Omega VRT350 Juicer Review
I have been juicing carrots along with the occasional beet or apple, for at least 20 years. The juicer I have had for that whole time is the Acme Supreme Juicerator. If that is the style of juicer you want, the Acme is the top choice in my opinion. The Acme is a very reliable appliance with a couple of small drawbacks. It does not expel the pulp but rather requires you to periodically stop and empty the pulp manually. As it produces quite a bit of juice before this is necessary, and you can use filters to make pulp removal easier, this is not a big deal. It makes great juice from carrots, apples, beets, and other firm produce but it does not juice soft fruit or leafy greens well at all. I had recently decided to try juicing kale, etc. so, in August of 2011 I started looking for another juicer that would allow me to juice all kinds of produce.
I imagined I would do some online research and then purchase a juicer that is perfect for any vegetable or fruit. I imagined wrong. It turns out that the perfect juicer does not exist. Juicers that work great for carrots do not necessarily work well for greens or grapefruit. A juicer designed for greens may not do well with beets or carrots. As I meant to juice many of the various vegetables and fruits in each juicing session, and could not see myself buying two new juicers, I set out to find what seems to be the best compromise juicer.
After many hours reading, I decided to try the [easyazon-link asin="B00434JINO"]Omega VRT350HD Juicer[/easyazon-link] which I review here. As with all my reviews, the Omega juicer is something I have purchased and use. Although I get many solicitations to do so, I am never paid to review any products. I do however link to products I use and like on Amazon. If you find this review helpful and decide to purchase this juicer, buying it through one of the links in this review would be very much appreciated. You will be able to get the best price Amazon offers and a couple dollars will be credited to my willtaft.com Amazon account. As I do not accept payment to recommend products and seriously limit advertising here, I depend on Amazon purchases to offset the costs of keeping this site. Thank you and now on to my experience with this juicer.
When unboxing the juicer, the first impression you will have is that this is a solid, well built, machine. The manual is simple to understand and well written. After the first time you put the juicer together, you will probably never need the manual again. You will need to find a convenient place to keep the juicer so it is readily at hand when you decide to make juice. It is good looking enough to keep right out on the kitchen counter if you have room. I don’t have the space, so I dedicated a cupboard shelf right above the counter I use when making juice.
The juicer is very easy to put together and use. The only thing that you need to work at is to make sure the auger is seated all the way down into the juicer before you put the top on. If you try to put on the top and it seems to not want to seat all the way down, twist the auger a bit with your hand. You will feel it click into place and drop down the last 1/4 inch. Then the top twists right on. The feed opening is plenty big enough and because it is wider in one direction, fits surprisingly large pieces of fruit and vegetables. The juicer comes with two strainer baskets, one with larger holes for more pulp in your juice. I only use the finer mesh basket as I find even with that I get a pretty low pulp juice. If you like to chew your juice, the larger mesh basket will leave more fiber and pulp in the juice.
You will need to chop up the greens like in my photo before you put them through the juicer. If you don’t, you will find the long fibers in the leaves make the pulp a bit harder to expel. Once chopped, the greens feed into the top tube easily and the pulp comes right out the shoot into the pulp cup. If I am adding something hard like an apple or a few carrots to the juice, I will put one through once in a while with the greens. This clears the fibrous green pulp out even faster.
When preparing the vegetables and fruit to be juiced, smaller is better. Although the machine will easily process the largest size pieces you can fit through the feeding tube, the one exception is carrots. Because carrots are very hard and long, the machine easily jams if you try to feed too big a carrot through whole. The on/off button has an easy reverse setting to clear the jam, but avoiding the need to use it is quite simple. Carrots up to about the size shown in the first carrot photo to the left process easily. Any carrots larger than that, I just split the ends like shown in the other photo to the right and they go through without any trouble.
This is the part of the juicing process that everyone likes the least. The Omega VRT350, however, is easy to clean. Most of the parts just need to be rinsed with warm soapy water and a scrub brush and you are done. The only part that needs special attention is the strainer/basket. The Omega comes with a large, tooth brush like scrubber just for cleaning the basket. I always take my time with this part of the cleaning process because you do not want to leave the strainer clogged with pulp. Getting a good juice flow when processing your produce saves time and if some of the mesh is clogged with particles of pulp, juicing takes longer. First rinse the basket out with warm water and a larger scrub brush. Then work at it for a few minutes with the provided tooth brush under running water. Hold the strainer up to the light to make sure you have it clean and you are done and ready for next time. Cleanup for me takes about 10 minutes, more than 1/2 of that spent cleaning the strainer/basket.
Preparation and juicing takes a little over an hour for me. I process several bunches of greens like kale, tatsoi, or spinach, I then add an apple or two, an orange, grapefruit, and a cucumber. I also include 6 or 8 carrots put through alternating with the greens. I get 2 or more quarts of juice, of which I usually can’t resist drinking a pint right out of the juicer. I then put the rest into 12 and 16 oz. canning jars to drink over the next few days. I usually juice twice a week and find that the juice keeps perfectly for two days and is still very drinkable on the third day. Any longer than that and it really seems to change taste. Speaking of taste – If you find the greens you use are a little bitter or strong for your taste, adding a couple of drops of stevia to each pint of green juice easily fixes that.[easyazon-block asin="B00434JINO" align="center"]
Below are several criteria rated on a scale of 1 to 10. Overall I give this juicer a 9 only because I do not believe a juicer rated 10 exists yet. If I had to make any suggestions to Omega for improvements on this juicer I would say only the following. The machine could be a little bigger overall. A little more power and a bigger auger would make splitting carrots in half unnecessary. Other than that I can’t find any fault with this juicer. If you decide to buy it, I believe you will be very happy with its performance.
Power: 8 Although this is a very powerful juicer, a bit more size and power would make preparing carrots less work. The motor has never overheated for me and the 10 year guarantee tells us that Omega is confident in its durability.
Ease of Use: 9 Very easy to assemble, use and clean.
Greens: 9 Other than needing to chop the greens a bit for easier pulp ejection, this juicer is ideal for leafy greens.
Hard Fruit: 10 Apples, pears and other hard fruit are processed smoothly. I can’t think of a juicer that does it better.
Soft Fruit: 10 Fruit like oranges, grapefruit, mangoes, and grapes are also processed quickly and smoothly.
Carrots: 7 Although the juicer processes carrots very well, you will need to split the thicker ends to avoid having to reverse the juicer to clear carrot jams.
Cleanup: 9 There is no such thing as a juicer that cleans itself! The VRT350HD comes close, but time spent scrubbing the basket is still necessary.
Appearance: 10 This is a beautiful machine that can be kept on the counter at all times if desired.
Overall Rating: 9 I think this juicer is a good as it gets for now. Buy it and drink to good health!