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Can a €220 Chinese-made horizontal juicer match the performance of the €400+ big boys? We take a look at a popular mid-priced horizontal juicer to see how it performs.
Compared to some of the €100 knock-off juicers pumped out by China these days, this more expensive juicer presents a decent first impression. The design is simple and even a bit elegant. Unlike most horizontals, the motor assembly is tall and not deep. It looks top-heavy, but remained stable in all our testing. It has illuminated power and reverse buttons on the top of the unit, and features a unique lever with three settings which adjusts the pressure of the auger within the juicing chamber. It is equipped with a white ceramic auger, something we’ve never encountered. It also has a handy juice flap to prevent drips after juicing, while the feeding tube is of average size. On the downside, this unit doesn’t come with a blank screen, although it is available as an extra-cost option. In addition, the juicing screen is miniscule and only covers the juice outlet hole, unlike more expensive juicers which have cylindrical screens with far greater surface area. Finally, the juice and pulp containers have a paltry capacity of only .5 liters, meaning more stopping to empty the pulp container.
This popular juicer presents itself as a powerful, multifunction device that is easy to use and clean. For the most part, it lives up to those promises. Assembly is simple, with only four parts (housing, auger, screen, and outlet cover) to put together. We were a bit concerned with the release lever, which had a flimsy spring-loaded feel. Of greater concern was the pusher. The pusher is equipped with a rubber seal to ensure a tight fit. Unfortunately, the seal was too good – we often had a difficult time pulling up the pusher as it would create a vacuum-like suction as it reached the bottom of the feeding tube. Cleanup was fast and simple, although it was surprising that it doesn’t come with any cleaning brush for the metal strainer. A kitchen sponge proved up to task, so no big deal.
To get the best look at this unit’s performance, we tried it with five different types of produce plus a mixed recipe. Unfortunately our unit didn’t include the optional processing screen so we weren’t able to test its performance with nut butter or food processing.
Oranges: This juicer handles oranges perfectly, as we would expect. 500 grams of peeled oranges gave us a yield of 340 ml of juice. The juice was clean and tasty.
Carrots: Like most good-quality horizontal juicers, our test model had no problem with the carrots. We juiced one kilogram of carrots which yielded a decent 400 ml of juice. The carrot juice was relatively clear and of good flavor, though not quite as clear as we get from juicers with a full fine-screen mesh. At this point our arms were getting sore from having to pull out the pusher each time, as it kept getting stuck with its too-tight seal.
Apples: Using a standard circular apple slicer that cuts apples into eight pieces, we juiced a kilogram of fresh Granny Smith apples, in our opinion the best apple for juicing. The result was 675 ml of dark, slightly pulpy juice plus about 100 ml of light foam, which was easily scraped away. Of course, the juice could be strained easily to remove any pulp bits and foam. We did notice a lot of apple bits stuck in the juicer housing. More worrisome was a faint smell of burnt electronics.
Pineapple: Due to their fibrous nature, pineapples always present a challenge to slow juicers. However, this mid-priced juicer performed admirably provided the pineapple was fed slowly into the feeding tube. Trying to feed it too quickly resulted in some clogging. 500 grams of fresh pineapple produced 330 ml of smooth and relatively clear juice. However, the electric smell was getting worse. We checked the manual and it said the motor will automatically stop after 20 minutes of continuous use. We had been using it for about 15 minutes off and on so maybe it was reaching its limit.
Spinach: We were curious to see how it would do with leafy greens, so we processed 200 grams (two medium-sized bags) of baby spinach after giving the unit a 20-minute break to cool down. The spinach was processed quickly and easily once we got it into the machine, although it was a challenge cramming the spinach into the standard-sized feeding chute, and the sticking plunger wasn’t making things easier. The result was 80 ml. of deep green spinach juice, which would make a great addition to carrot or beet juice. However, the “burning electric” odor continued even stronger, so we shut down the unit for the rest of the day.
Mixed juice: We let our test unit rest overnight to see if the motor smell would dissipate. The next day we made a mixed juice consisting of watermelon, pineapple, and strawberries. The motor still had the burned smell, but it wasn’t as powerful as the previous day. Unfortunately, this unit really struggled with this recipe. Twice the unit clogged completely and had to be cleaned out during juicing. The culprit was the tiny juicing screen - all the fibers were pushed against such a small area that it couldn’t cope with it.
This unit initially impressed with a clean design and good performance. It performed reasonably well with most produce, as long as it is fed at a moderate pace. However, during use it became obvious some cost-cutting had to be done to keep the price down. Such things like the flimsy pressure lever, tiny containers, sticky plunger, and some “Engrish” translations in the manual (“Aim three lock buckle on cover…”) made it clear this unit is in a different league from top-of-the-line horizontal juicers. More concerning was the burning motor smell and easily-clogged juicing screen.The 2-year warranty is standard for lower-priced juicers, but nowhere near the 10+ years offered on the top models. For the price it could be satisfactory for occasional juicing of a wide variety of ingredients if you are willing to overlook its flaws.