Pros: has a 2 speed motor and a unique food tray, awesome price
Cons: all plastic, very small food chute, hard to clean
I bought this juicer at Wal-mart for 30 dollars about three months ago. I've been waiting for Epinions to add it to their database!
I had been wanting a juicer for a while, but I didn't want to invest a lot of money because I didn't know if I'd stick with it. This juicer is what is called a centrifugal juicer. That means that it juices by tearing the flesh from fruits and vegetables apart with blades at the bottom of a spinning metal disc. That spinning metal disc (referred to from here on as the blades or blade assembly) has holes in the slanted vertical side walls that are just the right size for the juice to go through. The juice is forced through those holes and comes out a spout in the front of the machine. The pulp is ejected into the pulp container in the back of the machine. Juice made with this kind of juicer is the lowest quality of home juicing methods. It is much better to get what is called a masticating juicer. That is a metal machine that actually chews the food (gets more juice, and causes less oxidation because it is gentler).
This juicer is a great introductory juicer. It has a two speed 400 watt motor (two speeds rare for this price range). It also has a unique food tray that can be placed on top of the chute. That comes in handy for things like grapes or cherries. Instead of dropping the fruit pieces in one at a time, the user can fill the tray with them and just push them in to keep a steady flow going into the machine. I thought that would be useless at first, but I can't tell you how much easier the food tray makes using the machine.
The first speed is for softer fruits and veggies like tomatoes and grapes. High speed (number 2 on the dial) is for harder things like carrots. I've used both speeds on everything and they the second speed really does make a difference with carrots. I can't say that you'll get more juice, but they are certainly processed faster.
Some things I don't like:
With really wet foods, like grapes or watermelon, the machine struggles to get a decent amount of juice. I have to run the pulp through the machine about 4 times just to get a good amount of juice. And, it still produces a pretty wet pulp. Re-processing pulp (running it back through the machine) is a very messy process, but a lot more juice can be gleaned by doing it. The food tray is especially handy for this purpose. One can just pour the pulp basket out onto the food tray and guide the pulp back into the machine.
The pulp catch basket holds a lot of pulp, and is clear so the user can see then it needs to be emptied. It is easy to remove. It must be placed back on the machine correctly though. If it isn't on just right, the machine will not turn on. That is a safety feature.
Inside the machine there is a ridge around the blades assembly surround. That means that no matter what is processed, "extra" juice is held in that ridge. When finished juicing, the user must tip the machine forward and "pour it out" to get all the juice that was created. Very annoying! They should have slanted the blade surround so that the juice funnels out the spout.
The juice spout that is on the machine is low and only a very small cup can fit under it. Sometimes, I use the cup they supplied with the machine, and other times I use a regular water glass because they fit in the dishwasher better than the oval shaped cup provided.
The food chute opening is VERY small. Sometimes, I even have to cut carrots in half to get them to fit! The juicer market is flooded with big mouth juicers now that take whole apples or tomatoes. Get one of those instead!
The machine is all plastic. Well, the blades and electrical wires are metal, but I'm surprised they aren't plastic as well. It does feel cheap and flimsy.
The cord must be about three feet long. Way too short! I know they do it for "safety" so the machine can't get pulled down by children or animals. If the user has to use a 7 foot extension cord just to plug the thing in, I think that's even less safe! Take notes, Black and Decker!
Cleaning the machine is not easy. I've used a few other juicers in my time and I have to say that none of them are easy, so this isn't to say this is a bad machine. Juicers just aren't easy things to clean. They deal with a lot of wet sticky foods. They have MANY parts that must be cleaned. All parts of the machine are dishwasher safe, except the main power plant. That doesn't mean they all come clean in the dishwasher. The blade assembly is VERY difficult to clean. It holds onto food and will not come clean in the dishwasher, even on the bottom rack, even after 3 dishwasher cycles. It must be scrubbed. Don't use a sponge on it though! It will do quite a number on the sponge (tear it apart as you scrub). A scrub brush or metal scrubbie are best, but it will chew those up as well. The best advice I can give is to clean it immediately after using. That way, the food doesn't have time to stick. There are lots of ridges and ledges not only on the removable parts, but also on the power plant itself. To clean it well takes about 15 minutes. Add that to the time it takes to prepare the food, process the juice, and disassemble the machine before you can even begin to clean and you'll wonder why you ever bought it. To be honest, I haven't used the juicer in a month and the reason I hesitate is because it is so difficult to clean.
It may seem like I feel ambivalent about this machine, and that's because I do! My review kind of says, get it AND get something else. To clear up any confusion, I will say that even though there are a some things about this machine I don't like, it is still a good basic juicer.