If you like to make tasty fruit and vegetable drinks at home, you might be considering buying a juicer or a blender. But what are the differences, and which one is better suited to your needs?
The words juicer and blender are often used interchangeably, but they are different products and shouldn’t be confused. We are here to set the record straight and have been looking at the pros and cons of juicers and blenders to help you make an informed decision on which to buy.
What is a blender?
Blenders are incredibly versatile kitchen accessories which pulverise ingredients to a smooth consistency. They are simple to operate, and you can serve up a smoothie in seconds.
They are not just used for smoothies though, they can also be utilised to produce tasty soups, dips and sauces. They are also incredibly useful for liquidising cooked vegetables and fruit to make home-made baby food for your little one.
The blender is a simple kitchen gadget, with a blender jug into which all ingredients are placed. This sits on top of the blade and motor area, which pulverises the food in the jug.
One vital part is the blender lid, which has a rubber seal, so the ingredients don’t explode from the jar. Take it from someone who learned the hard way – ALWAYS make sure the lid is secure before switching the blender on – unless you want to be featured on You’ve Been Framed!
Blenders have a variety of different functions and speed settings. A common element is the ‘pulse’ button, which is a handy setting that works in short bursts when the button is pressed. It’s ideal if you need to mix some fruit or vegetables without pureeing them. I often use my blender pulse function to make a tasty salsa.
Types of blender
As well as the traditional blender seen on the worktops of families across the UK, there are also options to own a smaller hand blender or an all-singing-all-dancing specialty blender with incredible power.
- Hand blender: This is a compact type of blender with blades at the end of a shaft and the hand-hand controls at the other end. It does not have a blender jug but is very handy if you wanted to puree a sauce directly from a pan.
- High-power blenders: These are often seen in restaurants and in the kitchens of people who are serious about making their own nut butters and purees and need extra blending power. They are a more expensive option, but the clever design will ensure that all the ingredients are thoroughly mixed – even the hard to reach parts that sometimes get stuck at the bottom of the blender jug near the blades.
What is a juicer?
A juicer operates in a very different way to a blender.
Juicers are designed to separate the fibre from the fruit or veggies, leaving only the juice for you to drink. The advantages of this method are that you can squeeze more ingredients into an easily digestible smoothie for a tasty way to get a vitamin boost.
Types of juicer
- Centrifugal juicer: These are a very popular type of juicer as they are cheap to buy. They work by extracting the juice with a fast-spinning metal blade, pressing the ingredients through a strainer, which drains the juice into a separate container. The pulp can then be discarded. Due to the incredibly fast blade rotation which generates heat, some of the nutrients in the juice are lost, so this might not be the one for you if you’re juicing for maximum health benefits.
- Slow juicer: This type of juicer can also be called a masticating juicer. Essentially it ‘chews’ or grinds the ingredients before pressing the juice through a filter and extracting the fibre. Because this involves very low levels of heat (or none at all), it retains the nutrients better than the centrifugal juicer.
Juicer vs blender – the main differences
There are key differences between juicers and blenders and depending on what you want to achieve, one may suit your needs more than the other:
|How They Work||A juicer splits the fibre from juice leaving only the juice to drink (although some cheap juicers produce a juice with a little bit of fibre left behind).
The fibre pulp is dispensed meaning you can cram in more fruit and veg for a vitamin boost.
|A blender liquidises all the ingredients including the fibre to produce a thicker, smoothie-style drink which releases the nutrients into your body slowly, leaving you feeling fuller for longer.|
|Waste||There is more waste with a juicer as the pulp from the fibre is not used.||If you don’t like waste, then a blender might be a better option as all the fruit and veg is used with no waste left behind.|
|Digestion||Juice produced from the juicing method is easily digestible and fast-absorbing, meaning the nutrients get into your body quickly and efficiently.||A blender’s juice retains the fibre for a slower digestion process that does not destabilise blood sugar levels (as long as you don’t use too many fruits in your smoothie and focus mainly on veg).|
|Cleaning||Juicers are generally more complex kitchen gadgets and will take longer to dismantle and clean. Not all their parts are suitable for the dishwasher.||Cleaning a blender is easy. Most blenders have fewer parts than a juicer and are usually dishwasher safe.|
Is juicing or blending better?
Many blender owners think juicing is wasteful, while avid juicers prefer the juicing method to get their nutrients delivered quickly.
In truth, there is no right answer and will depend on the goal the individual is trying to achieve.
If the objective is to lose weight, then a blender could be the answer as this method will keep you feeling fuller for longer and therefore less likely to resort to snacking between meals.
However, it is worth noting that all juices and smoothies made purely from fruit contain a lot of sugar. Too much sugar, even natural sugars, will not aid weight loss. We’d suggest combing a mixture of fruit and veg for a smoothie with less sugar (try to use mostly veg if you can and only a small portion of fruits to make your smoothie healthier).
If your aim is to simply consume more fruit and veg, or if you don’t really like eating your greens, then blending or juicing can help you to reach your target. But a word of caution – the NHS website states that no matter how much fruit juice or smoothies you consume, it will still only count towards one of your five a day, so whilst it can give you a boost, you should not rely on juice and smoothies alone.
We believe that whilst a juice drink or a smoothie can make a quick and easy breakfast or snack, there is no substitute to consuming fruit and vegetables as a whole to gain the maximum amount of nutrients.
Juicer and blender FAQS
Can a blender be used a juicer?
Technically, yes it can, but you will have to find a way to remove the fibre, with either a mesh or cheesecloth, which could get messy. Ultimately, blenders and juicers perform different functions and are not interchangeable.
Can a juicer be used as a blender?
Not really. The method of extracting the fibre in a juicer means that it provides a different function to a blender.
What to buy – juicer or blender?
It’s down to personal preference. Weigh up the pros and cons we’ve talked about in this article and decide which is the best for your individual requirements.
Our findings – Juicer or blender: Which is better?
We’re going to be a little be greedy here and say we’d like to own both a juicer and a blender! They are both handy kitchen gadgets which can help you reach your five-a-day.
The cream of the crop is a combined blender and juicer such as this stylish gadget from Sage. It’s not cheap, but if it’s a kitchen appliance you would use on a regular basis, it could be a worthy investment to get the best of both worlds.
If we had to pick one, it would be a blender, purely because it can perform more functions and be used to create sauces, baby meals and salsas as well as the traditional smoothie.
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Kerry Garner has an interest in nutrition and is always on the look-out for new, healthy and exciting snacks for her son’s packed lunch to ensure he gets a balanced diet that’s not boring. She is a keen home-cook and loves nothing more than experimenting in the kitchen and inventing nutritious, yet tasty meals for her family to enjoy.