My wife and I have been making an effort to eat unprocessed foods as a part of a healthier lifestyle. Simply told, that means if there's a label on the food (or if it's in a box), we try not to eat it. I'll write a more comprehensive blog soon about the thinking behind this approach.
Part of this initiative is to buy organic fruits and vegetables (Rainbow grocery in San Francisco is just amazing) and consume them over other foods as often as possible. We try to juice every morning and most evenings, replacing evening meals with juice as often as scheduling permits.
We've gone through three juicers looking for the exact right one, and finally we've found it. Here's a review of the ones we tried, so you don't have to.
The Jack Lalanne high-speed juicer: This was our first juicer. (The link at left is for Amazon, although you can also purchase it at Costco for $89). It actually worked quite well. It has a large opening and consumed all types of fruits and vegetables we could throw at it. Cleanup was simple enough, although there were a number of large parts to be cleaned. But there were two things about this juicer that made it a non-starter for us:
1) We're buying organic produce, which is way more expensive than non-organic. And this juicer didn't extract all of the juice from the items it was juicing, leaving very wet pulp. This meant that although the juicer itself was cheaper, we weren't getting as efficient a juice from it.
2) The larger issue, however, is that there's a lot of literature about the advantages of low-speed (80 RPM vs. 3600 RPM) juicers, called "masticating" juicers.
While the high speed juicers (like the Jack Lalanne) use centrifugal force to extract the juice from a spinning filter, the low speed masticating juicers "chew" the juice out of the food. You can find plenty of claims on the web about how low speed juicers "preserve enzymes" in the food and "don't cause oxidation" and "preserve nutrition" in the juice. The instruction manual for one of the Omega juicers below even went so far as to say that juice from low speed juicers doesn't lose any of its goodness for up to 72 hours, while juice from high speed juicers has to be consumed within 20 minutes. I don't know that I specifically buy any of those claims, but I will say that reason #1 was enough for me -- I want to extract as much juice out of the fruits and vegetables as possible from this pricey organic produce. So, although the Jack Lalanne juicer has a lot of great qualities to it, we were off in the hunt for a low-speed juicer.
The Vert Hd Vrt350 Masticating Juicer: We really thought this juicer was going to be it. The Amazon reviews on it are stellar and a lot of people seemed very happy with it. We had done a lot of research on masticating juicers, and this model really seemed to be a step up from the older Omega masticating juicer (below), which is a different design. But we were quickly disappointed, for two reasons:
1) Fibrous vegetables (think: leafy greens) that are stringy get completely clogged up in the juicer because of its design, so you end up having to chop these items up into chunks that aren't more than 2 or 3 inches long to keep it from clogging.
2) An even bigger problem is that this juicer choked on carrots. How can a juicer choke on carrots?! Especially when there's a carrot in the stock photo?! It wouldn't happen every time, but it happened often enough that it proved very annoying. A carrot would cause the juicer to grind to a halt, then we'd have to reverse the juicer, pull the carrot out, chop it up more finely, and repeat the process. Clean-up was also not as easy as I'd hoped -- while maybe not worse than the Jack Lalanne, definitely not any better. So, back to Amazon it went.
The Omega J8006 Masticating Juicer: This is our current juicer, and the one I would recommend. Don't get me wrong -- there are trade offs. While it definitely produces the driest pulp by far, and while it may be the fastest & simplest in post-juicing clean-up time, it's by far the slowest in terms of the actual juicing time itself. Additionally, it has an amazingly small chute, meaning everything has to be chopped up. If the Vert 350 above had a smaller chute would it also have escaped the carrot problem? Quite possibly. But the J8006 is a solid beast of a machine. While the Vert felt like it was just barely able to handle the food we'd throw at it, the J8006 has no such problems, chewing up everything we've given it with ease. It's a confidence-inspiring juicer.
The solidness of the machine plus the dry pulp has meant we've kept it and are pretty happy with it. If a juicer came along that could match its qualities but have a larger food chute, I'd definitely appreciate not having to cut everything up (example: the Jack Lalanne could handle an entire small apple through its chute, or if a big apple, cut in half. With the Omega, we have to cut the apple into 8ths). However, the fast and much simpler cleanup time and process helps offset the longer and more tedious juicing experience. And for what it's worth, the juicer makes a really satisfying "crunch" as it chews through food. I know, kinda meaningless but fun just the same.
