Home juicers are fun, but they're a total pain to clean and expensive to run if you don't have a backyard filled with fruit trees. The Philips QuickClean Juicer claims to produce 10 per cent more juice and to offer a one-minute clean. Does it measure up to those claims? We got one into the Lifehacker Test Kitchen to find out.
The QuickClean comes in two models: a basic black design with a 700W motor that retails for $179.95, and a stainless steel model with a slightly more powerful 800W Motor and aesthetics aside, both share the same basic design: a motor in the base and a dedicated pulp collector under the blades which collects together your fruit pulp after squeezing the life out of it. We tested the stainless steel model.
The juicer in use
Once assembled (which isn't a difficult process and is well-explained in the manual), using the QuickClean is straightforward: you just pour in the fruit from the top and it noisily extracts the juice while sending the pulp to a separate container below. The feeding tube is large, which means you don't have to chop fruit particularly small, though you still can't throw in whole apples or oranges
There's a supplied gadget for pushing fruit into the feeding tube. What this really serves as is a de facto lid: if you just load fruit in, it's liable to go flying all over the kitchen, as you can see below.
The supplied jug is designed to fit neatly under the spout. One operational note: it pays to make juice and then leave the jug in place for a few minutes, since liquid continues to drip from the nozzle for a while.
I'll be honest: there are moments when using a fruit juicer looks like a low-grade horror movie:
The resulting product is pleasant to drink, and a reminder of how different freshly-produced juice can look from the store-bought variety we're mostly more familiar with. This apple juice was very palatable, but doesn't particularly resemble the golden-coloured liquid we see in plastic bottles:
The cleaning process
The QuickClean does a very thorough job of squeezing liquid out from fruit. Below is the pulp left after a run with oranges. While I didn't have a second juicer against which I could measure the efficiency of the QuickClean, based on the dryness of the pulp I'm prepared to believe this is as close to efficient as a home juicer is going to get:
The pulp feels revolting, but it is very easy to remove: you can mostly just tip it directly into your bin (or compost heap).
Some of the pulp looks quite strange. This is what remnants of apple look like after processing (one advantage of this kind of juicer is that you don't have to peel the apple first):
But what about the fast cleaning claim? According to the press release, "the inverted electro-polished sieve ensures that fibres from fruits and vegetables do not get stuck easily in the mesh, making it simple to clean even with a normal sponge".
It is pretty simple, but with oranges in particular I found it did take more than a minute to wipe everything away. You also need to rinse all the other components (having a sink filled with cold water is the easiest and least wasteful way to do this). It was definitely easier to clean than juicers I've used in the past, but I'd say the "one minute" claim is a little exaggerated. The components are also dishwasher safe, but I'm sure you'd have to clean the main sieve by hand first and many of the other elements are too large to be a practical choice for most dishwashers.
Why I don't want a juicer
While this was an easy way to make juice, by the end of testing I had gone off the entire idea -- largely because the process is too time-consuming. Merely peeling a couple of kilos of oranges took me way longer than I expected, and my hands were quite sore at the end of it. For all that labour, I ended up with not even a litre of juice. It seemed like an inordinate amount of effort, and it's more expensive to purchase the fruit than simply to purchase the juice ready-made.
There's also a sound health argument for not drinking fruit juice anyway, and instead eating some of the fruit you were planning to juice. While fruit juice will still give you the vitamins that fruit contains, you essentially sacrifice all the fibre and concentrate the volume of sugar you're getting. It would be less effort and better for me to eat an actual orange at breakfast, and that's what I plan to do. If you're keen to make juice, the QuickClean definitely does the job well, but I can't see it taking a place in my own kitchen just yet. If you're wasting a fortune at Boost every day, it could well be worth considering.