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 — fresher beans, fresher brew, fresher experience.
Picking a grinder can be tricky, though, if you’re sure what to look for or unsure what will fit your daily needs.
You may not be a damsel or dude in distress, but we’re here to help anyway! We’ve created a guide and a handy list of some of the best coffee grinders so you can find the perfect grinder to complement your morning (or whenever) routine.
There are a lot of options when it comes to choosing a coffee grinder, and they range from just a handful of dollars to like… a whole lot more. A lot of your decision is going to be weighted on how you view the coffee-making process. That said, we’ll start with the first of a few decisions you need to make: automatic versus manual.
Manual grinders, sometimes referred to as hand grinders, are much like pepper or salt mills, using a crank to break down the whole beans. Benefits to manual grinders are simple: they don’t create heat.
Despite the fact that we typically apply heat to coffee to get your favorite drink, heat is one of the primo things we need to avoid pre-brew. Unnecessary heat during the grinding process can degrade the flavor.
Manual grinders are great for people who wake up early, who enjoy the routine of their morning, and have time to spare. They can add a certain feeling of pride in hand-making your coffee.
If you’re really feeling that DIY spirit flowing through you, we’ve broken down the very best of the very best manual grinders that will make your zen morning self sing.
The primary downfall of manual grinders is the extra time it takes to get the job done.
Automatic grinders can finish a grinding job in 20 seconds flat (or less)—but at what cost? Well, if you’ve decided that your morning schedule is a bit more hectic, an automatic grinder is likely more your speed.
Automatic coffee grinders come in three basic types: blade and electric burr. To understand how each of them affects the taste of your coffee, you need to understand how they both affect the particle distribution.
Particle distribution is exactly what it sounds like: it’s the distribution of the particles of your coffee beans. It may not sound like it’s crucial, but it’s the deciding factor between a beautifully brewed pot of coffee and pot that should be dumped down the drain.
The reason particle distribution is so important is because it affects how the water extracts the coffee. If the particle size is inconsistent, every one of those particle sizes will extract the coffee differently, leaving the taste all over the place.
Which brings us to the first type of grinders: blade grinders. Blade grinders use a set of blades to slice 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, which, ultimately, has a negative effect on the particle distribution.
It can easily be sour, acidic, and just overall not pleasing to the taste buds.
The other type of automatic grinder uses burrs. Burr grinders have one 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 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 price tag. Burr grinders are also generally a bit heavier and use more power overall, but we don’t think this is necessarily a con.
Not all burr grinders are heavy or cumbersome, but when resisting quickly moving insides that are grinding up hard beans, a little weight on the bottom can be beneficial. When it comes to traveling with grinders, you’ll definitely want to look for a light burr grinder or even consider a manual grinder.
Ultimately, you’ll have to decide if your price point and storage space allows for a burr grinder. But personally, we'd go ahead, bypass the blade entirely, and make the leap to the clearly superior 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 sides, so we’ll save that conversation for another day.
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 honestly don’t recommend getting hung up on that. Too many choices can be the downfall of even the best-laid plans. If you choose burr over blade, you’re already heading the right direction.
Regardless of your preferred brewing method, you should look for a grinder that has a broader range of grind settings. Not every grinder will be able to produce fine enough grounds for espresso, and some grinders won’t give you a coarse enough grind if you're making a strong carafe of cold brew.
If you make several different types 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're curious.)
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.
This grinder may be called the “Encore” model, but it’s just the beginning of what Baratza offers. Baratza has been around since 1999 and has made quite a name for itself in the past 20+ years.
This entry-level machine in their line feels nothing but “entry” despite its affordable price. The 8 oz. hopper is situated over 40 mm hardened steel burrs capable of providing 40 different grind settings, from fine to coarse.
Powered by a DC motor which efficiently reduces heat, the combination of electric and gear speed reducers that slow down the RPMs to prevent not only heat, but noise and static, as well.
It features very simple controls depending on what you’re grinding. For longer, continuous grinding, the ON/OFF switch on the side will be your best friend, while for smaller grind jobs the front-mounted pulsing button will do the trick.
Want more information? Read our full review of the Baratza Encore Grinder.
It’s always nice when you know a company specializes in something. Capresso took that quite seriously, down to their very name. “Capresso” is a combination of “cappuccino” and “espresso,” leaving no doubt what this company is all about.
The Capresso 565 Infinity SS Grinder is small but mighty. Whether you’re feeling like a hearty mug of Turkish coffee or the complex brew from a French Press, the 565 Infinity SS has you covered. The 16 grind settings are just the beginning of the story, because each grind setting has four grades.
One of the distinctive perks on this model is the built-in timer, which means you can add it to your morning routine with nothing more than the push of a button. The commercial-grade steel conical burr system takes it from there, using a reduction motor to create less heat and static.
All of this is housed in a body made of heavy-duty zinc die cast and topped with an 8.8-ounce hopper for an easy-on-the-eyes addition to any kitchen.
