- Freshly ground coffee is addictive and delicious. If you want to make the perfect brew each morning, you need a coffee grinder.
- After much research and some testing, we found that the Baratza Encore Conical Burr Grinder is the best option for most people with its relatively affordable price tag and consistently great grinds.
- You can also check out our guides to the best espresso machine, the best stovetop espresso machine, the best milk frothers, and more.
There's nothing better than a perfect cup of coffee. If you're a coffee snob, you probably know that freshly ground coffee makes for a better cup of Joe. Coffee goes stale relatively quickly, so when you buy pre-ground beans, you may be losing some of your coffee's flavor. A good grinder will grind your beans to a uniform size so that you get the most out of your beans. Grinding beans every day before you make coffee may sound like a hassle, but a grinder can quickly pulverize your beans to maximize their flavor.
Coffee grinders range from the incredibly affordable to the absurdly expensive and any point in between. We've tested a few coffee grinders and researched dozens more to find the best ones you can buy.
Before we get into our picks, there are some key terms and features you need to know. The main choice is grinders is between blade and burr. Burr grinders are largely considered superior, but are also more expensive. As such, we've included one blade grinder and the rest are burr grinders at varying price points. For a full breakdown of what to know and consider when buying a coffee grinder, jump to the bottom of this guide.
Having a powerful, consistent, and well-made grinder is essential to making the most out of your beans. These are the best grinders you can buy.
Here are the best coffee grinders:
- Best overall: Baratza Encore Conical Burr Coffee Grinder
- Best mid-range coffee grinder: OXO Brew Conical Burr Grinder
- Best handheld coffee grinder: Brim Electric Handheld Burr Grinder
- Best luxury coffee grinder: Baratza Virtuoso Conical Burr Coffee Grinder
- Best blade coffee grinder: KRUPS F203 Electric Spice and Coffee Grinder
- Best manual coffee grinder: Hario Mini Mill Slim Hand Coffee Grinder
Prices and links are current as of 10/30/20. We're currently testing Breville's Smart Grinder Pro and Rancilio's Rocky as an espresso grinder. For now, we stand by the Baratza Virtuoso, which is the most affordable grinder we've found that produces espresso-grade grounds. If you're looking to get into espresso and haven't bought an espresso machine yet, consider a Breville Barista (Express or Pro), which is an all-in-one appliance that's much more affordable.
The best overall
The Baratza Encore Conical Burr Coffee Grinder produces consistently uniform coffee grounds for most grind settings, and it costs far less than other high-end models.
Many coffee experts will tell you that the least amount of money you should spend on a coffee grinder is $100 because you get what you pay for in the coffee world. Although there are fancier high-end models that cost hundreds more than the Baratza Encore Conical Burr Coffee Grinder, this really is the best grinder for most people, save for espresso fiends. You won't get espresso-grade grounds from the Encore (we tried), but you will be able to produce everything from French press to filtered coffee, and you might get away with grounds for your moka pot, depending on your taste.
The Encore is considered the ultimate entry-level burr grinder for coffee enthusiasts at home, and you really don't need more than what it offers. It has 40 individual grind settings, ranging from fine to coarse and everything in between. Once you find the perfect setting for your tastes, you're all set.
It runs on a DC motor with electric and gear speed reducers that slow the burr to 550 RPM to reduce noise, static, and unwanted variations in particle size. The Encore is a great all-around grinder that performs nearly as well and consistently as the pricier competition.
Baratza also has a great repair program, so if your machine needs a repair or a full cleaning, they'll take care of it for you for a fee once your outside of warranty.
Pros: Conical burr grinder, 40 grind settings, easy to use, reliable, consistent, relatively affordable, a good repair program
Cons: Can't make espresso grounds, one-year warranty is a bit short, it's entry-level — not high-end
The best mid-range burr grinder
The OXO Brew Conical Burr Grinder grinds slowly, but that in turn reduces static, noise, and inconsistencies in your grounds.
A burr grinder is a great tool to have if you can afford it, but lower-end grinders can be something of a let-down. Uneven grounds, static mess, and overheating are some of the regular issues with burr grinders in the sub-$100 category, but OXO nearly eliminates them all with a thriftiness you can't help but appreciate — and respect, just so long as you're not after espresso grounds.
OXO includes a grounding prong in the power plug, which grounds the stainless steel grounds bin and keeps static down. Other grinders with plastic bins produce just as much static, which, with plastic, there's no eliminating.
This device also employs a much lower motor RPM, which comes with its own pros and cons. While you'll have to wait for what feels like twice as long as you would with most burr grinders, this allows for a kind of precision most others in the price range won't match. It also makes much less noise, which the rest of the household will surely appreciate. One user recorded 74 decibels, reporting it to be less than a blender.
