If you’re like the millions of coffee drinkers around the world who can’t live without their morning joe, you’ve probably considered grinding your own coffee.
Automatic or manual? What’s a reasonable price? Do I need 60 grind options?
Worry not, as we’ve prepared a comprehensive guide to all things coffee grinder below.
There’ll be explanations, recommendations, and more to help you choose between the hundreds of different models available.
You’ll find one that makes every kind of coffee you can think of and then some, all while fitting in your budget.
As always, we recommend you to read our buyer’s guide to have a more in-depth understanding of what you should be looking for before you dive into our list of the best coffee grinder.
Best Coffee Grinder in 2018
|Coffee Grinders||Best For||Price|
|Secura Automatic Electric Coffee Grinder (Editor’s Pick)||Best Valued Coffee Grinder||Price|
|WANCLE Electric Coffee Grinder (Editor’s Pick)||Best Value Automatic Grinder||Price|
|DeLonghi Ariete Coffee Grinder (Editor’s Pick)||Best Mid-Range Automatic Grinder||Price|
|Cuisinart Supreme Automatic Burr Mill||Best for Versatility Coffee Grinder||Price|
|DeLonghi America Dedica Conical Burr Grinder||Best for Large Family||Price|
|Rancilio Rocky Espresso Coffee Grinder||Best for Luxury Automatic Grinder||Price|
|KRUPS Professional Electric Burr Coffee Grinder||Safest Electric Coffee Grinder||Price|
|Baratza Sette 30 Conical Burr Grinder||Best Entry Level Coffee Grinder||Price|
|CHULUX Electric Coffee Grinder||Best Multi-Purpose Grinder||Price|
|Breville Automatic Coffee Bean Grinder||Best Value for Luxury Automatic Grinder||Price|
1. Secura SCG-903B Automatic Electric Coffee Grinder — Best Valued Coffee Grinder
If you’re looking for the best value electric coffee grinder, this just could be it. This electronic option from Secura makes for a wonderful starting coffee grinder and is definitely priced like it. However, you’d be surprised by the quality as well. It offers an unrivaled price point, likely costing about the same as the coffee you are grinding in it. You are unlikely to find a coffee grinder of any kind for this price, and especially not one that comes with the additional features that this grinder offers.
The machine offers up to 17 different coffee grind settings. Depending on your taste, these settings allow you to grind the coffee from coarse to an extremely fine powder. The on/off switch also allows you to shut off the grinder automatically once the coffee has been ground.
This coffee grinder is the very best form of grinding there is due to its consistent grind size. This, in combination with the adjustable fineness control on the grinder, allows you to make practically any kind of grounds for any type of drink from French press to smooth black. All you have to do is pop open the hopper, fill it with your coffee beans, close it, choose your fineness, and let the machine do the rest.
Because of the small footprint, this is ideal to use on kitchen countertops since it takes up hardly any space. You will be able to quickly grind coffee for 2-14 cups of coffee using this grinder.
You also don’t need to measure the coffee beans each time you need to grind coffee since the top hopper can store the beans and distribute it based on the number of cups you want to prepare.
This is the perfect selection for anyone looking for an electric coffee grinder on a strict budget who will benefit from the extras and portability it offers compared to other grinders.
- Very affordable
- Up to 17 different levels of coarseness
- Easy to clean
- Very compact and doesn’t take up a lot of space
- Beans might get stuck so you might need to shake it lightly.
2. WANCLE Electric Coffee Grinder — Best Value Automatic Grinder
This model from WANCLE is a great budget option for someone looking to purchase a reliable electric coffee grinder, but not wanting to break the bank to do so. This grinder comes in a very sleek and professional-looking stainless-steel design with steel blades inside to provide the blade grinding power.
The selling point of this grinder has to be the absolute ease that comes with using it thanks to its one-touch grind. After you’ve adjusted your desired fineness with the top adjustable dial, the only step left is to simply press the big black button in the middle to power it on. Seconds later, you’ll have a fine grind waiting for you in the inner storage compartment.
While you’re grinding, you can even have a look through the top of the transparent lid to check the progress of your grind to make sure everything is working without the need to take the lid on or off for checks, risking losing some freshness from your blend. Inside the technology of this grinder, you will find that it has built-in heating protection to allow you to keep grinding all day and all night long risk-free from any overheating dangers.
Another great security feature with this grinder is the safety lock system on the lid to ensure that none of your grinds is able to escape. This also allows you the option of grinding your product at home and taking it on the go knowing your lid won’t pop off and ruin the coffee inside. Think of it as a portable tub of coffee grounds that can also grind some new ones at any time. Talk about fresh. Along with being a great source of heat resistance, the stainless-steel outer core of the grinder also provides excellent sound protection.
