If you’re reading this, you already know that freshly-ground coffee beans are key to enjoying a rich, flavorful cup of coffee.
You also probably know that you need a good burr grinder to give you a consistent and uniform grind and get the best flavor out of your beans.
Breville offers two very popular home espresso grinders that can give you a consistent grind and a lot of adjustability at a reasonable price.
The Smart Grinder Pro and Dose Control Pro use burrs to do the job. But around the burrs are two different machines with different features and materials. The Smart Grinder Pro offers more control over the grind and more durability but comes at a slightly higher price.
Read on for our comparison of the Breville Dose Control Pro vs Smart Grinder Pro.
Breville Coffee Grinders
Breville started as a radio manufacturer in Melbourne, Australia, in 1932. For a while, they produced mainly radios, TVs, and the occasional mine detector for military use.
Then, in the 70s, they broke into kitchen products with their electric sandwich toaster. They’ve grown into a global brand over the decades, producing a wide variety of innovative home appliances and kitchen products.
They’ve been making coffee and home espresso products for over 20 years. In 2013, they introduced a dual-boiler espresso machine for home use and started partnering with Nespresso to manufacture coffee machines. More recently, they acquired Baratza, the US-based coffee grinder company.
Smart Grinder Pro Overview
The Smart Grinder Pro is Breville’s home espresso grinder. It’s designed for ease of use and versatility. It offers up to 600 grind settings, which means it can grind for all sorts of brewing methods, from espresso to french press and everything in between.
The Smart Grinder Pro is a durable and well-designed machine built with quality components, including a great set of stainless steel conical burrs.
It has programmable settings and is very easy to use, offering a grind quality nearly on par with much more expensive grinders.
There is some inconsistency in how well it performs with coarser grinds. Still, overall the Smart Grinder Pro is a jack-of-all-trades grinder that offers a significant upgrade over most entry-level home coffee grinders.
Things we like
- Versatile and very adjustable, with a wide range of grind settings
- Stainless steel housing makes it a more durable machine
- LCD screen displays grind size, duration, and number of cups
- Settings are programmable, making it easy to repeat your grind choices
- Produces above-average grind consistency for its price range
Things we don’t like
- Uses a timed dosing system that makes it hard to grind by weight
- Grind consistency isn’t as good with coarser grind sizes, making it less suitable than other grinders if you’re mostly grinding for french press or drip
Breville Dose Control Pro Overview
The Dose Control Pro is similar to the Smart Grinder Pro but stripped of some of its smart features and offered at a lower price. Like the Smart Grinder Pro, it’s a budget-friendly home espresso grinder that can be used for all sorts of brew styles.
It has the same stainless steel conical burrs as the Smart Grinder Pro. Its motor is slightly less powerful, so it’s a little bit slower. It has a familiar design but uses a cheaper plastic housing than the Smart Grinder Pro.
It also lacks the display screen and some of the functionality of the Smart Grinder Pro. It’s operated with a single central dial that controls the grind duration down to one-second increments.
Things we like
- Versatile and highly adjustable, with up to 600 grind settings
- Stainless steel burrs offer the same grind quality as the Smart Grinder Pro
- Simple to operate
- Value for money
Things we don’t like
- Dosing is less precise than the Smart Grinder Pro
- No programmable preset makes it harder to repeat settings you like
Breville Dose Control Pro vs Smart Grinder Pro: Comparison
|Breville Smart Grinder Pro||Breville Dose Control Pro|
|Dimensions (WxDxH)||22 x 16 x 39 cm||20.4 x 16 x 34.2 cm|
|Burrs||38 mm conical burrs (stainless steel)||38 mm conical burrs (stainless steel)|
|Grind Settings||600 (60 micro settings, each with 10 macro settings)||600 (60 micro settings, each with 10 macro settings)|
|Hopper Capacity||18 oz (510g)||12 oz (340g)|
At the heart of these grinders is an identical set of burrs. They are stainless steel conical burrs, so they’re made of durable material and should hold their edge for a long time.
The burrs are 38 millimeters in diameter, smaller than what you’d find on commercial grinders but big enough that they can chew through beans pretty quickly without jamming up.
The top burr is easy to remove for cleaning and adjustment. You don’t need any tools to take it out — there’s a metal handle that you can use to twist the burr to remove it. The handle does feel a bit flimsier than would be ideal, but it’s convenient for maintenance.
One great feature is that the top burr is adjustable. There are ten stepped settings that you can adjust to change the size of the gap between the top and bottom burr, thus adjusting the grind range.
This means you can make the finest grind setting finer or the coarsest grind setting coarser, depending on your needs.
