If you're really serious about juicing -- especially if you're creating "green" drinks loaded with healthy veggie juices – you'll want to consider a masticating juicer. Unlike the vertical styling of a centrifugal juicer masticating juicers usually have a horizontal design and use an auger to grind and break down food more thoroughly. The downside is that they take longer to crush food; in fact, for some, waiting 20 to 30 minutes for a glass of juice is a deal-breaker. However, some nutritionists feel that this slow grinding process is more effective for preserving nutrients from leafy greens like kale, spinach and other superfoods. Masticating juicers used to be prohibitively expensive, making them a luxury for all but the well-heeled, but they've come down significantly in price over the past couple of years.
The best masticating juicer we found is the Omega J8004 (Est. $220). Reviewers rave about its ability to handle a wide range of vegetables, including spinach, kale, cucumbers, tomatoes and wheatgrass. Many owners say they can juice for hours at a time without the unit slowing, bogging down or heating up. Best of all, the Omega J8004 gets absolute top ratings for ease of disassembly and cleaning, with owners saying they just toss the components in the top rack of the dishwasher. Reviewers also appreciate its quiet operation and smaller footprint. It's larger than centrifugal juicers, but relatively small for a masticating juicer. The J8004 is highly versatile, too. In addition to juicing, it makes pasta, nut butters and specialty milks. It even grinds coffee.
The top pick among masticating juicers at TheSweetHome.com, a source we respect for their thorough roundups, is the Tribest SW-2000-B (Est. $320). In testing there, it yielded more juice than most other models, and performed well with a wide variety of fruits and vegetables. However, it doesn't fare as well in other expert testing, and the Tribest juicer is more expensive than the Omega. It's also very slow and not quite as intuitive to use as our Best Reviewed choice. Still, if you're not in a hurry and you need a versatile workhorse (it also makes nut butters, pates and sorbets), the Tribest may be a worth considering. The Tribest is very attractive, with a red and black finish and a small, vertical footprint that would be a nice addition to a modern kitchen.
Breville is a top pick across the board in the centrifugal juicer category, but it's most popular masticating juicer, the Breville Juice Fountain Crush BJS600XL (Est. $250) does not rate as well in expert reviews. It's most popular with those who don't need to juice grasses, greens and other tough vegetables. That means that the Breville is fine if all you want to juice is softer veggies and fruits, but if you're going for the green, you probably need to step up to either the Tribest or the Omega.
If you have unlimited resources, or just dream of owning the best that money can buy, the Green Star GSE-5000 (Est. $550) is one of the top-rated juicers on consumer review sites, with owners saying it's very easy to use and clean, although a few complain that the screen is a pain to wash. More important, they say that it extracts every single bit of juice, resulting in a high-quality juice that is far superior in taste to juices from a centrifugal juicer. We saw many comments from people who started juicing with a less expensive juicer, then when they realized that they were serious about it and were going to stick with it, decided to upgrade to this machine.
In our estimation, you can't go wrong with the Omega J8004 or Omega J8006 (Est. $280) (they are identical except for the finish; the J8004 is white while the J8006 is chrome and black). It gets stellar reviews for doing everything that a much pricier juicer can do -- and it beats out everything else in its price point.