Juicer. Blender. Food processor. What do these kitchen appliances have in common? They pulverize food into tiny bits. So, do you really need to invest in all three? Perhaps, depending on your lifestyle and budget. While the results produced by each appliance can appear to be similar, the machines function in very different ways. Here’s a quick guideline for when to bust out the blender, jump on the juicer, or plug in the processor. 

JUICER 

A juicer is used to extract the juice and nutrients from solid fruits and vegetables. The blades, or auger, of a juicer separate the juice from the flesh of the produce, dispensing the juice into a separate container. The nutritious end product produced is essentially pulp-free and ready for consumption. 

Best for: 

  • Getting large amounts of liquid nutrition from raw foods 
  • Removing the fiber and pulp from fresh produce 

Not great for: 

  • Depending on the juicer, certain items, such as leafy greens, may not juice effectively. 

Types: 

  • Centrifugal juicers are the most common and usually the most economical, but depending on what produce you’ll be juicing, they may not be the most efficient. 
  • Masticating juicers can also be used to make nut butters or sorbets. 

BLENDER 

A blender is most often used to break down foods into a smooth consistency. Blenders are ideal for creating smoothies, salad dressings, soups and even frozen cocktails, if you’re so inclined. The main features that differentiate one blender from another are motor speed, controls and design, and of course each of these variables affects price. Do some research to determine the best model for your needs. 

Best for: 

  • Combining liquids and soft foods 
  • Pureeing  

Not great for: 

  • Combining or pureeing mixtures of only solid foods–liquid is needed to blend the food properly  

Types: 

  • In addition to countertop blenders, there are handheld immersion blenders which also use blades to turn solids to liquid. These are useful, but less versatile than countertop blenders. 

FOOD PROCESSOR 

A food processor is a great tool to use when cutting, dicing or chopping solid foods. It lowers the time it takes to perform tedious tasks–like mincing an onion or shredding cabbage–down to a matter of seconds.  There are many different sizes of food processors, so there are lots of options depending on the needs of your household. Don’t be intimidated by the round slicer/grater or disc blades that come with some processors. They can make short work of certain kitchen tasks! 

Best used for: 

  • Processing both hard foods and foods 
  • Chopping, dicing, grating 

Not great for: 

  • Recipes with large amounts of liquids 
  • Pureeing foods into a smooth consistency 

Types: 

  • Consider investing in a “mini food processor” as well as a regular model if you do recipes that require much preparation work.