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The Complete Guide to Coffee Grinders

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You’ve undoubtedly heard “If you’re going to do it, do it right.” What constitutes “right” is often arbitrary, and depends on the situation. Let’s specify that here, we’re talking about grinding coffee beans. The type and performance of your coffee grinder have a lot to do with how your coffee tastes, so choosing the right one is an important step in the brewing process.

Don’t Feel Like Reading? Whether grinding for coffee or espresso, you can’t go wrong with a Baratza grinder. It’s the go-to entry-level grinder.  Click here to check it out on Amazon.

Sure, you can find tons of ground coffee at the grocery store, ready to brew with no effort or waiting. Why not just buy that? Well, it comes down to whether you want just an OK cup of coffee or the best cup of coffee you can brew.

At a Glance: Our Top 5 Picks for Coffee Grinders

Complete Guide to Coffee Grinders

Why Grind Your Own Coffee?

In a word, flavor! Coffee’s flavor comes from the oils in roasted beans, and those oils need to be released evenly for the best-tasting coffee. So you want to extract the flavor from the beans as effectively as possible, and that means starting with the best coffee grinder you can buy.

If you’re a coffee connoisseur like us (of course you are, or you wouldn’t be here), you’ve probably invested heavily in your coffee maker and beans. But you may have overlooked the importance of the grinder, and its role in producing the final flavor you’ll be sipping.

Quick Summary: The Best Coffee Grinders

OXO BREW Conical Burr Coffee Grinder with Integrated Scale,Silver,Burr GrinderOXO On Conical Burr Coffee Grinder with Integrated Scale
  • Built-in scale so you can always use just the right amount of coffee
  • Automatic shutoff guarantees the precise amount of coffee every time
  • Overheating detection offers prolongs the grinder’s life
Check on Amazon →
Capresso Infinity Conical Burr Grinder, BlackCapresso 560.01 Infinity Conical Burr Grinder
  • 16 different settings for variety
  • Built in timer
  • Can hold up to eight ounces of beans
Check on Amazon →
Baratza Encore Conical Burr Coffee GrinderBaratza Encore Conical Burr Coffee Grinder
  • Entry-level grinder for coffee aficionados
  • 40 different grind settings
  • Motor keeps the beans cool during extended grind times
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Hario Ceramic Coffee Mill - 'Skerton'Hario Skerton Ceramic Coffee Mill
  • Easy to use, carry, and clean
  • Perfect entry-level manual coffee grinder
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Manual Coffee Grinder with Ceramic Burrs, LHS Hand Coffee Mill with Two Containers Adjustable Coarseness Refillable Lids …LHS Manual Coffee Grinder With Ceramic Burrs
  • Combines a blade grinder, easy-to-clean filter, and insulated cup into one gadget
  • Easy and portable
Check on Amazon →
Hero Manual Coffee Grinder-Conical Ceramic Burr Mill, Adjustable Hand Precision Brewing X-2C,UpgradeHero Manual Coffee Grinder
  • Good looks and resealable storage
  • Lets you control the fineness of your grind
  • Portable storage
Check on Amazon →

Not only is it an easier way to grind coffee beans, but using a grinder also allows you to alter the consistency of your grinds, depending on your brewing method of choice. French press? Drip? AeroPress? You can fine-tune the output of your grinder to suit your coffee maker, and change the flavor by grinding the beans on a finer or coarser setting.

Grind Size

The most important characteristic of your grinder, or even just with brewing coffee in general, the grind size of your coffee plays an extremely important part of the quality of your coffee as a whole. 

Grind size refers to the thickness or thinness of your grounds. The finer the grounds, the harder it is for water to filter through them. Usually, finer grounds are used for making espresso, brewing with a moka pot, and extra-fine coffee is used in some exotic coffees like Turkish coffee. Likewise, the thicker the grounds, the coarser they’ll be, and the easier it is for water to filter through them. Coarser grounds are used for brewing methods like drip coffee (medium grind), pour-overs (medium-coarse grind), and the French press (coarse grind).

Conical vs Flat Burr Grinders

Little known to some–no two grinders are made the same. Well, at least conical and flat burr grinders aren’t made the same. Though the conical and the flat burr grinder essentially do the same thing, the primary difference between them is the shape of their rings.

