendency to stick to the walls of the feeding chute at these smaller diameters.
So, in summary, while all fruits or vegetables required at least some force to push them into the Solostar 4, the only vegetable that gave us any type of actual trouble juicing, in terms of how difficult it was physically to juice it or how much force was required to push it through the juicing assembly, was carrot.
Other Design Choices and Features that Improve or Detract from Ease of Use
Weight and Carrying Handle
The Solostar 4 was the second lightest masticating juicer we tested, weighing in at exactly 12 lb. fully assembled. As is true for other juicers of the same type, the main body makes up most of the fully assembled weight. The Solostar 4’s main body weighs 10 lb. 6 oz. Thus, should you need to move the juicer from inside a kitchen cabinet to a kitchen counter or from one counter to another, you’ll need to move a mass weighing a minimum of 10 lb. 6 oz. – the main body of the juicer. The rest of the parts composing the juicer have negligible weight and can easily be moved around the kitchen separate from the main body.
For reference, most other horizontal masticating juicers we tested weigh about the same. The main body of such a juicer is normally about 10 or 11 lb. and fully assembled the juicer is normally about 12 or 13 lb. The only juicers we tested that were heavier were the Green Star Elite (GSE) and Champion juicers. The GSE weighs about 17 lb. and the Champion weighs about 20 lb. fully assembled.
Buttons and Controls
The Solostar 4 only features one switch which can be set to three different positions – the first powers it on, the second powers it off, and the third puts it in reverse. There are no labels indicating which position is which. The switch has three different markings only. A roman numeral “I” marks the on position, a “O” marks the off position, and a roman numeral “II” marks the reverse position. Most consumers will be able to logically deduce what each of these marks signifies but we would have liked to see these positions clearly labeled “ON”, “OFF”, and “REVERSE”, nonetheless.
Juicer Movement, Power Cord Length
The Solostar 4 has the tendency to move around on the countertop while its operating (while its juicing). This is primarily due to the fact that it has 3 hard plastic feet instead of the softer rubber feet we see on most other juicers on the market. Add in the fact that the juicer is very lightweight and that it is a horizontal masticating juicer that requires the user to physically push many types of produce into the juicer with quite a bit of force and you have the recipe necessary for that which we observed – a juicer that constantly moves around on the countertop while juicing.
The Solostar 4 is one of only two juicers we tested (and we tested 30+) that comes equipped with a removable power cord. Not surprisingly, the only other juicer that also has a removable power cord is also manufactured by Tribest – the Green Star Elite. The power cord being removable is both a positive and a negative. It’s a positive first of all because it makes the juicer safer to use. If somebody falls or trips over the cord – unlikely when you consider how and where the juicer is used but still a possibility – the power cord can disconnect from the main body instead of the whole juicer being pulled and potentially falling to the ground. Secondly, it allows for additional versatility in terms of the length and type of power cord plug used. You could possibly replace the included 70.5-inch cord with a longer 3 prong cord (not necessarily recommended by the manufacturer or by us but still a possibility) and you could also replace the included power cord with a cord with a plug compatible with the power outlets in the country you live in (other factors should also be considered such as voltage and frequency so proceed with caution when doing so). The negatives of having a removable power cord are first, that you have an extra part that needs to be assembled – it only needs to be plugged in but it’s still an additional step that you don’t have to worry about when assembling most other juicers. Second, since it is an extra removable part it’s an extra part that can get lost or misplaced. Whether the positives outweigh the negatives comes down to personal opinion. We tend to like the fact that it’s a removable part mostly because it does make for more flexibility in terms of how and where the juicer can be used.
Other Factors That Affect Ease of Use
In addition to the juicer itself, the included manual and accessories also have a role to play when it comes to determining how difficult it is to use any particular juicer on a day to day basis.
