Blenders and juicers both process fruits and veggies into delicious and nutrients-packed drinks.
However, the way they do it is different.
Blenders pulverize and blend the entire fruit and veggies into a thick pulp-filled smoothie, while juicers extract only the liquid to give a pulp-free juice. The resultant smoothies and juices have different properties.
Hence, juicers and blenders are not exactly inter-changeable.
If you are trying to decide whether you need a blender or a juicer, you’ve come to the right place.
Do read on as we’ll share with you a detailed comparison between the blender and juicer.
Do You Need a Juicer or Blender?
Juice or smoothie cleanses are very popular. However, not everyone is suitable for juice cleanses.
Even if you are not on a cleanse, blending or juicing can still be a great way to consume more greens and fruits than we normally would eat.
This is especially so if we are not incorporating adequate portions throughout the day.
However, everything should be done in moderation.
Drinkable smoothies and juices are easier and more efficient means of consuming more fruits and vegetables. But due to the high sugar content of fruits, it is important to watch the total calories and sugar intake.
Hence, it is preferable to juice or blend mainly non-starchy leafy greens with minimal fruit content.
Moreover, a study by Cambridge have shown that liquids, such as juices, which are eaten quickly have a low satiating efficiency, and may “therefore lead to over-consumption of energy, and ultimately weight gain”.
The fibers in smoothies help to give a feeling of fullness and satiety for a longer period of time, compared to the pulp-free juices. Moreover, you can also include other ingredients such as chia seeds to the smoothies to provide a balanced nutrition.
It may seem like a better idea to blend a smoothie compared to juicing whenever possible. But there are some ingredients that are better juiced than blended.
And some people, such as those who have digestive issues with fibers or those who are recovering from chronic sickness, may benefit more from the easy digestion fast absorption of nutrients from juices.
Juicer vs Blender: How Do They Work?
How Does a Juicer Work?
A juicer extracts the liquid and the water-soluble nutrients from raw fruits and vegetables, while separating out the pulp or insoluble fiber.
This allows a larger amount of fruits and vegetables (compared to what we can usually eat) to be packed into one cup of juice.
The pulp is often discarded as waste, but you can also use it in other recipes and compost. If you like a truly pulp-free juice, you may need to strain the juice again through a sieve to remove more pulp.
Types of Juicers
A centrifugal juicer is also known as a high-speed juicer.
The ingredients are fed from the top through a chute. A rotating blade in the juicer cuts and grinds the ingredients while the spinning motion creates a centrifugal force to separate the juice from the pulp.
The juice is strained through a filter before leaving the juice spout, while the pulp is ejected via a separate outlet.
Cold-Press Masticating Juicers
Cold-press masticating juicers, also known as slow juicers, can come in the form of vertical or horizontal juicers.
These juicers work at very low speed and make use of an auger blade to slowly grind and press the produce, squeezing out the juices in the process.
These masticating juicers tend to be more expensive but they are gaining popularity as they are viewed to have higher juice yield and nutritional value.
Slow juicers are able to keep the temperature lower (due to the slower motor) and reduce the oxidation. Hence more of the heat sensitive nutrients and anti-oxidants can be retained in the finished drinks.
They also work better with the leafy greens compared to the centrifugal juicers. If you are interested, you can also find out more about our review on the best masticating juicer for celery.
How Does a Blender Work?
A blender pulverizes the entire fruit or vegetable into a smoothie, including the skin and fiber.
It consist of a motor base, a jar/pitcher, a lid and a set of blades at the base of the jar. The spinning blade creates a vortex that pulls the ingredients down to the center where the blades sit. The blades then pulverize the mixture into a smooth liquid.
You can think of the blender as your mouth but it is able to “chew” or break down the fruits/veggies at a much higher speed and efficiency compared to our teeth.
The blender also allows you to add other ingredients and blend them homogenously together with the veggies and fruits. This includes a liquid base, seeds, nuts, nut butters, protein powders or other superfood powders. The result is a smoothie with a thicker consistency and balanced nutrition.
Types of Blenders
Single Serve Blenders
Personal blenders are smaller versions of the standard countertop blenders and tend to be cheaper. They are easy to use and compact, which is great if you are just making smoothies for yourself.
The smoothie is usually blended in the cup itself and it comes with to-go lids so you can drink from it directly. However, they tend to be lower powered, smaller capacity and less versatile.
If you need to do bulk blending for the family or looking to do more than just smoothies, then you should consider one of the countertop blenders.
Portable blenders are single serve blenders designed to run on rechargeable batteries.
They are sometimes referred to as portable blender bottles as they are shaped just like a water bottle, but with a motorized base. These are great for travelling and blending on the go.
However, due to their lightweight and small size, portable blenders are typically very low power blenders with the exception of BlenderX Cordless.
Standard Countertop Blenders
Countertop blenders allows for bulk blending. Typical considerations when selecting a countertop blender include capacity of the blending jar, the horsepower of the motor and rpm of the spinning blades.
