There are so
many threads already on green juicing but I'll break it down for you anyway...consider this Juicing 101.
You mentioned a blender so I think you're confusing (green) smoothies (made with blenders) with juices (made with juicers). A juicer squeezes the juice out of produce and that juice is all you drink; a blender chops up produce so that a smoothie includes the fiber and any added liquid and ice, plus whatever else you add, like nuts or chocolate. Think of smoothies as very diluted, somewhat unseparated juice with fiber and nuts, chocolate, and/or dairy, depending. Think of juice as...juice.
Blenders are better for fruits and juicers for vegetables, and the best juicers best juice vegetables, particularly wheatgrass. Juices and
smoothies comprised primarily of fruit are counterproductive with too much teeth-rotting sugar causing insulin spikes; the healthiest juices and
smoothies are vegetable-based with a bit of fruit (green apple, berries, bananas) for flavoring.
With a blended smoothie, green or otherwise, you're only getting a fraction of the juice that you'd get with a juicer, and because it's not pure juice it's not only less nutritious but the nutritional delivery is compromised. There's an argument that green smoothies (blender with water/ice) retain only 15% of the nutritional value of the greens compared to 100% for green juicing (juicer) because the high chopping speed and heat of the blender (compared to the slow, quieter squeezing speed of the juicer) "oxygenates" the vitamins out of the greens. But another camp argues that that's hogwash and in fact green smoothies are more nutritious than green juices, even though it's logical to assume that, "absorbency/nutritional delivery" aside, you can ingest more juice than fiber - who can stomach 8 kale leaves blended with liquid and other produce without bloating? Still, you can find online evidence supporting any premise so a best case scenario would be, space and finances permitting, to juice and
blend as I do.
I use both a juicer and a blender. The two best blenders in the $300-500 class were the Blendtec and Vitamix. I chose the $325 Blendtec largely because of this video (I'll spare you further details on that
decision-making process but you won't be so lucky when I get to my juicer):
Enough about blenders and smoothies; back to on-topic juicing.
I did a green juice fast for ten days and was never hungry (probably because each serving was 16-20 ounces!) or nauseous or glued to the toilet (probably because I ate pretty clean anyway and didn't have a lot to detox). The fiber I fed to the dogs (recommended) and post-fast, would dehydrate into crackers. These two photos show ziplock bags containing my pre-prepped juicing produce - each bag a "meal," four "meals" a day. As you can see, that's a lot of fiber (the CoffeeMate's for guests):
However, all those greens were expensive and involved a lot of prep time so I opted for economics and convenience over taste and began juicing wheatgrass every morning instead despite it tasting godawful (but you get used to it). I found it far easier, faster and cheaper to juice a seventh of a $21 wheatgrass flat I'd buy weekly at my local health food store, reducing the cost of my green juice fix to $3 per day - less than most people pay for coffee. According to this "karma pyramid," I made the right choice (proving that yes, anyone can find internet evidence supporting whatever preconceived notion they might have):
But I don't cut out other greens and their fiber entirely because I blend green protein
smoothies with kale and collard greens, the most nutritious of green leafy vegetables (spinach ranks third). I pay extra for organic not only because leafy greens don't have protective skins but kale in particular tends to absorb and retain pesticides.
As for which appliances to select, a good blender (which takes 20 seconds to clean) can cost anywhere from $100 (Magic Bullet or Nutribullet) to $300 (Vitamix or Blendtec) but a good juicer (which takes 2 minutes - less time that it used to take to clean coffeemakers, and well worth it) starts at about $300. The best juicers appear to be masticating non-upright juicers with "horizontal" single auger types. I wasn't about to spend $1000 for the best, most durable brand - the Angel - instead I decided on the Omega 8006 model for about $300. It was an easy decision because I wanted to juice wheatgrass, limiting my options, and there were complaints about the Omega 8005 auger which was so much less durable that plastic shavings off it would sometimes work their way into the juice! So paying just a little more for the 8006 was worth it because the auger was 8x harder, the 8006 alone had a fifteen
year warranty (longest in the biz), they moved the switch from the top (splash zone?) to the rear, designed an ergonomic handle at the top and provided bigger juice/pulp containers. I got it in the chrome and black finish because I figured white would eventually stain and it looks good on my countertop, which is important because that's where I plan on keeping it - if I had to lug it out of a cabinet every time I wanted to juice I'd be less likely to.
With the Omega 8006 the juice can have as little or as much pulp as you want because there are TWO strainers, a filter insert and a sieve. The filter you can keep inserted which makes sense because otherwise the juicer would be more of a bitch to clean, and the only thing remotely difficult about cleaning the juicer is scrubbing the filter insert with the included "toothbrush" for maybe 10 seconds. There's a sieve that fits atop the containers so you can pour the juice through it to remove any foam and pulp that wasn't extruded through the filter. I stopped using the sieve because the pulp that strained out of it was very minimal and I like my juice pulpy anyway. Juicing wheatgrass is easy and being pulp-free the cleanup's easiest, and as for reviews about how Omega juicers don't extract all the juice from the wheatgrass, taking a couple of seconds to re-run the not-quite-dry pulp through a second and third time squeezes out any excess.
Here's what later validated my decisions as to which brand blender and juicer to get - I've observed that most health food supermarkets that sell wheatgrass shots use "horizontal auger" Omega masticating juicers and most gyms make smoothies in Blendtec blenders! Storefront
juice bars are another story entirely - the loud "vertical" versions are almost always their juicer of choice - not because they're better (they run hotter), but because they're faster.
Juice bar patrons don't want to wait for their juice, and since juice represents a big percentage of their inventory and most on-the-go patrons don't understand the difference between juicers, juice bars opt for fast turnover over best quality.