Best Coffee Grinders: What Are They Like?

We all love a good cup of coffee to fuel our day. So allow us to let you in on a secret that your favorite coffee shop will never tell you: The key to a quality brew is not the expensive espresso makers they use. It’s because they have the best coffee grinders!

Man Grinding Fresh Coffee Beans

Yes, you read it right. If you grind your coffee beans fresh before brewing, it allows them to release their natural flavors, oils, and aromas.

To prove our theory, our team spent the whole week trying out different coffee grinders to find out the commonality between them. Read more to know what we found out.

Types of Coffee Grinders

How to spot the best Coffee Grinder

Choosing the best coffee bean is vital to make you a perfect cup of joe. However, it is just as important to invest in the best coffee grinder to maximize its potential and give you the rich and full flavors you are looking for.

Types of Coffee Grinders

burr grinder, with freshly ground coffee

Not all of the best coffee grinders are made equal, so you can’t just go to the store and purchase the first option you see on the shelf. Coffee grinders come in all shapes and sizes, all explicitly made for different use.

Below is a crash course on different coffee grinders to know what best will work for you.

Manual Coffee Grinder

Let’s start from where it all began; a manual coffee grinder is a compact machine with a knob on the top for you to manually grind your coffee with the help of the blades inside.

Manual grinders are very affordable and have a versatile grind size option to choose whether you want a smooth or coarse grind.

a collection of Manual Grinders

This is also your best bet if you don’t want to add more to your electricity bills because it doesn’t need any of it to function! And the best thing about it is that it doesn’t make as much noise as electric grinders.

This is a traditional way to grind coffee beans; despite the hard work that it requires, it’s always worth it to put in some elbow grease.

Electric Coffee Grinder

This one is the faster way of grinding your coffee. The electric grinder also offers a wider variety of grind size options and is more capable of grinding large quantities of beans at a time than manual grinders.

Melitta Molino Coffee Grinder (1019-01) Electric Coffee Grinder

With just one push of a button, you will already have fresh coffee grounds to brew. However, you’ll have to pay a bit more if you want a durable and high-quality coffee grinder but having excellent freshly brewed coffee makes it worth the price.

The only downside to this type of coffee grinder is the amount of noise it makes. Overall, this is still the best coffee grinder for coffee drinkers on the go.

Blade Grinders

The next is the more popular electric grinder option that you will commonly see for sale in stores.

Blade grinders have a more straightforward operation in producing coffee grounds. It uses a long blade at the bottom of the chamber that rapidly rotates and chops anything it encounters.

electric blade grinder with coffee beans and coffee grounds on a table

However, this is also the downfall of this type of coffee grinder due to the inconsistent grind it produces, and that isn’t exactly ideal for extracting the flavors we want from our coffee beans.

On the other hand, the blade grinder is affordable, easy to use, and clean. So if you’re a beginner brewer who is tired of brewing pre-ground coffee, this is your next best investment.

Burr Grinders

This one is a better option than the blade grinder because it is the industry standard for coffee grinders used in cafes.

Burr grinders have a more complicated process that relies on two burrs that spin in opposite directions. This allows the coffee beans to be ground in uniform sizes without generating too much heat that will affect the extraction of its flavors.

an image of a conical burr coffee grinder

This type of coffee grinder also has a wide selection of grind options that you can adjust through the distance of the burrs. The closer the burrs are together, the more refined it grinds the coffee beans and vice versa.

It’s not as easy to find as the manual grinder or the blade grinder, and the quality and consistency of ground coffee it produces come with a hefty price tag. But investing in a burr grinder will go a long way, for they are built to last.

Espresso Grinders

If you are an espresso enthusiast who looks for a relatively coarser grind for your coffee beans than the fine ones produced by a burr grinder, then the espresso grinder is the one for you!

The espresso grinder gives brewers grinding coffee options for specific grind size adjustments to produce the perfect shot. Espresso lovers will know the impact of the slightest adjustments that transform the shots from watery and sour to thick and sweet.

An image of different espresso grinders on a table

This type of coffee grinder includes beneficial features such as a portafilter holder, timer, and even dose settings. It is made with quality burr materials and sizes so these will surely last you a long time.

Just like any other quality product, espresso grinders are not so cheap, but if you are someone who enjoys their daily shot of espresso, this one is worth the investment.

Travel Grinder

The last type of coffee grinder on our list is something for the coffee drinker who enjoys their coffee in the great outdoors.

image of a coffee drinker holding a hand grinder

With a travel grinder that you can lug around in your rucksacks, you will have access to freshly ground coffee anytime, anywhere. These handy coffee grinders come in two options: a portable electric grinder or a manual burr grinder.

But for us, nothing beats the simplicity, convenience, and consistency of a manual burr grinder because manually ground coffee never fails to give you the whole outdoor experience!

How To Spot The Best Coffee Grinder

image of an electric burr grinder and a conical burr grinder side by side

Now, you know the different types of coffee grinders, however, you still can’t decide on a purchase. Allow us to help you narrow down your choices.

Below, you can find a list of the qualities you should look out for when picking the best coffee grinder in the market.

