- Able to obtain very good “out of juicer” yields in most of our juicing performance tests
- A very affordable option for a juicer of this type (vertical masticating)
- Because it’s been so popular and has been on the market so long is sometimes even available refurbished which reduces its cost even more
- Manufactured by a brand – Omega – with a very strong pedigree in the juicer industry
- Of similar build quality to juicers that retail for much more
- Extracts a very pulpy juice
- Because it’s an older model, lacks a few features and modern aesthetic of newer models of juicers of this type
- Doesn’t come with a juice cap – the absence of this small but important part greatly reduces the overall ease of using this juicer
- Doesn’t come with any extra strainers – greatly reduces its versatility compared to other juicers of the same type
- 1 Category Scores
- 2 Model Notes
- 3 Assembly
- 4 Food Preparation
- 5 Performance
- 6 Cleaning
- 7 Cleaning Difficulty Compared To Other Juicers
- 8 Ease of Use
- 9 Versatility
- 10 Durability
- 11 Value
|Ease of Use||3.5|
All category scores are out of 5.
The model names VRT350, VRT350HD, and VRT350 Heavy Duty are all synonymous – all three model names describe exactly the same silver Omega vertical masticating juicer. The juicer is also available in white (VRT350W) and chrome (VRT380HDC). Please note that our review below applies to all three color configurations: silver (VRT350/VRT350HD), white (VRT350W) and chrome (VRT380HDC).
The Omega VRT350 can only be used for juicing. Most other masticating juicers we tested can do more – they can not only juice but they can also homogenize. For them to be able to homogenize a blank strainer is normally included in addition to a juicing strainer. This blank strainer fits over the juicer’s auger exactly the same way the juicing strainer does. A blank strainer is not included with the VRT350 and neither is it available as an optional accessory that you can buy online. Only the parts below are included with your purchase and they can only be used for juicing.
Juicing – Parts List
- Food pusher (pusher)
- Feeding chute assembly (hopper)
- Juicing bowl (bowl)
- Spinning brush (auto cleaning brush)
- Strainer (HD strainer)
- Main body (base)
- Juice container
- Pulp container
The general terms we use for vertical masticating juicer parts are listed. If Omega calls a certain part by a different name in the VRT350’s user manual it is listed in parentheses.
Extra Removable Parts
The parts we listed above are those parts you’ll have to put together every time you use your juicer. They’re also parts that you’ll have to disassemble in order to properly clean the juicer when you’re done juicing. But these parts are not the only removable parts that the juicer is made of. There are several small yet very important silicone parts that do much to enable the juicer to work efficiently. These parts do not have to be removed each time you disassemble the juicer. They do not have to be removed to properly clean the juicer. But, they certainly can be removed and so we list them as separate parts below:
- Silicone blades
- Silicone pulp pressure plug
- Sealing ring
Omega calls what we simply call a spinning brush an “auto cleaning spinning brush”. This is because its spinning brush, the same as the spinning brush on every other vertical masticating juicer we tested, auto cleans the juicer.
On the bottom of the spinning brush are plastic teeth. These teeth match up with a gear at the bottom of the juicer’s juicing bowl. The gear at the bottom of the of the juicing bowl matches up with teeth on the bottom of the auger. As the auger spins it drives the gear on the bottom of the juicing bowl which rotates the spinning brush.
Attached to the spinning brush are 2 silicone blades. These blades wipe the inside of the juicing bowl as the spinning brush rotates. This is the mechanism by which the juicer auto cleans itself. Both silicone blades are removable from the spinning brush frame although we didn’t find it necessary to remove them at any point during our testing. We were able to properly clean the spinning brush even with the silicone blades attached.
Silicone Pulp Pressure Plug
On the bottom of the juicing bowl is what Omega calls a “yellow rubber gasket” or what we commonly refer to as the juicer’s pulp pressure plug. This plug has the singular purpose of allowing you to clean the pulp outlet more easily than you would be able to otherwise. Study the picture below.
