Ultimate Guide To The Coffee Grinders

Coffee Grinders Displayed on a Table

Have you been trying to find the best coffee grinder to use at home? If so, you have found the right place. First, let’s discuss the basics of coffee grinders so that you know exactly what to look for when you are trying to find the best one for your particular needs.

The most important factor for any good cup of coffee is choosing the right coffee beans. The freshness of the beans that you use will make a huge difference in how your coffee will taste. Beans start becoming stale as soon as they are roasted. Keeping your beans as fresh as possible is important.

whole bean coffee in a bag

Another important factor for making the best cup of coffee is how you grind your coffee beans. A coffee grinder is one of the most important things you can purchase to increase your enjoyment of your coffee, no matter what type of brewing method that you are using.

A quality coffee grinder will ensure that you get even extraction of all of the aromas and flavors of your beans every time that you grind up a fresh batch.

The guide will also provide you with reviews of some of the best coffee grinders currently on the market.

Blades VS. Burrs

When it comes to coffee grinders there are 2 basic types available. They are burr grinders and blade grinders.

Blade grinders are the less expensive of the two options. However, for the most part a blade grinder is not really fit to process coffee the way that you want it to. There are several reasons why.

First, blade grinders use a spinning blade in order to slice up the beans. In most cases these blades will simply crush the beans and leave them in a mess and in different sized chunks.

Difference Between Burr and Blade Ground Coffee

A cheap blade grinder that can be found in many department stores will not properly flake the beans during the grinding process. This does not allow for good extraction.

The key to a good cup of coffee is consistency. From the grind to the brewing temperature to the tamping technique for espresso as well as other factors, everything must be consistent.

While a blade grinder does the job, if you want a consistent cup of coffee you should consider a burr grinder instead. Burr grinders use cones, balls, or abrasive disks that are called burrs. These burrs will evenly shave or flake the beans instead of crushing, tearing, and compressing them.

The burr coffee grinders are a bit more expensive, but are worth the cost if you are looking for a quality grinder that will last a long time and provide you with a good cup of coffee all of the time.

More About Blade Grinders

When it comes to the average coffee drinker a blade grinder will typically suffice. There are many good quality blade grinders available on the market today. These blades are extremely sharp and will grind your coffee beans quite finely. However, as mentioned, the blades do provide an uneven cut, which can be a problem for those that are looking for the perfect cup of coffee.

When choosing a blade grinder it is important to choose one that is of high quality. If the blades are not strong enough you will end up with a bunch of beans that are not ground and a cup of coffee that is not as good as it could be.

More About Burr Grinders

Since burr grinders are the superior of the two types of grinders, let’s look a bit more closely at the different types of burr grinders that are available.

Flat Burrs VS. Conical Burrs

When it comes to the models of burr grinders there are 2 primary subgroups. The first type has a cone or conical shaped burr. The conical burr is found on many different models. The conical style offers a larger surface area than a flat variety and because of this can shed heat more quickly.

The flat burr uses a flat disk that has teeth carved into it. These teeth ride against the grinding plate or stone. These are typically found in the more expensive models.

burr grinder after use

When it comes to which burr is better, there is a big debate about the topic. Some people prefer the conical burr models because they are easier to use, provide grounds that are fluffier, and that conical burrs offer a brighter taste with fruity and citrus qualities. Flat burrs tend to enhance the caramel and cocoa tastes and enhance the sweetness.

Essentially, the quality really relies in the machine, particularly in how big the burr is, with the bigger being better.

Steel VS. Ceramic Burrs

The next thing to consider is the material that the burr is made from. Typically burrs will either be made from ceramic or from stainless steel. There are advantages to both of these materials.

*Notice: On mobile devices, scroll right to see entire table

Advantages

Disadvantages

Steel Burrs

  • Cheaper to manufacture
  • Cheaper to replace
  • ​More forgiving
  • ​Used in many high end coffee shops because of its durability
  • Lifespan is shorter than ceramic, but can be replaced easier and for a lower price.

