We Juiced Hundreds of Lemons and Limes to Find the Best Manual Citrus Juicers and Reamers

The Chef’n FreshForce Citrus Juicer won out.

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four different styles of citrus juicers on a white surface

Serious Eats / Amanda Suarez

Straight to the Point

Our favorite manual juicer for lemons and limes is the Chef’n FreshForce Citrus Juicer. It’s the most efficient juicer while also staying easy on the wrists. Coming in as an honorable mention, the KitchenAid Citrus Squeezer has a unique design that allows you to push down on the lever with the juicer on your tabletop. For countertop models, the Chef’n Citrus Juicester performed best and includes an orange reamer attachment. And if you’re looking for a handheld reamer, the Zak Designs Citrus Reamer will be your go-to.

Citrus brings a nice brightness to baked goods, savory dishes, or fancy drinks and you often only need a few tablespoons unless you’re making a pitcher of lemonade or a batch of whiskey sours. A manual citrus juicer is an effective way of squeezing lemons or limes without getting juice all over your hands (and counter) or having to fish out citrus seeds. We last tested them in 2016, however one of our favorite models was discontinued.

We decided to re-test 11 models—including our previous top pick from Chef'n, manual citrus squeezers, compact countertop models, and reamers. We juiced hundreds of lemons, limes, and oranges to settle on the models that paired performance with usability.

The Winners, at a Glance

The Best Juicer for Lemons and Limes: Chef'n FreshForce Citrus Juicer

Chef'n ® FreshForce Citrus Juicer

For juicing lemons and limes, this juicer from Chef'n is as good as it gets. It's reasonably priced and easy to store in a drawer when not in use.

Also Great: KitchenAid Citrus Squeezer

KitchenAid Citrus Squeezer

As an honorable mention, we wanted to recognize the KitchenAid Citrus Squeezer. It was just behind the Chef’n FreshForce Citrus Juicer in efficiency, but sat flat on the countertop for extra leverage, keeping your wrists happy. It catches the juice, so you can pour it out from an integrated spout.

The Best Handheld Citrus Reamer: Zak Designs Citrus Reamer

Zak Designs Citrus Reamer

If you’re looking for a no-frills juicing experience, the Zak Designs Citrus Reamer will be your go-to. At $5, it’s budget-friendly and it gets the job done. Plus, it's dishwasher-safe.

The Best Citrus Juicer for Lemons, Limes, and Oranges: Chef'n Citrus Juicester

Williams Sonoma Chef’n Citrus Juicester

The stand-out for juicing oranges is the Chef’n Citrus Juicester. At $17, it includes two reamers—one for lemons and limes plus another for oranges, and even grapefruits. While some hinged juicers do come in an orange size, we don’t recommend using them since the pressing mechanism will extract too much oil from the orange's skin. While the oil extraction is lovely for lemons and limes, we found it affected orange juice's flavor too much.

The Tests

A hand using a countertop juicer to juice a lemon

Serious Eats / Amanda Suarez

  • Control Group: Prior to testing, we weighed 10 lemons, in grams, then juiced the fruit by hand and strained the juice to measure yield and speed. We repeated this with 10 limes.
  • Lemons Test: For each juicer, we weighed 10 lemons in grams. Then, we juiced the fruit and strained it. We noted total yield, speed of juicing, and ease of use.
  • Limes Test: For each juicer, we weighed 10 limes in grams. We juiced the fruit and strained it. We noted total yield, speed of juicing, and ease of use. 
  • Taste Tests: We sampled the juice procured from each method, including the control group, and ranked the bitterness, the floral or fragrant quality, and the overall taste of each juice on a scale of 1 to 10.
  • Orange Fit: With each juicer, we attempted to juice one navel orange, halved, noting if the juicer was able to easily accommodate it.
  • Cleanup Tests: We cleaned each juicer by hand after every test and, with the dishwasher-friendly ones, ran them through a cycle to assess ease of cleanup and examine how they fared.

What We Learned

For Highest Yield at the Fastest Rate, Go with a Handheld Juicer

When a recipe calls for just a few tablespoons or a quarter cup of citrus juice, you need something fast and simple that will get the job done—and quickly. Because of their hinged design, handheld juicers on average performed better than countertop models and reamers.

