Finding an affordable juicer that still delivers in the performance stakes can be a bit of a struggle, but in the J500 I think I've found it.
Costing just over £100, you'll get a good-sized glass of juice in around 15 seconds on one of two speed settings. The 7.5cm feed chute means that fruit and vegetables don’t have to be laboriously chopped into chunks beforehand, and a smart anti-drip and anti-splash spout ensure that when the juicing is done, there’s no sticky mess left on your surfaces.
A lidded jug catches every drop the J500 produces and includes a foam separator for those not partial to a bit of froth. All this adds up to a machine that will deliver your morning juice with minimum fuss and mess.
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The J500 is finished in either a black or white plastic, with silver detailing. The design is mostly about function rather than finesse, with the J500 sporting a rather blocky shape. There are a few curves to draw your eyes away from the harsh lines though.
Less a display piece for the worktop and more a nod to its German roots, design focuses on the overall efficiency of the unit. There are many clever features, from a large pulp bin at one side of the machine, which means that there’s no need to empty it repeatedly, to the spout that simply clicks to close and prevent drips.
Inside, a bladed and perforated micro-mesh filter sits within a single piece of housing, while the lid and chute can be locked into place above with two clamps that quickly flick on and off. A pusher fits neatly into grooves within the chute, making it easy to apply pressure when required.
Rather than the usual one-size-fits-all approach, the J500 has two speeds on its dial. The speed 1 setting is for soft fruit, such as citrus and berries (around 7,000rpm), while 2 is for harder items, such as apples and carrots as well as leafy vegetables (around 10,000rpm), to ensure maximum extraction no matter what you’re juicing. Anti-slip feet keep it firmly planted on the worktop while it’s in use.
Some juicers can be a challenge to put together and take apart, but the J500 is simple to assemble since it’s obvious where the parts go. Everything clamps into place securely, and if it’s not put together properly, then there’s a four-way safety system that will stop the motor in seconds, which is reassuring.
We started by juicing four apples, each fitting into the chute whole; larger fruit may need to be halved. Selecting speed 2, the J500 whizzed through the fruit effortlessly and quickly, with the pusher required only for the last few pieces.
This produced a whole glass of juice, and although it was very foamy, the separator in the jug helped to eliminate most of that when it was poured out. It was slightly cloudy but very smooth and sweet, and noticeably less acidic than supermarket equivalents. Inside the pulp bin, the waste was reasonably dry and thoroughly shredded. Engaging the anti-drip spout worked perfectly, with not a drop of excess juice falling to the worktop.
Next, we added three oranges to the J500, peeled to keep the bitter zest out of the juice. Again, this yielded a whole glass of juice, with a fair amount of foam to skim off. The juice clarified quickly and tasted unbelievably fresh and delicious. Although the pulp in the bin was wetter than the apple pulp and had worked its way around the chute and blades, it was easy enough to clean.
Finally, we finished by juicing grapes to see how the machine would handle smaller pieces. The J500 made a glass of juice from almost a whole bunch of grapes, with minimal foam. However, the pulp bin contained not only juiced grapes but also a few halves that had spun away from the blades.
The juicer is quite loud when it’s in operation, but it works so quickly that it won't be running for prolonged enough periods to be a concern. It speeds up and powers down in seconds, so it can be disassembled almost straight away for cleaning.
While all the parts are dishwasher safe, there’s a double-ended cleaning brush provided to give the micro-mesh filter a scrub. This will be necessary to loosen the fibres – so you won't be off the hook entirely.
While it lacks the extra features, colour choice and style of more expensive models, for basic juicing the Braun J500 works well. It’d be great to see some recipes ideas to help you get more out of the machine, but if all you want is super-fresh juice on a daily basis, this reliable appliance is hard to beat.
In fact, for those who are unsure of how much they’ll use a juicer, the Braun J500 is a good-value, easy-to-use first buy.
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With performance on a par with juicers costing twice the price, the Braun J500 is a no-brainer for those after a simple machine that just works.