Ceramic Burrs

  • Last longer than steel burrs
  • Great for producing the right texture to use for espresso
  • Can easily shatter if a foreign object is accidentally put in the machine
  • More expensive to make

Typically, the material of the burr is not really significant when it comes to the grinder’s output. It all comes down to how the grinder was designed. The ability for the blades to stay sharp and survive impact is key when it comes to the construction of the burr.

Stepped VS. Stepless

Every coffee grinder will adjust the size of the grind by moving the burrs either closer or further away from the grind plate. There are 2 designes used to make this happen: the stepped and the stepless.

A stepped designed coffee grinder is adjusted by using a knob or lever that is set to different grind sizes. One problem with this is that you are locked into a specific number of steps. This number can range anywhere from 10 to 40.

Stepped Burr Grinder

This really isn’t a big deal if you are using an automatic drip, french press, or pour over method to brew as these do not require an exact grind size to create good coffee. However, size does matter if you are brewing espresso as any small change in the particle size can influence the flavor of the coffee.

There are some advantages of the stepped coffee grinder. First, most can be easily switched for different brew methods. You can easily switch from a rough grind for a french roast to a fine grind for espresso. Additionally, a stepped model can easily repeat the process. This means that you can easily return them to previous settings.

A stepless coffee can be adjusted to an infinite number of grind points. These units are often designed specifically for espresso brewing as they allow a barista to get the exact grind specifications that they desire.

Stepless Burr Grinder

Since slight grind variations can have a big impact on the taste, this is an important feature for home espresso enthusiasts.

These units either use a worm gear mechanism or a resistive collar mechanism that creates friction to allow settings to remain stable while in operation, but loose enough to be moved manually through the range of adjustments.

Stepless units can be set up to grind for pour over, drip brewing, and French press methods as well.

Coffee Collection Methods

There are three methods that are used to collect coffee in coffee grinders. These are bins, dosers, and doserless.

Doserless

Doserless coffee grinders will dispense the ground coffee directly into a portafilter basket of the espresso machine or into the filter or basket of a pour over, French press, or coffee maker.

Doserless Rancilio Coffee Grinder

The benefit of this type of grinder is that it lessens the amount of old grinds that could become stale and affect the future brews in the machine.

One negative aspect of this type of grinder is that they often clump and will spray more grinds on the counter than a doser variety. Another disadvantage is that the user often will have to stand in one place to hold the container while it is grinding.

Dosers

Dosers have been around since the 1930s and are still useful today. These grinders have a bin that the coffee will fall into. The user will then use a lever to release the right amount of coffee grinds.

Two advantages of dosers are that they typically clump less than the doserless machines and they also do not spill as many grinds on the counter as the doserless varieties.

Doser Rancilio Coffee Grinder

One disadvantage of dosers is that they often trap grinds and can be difficult to clean. In addition, many of the dosers are not accurate when it comes to dosing coffee.

Coffee Grinders With Bins

There are some coffee grinders that have internal bins. These are similar to dosers, except the grinds will fall into a bin and there is no mechanism for dosing the grinds into a container.

Grinding On Demand And Electronic Dosing

There are some models that feature a grind on demand technology. These are especially useful for espresso. With this method the user will select the size of the shot that they want to brew and the machine will simply grind the amount of coffee needed to fill the filter. This is based on either time or weight.

Motor And Gearbox Considerations

When it comes to coffee grinders there are 3 basic designs to consider before purchasing a coffee grinder. These are low speed direct drive, high speed gear reduction, and high speed.

High Speed

The high speed grinders are often the least expensive. This gearbox is found on every blade based grinder and many of the lower end burr models. The main advantage of this type of motor is simply that it is cheap.

Continentals Coffee Grinder with High Speed Motor

Some of the problems with the high speed motors is that they tend to heat up fast. This means that you will want to grind your coffee beans by using short bursts. Grinding in this way increases the number of starts and stops, which can cause wear and tear on the parts.

High speed grinders are meant only for light duty usage. If you want a product that will last more than just a few years, avoid this type of motor.

High Speed Gear Reduction

A model that has a high speed motor with gear reduction is typically a better product than the simple high speed coffee grinders. These still have a high speed motor, but most of the grinders use DC instead of AC power, which leads to a longer life span.

These coffee grinders have a gearbox that uses the speed of the DC motor combined with gear reduction that will slow the burrs speed and increase the torque.

