The Omega VRT350 is a rarity among juicers. It’s a masticating design yet at a glance you could easily mistake it for a centrifugal model. But the VRT350 has many more surprises in store.
Omega VRT350 Review in Details
Dual-Stage Masticating Juicing Process
The Omega VRT350 is a dual-stage masticating juicer. In this case, that means something a little different from the norm. This model crushes produce similar to other masticaters but it also squeezes in a second pressing step before the pulp is ejected.
It still qualifies because it doesn’t use the high-speed spinning that defines a centrifugal model. A third category might be useful. Until then, the usual one will do well enough. Even without opening it up to look at the mechanism there are several indicators of that.
One obvious clue is the speed; the VRT350 turns at a mere 80 rpm. Even on the lowest setting an average centrifugal model will spin at 3,600 rpm or more. Many of the latest Breville units don’t go below 6,500 rpm.
Another sign is the power rating. The VRT350 offers ‘only’ 150 watts. A mid-range centrifugal model will put out 700 watts. A high-end model might reach 1,000W. But with this design that power is plenty.
Looking at the case design you might never tell this is a masticater, though. It measures 7″ wide x 8 1/2″ deep – i.e. a pretty narrow base compared to many centrifugal juicers. But it’s a full 15 1/2″ high, making it clearly upright. Most masticating designs are more ‘landscape’ and look fairly squat. A nice combination of counterspace conservation and aesthetics.
You might also pick up the case to get a hint. The VRT350 tips the scales at a full 19 1/2 lbs, more than the average centrifugal model. It’s even a little heavy for a masticating model. Nice and stable but you probably won’t want to move it around much.
Of course, what counts is not the numbers but what the juicer does. Fortunately, this unusual Omega model offers plenty to like in that area.
One test I like to make is to soak a bunch of almonds then see how the juicer does when turning them into almond milk. The slow-speed/ample power of the VRT350 ensures this model passes that test with ease. That low speed helps produce fresh, nutritious juice in a few other ways, too.
Minimal Heat Build Up & Oxidation
A pleasant side effect is the minimum of heat and oxydation produced. Unless they’re very carefully designed, high speed juicers can transfer substantial heat to the liquid during extraction. That may degrade the juice, by degrading the enzymes that help you digest it.
The high speeds used by centrifugal models inevitably produce a lot of foam. Issues of preference aside, that signals the presence of a lot of air in the juice. More air means more oxidation when it’s stored. That tends to degrade the nutrients in the juice.
Since the VRT350 spins at only 80 rpm heat build up and oxidation are virtually eliminated.
A nice side benefit is the noise level; with a masticating model there’s almost always less, a lot less. Some centrifugal units sound like a low flying jet in your kitchen. The VRT350 produces nothing more than a non-irritating hum. It’s actually kind of peaceful.
That low noise has another side benefit. A masticating model typically takes longer to produce juice. A good centrifugal model like the Breville Juice Fountain can extract an 8-ounce glass of apple juice in five seconds. The VRT350 can take 30 sec or more. The time factor is probably negligible for most people but that shorter period of noise might be appreciated.
Wider Produce Selection
A masticating design gives the VRT350 another advantage: more ingredient options. The average centrifugal model can do a terrific job on apples, pineapples, celery, carrots, and other hard produce. But only a limited number have the gentle settings necessary to do well with spinach and other delicate produce.
The VRT350 can handle the softest tomatoes, bananas, and all manner of leafy greens the way they need to be treated. Even wheatgrass is a breeze.
2 Juicing Screens
In whatever category you put this model you can detect its masticating nature by observing the ultra-dry pulp. Omega complements that by offering two juicing screens in this model: fine and course.
If you like a bit of pulp in your fresh juice like I do you’ll appreciate that second option. Some juicer makers seem to think it’s a sin if they don’t filter out every tiny bit. But the fleshy pulp has value, too. Thank you, Omega.
This unit also houses an additional setting not found on too many juicers: Reverse. If you start juicing and discover that something simply won’t go through – a hard bit of pineapple rind, kale stem fibers, or even a wooden spoon – you can hit reverse to get it out. That protects the motor and aids in cleanup.
Speaking of cleanup, the VRT350 is easier to maintain than the average masticating juicer, thank heavens. There are several good models out there but most of them are a bear to clean. Juicing is messy. But Omega did about as good as possible here, next to getting someone else to do the dirty work.
There’s an AutoClean mechanism that wipes the screen off for you. You can pour hot water through the spout, if you want. For those parts-staining carrot jobs you can add a little lemon juice without harming anything. The oversized spout makes it easier to get a small brush inside for the truly stubborn stuff. Omega includes one in the package.
The AutoEject design extrudes pulp, another welcome feature. It works alongside the Reverse mode to prevent clogging, too. It also makes cleanup and disposal a little easier.
Would the Omega VRT350 heavy duty juicer make my list of the top five? Hard to say. I’m partial to centrifugal models because I love the quick results and large feed chutes they offer. But there’s no denying that this masticating model has a lot to love.