If you have a juicer gathering dust at the back of your cupboard, or going unused on your kitchen counter, then you aren’t alone.
Sales of fruit drinks in the UK fell 1.4% between 2014 and 2019, according to Mintel, which is foreboding news for manufacturers of juicers, the kitchen appliances which press, slice and spin the juice out of food and veg for a homemade drink.
But as with many kitchen gadgets, purchases of juicers saw an uptick during lockdown in early 2020.
We’re yet to see whether this a comeback or if buyers are drinking their OJ with a chaser of buyer’s remorse.
But we think there are reasons that juicers do deserve to become popular again. We’ve examined some of the most common excuses for why people don’t want to buy juicers any more to see if they stand up, or if there’s life in this product yet.
Looking to make a home-squeezed breakfast juice? Which? members can view our Best Buy juicers here
Excuse 1: juicing isn’t good for you any more
The health benefits of a glass of juice were a major pull for consumers when juicers were at the height of their popularity.
But criticisms have been made recently that their health benefits are overblown and sometimes misleading.
In 2019, BBC Good Food magazine claimed that fruit juice’s ‘halo has slipped’, arguing that extracting juice from fruits and vegetables is much less healthy because of the loss of insoluble fibre that juicing causes.
TIME magazine also argued that most juice is pure sugar, which can lead to weight gain, an increased risk of Type 2 diabetes and spikes in blood glucose levels.
So is juicing unhealthy?
The claim that juice is unhealthy is part of the reason why many have turned to blenders, which process the entire fruit or vegetable and so retain more nutrients. You can also add proteins and fats to smoothies without losing out on taste or texture, which makes them a more versatile option.
So-called juice detoxes have also disappointed many due to the unsustainable nature of the diet, preventing dieters from forming good food habits and promoting sugar overconsumption.
It’s understandable that many are now cynical about the health claims we hear about juice.
Which? says: juice is OK in moderation
The reality is that the health claims of juice have been overstated in marketing and juice isn’t a panacea for any poor diet. It’s important to eat whole fruit and vegetables, too.
Shefalee Loth, Which? nutritionist, says: ‘To get your recommended five-a-day, you can’t just rely on juices, especially as juice and smoothies only count as one portion regardless of how much you drink.
‘Once the fruit is juiced or blended the sugar becomes “free sugar” which we should try to limit our intake of and is bad for our teeth.
‘The government recommends a portion of juice is 150ml.’
So juice is only unhealthy in excess, or when it becomes a substitute for healthy meals which fill you up and provide you with the macronutrients you need to give you energy.
In fact, if you limit the amount of juice you drink and drink it instead of another sugary drink or indulgent snack, then your diet will improve. Fruit and vegetable juice has important nutrients, for example orange juice has vitamin C.
This is particularly helpful if you have children or family and friends who dislike fruit and veg, but who enjoy the taste and texture of a glass of juice.
Juice as a source of fibre
Fibre is vital for our bodies. It feeds the healthy bacteria in our gut and keeps our digestive systems working. There’s also evidence it can help to lower cholesterol levels, protect against heart disease and lower our risk of certain cancers.
Juices and smoothies contain less fibre than the whole fruit or vegetable as the juicing process breaks down many of the fibres.
This means that juice can play a positive role in your digestive health, as long as you also seek out other sources of fibre in whole foods, such as wheat, nuts and potatoes, to give yourself a balanced intake.
So drink up – in moderation.
Looking for an explainer of the types of juicers and what their differences are? Check out our article on how to buy the best juicer
Excuse 2: juicing is a waste of fruit
One of the problems of these appliances is that you’re not getting the most out of your fruit and veg because you have leftovers after you’ve extracted the juice.
It can feel disheartening to waste loads of fruit and veg, and only produce half a glass of juice to show for it. This is a good reason why many prefer a blender which doesn’t leave any pulp to be discarded afterwards.
Which? says: that’s why we measure how much every juicer extracts
When we test juicers, we expect them to extract as much juice from fruit and vegetables as possible.
When we compare the highest-rated juicer on our site with a pricier low-scorer, we notice large differences in the amount of product you get from your ingredients, despite the price difference of more than £100.
|Tested juicer||Juice extracted from 900g of fruit||Juice extracted from 520g of vegetables||Time to make fruit juice (seconds)||Time to make vegetable juice (seconds)|
|The cheaper Which? Best Buy||640g||395g||72||61|
|The pricier 53% scorer||530g||201g||180||103|
Our tests have proven that not all juicers are equal, and if you want to get the most out of your ingredients, you need to pick a quality machine. Otherwise you may be disappointed at paltry quantities and sluggish runtimes.