Both of these Breville grinders have the same number of grind settings to choose from. Each has 60 stepped settings that can be adjusted to give you a wide range of grind sizes for everything from espresso to french press or cold brew.
Each grinder’s range of grind sizes can be further adjusted with ten manual settings on the top burr. Effectively, the Dose Control Pro and the Smart Grinder pro can give you 600 grind sizes.
You adjust your grind setting on the Smart Grinder Pro by turning the dial at the side of the machine. The grind size is shown on the LCD display.
The grind settings are programmable on the Smart Grinder Pro. So, when you find grind settings that you want to repeat, you can save the settings by pushing and holding a button.
You turn the hopper to adjust the grind size on the Dose Control Pro. There are just as many grind settings available on the Dose Control Pro as on the Smart Grinder Pro, but the settings aren’t programmable, and there’s no digital display.
Controlling your dose
Despite its name, the Dose Control Pro actually gives you a bit less control over your dose than the Smart Grinder Pro.
With the Dose Control Pro, you control the quantity of coffee grinds using a timer. You can set the Dose Control Pro to grind your coffee beans for up to 50 seconds, adjusting the timer in one-second increments.
The Dose Control Pro has a pause function so that you can stop the dose in the middle of grinding if you need to, before resuming and finishing off the timed dose.
With the Smart Grinder Pro, you can adjust the grinding timer with more precise 0.2-second increments. The LCD display on the Smart Grinder Pro lets you easily see how much time you’ve set it for.
You can also adjust the quantity of grinds on the Smart Grinder Pro by the number of cups or shots you want to brew, giving you further control over your dose.
The Smart Grinder Pro has a larger hopper than the Dose Control Pro — it can hold up to 18 ounces of beans, compared to the Dose Control’s 12-ounce capacity.
Aside from the size, the hoppers have the same thoughtful design. They both feature a lid with a rubber rim that seals tightly to keep your coffee beans fresh longer, as well as a switch that unlocks the hopper from the machine and seals the bottom of the hopper so that beans don’t dump out when you remove it.
Both grinders come with detachable portafilter cradles that will hold various-sized portafilters in place beneath the grind chute.
The larger cradle holds commercial-grade 58-millimeter portafilters, while the smaller cradle will hold portafilters between 50-54 millimeters in size, which covers most models that come with domestic espresso machines.
The Smart Grinder Pro also comes with a small bristle brush to clean the burrs and the chute and a grinding container that magnetically snaps into place beneath the grind chute. This container is useful for grinding larger quantities.
The tray on the Smart Grinder Pro also slots into place magnetically and is easy to remove to clean out stray grounds.
Tucked away in the Dose Control Pro’s tray is an unusual scraper tool that you can use to level out the surface of the espresso grinds in your portafilter basket. I tend to use my finger for that purpose, and it’s always worked fine for me, but it’s a pretty thoughtful feature, if not entirely necessary.
Both of these grinders produce a consistent grind size, especially considering their price class.
They both can grind for a wide range of brew styles. The grind consistency is best in the fine and medium grind sizes, which means these grinders are well-suited for espresso and pour-over grinds.
The grind consistency drops off a bit at the coarser end of the range. If you look at the coffee grounds when you set these grinders to coarser settings, you’ll notice more discrepancy in the particle sizes.
This means brewing styles that use coarse grinds might suffer a bit, as the flavors will extract unevenly in those brews. You might notice more bitterness and over-extraction with methods like french press brews.
Cleaning and Maintenance
The Dose Control Pro and the Smart Grinder Pro are very easy to maintain. You can remove the hopper and top burr without using tools, giving you easy access to brush out the lower burrs and grind chamber.
The Dose Control Pro doesn’t come with a brush like Smart Grinder Pro does, but a toothbrush works well to clear out old grounds.
These are very similar grinders at their core, using the same set of good-quality burrs and offering nearly identical grind quality and the same range of 60 grind settings.
The Smart Grinder Pro has a slightly more powerful motor and a more durable build with its stainless steel housing.
It also features a very useful display screen that shows you precisely what settings you’re using and gives you the option to program your settings to save them for future use.
Neither grinder allows you to dose out your grounds by weight, so if you prefer to weigh your grind, these machines will take some getting used to.
The Smart Grinder Pro gives you more control over the dose since you can dose out your grind according to both time and volume settings to adjust the quantity. With the Dose Control Pro, you control the quantity by setting the duration that the grinder runs.
Priced only a little higher than the Dose Control Pro, we like the Smart Grinder Pro’s extra features. With that said, you don’t lose anything in terms of grind quality with the Dose Control Pro.
So if we don’t mind giving up some of the precision and control of the Smart Grinder Pro, the Dose Control Pro will still give you a very good grind for a wide range of brewing styles.