The first step in making a truly great coffee drink is to grind the beans so that the flavor and aroma of those beans can be imparted to your coffee or espresso. Super automatic espresso machines will have a built-in grinder that automate the whole process of going from beans to beverage.
But, sometimes, we need or want a grinder that is separate from our espresso machine. This might be either because our espresso machine doesn’t have a grinder or because we want to grind beans in greater quantities or for storage purposes.
If you already know about coffee grinders or if you don’t want to wade through tons of reviews, here are our top picks for the best grinder the best value grinder. You can pick one of these with confidence that they will perform well and help you produce superior coffee beverages.
- Best Grinder: Baratza Vario-W Grind by Weight Flat Burr Coffee Grinder.
- Best Value Grinder: Baratza Encore Conical Burr Coffee Grinder
We rate the Baratza Vario-W Grind by Weight Flat Burr Coffee Grinder (View Product on Amazon) as the best overall grinder and the best choice for any serious coffee drinker if it fits within your budget. It does everything a coffee grinder should do. It is appropriate for home, office, or small commercial use, and it produces 200 different grinds of coffee for all brewing methods.
The Vario W is easy to use, has high quality German ceramic burrs, and has a powerful, low-speed motor that will not burn your grounds. It is quiet and reliable.
We rate the Baratza Encore Conical Burr Coffee Grinder (View Product on Amazon) as our Best Value coffee grinder choice. While it won’t do everything that the Baratza Vario W will do, the Encore provides exceptional performance at a very low price.
The precision conical burr grinders provide 40 precise and consistent grind sizes. This easy to use grinder features a powerful motor that is reliable and operates quietly. The Encore provides superior performance at an attractive price.
Coffee is a case where size matters (grind size, that is). The extraction rate (the rate at which flavor, aroma, etc., are extracted in your coffee maker) is related to surface area and water flow rate, which is determined by grind size.
Finer grinds will slow the flow of water, increasing the contact time with the coffee grounds.
If your coffee grind is too coarse, the coffee can be under-extracted and taste too weak.
If your coffee grind is too fine, the resulting drink can be over-extracted and taste bitter.
Typically, espresso is ground very fine and beans for drip coffee are ground coarse.
Small changes in your grind size can significantly affect the taste of your coffee, so you will want to start with the manufacturers’ recommendations for grind size and adjust to your taste.
Here we provide reviews and a buying guide for coffee grinders, and we provide information on some recommended machines. Also, we provide some valuable general information on coffee grinders I can help you produce superior coffee drinks.
Our Top FIVE Best Grinders among all Coffee Grinders:
Presuming that you are interested in producing great tasting coffee drinks, is certainly worth the extra investment to move up to a Burr grinder. For that reason, we focus our reviews on Burr grinders. Yes, burr grinders are a better choice than blade grinders.
|Baratza Vario-W Grind by Weight Flat Burr Coffee Grinder By Baratza
|View on Amazon.com
|OXO Brew Conical Burr Coffee Grinder with Integrated Scale By OXO
|View on Amazon.com
|KitchenAid KCG0702CS Burr Coffee Grinder By KitchenAid
|View on Amazon.com
|Breville BCG820BSSXL The Smart Grinder Pro Coffee Bean Grinder By Breville
|View on Amazon.com
|Baratza Encore Conical Burr Coffee Grinder By Baratza
|View on Amazon.com
1. Baratza Vario-W Grind by Weight Flat Burr Coffee Grinder
This Baratza Vario W grinder has all the bells and whistles you could want in a coffee grinder. It is suitable for home, office, or small commercial use. Its relatively high price is completely justified by the grinder’s quality and its ability to set your grind for espresso and all brewing methods, such as Aeropress, Hario V60, Chemex, French Press, and automatic brewers.
- High quality, flat German ceramic burrs for excellent grind control and to maintain sharpness (stainless steel burrs are also available for this grinder).
- An LED display on the front-mounted control panel provides an easy-to-use and intuitive user interface. It has 3 programmable buttons which allow you to save 3 different presets.