For the conical grinder, the beans are fed through two cone-shaped bladed rings, one that’s solid and one that’s hollow. The whole beans are directed through the burrs in a vertical manner but slightly bent. On the other hand, the flat burr grinder has two horizontal burrs. One burr faces upward, while the other one faces downward. Coffee beans fall between the burrs, making two 90 degree turns.

Consistency Matters

When it comes to your grinder, consistency is key in terms of function and performance. You’ll want to make sure your grinder is able to grind at a variety of different sizes, whether it’s extra-fine, fine, medium, medium-coarse, or coarse. Many different brewing methods (French press, pour-over, drip coffee, espresso, Turkish coffee, etc.) require different sizes because the size of the grind will influence how water filters through the grounds. Simply put–the more grind sizes your grinder offers, the more drinks you’ll be able to make. 

When it comes to performance, it’s also crucial that your grinder is consistent with grind size. If your grinder produces a coarse and fine grind size at the same time, it can severely screw up your brewing process. Larger, coarser grinds and thinner, finer grinds hold and filter water at different capacities and different speeds. So in order to make sure that the flavor in the grounds is extracted equally and at the same rate, your grinder needs to be consistent. 

Burr Grinders vs. Blade Grinders

Before you can choose a specific grinder, the first choice you must make is deciding what type of grinder you want. Coffee grinders perform the action of grinding beans in two main ways: with blades, or with burrs.

Of course you understand how blades work. They cut things up. But is that an effective way to grind coffee? And just what the heck are burrs and how do they work? More importantly, are they better than blades?

Burr Coffee Grinders

With two oscillating, serrated plates (known as burrs) that come together to crush and literally grind the beans rather than cut them, burr grinders produce uniformly sized grinds. And when it comes to coffee grinds, size does matter.

By adjusting the distance between the burrs, you have plenty of control over the resulting size and consistency of the grinds.

Burr grinders are the grinders of choice for pro baristas, and we highly recommend them. The burr grinder is a foolproof method to achieve the even oil extraction you’re looking for in order to optimize flavor.

Blade Coffee Grinders

Like a plane’s propeller indiscriminately slicing up the beans (in fact, it’s sometimes called a propeller grinder), the blade inside this type of grinder produces coffee grinds that are less uniform in size than a burr grinder. For this reason, the resulting flavor of coffee ground by a blade grinder is inferior to that produced by a burr grinder.

The blade grinder is still fairly effective in its task, though, and a nice option for the budget-conscious. And blade grinders are still a cut above (no pun intended! OK, maybe a little intended) bags of pre-ground coffee.

If you’re not quite ready to switch over to a burr grinder, try using the one at the grocery store. We’re willing to bet once you taste the difference, you’ll be in a hurry to invest in a burr grinder, and better coffee.

Automatic Grinders vs. Manual Grinders

In a world focused on instant gratification, taking the time to do something as simple as grind your own coffee beans might seem like an unnecessary roadblock on the path to your morning cup of joe.

If you want the best flavor in the least amount of time, or you’d just rather squeeze in a couple more minutes of sleep in the morning, look for an automatic coffee grinder. They’re available with blades or burrs, and you can find one to fit your budget.

Then again, good things really do come to those who wait, and while using a manual coffee grinder might slow you down a bit, hand-ground beans transform and elevate your coffee with flavor and richness you may not get from an automatic coffee grinder.

The Best Automatic Coffee Grinders

Don’t get us wrong—we can appreciate a high-quality automatic coffee grinder as much as the next coffee lover. Automatics definitely have the advantage when it comes to speed and convenience. You can pour in the beans, hit a button, and kick back as you wait for your coffee to grind to your preferred level. No fuss, no mess.

Krups GX5000 Burr Grinder

The Krups GX5000 is the grinder sitting on my countertop right now. I bought it on Amazon and have used it for both coarse grind when I feel like pulling out my French Press and my day to day drip coffee maker

Adjusting the dial to select your grind is super simple and clearly labeled, and the low profile of the machine overall makes it look nice and compact sitting out next to your coffee maker. 

