Blenders and juicers crush and process fruits and vegetables, but they produce different results. Juicers squeeze the juice from fruits or vegetables, separating the skin, seeds, and pulp. Blenders combine — literally blend — all of the ingredients placed in them using a blade to chop and then mix everything together. While blenders can prepare and combine other ingredients, such as meats, nuts, yogurts, and powders, juicers are primarily used with fruits and vegetables that have high water content.
A blender has sharp blades that rotate at very high speeds to pulverize anything that goes into the appliance. Everything that goes into a blender is present in the output; there is no process that might separate juice from a halved orange that still has its peel. The high power motor of a blender allows it to tackle almost any whole fruit or vegetable, and blenders can be operated at varying speeds to blend, chop, or slice. Blenders do tend to be noisy.
A juicer breaks down fruits and vegetables, dividing the pulp, skin/peel, and seeds from the juice. The juice flows out through a sieve, and the fiber is collected in a separate chamber.
In general, blenders are the more versatile kitchen appliance, but juicers are better at what they are specifically designed to do — extract juice.
Blenders can be used to blend fruits and vegetables to make smoothies. It can also crush ice, make baby food, and slice and chop fruits, vegetables, and meat. This appliance creates a smooth consistency for soups and dips, or settings can be changed to leave food chunkier for salsas. In contrast to food processors, which chop, grate, shred, mix, and slice a variety of foods, blenders tend only to crush and mix foods together, unless attachments for other functions are used.
A juicer is used solely to extract juice from fruits and vegetables. Clear juice that is free of peel, pulp, or seed is obtained from fruits and vegetables that have a reasonably high water content. While the primary function of a juicer is to provide juice, the separated and extracted pulp can be used in a variety of recipes for soup, vegetarian burgers, smoothies, muffins, cakes, and more. Juice extractors have stronger motors than standard juicers and are able to extract juice from hard roots and vegetables, as well as process nuts, seeds, and meat.
Types of Blenders
- Immersion blenders are small, handheld devices that have a blade at their bottom that blends ingredients in a container, such as a pot. They often include attachments for mixing and chopping.
- Countertop blenders have stronger motors than immersion blenders and have their own jug attached in which ingredients that are to be blended are placed.
Types of Juicers
- Cold-press (masticating) juicers crush and then press fruit and vegetables for high-quality, high-volume juice yield.
- Centrifugal juicers, which are cheaper than cold-press juicers, press fruit and vegetables into a rapidly-spinning mesh chamber that has sharp blades at its bottom; the spinning motion pulls juice out of the produce. The juice is then pushed through a mesh sieve and funneled out of the juicer. Because of the heat created by a centrifugal juicer's motor, some of the juice's nutrients may be oxidized, thus cold-pressed juices tend to last longer than centrifugal juices.
- Twin-gear (triturating) juicers crush produce between two small gears that rotate at slow speeds. This prevents oxidation of the juices.
- Hand-crank juicers are a basic, manually-operated tool that will only juice certain fruits and vegetables. They squeeze juice out of produce similar to the manner in which one would squeeze juice out of something by hand.
Health Benefits and Nutrition
Eating 5 or more servings of fruits and vegetables per day has been found to decrease one’s risk of stroke by 26% and lower the risk of dying from cardiovascular disease. Studies have also found that the antioxidants in fruits and vegetables may help delay the onset of Alzheimer’s disease. Both blenders and juicers are good, in that they can help get more fruits and vegetables into one’s diet, but they don’t necessarily provide the same health benefits or nutritional content. And in the case of juicing, it is important to drink juice within 15 minutes of juicing, as light and air can further destroy nutrients and even cause contamination.
Chewing (mastication) plays an key role in the human body's digestive process and helps enzymes break down carbohydrates. Blenders and juicers, of course, already break down ingredients. This makes the blends and juices they produce potentially easier to digest than some whole foods, but they may also not be as beneficial as some whole foods.
Effects on Fiber
When it comes to fiber, the end products from a blender may offer more health benefits than those from a juicer. Whereas a juicer separates juices from the fiber found in a fruit or vegetable, a blender simply blends or combines all parts of a fruit (or other ingredient), meaning fiber remains accessible to the body.
The list of research into the benefits of vegetable and fruit juices is long and includes positive effects such as the inhibition of various types of cancer growth, DNA protection, and immune system support. However, health experts believe the majority of the polyphenol phytonutrients that are related to these benefits may be bound to fruit and vegetable fiber, and hence removed in the juicing process. Approximately 20% of what is termed fiber is, in fact, non-extractable polyphenols that gut bacteria can extract for absorption. While data on the health effects are still sparse, it is believed polyphenols may explain the protective effects of fruits and vegetables against cardiovascular disease and cancer.
Fiber doesn’t only aid in digestion but is digestible by gut bacteria. The short chain fatty acids that are created inhibit the growth of bad bacteria and increase mineral absorption. This suggests that blending might provide more nutritional value and thus improved health benefits. This video takes a closer look at the benefits of fiber.
Effects on Blood Sugar
Studies have found that the consumption of whole fruits, particularly blueberries, grapes, and apples, are associated with a lower risk of type 2 diabetes, whereas fruit juice consumption is associated with a higher risk. This is related to how the bloodstream absorbs the sugar from juice quickly, which can cause unstable blood sugar. The fiber left with blending leaves one feeling full for longer and produces a slow release of sugar to the body as digestion is lengthier. Overall, this means blending produce is safer for diabetics.
Juicers, having narrower chambers, tend to require more careful cleaning than blenders, and to avoid microbial contamination jugs and juicers should be properly disinfected after use. Cold-press and twin-gear juicers are the easiest juicers to clean, having fewer parts to wash than centrifugal juicers. The model and quantity of active components of a hand-press juicer will determine how easy it is to clean.
Both blenders and juicers are available in models that have removable, dishwasher-safe parts. In fact, this is standard for most blender models, but those looking to buy a juicer should investigate cleaning requirements prior to purchase, as not all juicers have easily removable or dishwasher-safe parts.
A wide variety of blenders and juicers are available on the market. Some appliances even combine the ability to blend and extract juice. Cost varies by brand, model, and available features, but many of the more versatile and powerful options will fall within the $100-$500 range. Even so, there are some less expensive models, such as juicers and blenders by the manufacturer Oster, which are frequently priced well under $100.
At $450, the Vitamix TurboBlend VS Blender is a high-powered blender with a host of features, including creaming, heating, grinding, and self-cleaning, and also comes with a filtration bag that allows the blender to double as a juicer.
Popular Blenders and Juicers
Despite the high price tags, the Vitamix range of blenders are incredibly popular, owing to their wide assortment of functions, quality construction, and user-friendliness. Margaritaville blenders, advertised primarily for making frozen drinks, are also well-liked, as is the Nutri Ninja Pro, which is a high-powered blender that can crush ice, seeds, stems, and skin into smooth, even consistencies.
Breville juicers are especially popular with prices ranging from $100 to $400. Consumers have found the construction to be solid and practical, and with a broad range of sizes available, users can choose a model that best suits their needs. Hamilton Beach provides a few cheaper juicers (under $100) which are also well-liked and considered excellent value for money by most consumers.