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As the old adage goes, when life gives you lemons, make lemonade. This feat is particularly easy with the help of a great citrus juicer. Though not all citrus juicers are made equally—there are handheld citrus juicers used for squeezing a few lemons or limes at a time with minimal effort. Or, there are heavy-duty industrial citrus juicers built to dispense liters of juice, sometimes in under a minute.
Regardless of what type of citrus juicer you are looking for, keep an eye out for two crucial details: performance and cleaning capabilities. A great juicer will get all juice, seeds, and pulp out of your lemons (and other citrus) with almost no effort. The best juicers are easy-to-clean and dishwasher-safe.
Whether you’re trying to streamline your service or you just want to add a few citrus-based cocktails to your repertoire, a good juicer makes it easy to squeeze fresh lime, lemon, or orange juice in seconds. Here is a curated list of the best citrus juicers to seek out right now.
Best Overall: Zulay Professional Juicer
“My go-to citrus juicer for home or any new bar program we work on is this one from Zulay,” says Jack Barnett, co-founder of Old Fashioned Beverage cocktail consultancy. "It’s very durable, it looks sharp enough for any back bar or to keep on your counter at home, and it’s a good price point. Zulay is also really good about replacing any parts if it’s ever an issue."
This manual citrus squeezer uses leverage to squeeze citrus with ease. Pull down the handle (outfitted with an ergonomic grip) and the device powerfully crushes through fruits and vegetables—think lemons of all types, along with apples, pineapple and limes. This option is great to keep on a counter or bar top and quickly juice citrus to order. It wipes clean easily and the juicing component pops out for easy rinsing.
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Best Old-School: Ra Chand J210 Citrus Juicer
“My favorite juicer is a Ra Chand,” describes Sean Umstead, co-owner of Kingfisher Cocktail Bar in Durham, N.C. “It is a spring-loaded, manual juicer that you can crush an entire case of citrus with. It’s heavy-duty (but without too many parts) and easy to repair. A citrus juicer needs to be reliable and work 100% of the time, that’s why I love this manual juicer.”
This three-piece manual metal juicer does the trick—just pull down the lever and fresh juice pops out with ease. It’s a great option for a bar or for crafting lemonade at home and fresh juice in the morning. Though it doesn’t feature any snazzy technology, it’s a handy, tried-and-true model, with sturdy metal construction and rubber detailing.
Best Manual: Focus Foodservice Commercial Juice Press
“For juicing large batches of citrus, I prefer the Focus Foodservice 97336 Jupiter Large Commercial Juice Press,” says Anthony Caporale, the director of spirits education at the Institute of Culinary Education. “This is not an inexpensive machine, and it is definitely a juicing machine and not just a hand tool. The stainless steel and cast iron construction not only allows the machine to power through hours of juicing, the unit provides the weight needed to keep the juicer stable during use."
The juicer features a removable cone, a wide base, rubber suction cup feet for stability, and an enamel finish that protects the cast iron from pitting and corrosion. All in all, it is professional-grade and built to be a bar-quality workhorse of a juicer. Meaning, it’s efficient and excellent for large quantities of juice. (That said, the action of lifting up the lever and pulling it down can tire out your arm.)
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Best Manual Combo: Crew & Axel Citrus Juicer
“I only use hand press juicers for citrus,” describes Adam Peabody, the general manager of outlets at LondonHouse Chicago. He explains that “electric juicers tend to over-extract from the fruit, giving the juice an undesirable bitter flavor. Your goal should be to get as much juice as possible without agitating the white pith, which is the bitter part.” Ellen Talbot, the lead bartender at Nashville’s Fable Lounge, notes that manual citrus juicers make a great gift for cocktail fans. “Fresh lime juice pairs nicely in a classic Gimlet!”
This set comes with two different types of manual juicers: a heavy-duty commercial grade press juicer and a quick, convenient hand juicer. The press juicer works by placing a halved pomegranate, orange, lemon or lime on the press and pulling down—quick and easy, with minimal effort required. Both feature an easy-clean, ultra-durable design, with removable and washable parts and a comfortable rubber handle.