Though it’s difficult to see the pulp outlet is a tube with three different outlets. One outlet is to the outside of the juicing bowl. This is where pulp exits the juicing bowl into the pulp container. The other two outlets are on the inside of the juicing bowl and the bottom of the juicing bowl. The outlet on the inside of the juicing bowl is where pulp enters the juice outlet while you’re juicing. It’s a very small hole. The outlet on the bottom of the juicing bowl is a much larger hole that’s plugged up by the pulp pressure plug while you’re juicing.
When you’re done juicing you can unplug this outlet which allows you to push pulp through the outlet using the handle of the included cleaning brush. Without this large third “outlet” to the juice outlet tube, cleaning the juice outlet in this way wouldn’t be possible.
The plug itself is made of silicone and attached to the juicing bowl with a screw. You do not need to unscrew it from the juicing bowl to clean it properly. Simply unplug it from the juice outlet and clean it along with the juicing bowl.
Another vital silicone part is the round “yellow rubber gasket” that’s seated in the center of the juicing bowl. We refer to this part as the juicing bowl sealing ring. Its purpose is to prevent juice from leaking out of the juicing bowl and onto the main body of the juicer. Much the same as is true for the spinning brush’s silicone blades, you can remove this part (the sealing ring) but it’s not necessary to do so to give the juicer a proper cleaning.
The Omega VRT350 can be assembled in well under a minute, assuming you have all parts required for assembly within arm’s reach and you don’t have to make any adjustments when fitting pieces together during the process. Should you need to make some adjustments during assembly or should you need to look for parts assembly time will obviously go up.
Another factor that affects assembly time is how experienced you are assembling this type of juicer and this specific model. We were able to assemble the VRT350 from start to finish in as little as 28 seconds, but we were able to do so because we had experience assembling this juicer type and this specific model a multitude of different times all in the same day. You will absolutely have at least a somewhat difficult time assembling any type of masticating juicer the first time you do so. The parts do not fit together intuitively and most of the time, the manual included with the juicer doesn’t explain assembly as well as it should. The same is true for the VRT350.
Markers and Guides
In order to make things easier for less experienced and even experienced users, vertical masticating juicer manufacturers label and mark the most difficult to put together parts. How good of a job any particular manufacturer does with these labels and markings is the perhaps the biggest factor in differentiating the difficulty of assembling one vertical masticating juicer compared to another. As such we will discuss how well the parts that make up the VRT350 are labeled and marked when discussing the specific steps required for assembly below.
The first step in assembling the VRT350 is fitting the juicing bowl to the main body of the juicer. You’ll have to rely on experience to know how to orient the juicing bowl when first placing it on the main body and which direction to turn it to secure it to the main body. Neither the juicing bowl nor the main body is marked with guides that will help you with this step of assembly.
The next step involves fitting the juicing strainer into the spinning brush. The manual does have a diagram showing the proper orientation of both parts and the direction to move the strainer in order to fit it into the spinning brush. However, it fails to describe how far you should push the strainer into the spinning brush – you’re expected to intuitively understand or know from experience that the strainer is only fully pushed into the spinning brush when it cannot physically be pushed any further.
Next, you’ll need to fit the combined strainer/spinning brush assembly into the juicing bowl. Thankfully, you’ll have markers and guides to help you with this step. There’s a grey plastic ring around the top of the juicing bowl. There’s a red dot on this plastic ring that must be matched with a red dot on the top edge of the strainer. If these two red dots are perfectly aligned with each other you should be able to push the strainer/spinning brush assembly into the juicing bowl and fit them perfectly together without issue.
Steps 1 (left), 2 (middle), and 3 (right) of assembly.
Next, the auger is placed into the center of the juicing bowl. The auger may need to be turned side to side to adjust it until it falls into place and is properly secured.
The next step is to fit the feeding chute assembly to the juicing bowl. On the lid of the feeding chute assembly is an indentation in the shape of an arrow. This arrow has to be matched to the same red dot on the juicing bowl we discussed in step 3. Once the arrow is matched with the red dot turn the feeding chute assembly clockwise to secure it to the juicing bowl.
