There are very few recipes that don’t benefit from a splash of lemon, lime, or orange juice. A touch of bright citrus brings out the best flavors in seafood dishes and adding an orange to your favorite pulled pork recipe really takes it up a notch. Sometimes, it’s as simple as fancying up sour cream with a sprinkle of coriander and a splash of fresh lime juice. Not to mention the merits of adding one (or, all three) ingredients to your favorite cocktail or homemade soda! The easiest way to make these additions is to use a citrus juicer–like the top-performing handheld squeezer Chef'n FreshForce Citrus Juicer(available at Amazon for $19.97).
When you think juicers, your mind probably goes to those big electric citrus juicers capable of taking down leafy greens and tough root vegetables. Those models will work, but they’re often overkill when it comes to citrus. Instead of throwing any of those juicers into the mix, we focused on the simple models, including some manual juicers, that allow you to slice a lemon in half and get to juicing.
As it turns out, there are four different types: handheld squeezers, wooden reamers, tabletop hand juicers, and motorized models. We didn’t want to assume one type would perform better than the rest—so we tested them all! After squeezing dozens upon dozens of lemons, limes, and oranges, we didn’t find that one type is necessarily better than the others, but some are certainly easier to use and yield more juice.
Here are the best citrus juicers we tested ranked, in order.
Chef'n FreshForce Citrus Juicer
OXO Good Grips Wooden Reamer
Black and Decker CJ625 34-ounce Citrus Juicer
Breville BCP600SIL Citrus Press
Cuisinart CCJ-500 Pulp Control Citrus Juicer
Prepara Glass Citrus Juicer with Storage
Gourmia GMJ9970 Large Citrus Juicer
Bellemain Premium Quality Stainless Steel Lemon Squeezer with Silicone Handles
Zulay Premium Quality Metal Lemon Lime Squeezer
Lu Cucina Citrus Juicer and Strainer
Proctor Silex 66331 34-ounce Alex's Lemonade Stand Citrus Juicer
Chef'n FreshForce Citrus Juicer
There's a lot to love about the Chef'n FreshForce Citrus Juicer. We immediately noticed how easy this juicer was to use, thanks to the large, comfortable handles and a gear mechanism that helped us press into the fruit without much effort. It was one of the fastest juicers we used, and it did so without sacrificing the quality of the juice. Unlike most of the juicers (which feature tiny little holes), the Chef'n has star-shaped slits in the bottom of the hopper. Those slits worked magic, allowing the juice to pass through without any seeds and a limited amount of pulp. It was also less messy than most of the units, barely spraying any juice out the sides as you used it.
Chef'n spared no attention to detail here, including tiny feet on the bottom of the hopper that allow the juicer to sit on the counter without falling over. Not only that, but it has a small profile that easily fits into the gadget drawer and it's super simple to clean by hand, or it's dishwasher safe if placed on the top rack. This type of citrus juicer is a no-brainer to use, even if you only need a mere tablespoon of juice. While it wouldn't be my top choice for anyone looking to juice massive amounts of oranges (and, it's not large enough for grapefruit juice), it performs perfectly for anyone looking to use citrus juice in cooking or cocktail recipes. All that comes together to make it our top pick for Best Overall.
The least expensive juicer in the group was also one of our favorites. The OXO Good Grips Wooden Reamer is definitely a minimalist version of a citrus juicer. It requires you to hold the citrus in one hand and press the reamer into the flesh with the other, so there's very little between you and the juicing process. As you might imagine, this juicer was the slowest and also happened to the messiest (we definitely found out about all those tiny cuts in our hands as we used it!). But, it had one of the highest juice yields and we thought the orange juice tasted sweeter than any other method.
If you don't mind taking your time and getting a touch messy, this value-priced $6 tool is for you. We'd especially recommend this juicer for anyone making small-batch cocktails: The resulting juice tasted so good!
