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Cheap Juicers Buying Guide

The first step toward finding the best cheap juicer for your needs is to think about what kind of juice you want to make and how much effort you want to expend. Fruits, vegetables, and greens have vastly different properties that require distinct juicing methods and, in many cases, different equipment.

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A citrus juicer specializes in lemons, limes, oranges, and grapefruit, and there's certainly no shortage of reasonably priced models. If you prepare only a small amount of juice every once in a while, a manual citrus press or reamer may be all you need -- assuming you don't mind using a little elbow grease. Squeezing a pitcher of OJ for the family every morning this way isn't feasible, however. For that you'll need an electric juicer. Based on our research, your best bet for a cheap electric citrus juicer is the Black & Decker CJ625 (starting at $18). The manual Metrokane Rabbit Citrus Juicer (starting at $40) turns out to be more style than substance.

A masticating juicer works best on wheatgrass and other fibrous vegetables (such as spinach and lettuce) and roots (like beets and carrots). These low-speed juicers push produce through a barrel or chute, where a rotating, screw-like auger slowly kneads and "chews" the greens to extract the juice, sieving the liquid and leaving the pulp. Most electric masticating juicers are priced way beyond the Cheapism range. The top-selling (and best-reviewed) brands, which include Breville, Omega, and Champion, typically start at $200. One frugal solution is to opt for a manual wheatgrass juicer, such as the Lexen Healthy Juicer GP27 (starting at $50), which is recommended specifically for juicing greens.

For any other vegetable or fruit combination, a centrifugal juicer or juice extractor does the trick. This type of machine uses spinning blades to shred the produce and centrifugal force to push the juice out from the center of rotation and separate it from the pulp. The juice drains into a small pitcher or a drinking glass, and the pulp collects in a separate receptacle. These juicers are fast and easy to use, particularly for beginners. They tend to be less expensive than masticating juicers but are not as effective at extracting juice from leafy greens. While many centrifugal juicers start at the $100 mark, good options under $50 do exist. The best cheap one we found is the Hamilton Beach 67601 Big Mouth Juice Extractor (starting at $50). The Black & Decker JE2200B Juice Extractor (starting at $30) also makes our list of top picks, while another Hamilton Beach model, the HealthSmart Juice Extractor 67800 (starting at $35), doesn't demonstrate the efficiency or durability reviewers expect.

What We Looked for in the Specs

Large Reamer or Chute.

Squeezing small limes and lemons with a cheap citrus juicer is not the same as squeezing large oranges and grapefruit. Some models, including the Black & Decker CJ625, come with two different size cones to fit the reamer. In reviews on multiple sites, users admire the design of the Metrokane Rabbit Citrus Juicer from an aesthetic standpoint but warn that the reamer is large enough to accommodate only lemons, limes, and the smallest of oranges, making it ineffective for orange juicing -- not worth it for the price and effort. As for juice extractors, feed-chute sizes vary, so figure on doing some slicing and dicing beforehand to ensure fruits and vegetables will fit. The Hamilton Beach 67601 Big Mouth Juice Extractor boasts an extra-wide 3-inch feed chute, but most cheap juicers have smaller chutes that require smaller pieces and more pre-juicing prep time. Many users mention this in reviews of the Black & Decker JE2200B Juice Extractor, for example, although it doesn't deter most of them from giving the juicer a positive rating overall.

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Convenient Container Design.

Some juicers are sold without a juice container; a glass or bowl is meant to fit under the spout to collect the juice. Others save you from having to make a separate glass of juice for each person by offering relatively large pitchers. The Black & Decker CJ625 features a 34-ounce pitcher that holds enough for the entire family. A clear container with measurements on the side lets you see how much juice you've squeezed, which is especially useful if you need it for a recipe.

Centrifugal juicers often come with two separate containers -- one for the juice and one for the pulp. These either fit right into the juicer or sit underneath the ejection points. The Black & Decker JE2200B Fruit and Vegetable Juice Extractor includes a 10-ounce juice pitcher and a 28-ounce pulp bin. A too-small pulp container adds time to the juicing process, as users must pause to dump the pulp and start again. Dishwasher-Safe Parts. All the electric juicers recommended here have parts that are dishwasher-safe after disassembly, making cleaning and de-gunking a snap. The two manual juicers, the Lexen Healthy Juicer and Metrokane Rabbit Citrus Juicer, are hand-wash only. This doesn't detract from most users' high opinion of the Healthy Juicer, however, as its simple design and minimal parts make hand-washing easy. As for the Metrokane Rabbit, the required washing technique may be the least of its drawbacks.

Safety Features.

Juice extractors, because of their speed, sharp blades, and metal baskets, should have one indispensable safety feature: a locking mechanism (as you would find on a food processor) that prevents activation unless properly assembled and securely closed. If you come across a juicer that does not come with this feature, you might want to consider another model. Even with a heavier and stronger machine, make sure the unit is equipped with a no-slip grip to keep it from dancing and spinning while you juice; alternatively, you can place a cupboard liner under the juicer. This is especially useful with tall and narrow models, such as the Cuisinart CCJ-500 Pulp Control Citrus Juicer (starting at $30), which have a tendency to tip over. The manual Lexen Healthy Juicer GP27 has a suction base and a metal clamp that can be used together or separately to attach to most any surface. The electric citrus juicers mentioned here have pressure-activated reamers, which allow the machine to activate only when the fruit is pressed firmly down onto the reamer.

by Stephanie Anderson Witmer (Google+ Profile)

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Filed in: Appliance, Cooking, Diet,
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In this review:
  1. Best Cheap Juicers
  2. Juicer Reviews
  3. Discount Juicers Features Comparison Table
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