Standard blenders can be used not just to crush ice or make smoothies, which makes them more versatile compared to juicers.
There are also some blender food processor combos, where you can use the blender as a food processor by switching the blender jar to a food processor attachment. By sharing the same motor base, it helps to reduce the amount of countertop space needed to own a blender and food processor.
These high-speed and high-powered blenders refer to the high-end blenders, such as Vitamix and Blendtec. They are more expensive compared to standard countertop blenders but they are highly durable, versatile and can handle tougher jobs better.
Comparing Vitamix Vs juicer, you will find that the Vitamix blenders can be used to do a lot more things such as making your own nut butters, grinding seeds and nuts into flour, making your own plant based milk, making hot soups, blending sauces and dips, pureeing baby food and more.
These are handheld blenders that can be used to puree soups directly in the pot or bowl
What is the Difference Between Smoothie and Juice?
The key difference is that a smoothie contains all the pulp and fiber, while the juice does not contain any fiber.
Juices consist of only the liquid water-soluble nutrients extracted from the raw fruits and vegetables. The pulp is separated out as “waste”. As a result, juices are more densely packed with nutrients.
What this also means is that for you to get the same volumetric yield, you will need to juice more produce compared to blending.
Nothing is wasted when it comes to blending a smoothie. Everything from the skin to the fiber is pulverized into liquid.
Juices are thin, clear and easy to drink. The texture of smoothies are thicker compared to juices as they contain the pulp.
Feeling of Satiety
Due to the presence of fiber, smoothies tend to give a more satisfying feeling of satiety over a longer period of time.
Smoothies are very nutritious drinks as you are blending and drinking the whole produce. You get everything including the skin, fiber, enzymes, vitamins, minerals and anti-oxidants pulverized.
But juices are more densely packed with nutrients per volume basis since you have removed the insoluble fiber.
Conversely, when juicing or blending fruits with high sugar content, a glass of juice will have a higher sugar content compared to a glass of smoothie.
Not only so, fruit juices have higher glycemic index than whole fruits which is why researchers from Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH) recommends eating whole fruits rather than fruit juices.
Juicing vs Blending: Which is Better for Nutrition and Health?
Both juicing and blending can help increase our intake of fruits and vegetables.
When you are considering which option is better for you, here are 2 main considerations:
1. What ingredients are you using?
2. What would you like to gain from drinking the juice or smoothie?
Easy Digestion and Fast Absorption
Juicing is especially helpful for people who have issues processing fiber, or people who needs to boost their intake of micro-nutrients from fruits and vegetables, such as someone recovering from chronic illness or fighting inflammatory illness.
People with Inflammatory Bowel Diesel may also benefit from minimizing fiber intake during a flare up.
Drinking juices maximizes nutrition intake without having to struggle with digestion.
This is because fiber has been removed, leaving only the liquid and the water soluble nutrients. The nutrients (minerals and vitamins) and anti-oxidants can be readily absorbed into the body as the digestive system do not need to break down the fiber.
Packed with More Nutrients
You are getting a cup of densely-packed nutrients, compared to the same volume of blended smoothie or vegetables and fruits in the raw form.
Loss of Healthy Fiber
Juices do not contain any fiber, so you will not be able to enjoy the benefits of fiber compared to consuming whole fruits and vegetables. You’ll need to ensure that you are getting enough fiber from other sources to keep your digestive system healthy.
Sugar Spike And Crash
While you can juice fruits and vegetables, we recommend that you juice more non-starchy low carbs vegetables (especially dark leafy greens) as that’s what we lack.
Juicing fruits that are high in sugar can be a concern as the lack of fiber in the juice can cause a sudden spike in blood sugar and energy, followed by a crash. Some vegetables, such as beets and carrots, also have high sugar content.
If you are not careful, you could be taking in too much calories and sugars.
Juices Are Less Filling
Juices are less filling and you will feel hungry faster.
Juicers Are Less Versatile
Juicers are less versatile.
Some high-end masticating juicers, such as the Sana 727, have compatible attachments to extract cold-pressed oil from seeds and nuts. But most juicers can only perform 1 function.
Not all juicers are able to efficiently extract juice from leafy greens and wheatgrass. Masticating juicers are better suited than centrifugal juicers in this task.
Juicers Are More Difficult To Use
Juicers tend to have more parts to clean compared to blenders. More prep work is also needed to get the produce ready for juicing.
When juicing sweeter produce, you can reduce the glycemic index of the juice by adding lemon or apple cider vinegar.
Nothing is lost while blending. You still get all the nutrients along with the fiber.
Slow and Steady Release of Energy
Fibers helps in the regulation of blood glucose and insulin response, which helps to avoid the sudden sugar spike and crash that we are concerned about when drinking juices.
The presence of fiber in the smoothie helps to slow down the digestion and absorption of sugars into the bloodstream, hence creating a more steady release of energy over time.
Improves Digestive Health
Insoluble fiber improves digestive health. This is what gets the stuff moving along your digestive tract and add bulk to prevent constipation.