PC Verge is a big fan of the OXO Brew grinder, suggesting that at this price, you won't find a better grinder. They do note that the machine doesn't come with a scale, which might be upsetting for certain coffee drinkers, but scales that come along at this price tend to be fraught with difficulties anyhow.
Basically, if you want a burr grinder at an affordable price point, this is your best bet for now. Just know that you won't be able to get espresso out of this one, either.
Pros: Thoroughly well-designed, consistent grounds, low noise level, minimal static
Cons: Slower than other burr grinders, no built-in scale, can't produce espresso grounds
The best handheld burr grinder
The Brim Electric Handheld Burr Grinder is slim, sleek, tidy, and affordable.
If the Brim Electric Handheld Burr Grinder looks like an electric pepper mill, that's because, in essence, it is. Wire-free, this tall, lean, battery-powered gizmo will alleviate clutter from your kitchen counter, but just keep in mind that it is small.
Grinding coffee for the whole household could be quite the chore with the small, 30-gram capacity, but for a couple of people each morning, it's the perfect size. It's also portable.
A motor on top of steel burrs with a hopper and container in the bottom keep this thing compact, but nine grinding settings keep it fully functional.
Like the OXO Brew, this grinder is slow — though it's even slower because it's battery-powered. This has its advantages: it's quiet, and it produces unburned grounds, which can be a common problem with high-velocity grinders whose blades get hot and can burn the grounds.
Insider Reviews deputy editor Malarie Gokey is a big fan of this little powerhouse. In effect, this is the reliable but no-frills choice for small households. You'll keep very busy running this machine if you're trying to caffeinate more than a few people at once, but other than that, we're pretty confident it won't let you down.
Like the two above, the only thing this machine isn't a great pick for is espresso. We're still actively testing this model, so stay tuned for longevity notes. — Owen Burke
Pros: Quiet, efficient, battery-powered, compact, portable
Cons: Only grinds about 30 grams at a time, won't make espresso grounds
The best luxury burr coffee grinder
The Baratza Virtuoso Conical Burr Coffee Grinder is one of the best high-end burr grinders you can get.
If you want perfectly even grounds and are willing to splurge on your coffee grinder, the Baratza Virtuoso's professional-grade 40mm conical burr grinder is the one for you, so long as you're not after espresso.
It has 40 individual grind settings, ranging from fine to coarse and everything in between. Once you find the perfect setting for your tastes, you're all set. It also has a pulse button on the front, so you can grind directly into an espresso machine filter basket. The Baratza Virtuoso's 60-second timer makes it easy to get the perfect grind every time, so you don't worry about running it just a bit too long.
It runs on a DC motor with electric and gear speed reducers that slow the burr to 450 RPM to reduce noise, static, and unwanted variations in particle size. The Virtuoso is slightly more reliable and consistent than the cheaper Encore, and it's French Press particle size is on point.
Baratza also has a great repair program, so if your machine needs a repair or a full cleaning, they'll take care of it for you for a fee.
Pros: Conical burr grinder, 40 grind settings, reliable, consistent, timer improves grind, a good repair program
Cons: Expensive with a limited warranty, won't make espresso grounds
The best blade coffee grinder
The KRUPS F203 Electric Spice and Coffee Grinder is a basic blade grinder that won't break the bank.
Although the experts say that blade grinders are absolutely awful, they are much more affordable for people on a budget. It may not be barista approved, but it's more than enough for most people.
We plugged in the KRUPS Electric Spice and Coffee Grinder at home, poured some beans in the top, and hit the button to grind. A short time after, we had fine grinds of coffee to scoop into our Bialetti Moka Express stovetop espresso maker. The resulting brew tasted delicious.
Of course, it's a blade grinder, so if you're looking for coarse grinds for French press or pourover coffee, you should pass this one by. You can grind your beans coarsely, but they'll be in little chunks of varying sizes, so you may get a bitter or weak brew out of them. At least at a fine grind, the blade grinder can get closer to a uniform particle size and you won't notice the difference unless you have a very refined palate.
The KRUPS grinder was remarkably easy to clean, too. We simply used a pastry brush to kick out the excess grinds that were left over.
Since it's a blade grinder, the KRUPS can grind spices down to powder, too, so if you're looking for a versatile machine that can grind coffee beans and spices like cloves and cardamom or even nuts, this is a good option. Just be sure to thoroughly clean the bowl between uses lest your coffee taste like chili powder or vice versa.
Pros: Affordable, grinds coffee beans and spices, two-year warranty, easy to use, easy to clean
Cons: It's a blade grinder with one setting, it's not as good as a burr grinder
The best manual coffee grinder
The Hario Mini Mill Slim Hand Coffee Grinder cranks out great grinds if you're willing to put in a little elbow grease.