An Important Note About the Steps Outlined Above
It’s important for us to note that the steps outlined above are not the steps outlined in the juicer’s manual. Instead of first fitting the juicing bowl to the main body and building from there, the manual suggests that all parts be fitted into and onto the juicing bowl first and that this entire “top set” consisting of the juicing bowl, strainer and spinning brush, auger, and feeding chute assembly be fitted together as one part onto the base as the final step to complete assembly.
The primary advantage you gain by following the manual’s directions is that you’ll be able to fit the juicing bowl to the main body much more easily. If you do so the feeding chute assembly will already be attached to the juicing bowl when it’s fitted to the main body. The back of the main body is labeled “OPEN” and “CLOSE” with a lock next to the “CLOSE” label and an unlocked lock next to the “OPEN” label. The lid of the feeding chute assembly has a tab with an arrow on it that you can line up with the “OPEN” label on the body when first placing the “top set” on the main body. You then turn the “top set” so that the tab and arrow of the feeding chute assembly lid lines up with the “CLOSE” label to secure the “top set” to the main body. This essentially negates any complaints we had regarding a lack of proper labeling for fitting the juicing bowl to the main body in step 1 of assembly summarized above.
However, we do feel strongly that assembly is much easier, overall, following our directions instead. Yes, doing things our way does require you to fit the juicing bowl to the main body of the juicer using trial and error instead of clearly marked labels and guides which makes fitting the juicing bowl to the main body more difficult than it is when doing things according to the manual’s directions. But, once you do have the juicing bowl properly secured to the main body of the juicer the rest of assembly is much easier than it is otherwise. This is because, when using our method, the juicing bowl is a firm foundation from which to build on. When using the manual’s method, it’s not. You’ll be struggling to keep parts in place as you fit them into the juicing bowl if it’s sitting loose on your kitchen countertop. This isn’t the case if you’re fitting them into the juicing bowl when it’s securely seated on the main body of the juicer. Parts fit together easily and quickly when using our method. They do not when using the manual’s method.
The VRT350 isn’t more difficult to assemble than any other vertical masticating juicer we tested. This juicer type is, however, more difficult to assemble than almost every other juicer type we tested. Only twin gear juicers are more complex and therefore more difficult to assemble than vertical masticating juicers. Both horizontal masticating juicers and centrifugal juicers are easier to assemble. The VRT350, like most other models of the same type, receives a 4 out of 5 for assembly difficulty.
Before most types of produce can be juiced by the VRT350 they need to be cut into smaller sized particularly shaped pieces that will (1) be able to fit comfortably into the juicer’s feeding chute and (2) be able to be juiced efficiently (for maximum yield). The VRT350 has a bean shaped feeding chute that is 1.5 in. wide at its widest point and 2.5 in. long at its longest point. These feeding chute dimensions are fairly standard among the vertical masticating juicers we tested (most other juicers of this type have feeding chutes with approximately the same dimensions), with two exceptions – the Kuvings B6000 and the SKG wide chute juicer. These two juicers both have a larger sized 3 in. diameter feeding chute.
In any case, feeding chute size is not the only factor that determines how and to what size any particular type of produce needs to be cut before it can be juiced. Two additional factors should also be taken into consideration. They are juicer type and produce type. Recall that we introduced this section of the review by saying that produce needs to not only be cut in order to be able to fit into the juicer’s feeding chute but it also needs to be cut for the juicer to be able to juice it efficiently. Feeding chute size obviously dictates how the produce needs to be cut in order for it to fit into the feeding chute. However, it is the other two factors we just mentioned (juicer type and produce type) that determine how the produce needs to be cut for the juicer to be able to juice it efficiently. For more information on exactly how these two factors influence food preparation requirements please see here.