Fibers also help feed the microbes in our gut.
Great Way to Consume More Dark Leafy Greens
Smoothie is a easy way to incorporate more dark leafy greens, such as spinach, kale and chard, into our diet. It is also kids friendly as you can easily hide and sneak in veggies without them realizing.
There are many tasty recipes that can effectively mask the green taste without adding too much sugars.
Adding other ingredients for balanced nutrition
A variety of ingredients can be added to the smoothie to ensure that you are getting a well-balanced nutrition. Some examples include superfood powders, seeds (chia seeds, flax seeds, hemp seeds), protein powders, nuts, nut butters, yogurt, plant-based milk and coconut water.
Due to the presence of fiber, smoothies tend to give a more satisfying feeling of satiety over a longer period of time. As it its thicker in consistency, people tend to sip it more slowly compared to juices, which also help with the feeling of fullness.
Easy Clean Up
Blenders are generally easier to clean up.
Watchful of The Total Calories Intake
Similar to juicing, you will still need to watch over the total sugar and calories intake when blending fruits. It is recommended to blend predominately non-starchy veggies, with minimal fruits. You can use some fruits, such as berries and green apple, for flavoring but limit the fruits to just a cup per serving.
Smoothies are great meal replacements. A common mistake is to sip a smoothie while having breakfast, when in fact the smoothie is a meal itself packed into a glass.
Not everyone is accustomed to the thick consistency. This is especially the case if you have added chia seeds to the smoothie, which could result in a more gel-like texture.
Tip: If the smoothie texture is too thick, you can add more liquid base, such as water or coconut water, to reduce the thickness.
Some Nutrients Could Still Be Lost
Blenders work by creating a vortex. In the process, air is being incorporated into the smoothie and oxidation can occur. Hence it is best to drink the smoothie as soon as possible to avoid losing the anti-oxidants.
Lower quality blenders may require longer blending time. This means that more air could have been incorporated and more heat is generated. Both heat and air can increase the rate of oxidation and reduce the nutrient yield of the smoothie.
The GOOD NEWS is that vacuum blending is now being introduced! Air is being drawn out during the blending process to reduce oxidation.
Similar to juicing, we recommend green smoothies using veggies rather than using too much fruits. The taste may require some getting used to, but you can add some lemon or green apple to reduce the bitter taste. Chia seeds is also one of our favorite ingredients as that is a great source of protein and fats which can also help to cushion any sugar spikes.
Juicing vs Blending: Which Is Better for Weight Loss
For wight loss, it is important to have a proper dietary plan and exercise.
For longer term dietary changes, we think that blending smoothies for meal replacement is more sustainable.
Smoothies tend to be more filling and satisfying, and keep you feeling full for longer. Hence it may be more effective with weight loss.
Juices give you energy boost instantly but will leave you feeling hungry soon. Premature craving of food may cause you to derail from your diet plan, or in a worse case lead to weight gain instead.
Moreover, it is difficult to make very tasty green juices without any fruits (sugars). So, most people would find it more of a struggle to stick to a green juice regime.
Some people may have seen rapid weight loss from juicing for a short period of time due to juice cleansing and consciously consuming fewer calories.
However, a juice-only diet for long term is not recommended. You will be missing out on other important nutrients needed by your body, such as proteins, fats and fiber, which are lacking in the juices.
On the other hand, you get your fiber requirements in a smoothie. You can also add a diverse ingredients to ensure a balanced diet. Recipes for smoothies also tend to be diverse and tasty.
What Foods Are Better Juiced Or Blended?
Produce that has high water content cucumbers, tomatoes and celery are better juices than blended.
Softer fruits such as banana, mango and avocado are better blended than juiced as some juicers may have more difficulty handling them.
Does Blending Remove FIber?
During the process of blending, fibers in the fruits and veggies are being altered – crushed, ripped, torn apart. This makes the smoothie easier to digest, but the fibers are not being removed.
Final Verdict: Blender or Juicer
Juicing and blending are great ways to complement a healthy lifestyle and increase our intake of veggies and fruits.
BUT it is not a substitute for chewing the veggies and whole fruits.
For the general population, we think that blending is the preferred way to go.
With a smoothie, you’ll be able to get more balanced nutrition, including the fibers, and added ingredients. It provides a more sustainable solution for better health and weight loss as the dietary/lifestyle changes are more likely to stick. Smoothies recipes are more versatile, delicious and gives a more satisfying feeling of satiety.
Most people tend to stick with blenders more than juicers. This is probably because blenders are more versatile in their functions and tend to be easier to clean.
This does not mean that we are against juicing.
A glass of juice is more densely packed with easily absorbed nutrients, which makes it suitable for people who needs a boost in micronutrients or having digestive issues with fibers.
A lot of people find that they do feel better after drinking green juices. You just have to be mindful of how much fruit (sugars) you have added to avoid a sudden spike and crash in blood glucose and energy levels.
As always, moderation and variation is key.
There’s also no reason to purely do one. Why not do a mix of both?