One of the most significant downsides of using an electric grinder is the incredible amount of noise they can make, with some even rivaling blenders in overall noise pollution. Using this electric coffee grinder is sure to produce less sound than many other options if that is something that’s an essential feature for you. If anything does happen to go wrong with this grinder after purchase, WANCLE also offers a full 24-month warranty that is sure to cover any and all problems you may have while in use.
One negative of this grinder is that it, unfortunately, uses blade grinding rather than burr grinding, which is notorious for its inconsistent particle sizes. If you’re looking to make drinks that require ultra-fine grounds, be sure to double check the results before you start brewing.
This model is for anyone who wants the convenience of a portable automatic grinder but doesn’t mind that the grounds may not be fine enough for all drinks.
- 2-year warranty
- Convenient automatic grinder
- Large capacity
- Bottom of the grinder seems to get quite hot
3. DeLonghi Ariete Electric Coffee Grinder — The Best Mid-Range Automatic Grinder
This sleek and modern burr coffee grinder from DeLonghi Ariete is professional grade and professional looking without being too professionally priced. With a stainless-steel base and clear hopper and grounds holder, it would fit perfectly in a modern kitchen. Not only is it beautiful, but it’s effective and very customizable as well.
A common issue that users face when using lower-tier automatic coffee grinders is that they lack the true customization needed for a range of drinks. Depending on the type of coffee that you prefer, while using a lower-tier grinder, you may be unable to consistently make your favorite type of drink because of inconsistent ground size and fineness. With this model from DeLonghi Ariete, you don’t have to worry about that. You will have a whopping 15 specific-grind settings to choose from. This allows you to grind your coffee beans to create virtually any sort of coffee.
Using this grinder, you will be able to fully customize the grind to suit your espresso machine for finer grinds, a medium grind for your drip coffee maker, a much coarser grind for using your French press, or anywhere in the middle for using a percolator or urn to create your coffee precisely to your liking.
With the simple push of a button, you are able to choose the right amount of coffee to grind due to the adjustable cup size with this product. Along with that, it is ETL certified which means that it’s been tested for safety and efficiency. For cleaning purposes, with this grinder, you are able to fully remove both the bean hopper and the grinding head for effortless cleaning. This grinder does not come with any cleaning brushes but given that the removable compartments of the grinder are plastic, simply washing them with water and soap should prove to be more than enough cleaning power for maintaining this product.
In terms of improvements for this grinder, there are not many things missing when compared to grinders of a similar price point. It doesn’t come with many extras, but it makes up for that with quality. It has been reported to have an increased amount of volume with the grind, but that is mostly to be expected when purchasing an electric coffee grinder with a sleek design and little soundproofing; you may just have to close the door to your family’s bedrooms first. There are some luxury features missing in this grinder that you may find in grinders that are two or three times as expensive, but they are mostly optional and definitely not necessary.
If you’re looking for a mid-range automatic grinder, this model is one of the frontrunners thanks to its exceptional grind options.
- 15 adjustable grind settings
- Removable compartments – easy to clean
- Adjustable cup size
- Good price point
- Limited warranty
- Relatively louder than similar models
4. Cuisinart DBM-8 Supreme Grind Automatic Burr Mill — Best Versatile Coffee Grinder
Looking for a high-quality electric coffee grinder that offers you different levels of coarseness when grinding coffee? Of course, you are. This electric model of the coffee grinder from Cuisinart is a great choice. One of the main reasons for this is because you are able to get the right quality and customization because it offers you up to 18 different levels of coarseness. There aren’t many models in the market that offer such an extensive range of settings when it comes to grinding coffee. The coarseness levels allow you to make many types of coffee such as French press, pour over, cold brew, espresso, AeroPress, and Chemex
With this grinder, you have the ability to store up to 32 cups of fresh coffee beans either for storage or for immediate grinding in whatever manner you see fit. It’s also straightforward, with the only steps needed, to remove the lid, drop the coffee beans in, choose you coarseness setting, and the machine does the rest.
Cleaning this grinder has also proven to be incredibly easy since all the pieces are removable and dishwasher safe. After that, just dry, reassemble, and you are good to go. They also supply you with a cleaning brush which you can use to reach the bottom of the container.
On top of all these very convenient features the grinder also is backed by an 18-month warranty provided by the manufacturers, Cuisinart.