Additionally, these grinders are often quieter, have less static that builds up in the dosers or bins, and the beans will be exposed to less heat.

Direct Drive

Direct drives are the final type of coffee grinder motors. These are typically found in professional and industrial machines. These grinders have low, high, and heavy duty torque motors that will drive the grinder with a belt or by being attached to the burrs directly using a driveline.

Industrial Coffee Grinder With Direct Drive

The burrs are turned using sheer power. These models are very quiet, extremely durable, and the highest quality. Almost no heat will be transferred to the coffee and the chances of static occurring in the grinds is minimal.

Other Factors To Consider

Here are some other factors to consider before purchasing a coffee grinder:

Physical Size And Storage Capacity

When you are considering purchasing a coffee grinder you must know how much you plan to use it. For example, if you own a busy cafe you are going to need a large machine that holds a lot of beans. However, if you are just purchasing a coffee grinder for your home, a smaller machine that holds fewer beans should suffice.

There are some coffee grinders that have an optional small or large hopper or extensions that allow you to adjust the amount of coffee that they can hold. A larger hopper is going to be more difficult to store, which is something to consider if you have a small kitchen.

What Type Of Coffee Are You Grinding For?

If you only make espresso, choosing a grinder that is designed specifically for espresso brewing is recommended. As mentioned, with espresso the consistency of the grind is extremely important.

Holding Coffee Beans in Hand

If you are grinding for a drip or French press brew, an adjustable model will work well. These models will work for espresso as well.

One downside to a multipurpose grinder is that it is difficult to obtain the same consistency as you can with a model that is dedicated for espresso.

When it comes to multipurpose grinders you often get what you pay for. A more expensive model will have burrs that are better made and last longer, provide better consistency, and offer more adjustments for grind coarseness.

The different size settings of the grinder and the consistency of the grind contribute to over half of the taste and need to be tailored to the brewing method of your choice. You should also consider the variety of beans that you use, the oil levels, the roast level, as well as other variables.

Electric VS. Hand Grinders

If you do not drink coffee every day and just want a simple coffee grinder to use, a hand grinder may be a good option. However, for most daily coffee drinkers a hand grinder is not going to be a good option as you will quickly get tired of grinding your beans by hand every morning.

Putting Coffee in a Manual Coffee Grinder

Electric grinders are more powerful and can provide a more consistent grind on a regular basis.

Reviews Of The Best Coffee Grinders Currently On The Market

​*Notice: On mobile devices, scroll right to see entire table

Now that you have read about the fundamentals of the coffee grinder, it is time to consider some of the best coffee grinders that are currently on the market.

KRUPS F203 Coffee Grinder

Specifications

  • 200 watt motor for fast grinding
  • Large capacity: yields up to 12 cups
  • Grinds up to three ounces of beans in a few seconds
  • Stainless steel blades
  • Safety switch activated by lid
  • 2 year warranty
KRUPS F203 Electric Spice and Coffee Grinder with Stainless Steel Blades

Overview

For homeowners who are just searching for an affordable coffee grinder that will get the job done and provide them with the beans for a fresh cup of coffee each morning, this blade grinder will do the trick. It provides a quick grind of up to 3 ounces of coffee beans.

In addition, this grinder can be used to chop up seeds, nuts, spices, and herbs. It is compact, which makes it convenient and easy to store. There is a safety mechanism that is activated by the lid. The blades will not spin unless the lid has been firmly attached.

Nuts Next to KRUPS F203 Electric Spice and Coffee Grinder with Stainless Steel Blades

There are currently over 8000 reviews of this coffee grinder on Amazon. The average rating for this grinder is 4.4 out of 5 stars at the moment of this review.

Overall, people who use drip coffee makers with cone or other filters have been happy with the grind that this product provides. However, people who use a French press or other method for making coffee are not satisfied with this grinder.

There have also been several complaints about a burning smell that comes from the grinder when it is being used.

