Norwalk Juicer Review: The New 280 Model

by William Polowniak, Ph.D. at Whole Health Foundation 760-753-0321

1760 Lake Drive, Cardiff CA 92007 developtrust@cox.net


The Norwalk juicer Company has made some remarkable improvements over the past 80 years to design a huge floor model into the current sleek counter top model. Today the Norwalk juicer is by far the best juicer available anywhere and it is assembled in American made with quality parts.


The fact is that the Norwalk juicer makes over 50% more juice from produce and better quality with more nutrients than any other juicer on the planet. 


The increased juice yield is a scientifically proven fact as shown in the Bailey report. The superior quality of the hydraulic cold pressed juice is one reason many cancer clinics around the world use this juicer in their therapy.


The Norwalk juicer is affordable for every health conscious person since the savings from produce costs alone will pay for the juicer in under 2 years if one makes juice every week.
Anyone who drinks 4 glasses of juice per day will save over $1000 per year in produce costs, for the rest of their lives!


There are six main changes from the 275 to the 280 Norwalk juicer:

  1. New deeper sloped juice tray
     280 tray 400w 270 trat 400w
  2. Teflon O-ring to prevent juice seepage
    o ring 400w 270 no O ring
  3. Enlarged cutter diameter for higher cutting speed (see photo below)
  4. The new manual
  5. The press plate guide post
  6. The press area space sacrificed to accommodate the higher tray.


The New 280 Tray:


I've been testing the new 280 juice tray both to see what I think of the new deeper tray with a sloped side draining and I find new 280 tray has both good and bad features

  • The good, the slope is really nice for evacuating the juice.
  • The bad-- the new deeper tray is poorly balanced and front-heavy. The weight added by the higher and deeper pan sometimes caused the tray to fall forward.
  • Even more bad design problems-- The deeper sloped sides are much more difficult to keep clean. If cleaning that area is neglected it is VERY difficult to clean later. I personally prefer the original tray when making my own juice.

At first I really liked the new tray but in using it I found the weight added by the front and higher and deeper tray sometimes caused the tray to fall forward and into the juice collection container.  After juicing with it for some time I decided I preferred the original lighter, more nimble and more balanced tray because it does not fall forward during juicing and it is easier to handle. Normal pitch (slope) in pluming for best water flow is 1/4 inch for every foot of length. That is 1/8 inch for a 6 inch tray length. For the new tray to slope a full 1/4 inch for only 6 inches is excessive and unnecessary in my opinion making the sloped sides more difficult to clean. Yes, with practice the potential for the 280 tray to fall forward can be avoided and extra attention to cleaning the deeper side slope can help keep the tray clean. While the new tray is not a serious design flaw it is inconvenient, frustrating and can be wasted time making juice and cleaning the tray. The original juice tray is superior in my opinion as a 40 year veteran of making juice with a Norwalk juicer.

tray  Sloped sides are difficult to keep clean. 280 tray cleaning


The new 280 Tray on Older Juicers:


The new 280 tray with deeper sloping sides is much more difficult to keep clean. For me this is a big disadvantage adding more time to the clean up process. For better or worse Norwalk designed the 280 tray so it is not compatible with older models. The deeper tray will crash into the upper press plate on older models due to the new higher sidewalls and thicker upper press plate.  Personally, I am a fan of compatibility with older models but Norwalk designers must see the deeper tray as a step forward and worth losing compatibility with older model machines.  Had I been the designer I would have added only 1/8 inch slope but not the extra height to the old tray, kept compatibility with older models and called it good. Perhaps the Norwalk Company needs to give old customers a reason to upgrade to a 280 since Norwalk juicers are so well made and seem to last forever. Finally, the higher tray and the larger upper plate loses 1/4 inch from the available hydraulic area where we insert the juicing cloths for pressing. When using only one cloth this does not present a problem, HOWEVER using two cloths full of pulp enables the juicer to have greater pressure to yield more juice with less work. For me, a more than 40 year long time user of the Norwalk juicer the loss of 1/4 inch press area space is a significant loss and makes stuffing two cloths full of pulp into that space more difficult. Of course one can put less pulp into each cloth to enable easier placement of cloths full of pulp into that area-- but this makes the whole process take more time. Add the increased difficulty to keep the narrow sloped sides of the tray clean I see the new 280 sloped tray as a distinct disadvantage in spite of the apparent theory that this design is better.
 