I was a little wary because some reviews out there claim it doesn’t hold up for long, but I’ve been using it daily for many months and it’s still going strong. To me it strikes a great balance of price, performance and style. 

On Sale

Bodum Bistro Standard Burr Grinder 

The Bodum Bistro Coffee Grinder is a burr grinder that offers multiple different grind settings–12 to be exact. It has a stainless steel conical burr grinder, as well as a plastic coffee catching container. Made out of sturdy material, the Bodum Bistro is durable, reliable, and is sure to get the job done every time. 

In addition, the Bistro also comes with a built-in timer, friction clutch, grind guide, and a variety of color options to match your kitchen. All in all, the Bistro is a pretty good bang for your buck and will give you the ability to make as many drinks as possible. 

On Sale

Cuisinart Supreme Grind Burr Grinder

This model delivers quite a bang for the buck. It’ll look great sitting pretty on the kitchen counter. Then, when you actually use it and explore its long list of features, the price seems even more reasonable.

Its 18 grind options allow you to grind from 4 to 18 cups of coffee at a time. No matter how much coffee you need or how picky you are with your grinding requirements, this little coffee grinder could be just what you need to make your next cup of coffee taste amazing.

Baratza Vario Flat Ceramic Burr Grinder

This is a professional-grade coffee grinder boasting every feature you could hope to have when grinding your coffee. It has 230 different grind settings, as well as digital timers that can be set to grind a precise amount of coffee.

The 54mm ceramic flat burrs guarantee an impeccably even grind. Whether you’re buying a grinder for commercial use, or you take your coffee seriously at home, this machine will not fail to impress.

Breville Smart Grinder Pro Burr Grinder

While more affordable than professional-grade grinders, this model shares many of the same features as its professional counterparts, such as multiple grind settings (60 to be exact), and digital timers to make the grinding process simpler for you on a daily basis.

If you’re ready to graduate to a quasi-professional level with your coffee art, this is the grinder for you.

Proctor Silex Fresh Grind Blade Grinder

Back to basics on this one. It’s a simple, stainless steel blade grinder, compact and sturdy. Don’t bother searching for multiple grind settings here—it’s a one-stop shop.

However, here’s a tip – if you want a fine coffee grind, try shaking the grinder in between grinds. A hassle, but somewhat effective. This option is affordable and reliable, making it a great choice if you’re a budget-conscious coffee lover.

On Sale

Quiseen One-Touch Blade Coffee Grinder

This handy appliance is designed to provide no-nonsense ease of use. As in, just put your coffee beans in and press the button. Voilà! Ground coffee. However, it does lack the advanced features found in other, more expensive coffee grinders.

If you don’t want or need complicated settings, but still want to grind your own beans, look no further. Perks of this design include a safety lock and built-in storage for the power cord, which is always a nice space saver.

Baratza Encore Conical Burr Coffee Grinder

The Baratza Encore has a reputation for being the entry-level grinder for coffee aficionados. It boasts 40 different grind settings.

More good news: the motor keeps the beans cool during extended grind times. Yes, this is more expensive than many basic grinders. But, you get what you pay for: settings used by the pros. 

On Sale
They also offer a similar but slightly more feature-packed, mid-level model called the Vertuoso.

Capresso 560.01 Infinity Conical Burr Grinder

This Capresso Infinity grinder has 16 different settings, allowing you to play with variety. For example, for a French press, we recommend a coarse grind. No problem here.

With this grinder, you can also pulverize those beans if you’re going the espresso route, and every size in between. It has a built in timer, and can hold up to eight ounces of beans.

OXO On Conical Burr Coffee Grinder with Integrated Scale

If you’re familiar with the OXO brand, then you know it means quality, and this coffee grinder is no exception. It features a built-in scale so you can always use just the right amount of coffee without wasting it. With 38 settings, you can grind coarse to fine and everything in between.

The high-torque, low-speed motor won’t overheat the beans, and built-in overheating detection offers additional protection, and prolongs the grinder’s life. Automatic shutoff guarantees the precise amount of coffee every time.