If you’re going to use an electric grinder, it may be as simple as simply choosing this one if it fits in your budget due to the sheer value and features it offers.
- 18 adjustable grind settings
- Easy to clean and dishwasher safe
- Automatically switches off after grinding
- Grind chamber can store beans for 32 cups of coffee
- Grind is not uniform at times
5. DeLonghi KG 521.M America KG521 Dedica Conical Burr Grinder — Best Grinder for A Large Family
The DeLonghi KG 521.M coffee grinder is a great electric option for people who drink a lot of coffee, have a lot of guests, or for a household with many coffee drinkers. The grounds container that holds the ground coffee beans is able to hold up to 350 grams inside it. This is enough for you to make up to 14 large cups of coffee at one time, so as long as you have a coffee maker that is capable of keeping up, you’ve got plenty of coffee in the works. This makes it the perfect choice for any coffee addicts, large households, parties, or all of the above.
Another feature found commonly in many high-end electric coffee grinders is an 18-setting grind option, and this grinder manages to take it to an even higher level. This grinder also comes with an additional three grind setting, depending on how strong you like your coffee. This essentially an almost endless amount of customization to get your coffee of choice exactly how you want it, whether it be a finely ground espresso or a more coarsely ground French press. You will also find it to have a much quieter operating sound than many other similar coffee grinders.
A common worry or question many have when purchasing a coffee grinder is the ability to take it apart and clean the insides. Both of the hoppers are hand washable, and you won’t run into any issues when attempting to clean it or maintain it.
The most significant disadvantage of the DeLonghi Dedica is the size. It weighs about 6 lbs. and stands 15″ tall, so it’s pretty bulky and needs a fair bit of counter space.
This is best for those who love the ease of a digital display and are prepared to pay a little more for the durability of this highly-rated model.
- 18 adjustable grind settings
- Can make up to 14 cups of coffee
- Easy to use digital LCD display
- Very quiet
- Quite expensive
- Bulky and large
6. Rancilio Rocky Espresso Coffee Grinder — Best Luxury Automatic Grinder
This model brings a whole new meaning to the word luxury. This incredibly luxurious grinding option from Rancilio is the coffee grinder of choice for you if you have a seemingly endless budget or want perhaps the best personal product possible from your coffee grinder. You may notice the fairly high price point and specifically that it can cost between two and ten times some of the other grinders reviewed, and reasonably wonder why this grinder could be so much better than the others. To begin to answer that question you need to first look at the burrs located within the machine.
Many of the other high-end coffee grinders that we’re reviewing today come with powerful 40mm burrs used for adjusting the specifics of how fine or coarse the ground finished product comes out to be. The makers at Rancilio have taken it one step further and used 50mm burrs in this grinder to further enhance the power and customizability of your coffee making experience.
Some of the other burrs inside grinders reviewed today are also made of ceramic metal, and this grinder comes with ones that are made entirely of steel, so you know it is of the highest quality. In addition to that, the grinder also comes with a very powerful yet so remarkably quiet motor on the inside.
It was created to be used for commercial purposes, which means being quiet is one of the highest points on the priority list, as you can’t drown out customer’s orders anytime you grind some beans. This product also comes with an impressive 55 different grind settings which give you a nearly endless list of different ways to make your coffee, from espresso all the way to French press.
This coffee grinder comes with some over-the-top-features and has seemingly no flaws except for one: its price. For all the features it does have, it probably doesn’t warrant the extremely high price point when you consider that you could buy a grinder for one-third of its overall price and it would have very similar features and results, albeit not quite as over the top or luxurious. However, this grinder may still be worth it for some due to how impressive a product it is regardless of price. Anyone demanding the complete best in quality with no exceptions, or investing in this for business would make it a worthy purchase.
If you can comfortably afford this grinder, it doesn’t get much better for personal use, especially when it was meant for commercial use initially.
- 50mm steel burr grinder
- Large capacity
- 55 grind settings
- Powerful and quiet
- Very expensive
7. KRUPS GX5000 Professional Electric Coffee Burr Grinder — Safest Electric Coffee Grinder
KRUPS builds coffee grinders with only one purpose – perfection. This specific electric grinder was inspired by coffee experts and designed for connoisseurs; the KRUPS GX5000 Professional Electric Coffee Burr Grinder is an exclusive grinder that is here to give you one hundred percent of what you are expecting, which is, presumably, a great grind so you can make incredible tasting coffee!
The KRUPS GX5000 offers a fineness selector, or, to be more precise, this electric coffee grinder has a total of 9 grind settings that enables you to have a controlled and steady grind. Now you can have complete control over your grind – coarse or fine.
