Dual-Stage Vertical Single Auger Low Speed Juicer
Take all the benefits of a masticating juicer: slow speed and auger grind and turn it on its head. Listen to what your customer base has been saying and make improvements. That’s what Omega has done with the revolutionary design of the VRT350HD, and so far it’s been a big hit. It’s a radical change to juicer design in an industry that has seemed to be perfectly happy with where it’s at.
Over the years Omega has built up an enviable position in the masticating juicer market and it should be no surprise that innovation would start here. However, in the appliance industry so often big change comes from outside companies-and the creative process shifts. So kudos to Omega for maintaining an edge in design and efficiency.
Omega VRT350HD Features:
- Commercial-quality masticating juicer in a vertical design
- 2-screen extraction process for pulp control (fine and course)
- Self-cleaning screen to increase efficiency during juicing
- High-yield Wheatgrass juicer
- Low-speed 80 RPMs to prevent degradation of juice quality-juice can be stored longer.
- 10-year warranty
Click here to check out current prices on the Omega VRT350HD.
Omega VRT350HD Vertical Juicer Review
It’s innovative, it’s driven by great technical design and it solves some long-standing problems inherent within its category. And it’s also one of the best juicers we’ve ever seen.
Without gushing, the VRT350 HD has all the elements we love in a masticating juicer but few of the drawbacks. It uses gravity to pull the food through the chute via the vertical design down into the auger. Spinning at only 80 rpms but driven by a strong 2 HP motor, the food is crushed and the pulp extrudes past the auger into a mesh basket.
This arrangement is not just a novelty, either-once past the auger there is a two-stage screen procedure that further improves on the output of the juice. As the food is “chewed” through single-auger screw, this mesh basket screens out the pulp and a final wiping blade spins around the whole assembly to keep the screens clean.
It’s a thoroughly enjoyable process to watch-this is one of the first juicers we’re seeing people online are reporting having fun just using it. No pushing is required down the chute as in a horizontal masticating juicer. It’s a small joy just to watch it work.
If you haven’t guessed by now, we’ll say up front that we adore the Omega 350 HD. Users across the net seem to love it as well-in fact it’s one of the highest rated products on Amazon.com. Reasons abound: It’s perhaps one of the quietest juicers around. It stays cool due to its slow speed and chews away at the food through this vertical auger. It can handle any and all fruits and vegetables-especially wheatgrass. If you have any intentions of growing your own wheatgrass through a kit, this is the juicer to have. And on and on. One reviewer remarked regarding carrots, “I can’t cut off the tops fast enough-it just eats em right up. That alone is worth the price of admission…I LOVE this machine.”
The Best Juicer? Our Impressions
Reviewing the Omega VRT350HD itself reveals quality materials in the construction. A very sturdy base and interlocking component design make up the exterior. But the heart and soul of any masticating juicer is in the auger gear, and this one is made from a very dense synthetic copolymer called ULTEM. This fairly recent innovation from GE is known as an amorphous thermoplastic which they describe as “virtually indestructible.” That’s good hard plastic to us and it gets the job done.
The Automatic Cleaning System is unique to the vertical juice extractor but it’s not just there to look cool. In other masticating juicers, heavier fruits tend to clog up the screen, reducing efficiency. The wiping process not only keeps the screen clear, but it also gives the extraction process one more chance to squeeze any extra remaining juice from the pulp. It’s one of the most innovative features of this juicer and it works extremely well to max out the amount of juice extracted. Given the high price of organic produce these days, getting the most juice out of your fruits is a real cost-saver.
The VRT350 assembles quickly without any issue and the filter basket and main unit have an alignment arrow for placement with the other parts. The instruction manual is not really needed for assembly. Depending on the level of pulp you like in your juice, you can choose between two strainer baskets (fine and course).
In action, the Omega VRT350HD shines. Two included exterior cups catch the action-one for the juice and one for the waste. It chews through hard fruits and vegetables efficiently and returns nicely dry waste pulp. One of the reasons many people upgrade to a masticating juicer is to extract more juice from leafy greens, like kale and collard greens-and here the VRT350 does not disappoint. It’s a slower extraction process so it does take a bit more time than a centrifugal, but the time is well worth it in higher juice yields.