Food Preparation Results
The table below shows to what size (and in what shape) each type of produce that we tested needed to be cut for juicing with the VRT350. In addition, the table shows the time (in seconds) that it took us to make these cuts specifically for the VRT350 and the average time it took us to make the same cuts for all of the juicers we tested that required the same sized cut. For example, we had to cut apples into eighths not only for the VRT350, but also for 7 other juicers that we tested. It took us exactly 45 seconds to cut 1 lb. of apples to this size for juicing with the VRT350. However, it took us an average of 46 seconds (only 1 second difference but still a difference) to make the same cut for the same quantity of apples (1 lb.) for all 8 juicers we tested that required this same size cut.
|Fruit/Veg.||Size of Cuts||Time to Cut||Avg. Time to Cut|
|Grapes||no cutting required|
|Carrots||no cutting required|
|Celery||1″ to 2″ pieces||70||66|
|Chute Size||1.5″ by 2.5″|
Food Preparation Summary
Adding up the times that it took us to cut all of the produce we used for testing, the total food preparation time for the VRT350 came to 136 seconds or 2 minutes, 16 seconds. This was the exact same time it took us to prepare produce for 4 other slow juicers that we tested – the Champion juicer, the Breville Juice Fountain Crush, the Tribest Slowstar, and the Omega VSJ843QS – and puts these 4 juicers in a 4 way tie for the second fastest food preparation time for the slow juicers we tested. The large diameter feeding chute Kuvings B6000 and SKG juicers had the lowest total times – 84 seconds each – which is almost a full minute less time than what was required for the second place juicers we just mentioned. Juicers that required more time for food preparation were the Tribest Green Star Elite, the Hurom HU-100, and all of the horizontal masticating juicers that we tested. Some of the worst performing juicers in this category required almost 5 minutes of total food preparation time.
After we cut each fruit and vegetable to size for testing it was time to actually juice and measure the maximum yield we could get out of the juicer juicing each type of produce. We tested 7 different fruits and vegetables, only 4 of which needed to be cut to size. We cut to size 1 lb. each of oranges, carrots, celery, and apples. We simply weighed 1 lb. of grapes (no cutting required). The 1 lb. of spinach we used for our spinach juicing test came pre-packaged as 1 lb. but we still weighed the spinach inside of the package to exactly 1 lb. We juiced only 4 oz. of wheatgrass. The wheatgrass was cut from flats prior to testing. Since we cut the wheatgrass the exact same way for all of the juicers we tested we did not record the time it took us to do so. Finally, we juiced 2 lb. of produce for a combination test. This combination of produce included 1 lb. of oranges and 4 oz. each of spinach, celery, carrots, and apples. We did not juice any grapes or wheatgrass for this test. All preparation for our combination test was carried out without recording the exact time or the manner in which we did so (we cut produce exactly the same as we did for individual tests). We did, however, record the time it took us to juice the 2 lb. of produce and the time it took us to juice all of the 7 fruits and vegetables we tested individually.
A Few Words About Our Testing Methodology
In order to maintain consistency and fairness in our testing (recall that we tested over 30 juicers) we needed to employ certain techniques that would allow each and every juicer to do as well as it possibly could in our tests (give maximum yields). Those techniques are described in detail here. In the same write-up we also discuss how we went about selecting which particular fruits and vegetables to use for our testing and how and why we chose to measure both out of juicer yield and the same yield after it was poured through a sieve (after sieve yield).
Juicing Performance Results
This table, found in our general buyer’s guide, shows the measured yields for the VRT350 compared to all of the other juicers we tested.
Juicing Performance Summary
The VRT350 did quite well in almost all of our tests. Especially impressive was its out of juicer yield in most tests. It ranked first in out of juicer yield for oranges (11.3 oz.) and in the top 5 for grapes (13.4 oz.), carrots (7 oz.), celery (11.9 oz.), wheatgrass (2.6 oz.), and in our combination performance test (21.3 oz) where it ranked second. Its after sieve yields garnered lower rankings in most tests, meaning the VRT350 produces a pulpier juice for most types of produce than most other slow juicers we tested. Not surprisingly, it ranks in the top 2 for pulp collected (in the sieve after pouring out of juicer yield through it to collect after sieve yield) in 5 of 7 tests (we did not pour the out of juicer yield for our 8th test – our combination test – through a sieve to measure after sieve yield). The VRT350 ranks in the top 2 for pulp collected in our orange, grape, apple, spinach, and wheatgrass tests. Thus, should you be planning on juicing any one of these particular fruits and vegetables (or similar produce) be aware that you’ll have to run the juice the juicer extracts through a sieve before drinking it, unless of course you like pulpier juice.