They were also intuitive to use and didn’t put too much strain on the wrists. Our top performer, the Chef’n FreshForce Citrus Juicer, produced 38% yield from 10 lemons in under five minutes compared to 30% yield from 10 lemons juiced by hand in nearly 9 minutes. The Chef’n Citrus Juicester countertop model trailed closely behind, yielding 37% juice in just over 5 minutes. And the Zak Designs Citrus Reamer produced 31% in about four minutes. All of the handheld models we tested were also dishwasher-safe, making cleanup even easier (reamers are often made from wood, and must be washed by hand).

The Juice Should Be in Your Food, Not On Your Counter

Juice being poured from a handheld citrus juicer into a glass measuring cup

Serious Eats / Amanda Suarez

If you want minimal spattering and mess, handheld juicers still came out on top with the Chef’n FreshForce Citrus Juicer at the forefront. Because of its inside ridged design, it kept the lemon halves in place and the drainage slits curved down towards the center of the bowl, allowing you to direct the juice towards a container easily. In contrast, there was noticeable spray-age from models with holes as opposed to slits. Force pushed juice through the holes quickly, sending it in all directions.

The juicer that spattered the least was the KitchenAid Citrus Squeezer, which has a deep, hole-free bottom bowl with an integrated spout. The bowl caught all of the juice before you deposit it into a container. The reamers were the messiest of them all, but this made sense as they were the closest thing to juicing by hand.

Did Flavor Vary from Juicer to Juicer?

After procuring juice from all 11 citrus juicers in addition to the control group, we had a panel of four taste testers rank each juice on a scale of 1 to 10 for bitterness, floral or fragrant quality, and overall taste. In a surprise to everyone, the control group juice ranked highest for flavor, fragrance, and taste. The rankings varied from juice to juice, especially between the three types of juicers: hinged squeezer, countertop juicer, and handheld reamer.

The juices that came from hinged squeezers such as the Chef’n FreshForce Citrus Juicer or KitchenAid Citrus Squeezer ranked quite high for floral quality and fragrance, since hinged juicers squeeze more oils from the skin of the citrus. Juicers that utilize a reamer mechanism—countertop and handheld models—are sometimes at risk for extracting more bitterness from the pith within the citrus. As such, juice from these models ranked a bit higher in bitterness among our panelists. Due to its extra sharp edges, the Joie Lemon and Lime Juicer and Reamer scored highest in bitterness.

What Are the Pros and Cons of Each Style of Citrus Juicer?

Hinged Squeezers

Pros: These will extract the most juice from citrus while adding floral notes from the skin’s oils. They’re also less impactful on the hands and wrists. They’re usually simply designed and easy to store. Plus, most are dishwasher safe and easy to hand-wash.

Cons: Some of these models will spray more juice on the counter than into your container. For models that don’t have added leverage mechanisms to help with squeezing, the hands and fingers end up doing more work. If you want to juice oranges, you’ll often have to purchase an orange-sized squeezer to accommodate larger citrus sizes.

Manual Countertop Juicers

Pros: Most of these come with a built-in carafe that catches the juice, minimizing sprayage. They often also come with interchangeable reamers that fit lemons, limes, oranges, or even grapefruits, allowing for a wide world of citrus juicing.

Cons: The strainers don’t often do a good job of straining the pulp, which can lead to more time spent getting pulp out of the juice itself. Also, as the built-in strainers are usually small, if you’re juicing a large amount of citrus, be prepared to stop every so often to clean out the strainer before you can continue juicing. Since they come with more parts, it can often be a bit more time consuming to clean them afterward.

Handheld Reamers

Pros: They’re simple and small, therefore quite easy to clean and store.

Cons: They’re not the most efficient. In terms of mess, it’s not very different from hand-juicing since you’ll get a lot of juice and oil on your hands throughout the process. They are often made from wood, which isn't dishwasher-safe.

The Criteria: What to Look for In a Manual Citrus Juicer

a handheld citrus juicer on a white countertop with text points around it

Serious Eats / Amanda Suarez / Riddley Gemperlein-Schirm

A great manual citrus juicer will get the most juice out of your citrus quickly and easily, without affecting the taste negatively. It should also be easy on the hands and wrists, especially if you’re planning on juicing a few citrus in a row.