The bottom transparent container is large enough to hold up to 12 cups of coffee. You will see a line and the word “MAX” which specifies the limit. We think 12 cups is sufficient, but some might want to go bigger depending on how many cups you drink a day.
The top container is where you throw the coffee beans. Then, you just place the plastic lid above it and begin the grinding process. In the middle of the grinder, you will notice the power button which you only need to push once, and this will turn the coffee beans into your preferred blend.
The manufacturers were also smart enough to design this to be one of the safest grinders out there. The GX5000 Coffee Grinder will not function without the lid properly secured on the hopper and until the coffee container is in place; also, the grinder will routinely stop once the grinding process is complete. This is by far the safest electric coffee grinder out there at the moment.
If it doesn’t last, the two-year warranty will make things right, and they will replace it with a brand-new grinder. You can’t lose. Cleaning this grinder is also a relatively simple process. It easily disassembles to allow for simple hand washing with warm soapy water and the plastic containers of the grinder are dishwasher safe if you feel the need to wash that portion by dishwasher instead of by hand.
The Krups GX5000 is a perfect low-cost electric coffee grinder that gets the job done. The grounds that come out of it aren’t exactly even, but you still get a decent cup of coffee.
- Compact and saves space
- Quick and easy to clean
- 9 different grind settings
- Holds beans for 12 cups of coffee
- Relatively noisy while grinding
8. Baratza Sette 30 Conical Burr Grinder — Best Entry Level Coffee Grinder
The Baratza Sette 30 grinder is the perfect entry-level home coffee grinder for anybody who is just starting to grind their own beans for the perfect cup of coffee.
If you are new to grinding your own coffee beans, you probably won’t realize how important it is not to have rocks hiding in the coffee beans as this can damage the grinders. The Baratza Sette 30, however, contains a gearbox which allows the grinder to automatically shut down if an object gets stuck in the burrs. So that’s one less thing to be concerned about.
It also includes a timer. So, if you’re in a rush, you can do other things around the house while knowing it will shut off automatically after the grinding process is complete. If you become distracted, you won’t need to worry about grinding unnecessary amounts of beans, thanks to the timer feature.
The Baratza Sette 30 grinder also contains 40 different grind settings, a motor that keeps the beans cool, a pulse button, and an innovative burr calibration system.
The most important aspect of any grinder is versatility. Thankfully with this grinder, there are a lot of different grind settings allowing you to make virtually any kind of coffee within it and can reap the excellent benefits of using an electric coffee grinder without the typical downsides of a lack of grind options.
If noise is a problem for you, keep in mind the Sette’s is a louder grinder than other similar grinders. It’s a little louder due to its higher grinding speed and open design.
If you are new to grinding beans, then the Baratza Sette 30 is the perfect entry-level coffee grinder. These are practically priced, surprisingly fast, kitchen-friendly, and produces a good, even grind using any one of the settings.
- Very affordable
- 40 grind settings
- Easy to clean and maintain
- Durable and well-built
- Louder than most electric grinders
9. CHULUX Electric Coffee Grinder — Best Multi-Purpose Grinder
This electric coffee grinder from CHULUX is much different from the others we’ve reviewed today. The main difference you’ll notice is that most of the other grinders take advantage of adjustable burrs on the inside of the machinery to do the grinding work. This grinder from CHULUX uses several spinning metal blades inside the transparent plastic lid to do the grinding job instead, which has its own pros and cons.
The main benefit you’ll notice is that the total grind time is significantly less and everything is much simpler with this grinder. Just a push or hold of a button and the grinding process will begin; a few seconds later it will be complete. The unfortunate downside to using spinning blades as your grinding source is that they aren’t adjustable at all. The amount in which your coffee beans will be ground will depend solely on how long you keep the grinder running.
For some who have been making coffee a long time, or those just with great internal clocks, this may not be an issue at all. But for some others, you could experience great difficulty in getting the perfect finished product, and there will be a lack of consistency because it’s not measured. With this grinder, you will also notice an increase in power with the ability to grind much more than just coffee. This can be a great tool to use to grind some vegetables and other foods in general such as rice, pepper, or sea salt.
Cleaning this grinder may be some of the simplest you can get with a coffee grinder. You are not able to take apart every aspect of the grinder as seen with some other grinders, but the confines of your mess are simply restricted to the area under the transparent lid. Just remove the lid, clean the inside bowl and the blades, and there is nothing else to it. Above all else, while using this grinder, you are receiving the utmost simplicity.