If you're a big fresh-squeezed orange juice fan, you'll love the Black and Decker CJ625 34-ounce Citrus Juicer. This auto-reversing motorized juicer was the second fastest in the group, making quick work of juicing our lemons, limes, and oranges. The unit has two juicing sizes—a smaller cone for lemons and limes, and a larger one for orange and grapefruit—both of which worked perfectly. We detected almost no bitterness in the orange juice, and we loved how easily the bowl clipped into the base. It also has an adjustable pulp control feature, and the rotating reamer's design helped prevent the pulp from clogging the basket (even on the low-pulp setting).
It takes up about the same amount of space as a small food processor, and the juicing bowl doubles as a pitcher complete with measuring cup markings. If you're specifically looking for a motorized citrus juicer that can handle large quantities of juice and isn't terribly loud, this is the unit for you.
Hi, I’m Lindsay Mattison, a trained professional chef and a huge proponent of building layers of flavor. The difference between good food and great food often comes down to the smallest factors, like adding the salt or finishing the dish with a touch of acid. My handheld citrus juicer works overtime, making it quick and easy to add fresh juice to my favorite dishes. I also tend to reach for it when I’m looking to add zest and tang to my favorite cocktails. If you don’t have a go-to citrus juicer, I’d love to help you find one!
We selected a dozen juicers of all shapes and varieties. We ended up with one handheld reamer, four handheld squeezers, five tabletop hand juicers, and four motorized juicers. Our tests were relatively straight forward: juice three lemons, limes, and oranges in each unit. In the end, we were looking for a juicer that was not only efficient and easy to use, but also produced the maximum quantity of high-quality juice.
To determine efficiency, we timed ourselves as we processed the fruit. Some of the juicers were clunky and it took extra time to churn out the juice. On other units, the time ticked away as we struggled to remove spent citrus from the hopper or the unit became overly clogged with pulp. We averaged the times and ranked and rated the juicers accordingly.
In addition to time trials, we also weighed the citrus before and after juicing. We were looking for a product that produced a maximum quantity of juice, but not without affecting the quality. We took points off if a ton of pulp or seeds passed through the juicer, and we awarded bonus points for orange juice that didn’t have any traces of bitterness.
Finally, it’s all about ease of use. After all, if it takes too much effort to pull out the juicer (or, it’s a pain to clean), you won’t be as likely to use it. We were looking for a model that didn’t slip around or tire our hands as we juiced. In addition to measuring the splash radius to see how much mess each juicer created, we also assessed how easy it was to assemble and store.
After working with hundreds of pieces of citrus, we not only found every cut and scratch on our hands, but we also learned how valuable it is to have a good juicer!
What You Should Know About Citrus Juicers
Unlike larger juicers capable of juicing everything from kale to sweet potatoes, citrus juicers have a more specific purpose. You can juice citrus in a larger juicer, but you usually have to remove the peels first. With citrus-specific juicers, you simply cut the fruit in half, making these models ideal for juicing a tablespoon of juice for baking recipes or a single glass for drinking. They’re typically much less expensive than larger juicers, too (although some of the models we tested pushed the limits of our budget).
You’ll find a shocking variety of styles in the citrus juicing world: handheld reamers, handheld squeezers, tabletop hand juicers, and motorized juicers. Is one type really better than the other? After extensive testing, I can honestly say: No, they all have their benefits and drawbacks. Handheld reamers were slow and messy—so you need to be okay with that—but they were shockingly efficient and produced some of the sweetest tasting juices. Handheld squeezers are my personal favorite because they’re easy to store and keep the mess to a minimum. That being said, they’re not ideal for larger citrus and they wouldn’t be my go-to choice for juicing a glass of OJ every morning.
The tabletop models are better suited for drinking juice because they make it easier to work with larger citrus, like oranges or grapefruit. We found the hand juicers more tiring to use than the squeezers, though, especially if you’re working with a large quantity of citrus. Finally, the motorized versions were often the fastest and easiest to use, but many of these models produced bitter juice because they over-worked the pith (the white, bitter part of the citrus fruit, found in between the flesh and the rind). They also take up more space on the counter and can be noisy.
Really, at the end of the day, it’s up to you to decide what model is best for you! Take a close look at why you want to juice citrus and how much you want to spend, and make your decision from there.