Cleanup is the same as with a centrifugal juicer-with one extra step, however. Disassembly is quick-all the parts and pieces can go in the dishwasher if needed but the screen must be scrubbed clean with the included oversized toothbrush. We are like a broken record in all our juicer machine reviews at The Best Juicer Site. Always scrub your mesh screens! In addition, the wiper blade is a separate unit but this is easily scrubbed right along with the screen. Expect to spend perhaps an additional minute or so.
Reassembly is a breeze: align the arrow so the heavy pieces lock together in a snap. Very satisfying clicks.
Omega VRT350HD vs. Omega VRT330
Any time an appliance maker releases a newer model there is the inevitable need to compare it to the previous version. Especially when there is a difference in price-which in this case is significant. In this case, the VRT350 is an upgrade to the VRT330 and it specifically addresses one of the complaints users had with the vertical juicer-the screener basket. By comparison of parts, the Omega 350 vs. Omega 330 reveals they are nearly identical in every respect-in fact, nearly all of the pieces of the 350 and 330 can be interchangeably swapped with one another.
But by listening to the complaints of customers that were heavy juicers, Omega radically improved the material used in the screener basket design. For regular use the material was acceptable but for heavy, daily use there were reports of cracks in the screen housing. The VRT350 screener basket is made from the tougher-grade plastic (see the GE ULTEM, above) which Omega claims is now eight times stronger than the original filter housing.
The 330 screen is not flawed by any means and is perfectly acceptable for users that don’t plan on juicing every day. As a matter of fact, users of the VRT330 can actually purchase the heavy-duty VRT350 screen separately if they wish from Omega (around $30) and it should work with their machine (check the model number, though).
If you are not a heavy user then a debate of the VRT350 versus the VRT330 is easier-it largely comes down to price and color. The other difference between the two is the paint job-the VRT350 comes in a silver with black finish whereas the 330 is white. If your kitchen is one of those done in stainless steel then the VRT350 may be more desirable.
Omega VRT350HD: The Cons
Are there any downsides? Yes, there are a few-and they make you think about your commitment to juicing.
Firstly, it’s expensive. Like the Dysons, an Omega VRT350HD is far and away above the average price for any juicer-even quality masticating ones. It’s a minimum $80 more than the 8005 Nutrition Center and at least $100 more than most high-end Breville centrifugals. Being the best has some privileges, we suppose.
Juicing times are slower, too. The auger and masticating process is not as fast as a centrifugal-but that’s the case with all masticating juicers. At the slow, 80 revolutions per minute speed this is again more like a “chewer” than juicer. The jury is still out scientifically, but the common wisdom is that any high-speed process might oxidize the juice and reduces the nutritional output. We’re still quite not on that bandwagon just yet but we understand the logic. One thing’s for certain, though, the slower process will give you less watery juice with a higher yield on the fiber and nutrients. Omega claims the juice extracted through this process will last up to 72 hours in the refrigerator. Again, with the high cost of organic fruits and vegetables these days this is definitely a plus.
Hey, even in the negatives there are positives.
One last issue some have noted is that the Omega VRT350HD produces more foam than other juicers due to the two-stage extraction process. For some users this can be anything from a minor annoyance to an actual negative. For most, you can stir the foam easily back into the juice as it’s certainly drinkable. If it is an issue, we recommend you place a small strainer at the top of the juice catcher during juicing. Or you can just use a spoon to remove the froth.
Omega goes a long way to make sure this is your end-all, be-all juicer by sticking on one of the longest warranties you’ll find in a juicing machine: 10 years. If you’ve done your homework shopping for a vertical masticating juicer then you may have the Hurom Slow Juicer on your short list as well. The Hurom is similar in design and around $30 less but only carries a 1-year warranty. That makes this an easy choice for us for the Best Overall Juicer for 2012:
In short, the few issues we have are really minor compared to the outstanding quality of this machine. It’s not cheap by any measure, but at least you can consider it an investment in your health. In a perfect world this juicer would be subsidized by the government and every person could have one and we’d reduce our health care costs as a nation simply by juicing our way to great health. Well, we can dream.
If you are able to make the financial commitment and are truly looking to make juicing a part of your life, then this is by far the best juicer for your money. It simply excels at everything we want in two juicers rolled into one and backs up the whole shebang with a whopping 10-year warranty. If you’re in that sweet spot of really doing your homework before buying a great juicer then in our opinion your work is done.
It’s the Dyson of Juicers.