Other than making pulpy juice, the only real weak points for the VRT350 in our testing were its performances in our apple and spinach juicing tests. Its out of juicer yield for apples (10.5 oz.) was reasonably average when compared to the yields garnered in the same test by the other slow juicers we tested. However, its after sieve yield in the same test of only 4.1 oz. was decidedly below average in the category – it was in fact the lowest after sieve yield recorded for apples for all 14 slow juicers we tested. We therefore do not recommend this juicer if juicing apples is a priority for you. The juicer’s out of juicer yield for spinach (8.8 oz.) was also reasonably average in the category. However, its after sieve yield of only 6 oz. was, like its after sieve apple juice yield, a well below average result and compels us to not recommend this juicer for juicing leafy greens either.
All of the VRT350’s parts need to be fully disassembled before they can be cleaned with the exception of its silicone parts which do not. We found that we could sufficiently clean all silicone parts (the blades of the spinning brush, the sealing ring, etc.) while they were still assembled (the blades still attached to the spinning brush, for example). We washed each of the juicer’s parts in a sink halfway filled with warm soapy water. We placed parts in the sink in groups (not all of the parts fit in the sink at the same time) in the order of how difficult they were to clean, starting with the easiest to clean parts and ending with the most difficult to clean parts. We started off by placing the pusher, feeding chute assembly, and juice and pulp containers in the sink first. We then washed these parts with a microfiber cloth and rinsed them under running water under the faucet. The actual washing of these parts was very easy to do. There was no repeated scrubbing necessary.
Next, we placed the auger in the sink. Some pulp had accumulated on the underside of the auger that had to be removed by hand. Otherwise, we washed it and rinsed in exactly the same manner in which we washed the first four parts we discussed above. The last group of parts we cleaned (which include two of the most difficult to clean parts) were the spinning brush, juicing bowl, and strainer. The spinning brush required very little time to wash as we left its silicone blades fully assembled (in the spinning brush) to wash them. We then washed the juicing bowl. Pulp had accumulated in the juicing bowl’s pulp outlet, much the same as it had in the auger. However, instead of using our hands we used the handle of the included cleaning brush to clean out the juice outlet. We used the hard handle of the brush to push and pull pulp out of the outlet. The rest of the juicing bowl could be washed the same as all the other parts with the microfiber cloth. Finally, we washed the strainer. The strainer required us to use the brush end of the included cleaning brush to scrub it clean. The microfiber cloth would not have been sufficient for this purpose.
Cleaning Difficulty Compared To Other Juicers
The way in which we cleaned the VRT350 was the exact same way that we cleaned all of the slow juicers we tested. Most parts were first placed in the sink to soak, then cleaned with a microfiber cloth, and then rinsed under running water. All slow juicers have strainers and so all of the slow juicers we tested required that we clean their strainers with a cleaning brush. All of those same juicers include a cleaning brush for this same purpose with the purchase of the juicer. The one thing that makes vertical masticating juicers such as the VRT350 more difficult to clean than horizontal masticating juicers are their juicing bowls. The equivalent part on a horizontal juicer is called a drum and this part is very easy to clean. A juicing bowl is more difficult to clean mostly because of its pulp outlet which is normally packed with dry pulp after juicing. This dry pulp needs to be removed for cleaning and adds to the difficulty and the time it takes to clean the juicing bowl.
It took us an average of 5 minutes to clean vertical masticating juicers such as the VRT350 and a minute less on average (4 minutes) to clean horizontal masticating juicers such as the top rated Omega NC800 and J8006. Centrifugal juicers were actually slightly more difficult for us to clean. It took us an average of about 6 minutes to clean the centrifugal juicers that we tested.