It can be easy to go with a name you know and Breville often makes it easy to feel confident in your purchase. The Breville Smart Grinder Pro is no different.
It all begins with where you put the beans—the hopper on the Smart Grinder Pro can hold up to 18 ounces, which is a behemoth container compared to others on this list. The fact that it can hold a standard 12 oz bag of beans (plus) is a huge benefit in my book.
Next, the “Precision Electronic Timer” on the front lets you input the particulars. The time is adjustable in 0.2-second increments and you have 60 different grind sizes to choose from. It also gives you an easy-to-understand amount display, simply asking you to input how many shots of espresso or cups of coffee you’re making.
Press start and the 165-watt motor sets the stainless steel conical burr grinders to work.
Designed to reduce heat damage to the bean and preserve essential oils, the Breville Smart Grinder Pro is a great companion to any coffee lover’s kitchen— or even outside of it. While this model is a bit heftier than the ones we’d usually recommend for taking with you, the hopper has a convenient locking system specifically for hassle-free transportation.
Check out our even more detailed review here.
The OXO BREW Conical Burr Coffee Grinder with Integrated Scale says a lot of what you need to know right there in the name, but we’ll dig a little deeper into this mid-range model.
Starting off the aesthetics right, the OXO Brew Grinder feels very balanced. The hopper up top holds a very suitable 16 ounces of whole beans. Beneath, the 40mm stainless steel conical burr grinders are capable of providing you with everything from fine grounds for espresso to coarse ones for cold brew.
The integrated scale makes it a breeze to get the right amount of beans, and you can choose to measure by cups, grams, or manually, whatever your heart desires. The 120-volt motor is designed to prevent heat and reduce static using a high torque/low-speed method.
Notable features include the ability to detect when the hopper is empty and stop the motor from running—it prevents unnecessary friction that could shorten the life of the burrs.
The Baratza Virtuoso+ Grinder is a conical burr grinder that features hardened alloy steel burrs run by a DC motor. The Virtuoso+ also comes with a built-in digital timer and backlit bin for a modern, versatile touch.
Baratza has been making coffee grinders since 1999 from its location in Bellevue, WA. Developing grinders both for home and commercial use, Baratza has earned several awards from the Specialty Coffee Association, including Best New Product for three separate machines.
Starting with the hopper, the Virtuoso+ can hold 8 ounces of coffee beans. While not the largest container, it’s enough that you won’t have to refill it every day. It offers 40 different grind settings from fine to coarse and the digital timer can be set to within a tenth of a second so no matter how you’re brewing, you’ll have just what you need.
As we mentioned before, Baratza also makes commercial grinders, which works in the average, everyday users benefit in this instance. While many household appliances are designed to be tossed rather than fixed, Baratza takes a commercial mindset to this home appliance.
The Baratza comes with a 1-year warranty, helpful customer service, a troubleshooting guide, and instructions on maintaining and repairing your Virtuoso+ throughout the years.
Want to learn even more? Read our full review here.
If you’re willing to pay commercial-grade prices for commercial-grade performance, the Rancilio Rocky Coffee Grinder is exactly what you want. The 50 mm commercial-grade burrs are made of tempered steel that offers powerful grinding while staying cool under pressure.
Featuring 55 different grind levels that can be changed via dial, you’re ready to brew whatever you fancy in no time at all. Quiet, well-balanced, and capable of holding just under 10.5 ounces, the Rancilio is a great addition to any coffee aficionado’s arsenal.
“Rancilio” may not be a household name for most, but the Rancilio Group has been in the business of coffee for nearly 100 years now. Four brands, 46 patents, and 26 specialists are just the beginning of the Rancilio story. They have two centers entirely dedicated to research and development of coffee and coffee machinery.
The Baratza Virtuoso+ Grinder has a relatively small footprint that will allow you to experiment with exactly the type of grind you like without costing an arm, a leg, and a few other body parts besides. It offers exceptional features with little learning curve and excellent, durable parts from a company that specializes in not only making coffee equipment, but repairing them, as well.
Sustainability always adds points in my book!
There is an endless supply of affordable manual hand grinders, so you should definitely take a gander at the wide variety of options on the market, but we want to highlight one in particular: the Handground Precision Manual Coffee Grinder.
It’s simple tried and true design, a penchant for consistency, and 15 grind settings make it a go-to for many baristas and coffee-lovers alike. Check out our full review here.
When it comes to making a good pitcher of cold brew, you want to make sure your grinder can make coarse-to-very-coarse grounds. While the Virtuoso+ is an all-around-good pick, there are some more affordable options, too.
The OXO Brew is designed to provide coarse grounds while remaining semi-affordable for the average coffee consumer. You might also consider the Breville Smart Grinder Pro for its grind versatility, as well.
If your budget is unlimited, consider splurging on the Rancilio.
If you’re looking for something to use at a small establishment, cafe, bookstore, then the Rancilio Rocky Espresso Grinder is a great commercial option. If you’re looking for something to grace the counter of a coffee shop, the Baratze Forte is more what you’ll be needing.
