Menu
Search
Menu
Close

Electric Juicers (Juice Extractors)

By Cook's Illustrated Published September 2012

How we tested

While citrus reamers tackle oranges and the like, juice extractors expand the options to almost any fruit or vegetable. These machines extract liquid in one of two ways: Masticating juicers use an auger that grinds the produce and presses it against a strainer; centrifugal juicers shred and spin the food on a serrated disk. Of the six models we tested (four centrifugal, two masticating), each style yielded about the same amount of juice from a measured quantity of produce, but centrifugal juicers, which operate at a higher rpm, tended to be louder.

Noise level aside, we discovered two downsides to the juices extracted from masticating models: They didn’t have as much flavor and they didn’t taste fresh as long. When produce is cut, it releases enzymes that oxidize some of the food’s flavor compounds, a process that degrades taste (and also causes darkening). But as a juicer continues to break down the produce, some of the enzymes also get broken down, rendering them inactive. The lower horsepower of the masticating machines doesn’t kill off these enzymes as efficiently as the higher spinning rate of the centrifugal machines, leading to juice that darkened and lost flavor when we let it sit overnight in the fridge. Conversely, juice from centrifugal machines was still bright and fresh-tasting after three days in the refrigerator. 

In both styles, some models made us work harder than others. Juicers with narrow (2-inch-wide) tubes had us dicing apples into bite-size morsels and cutting pineapples into skinny strips, and some required that we tediously feed the food through the chute one piece at a time. One model had a tiny receptacle for catching pulp, forcing us to constantly stop juicing to empty it. Several juicers lurched and scooted on the counter. Some had six or seven complicated parts or tight crevices that trapped food, making the models harder to assemble and harder to clean—though most models came with a plastic brush to help dislodge stray shreds from the strainers.

Only one model excelled across the board. It breezed through pineapples, oranges, apples, and kale. It was not overly loud, even though it used centrifugal technology; it was easy to assemble and clean—especially since most of its parts are top-rack dishwasher-safe; and best of all, at $149.99, it was reasonably priced. 

Methodology

EASE OF USE: To measure ease of use, we evaluated whether the machine created a mess, whether it has a wide feed tube to reduce precutting foods, its noise output, and how difficult it is to remove and dispose of pulp.

EASE OF CLEANUP: We made beet juice in each machine, then washed all juicer parts with warm soapy water and evaluated how easily this was accomplished and whether the machine trapped grunge or pulp that could not be easily cleaned.

Try CooksIllustrated.com Free for 14 Days

Included in your trial membership

  • 20+ years of Cook's Illustrated foolproof recipes
  • In-depth videos of recipes and cooking techniques
  • SAVE all your Favorites for easy access
  • Up-to-Date reviews and product buying guides

Get everything Cook's Illustrated — become the Smartest Cook you know, guaranteed.

Email is required
How we use your email address

The Results

Winner
Recommended

Design Trifecta 360 Knife Block

Admittedly expensive, this handsome block certainly seemed to live up to its billing as “the last knife block you ever have to buy.” The heaviest model in our testing, this block was ultrastable, and its durable bamboo exterior was a breeze to clean. Well-placed medium-strength magnets made it easy to attach all our knives, and a rotating base gave us quick access to them. One tiny quibble: The blade of our 12-inch slicing knife stuck out a little.

$248.64*
Recommended

Schmidt Brothers Downtown Block

This roomy block completely sheathed our entire winning knife set using just one of its two sides—and quite securely, thanks to long, medium-strength magnet bars. Heavy, with a grippy base, this block was very stable. An acrylic guard made this model extra-safe but also made it a little trickier to insert knives and to clean; the wood block itself showed some minor cosmetic scratching during use.

$141.90*

Schmidt Brothers Midtown Block

This smaller version of the Downtown Block secured all our knives nicely, though the blade of the slicing knife stuck out a bit. With a base lined with grippy material, this block was very stable. An acrylic guard afforded extra protection against contact with blades but made it a little harder to insert knives and to clean; the wood itself got a little scratched during use.

$67.99*
Recommended with Reservations

Swissmar Bamboo Magnetic Knife Block

This small, scratch-resistant model had a stable, rubber-lined base and could hold all our knives, though the blade of the 12-inch slicing knife stuck out a bit. But inch-long gaps between its small magnets made coverage uneven and forced us to find the magnetic hot spots in order to secure the knives. Its acrylic guard made it safer to use but harder to insert knives and to clean.

$49.93*
Not Recommended

Messermeister Walnut Magnet Block

This handsome block was done in by its shape—a tippy, top-heavy quarter-circle that wasn’t tall or broad enough to keep the blades of three knives from poking out. It lacked a nonslip base, and its extra-strong magnets made it unnerving to attach or remove our heavy cleaver. Finally, it got a bit scratched after extensive use.

$129.95*

Epicurean Standing Knife Rack 12"

This magnetic block sheathed all our knives completely, though with a bit of crowding. But it was hard to insert each knife without hitting the block’s decorative slats on way down, and because the block was light and narrow, it wobbled when bumped. Worse, we couldn’t take it apart, so splatters that hit the interior were there to stay. Additionally, the outside stained easily, and when we wiped it down, the unit smelled like wet dog.

$99.95*

Kapoosh Rondelle Knife Block

This model stabilized knives with a mass of stiff, spaghetti-like bristles that shed and nicked easily after extensive use, covering our knives with plastic debris. While all our knives fit securely, several of the blades stuck out, making this unit feel less safe overall. Finally, though the bristles could be removed and cleaned in the dishwasher, their nooks and crannies made this block hard to wash by hand.

$24.99*

Kuhn Rikon Vision Knife Block, Clear

This plastic block required us to aim each knife into the folds of an accordion-pleated insert that was removable for easy cleaning but got nicked easily with repeated use. Because we could only insert the knives vertically, longer knife blades stuck out; a cleaver was too wide to fit. The lightest model in our lineup, this block was dangerously top-heavy when loaded with knives.

$35.88*