It should also direct juice into a vessel and catch seeds and pulp so you don’t have to spend extra time straining. When it comes to cleanup, a good juicer is easy to wash by hand, though dishwasher-friendly ones are a plus.

The Best Manual Citrus Juicer for Lemons and Limes: Chef'n FreshForce Citrus Juicer

Chef'n ® FreshForce Citrus Juicer

What we liked:, The Chef’n FreshForce Citrus Juicer remains our favorite citrus juicer. It ranked higher than others for flavor and fragrance due to its ability to extract oils from the lemon's skin. There was minimal spattering involved when juicing with this tool and the squeezing action was smooth. Due to its hinge, it offered more leverage than other models.

Since it doesn’t scrape the inside of the citrus as a reamer would, there was much less pulp and all of the seeds were caught by this model's bowl. The ridges on the inside of the bowl kept citrus in place when squeezing, too.

What we didn’t like: If you’re looking for something to juice lemons and limes, you’re all set. But if you want to juice oranges as well, you’ll have to get the Chef'n Citrus Orange Squeezer and Juicer, since that one’s specifically designed to fit orange halves. While you could theoretically juice oranges with a lemon-sized Chef’n FreshForce Citrus Juicer, you’ll have to slice them into smaller chunks, which isn't ideal.

Price at time of publish: $20.

Key Specs

  • Material: Stainless steel and nylon
  • Dishwasher-safe: Yes, top rack
  • Weight: 15.8 oz
  • Dimensions: 10.25 inches x 3.25 inches x 2.75 inches
  • Mechanism: Hinged press
a yellow manual citrus juicer with its handle open

Serious Eats / Amanda Suarez

Hand-Held Honorable Mention: KitchenAid Citrus Squeezer

KitchenAid Citrus Squeezer

What we liked: The KitchenAid Citrus Squeezer could actually be placed on on a tabletop or countertop. That way, we were able to use the full force of our weight to push down on the squeezer, which collected juice in its built-in bowl. For individuals with especially sensitive wrists and hands, this is a good option.

What we didn’t like: It did add an extra minute or so to the total juicing time since we had to pour the juice out from the squeezer’s integrated spout every time we finished juicing a citrus half.

Price at time of publish: $24.

Key Specs

  • Material: Aluminum and stainless steel
  • Dishwasher-safe: Yes, top rack
  • Weight: 14.4 oz
  • Dimensions: 8.13 inches x 2 inches x 1.25 inches
  • Mechanism: Hinged press
a yellow and stainless steel manual citrus juicer sitting on a countertop

Serious Eats / Amanda Suarez

The Best Citrus Juicer for Lemons, Limes, and Oranges: Chef'n Citrus Juicester

Williams Sonoma Chef’n Citrus Juicester

What we liked: This juicer conveniently came with two reamers: one for lemons and limes and an adaptable orange reamer that fit right on top of the lemon reamer. It was simple and straightforward to convert between the two. There was also a silicone spring that added just the right amount of leverage to take some stress away from the wrists. While most countertop juicers can be hard on wrists because of the twisting motion, it was relatively comfortable to use the Chef’n Citrus Juicester. The juice filtered directly into its carafe and at 37% juice yield, it trailed just behind the Chef’n FreshForce Citrus Juicer in performance and speed. While we were concerned that having a reamer mechanism would mean more bitterness in the juice, we were pleasantly surprised to find that juice from this tool ranked high for taste, possibly because the reamer's edges were not particularly sharp.

What we didn’t like: There were a few parts to keep track of with this juicer, since there were two reamers, a strainer, the carafe, and a tiny silicone spring that could be easily misplaced. Due to the different pieces, cleaning took a bit longer compared to the manual squeezers and handheld reamers.

Price at time of publish: $17.

Key Specs

  • Material: Plastic and silicone
  • Dishwasher-safe: Yes, top rack
  • Weight: 12 oz
  • Dimensions: 5 inches x 6.75 inches
  • Mechanism: Countertop reamer
A countertop citrus juicer sitting on a white surface

Serious Eats / Amanda Suarez

The Best Handheld Citrus Reamer: Zak Designs Citrus Reamer

Zak Designs Citrus Reamer

What we liked: For a tool so small, the Zak Designs Citrus Reamer performed well. At $5, this reamer was also the least expensive of all the models tested. Because of its size, it’s easy to store, but you’ll never miss it in the kitchen drawer because of its bright colors. This handheld reamer also had a 31% yield, putting it not far behind the top-performers above.

