Grinding fresh beans for my morning coffee is my favorite part of my daily routine. When you switch from buying pre-ground coffee to grinding whole coffee beans at home, you’ll get fresher, better-tasting coffee in your cup.
You’ll need to buy a good coffee grinder to grind coffee at home. Especially with espresso, your coffee grinder is one of the most essential tools in your home coffee bar.
You’ve likely come across the Baratza Sette and the Breville Smart Grinder Pro in your search for a home grinder. Both of these grinders are great entry-level options that are user-friendly and at an affordable price point.
Let’s take a closer look at each of these grinders and compare their key features. We’ll help you decide which one is right for your home coffee setup.
Baratza Sette Overview
If you are a true coffee enthusiast, you’ve likely come across the Baratza brand. Founded in 1999 and now owned by the Breville Group, Baratza is known for innovative, high-quality, user-friendly coffee grinders, such as the Vario, the Forte, and the Estatto. Many of their grinders feature weight-based grinding and easy-to-use macro/micro-adjustments.
Based in Washington, Baratza delivers great products and excellent customer service. Buying a Baratza grinder will give you access to their customer support team and an extensive catalog of accessories and parts to keep your grinder performing for years to come.
The Baratza Sette 270 is Baratza’s newest and most revolutionary conical burr grinder. It’s equipped with 40-millimeter conical steel burrs with a unique design. Unlike most burr grinders, the Sette outer burr rotates around the inner conical burr, allowing for high-speed grinding and almost zero grind retention.
Grind size on the Sette 270 is controlled by 31 stepped macro adjustments and a step-less micro adjustment ring. It is named “Sette” or seven in Italian because of its unique shape – look at it from the side to see what we mean.
For those looking for a more budget-friendly option, Baratza also makes the Sette 30 – a cheaper version of the Sette 270. It has the same burrs, housing, and internals as the Sette 270 but lacks the stepless micro adjustment ring, timer presets, and metal adjustable portafilter arms.
If you don’t like the high price tag of the Sette 270, the Sette 30 is nearly as good, offering the same grind quality at a lower cost. It’s an excellent espresso grinder at a price point only slightly higher than the Breville Smart Grinder Pro.
For a more detailed feature breakdown, check out our article comparing the Sette 270 and Sette 30.
Sette Quick Specs
- Dimensions: 13 x 40 x 24 centimeters
- Burrs: 40-millimeter conical steel burrs
- Grind Settings: 31 Macro and Stepless Micro Adjustment
- Bean Hopper Capacity: 10 ounces
Breville Smart Grinder Overview
Breville is a household name for kitchen appliances. In the coffee world, they are known for making affordable grinders and espresso machines. Breville grinders and espresso machines are often much cheaper than their competition. They offer decent build quality and a stainless steel finish that will look great in your kitchen.
Breville Smart Grinder Pro
The smart grinder pro is an all-purpose coffee grinder. Like the Sette, the Smart Grinder Pro has a 40-millimeter steel conical burr grinder. With 60 grind settings ranging from coarse french press grinds to fine espresso grinds, it is a grinder meant for those that enjoy all types of coffee.
The Breville Smart Grinder Pro has an easy-to-use LCD interface for adjusting grind size and dosing time. Breville’s “Dosing IQ Technology” allows you to adjust your grind time by 0.2-second increments. It’s a good grinder for your home coffee bar if you are on a tight budget.
Breville Smart Grinder Pro Quick Specs
- Dimensions: 21.5 x 16 x 38.9 centimeters
- Burrs: 40-millimeter conical steel burrs
- Grind Settings: 60 stepped grind adjustments
- Bean Hopper Capacity: 18 ounces
Now that we’ve covered the basic features of each grinder, we’ll walk through what makes these grinders the same and what sets them apart. Finally, we’ll help you decide which grinder is right for you.
Burr Materials and Shape
Both the Sette and the Smart Grinder Pro have 40-millimeter conical steel burrs. Conical burrs produce a bimodal grind that gives a more complex flavor to your coffee grounds than the more uniform particles created by flat burr grinders.
Compared to ceramic burrs, the steel burrs in these grinders are highly durable. Ceramic burrs are prone to cracking or chipping, but steel burrs will stay sharp and in one piece over long periods of use.
The downside of steel burrs is that they heat up while grinding, potentially transferring some heat to your coffee grinds. This shouldn’t be a huge concern for home grinders making one or two cups of coffee, but if you are making larger batches, you’ll notice this difference.