We’ve talked about Baratza, OXO, Breville, and Capresso. They’re solid brands that are pretty well-known in the coffee world, but they’re definitely not alone. We’ll give a bit more on the aforementioned brands first, and then take you a little bit further into the world of coffee devices.
We gave you a nice brief on Baratza earlier, but the company was founded in 1999 and has been experiencing a number of successes throughout the years. Focusing solely on coffee grinders, Baratza has won three awards from the Specialty Coffee Association for their exceptional work.
Their operations are run out of Bellevue, Washington, but they’re built in Taiwan with the burr grinders hailing from Europe.
This Australian brand has been producing household kitchen appliances since 1992. Breville makes everything from toasters to espresso machines, and has even collaborated with Nespresso to manufacture several of their models.
We all know where Capresso stands on what they care about. With Capresso being a combination of “cappuccino” and “espresso,” their focus is entirely on what people use to make their caffeinated morning beverage.
Founded in 1994, Capresso has made the rounds on talk shows, news shows, and online articles for its machines.
Founded in 1921, Hario is a heatproof manufacturing company located in Japan. When they expanded to household items, the first thing they made was a coffee siphon. Today, they continue their good work making microwave-safe kitchenware, coffee, and tea products.
Team Handground is all about coffee. In fact, they refer to themselves as a “community” rather than a company. Led by enthusiasts, engineers, and designers, Handground only does innovative coffee equipment.
Their products come to fruition following a design, rendering, and kickstarting process, so products that make it to the market have been extensively reviewed and thoroughly backed!
Krups takes the wisdom award — founded in 1846, they have a long history of innovation. Making kitchen appliances, accessories, and coffee supplies, Krups has made latte makers that connect to your smartphone, collaborated with Heineken, and developed fully-automatic espresso machines.
As you can maybe tell from the name, JavaPresse Coffee Company is 100% about the coffee. Founded by Raj Jana, Javapresse was created on the simple “passion for helping people transform coffee into something meaningful each day.”
Javapresse may only be in the foundling stages of its life, having only been launched in 2015, but they’ve sold over 135,000 manual grinders, granted 4 wishes for the Make-A-Wish Foundation, and launched the world’s first fresh-focused small-batched Specialty Coffee Club in the world!
Developed by Luigi Mazzer between World War I and World War II, Mazzer specializes entirely in coffee dosers and grinders. All of their products are manufactured in Gardigiano di Scorzè and sent worldwide.
Mahlkonig was founded in 1924 and prides themselves on their quality, innovation, and performance. Headquartered in Hamburg, they offer espresso grinders, shop grinders, and industrial grinders.
OXO, like Breville, makes an enormous number of housewares. They focus a lot on revolutionizing everyday products to address pain points, and their coffee products are no exception.
Founded in 1990 with headquarters in New York City, they sell goods worldwide.
Once you’ve gotten an amazing grinder to make you amazing coffee, you’ve got to keep it… well… amazing. Maintenance isn’t difficult or complex with most coffee grinders, but you’ll definitely want to keep up with it to keep your equipment so it’s working in tip-top shape.
When it comes to cleaning a coffee grinder, it’s typically quick and no-nonsense.
If you notice oil on the lid or blades, there’s a quick fix for that. Take some plain bread or raw rice and put them into the grinder. Either one will absorb the oil while cleaning the blades, then simply dump out the crumbs, dust with a soft brush if necessary, and you’re good to go!
When it’s time to do a full clean on your coffee grinder, it only involves a few more steps. You’ll want to check the manual for how to dismantle your particular machine, but, primarily, you’ll be removing lids and blades.
Much of your grinder equipment is top-rack dishwasher safe, but hand washing them might be the safer and quicker alternative. Wipe any particles off of the burr grinders with a damp cloth and that should do!
Remember: never submerge the base of your grinder in water. It houses the electrical components. Simply wipe the housing with a clean, damp cloth and it should be good to go!
Grinding your own coffee is the best way to really enjoy the complex flavors and notes of a great bag of coffee beans. The moment whole beans are ground, they begin to oxidize and degrade, losing freshness and flavor — they very last thing any true coffee lover wants.
When left in whole bean form, they retain their freshness much longer. Store them in a dry, dark place and only grind what you need when you need it for delicious brew every time you make it.
Check out our guide on the best coffee storage containers.
It depends on what brew method you’re using. For a breakdown of all grind sizes, we prepared a handy grind chart for you, but let’s talk about the most common methods.
The medium grind is the most used on a daily basis for the average coffee consumer. Medium-fine grind works well for pour over methods, true medium is used in most percolators and brew machines, while medium-coarse is just right for Chemex.
When it comes to making a French Press cuppa or cold brew, coarser grinds are required, while espresso needs a fine grind to extract a beautiful shot.
Despite these general guidelines, they’re just that: guides. If you’re not absolutely happy with your cup after using the recommended grind setting, start fiddling. Make your grind a little finer, make it a little coarser, and discover what tickles your taste buds the most!