Although juicers do produce waste versus blenders or simply consuming whole foods, you also need to account for the enjoyment you get from a fresh glass of juice.
Getting value out of your food isn’t just about maximising consumption, but it’s also about enjoying the things you make.
With a device that is proven to extract high quantities of juice, you’ll be left satisfied while cutting waste and getting value from your money.
Which? members can look at our expert reviews of juicers to find out which model squeezed a hearty glassful
Excuse 3: juicers take up too much space
Modern design trends tend to make products smaller and lighter. We don’t enjoy products that are excessively large since many of us live in limited spaces we don’t want to clutter. This is a problem as juicers are fairly large appliances.
This is particularly noticeable when you consider that you could just buy a small citrus juicer which you can pop away in the drawer with the rest of your utensils. Why should we buy big machines to do what small, moulded pieces of plastic can do?
Which? says: That’s why we publish dimensions
In every juicer review, we’ve taken our own measurements of the height, width, depth and weight of every one we’ve tested.
We’ve also given every juicer a star rating for ease of use. This includes how easy it is to pick up, move around and store.
- One juicer we’ve tested stands at 45cm tall and 30cm wide. It also weighs a sizeable 7kg, so it’s not exactly lightweight, either.
- Another, which we tested at the same time, weighs half the amount. It’s also 5cm shorter and 10cm thinner.
- We’ve tested four juicers that we deemed painful to use, giving them three stars or less.
Take a look at our round-up of the top five best juicers to find a model that suits your needs
Excuse 4: juicers are fiddly to clean
Juicers require dissembling to clean thoroughly, and they can often get pulp stuck in their filters and other internal parts. In addition, only some parts tend to be dishwasher-safe, so you’re left with a mix of pieces to manually clean and other bits to put on the rack.
You’re looking at round five parts that need cleaning, including meshes which can be really stubborn to get pristine. It’s no secret that they can be frustrating to look after.
Which? says: they can be if you choose badly
We give every juicer a star rating for ease of cleaning, which we come to asking expert assessors to reach a consensus. Every juicer involves some degree of fuss, but the highest-rated ones go the extra mile to help you out.
Examples of juicers making cleaning easier include:
- An integrated pulp container in juicers such as the Philips Viva HR1832/01, when well designed, gather most of the pulp without leaving lots stuck on the lid.
- A brush helps to clean tricky areas such as filters and spouts. Many juicers provide one with your purchase, including the Braun Multiquick 5 J500.
- Quick-rinse functions let you clean the appliance quickly by pouring water through the machine to flush out juice and pulp. The Sage The Big Squeeze comes with this feature.
- Dishwasher-safe parts are common. If you have a dishwasher, you should expect your juicer to make some of its parts safe for placing on the rack. But check before purchasing exactly which parts are dishwasher-safe.
If you want to find out more about how we judge ease of use, then take a look at our guide to how we test juicers
Excuse 5: Nutribullets are better than juicers
We don’t think it’s a coincidence that the decline of the juicer’s popularity coincides with the meteoric rise of the Nutribullet, the personal blender which is small, easy to use, and much trendier.
The blender market is bigger than the juicer market. This isn’t too surprising, because they’re more versatile and less wasteful than gadgets which only extract juice.
The Nutribullet made blending easier and quicker than ever before, so many bought one and never looked back.
If you’re interested in seeing Nutribullet’s line-up, then Which? members can take a look at our Nutribullet reviews
Which? says: it’s a personal choice
Generally, you don’t want to fill your counter up with several appliances, so you might prefer to pick one.
Although some blenders come with attachments that can prep food and create juice, these come with additional outlay and can be a pain to store.
- Use the whole fruit
- As well as smoothies, can be used to crush ice, make cocktails, sauces, dips, ice cream and soups.
- Easier to clean with fewer parts, and personal blenders are small.
- Give you pure juice for a unique taste and texture
- Can serve drinks directly into your cup through a spout
- Sieve the contents for you so you don’t get rough textures or bits of pulp in the mix.
Hybrid models such as the Sage Bluicer aim to do it all by being a blender, juicer and food processor all in one. Although this is handy, it’s a seriously expensive appliance at £300 – and it’s big, too.
Which? members can read our expert review of the Sage Bluicer to see if a hybrid model is any good