Whether you’re into making healthy juices and smoothies, or want to blend up your own cocktails for a party, there is lots of choice when it comes to blenders and juicers. Our guide aims to help you decide which features are a must-have, so you can choose the best juicer or blender for your requirements.
Blender or Juicer
Juicers can come in several different forms and designs but they essentially extract just the liquid from fresh fruit and vegetables and leave behind the pulp.
Blenders mix whatever you put into them together, keeping all of the original ingredients in the finished blend, rather than leaving pulp behind.
If you’re after a device to simply make juice from fresh ingredients, then a juicer will probably be the best option. If you want to make a wider variety of things e.g. smoothies and soups, a blender is likely to be the better choice for you.
If you’re likely to be wanting to use chunky, dry ingredients in your creations, you may find that a food processor is a better option, as blenders are best suited to liquefying soft ingredients, rather than breaking down hard or dry foodstuffs, and some blenders are likely to break if used on unsuitable ingredients.
Types of blender
The power of a blender is measured in watts (W). They range from around 150W for smaller and some hand blenders, up to 1000W+ for standard blenders. Many blenders have several speed settings, making them ideal for using on a variety of soft foods and liquids.
The power rating and blender type that is right for you will mainly depend on what you want to blend. It usually also follows that the more powerful the blender, the more noise it makes when in operation.
Hand blenders & stick blenders
This type of blender may or may not come with its own bowl or jug because they can be used directly in the pan or food container. This is ideal if you’re making something like soup, as you won’t need to transfer the hot ingredients into a separate container to blend, you can simply take the pan off the heat and blend directly. Hand blenders and stick blenders are generally not as powerful as the other types, so are best suited to smaller quantities of soft food and liquid that need to be combined. They often come with attachments to help with different tasks. Some of the most popular things to create with hand blenders include:
Smoothies or milkshakes
Batter for pancakes, Yorkshire puddings or waffles
Cooking sauces e.g. white sauce or cheese sauce
Standard blenders usually have a base and a jug section; the latter can be removed for cleaning and to transfer the contents. They can have a capacity of anything up to 2 litres in the glass or plastic jug and usually have several speed settings, making them ideal for using on lots of different foodstuffs and liquids and the larger capacity is great for families. They usually have at least 1000W of power and can crush ice and handle the chopping of some food ingredients, but are primarily used for combining soft ingredients and liquids. Some of the most popular things to make with standard blenders include:
Smoothies and shakes
Dressings, purées, dips and sauces
Homemade peanut butter
For those who want a blender that is compact but can perform lots of different blending and combining tasks, a multifunction blender could be the best choice. They usually come with a wide variety of accessories, including different blades for chopping and blending various things, cups for enjoying freshly made smoothies or shakes on the go, and lots of different settings, enabling this one blender to do dozens of different things. They are different to food processors in that they are still designed to combine or blend soft ingredients and liquids, rather than dry chop and mix harder ingredients. However, most multifunction blenders can easily cope with chopping ice and lots of different types of fruit and vegetables. Popular things to whip up in multifunction blenders include:
Soups and sauces
Shakes and smoothies
Ground coffee, nuts or seeds
Types of Juicers
Unlike blenders, which are designed for a wide range of mixing, combining and blending functions for a variety of ingredients, juicers essentially only have one function; to extract the juice from fruit and vegetables so that you are left with separated pulp and liquid. As with blenders, the power or juicing machines and devices is measure in watts (W) and some of these juicers are powerful enough to create your favourite nut milks. To find the best juicer for your needs, it’s important to find one that can easily deal with the specific types of fruit or veg that you want to juice.
Citrus press juicers
For those who will be juicing citrus fruits only, such as oranges, lemons, limes or grapefruits, this type of juicer could be an excellent solution. Powered by an electric motor, the fruit is juiced by a combination of rotation and light pressure, and this type of juicer is usually fairly quiet too.
This is a type of cold press juicer that uses pressure and rotation to crush the liquid from a variety of fruits, vegetables and leafy greens. Sometimes called a ‘slow juicer’, this type of unit takes a little more time than some other types of juicers, but the method used means that the liquid is less oxidised, so it stays fresher for longer and maintains more nutrients. They usually have less power than some other juicers, so can be more economical to run for the same amount of juice produced.
Centrifugal juicers work by turning the fruit or veg into pulp, then causing the liquid to separate from this using centrifugal force and a strainer, so that the juice can be collected in a separate compartment. These juicers tend to be fairly quick to use, in comparison with masticating or cold press juicers, but they can also clog more easily and cannot extract the juice from leafy greens or wheatgrass, only standard fruit and vegetables. They can also be more difficult to clean after use, but usually all of the removable components are suitable for cleaning in a dishwasher.
To see the full range of blenders and juicers, along with our food processors, spiralizers and mixers, with up to 70% off RRP at TJ Hughes, click here.