Coffee grinder buying guide

Get fresher flavor from your favorite morning pick-me-up.

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If you’re on the hunt for a coffee grinder to take better control over your morning cup of coffee, and guarantee freshness, we can help. You can find the best pick for your cup of joe by comparing the type of grind each offers, the number of settings and — of course — the price tag.

Name Average price Type Number of grind settings Purchase
Baratza Encore Conical Burr Coffee Grinder
Baratza Encore Conical Burr Coffee Grinder
$139 Burr 40 Buy now
OXO BREW Conical Burr Coffee Grinder
OXO BREW Conical Burr Coffee Grinder
$99 Burr 15 Buy now
JavaPresse Manual Coffee Grinder
JavaPresse Manual Coffee Grinder
$25 Manual 18 Buy now
KRUPS F203 Electric Spice and Coffee Grinder
KRUPS F203 Electric Spice and Coffee Grinder
$19 Blade 1 Buy now
Hamilton Beach 80393
Hamilton Beach 80393
$27 Blade 3 Buy now
Rancilio HSD-ROC-SD Rocky Espresso Coffee Grinder
Rancilio HSD-ROC-SD Rocky Espresso Coffee Grinder
$370 Espresso 50 Buy now
Breville BCG820BSSXL The Smart Grinder Pro
Breville BCG820BSSXL The Smart Grinder Pro
$187 Burr 60 Buy now
Data obtained April 2019. Prices are subject to change and should be used only as a general guide.

What is a coffee grinder?

Coffee grinders crush up coffee beans, turning them into the grounds that you use to make your coffee. When you grind coffee beans, you’re beginning the flavor and aroma extraction process.

Grinders themselves don’t make a cup of coffee — so if you’re investing in a grinder, you’ll need a coffee maker, french press or other type of brewing device.

Different grinders rely on different designs and mechanisms to crush beans. Knowing the type of coffee machine you’ll use can go a long way in helping you choose the right coffee grinder.

Why should I consider a coffee grinder?

Prepackaged coffee grounds are easy to buy and relatively inexpensive, but they don’t offer the freshness and control of freshly ground beans.

  • Freshness. The main reason to grind your own coffee beans is freshness. Grinding beans immediately before use guarantees a freshness that you can’t get from preground beans.

    When you’re buying beans, be sure the check the roast date. Opinions vary, but coffee beans are generally considered to be most flavorful one to four weeks post-roasting.

  • Control. Grinding your own beans gives you a choice of grind size. Every coffee maker and coffee style — such as espresso, french press or drip — is suited to a specific coarseness or fineness.

What types of coffee grinders are available?

There are two main types of coffee grinders: blade and burr.

  • Blade. Blade grinders are the cheaper option. A blade slices through your beans, grinding them down. Coffee purists dismiss blade grinders, as the grind uneven or too fine. Blade grinders can also be used for grinding spices.
  • Burr. Burr grinders offer more precision, control and longevity. They can be purchased in a range of sizes, and can be used in commercial spaces.

    Burr grinders come in conical and flat designs. Conical burrs have a reputation for lasting longer — but this also depends on price point, design and construction material.

Grind sizes

While it’s ultimately a matter of personal preference, there are suggested levels of coarseness or fineness for different types of coffee.

Grind size Coffee type
Cold-brew Very coarse
French press Coarse
Automatic coffee makers Medium
Espresso Fine
Turkish Very fine

Don’t be afraid to experiment with grind sizes to find the perfect one for you and your coffee maker. Buying a grinder gives you the freedom to explore different styles of coffee and tailor the process to your tastes and sensibilities.

How to compare coffee grinders

Blade grinders for the home can be found for under $50, while industrial burr grinders can cost in excess of $3,000. When buying a coffee grinder, consider these features:

  • Automatic or manual. Automatic grinders are quick and simple. Just one click of a button and you’ll have freshly ground beans. Manual grinders take a little more time, but grinding by hand gives you great control over each cup of coffee.
  • Doser or doserless. Dosers catch your grinds and group them into preprogrammed amounts. The advantages of a grinder with a doser include less waste, consistent portion control and fast operation for frequent use.
  • Grind size controls. Different coffee makers require different sizes of coffee grounds. The greater the degree of control over grind size, the better. Whether you buy a blade or burr grinder will also affect this.
  • Ceramic or steel. If you’ve opted for a burr grinder, you’ll have a choice between ceramic and steel burrs. Ceramic burrs tend to cost more, but they have a longer lifespan. Steel is a good thermal conductor, allowing burrs to heat and cool more rapidly.
  • Automatic grind stop. This is a function that will automatically stop the grinder when your beans run out, giving you a chance to refill and continue on.

Bottom line

Choose a coffee grinder based on your personal preferences, how often you make coffee and your budget. If you’re looking to step up your brew game even more, check out our espresso machine buying guide.

How did we choose these products?

To choose our list of the best coffee grinders, we conducted online research to determine some of the most popular models currently available. We compared features like the type of grinder, number of grind settings, price and third-party product reviews.

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