Bar Juicers: Barware Basics

Bar Juicers

If you’re like most home bartenders, you’ll encounter the need for fresh fruit juice sooner or later. An Ad-lib for a quick squirt of lemon juice is fine, but when it comes time for juice-heavy recipes like the Mai Tai or Margarita, you’ll want to step up to a bar juicer. Not only will it make bartending for guests easier but you’ll look like you know what you’re doing 😉

What is a Juicer?

A juicer extracts juice from fruit. Although simple in concept, juicers come in many different shapes and sizes which all can vary based on the intended use. For making cocktails, manual juicers are most frequently used to juice citrus fruits (lemons, limes, oranges) while electric juicers are most frequently used for more commercial and personal health applications. Needless to say, we’ll focus on manual juicers for this review.

Juicers for the Home Bar

There are many different types of bar juicers and some are definitely a better choice than others. Of course selecting the “right” one will depend on what’s important to you; budget, ease of use, cleanup and storage for each appliance can vary. Therefore it’s a good idea to consider how you’ll be using a juicer. For example, are you looking for a basic handheld manual juicer for the occasional cocktail or will you be making lots of citrus-heavy drinks? Whatever your needs, it’s wise to give it some advance thought.

From down & dirty to advanced, there are several different types of bar juicers, so consider each of these when it’s time to select the right tool for your home bar:

Kitchen Tongs

Believe it or not, you may already have a bar juicer, since most kitchens are equipped with a pair cooking Tongs. Simple yet effective, a pair of Tongs can be used to juice a lemon or lime with minimal effort. While workable when preparing a drink at home, this is kinda ghetto and may not offer the best impression when serving guests.
Kitchen Tongs

Citrus Reamer

A Citrus Reamer is one of the simplest tools available to juice lemons, limes and oranges. Essentially it uses a three-dimensional, star-shaped blade to crush the fruit and extract the juice (aka reem, hence the name). Citrus Reamers are available in two configurations:

Handheld – The Handheld Citrus Reamer is one where the blade is mounted to a rounded handle. Crafted from metal, wood or plastic, this tool is used to ream the fruit while collecting the juice into a separate bowl. For beginners, the shorter handled version is recommended. It gets the job done and stores easily. Our biggest criticism is that it can get pretty messy.
Citrus Reamer

Countertop – The Countertop Citrus Reamer is a tabletop version with an integrated collection bowl. Typically made from tempered glass or plastic, this juicer often produces juice with less pulp but requires a bit more cleanup and requires more storage space. We’ve used this one and for us the only real downside was the amount space it takes up.

Glass Citrus Juicer

Lemon Squeezer

A lemon squeezer is a popular type of juicer found in many kitchens and bars. Known by many other names like hand squeezer, citrus squeezer and Mexican juicer, this device uses a levered construction with a hinged bowl with handles to more easily extract the juice. These are relatively compact, not to mention easy to use and clean.

Seems pretty simple, huh? I did too until I tried to buy one… I never realized how many different types of lemon squeezers there are. While I’m sure that this style is the one for me, I still haven’t found one that works really well. So a downside is finding the right one. UPDATE: I did purchase this one and it works really well. Easy to operate, clean & store. I recommend it.

Lemon Squeezer

Manual Press Juicer (Countertop)

Admittedly the Manual Press Juicer may be a step beyond the basics for most home bartenders, but it deserves a mention. A countertop device that uses a lever to crush fruit and extract the juice, it’ll buzz through a bag of citrus fruit in no time. Also known as a manual juice press, this could be a good option if you have the space, budget and appetite for plenty of juice-based drinks.
Countertop Juicer

Bar Juicer Comparison

Needless to say there’s a juice available to fit almost every need, so we can’t say that there’s one “right” juice, so we created this bar juicer comparison chart to make it easy for you to understand the strengths and weaknesses of each manual juicer type that we covered:

TypeCostEase of UseCleanupStorage
Kitchen Tongs$0 - $15PoorGoodGood
Handheld Citrus Reamer$0 - $10FairGoodGood
Countertop Citrus Reamer$10 - $20FairFairFair
Lemon Squeezer$5 - $20GoodGoodGood
Citrus Press (Manual)+ $50GoodPoorPoor

From our perspective, the best juicers for home bartender are the simplest and easiest to operate. The Lemon Squeezer and Citrus Reamer are standouts; however we need to give the nod to the Lemon Squeezer since it can be quickly used while creating minimal mess.


Sooner or later you’re going to need some fresh juice so a bar juicer should be in your future. Sure you can get by with a manual squeeze or even the kitchen tong method, but with affordable manual juicers easily available there’s no need to look like a bartending rookie when creating drinks for your friends..