How to Use a Bladder Press

The Bladder Press was designed to improve the traditional wooden-basket ratchet-style press and has quickly become the preferred method for juice extraction. A rubber bladder expands from the stem outward using water pressure—pressing the fruit against the sides of the cage. This style of pressing is much more subtle and softer on the fruit, not allowing bitter tannins from seeds and skins to be extracted from the cracked seeds. This is also a more efficient method of pressing, cutting the cycle down to less than half the time a ratchet-style press would take. It’s also much faster improving the load/squeeze/clean cycle to around 20 minutes from the 1-2 hours required for a traditional press. Water is recommended to inflate the press rather than air; no more than 30 p.s.i. is needed for most fruits. The standard models have a stainless cage with painted lid and basin (color may vary). Connect to your garden hose faucet and squeeze out the juice. Once you try it you’ll never return to a traditional basket press.


  1. Remove lid from unit.
  2. Make sure press is free from debris, but it does not have to be sanitized. You will be using metabisulfite later to take care of any bacteria.
  3. Use the green, fine mesh sleeve on the inside of the basket of the press. This will help keep the fruit in place and prevent fruit from squeezing through the holes while in use. Try to get the mesh sleeve as close to the stainless steel basket as possible.
  4. Insert your fruit. Grapes and soft fruits will be fine without the need of breaking the outer skin. Hard fruits, like apples, will need to be ground up before pressing.
  5. Replace top and screw the lid tight.
  6. Place the plastic bag upside-down on the outside of the unit, covering the lid and basket of the press. This will help prevent you from wearing the juice during the pressing.
  7. Place a bucket or something under the reservoir spout to collect the juice.
  8. Attach hose to the brass barb. You might want to use a hose clamp to insure a secure fit.
  9. There is an air relief screw located on the post where you thread the locking crank that attaches the lid to the press. You want to use a screwdriver and open the air relief valve to allow the air out.
  10. Slowly turn the water on. You need a minimum 30 p.s.i. of home pressure to work the bladder on the press. Using air is not recommended as it can damage the bladder.
  11. When the bladder starts to fill and water starts to come out of the air relief screw, tighten down the screw to allow the bladder to fill with water properly.
  12. Be careful to watch the pressure gage on the press to make sure you don’t have more then 10 p.s.i. in the bladder at one time. Too much pressure can cause the bladder to rupture.
  13. If the pressure builds up too much while filling the bladder, the pressure relief valve will open automatically. Adjust your hose pressure so the pressure relief valve does not keep opening.
  14. Slowly let the bladder fill until the juice stops flowing out of the reservoir.
  15. When you have no more juice coming out, turn your water off and release the water from the bladder.
  16. Remove all fruit from the press.
  17. Wash all components with water, and remove all debris from unit.
  18. Rinse all mesh bags with water.
  19. Store until next use. There is no reason to use any sanitizers on the unit. Pressing is a messy business. You want to use the press in an area that can be easily cleaned with water. Do not wear nice clothes as they will not look nice when you are done. Have fun, take your time, and enjoy the experience.


Check out our video How to Use a Bladder Press.