You won’t want your home grinder to take up all your counter space – you need more room for the rest of your espresso bar. Luckily both of these grinders have a compact design. They are short enough to fit under your kitchen cabinets and have a small footprint.
Grinding directly into your portafilter makes your workflow easier – it frees you up to multitask. Luckily both of these grinders offer options for portafilter holding.
The Sette 270 has fully adjustable portafilter arms compatible with 54- and 58-millimeter portafilter holders. The Sette 30 portafilter arms are plastic and non-adjustable, but they work well with a standard 58-millimeter portafilter.
The Smart Grinder Pro has removable portafilter cradles; one for 50 – 54 mm portafilters and another for 58-millimeter portafilters. They are easy to swap out and allow for hands-free grinding.
If you’re grinding for pour-over or drip coffee, you’ll need to grind a lot more beans. Both of these grinders have options for grinding into a container.
The Sette offers an anti-static grinds bin with a 160-gram capacity – more than you’ll ever need at home. The Smart Grinder Pro has a nice airtight container that you can grind into by removing the portafilter cradles. It’s a nice feature if you want to store your extra grinds, but not at all essential. You’re buying a coffee grinder because you want fresh ground coffee, not to store grounds for later.
Both of these grinders have timed dosing. The Sette has slightly more precise grinding times and can be adjusted in 0.01-second increments. The Smart Grinder Pro is less precise and adjusted in 0.2-second steps.
The Sette 270 comes with three programmable presets, and the Smart Grinder Pro comes with two. Saving different grind times is convenient when switching between recipes – you could save one for single shots, one for double shots, one for drip, etc. Unfortunately, the Sette 30 doesn’t have programmable presets.
Grind adjustment is one of the key differences between these grinders. If you want to make great espresso at home, the range of grind settings available is crucial to dial in your recipe.
The Sette offers a much more precise grind adjustment than the Smart Grinder Pro. The Sette is specifically made for espresso, so each stepped adjustment is more precise. Additionally, the micro grind adjustment ring on the Sette 270 gives you practically infinite grind settings for the most control. It is the better grinder for espresso.
The Breville Smart Grinder Pro grinds over a much larger range. It grinds coarse grinds for french press coffee or drip and fine grinds for espresso. The grind quality at espresso fine is not as uniform as the Sette or other higher-end grinders, and there is some clumping. It’s a good grinder if you’re making many different types of coffee and gets the job done for espresso.
The Bean hopper is where you can store your coffee beans so that your grinder will always be ready to go. The Smart Grinder Pro has a larger hopper than the Sette. Not only that, but the Breville Bean hopper has an airtight gasket that will keep your beans fresh for longer.
A larger bean hopper will save some time – if you’re making a lot of coffee, you won’t have to keep refilling it.
One of the main issues with cheaper entry-level grinders is that they are very loud. Both of these grinders are noisy and will likely wake up your housemates.
The Sette is by no means a quiet grinder, but it is less loud than the Smart Grinder Pro. The Sette features a belt-driven, low RPM DC motor that helps reduce the noise level.
Many shopping for their first espresso setup will be surprised when they discover that an automatic coffee grinder can cost almost as much as their coffee maker.
The Breville Smart Grinder is the most budget-friendly of the two coffee bean grinders. If you are willing to forgo some of the more premium build features on the Sette 270, the Sette 30 is much closer in price to the Breville.
Which One is Right for You?
The Sette 270 is an excellent coffee grinder to pair with a home espresso machine. It offers the most grind adjustment, more precise timed dosing, and superior grind quality to the Smart Grinder Pro. If you’re chasing the perfect shot of espresso, the Sette 270 will give you the most control when dialing in your recipe.
If you are on a tighter budget but still mainly brewing espresso, the Sette 30 would be your best bet. While it lacks the presets and micro adjustment that the 270 has, it has the same internals, the same burrs, and the same grind quality. Baratza offers the micro adjustment ring as an accessory, so you can add this down the line once you’ve saved up some cash and have more experience with your machine.
The Breville Smart Grinder Pro is an excellent option if you are on a tight budget and need an all-in-one coffee grinder. It grinds batches of coffee grounds coarse enough for the French press and fine enough for espresso. Although it does produce inconsistent and clumpy grinds, it will get you started making espresso at home at a very low cost.