Good luck in your juicing quest, and I'd love to know what you think, and what experiences you've had in the comments below.
Excellent work. My wife and I are new to the world of juicing. The J8006 caught my eye because it was stainless steel and my wife is also on a blck granite and stainless steel kick at home!!! So I figured I could knock out two birds with one stone. However the price is steep. So then I thought what if it's not as good as it says it is?? $300+ out the door so I was going to do what you did....luckily I came across your dudiligence!! I am going to go with my initial instinct and order the J8006... Thank you for the advice!!!
Good information knowing which juicer to purchase can be confusing. Finding a good juicer is so much easier now thanks to the internet.
I've had my Omega juicer for about a year now. Heavy or not when I travel it comes with me. I'm only juicing so it's a must have :). Yes the shoot is small but I have four kids ages 10-16 and there is no part of this machine, running or taken apart for cleanup, that could harm them. To those considering less expensive juice extractors you'll pay for it as soon as you realize there's more waste than juice (my experience with the Jack L juicer) On a scale of 1-5 this juicer is a 10!
My wife and I have been juicing for some time now and were given the Jack Lalanne juicer but are also looking to get a higher quality machine that will extract more juice form the pulp. We have had great luck with what we have but like you, I want to most out of my organic produce.
this is amazing, i can almost replace my meal with this juicer
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I love juicing and raw food! I used to use a Champion juicer when I lived in one place, which was solidly built and produced dry pulp. It could handle all the fruit and veg I threw at it. Though I would use easier veg such as carrots to push down things like ginger and garlic and greens. The chute was about an inch so I did have to cut up apples, onions, broccoli and larger carrots and celery. Clean up wasn't too bad - I just did in the sink.
Sometimes I used the pulp to add thickening to soups but most of the time it just went to compost. Seemed a shame to waste all that fiber and nutrients...
Now I am permanent traveling so I just go to juice stalls and bars. There is no way I would add several pounds of juicer to my 10 kg backpack :-)
Thanks! I've been having a hard time choosing between the VRT and the 8004/6. This was the first time I saw a video where the user wasn't fighting with the latter. If you have some patience, and especially if you can juice every second day, there's a clear winner!
Hi Daniel. This post has helped me make the decision about getting the Omega J8006 Juicer! I really love using this product. I agree with you assessment about the solidness of the machine. It's definitely heavy, but it stays on my countertop, so that doesn't matter much to me. Like you said, the pulp is dry and the amount of and quality of the juice that is extracted is impressive. The only food I have trouble with is pineapple. Perhaps because pineapple is very juicy, it kind of slushes around in the masticating screw instead of extracting the juice. Has anyone else had this problem? Other than that, the J8006 is amazing in its ability to chew up just about anything else I put in there including leafy greens.
It is very easy to clean. I usually throw everything in the dishwasher, but the pieces are very easy to clean by hand as well.
It's not too noisy. I was expecting it to be louder than it was.
I agree that the chute is very small. That is the only thing that puts a damper on my juicing experience. For me, the juicing time is long not because of the actual juicing, but because of the prep work. Food needs to be cut up into small pieces to fit into the chute.
I was also impressed that this product can make nut butters, baby food, grind coffee beans, and extrudes pasta. I haven't used any of those features yet though.
I would definitely recommend this product. Thanks for your review!
Latonya, thanks for the details; glad you're enjoying it.
Sue and I will be using it for baby food very soon! Here's our blog where we talk about our parenting journey: http://www.lifewetravel.com/learning-to-be-a-great-dad
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Jim Hopkinson, Wired.com's Marketing Guy and creator ofThe Hopkinson Report, recently interviewed me for his Hopkinson Report podcast. Here's a Tweet of Jim's about the Podcast, and another one about my social media hardware bag and another on my blog posting about how to hire people effectively.
Here is a transcript of the Podcasts
Three years ago, I reviewed several juicers in detail before settling on the Omega masticating juicer, and it's been great.
But ever since, my buddy Frank has been trying to convince me to get a Vitamix. He says he uses the Vitamix several times per day, vs. less than once a week for his juicer. I was over at his house the other day, and he gave me the full court press sales pitch. So of course I video taped it! Let me know what you think: Is a Vitamix more useful than a Juicer?
Also, the Vitamix isn't cheap! The 750 professional series is $650 on Amazon. There are cheaper ones though, as low as $481. If you don't mind refurbished, you can get an older open box version from Amazon Warehouse for the mid $300s.