Green Read Our In Depth Review Button
Red Check Latest Prices Button

Norpro Coffee Grinder

Specifications

  • Classic crank grinder
  • Adjustable settings
  • Functional and decorative
  • Measures 4.5 x 4.5 x 8 inches
  • Weighs 1.1 pounds
Norpro Coffee Grinder

Overview

This classic grinder is easy to operate, simply place the coffee beans inside the bowl, turn the handle, and the ground coffee will fall into the drawer at the bottom. You can adjust the grinder settings from coarse to fine.

The grinder comes almost assembled, you will simply remove the top screw and place the handle on the grinder shaft, then replace the screw. It really takes just a few seconds to have the grinder up and running.

Norpro Coffee Grinder

The grinder is made from a cast iron and has a tapered burr that rotates inside the stationary sleeve. The housing is made out of a painted hardboard and the drawer is an unpainted hardboard. The bowl, handle and support mechanisms are all made from stamped steel.

This coffee grinder currently has over 300 reviews on Amazon. It has a 4 out of 5 star rating at the moment of this review.

The people who enjoy this grinder are the ones that do not mind a hand crank grinder. People also enjoy the way this grinder looks as it is quite a decorative piece.

However, one of the biggest complaints about this grinder is that it is difficult to adjust the settings. Most people cannot get a fine grind by using this particular grinder. In addition, since this is a hand grinder, you have to spend some time getting the beans ground to the consistency that you want them.

Green Read Our In Depth Review Button
Red Check Latest Prices Button

Bodum Bistro Electric Burr Coffee Grinder

Specifications

  • 14 grind settings
  • Glass catcher that reduces static
  • Burr grinder
  • Timed grinding feature
  • Quick grind button
  • ​Available in several colors
  • 2 year warranty
Black Bodum Bistro Electric Burr Coffee Grinder

Overview

This electric coffee grinder by Bodum Bistro is fully adjustable. There are 14 grind settings from which to choose. From coarse to fine, you can choose the appropriate grind for your particular needs.

This coffee grinder features a borosilicate glass container that is used to catch the coffee grounds. The glass is static free, which reduces the amount of static in the coffee grounds.

Black Bodum Bistro Electric Burr Coffee Grinder on a Table

This grinder is easy to use, there is a push button pre-set time that allows you to grind the exact amount of coffee that you need. This helps to keep your beans fresh and prevents waste.

There is a lid on the hopper that helps keep your beans fresh as well. The lid also has a measuring guide to help you know how much coffee to grind.

The conical burr is made from stainless steel and will provide a consistent grind every time. This coffee grinder currently has over 1700 reviews on Amazon. The average rating is 4.0 out of 5 stars at the moment of this review.

Some of the complaints about this particular coffee grinder are that the hopper does not hold a full pound of coffee and if you need to change the settings frequently it can be a bit awkward. In addition, this grinder has to stay on the counter all of the time and the rubberized exterior will need to be cleaned frequently because of this.

Green Read Our In Depth Review Button
Red Check Latest Prices Button

Bellemain Burr Coffee Grinder

Specifications

  • Processes up to 7 ounces of beans at a time
  • Make 2 to 14 cups of coffee
  • Consistent grind
  • Easy to clean
  • Grounds cup is removable
  • Automatic shut off
  • 2 year warranty
Top Rated Bellemain Burr Coffee Grinder with 17 Settings

Overview

The Bellemain Burr Coffee grinder offers a powerful burr grinder with precise and flexible controls. This machine is compact and sleek and will fit in any kitchen. The burr grinder disc in this machine will provide a consistent grind for optimal aroma and flavor for your morning cup of coffee.

This coffee grinder has 17 grind settings from which to choose. For intense espresso or Turkish coffee choose settings one through three. The highest settings are designated for French presses. Within the ranges you can experiment to find the number that will best meet your particular tastes.

Bellemain Burr Coffee Grinder With 17 Settings on a Table

The Bellemain Coffee grinder will also allow you to control the portions so that you do not waste any grounds. Simply select the number of cups that you want to brew. The hopper holds up to 7 ounces of whole beans.

This grinder is very easy to use, simply select the grind, the number of cups, and press the on button and the machine will do the rest. When the grounds are ready, the grinder will turn off automatically.

This coffee grinder is also very easy to clean. It can easily be disassembled and rinsed off and then put back together.