Got a lot of time in your hands and enjoy some manual labor? Then buy a manual coffee grinder like the Hario Mini Mill Slim Hand Coffee Grinder.
It's as basic as it gets: you pop some beans in, crank the handle, and grind away until all the beans are turned into beautiful coffee particles lying in the glass holder below. You only get one cup's worth of coffee for all your hard work, but the grinds are uniform and high quality.
The ceramic mill is hardy and should last a lifetime. Be careful with the glass portion, and this grinder should outlast many of the more high-end machines.
It's easy to clean and very easy to store in your cupboard. Since the Hario is small, you can take it with you when you travel if you're desperate to grind coffee in your hotel room or campsite. If you're on a budget or you're intentionally seeking a manual coffee grinder, this is your best option.
Pros: Easy to use, ceramic mill, easy to store, portable, affordable
Cons: Manual grinders can tire you out fast
What to consider when buying a coffee grinder
Blade versus burr grinders
There are two main types of coffee grinders: blade and burr grinders. Purists say that you shouldn't even consider blade grinders because they don't grind the coffee beans to a nice uniform particle size, which results in an uneven and unpredictable brew. Blade grinders are much cheaper than burr grinders, though.
When you start looking at burr grinder machines, there's a lot more to know. As Wirecutter explains, "burrs work by using two serrated pieces of metal or ceramic that are positioned a specific distance apart from each other (depending on the grind) and rotate to crush the beans to the exact size you want." Here are the different types of burrs used on most machines:
- Flat versus conical burrs: There's much debate over which type of burr is better, but they perform pretty similarly, so you shouldn't worry too much about this point. Flat burrs are two parallel rings with a space between them where the beans enter to be sheared into coffee grounds, while conical burrs involve a cone in a ring that grinds your beans down to the right size.
- Steel versus ceramic burrs: Steel burrs are more affordable and more common in coffee grinders, but they don't last as long as ceramic ones do. Ceramic burrs are typically used in manual hand grinders and for grinding espresso beans perfectly.
How to choose the right grind for your coffee
It's all about the grind. Some smart grinders measure out how much coffee you need for your daily cup, but most just let you grind as little or as much as the capacity allows.
Most high-end grinders let you choose how coarse or fine you want your coffee beans ground. Different brewing methods require different types of grind. Here is the breakdown of the different grinds and what kind of brewing method you should use as explained by Gear Patrol.
Coarse: Coarsely ground coffee beans look like large particles of salt. This grind is best for cold brew, French Press, and percolators.
Medium: Medium-coarse and medium-fine grinds look and feel like pieces of grit that you can pick out individually — think sand on a beach. It's best for drip coffee, Chemex, pour-over, and vacuum pots.
Fine: Fine coffee is smooth and silky. You can't see any individual grains, and it feels very close to powdery, but not quite. This grind is best for espresso machines.
Turkish: Turkish coffee is made with the finest grinds of coffee imaginable, and it feels like perfect powder. You can't see any grains or particles at all. It's only good for Turkish coffee pots.
Check out our other great coffee-related buying guides
The best coffee makers
We've included top picks for all of these different types of coffee makers. We've tested the majority of our top picks and heavily researched those we have yet to use to bring you the best of all coffee makers.
The best espresso machines
Coffee lovers start out innocently enough with drip filters, French presses, milk frothers, and stovetop espresso makers; but then next thing you know, they're browsing Amazon for full-on espresso machines with all the bells and whistles. If you've reached that stage of coffee addiction, don't worry, we're here for you. We've researched everything you need to know about buying a shiny new espresso machine for your home.
The best French presses
Coffee brewing methods are many and varied. One of the most popular methods is the French press, which lets your coffee grounds swirl around in boiling water to brew before you push the plunger down and pour the coffee right into your mug. There are dozens of great French press coffee makers out there, but they're not all created equal. We've researched the best ones and tested a few ourselves to find out which French presses are the best you can buy.
The best milk frothers
It's never been easier to make a perfect cup of coffee at home, but you need the right equipment to do it. If you're a big fan of cappuccinos and lattes with splendid milk foam, you're going to want a great milk frother in your collection of coffee-making products.
The best coffee and espresso pod machines
Pod machines bring speed, convenience, and consistency to the coffee-making process. You're not going to get the best shot of espresso or cup of coffee ever made, but you will get a drink that tastes good with minimal effort.
The best stovetop espresso makers and moka pots
The moka pot is a stovetop machine that moves boiling water, pressurized by steam, through ground coffee to make a delicious brew. We've tested several stovetop espresso makers over the years and we've done a lot of research to find the best ones you can buy.
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