- Weight-based grinding produces the perfect cup of coffee with a built-in scale.
- The Vario-W has both macro and micro adjustments for complete control over grind size. The macro adjustment has 10 settings, and a secondary micro adjustment further divides each of the 10 macro steps into 20 distinct settings within each macro setting.
- The Baratza Vario features a powerful motor which operates the burrs at a slow speed to prevent overheating of the coffee.
- Quiet and durable-the powerful motor is quiet and durable, permitting long grinding cycles.
- A thermal cutoff switch protects the motor from overheating.
- The bean hopper holds 8 oz. of beans and the ground coffee bin has a 6.3 oz. capacity.
- Warranty-one year with world class product support by Baratza.
This award winning Baratza Vario-W Grind by Weight Flat Burr Coffee Grinder (View Product on Amazon) is our top-rated coffee grinder. It features over 200 grind settings to enable you to dial in the exact grind for the perfect shot for the specific espresso machine you are using. The powerful, slow turning motor combined with the ceramic burrs insures that your coffee will never taste burned. The weight-based operation makes it easy to produce that perfect cup of coffee. Overall, this grinder is a high-quality and super adjustable coffee grinder.
2. OXO BREW Conical Burr Coffee Grinder with Integrated Scale
The OXO BREW Conical Burr Grinder is a moderate cost grinder that does what you need when grinding coffee and it does it very well. This OXO coffee grinder allows you to grind by weight or time or number of cups to get that perfect cup of coffee. It has a powerful motor that will not overheat your beans.
- Intelligent built-in scale allows you to grind the perfect amount of coffee for that perfect brew.
- Stainless Steel Conical burrs for grinding produce a wonderfully consistent grind.
- Digital display adds to the ease-of-use.
- High torque slow speed DC motor will not overheat your coffee or produce a burned flavor. The motor also employs a thermal cut-off to protect the motor in case of over use.
- Provides quiet operation.
- 3 grinding modes: cup mode uses a pre-set ratio of 8 grams per cup, weight mode to grind the precise number of grams you would like, and manual mode (grind by time). An easy-to-use dial allow rapid switching among Cups Mode, Grams Mode or Manual Mode.
- Strength adjustment to “fine-tune” your beverage taste.
- The generous Bean Hopper, with a closure to allow removal of that hopper while containing beans, holds 16 oz. of coffee beans. The Grounds container holds grounds for 12 cups of coffee.
The OXO BREW Conical Burr Coffee Grinder with Integrated Scale (View Product on Amazon) is moderately priced and includes multiple grinding modes (weight, number of cups, and time). This is our second choice of grinders and is certainly quite attractive at its price point. It is an easy-to-use burr grinder which should more than satisfy your coffee grinding needs.
3. KitchenAid KCG0702CS Burr Coffee Grinder
The KitchenAid KCG0702CS Burr Coffee Grinder is another fine choice for a moderately-priced burr coffee grinder. Many users appreciate its “retro” styling and color choices coupled with excellent grinding performance. It features stainless steel burrs for precise grinding control.
- 15 grind settings.
- Powerful, slow speed motor prevents imparting that burned taste to the coffee.
- Large, easy to clean hoppers for beans and ground coffee (up to 7 oz.).
- Quieter than most grinders.
- Retro styling and colors.
- KitchenAid quality.
The KitchenAid KCG0702CS Burr Coffee Grinder (View Product on Amazon) provides all the basic features you want at a moderate price. Most importantly, it delivers precisely ground coffee at any of 15 settings. It is stylish, quiet, and powerful while being easy to clean.
4. Breville BCG820BSSXL The Smart Grinder Pro Coffee Bean Grinder
The Breville BCG820BSSXL Smart Grinder Pro Coffee Bean Grinder is a moderately priced coffee grinder with lots of cool features and modern, brushed stainless steel styling. This quality Breville product delivers super-precise “Dosing IQ” to provide precise dosing for every shot and a choice of how you want your ground coffee delivered for use.
- 60 precise grind settings allow you to grind beans ranging from the finest espresso to the coarsest French Press grind.