Size

Not everyone has ample counter space to fit all their equipment. Your coffee maker is probably already taking up a lot of that space.

So if you have a small kitchen, it is wise to invest in a small and compact coffee grinder, and luckily, there are many size options for coffee grinders out there.

electric coffee grinder beside an espresso machine

We recommend that you get a blade grinder as it won’t take up too much space in your kitchen because these types of grinders are smaller than their counterparts, and they are much more affordable too.

There are a lot of coffee grinders in all shapes and sizes but in choosing one, always keep in mind the size of the grinder you are getting and the space you have in your kitchen.

Material Quality

a top shot of the blade in a blade coffee grinder

As mentioned above, blade grinders come in two different blade options: ceramic and stainless steel.

This factor is essential in choosing the best blade grinder for grinding coffee because it determines the durability and performance of your coffee grinder.

We recommend getting the stainless steel option since they never go dull and will surely last you a long time. Also, check on the quality of the blades because low-quality ones are likely to clog and wear down quickly.

Grind Settings

We all have our preferences on how fine we want to grind coffee beans, and this plays a role in how the ground coffee will taste after brewing.

The coarseness of your ground coffee also varies depending on the brewing method you will use. There are varying requirements for different brewing methods such as cold brew, espresso, drip, etc.

Having a coffee grinder with specific options for grinding your coffee beans is vital if you want to explore more brewing methods. You would want one that produces a consistent grind and helps you achieve the perfect grind size.

Close up shot on the dial of conical burr grinder for grind size options

You might come across the terms stepped and stepless when you buy your coffee grinder. Stepped grinders are those with pre-set settings that you can select before you start grinding your beans. Stepless grinders, on the other hand, are those without established settings that allow you more options to choose from a general range.

If you are fussy about this, we recommend you choose a burr grinder for it features a variety of grind size adjustments – from super fine to very coarse – and produces even, and uniform ground coffee.

Ease of Cleaning

Over time, gunk will build up in your grinder if you don’t make a habit of cleaning it regularly. We suggest cleaning your coffee grinder after each use, as the oils from the beans can cling to the blades and will start giving off an unusual smell.

close up shot inside an electric burr grinder with leftover coffee grounds

The type of coffee grinder that is easiest to clean is blade grinders. Because of its simple mechanism, it is easy to reach and sanitize every inch and corner of the machine.

But if you have more time to allow for cleaning every day, the parts of the burr grinder are easy to remove and re-assemble.

Price

Because of its wide variety, coffee grinders come with varying prices too. The price range depends on the materials that the grinder is made of, the brand, and many other factors.

images of burr grinders

If you want a coffee grinder of the best quality and long durability, it will cost you around $100-$500. These are usually industry-standard burr grinders that are designed to last you a long time.

However, there are still many affordable options to try, especially if you are still new at brewing. Take note that cheaper grinder options are not often made with durable materials, and you will end up spending more on repairs and replacements.

Always make sure that you are investing your money wisely.

Noise Emission

an image of a conical burr coffee grinder

We all love making our coffee in the morning, but not everyone in the household is a morning person which is why we want to grind coffee as quietly as we can.

You can opt for manual grinders or conical burr grinders if you don’t want one that is too noisy as they tend to be on the quieter side than blade grinders. Here’s a list quiet coffee grinders.

Make sure you test them out in-store, or if you are buying one online, make it a habit to read the reviews and comments about the product.

Speed

This factor may be a selling point for some products, but it’s not the same for coffee grinders. Grinding coffee with high-speed motors tends to produce more heat which affects the flavor of the ground coffee it makes.

images of direct-drive burr grinders

Keep in mind that speed in a coffee grinder is a sign of a cheaper product that won’t last you long. This can be remedied by stopping from time to time, but it will take you longer and eventually wear out your machine.

That being said, always prioritize machines that grind at a slower speed, and fun fact, there is a kind of burr grinder called direct-drive grinders for this. These again come with a price but will ensure you produce a quality cup of coffee.

Overall Aesthetic

image of a conical burr coffee grinder, next to a matching espresso machine, and french press coffee maker

Not all of us are likely to weigh functionality over appearance in any purchase decision. Others want something that they don’t mind considering that it will be living on their kitchen counter.

If you are that kind of person, you have to spend some time browsing for the best option. There are coffee grinders designed more with the appearance in mind, and over the wide range of options you have in the market, you’ll find the best-looking coffee grinder that will make you the best ground coffee at the most reasonable price.

Final Thoughts

Despite the brewing method of your choice, whether you have an espresso machine, a french press, or even if you’re just making drip coffee, a coffee grinder is a crucial element to the perfect brew.

It is the reason why coffee tastes a lot better if you grind the beans yourself, and there are numerous options and types of grinders suited for your taste and your budget.

image of a group of coffee drinkers

To help you make the perfect coffee at home and enhance your coffee experience, we encourage you to invest in a coffee grinder. But keep in mind that it is crucial to always check for the necessary factors about these machines to ensure that they will serve you long and well.

We hope that this article serves as a helpful guide in your search for the best coffee grinder!

To get better at brewing coffee, coffee guides here.