Best Manual Citrus Juicers

Updated November 2020
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BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.Read more 
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Pros
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How we decided

We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

51 Models Considered
8 Hours Researched
2 Experts Interviewed
93 Consumers Consulted
Zero products received from manufacturers.

We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

Buying guide for best manual citrus juicers

With all the gadgets and high-tech kitchen tools available today, there’s something appealing about returning to simplicity. Manual citrus juicers are classic complements to the modern kitchen, and may even evoke nostalgic memories of a father or grandmother making fresh-squeezed orange juice when you were growing up. Regardless, these non-motorized juicers for citrus fruits are easy to use, easy to clean up, and last a long time. Rest assured, these implements work just as well as fancy electric juicers.

There are a few different types of manual citrus juicers available on the market: squeezers, reamers, and presses. Squeezers and reamers require a bit of elbow grease, while presses require less physical effort but cost more.

If you’re not familiar with the different types and want to learn more, keep reading our guide. If you’re pressed for time, check out our top picks.

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Citrus with thinner skin, like limes, are easier to juice manually than citrus fruits with thicker rinds, like oranges.

What does a manual citrus juicer do?

If you’ve ever tried to squeeze a lemon or lime into a recipe by hand, you know it can be messy, hard to get all the juice out, and nearly impossible to prevent seeds from dropping into the guacamole or salad dressing you’re preparing. This is where a manual juicer comes in handy, especially if you need to juice just a couple citrus fruits.

A quality manual citrus juicer extracts all the fruit’s juice while straining out the seeds and pulp. For everyday use in the kitchen, you’d be surprised how many recipes call for the juice of a lemon, lime, or orange, making it a hassle to get out the high-tech juicer.

That being said, there are manual juicers that can tackle a big bag of lemons for your kid’s lemonade stand.

Types of manual citrus juicers

Squeezers

The simplest of the manual citrus juicers is the handheld squeezer. This inexpensive tool is foolproof to use and clean. However, it does require the most hand and arm strength. Squeezers are great because they only require one swift movement to juice half the fruit, and their drainage holes catch most seeds and pulp. They also stash away easily in a drawer.

Reamers

There are two different types of reamers: handheld and countertop.

A handheld reamer is the simplest of juicing tools, and some are even made of wood. This inexpensive, minimalist tool consists of a teardrop-shaped handle and a ridged head. The reamer head is manually turned into the fruit with one hand, while the other hand holds the fruit. This can be as messy as squeezing the fruit by hand. Handheld reamers also don’t catch seeds unless a seed catcher is attached, which some models offer.

A countertop reamer has the ridged head of the handheld version but is attached to a moat to catch the juice. This is less messy but does not eliminate pulp and seeds unless there’s a strainer or sieve attached. Models with strainers have a separate receptacle to catch the juice and often of a bigger capacity than the standard one-piece moat version. Some even double as measuring cups.

Presses

Juice presses that come on a stand are great for juicing larger quantities of citrus, like for a pitcher of OJ or lemonade. They use leverage and gravity, so all you have to do is pull down a handle and every drop of juice is extract from the fruit. This effective manual juicing method comes at a higher price tag, not to mention the unit takes up counter space. However, it’s designed for all citrus fruit sizes and separates seeds and pulp from the juice.

"Squeezers pull the most flavorful oil out of the citrus’ skin, whereas reamers can pull out bitterness if they dig too deeply into the white pith of the fruit."
STAFF
BestReviews

Features

Material

  • Metal: Handheld squeezers are often made from stainless steel or enameled aluminum. With ones that are enameled in colors, select a lead-free coating. Metal handheld squeezers are sturdy and durable. Presses are also constructed from metal, often heavy-duty cast iron with stainless steel components. There are some handheld reamers made from stainless steel.

  • Glass/ceramic: Some countertop reamers are constructed from heavyweight glass. This is a classic version of the standard type of countertop reamers (with the attached moat). Ceramic is a material also used in designs for countertop reamers but it can be quite fragile.

  • Plastic: Handheld squeezers also come in plastic. Though lighter, these can require more manual effort to work than metal squeezers. Reamers, both handheld and countertop, are constructed from plastic. Whenever possible, select a food-grade, BPA-free plastic.

  • Wood: Handheld reamers are sometimes made from wood, including bamboo, and have a rustic appeal, not to mention a low price. However, wood can only be hand washed.