The VRT350’s parts are all colored in a way that makes them more resistant to staining. The juicing bowl and juice and pulp containers are a clear plastic but with yellowish tint to prevent staining. The pusher, feeding chute assembly, and auger are all made of highly stain resistant black plastic. The strainer’s stainless steel components and yellow-orange plastic components are also highly stain resistant. The juicer’s yellow silicone parts are as well. The only stain susceptible part is the white plastic frame of the spinning brush although we did not observe any staining of this part during testing.
Dishwasher Safe Parts
The juicer’s manual clearly states that its parts are not dishwasher safe. However, this is not a negative for the VRT350 in this category as the same is true for most other (11 of the 13 other) slow juicers we tested.
Cleaning Summary and Overall Score
Cleaning the VRT350 takes just as long and is just as difficult as it is cleaning most other vertical masticating juicers we tested. And vertical masticating juicers are of average cleaning difficulty compared to horizontal masticating and centrifugal juicers. We therefore give the VRT350 a not so surprising very close to average score of 4 out of 5 for cleaning difficulty. It receives the extra half point (compared to an average score of 3.5) because of its highly stain resistant parts.
Ease of Use
Initial Learning Curve
The part of learning how to use the VRT350 that will give you the most trouble is not learning how to properly and quickly assemble it, how to actually juice with it (feed produce into it), or even how to efficiently clean it. What is sure to give anyone the most trouble learning how to use the juicer is learning how to properly prepare (cut) produce for juicing with it for maximum yield. Sure, you could simply cut produce to fit it into the juicer’s feeding chute, not taking into account juicer type or produce type and how they might affect efficiency (and yields). However, you’d be much better off actually thinking about the different characteristics of the specific type of juicer you’re using or the specific type of produce you’re juicing and how those characteristics might dictate the specific way in which you cut the same produce for juicing. Doing so will allow you to not simply juice, but juice with maximum efficiency. For more details on how juicer type and produce type influence produce preparation considerations see here.
Once you’ve become comfortable juicing and preparing produce for juicing with the VRT350, there will still be certain immutable characteristics of the juicer that will affect how difficult (or easy) it is to use on a day to day basis. Those characteristics are discussed below.
How Hard Is It to Push Produce into The Juicer?
Pushing produce into a vertical masticating juicer is fairly easy and straightforward. This is not the case with other juicer types. See here for more information.
Other Design Choices and Features that Improve or Detract from Ease of Use
Weight and Carrying Handle
The VRT350 is of average weight (about 13 lb. fully assembled while the body alone weighs about 10.5 lb.) and so it is not any more or less difficult to move in or out of storage or from one location to another on the countertop than most other slow juicers we tested. It does, however, not have a carrying handle which does make those same actions slightly more difficult than if it did.
Buttons and Controls
There is only one switch that controls the juicer and all that it does is control whether the juicer’s auger moves in the forward direction or in the reverse direction. Putting the auger in the forward direction equates to normal operation. The switch is clearly marked “ON” and “REV” and is located in such a way that it is highly accessible no matter how the juicer is orientated on the countertop.
Juicer Movement, Power Cord Length
The VRT350 is equipped with 4 small rubber feet that are attached to the body of the main body of the juicer. These rubber feet kept the juicer firmly secured and in one place on the countertop during testing.
The juicer comes with a 61 in. power cord which is par for the course as far as slow juicers are concerned. Most other slow juicers we tested have similarly long 60 to 70 in. power cords. The juicer having this long of a power cord allows you to place it further away from wall outlets in the kitchen if necessary.
Other Factors That Affect Ease of Use
A juicer’s manual is invaluable when it comes learning how to use it properly and care for it over time. The VRT350’s included manual is quite simply not as of high of a quality as those manuals included with similar juicers from most other popular brands including Tribest and Kuvings. Both the Tribest Slowstar and especially the Kuvings whole slow juicer (B6000) have much better illustrated, much better written, and much more complete and comprehensive user manuals. Lackluster manuals were a common theme we saw with all of the Omega juicers we tested. The NC800, VSJ843, and especially the J8006 all have similarly disappointingly plain and overly simplistic manuals that don’t go into nearly as much detail regarding the different parts of proper use and care of the juicer as we would like. The VRT350, unfortunately, followed with this theme.