What we didn’t like: Using a handheld reamer is pretty close to hand-juicing your own citrus. It had deep, long ridges and sharper edges leading to a very sharp tip that extracted more of the pith from inside the citrus.

Price at time of publish: $5.

Key Specs

  • Material: Plastic
  • Dishwasher Safe: Yes
  • Weight: 3.84 oz.
  • Dimensions: 7.25 inches x 3.5 inches x 3.5 inches
  • Mechanism: Reamer
A green reamer sitting on a white countertop

Serious Eats / Amanda Suarez

The Competition

  • Zulay Lemon Squeezer: The yield from this model was a bit behind the other handheld squeezers. Unlike the Chef’n FreshForce Citrus Juicer or KitchenAid Citrus Squeezer, there’s no leverage assistance with this one so it’s really up to your own hand strength to get citrus juiced.
  • Imusa USA Lemon Squeezer: This handheld squeezer performed neck-to-neck with our top choices, but the quality of the material didn’t stand up to the challenge at the end of the day. After juicing the lemons and limes, the Imusa lemon squeezer sustained a chip in its bowl, making us wary of using it long-term. At $6, it was the least expensive out of the handheld squeezer models.
  • OXO Good Grips Citrus Squeezer: While this squeezer didn’t yield as much juice, it was sturdy and had rubber on its handles for added grip. Similar to the Zulay and Imusa models, this one did not provide added leverage to assist with squeezing.
  • Mueller Citrus Juicer: This countertop juicer has a built-in reamer that connected to the base of the bowl itself, adding a bit of stability when juicing. It was just behind the top performers at 37% yield in six minutes. Since the bowl was rather small, we found that the juice filled up very quickly and we had to empty it every few lemon halves.
  • OXO Good Grips 2-in-1 Citrus Juicer: This countertop juicer comes with two reamers that stack on top of each other for easy storage. While the yield wasn’t bad at 36%, it took us the longest to juice with this juicer (7 minutes total). It had larger slits in its strainer, which meant it didn’t catch quite as much pulp.
  • Joie Lemon and Lime Juicer and Reamer: Due to its very sharp edges and tip, it scraped a lot of the citrus pith and pulp, resulting in bitter juice and too much pulp. Because of this, it performed the worst, with just 34% lemon juice and 19% lime juice yields.
  • OXO Good Grips Wooden Citrus Reamer: While the wooden design is simple and easy to use, it didn't provide as much yield as its handheld reamer competitor, the Zak Designs Citrus Reamer. It's also not dishwasher-safe.

FAQs

Which citrus juicers were the easiest to use and why?

Hinged squeezers with an added mechanism for additional leverage were the easiest to use because they weren’t as reliant on the strength of hands pressing, twisting, or squeezing. In the case of the Chef’n FreshForce Citrus Juicer, the middle bowl was connected to a hinge that helped with pressing the metal bowl down into a citrus half. Similarly, the KitchenAid Citrus Squeezer allowed a user to place it on the countertop and use their weight to press down on the handle like a lever, making the juicing motion very smooth and easy.

What’s the best way to clean a citrus juicer?

While all but one of the models we tested are dishwasher-safe, if you can, it’s best to hand-wash the hinged squeezers since pulp can sometimes get caught in the nooks and crannies of the hinges. Additionally, lemon oils left small amounts of residue on the squeezers we tested that had exposed metal, but it took only a tiny bit of elbow grease to scrub off.

Should I buy an electric citrus juicer?

Manual juicers are great for a few lemons, limes, or oranges, if you need the juice for a recipe or if you’re making a smaller batch of lemonade. However, if you’re often juicing large amounts of citrus, it’s worth looking into an electric citrus juicer.

What’s the best lime squeezer?

The best lemon juicer that also performed well with limes is our long-time favorite the Chef’n FreshForce Citrus Juicer.

Additional research by
Marguerite Preston
Marguerite Preston is a contributing writer at Serious Eats.
Marguerite Preston writes about the best kitchen gear and equipment from Brooklyn, New York.
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