The Philips HR1861 juicer has received a number of awards and recommendations from the likes of Good Housekeeping and Which? But will it survive the rigours of the Pocket-lint.com test kitchen?
This juicer is of the centrifugal variety, so sitting at the core of the machine is a spinning juice extractor. This shreds the fruit as you throw it into the top, spins the fruit to fling out the juice through a fine mesh, which runs out the funnel into the jug. The waste fruit pulp is thrown into the large hopper at the back for easy disposal.
The main body of the juicer is finished in brushed aluminium, so you can scrub it clean without worrying about scratching it up, whilst most of the rest of the parts are plastic, so they can be easily thrown into a dishwasher. The main centrifugal part will sometimes need a good scrub and the supplied brush is the best thing for this: don't try using a sponge as it will just get shredded…
Little touches make the HR1861 more at home in your sophisticated kitchen. The feet on the bottom are little suckers, so it won't move around once you get into the business of juicing all that fruit. It looks sensational too, and the aluminium finish doesn't just make it look good: it also stands the test of time. Some of the cheaper silver plastic finishes used on lesser worktop appliances will get tainted by the fruit run-off over time, but the HR1861 doesn't suffer from that problem.
There are two speeds on offer from the chunky switch on the side. Slower speeds are recommended for softer fruits (although don't try and juice bananas, mangos or avocados, because they are too soft) and higher speeds will deal with harder fruits and vegetables.
The large chute means you don't have to do much preparation, so you can drop in a whole apple or pear for example and it will give you your juice at the bottom. Fruits with more substantial skins, like pineapples, will need preparing in advance before dropping them in.
If you are a citrus fiend then the HR1861 might not be for you. There is no citrus attachment so it doesn’t give you that "freshly squeezed" orange result. If you are mostly interested in orange juice then a simple citrus juicer might be a better bet, but that said, once you have peeled an orange you can just throw it in the top and you still get juice out of it.
In operation the size and weight of the HR1861 means it isn't as noisy when turned on as some might be, although there is no avoiding the fact that juicing is a fairly noisy process. The results are very good too, with the vast majority of the waste fruit being left fairly dry in the hopper at the back.
We tried an old Pocket-lint favourite: pineapple, carrot, red chilli, a squeeze of lime and some chopped coriander, great for clearing your head and getting you going. The HR1861 is also endorsed by "Juice master" Jason Vale and a copy of his book is bundled in the box to get you started and thinking beyond your simple apple juice.
You also get a jug to catch your juice in which has a foam filter, so if you are juicing a large number of apples, this will help separate your juice and prevent you pouring a glass with a massive foamy head on the top.
The Philips HR1861 performs excellently and looks fantastic, being up to the job of regular juicing. You can get juicers for less which offer an almost identical centrifugal system, but the size (if you have enough worktop space in your kitchen) makes this model a great choice.
Citrus fiends would be better off with a dedicated citrus juicer (or both, if you're really extravagant), but otherwise there is very little to fault with the Philips HR1861.