If a juicer’s manual is clear, cogent, and complete you’ll be able to use the juicer as efficiently as possible with much greater ease and much sooner than if you had to learn to use it only by trial and error. The Solostar 4’s manual is detailed and mostly complete. The most important content it lacks is clear and complete instructions regarding proper food preparation for the juicer. The back of the manual does include about 15 recipes within which it does mention food preparation. However, the directions mostly involve only the number of pieces the produce needs to be cut into, not the particular size and shapes of those cuts (it does mention cutting certain produce into cubes but that’s about it). Not to mention the fact that unless you’re actually making the juices for which the manual gives recipes, you’ll need to skim through all the recipes to find the manual’s mention regarding proper preparation of the particular fruit or vegetable you want to prepare for juicing.
As we mentioned earlier in this section of the review, proper food preparation is paramount when it comes to juicing with maximum efficiency. The less the manual says about proper food preparation the more you’ll need to experiment over time for best results. The fact that the Solostar 4’s manual doesn’t give priority to the topic is really the only complaint we have regarding its overall quality.
Parts and Their Properties
A juice collection and pulp collection container is included with your purchase of most masticating juicers. The size of these containers is important because the smaller they are, the more frequently you’ll need to empty and replace them when juicing large quantities of produce. Each time you do so, you’ll need to turn the juicer off, wait a few seconds for the last bits of pulp to fall into the pulp container and the last few droplets of juice to fall into the juicer container, and only then be able to empty and replace the container that requires it. This can add quite a bit of time to the overall juicing experience. Thus, the larger the juice container and pulp container, the better. Not only because it reduces the time you’ll spend juicing, but because it will reduce the number of times you’ll need to go through the process of emptying and replacing them.
The Solostar 4’s juice container is about average size while its pulp container is well below average size, compared to the same containers included with the other slow juicers we tested. The Solostar 4’s juice container was measured to have a volume of 32 oz. Compare this volume to the 34 oz. juice container of the top rated Omega NC800, the 42 oz. juice container of the Kuvings B6000, and the 20 oz. juice container of the Kuvings NJE-3580U.
The Solostar 4’s pulp container is the exact same size and shape as its juice container and so it should come as no surprise that it has the exact same volume as the juice container also – 32 oz. Compare this volume to the 42 oz. pulp container of the NC800, the 48 oz. pulp container of the B6000, and the 40 oz. pulp container of the Kuvings NJE-3580U.
Ease of Use Summary and Score
The Solostar 4 has less of a learning curve than the Omega NC800 and about the same learning curve as the other horizontal masticating juicers we tested – the Kuvings NJE-3580U, Hamilton Beach 67950A, and the Omega J8006. It shares the challenge of learning proper food preparation with all of the juicers we just listed but it lacks the challenge of learning how to adjust its juicing nozzle properly which is the reason why it’s easier to learn how to use than the NC800.
As far as using the juicer on a day to day basis goes (continued difficulty), the Solostar 4 is definitely more difficult to use than not only the juicers we just mentioned, but also most other juicers we tested, except for maybe the Green Star Elite and the Champion juicer. It’s highly portable with its low weight, which is definitely a positive for it in the ease of use category (it’s easy to move around the kitchen). However, its low weight is also one of the primary reasons why it tends to move around so much while juicing. This tendency that the juicer has to move around while juicing in addition to the fact that the juicer’s design and the design of its included food pusher requires that food be pushed into the juicer with quite a bit of force (and quite violently at that as the pusher actually makes contact with the auger) are the two primary reasons why we give the juicer a below average 2.5 out of 5 for ease of use.
As we say for almost every other horizontal masticating juicer we tested, the Solostar 4 is a very versatile appliance that can be used not only to make juice but also for a variety of other purposes. For details regarding its other uses please see our discussion regarding the juicer’s assembly for those purposes at the beginning of our review.