There are currently over 250 reviews of this grinder on Amazon. It has an average rating of 4.4 stars at the moment of this review. One of the biggest complaints about this particular coffee grinder is that it leaves behind a sludge. Many people who have purchased this grinder have stated that the coarsest settings simply do not work, so this is not ideal for a press pot or a French press.

Green Read Our In Depth Review Button
Red Check Latest Prices Button

KitchenAid Blade Coffee Grinder

Specifications

  • One touch control
  • Clear top cover
  • Stainless steel blade
  • Quick grinding
  • Removable 4 oz bowl made from stainless steel
  • Heavy duty motor housing
  • One year warranty
KitchenAid BCG111OB Blade Coffee Grinder - Onyx Black

Overview

This coffee grinder from KitchenAid offers a decent profile that includes rubber feet, which prevent your countertop from getting scratched. The rubber feet also help to absorb sound so that it operates quietly.

The cover is clear and it operates using a one touch control. To use simply push the cover down to start the grinding process. Release the cover to stop the grinding. The clear cover allows you to see the grinds.

The blade is made from a strong stainless steel. The blade is very durable and powerful and will quickly grind enough coffee beans for up to 12 cups of coffee.

KitchenAid Blade Coffee Grinder with Coffee Beans

The four ounce stainless steel bowl has measurements on the side so that you quickly now how many beans that you need to make from 4 to 12 cups of coffee. The bowl can be lifted out so transfer to your coffee pot is easy.

There is also a spice grinder accessory kit available. This means that you can use the grinder for spices such as cumin and coriander. It comes with 2 removable bowls so that you do not have to risk cross contamination. The bowls are safe for being washed in the dishwasher.

There are currently over 1050 reviews of the coffee grinder on Amazon. It has a 4.3 out of five star rating at the moment of this review. Most people are completely satisfied with how this grinder works. However, some people felt that this grinder did not grind coffee beans very well, leaving whole beans in tact. In addition, some people felt that cleaning the grinder was a bit difficult.

Green Read Our In Depth Review Button
Red Check Latest Prices Button

Kuissential Manual Ceramic Burr Coffee Grinder

Specifications

  • Uniform grind size
  • Adjustable grind sizes
  • Glass storage container
  • Non slip base
  • Hopper lid to keep beans fresh
  • Quiet
  • Easy to clean
  • ​8 x 4.7 x 4 inches
  • Weighs 1.5 pounds
Kuissential Manual Ceramic Burr Coffee Grinder

Overview

This is a manual burr grinder that is made out of ceramic. This grinder allows you to grind your own coffee no matter where you are. This grinder is easy to use, simply add your beans and then begin the process of grinding them.

There are different levels of grind sizes from which to choose. This makes it easy to pick a grind that works best for your method of making coffee. The manual process of grinding your coffee means that there is less friction and heat so that there is less oil lost through evaporation. This all adds up to a more flavorful cup of coffee.

Coffee Beans Next to Kuissential Manual Ceramic Burr Coffee Grinder

The coffee grinder is really quiet and very easy to clean.

It is made from ceramic, which will absorb less heat, is on par with steel, and will last a very long time. The ceramic material will also not alter the flavor of the coffee in any way. The hopper has a lid to help keep your beans from jumping out during the grinding process.

This grinder currently has around 1400 reviews on Amazon. It comes with 4.4 out of 5 stars at the moment of this review, which is pretty high marks for a manual coffee grinder. The biggest complaint about this grinder is the fact that it takes a long time to grind your beans. It is manual after all, so you can expect to spend some time turning the crank in order to get enough grounds for your pot of coffee.

Green Read Our In Depth Review Button
Red Check Latest Prices Button

Baratza Encore

Specifications

  • 40 grind settings
  • DC motor
  • Pulse button
  • 8 ounce hopper capacity
  • 5 ounce ground bin capacity
  • Weighs: 7 pounds
  • Measures 12 x 35 x 16 cm
  • Made in the USA
Baratza Encore Conical Burr Coffee Grinder with Bin and Ground Coffee

Overview

The Encore is considered by experts to be the best entry level grinder for those who brew their coffee at home. It provides a good grind for both drip and manual brews and it also provides a fine enough grind to use for espresso.