More 280 tray testing on older models:


I did put the 280 tray on a 270 model and found it was possible to use the new tray without crashing into the upper press plate as long as I had at least one full cloth of pulp. When pressing all the water out of my cloths before freezing them I found I needed 4-6 cloths in the press to prevent crashing the tray with the new tray on an old machine.  I use 6 cloths when making juices so this was not an issue for me. If you press water out of less than 4 cloths the new 280 tray will top out and damage the juicer tray and the upper press plate on older models. Using one cloth to make a single serving of juice and pressing water out with one cloth will not work using a 280 tray on older model juicers. My advice to owners of older models who may be tempted to try and order the 280 tray is to not do it even if the Norwalk company would sell a 280 tray-- and they won't-- just try to order one. I personally prefer the standard 270 series tray and find that it has some important advantages-- for example it is lighter and more nimble-- for me, much easier to use with 1/4 inch more working space in the press area for placing cloths full of pulp there. Pressing two cloths full of pulp at one time give us more hydraulic pressure and for me the 1/4 inch extra space is an advantage. Also the shorter sides of the tray allows better line of sight when looking at the press operation.


More 280 problems: Press area loss of 1/4" press height.

Less space = more difficulty and more time juicing
press
                                      area

T
he 280 model has sacrificed 1/4 inch of press area to accommodate the higher tray and thicker upper press plate. Fitting two cloths of pulp in the 280 press area is now much more difficult. Using two cloths full of pulp in other models gives the user more pressure to extract more juice and more nutrients in less time. For me, I do not want to spend more time juicing. I want to spend less time. In my opinion this is the most serious limitation to the new 280 model design change. The extra space in the 275 and lower models is also a big advantage.
Click video below to show the press area limitation demonstrated
press area video


I still own a 280 model tray and I never use it because the original juicing tray is more convenient.


Click the photo below to see a video showing the tray being used on a 275 model juicer.


280 tray on older models 219h


The escutcheon plate Teflon O-ring:


Norwalk 280 designers added the O-ring on the feed tube escutcheon plate to prevent juice from leaking out between the feed housing and the escutcheon backplate.  Most Norwalk juicers do not leak unless a wing nut is loose. I was skeptical when I read about this "improvement" and my worst fears have been exceeded now that I have had a chance to make juice with a 280 model for a while.


There are three issues with the O-ring:
1.

o ring play


1. The O ring is a breeding ground for bacteria.  Click the photo to see the O ring condition after juicing showing no leaking without the O ring.

Juice debris gets lodged under the O ring that is impossible to clean without removing the O ring (difficult to do.)


 
2.
o ring
                                          play

 2. It is significantly harder to install and remove the feed tube housing.
Click the photo to see a video showing how installing the feed tube is difficult with the O ring. I am an experienced user from making juice on a Norwalk for over 40 years and I found the feed tube installation difficult with the O ring awkward, extremely difficult to get on and off and very time consuming AND annoying.


3. For older people with reduced hand strength it will be difficult to tighten the wing-nuts and I found it very difficult to fully clean even the outside of the O-ring.  But more importantly when I removed the O-ring (no easy task) I found additional juice residue and debris under the O ring.  My concern is that this residue is a potential breeding ground for bacteria.  My recommendation would be to hold off on buying a 280 model and wait and see if the Norwalk Company will address this potentially serious health issue or provide the option of a feed tube backplate without the escutcheon O ring and O ring groove. One could just remove the existing O ring but then the groove will still be a place for debris to collect.

The New Larger Diameter Cutter


The idea here is that a larger diameter cutter will have a higher rotational speed and so cut better and faster.  Personally, I was unable to measure any actual increase in size between the cutter from a 275 and the new 280 cutter but I was able to measure an increase of 1/16 in the cutter bore on the feed housing.  If the cutter increased by this same amount from an approx diameter from 2-1/4 to 2-5/16 then the cutting speed would have increased by 1%.  Im really not sure why Norwalk made this change as once again the older feed tube is now not compatible with the new 280 model. I did find the 280 cutter to work well with the 270 feed tube housing. I also found the 280 cutter DID work in a 270 model machine. To me the cutter size seems to be identical and insignificant. Only the cutter bore on the 280 model feed tube and the 280 backplate escutcheon ring are larger. A 270 or 275 series feed tube will NOT fit on a 280 machine.