Build Quality and Materials
The Solostar 4’s build quality and the quality of the materials used for most of its construction are well below average compared to the 13 other slow juicers we tested. The two most egregious examples of low quality materials and workmanship are the juicer’s locking clip and its feet. The locking clip is the mechanism by which the drum assembly is secured to the main body of the juicer. The Solostar 4’s locking clip is made of a very low quality thin and flimsy plastic material. Likewise, its feet are also made of a very low quality cheap hard plastic, not to mention the fact that they lack the soft rubber pads which are a crucial part of the feet of most other juicers we tested. The soft rubber goes a long way in giving the juicer greater stability on the countertop. And as we’ve noted multiple times so far in this review, stability on the countertop was definitely noticeably lacking during our testing of the Solostar 4.
We observed an interesting and unique phenomenon when testing horizontal masticating juicers. This phenomenon, which we like to call “drum flex”, involves the drum of the juicer rhythmically moving a few millimeters up then a few millimeters down throughout the juicing process. We saw some type of “drum flex” on all of the horizontal masticating juicers we tested but it was definitely most egregious with the Solostar 4. In fact, the drum on the Solostar 4 would move so much that we repeatedly felt compelled to check, double-check, and re-check that we assembled the juicer correctly – that the drum was firmly and correctly inserted into the juicing body and properly locked down by the locking clip – during testing.
Our conclusion is that, for the other juicers we tested that showed the same phenomenon but for which the drum didn’t move up and down nearly as much, we chalk up “drum flex” as being a normal phenomenon that shouldn’t have any impact on the long term durability of the juicer or any of its parts. However, because it’s so much more pronounced on the Solostar 4, we definitely feel that, for this particular juicer, this phenomenon could have a noticeable negative impact on the long term durability of the juicer and more specifically the parts involved in this phenomenon, namely the locking clip (which we already discussed as being low quality to begin with), the drum, and the juicer’s motor and associated parts (the motor shaft and seals).
The Solostar 4 hasn’t been a very popular juicer since it was first released in 2015. For this reason, there are very few consumer reviews for this juicer as of the time of this editorial review. We were able to find only about 30 or so consumer reviews from various sources online. Of those 30 reviews more than a few expressed concern regarding the juicer’s reliability. One consumer even posted photos online showing how the juicer’s drum cracked on the side that is seated flush to the main body of the juicer after just a few weeks of use. This confirms the concerns we raised above about how the juicer’s noticeable “drum flex” could have a negative impact on the durability and reliability of some of its parts as “drum flex” was most likely to blame for this specific broken part.
Brand Reputation and Quality of Support
Tribest is a very well-known and well respected brand in the juicer world. They manufacture a variety of products including blenders, sprouters, dehydrators, and even sous vide machines. While Tribest dabbles in the other product categories we mentioned above they are most well known for their juicers. More specifically, they are most well known for their popular twin gear juicer, the Green Star Elite, which is the company’s “flagship”, if you will. The twin gear juicer was the first type of juicer the company designed and released to the market. The first iteration of the Green Star Elite, the Green Power Gold, was first released in 1994. The first iteration of the Solostar 4, simply called the Solostar, was not released until 2003. The Solostar 2 was released one year after the original Solostar in 2004 and the Solostar 3 was released about a decade later in 2013. The Solostar 4 is, as its name suggests, the 4th iteration of Tribest’s take on horizontal masticating juicer design. It was released two years later in 2015.
Tribest is a US company located in Anaheim California but be aware that most of their manufacturing is carried out in South Korea, including all juicer manufacturing. This means that the Solostar 4 is 100% made in South Korea. Note, however, that because they are a US company all customer service is carried out within the United States. As such, they provide both a snail mail address and a local telephone number in California. When making warranty claims you will send the juicer to a US address. The company also offers a toll free number and an email address and contact form for customer support. We did not find any complaints regarding their customer service during our survey of online consumer reviews.
The Solostar 4 comes with a very competitive 15-year warranty which covers all parts except for the juice and pulp containers and plunger (food pusher). 15 years is as long as juicer warranties come. Most Omega juicers also come with a 15 year warranty. Some do come with a 10 year warranty. Kuvings offers a 10 year warranty on their vertical masticating juicer and a 5 year warranty on their horizontal masticating juicer, the NJE-3580U.