Parts and Their Properties
Three parts and their properties make any vertical masticating juicer easier or more difficult to use. The first is the juicer’s juicing bowl. If the juicing bowl’s juice outlet comes with a cap the juicer is easier to use. Notably absent from the VRT350’s parts list at the beginning of this review is a juice cap. Most vertical masticating juicers you’ll see on the market today do come equipped with a juice cap and with good reason. A juice cap not only allows you to mix juice within the juicing bowl while you’re juicing, but it also makes cleaning the juicer easier and it makes juicing a large quantity of produce all at the same time easier. Let’s talk about these three ways you can use a vertical masticating juicer’s juice cap in more detail, as it’s only reasonable for you to know what you’ll be missing out on if you purchase the VRT350 instead of any other top rated vertical masticating juicer that does come equipped with this small but very important part.
1. Mixing juice in the juice bowl while juicing
When juicing a variety of different fruits and vegetables you’ll find that the extracted juice doesn’t mix together very well as it fills up the juice container. You’ll have to mix it with a spoon after you finish juicing. Such is the case when juicing a variety of produce with the VRT350.
When juicing with a vertical masticating juicer equipped with a juice cap you can mix the juice inside the juicing bowl while you’re juicing. Simply close up the juice cap and juice will start accumulating in the juice bowl. The spinning brush’s rotation is the mechanism by which the juice is mixed. This is a small perk but notable nonetheless.
2. Cleaning is made easier
We recommend that you pre-wash a vertical masticating juicer by pouring water into the feed chute with the juicer fully assembled and running. The water will travel the same path as juice does within the juice bowl. This goes a long way in making it easier to wash these parts in the sink later on.
When pre-washing with a juicer equipped with a juice cap, you can close the cap and allow water to accumulate within the juice bowl, just the same as juice can accumulate in the bowl by closing the cap when juicing. This allows for a much better pre-wash than you would get otherwise.
3. Juicing a large quantity of produce is made easier
The VRT350 comes with a 32 oz. juice container. The juice container is placed underneath the juice spout and collects juice. When juicing with the VRT350 you will be able to juice continuously only for as long as the juice container’s capacity allows. Once it reaches capacity you will have to turn off the juicer, remove the juice container, empty it into a larger container or drinking glasses, and place it back underneath the juicer, and only then resume juicing. And even though you stopped juicing to empty and replace the juice container, chances are that juice would have leaked out of the juice spout and onto your countertop.
This scenario plays out much differently with a juicer equipped with a juice cap. On such a juicer you simply close the cap when the juice container reaches capacity. You can then quickly remove the container, empty it, and place it back underneath the juicer. You then simply open the cap and continue juicing. You never have to turn off the juicer to empty the juice container. You also don’t have to clean up any mess on your countertop. A juice cap is a small part that makes a big difference.
The two other parts that make any juicer more or less difficult to use are its juice container and pulp container. If both or either is larger than average the juicer will be easier to use. If both or either is smaller than average the juicer will be more difficult to use. This is because, the larger these containers are, the less often they’ll need to be emptied and replaced when juicing large quantities of produce. Imagine juicing several pounds of fruits and vegetables making much more juice than what an average juice container can hold. The larger the size of that container, the less often you’ll need to stop juicing and empty and replace the container. The VRT350 comes with a 33 oz. juice container and a 50 oz. pulp container. The average volume for these containers is 33 oz. for juice containers and 42 oz. for pulp containers for the 14 slow juicers we tested. Thus, the VRT350’s juice container has an average volume while its pulp container has a well above average volume.
Ease of Use Summary and Score
The VRT350 loses major points in this category due to the fact that it does not come with a juice cap. Though it’s a small part a juice cap it’s a very important part and, as we discussed in detail above, it can make a very big difference in terms of how easy it is to use a vertical masticating juicer. It is primarily for this reason that we give the VRT350 a slightly lower score for ease of use than most other vertical masticating juicers we tested. It earns only a 3.5 out of 5 in the category.
The VRT350 is incapable of performing any other function other than juicing. It does not include and neither can you buy separately the blank strainers used for homogenizing that are included with some of the other vertical masticating juicers we tested. Its lack of versatility earns the Omega a 3 out of 5 in the category.