If you want a grinder that can do more than just coffee beans, this may be a solid multi-purpose choice for you. However, it may struggle with consistent grinds.
- Very powerful
- Can grind spices and vegetables
- One-touch operation
- Very simple to use
- Non-adjustable grind
- Messy when grinding coffee
10. Breville BCG820BSSXL Coffee Bean Grinder — Best Value Luxury Automatic Grinder
This grinder from Breville is a very luxurious option for coffee lovers who want the very most from their coffee grinder but don’t want to go all the way up to the Rancilio model. The first thing you’ll notice with this grinder is that it’s the only grinder reviewed today that has a full LED display on the front panel. This gives users a lot of convenience, simplicity, and customization with their grinder. On the LED panel is where you’re able to adjust the grind size or setting which is common with many other coffee grinders.
The very unique features that come with the LED aspect of this grinder are the grind time and shots/cups. This allows you to first see exactly how long your expected coffee grinding will take all the way down to the seconds needed. The shots/cups portion, as one might guess, lets you select between shots/cups and will tell you the exact number of cups of coffee that the ground amount of coffee beans will produce. This grinder comes with 60 different precise grind settings for you to choose from, allowing you to get the exact coarseness or fineness you need.
On top of having all those grind settings to choose from, you are able to take the burr out of the grinder and adjust the metal pin to provide an even more fine or coarse setting if you find that the most extreme of those settings is not fine or coarse enough for your liking. This grinder has also been reported by many customers to leave a surprisingly low amount of residue after use and very rarely require cleaning. Along with that, it is also incredibly easy to clean with the essential aspects easily coming apart for simple cleaning.
Very similar to the expensive luxury option reviewed earlier, the only major downside to this coffee grinder could be the price. It does seem more technologically advanced and with more features than the other luxury option, but even still when compared to much cheaper options the end result may not be worth the total price to some when you can find a very similar end result for a fraction of the cost. However, ignoring price, this is most likely the most impressive unit of any reviewed today.
If you want the best automatic grinder available without having to spend double this price on the Rancilio model, this is your grinder.
- Stainless-steel conical burrs
- 60 grind settings
- Convenient LED display
- Large capacity
- Simple to use
- Very expensive
Coffee Grinder Buyer’s Guide
Whether you’re a Folger’s home brewer or prefer to point to your coffee drink of choice on the Starbucks menu, you’re probably aware of what a coffee grinder is. However, do you know why the beans need to be ground, the difference in manual and automatic grinders, how fineness affects the end result or the price difference in buying versus grinding your coffee?
If you’re looking for options for your morning coffee, a coffee grinder can be a significant investment both for your wallet and taste buds. However, sifting through hundreds of listings looking for what you want is time-consuming. Fortunately, with the following buyer’s guide, you’re able to sit back and enjoy your last cup of boring coffee before you delve into the world of becoming your own grinder.
Benefits of Grinding Your Own Coffee
We’ll start off with what is probably the motivating factor for you visiting this article. If there weren’t many incredibly useful benefits from grinding your own coffee, why would anyone go through the trouble at home? After all, there’s a Starbucks, Dunkin’ Donuts, or coffee shop at basically every corner these days.
Fortunately, the perks of grinding at home are indeed significant. While it may not be faster than cracking open your huge can of pre-ground Folger’s and measuring it out into your coffee machine, there are numerous other benefits that true coffee fans are more than happy to wait for.
Cheaper than pods or retail
With Keurig and K-cup machines becoming all the rage for new coffee drinkers, many people are weighing their options against these fancy machines. Coffee shops like Starbucks are also incredibly popular, with a price to match. However, when it comes to value, you’re almost certainly going to save money grinding your own coffee.
On average, you can expect a strong cup of coffee made with high-quality beans to cost around $0.50 - $0.60 for 16 ounces, or about $0.20-$0.40 for 16 ounces with cheaper beans (toughnickel.com). This includes beans, water, electricity, and the price of a brewer prorated in.
You can expect K-cups to cost about $0.30-$0.50 each for between 6-10 ounces of coffee. This means that you will need 2 K-cups to make the same amount of coffee as a high-quality brew, with each K-cup costing about the same as 16 ounces of freshly ground coffee. That also doesn’t include the $50+ machine that you will need to use the K-cups.
At Starbucks, a basic cup of coffee will cost you around $2 for 16 ounces (“Grande” in stores), which is about double the K-cups and quadruple the cost of home brewed coffee. That also doesn’t take into account the gas to get there, or the time spent waiting in line. Talk about a bad deal.
