Blenders vs juicers
By Ben Slater
Looking to get more fruit and veg in your diet, but not sure whether to go for a blender or juicer? We examine the health claims of both.
Blending or juicing can make it easier to get the nutrients your body needs, without the effort of cooking or preparing fruit and vegetables. But both blenders and juicers make bold claims about health, so which one should you pick?
Trying to decide between blenders and juicers can be a real minefield. Should you go for one of the popular blenders promising to blitz fruit and veg and release nutrition while retaining crucial fibre, or a juicer that claims to extract more goodness from your food than rivals?
We conducted exclusive nutritional testing to see how blenders and juicers compare. Read on to find out whether you're better off with a blender or a juicer. Alternatively, you can skip straight to our blender reviews or juicer reviews to see our top picks.
Blending vs juicing - what's the difference?
Blenders pulverise ingredients, with the good ones whipping up a tasty smoothie in seconds. There's hardly any waste as you drink everything you've blended, and they're usually relatively easy to use and clean. Plus, they can be used to make soups, sauces, dips, cocktails and more - so they're pretty versatile.
If you want to add more veg to your smoothies, you do need to get the balance of ingredients right, otherwise you could end up with a thick and gloopy or thin and bitty drink - both of which are pretty unappetising. However, you can improve the taste of drinks made with leafy greens or bitter veg by adding things like nuts, dairy, protein powders and honey.
Juicers extract the juice from the ingredients you put in, removing the pulp to leave a smooth juice. Some have 'smoothie' attachments for juicing softer fruits to create thicker drinks, or citrus attachments for pulpy orange juice. Some starchy fruits, like bananas, aren't suitable for juicing.
It takes a fair amount of veg to make a juice, so you can end up with lots of waste pulp left over, and they usually have no less than five separate parts that need cleaning, which can be a bit of a nightmare in the mornings.
Which is better - blending or juicing?
As you might expect, we found that the blenders, which pulverise ingredients into one blended drink, retained more fibre in our tests than juicers.
Certain types of juicer seem to take the upper hand when it comes to vitamin C, which is key in aiding the immune system and maintaining a healthy body. Find out if fast or slow juicers are best for vitamin C retention by reading our guide on fast vs slow juicers.
Potassium, good for the heart and kidneys, tends to be retained quite well by both blenders and juicers. But neither juicing nor blending provides the same health benefits as eating fruit or vegetables, and juices and smoothies tend to be a poor source of beta-carotene and iron. Beta-carotene is converted into vitamin A, helping the immune system and aiding healthy vision, while iron is essential for preventing blood anaemia.
Blending and juicing have their advantages, but there is no silver bullet for nutrition. Neither will consistently retain all the key nutrients in your fresh ingredients. So, neither should replace eating fruit and veg altogether, as this is still the best way to get the key nutrients your body needs.
If you want to find more creative ways to get fruit and veg into your diet, a vegetable spiralizer, which turns fruit and veg into thin pasta-like noodles, might be for you - visit our spiralizer reviews to find out more.
How we tested nutritional claims
We made a juice or smoothie using an identical fruit and vegetable recipe in seven blenders and 13 juicers from big brands and specialist juice retailers. Our aim was to see how well key nutrients such as vitamin C, beta-carotene, potassium, iron and fibre are retained by each machine.
To make sure no nutritional components escaped our clutches, we used two scientific techniques:
- Mass spectrometry - this method separates nutritional components by mass. It works by converting a portion of our fruit and veg sample into ions, which are then fed through a mass analyser for us to detect.
- High pressure liquid chromatography (HPLC) - this separates nutritional components by solubility. The smoothie and juice samples were put through a column of liquid at high pressure. Because each component reacts differently to this process, they separate, allowing us to measure them.
To find the best juicer or blender for you, try our independent blender reviews, including our review of the Nutribullet and alternative mini blenders, and our juicer reviews, which cover both centrifugal and masticating models.