Other Citrus Juicers We Tested
Breville BCP600 Citrus Press
If money isn't an object and you have some counter space to spare, you really can't go wrong with the Breville BCP600SIL Citrus Press. It was the fastest juicer in the group and it had the best overall juice yield, all with a whisper-quiet motorized operation. The orange juice tasted rich and full-bodied with no pithy bitterness, and it has a sleek design that looks great on the counter.
So why didn't the Breville win best overall? If this had been an orange juice contest, it would have. However, this juice presser is overkill if you're just trying to squeeze a single lemon to cook with. It's also more than six times the cost of our winning handheld squeezer, which yielded nearly as much sweet-tasting juice and took just a tad longer to produce it. We love this juicer for those of you who squeeze a glass of orange juice every morning, but can't award it our top seat because of the price.
If we had one major complaint about the Cuisinart CCJ-500 Citrus Juicer, it was around the pulp control. It just didn't seem to work that well, clogging up at times and allowing too much pulp through at others. The reamer attachment was easy enough to remove to clean that pulp out, but it was a bit awkward to put back into place. Other than that, this motorized citrus juicer had a great juice yield and produced delicious juice. It's also decently quiet and smaller than the other electric juicers (not to mention that the stainless-steel finish blended in nicely while not in use).
The minimalist-designed Prepara Glass Citrus Juicer fell firmly in the middle of the pack. It's super small and low-profile, and you can screw off the juicing attachment and replace it with the included storage cap. It doesn't hold a ton of liquid–only five ounces, or a little more than half a cup–but it's a nice feature if you have any leftover juice. The tiny slits in the juicer allowed some pulp and smaller seeds to get through, but they also tended to get clogged easily. As far as tabletop hand juicers go, it wasn't our top pick but we were pretty pleased with this one.
There's no way to get around it: the Gourmia GMJ9970 Large Citrus Juicer is a big heavy-duty professional-style citrus juicer that would fit in nicely behind a craft cocktail bar! That being said, it may be a bit overkill for your home, especially if counter space is a premium. We loved the way the pull-handle design worked, and while it wasn't the fastest, it did have the second-best juice yield. Not only that, but the orange juice was sweet and full-flavored with the perfect amount of pulp. The only thing we didn't love about this cast-iron juicer was the way it dripped when you removed your cup, along with the higher-than-average price tag.
All in all, we liked the heavy, attractive-looking Bellemain Premium Quality Stainless Steel Lemon Squeezer. It had comfortable silicone handles that helped us squeeze with ease, and its low-profile shape makes it easy to stuff into the gadget drawer. When it came to performance, it fell right in the middle of the pack: It didn't struggle in any way, but it also didn't do anything that impressed us. If our top pick for handheld squeezers is out-of-stock and you're specifically looking for that style, we'd definitely still recommend this one.
During the testing, we discovered our dislike for the 2-in-1 style handheld squeezer, like the Zulay Premium Quality Metal Lemon Lime Squeezer. The squeezer has two settings–one for lemons and one for limes–but the barrier tended to get in the way when we used the juicer. It also made the unit harder to clean by hand (although, it's dishwasher safe if placed on the top rack) and we found that we had to put in more effort to squeeze the citrus than we'd like.
You might think the stainless steel finish on the Lu Cucina Citrus Juicer & Strainer would make it attractive, but unfortunately, it looked like a cheap metal utensil you'd find in a box full of camping tools. The juicing mechanism itself was super wide and duller than the other juicers, making it significantly harder to use. It slid around as we forced citrus onto the juicer, causing some splashing along the way. We weren't surprised when it turned out this juicer yielded the least amount of juice in the group.
We were less than impressed with the Proctor Silex 66331 34-ounce Alex's Lemonade Stand Citrus Juicer. It produced a surprisingly low amount of juice considering that it's a motorized juicer, and the juice it did produce was pithy and bitter. Even on the low pulp setting, this juicer let way too much pulp through, and since it had so many removable parts it was also hard to clean. The kicker: This juicer was super loud! For the price, you can get a much, much better unit.
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