Build Quality, Materials, and Consumer Feedback
The VRT350 has received 1000s of reviews from consumers online, most of which are glowingly positive. Most users report the juicer being durable, reliable, and performing very well for them even after several years of use. Our own observations and experience with using this juicer during testing lead us to believe no different. We have every bit of confidence that the VRT350 is sufficiently durable to last well past the duration of its included warranty. And we believe that it will be able to perform just as well as it did during our testing for the duration of its life.
Brand Reputation and Quality of Support
The VRT350 ‘s first iteration, the VRT330 was only the second vertical masticating juicer released in the United States. The VRT330 was released in 2009 a few months after the first such juicer was released, the Hurom HU-100. The VRT330 was met with a lukewarm response due to the fact that many users reported its screen forming cracks after repeated use. Users loved the vertical design and the benefits that it brought with it. However, the questionable durability of this one part in particular made the VRT330 a bit of a failure after launch. Omega was quick to correct these issues implementing a brand new stronger screen and a more durable auger with the release of the VRT330’s successor, the VRT350HD. The “HD” was added to the model number to reinforce the fact that this new model had a newer stronger and more Heavy Duty screen.
As we already discussed earlier, the VRT350, in contrast to the original VRT330 is highly durable and reliable enough to be very well rated by consumers, even after several years of use. As such, it has been much more popular than the VRT330 ever was. In response to its popularity Omega has released the VRT350 in a few more additional colors including white (VRT350W) and chrome (VRT380HDC).
We discuss the variety of ways in which Omega can be contacted and the quality of their support in our reviews of other Omega juicers, namely the NC800 and the J8006. In this review we will simply say that they provide multiple means of contact including a toll free number and email and that the quality of their support is very good, at least according to those consumer reviews we surveyed when doing research on all of the Omega juicers we tested for review.
The VRT350 comes with a 10-year warranty. This is the exact duration of warranties included with most other vertical masticating juicers we tested including the Kuvings whole slow juicer and Tribest Slowstar. Note that the newer Omega VSJ843 does come with a much longer 15-year warranty. The exact terms of the VRT350’s included warranty are unknown. Neither the included product registration card, nor the user manual lists the warranty’s terms or any exclusions to the warranty although most consumer reviews do appear to indicate that all of the juicer’s parts are covered.
Summary and Score
The VRT350 has been on the market for several years now. As such, consumers have had several years to leave negative reviews regarding the juicer’s reliability should it have broken down during that time. This simply hasn’t happened, much. Yes, there are a few reports of the juicer breaking after extended use but these reports are few and far between. And when this does occur most users report Omega honoring the included 10-year warranty without issue. We give the VRT350 a very strong 4.5 out of 5 for durability.
The VRT350 did not come with any bonus accessories when we purchased it. Only those parts necessary for juicing were included.
The VRT350 normally retails for anywhere between $300 and $400 new although it can sometimes be found online factory refurbished for much less. The factory refurbished price is normally closer to $200. At this price point the VRT350 presents the unique opportunity to own a vertical masticating juicer for under $300 – something that most other vertical masticating juicers on the market accomplish very rarely.
Long Term Cost
In addition to the price you’ll need to pay for the juicer itself, you’ll also need to pay for the produce you plan on juicing with it. The cost of the produce you buy for juicing can vary depending on the efficiency of the juicer. We talk in detail about this relationship between juicer efficiency and the cost of produce here.
The VRT350 comes without the bells and whistles of many other vertical masticating juicers on the market. It doesn’t come with an extra housing for homogenizing (such as the Tribest Slowstar) or even an extra blank screen (such as the Kuvings whole slow juicer and SKG wide mouth juicer). It also doesn’t come with a sieve, a tofu frame, or even a recipe book – some of the bonus accessories included with the Hurom HU-100SB, Kuvings, and SKG. However, what it does provide is the ease of use of vertical masticating juicing at a reasonably high level of performance and at a possibly well below average price point. We give it a 4 out of 5 for value.