- A great LCD panel clearly shows the grind settings, grind time, and number of cups or shots you have selected.
- “Dosing IQ” gives you control over the grind time in 0.2 second increments to provide total control for a perfect dose every time.
- You can grind your beans directly into the portafilter, filter paper, gold tone filter basket, or an airtight grinds container—the choice is yours!
- Stainless steel burrs provide precise grind control without overheating your coffee or imparting an “off-flavor”.
- The Smart Grinder Pro is the quietest grinder in the Breville line.
- Larger than usual 18 oz. bean capacity.
With the traditional Breville name and quality, this Breville BCG820BSSXL The Smart Grinder Pro Coffee Bean Grinder (View Product on Amazon) provides precise control over your ground coffee with 60 grind settings. The patented Dosing IQ give you exact control in 0.2 second increments over grind time. You can grind directly into your portafilter or a variety of other choices. The attractive brushed stainless-steel styling will complement many kitchens. This Breville grinder provides superior performance at a moderate price.
5. Baratza Encore Conical Burr Coffee Grinder
If you are looking for a great grinder that will do all the basic coffee grinding functions exceptionally well for a budget price, look no further than the Baratza Encore grinder, our choice of best value grinder. The commercial quality conical burr grinders will produce perfectly ground coffee for all brewing methods, such as French Press, espresso, Aeropress, Chemex, Hario V60, and automatic brewers.
- Features commercial quality, conical steel burrs for excellent consistency and grind control.
- Easy to use front mounted controls make this grinder a breeze to use.
- With its compact footprint and they designed to fit on the counter under cabinets, the Baratza Encore grinder fits conveniently in any kitchen.
- A fill line on the ground coffee hopper readily shows how much coffee to grind.
- The Encore grinder as a powerful motor that is quiet and durable.
- 40 precise and easily settable grind sizes from 250 to 1200 microns.
- Specialty coffee Association award winning grinders.
- The bean hopper holds 8 oz. of beans and the ground coffee bin has a 5 oz. capacity.
- Warranty-one year with world class product support by Baratza.
The award winning Baratza Encore Conical Burr Coffee Grinder (View Product on Amazon) is our choice for best value coffee grinder. It is a great entry-level grinder featuring 40 grind sizes. The powerful motor combined with the conical burrs provides superior performance and durability. The Encore grinder is a great budget friendly choice for your kitchen.
The Ultimate Buying Guide for Coffee Grinders:
There are hundreds of coffee grinders available for purchase. Our goal is to introduce you to a group of the best coffee grinders available and to help you find the right choice for you among them without overwhelming you with so many grinders and details that you are more confused than enlightened. In this section, we review:
Types of Coffee Grinders:
At the highest level, there are fundamentally two types of coffee grinders: blade grinders and burr grinders.
Blade coffee grinders work as you would expect them to; they cut beans into small pieces by attaching a rotating blade (resembling a small airplane propeller) to a high-speed motor and putting that whirling blade in a chamber that you fill with coffee beans. The problem is that you have little control over the exact consistency of the grind, and you will end up with some finely ground coffee intermixed with very coarsely ground coffee. This is easiest to see after you’ve brewed your coffee—take a look at the spent grounds, and you will find a mix of nearly whole beans, finely ground coffee, and everything in between.
Blade Grinder Pros:
- Simple to use
Blade Grinder Cons:
- Inconsistent fineness of grind
- Heating of coffee potentially leading to a burnt taste
Burr grinders use two oscillating metal or ceramic plates with toothed surfaces to grind the coffee beans by essentially crushing them between two plates.
Burr grinders provide much greater consistency in the fineness of the grind than blade grinders. The burrs may be either flat or conical. Most coffee drinkers will not be able to discern any difference in the final beverage, but there is some feeling that conical burrs require less speed and motor power and provide a more uniform grind. However, ceramic burrs generally last longer and may impart a more traditional taste to your espresso because they tend to produce “fines” (very finely ground coffee) mixed in with the other coffee grounds.