Claiming Warranty Coverage
One nuance of the Solostar 4’s warranty that reduces its value from our perspective is the fact that Tribest absolutely requires product registration within 10 days of purchase for warranty coverage to take effect. In other words, you have to register your juicer with Tribest, either by snail mail (via an included self-addressed warranty registration card) or online (via their website at tribest.com) within 10 days of purchase in order to receive warranty coverage. If you do not, you may not be eligible to receive warranty coverage for your purchase. Online registration absolutely requires that you give Tribest your full name, address, phone number, email address, the model and serial # of the juicer, the purchase date, and the company you purchased from. You may get away with withholding some personal information (such as your phone number) when filling out the included warranty registration card by hand.
Summary and Score
The Solostar 4 is not as durable or reliable of a juicer as much of its competition in the horizontal masticating juicer category. It is less well built using lower quality parts compared to many other juicers in this category – most notably the Omega juicers we tested. The NC800 and J8006 are both much better options if durability is a priority for you. That being said, the Solostar 4 does include a 15-year warranty and Tribest customer service is very good. So, if you register your juicer within 10 days of purchase and are eligible for warranty coverage, you can always contact Tribest if or when the juicer or parts on the juicer break. This, however, takes time and money. Tribest doesn’t cover shipping and handling charges so you’ll have to incur those costs yourself. The bottom line is that while the juicer’s warranty is great, nobody wants to have to go through the process of actually making a warranty claim. We give the Solostar 4 a below average 2.5 out of 5 for durability.
The only bonus accessories included with the Solostar 4 that are of note are a homogenizing screen, a homogenizing nozzle, two pasta making nozzles, a sieve that fits over the included juice container, and an extra regular sieve. Most other horizontal masticating juicers we tested also include a homogenizing screen and extra nozzles. Most do not come with a sieve.
The Solostar 4 (SS-4200-B) retails for about $250 to $260 which makes it the third least expensive masticating juicer we tested. Only the Hamilton Beach 67950A (approx. $190) and Kuvings NJE-3580U (approx. $230) are cheaper. Most other popular masticating juicers are more expensive. The Omega NC800 and J8006 retail for about $300 while most vertical masticating juicers retail for at least $350.
Long Term Cost
The initial price that you’ll pay for the juicer itself is far less than the cost of using that same juicer over time. The initial cost of buying a juicer is usually a few hundred dollars at most. The cost of the produce that will be juiced can easily be in the thousands of dollars over the course of several years.
Directly related to the cost of produce is juicer performance. The greater percentage of any particular fruit or vegetable a juicer can turn into juice the less of that particular fruit or vegetable is required to make the same amount of juice. For example, image a scenario in which juicer A can make 10 oz. of juice out of 20 oz. of produce while juicer B can make 5 oz. of juice out of 20 oz. of produce. In order to make 100 oz. of juice, 200 oz. of produce is required for juicer A. To make 100 oz. of juice, 400 oz. of produce is required for juicer B. Obviously, 400 oz. of produce costs much more than 200 oz. of produce. Thus, the cost of produce to make the same amount of juice is much less for the better performing juicer A than it is for juicer B.
Because the Solostar 4 performed so well in our juicing performance tests it is much more like juicer A than juicer B in the above scenario. You will need to juice less produce with the Solostar 4 to make the same amount of juice than you would need to juice with the lesser performing Hamilton Beach 67950A, for example. Thus, while the Hamilton Beach may cost less initially (it has a lower price), its cost over time is much greater compared to the Solostar 4 – primarily due to the fact that more produce is required to juice with the Hamilton Beach to make the same amount of juice. And more produce = more money. For a much lengthier discussion about how juicer performance impacts long term cost of juicer ownership see here.
The Solostar 4 is very reasonably priced at around $250. Its high yields in our juicing performance tests means that you’ll be spending less money on produce to make the same amount of juice than you would for most other horizontal masticating juicers we tested. It is for both of these reasons that we give the Solostar 4 an exceptional 4.5 out of 5 rating for value.