If value is all you’re seeking from your coffee, a standard drip coffee maker and some big tubs of Folger’s or Maxwell House will likely do the trick for you. However, these “instant” coffees come pre-ground – the mortal enemy of quality coffee.
When you grind coffee, you are releasing the taste and smell of the bean that we all know and love. Unfortunately, as with all things, that magnificence doesn’t last forever and can begin to fade or go stale if left for too long. This is precisely the case with instant coffees. They are freshly ground and then immediately sealed into an airtight container for sale. However, once you break that seal, there is no going back. Every time you open the container, more and more aroma and flavor is lost to the air, and despite the wonderful smell, your coffee is suffering.
If you are grinding your own coffee at home, you are in control of the freshness of your coffee (and therefore the quality). You can grind your beans the very morning that you drink them, giving you the optimal levels of taste and aroma for the best cup of that coffee you’ll get at home (or pay 4 times as much for at a shop).
If you want the utmost control over your morning cup of coffee, grinding your own coffee is the way to go. With a grinder, you can choose how fine or coarse your beans are ground, which allows you to make different types of coffee more effectively. Looking to do French press? Folger’s won’t cut it.
Being able to use any bean you want is another perk of grinding your own coffee, allowing you to try a variety of types that may not be available in your local Starbucks or coffee shops. Rather than going around looking for it, it’s already in your home ready to go.
You can also experiment with different fineness levels to find what you like best to make it your cup of coffee. Feeling like a smoother, less-strong cup today? Brew it. You won’t find that in pre-ground or Dunkin’ Donuts coffee.
Finally, you can stock your home with all the extras exactly how you like them. Skim milk, 2 splashes of Coffee-Mate, and some Truvia? Go for it. Get the perfect amount of water, milk, flavoring, foam, or any other component of your perfect cup whenever you want without relying on the barista to make it just right.
Types of Coffee Grinders and How They Work
While it is possible to make coffee with full coffee beans, it is by no means anyone’s recommendation. Not only does it take a long time, but it is also worse in just about every way. The coffee will be bitter, incredibly caffeinated, and definitely not worth the work. Fortunately, with an investment in a quality coffee grinder, you can save yourself a lot of time, effort, and cups of coffee dumped down the sink.
A coffee grinder takes the coffee bean – practically useless to you in its current state – and grinds it down into a powder. This powder makes it much easier for water to extract the smell and taste out of the beans, which allows it to be brewed to make your cup of coffee. To grind the coffee bean down, you have 2 options to choose from with drastically different levels of time and effort required for very different resulting cups of coffee.
The first (and less effective) method is “grinding” the beans by hand, such as by smashing the beans with a hammer or tenderizer inside of a bag until they are fine enough to brew. While this may relieve some stress and be fun to do, it won’t create a consistent texture throughout your powder, taking away from the smoothness of your coffee. It will also take you much, much longer than a machine will.
The second choice is to use a machine, such as a manual or automatic grinder. You may be wondering why there’s a manual grinder in the machine section and not the “by hand” section, and that’s because of one thing. It is MUCH faster, easier, and consistent than the manual methods we mentioned.
A manual coffee grinder is a machine that takes your coffee beans, feeds them into a pocket, and then grinds them as you spin or crank the handle – hence “manual.” Through blades or burrs, the beans are slowly (usually between 1-3 minutes for most coffee) but consistently ground until you reach the chosen fineness, which can generally be set on the grinder itself. Once they are done, the grounds will be deposited into a collector for you to start brewing.
An automatic coffee grinder follows a similar idea, with one primary difference: no hand-grinding. After you weigh your coffee beans, you can place them into the hopper for them grinder, press a few buttons, and go grab the morning paper. While you’re gone, the grinder will automatically grind with the blades or burrs until it reaches the level of fineness you’ve specified. By the time you get back, you’ll likely have a cup of perfectly ground coffee beans waiting for you to pop into your coffee maker.
Choosing Between Automatic and Manual Grinders
Now that you’re familiar with automatic and manual coffee grinders, it’s time to make your first (and most important) decision: automatic or manual? While it’s hard to go wrong with either choice, each has their own pros and cons. Therefore, the best option for you will depend on what you’re looking to get out of your new grinder.
When it comes to price, manual grinders are almost unanimously cheaper than electric grinders. On average, you can expect a quality manual coffee grinder to cost between $20 and $80, with an automatic model costing about $50-150, with luxury models reaching as high as $300-400. If budget is a concern of yours, you can’t go wrong with a manual grinder.