Good to Know:
Peabody advises that you “Load the press juicer with whatever citrus fruit you're trying to juice and gently squeeze until it stops flowing and move on. Don't try to squeeze every last drop out of it. A couple of teaspoons of juice aren't worth ruining the whole batch.”
Best for Large-Scale: Nurxiovo Commercial Orange Juicer
“This juicer has been a godsend to my cocktail catering operation,” describes Belinda Kelly, founder of Seattle’s roving cocktail bar Happy Camper Cocktail Company. “With a gallon of juice squeezed in 10 minutes, easy to clean parts, and a built-in strainer, I can forgive the fact that it caters to orange juice and needs slight tweaks to work well for lemons and limes. The juicer is super-efficient, with really high juice yields for high volume establishments and prepping draft cocktails.”
The commercial-grade juicer can quickly process citrus—up to 30 oranges a minute. Outfitted with a powerful 120w motor, the stainless steel construction is durable and easy to clean. In addition to oranges, this machine can turn pomegranates, lemons and limes into fresh juice with a little tweaking. Simply clean off the skin of the fruit and the machine will do the rest, from skinning the citrus, filtering the pulp, and removing seeds and pits. It’s a great option for restaurants or hotels, though home drinkers with a love of fresh juice will certainly benefit from the unit.
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Best Handheld: Zulay Premium Quality Hand Juicer
Looking for a more low-key juicer? “For most bars, your basic handheld citrus juicer is more than capable of doing the job!” advises Seth Falvo, a bartender at The Cambria in Madeira Beach, Fla. “Some bars drastically over-prep citrus juices, which really don't hold up by the end of the day. I really don't see the point in buying a juicer meant to prep gallons of juice at a time unless you're realistically and consistently handling that much volume."
That said, this option is great for small-quantity juicing in your home or at a bar. This sturdy hand press made from aluminum with a protective coating can process lemons and limes, but also smaller citrus fruit and oranges. It’s easy-to-use (just place half a citrus in the press, close the tool, and you have citrus in seconds) and easy-to-store at just 9 inches long. A second layer in the tool picks out pulp and seeds. Since this juicer is portable, you can place it directly over your shaker tin or jigger. To clean, just pop it in the dishwasher.
Best for Speed: OXO Good Grips 2-in-1 Juicer
This reamer-style juicer is one of the easiest to use and the most streamlined, but it does take more time and effort to use in comparison to other models. Rather than pressing the citrus, this reamer asks the user to cut the fruit in half and use your hand to press the juice through the reamer.
If your kitchen is on the small side, this manual juicer is an ideal pick—the reamer flips off the measuring cup and nests inside it for easy storage. The two-in-one juicer includes two reamers: a smaller one for limes and lemons and a larger one for oranges and grapefruit. The juicer itself fits on top of a 5-cup vessel for storing the citrus, complete with metric and imperial measurement markings and a drip-free pour spout. The reamer snaps right off the top for easy cleaning or simply toss it in the dishwasher.
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Best Budget: Cuisinart Pulp Control Citrus Juicer
Made of brushed stainless steel with easy, dishwasher-safe parts, this universal tool does it all. The versatile unit features a juicing cone with an auto-reversing feature that switches directions to get the most possible juice out of the citrus and the final-spin round—just like your dishwasher—ensuring that all juice is pulled from the remaining pulp. The inexpensive tool has three different pulp control settings, perfect for pulp lovers (and their friends who don't love it just as much).
One of the big benefits of an automated citrus juicer is you can perfectly measure out the juice—simply place a measuring cup under the spigot and pause the machine when you have enough juice for your recipe. Though this is an electric juicer, the motor is surprisingly subtle sounding.
Once you’re done, clean-up is a breeze, though the extra-long snap-up spout curbs any drips before they happen. This handsome machine comes in three shades: burnt orange, black and polished chrome.
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Kate Dingwall is an experienced spirits writer and glassware collector. She has been writing about the bar and spirits world for five years, including extensive coverage on glassware. She owns a concerning amount of glassware, from art deco Karl Palda decanters to 1800s-era crystal coupes, and she’s happy to wax poetic about all of them.