In order to maximize the freshness of your coffee the grinder will minimize the amount of coffee that is left inside the grinder.

The Encore features a high torque DC motor that will effortlessly drive the burrs. The motor will turn slowly for a quiet and cool operation. This allows for long cycles of grinding to take place without worrying about it overheating.

Baratza Encore Conical Burr Coffee Grinder with Bin on a Table

The circuitry allows for automatic reset and a thermal cutoff switch. The innovative burr calibration ensures that the grinder has a full range of grinding abilities. The machine uses a combination of electronic and gear speed reduction in order to control the rotation of the burr. There is an on/off switch that is easy to use. The Burrs can be easily removed without any tools, which makes cleaning the device pretty easy.

There are currently over 1050 reviews of this grinder on Amazon. It has an average rating of 4 out of five stars at the moment of this review.

Overall, the reviews of the grinder are fairly positive. Most people are happy with the product for the price as this is not a high end burr grinder. However, some people have stated that it is quite noisy when it use. In addition, there are some complaints about static as well as difficulty cleaning the device.

Green Read Our In Depth Review Button
Red Check Latest Prices Button

Gaggia 8002 MDF

Specifications

  • 50 mm tempered steel burrs
  • 34 grind settings
  • 120 watt motor
  • Gear reduction system
  • 8 ounce coffee container
  • Plastic housing that is impact resistant
  • 10 ounce bean hopper
  • Measures: 20 x 14 x 14 inches
  • One year warranty
Gaggia 8002 MDF Burr Grinder with Doser

Overview

This MDF grinder from Gaggia is a commercial grade coffee grinder. It is similar to the grinders that can be found in many bars and restaurants across the country.

The grinder offers automatic dosing, which allows you to use a premeasured amount of coffee that will drop directly into a filter holder. Simply pull on the lever one time for a single cup of espresso or two times for 2 cups of espresso.

The grinding burrs can be adjusted for 39 different ways for degrees of fineness. It has a large hopper that holds up to ten ounces of coffee beans. This grinder is easy to use and provides good results with each grind.

Gaggia 8002 MDF Burr Grinder with Doser

There are currently over 100 reviews of this grinder available on Amazon. The average score for this grinder is 4 stars out of 5 at the time of this review.

Overall, most people have been happy with this grinder. It is important to note that this grinder was designed specifically with espresso in mind. It can be used for drip pots and other forms of making coffee, but works best for espresso.

One other issue that was brought up about this grinder is that it will slip on most countertops. This problem can be solved by placing it on a non slip mat to keep it in place. Other complaints are about the mess that is made as grounds end up all over your counter.

Red Check Latest Prices Button

Conclusion

When it comes to choices of coffee grinders it is really up to your personal preference. If you love a good quality cup of coffee, it is best to splurge on a higher end coffee bean grinder. The saying you get what you pay for definitely applies when it comes to purchasing your coffee grinder.

If you want good coffee you are not going to get the best cup from an old electric grinder that you picked up a year ago. There is an unwritten rule that for every dollar that you spend on a coffee machine or espresso machine you should spend at least half of that amount on a quality coffee grinder.

The best grinders will provide you with a consistent grind no matter what setting you use from coarse to fine. When you combine a quality coffee grinder with freshly roasted coffee beans you are going to get a cup of coffee that you will truly enjoy.

While there are some quality blade grinders available, even a few mentioned on the list above, if you truly want to get the most flavor from your coffee you are going to want to choose a quality burr grinder to use. These grinders do the best job of extracting flavor from the coffee beans as a blade simply slices the beans in different directions and a lot of the flavor is lost.

Breville BCG600SIL The Dose Control Pro Coffee Bean Grinder

Overall, if you want the best coffee grinder choose a burr grinder. These are simply the best options available. You should expect to spend around $100 or more for a quality burr grinder. There are some cheaper burr grinders available, but for a good quality one you are going to have to pay a higher price.

If you are just looking for a way to grind your coffee beans and you do not really care how it happens, a lower end blade grinder is a good choice for you. These can run as low as $15 and they will be able to get the job done for you.

Leave a Comment: