Best Coffee Grinders in 2018

All coffee aficionados know that if you really want to step up your coffee game, you absolutely need a good grinder. It’s one of the fundamental tools for producing a better cup of coffee. Fresh grounds open up flavors not normally available from pre-ground coffee in a bag.

We’ve created a guide and a handy list of some of the best coffee grinders so you can find your perfect one. 

How Do I Choose a Grinder?

Blade vs Burr

blade vs burr grinder

Grinders come in two basic types: blade and burr. To understand how each of them affect the taste of your coffee, you need to understand how they both affect the particle distribution.

Particle distribution is just as it sounds. It’s the distribution of the particles of your coffee beans. Burr and blade grinders are very different in this sense.

A blade grinder involves a set of blades slicing up the beans. The coarseness of the grind depends on the duration of the grinding action. However, no matter how long you let your grinder run, a blade grinder is going to give you a combination of coarse and fine grounds in the same batch. This has a negative effect on the particle distribution.

The reason particle distribution is so important is because it affects how the water extracts the coffee from those particles. If the particle size is inconsistent, every one of those particle sizes will extract the coffee differently. As a consequence, the taste will be all over the place.

The other type is a burr grinder. Burr grinders have a stationary burr and one that rotates on top of it. Rather than simply slicing up the beans, the burr uses a sharp cutting surface that crushes the beans in a far more precise manner. There will be a more consistent grind, and you’ll have far more control over the how coarse or fine it is.

If money is your primary consideration when selecting a grinder, then the only downside to a burr grinder vs a blade grinder will be the pricetag. Burr grinders are also generally a bit heavier and use more power overall, but we don’t think this is a necessarily a con.

Ultimately, you’ll have to decide if your price point and storage space allows for a burr grinder. But personally, we'd go ahead and make the leap to burr. As you’ll see in our reviews, there are plenty of low-cost options to select from.

You can also decide what material your burrs are made of. Ceramic is a durable, sharp material, but it's more expensive. Also, If you get a stone or some other small, rough particle in your grinder, you may potentially crack the material. Steel, on the other hand, is generally less expensive but needs to be sharpened more often. To be frank, we’ve had great results from both steel burr and ceramic burr grinders. The “steel vs. ceramic” debate is one that has passionate advocates on both end, so we’ll save that conversation for another post!

Settings

Depending on the type of coffee you usually brew, you might decide to get a broader range of grind settings. Not every grinder will be able to produce fine enough grounds for espresso, and espresso grinders won’t give a coarse enough grind to work in a French Press.

If you make a wide variety of coffee, then you’ll want a grinder with more fine-tuned grind settings. This will cut down on the frustration of getting grinds stuck in your French press for example, or never being able to use your fun Turkish coffee carafe (the “ibrik”, if you must know.)

Most burr grinders will offer a wide range of settings, but double check that your favorite type of coffee is included in the scope, especially if it's on the extra fine end.

Conical vs. Flat Burr

conical vs flat

Much like the somewhat controversial ceramic vs. steel debate, the “conical vs. flat burr“ debate is built on a lot of unproven theories. You may develop your own preferences, but overall, you’ll find that both types tend to produce the same quality of coffee. Claims that one brings out certain taste notes that the other doesn’t is mostly conjecture, but we won't openly argue with true coffee connoisseurs.

That being said, if you know people with one or the other type, you might want to test out both to see if you have a preference. But we don’t recommend getting hung up on that. If you choose burr over blade, you’re already heading the right direction.

Best Coffee Grinders: Our choices

Baratza Virtuoso Grinder

The Virtuoso is a conical burr grinder with an ultra-efficient motor that slows the grinding motion down to reduce heat and static. It keeps beans cool even when grinding for espresso. The grind range is 250 to 1200 microns.

The pulse button is front mounted, and the unit features a 60-second timer for consistent grinding. There are 40 different settings from fine to coarse, and though it has automatic calibration, you can adjust if needed.

PROS

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    The motor reduces heat even with extended grinding sessions.
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    It can provide a consistent grind both for french press and espresso.
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    The design is beautiful. Leaving the grinder on the counter won’t be an eyesore.
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    Speed control option ranges from 405 to 495 RPM.

CONS

  • Disassembly for cleaning isn’t very intuitive, but it does come with a manual.
  • The plastic grounds holder can retain a bit of static.
Rancilio Rocky Coffee Grinder

The Rancilio Rocky is an extremely popular grinder with a grind range from fine and coarse. The burrs are tempered steel, which offers powerful grinding but stays cooler during the grinding process.

You can choose between 55 different grinding levels by turning the dial. It is very well-balanced and quiet, but does have an automatic shutoff feature (just in case the machine jams or overheats).

In contrast to some other grinders on our list, the Rocky can hold a much larger amount of beans in the hopper. The tradeoff is that it’s a large unit that won’t exactly be easy to store out of sight.

PROS

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    Tempered steel burrs are powerful but remain cooler at the slower speed.
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    The hopper is UV filtered blue to protect your beans but allow a good view.
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    It can hold over a half pound of beans at once, making it more convenient for shops or households that require a greater amount.

CONS

  • In comparison to other grinders on our list, the size is quite big for a household grinder.
  • The placement of the power button is somewhat inconvenient.
BREVILLE Smart Grinder Pro

Breville’s Smart Grinder is a conical burr system designed to reduce heat damage to the bean and preserve essential oils. You have the choice of 60 different grind levels and a bright front screen to view all the settings.

You can adjust the grind time in increments of two seconds at a time. The grounds tray is removable, making cleaning much easier. It holds about 18 ounces of beans and dispenses in a downward motion rather than outward.

PROS

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    The construction of the dispenser reduces clogging, even with a fine grind.
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    Changing the grind size is simple on the display.
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    The removable grounds tray is very convenient for clean up.

CONS

  • The included airtight container isn’t as airtight as we’d like.
  • It doesn’t handle coarse french press grind particularly well. We think it’s much more suitable in the fine to medium range.
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    It’s a unit that’s on the larger side, which could be inconvenient for smaller kitchens.
Baratza Encore Grinder

With 40 different settings from fine to coarse, the Encore is one of our favorite entry level grinders. It has a DC motor which efficiently reduces heat, and a combination of electric and gear speed reducers that slow down the machine more safely.

The pulse button is front mounted while the hopper stores eight ounces of bean. The burrs are automatically calibrated, but you can adjust them if you need to. The machine has an automatic shut off in the event of jamming or overheating.

PROS

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    Its smaller size is better for overall storage.
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    The machine is quiet and reduces heat well.
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    Dual electric and gear speed reducer helps to cut down on jamming.
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    Baratza’s line of grinders are generally very well suited for all-purpose use, but when taking the cost into consideration, espresso grinding is particularly impressive on this unit.
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    Baratza also has an excellent reputation for replacing parts.

CONS

  • Compared to Baratza’s Virtuoso, the overall grind range is more limited.
  • The machine can produce a bit of static.
Capresso 565 Infinity SS Grinder

This small but mighty Capresso grinder features a built-in timer, stores up to eight-ounces, and is made with zinc die-cast housing.

It has 16 different grind settings, and each of those has four grades. This unit can handle an extra fine grind for Turkish coffee or a coarse grind for French Press. It has a steel conical burr system that reduces heat and friction on the bean.

PROS

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    Each setting offers an extra fine, fine, regular, and coarse option to get the exact grind you need.
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    It features a built-in timer from five to 60 seconds.
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    The container remains sealed during grinding and will not operate if it is not sealed.
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    It features a smaller footprint for household storage without sacrificing options.

CONS

  • The markings to indicate level of coarseness rub off easily making it hard to see your choice.
  • Some of the parts are plastic, such as the adjustment knob, which isn’t as durable.

The OXO On conical burr coffee grinder features an integrated scale for weighing your beans. It also has an LED display that gives you 38 settings different settings to choose from.

The motor is built to grind more efficiently at a lower speed so your beans won’t overheat, and it features an automatic shut off should the machine overheat or become jammed. It also detects when the hopper is empty and won’t let the grinder continue running. This is a feature we really like, as it prevents unnecessary friction.

PROS

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    It has a long-lasting, steel conical burr design.
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    The bright LED display is very user friendly.
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    You can set a grams-to-cup ratio to adjust the strength of your coffee.

CONS

  • There are fewer grind settings that others on our list, and it doesn’t offer an extra fine option for Turkish coffee.
  • The container is plastic, which can cause static.
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    Due to its smaller size, you don’t have the option to grind copious amounts of coffee at once, though this does save on storage space.

Our favorite

The Baratza Virtuoso Grinder has a relatively small footprint that will allow you to experiment with exactly the type of grind you like. Its intuitive features and excellent construction make this the best grinder to get you started on your grinding journey. It offers exceptional features with little learning curve and excellent, durable parts.

The conical burr design is there, plus the way to control your grind setting is an intuitive system for someone who doesn't have much experience in grinding. Overall, it makes the process more efficient and precise.

Let us know in the comments below if you have any questions about how to achieve the perfect grind for your cup of coffee.