280 and
                                  270 cutter


The new 280 model manual
The new manual has significantly smaller print and is much more difficult to read. What were they thinking?


My eye sight is good but I almost need a magnifying glass to read the small print. I find small print very annoying. I have to wonder how many copies of this very unsatisfactory manual they printed. I wonder if the Norwalk Company even knows that this smaller print makes it more difficult for older people to read it. For me reading small print is just more stress in my life. Fortunately I seldom consult the manual and I still have a model 275 manual that has larger print. This is just another example of a lack of thought that went into what is promoted as an "improved 280 model."



The 280 model 1/4" press plate guide post

280 guide pin
This improvement I like. The new press plate guide post is larger and seems more sturdy but it is made of aluminum. Aluminum? The 1/4" larger post does seem to be more stable with less side to side motion but why the more brittle aluminum material? If it were me I would make the guide post out of regular steel or even stainless steel for greater strength since this post gets constant side to side action as the press goes up and down. Only time will reveal if aluminum is the correct choice of material. That all said I like the larger guide post. It's a tight fit in the original grommet but this helps keep the press plate more aligned. I do now add this improvement to all my improved juicers.



Drive belt issue- Special Note: The late model 270, the 275 an the 280 models have a clear drive belt.

drive belts 280-270
Call for prices 760-753-0321
In my experience the clear drive belt was a BIG mistake. I have never seen the older style V belt stretch like the clear late model belt. Photo shows my meaning. This clear belt has created problems for juicer owners especially those who are using the Norwalk juicer in a commercial business. This clear belt when stretched is contributing to lower hydraulic pressure in juicers with the clear belt. In my opinion it would be a good move for the Norwalk Company to go back to the V belt and to offer a retrofit set of pulleys to replace the pulleys with the round groove. For that reason I see the 270 model as superior especially when improved by Whole Health Foundation. I have decided to provide the V belt pulley retrofit kit. Call for the cost including a new V drive belt.  Watch here http://youtu.be/8xdWZl5Nk6o


In Summary:
Other problems exist with the 280 model that will make this review longer. Please call me for this information. Call William at 760-753-0321 or email to developtrust@cox.net.


I bought a used 280 model just to make these tests and as much as I wanted the 280 to be the latest and greatest Norwalk ever, I just cannot give it that ringing endorsement.  Most importantly, I am very concerned about the health issues posed by the new O-ring.  Also, the Norwalk Company has made a significant model break and the 280 is not compatible with any older models.  Personally I am a believer in compatibility with all models so consumers can swap parts and upgrade older machines as needed as well as pick and choose for themselves. 
 

Based on the above, I recommend waiting, before buying a new 280 model.  I believe the potential health issues with the new O-ring and the out-of-balance tray outweigh the benefits they provide. If you are a potential Norwalk juicer buyer I recommend you invest in a 265 or 270 or 275 model with the nicely balanced standard juice tray and the easy to install feed tube.


I really do not like the new cumbersome and out of balance juice tray. It is heavier and a tad more awkward to handle. I plan to continue using my 275 model with the standard juice tray. I will sell the 280 model with my advice to remove the O ring. I hope 280 owners and new buyers can convince the Norwalk Company to provide a 280 model feed tube backplate without the O ring and O ring groove. To date no one has been able to convince them to do so. Personally I will NOT invest in a 280 model for myself nor recommend it to anyone.


My advice is to wait and see how the market responds to the new juicer and if the Norwalk Company will remove the O-ring and re-balance the tray. In the meantime there are plenty of older models out there and they make the exact same juice and have good resale value. 


THE IDEAL SOLUTION


An ideal solution would be to provide the original juice tray with sloping sides but no extra height, keep the larger guide pin at the back of the press plate
, and eliminate the unsanitary O ring at the back of the escutcheon ring behind the feed tube, and go back to the superior V drive belt. The V belt is constructed like a car fan belt with nylon imbedded in the rubber and costs more to make but does a superior job.

The FORD motor company at one time built a car called the Edsel. This proved to be a bad design and they abandoned that model. My suggestion to the Norwalk company is to abandon the 280 model and improve the 275 model to have the original feed tube size and cutter, slope the original tray and return the 1/4 inch lost space in the press area and keep the larger press plate guide pin. Now that improved model I would buy. I will not buy the 280 model nor recommend it.