They say slow and steady wins the race, but when you’re in a hurry, it just won’t do. If you’re on a tight schedule or are grinding for more than one cup (or person), time is of the essence. With a manual grinder taking about 1-3 minutes on average and an electric blender taking less than 1 minute for most grind sizes, you’ll save time with an automatic grinder.
One of the perks of brewing your own coffee is being able to set it into the machine and go on about your routine. However, if you end up going manual, you will have to put some elbow crease into it to get your coffee grounds. While it’s a max of only a few minutes, you have to stop what you’re doing to grind. However, with an automatic machine, you can simply drop them in, choose your grind setting, and wait until they’re done to drop them in your coffee maker.
An essential part of a smooth cup of coffee is grinding uniform, consistently sized coffee grounds for brewing. When you use an automatic grinder, it grinds until the cycle is over. When you grind manually, you have slightly more control over the end result, giving you more consistent grinds. However, the more critical factor comes down to whether the grinder uses a burr grind or blade grind. A burr grind is more consistent than a blade grind, so choosing the model with the burr grind would be the way to go for consistency.
Winner: Slightly manual – burr grinding is the most critical factor
They say simple machines will outlast their more advanced counterparts, and this is true with many coffee grinders. Manual grinders are straightforward machines often made of very sturdy metals. They operate simply using a crank and some gears. They will collect the beans in a pocket, and then grind them as you turn the blades or burrs with a handle. This is almost archaic when compared to electric grinders that have multiple parts, including electronics, the grinder mechanism, specific settings for time and fineness, and more. This leaves many more ways for your machine to break, and it’s hard for them to compete against rock-solid iron manual grinders.
Size and portability
If you travel a lot or lack counter space, the size and portability of your machine may be important to you. There are some portable coffee maker models available, so if you want to make coffee on the go, you can couple that with a bag of beans and a small manual grinder for fresh coffee wherever you go. No outlet needed. With an automatic grinder, you’re likely going to need either a rechargeable model or access to a wall outlet to grind, which simply isn’t possible for campers or frequent travelers with limited space.
If you want your coffee to taste its best, you need to grind it properly. Many coffees have different grinding needs like low heat levels, ultra-fine or coarse grinds, and more. The ability to fine-tune your grinds is not exclusive to automatic machines, but the sheer number of options comes virtually unmatched by manual grinders. A high-quality automatic grinder can have up to 60 grind settings and will grind your beans the right way every time (as long as it’s a burr grinder). With a manual grinder, you have fewer options and need to grind manually, leaving little room for fine-tuned experimentation.
Overall, the type of grinder that suits you best depends on whether you value speed, convenience, and options over portability, longevity, consistency, and price. If so, an automatic grinder will do you well, just make sure you don’t go with a cheap one that burns your beans. If you’re going with a manual option, you can go top-of-the-line for just about the same as an average automatic grinder, so splurge to your heart’s content until you find one that looks and works great in your price range.
Choosing Between Blades and Burr Grinding
If you’ve browsed through some different listings for grinders online, you’ve probably seen the terms “blade grinder” and “burr grinder” thrown around. What exactly is a burr grinder, you ask? Good question. After choosing between an automatic or manual grinder, this is your next most important choice to make.
A blade grinder is a type of coffee grinder that uses a blade to chop and cut the coffee beans. The blade is fixed onto a central location in the grinding area and repeatedly cuts through them until it reaches the desired fineness. This blade is attached to a rod that is connected to the crank on a manual grinder. In an automatic unit, it spins thanks to the electric motor.
Unfortunately, these blade grinders are incredibly inconsistent. In many cases, the beans that are chopped can become too small to be reached by the blades, but too large for the final result. They are also not crushed and instead cut into pieces repeatedly, giving irregular shapes and sizes throughout. You can’t even make some of the more fine-textured coffees with a blade grinder due to the size of the grounds. When your cup of coffee depends on consistent particle size, a blade grinder is not your best friend.
A burr grinder is a coffee grinder that uses abrasive surfaces that revolve to grind and crush the beans rather than cut them. Beans are fed a few at a time into the burrs by the hopper, where they are ground into the specified size depending on the distance between the burrs. Every bean that goes through the burrs will have the same grind applied to it, leading to a consistent grind with even particles. This makes it the ideal method for grinding your coffee beans and getting the best grounds for brewing.
As you can tell, the burr grinder is just about unanimously better than a blade grinder. The primary benefit of the blade grinder is that it is usually cheaper, but for the small price difference, it’s worth it to spend a few more dollars for much higher quality coffee.