The Best Manual Coffee Grinders

With roots stretching back to the first roasted coffee bean, hand-grinding coffee is a long-held tradition. Cowboys of the Old West often smashed coffee beans with the butts of their guns before tossing the grounds into boiling water to make cowboy coffee.

Soldiers in the Union army had to rely on coffee grinders built into the stocks of their rifles for their morning cup of mud.

Thankfully, modern manual coffee grinders make it easy and fun for you to enjoy grinding as a choice, rather than a necessity. And without any weaponry.

Kalita Retro Coffee Mill

Kalita welcomes newcomers to hand-ground coffee with this basic ceramic burr grinder with an adjustable grind. This won’t be the last coffee grinder you buy—it’s not as durable or as powerful as its competitors—but it’s a good place to start your hand-grinding journey.

Norpro Manual Coffee Grinder

If you’re planning to do most of your coffee grinding at home, this moderately priced, old-school grinder might be right up your alley. It features an adjustable grinder and a storage drawer, as well as some serious old-world charm as countertop décor when not in use.

Foruchoice Vintage Manual Coffee Grinder

Modern convenience meets vintage sensibilities in this manual coffee grinder. Designed to balance aesthetics with functionality, Foruchoice’s stainless steel grinder has a rugged cast iron exterior with plastic and stainless steel in the actual mechanism. It’s best for light daily use at home rather than heavy-duty or portable grinding.

Porlex Mini Stainless Steel Manual Coffee Grinder

Focused on portability and ease of use, this stainless steel grinder from Japan is the ideal no-nonsense travel companion for coffee lovers. A minimalist marvel, this grinder will handle everything from fine espresso to French press coarse grind, and is also compatible with the AeroPress maker for maximum convenience.

KONA Manual Coffee Grinder with Ceramic Burrs

This hardworking little grinder makes and holds enough ground coffee for two people in one sitting. It’s portable, easy to clean, and has an adjustable ceramic burr grinder with 18 settings, so you can enjoy espresso, pour over, or French press coffee even in the middle of the woods. The mechanism is also strong enough to handle spices, but you might want to buy two to avoid giving your coffee an unintended spice blast!

Hero Manual Coffee Grinder

If you enjoy a nice conical manual grinder, the Hero will easily become a quick favorite. With wide flexibility when it comes to grinding sizes, it can grind for finer brewing, as well as coarser brewing. One great thing we enjoy about the Hero is that it comes with an extra glass coffee container, as well as a cleaning brush and a non-slip base and top lid. 

On Sale

LHS Manual Coffee Grinder 

We enjoy the LHS for a multitude of reasons. Made with stainless steel and ceramic burrs, the LHS is highly effective for grinding coffee. With its highly portable design, you can take it with you to the office, or on the road during your next adventure. It has four adjustable levels, with the knob in the middle allowing you to change in between grind settings. It’s easy to fill, and it’s easy to disassemble, clean, and reassemble. 

On Sale

FORUOR Manual Coffee Grinder, Filter, and Vacuum Cup All in One

If you want an easy and portable way to grind, brew, and enjoy your coffee on the go, this little beauty might just be your new best friend. Combining a blade grinder, easy-to-clean filter, and insulated cup into one gadget, FORUOR’s portable coffee system makes it easy to enjoy freshly ground and brewed coffee just about anywhere.

Hario Skerton Ceramic Coffee Mill

Easy to use, carry, and clean, this modest marvel is our favorite basic manual coffee grinder. Its ceramic burr grinder and dual lids make it easy to grind and store coffee on the go. It’s as at home in your suitcase as it is your kitchen cabinet. We think it’s the perfect entry-level manual coffee grinder for the aspiring coffee connoisseur.

No matter which type of coffee grinder you choose, you’re on your way to more flavorful and enjoyable coffee that’s made extra special by the addition of your time, labor, and love.

Just remember, how you grind your beans affects how good your brewed coffee is, so respect the beans, grind responsibly, and enjoy your next caffeinated creation.

Best Coffee Grinder for Cold Brew

When it comes to cold brew, getting a coarse grind is the key. While the type of grind you would use for a French press will certainly work, we’re looking for something extra coarse for our avid cold brewers.

Related: Read our Full Guide to the Best Grinder For Cold Brew

The Electric Option

On Sale

We mentioned earlier that this Capresso works well for a French Press. Thanks to the 16 settings though, the lower pair of the 4 coarse settings actually work well for cold brew too! 

It has a conical steel with storage space on the top for unground beans and on the bottom for the fresh grounds. Also, if you’re concerned about heat transfer, there is a pulse function to help you slow things down even more. 

Another plus is that it is rather quit, especially for an automatic grinder. Additionally, it is priced at a pretty comfortable mid-range spot. So if you’re looking for a grinder that can cover you from cold brew to Greek coffee without breaking the bank, this is the one for you. 

The Manual Option

If electric isn’t your style, this manual grinder from an up and coming brand might just be what you need. The dual plated ceramic burr grinder has 18 different click settings for you to choose from. So you can rest assured that you can go from the extra coarse cold brew grind to the ultra fine of a Turkish grind. 

What’s more is this grinder is super light and portable. So your wanderlust has you backpacking more than sitting at home, this manual grinder is probably perfect for you!

On that note, not only is the hand crank removable for the sake of portability, but it is also about 90% quieter than most electric grinders. Thus, if your family or roommates are complaining about your coffee habits waking them up in the morning. 

Best Commercial Coffee Grinder

There are a few key things to look for in a high-capacity, commercial coffee grinder: a large burr grinder to minimize heat transfer, a stepless grind dial to maximize precision, and an airtight hopper to maintain freshness. One of the top options that covers all these bases and more is the Mazzer Robur. 

The Robur is specifically intended for high-volume environments and is one of the larger models in the Mazzer line-up. It measures at 72 x 24 x 31cm and the hopper has a 1.8kg bean capacity. Additionally, the 71mm diameter of the burr grinder is plenty large enough to make sure your beans are staying cool, even if the machine runs all day.

While most commercial coffee grinders have a doser that gets the barista to manually deposit beans into the grind basket, the Robur E is the first doserless model. Instead, the process is streamlined, and the barista programs the machine to produce the correct volume by adjusting the time. 

Furthermore, both the grind setting and dodge volume functions are accessed and set via the LED digital display menu. Once you get used to the innovated tech, this machine will produce some of the highest quality, consistent grinds you’ll find.

Related: Read our guide to the best commercial coffee grinders

Best Coffee Grinder Brands

Baratza

Baratza is a grinders-only brand that is solely focused on producing innovative, top-quality grinders. No wonder two of their machines made it to this list! Their designs come from Seattle, their burrs are from Europe, and their machines are assembled in Taiwan. 

They are also making moves towards more sustainable practices on a number of fronts from their packaging and refurb options to their active partnerships with the International Women’s Coffee Alliance, CoffeeKids, and more.

Breville

Breville is a well-known brands across pretty much every part of the coffee scene…and kitchen appliances in general. They are known for their sleek, stainless steel designs and their impeccable customer service.

Founded in Australia in 1932, Breville managed to become a globally renowned brand that caters. to 70+ countries. Customers most appreciate their innovative designs, based specifically on customer feedback, guaranteeing thoughtful, intuitive machines. 

Capresso

Hitting an in between ground in range from our previous two brands, Capresso offers a several lines of coffee and tea specific products. It is marketed and backed by industry leader, JURA inc., but offers significantly more affordable product ranges, making the brand more accessible.

Since their relatively recent founding in 1994, this brand has claimed a number if industry firsts. One of these impressive innovations was their CoffeeTEAM line of coffeemaker-conical burr grinder combinations.  So from grinder to espresso, you can count on Capresso. 

Hario

The Hario brand is perhaps most well-known for their beautifully crafted pour-over droppers. However, their craftsmanship  also extends to other coffee producing including grinders, gooseneck kettles, French presses, and more.

The “King of Glass” was founded in 1921 in Tokyo. Since then, they have ex landed their product. range and have continued to rock the coffee world. One of the more notable facets of Hario’s production is their eco-friendly, heatproof glass, which is an exciting conscious coffee connoisseurs. 

HandGround 

HandGround is a new brand that is dedicated to one thing: making one, incredible coffee grinder. That’s right the grinder we featured here is essentially their only product. They are a community focused brand that actively takes feedback from their customers to improve upon their design to make it the best. it can possibly be for you.

Thus, Team HandGround describes themselves as “a community of enthusiasts, engineers and designers working to develop innovative coffee equipment.” They got their start on Kickstarter and their grinder has been a cult favorite ever since. 

Krups

Here is another familiar name across the coffee community. KRUPS is responsible for making a variety of kitchen and coffee appliances including filter coffee makers, super automatics, and coffee grinders. The German company was founded in 1846 and has been considered an expert in coffee and food preparation since then. 

Their product design tends towards a sleek, black and silver aesthetic and their company touts an impeccable attention to detail. They are partnered with Groupe SEB for their manufacturing. 

OXO

OXO is a brand that specializing in simplifying and improving the functionality of everyday, household products. By constantly striving to make every appliance and tool they to much a little bit better for their customers for the past 25 years, they’ve managed to great a brand that anyone can appreciate.

They got their  start with a  potato peeler, but don’t discount their coffee products. Their automatic burr grinders offer simple, intuitive interfaces so that no confusion or tinkering stands between you and and your favorite beverage. 

Porlex

This is another company that is focused solely on the grind. This Japanese company was founded in 1978, and their ceramic burr grinders have kept up with (and often set) the bar for grinders in the specialty coffee scene. 

Not only are Porlex Grinders designed in Japan, they are also manufactured there. From their conception in Osaka to their fabrication in Kagoshima, this brand holds their grinders to some pretty exacting standards. The natural result is some pretty top-notch products.

JavaPresse

A cult favorite with an inspiring story, JavaPresse is certain to leave you impressed. They sell coffee blends, a grinder, a pour over dripper, and a French press. The brand is dedicated to changing the face of the coffee industry to one that is more transparent and ethical. 

As for their products range, you can expect high-quality tools with a professional, clean aesthetic. Their grinder has thousands of people buzzing about it because, honestly it’s the bees knees, especially if you are a cold-brew fanatic. 

Vintage Coffee Grinders?

Do they work well?

It depends. You can buy a vintage-style grinder that is newly manufactured that’ll function just as well as your modern-looking ones. On the other hand, if you’re buying a true vintage how well it will work comes down to the condition it’s in and how much work you put into restoring it.

As a general rule, vintage grinders are going to be a bit less versatile than your souped-up, 12 setting modern ones. However, many of them do have more than one grind setting, so it may work for you perfectly fine. It simply depends on what you expect it to do. 

What to look for when buying

If you are looking to buy a true vintage or antique coffee grinder there are a plethora of different places you can go looking. You can try Etsy shops or online collectable markets if you’re hoping to do your shopping at home. But if you are willing to go out, you can also rifle through offerings from garage or estate sales, flea markets, or antique shops.

Regardless of where you’re looking, there are a few things you should be looking for:

  • Missing parts: Screws, catcher drawer, handle, grind setting mechanism, etc. Some things are replaceable, others not so much. So make sure to be through in your part-check. 
  • Burr condition: One of the most important parts of a grinder is, of course, the burrs. So check them to make sure they aren’t excessively dull or chipped at all. 
  • Mold or rust: Many vintage grinders have wooden components, which may have molded over time. Additionally, some metal parts could have rusted if they were exposed to water. So check the ground catcher drawer to make sure no rust dust is falling into it. 

Our recommendation

If you’re hoping to skip the work of finding and restoring your own vintage grinder, here’s our recommendation if you’re just wanting to capture the aesthetic. 

Between the beechwood with hand applied antique patina and stainless steel grinding mechanism with a lifetime guarantee, it’s hard to say no to this one. It the design gives a decided nod to the original that was produced in 1840, opting to modernize only the grinding components. 

The grind settings can be changed by adjusting the knob under the handle, and overall this grinder does especially well with French-style coffee. In summation, while the price may be a bit steep for some, this grinder will likely outlive you. Plus you won’t be embarrassed to keep it out on your counter.

If you are looking for something that’s a bit more affordable, you can trade in some of that durability and longevity for a lower price point. The Norpro Manual Coffee Grinder;is another well-loved option in this category for about a fifth of the price.

Happy Caffeinating!

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