Ease of cleaning

Because juicing citrus can be a messy, sticky process, selecting a manual juicer that’s no fuss to clean is recommended. Pieces or parts you can throw into the dishwasher are the easiest to clean, as are one-piece juicers.

You should always follow the cleaning instructions that come with your product, but generally speaking, the following types of manual juicers are dishwasher safe (often recommended by the manufacturer for the top shelf):

  • Most handheld squeezers, metal and plastic

  • Some handheld plastic reamers

  • Glass countertop reamers

  • Some countertop plastic reamers

  • Removable parts of some presses
     

Wood is never dishwasher safe, and stainless steel is iffy.

Another factor that determines how easy a unit is to clean is the number of component parts that need to be washed separately. Presses have the most parts. Consider that sieves and strainers that collect pulp and seeds are a hassle to clean.

Size adjustable

The three most commonly squeezed citrus fruits are limes, lemons, and oranges. These three fruits vary in size, and while all reamer types can accommodate their individual circumferences, squeezers and presses are a different story.

For squeezers, we recommend one with tiers: one with a perforated bowl that fits limes and small lemons, and another bowl that fits larger lemons and smaller oranges. Of course, if you only need a squeezer for limes or lemons, by all means select a smaller squeezer designed for that fruit.

Double-sided reamers are also a nice option. They come with two different-size ridged points for more refined juicing: a smaller reamer for limes/lemons and a larger one for oranges.

Presses with five-inch diameters accommodate most citrus fruits, including grapefruits. Because of their heftier price tag, check the press’s measurement before purchasing to be sure the unit will fit the types of citrus you plan on juicing.

Strainers and seed catchers

An important feature of any citrus juicer is its ability to catch seeds so they don’t end up in the juice. Not all reamers do this, so look for two-piece reamers that either have a seed-catcher attachment or a strainer/sieve separating the container from the reamer.

Manual citrus juicer prices

Manual citrus juicers range in price from $6 to $200.

Inexpensive: Low-priced juicers range in price from $6 to $9. These include handheld reamers and handheld squeezers. Some countertop reamers, usually plastic, can also be found at this price point.

Mid-range: Mid-priced juicers range in price from $10 to $26. Handheld squeezers made from quality materials and two-piece countertop reamers fall into this range.

Expensive: Higher priced juicers are primarily presses. They start at $50 and can run up to $200 for top-of-the-line models.

Tips

  • For instant OJ, put your cup in place of a collection container under a manual press. Seeds will automatically be strained out of the oranges in the process, so your juice will be ready for drinking.

  • To prevent slipping and sliding, select handheld squeezers with rubberized handles. Wood reamers are also easier to grip than plastic or stainless steel ones.

  • Consider how much storage space you have in your kitchen when purchasing a manual juicer. Presses are nice statement pieces if you have the counter space, but reamers and squeezers are better suited for smaller kitchen spaces.

  • If you juice often and in large quantities, invest in a quality press. They’re built to last years longer than electric juicers and are something you can pass onto your kids.

  • If you’re looking to up your vitamin C intake, fresh-squeezed orange juice has a much higher vitamin C content than store-bought OJ. This is because the majority of vitamin C content is lost to oxidation within 24 hours of cutting the orange.
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Ease of juicing doesn’t just depend on the type of manual citrus juicer you select. Another factor is the fruit itself: citrus fruits are easier to juice when ripe and in season.

FAQ

Q. What’s the best manual citrus juicer to make a pulpy OJ?
A.
Manual citrus juicers that don’t have strainers deliver pulpier juice. This includes standard and handheld reamers. Squeezers and presses don’t give you pulp and neither do reamers with strainers or seed catcher attachments. Be aware that the reamers that give you pulp in your juice also give you seeds.

Q. Will a manual crank juicer work on citrus?
A.
Most manual crank juicers are designed to work on citrus fruits, particularly oranges. The advantage of these types of juicers is that they also work on non-citrus fruits, like apples, and also on vegetables and wheatgrass. There are a handful of affordable plastic models on the market. However, this type of juicer has multiple parts to clean up after juicing and units can be bulky.

Q. What are the advantages of a manual citrus juicer over an electric one?
A.
Manual citrus juicers tend to have fewer moving parts than electric ones because they rely on your muscle power. This means they have fewer parts that can break down. Handheld manual juicers are easier to take on the road if you want to keep your healthy diet up while you’re traveling, and they also take up less space in the kitchen. Generally, manual citrus juicers are easier to clean than electric ones, and they’re certainly quieter.

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