What to Look For
Now that you’re starting to understand why you need a coffee grinder (and preferably a burr grinder), it’s time to start looking at some listings to begin making your choice. However, there are a lot of factors to keep in mind when you’re going through different products, and not all of them are so nicely reviewed like our recommendations above.
Fortunately, below we’ve provided some of the most common features to look for, what they mean, and what you’re looking for out of them. Think of it as a checklist for comparing different grinders against each other.
In many cases, you get what you pay for. If you want perks and extras, you’re going to have to pay for them. For the most part, spending a little more is going to get you a better grind when you stick within the same grinder type. This could be better grind options, more storage, or different blending types. This is especially true if it is just a few dollars difference between something like a burr grinder or blade grinder, as the difference is incredible.
For a manual grinder, you can expect to pay around $20-$80 with the occasional outlier, and for automatic grinders, you’re looking at about $50-$150 on average, with some budget and luxury models falling outside the expectation.
The two types are automatic and manual grinders. Automatic grinders use electricity and motors to grind, giving you a faster grind speed but less precision. Meanwhile, you’re the engine in a manual grinder, but this lets you more precisely control the texture of your grounds. They each can be blade or burr grinders, depending on the model.
Your choices for grinding methods are burr grinding and blade grinding. Burr grinding involves grinding and crushing beans, while blade grinding consists of cutting the beans into small pieces. Blade grinds will be less uniform but are often cheaper than the more expensive but overall much better burr grinders.
Are you a black coffee fan who just wants their favorite roast on hand, or an adventurous coffee connoisseur looking to French press every so often? Your ability to mix up your coffee choices comes down to your grinder’s ability to produce coffee grounds of different fineness and textures. Some brews need coarser grounds, while others benefit from the finest grounds you can possibly make. When using a grinder with plenty of grind options, you can try something new every day.
If you live with others, you probably want to limit noise as much as possible, especially in the early morning before work or school. If you’re going to grind your coffee without waking the whole house, look for grinders that mention reduced noise levels. Even better, check the reviews for mentions of the noise. As a rule of thumb, manual grinders will be quieter than automatic grinders, and burr grinders will be more modest than blade grinders.
If you need 2 (or more) cups of coffee to get going, you’re going to need a grinder that can support your habit. Some cheaper manual grinders are smaller and better for one cup, while larger manual grinders and many automatic grinders can make around 16 ounces of coffee in just a few minutes. If you need more than that, it may be best to go with an automatic grinder so you can set it and forget it between cups.
If you end up with a larger and less portable model grinder, you can store it on your countertop and make it a part of your kitchen. Grinders – especially manual grinders – come in a variety of looks, colors, and style. You can find rustic, old-fashioned manual grinders that look 100 years old or an automatic grinder that looks like it came from a spaceship. No matter what your kitchen’s style, there’s something for you.
Depending on the type of coffee you generally brew, you may decide to get a broader range of grind settings. Not every grinder will be able to give fine enough grounds for espresso, and espresso grinders won’t provide a coarse enough grind to work in a French Press.
Choosing a grinder with more fine-tuned grind settings is crucial if you normally make a wide variety of coffee. This will reduce the frustration of getting grinds wedged in your French press for example. Most grinders will offer an extensive range of settings, but make sure to check that your favorite coffee type is included in the scope, particularly if it’s on the extra fine end.
Whenever you use something on a daily basis, it is important that you choose a quality model so that it lasts. In the case that it doesn’t, however, a solid warranty is nice to have. Extended warranties show faith in a product from a company, meaning that it is in their best interest to produce quality machines. 1-year warranties are pretty standard, and anything past that is a bonus.
The world seems to run on caffeine these days, and coffee is a fan favorite for getting that extra kick to get you going in the morning. Unfortunately, too many people are overspending on coffee and not gaining the best experience possible. But that’s no longer you.
By now you should be a bit of a coffee grinder expert, and be in the process of deciding (or already decided) on whether you want a manual or automatic coffee grinder, what kind of beans you’re going to get, and why you waited so long to start making your own coffee grounds at home.
By grinding at home, you are able to customize your morning coffee experience fully. From choosing your favorite beans to grinding them fresh in the morning and enjoying them at maximum flavor and aroma, it’s a coffee drinking experience that you probably didn’t expect you could have in the comfort of your kitchen.
When you choose a model of the grinder, definitely consider going for a burr grinder if you want the very best quality of grounds possible. The price difference is minimal and totally worth it, giving you a more consistent and higher-quality grind overall. This way you can truly tell the difference that home grinding makes.
That’s just about all there is to know. Now get out there and start grinding the perfect cup of coffee for you.