Coffee, the ambrosia of tycoons and paupers alike, is many things to many people. It’s a breakfast staple, the preferred beverage of cops and journalists on the beat, and people on a night shift. It’s the product of vast agricultural production in the developing world. It’s also the most widely used psychoactive drug on the planet!
The modern preparations of coffee go far beyond cream and sugar. There are hot and cold variations, additions of vanilla, whipped cream, or soy or pea protein milk.
The Best Coffee Grinders in the Market
Coffee connoisseurs will nevertheless tell you that it’s less about the manner of preparation and all about the beans. And they’re right! Nothing beats whole coffee beans that you grind just before brewing. And for that, you’ll need a grinder.
Here’s our guide to the best coffee grinders in the market today.
Burr vs. Blade
There are two basic types of grinders. Blade grinders are less expensive than burr grinders. But they don’t really “grind” your coffee beans. They crunch them with two fast-moving blades.
There is one basic problem with this approach. By chopping the beans at high speed, blade grinders produce grinds that are inconsistent in size. The result is coffee that falls short of the beans’ potential.
Burr grinders grind beans between two burred plates. The plates, or “burrs,” are flat in some models, conical in others. One plate remains stationary, while the other spins around.
The advantage is that the burrs grind beans to a uniform size. This makes for a better cup of coffee. Burr grinders also allow you to grind beans to the coarseness or fineness that suits your coffeemaker.
That said, all the grinders in the line-up below are burr grinders.
The Best of the Best
The Baratza Encore is an entry-level burr grinder, but that doesn’t stop it from delivering strong performance and durability. With 40 settings, the Encore produces an even grind no matter how coarse or finely dusted you want your beans.
The quality of the grind is better than anything you’d get from most blade grinders or even the cheaper disk-burr grinders. This means you will get more flavor clarity and consistency in your brews.
There’s more. While the Encore is a sturdy machine, it offers excellent repairability and a good warranty, as well. That means if any parts do wear out or break down, they’ll be easy to obtain.
OXO Brew Conical Burr Coffee Grinder
Though it isn’t cheap, the OXO Brew Conical Burr Coffee Grinder is among the best in its price range. The machine’s even grind and easy-to-use features make it a good alternative to the more expensive Baratza Encore.
This grinder also comes with good features for more-casual coffee makers. There is a simple timer ranging from zero to 30 seconds. There are also 15 settings covering everything from finely ground espresso to a coarse-ground perfect for a French press.
The machine’s slim, narrow profile doesn’t monopolize counter space, though it’s 16 inches tall. Thanks to a shut-off valve, you can also remove the 12-ounce hopper with the beans inside. (With the Baratza grinders, you have to empty the machine over a bowl or grind through everything in the hopper.)
Best Manual Grinder
The Hario Skerton is one of the most iconic hand grinders out there. A few years back, Hario released a new and improved version of it. That’s the Hario Skerton Pro.
As one would expect from a somewhat low-tech tool, the Pro is simple to use. Pour the beans into the top and put the biceps to work. You’ll get freshly ground coffee in a minute or two. That’s fast as far as hand grinders go.
The burr design produces a consistent, fine grind. While that’s enough for most people, it’s not ideal for French press brewing. The Skerton Pro just isn’t consistent enough at coarse grinds.
Some reviewers have also noted how the silicon grip constantly falls off. That’s true. On the upside, however, the threads on the grinder portion are standard. That means that if anything happens to the glass jar you can replace it with a regular mason jar!
Best for the Connoisseur
Breville took a page out of the Apple playbook when they made the Smart Grinder Pro. The machine is effective, convenient, and intuitive. The easy-to-use features make grinding a breeze for the beginner. The 60 grind options are meanwhile enough to satisfy the experienced connoisseur.
This machine will give you as consistent a grind as some of the best burr grinders in its price range. Switching between the 60 grind options is simple, too. This makes the Smart Grinder Pro excellent for homes where each coffee lover likes to brew in a special way.
The Smart Grinder Pro does have one shortcoming, though. Like the Skerton Pro, the coarse settings do not produce coffee grounds as even as those of other settings. This is baffling given the obvious attention the manufacturers gave to its overall design and functions.
Still, if you’re not a fussy French press drinker, the Smart Grinder Pro’s performance and features justify its price.
Best for the Jetsetter
The Hario Mini Slim Plus is perfect for a shot of espresso or even a small mocha pot. It doesn’t grind as fast as the Skerton, but it’s much lighter. This portable machine is also compact and sturdy enough to throw into your bag when you travel.
Coffee lovers can be a fickle bunch. But most coffee aficionados do approve of the output of the Mini Slim Plus. The machine is the size of a pepper mill, but it can manage grind sizes from coarse to fine. So, size is not an issue.
Our final verdict? In terms of pricing, performance, and compactness, the Mini Slim Plus is among the best your money can buy.
Best Grinder with a Scale
Weight is an important variable when you brew coffee. The OXO Burr Grinder with Integrated Scale is among the only grinders that come with a built-in scale. Sure, you can use a kitchen scale to weigh your coffee beans, but this feature makes precise brewing all the more convenient.
This OXO model offers good performance where it counts, too. The machine boasts easy-to-use features and excellent grind consistency.
You choose your grind size, select the weight you want, and hit start. Once that’s done, you can walk away and start breakfast. The machine will shut itself off once it’s done brewing your joe.
There’s a strange downside to this OXO model, though. While it does produce excellent grind consistency, it can shoot coffee beans all over the counter in the process! You’ll have to be careful when you select your bean and grind size.
Best Grinder for the Great Outdoors
VSSL manufactures modern, ultra-compact, ultralight gear kits for the outdoors. Among the company’s core designs are waterproof canisters with flashlights, compasses, first aid kits, and more. The company recently took that basic design and turned it into a portable coffee grinder.
The Java Grinder is rugged and light enough for the outdoors and it’s well-made, too. The airplane-grade aluminum should hold-up against the rough and tumble of any campsite.
This grinder’s clever design allows you to fold the handle. This permits ample room for leverage while you grind. The same handle can act as a hook with which to hang the Java when you’re not using it!
Even more impressive, the Java Grinder produces an even grind. This little helper can cover all brew possibilities, too, from French-press to espresso!
That’s it, coffee-drinkers. These – in our coffee-loving opinion – are the best grinders in the market today. There are, of course, other good coffee grinders out there. But these deliver the best joe for your buck as far as we’re concerned.
Now, who wants a refill?