Coffee aficionados universally prefer burr grinders both because of the consistency of the grind and because of the lack of unwanted side effects such as heating (burning) of the coffee grounds.
Burr Grinder Pros:
- Consistent grinds
- Grind fineness easily adjusted
- Reduced heating of grounds
- Long lasting
Burr Grinder Cons:
- More expensive
Burr Grinders are always the better choice:
Consistency of grind is always very important to the taste off coffee drinks, so burr grinders are universally accepted as the better choice.
Why metal vs. ceramic burrs?
- Most coffee or espresso drinkers will not be able to discern the difference. Both metal and ceramic burrs should be able to handle all grinds and sizes equally.
- Both metal and ceramic burrs produce high quality coffee. Ceramic burrs generally last longer than metal burrs, although they can be chipped by a wayward stone undetected in your coffee beans.
- Ceramic burrs are less thermally conductive than metal, so they may offer less heating of your coffee.
- The noise and required rotational speed of the burrs is more determined by tooth shape than by the material from which the burrs are made.
Flat vs. Conical burrs?
Although you will find many discussions about the relative taste advantages of flat vs. conical burrs, there is no clear evidence that there is any discernable difference.
Features to look for in a Burr Grinder:
Critical factors in producing excellent coffee drinks is that the coffee beans be ground freshly to a uniform size and without overheating them.
- As mentioned above, burrs are either steel or ceramic. Both provide great results. The ultimate result in the ground coffee is primarily from the shape of the “teeth” on the burr (more so than the whether the burr is ceramic or steel). There is some evidence to support that ceramic burrs produce a more “traditional” taste to espresso (because some fines are mixed in the ground coffee), whereas steel burrs may produce an absolutely more uniform sized grind for a more “modern” taste.
- Adjustable grind size: Burr grinders excel in producing uniform coffee grinds as they can be easily adjusted to produce any desired fineness of grind.
- How do I adjust the grind? Fundamentally, burr grinders adjust the fineness of the grind by moving the plates either closer together or farther apart. In some grinders, this is accomplished by having several fixed settings. Other Burr grinders are continuously adjustable.
- Having fixed settings is convenient for the user, while having continuous adjustment gives you more control.
- Characteristics of Coffee grinds that affect taste: coarser grinds are typically used in French press or other drip through kinds of coffeemakers. Espresso requires a much finer grind to truly extract all the flavor from the coffee. Some grinders produce extra-fine grinds for espresso or Turkish coffee.
- Motor Power and Speed: Burr grinders where the burrs operate at low speed keep the coffee at a low temperature and are generally more desirable. Look for burr grinders with burrs turning at a slower speed. Rotating the burrs at slow speed requires a larger motor, so look for grinders with larger motors. All the grinders we have chosen to review are have powerful motors and grind coffee at speeds unlikely to produce any burnt taste.
- Noise: the noise of a grinder can be annoying and distracting. All things being equal, choose a quieter grinder. All the grinders we have chosen to review are quiet.
- Size: consider where you want to place your grinder and make sure the size of the grinder you choose will fit where you want to put it. Compact grinders can perform quite nicely.
We all operate within a budget and do not have unlimited money to spend on a grinder. As with most things, with coffee grinders you tend to get what you pay for, but you will find all our reviewed grinders perform well. First, select a burr grinder. Beyond that, look for a grinder with a larger motor and slower burr speed to prevent burning the coffee.
- Best Overall: We rate the Baratza Vario-W Grind by Weight Flat Burr Coffee Grinder (View Product on Amazon) as our best overall grinder. It does everything a coffee grinder should do. This Baratza has a powerful and quiet motor and can produce 200 different grinds for your coffee drinking enjoyment. It will satisfy the most discerning coffee aficionado.
- Best Value: We choose the Baratza Encore Conical Burr Coffee Grinder (View Product on Amazon) as our Best Value coffee grinder because it does so much at a low price. The precision conical burrs provide 40 different grind sizes. The Encore grinder is easy to use and has a powerful motor that is reliable and quiet. You can’t find a better coffee grinder at this price.
- Runner-up: The OXO BREW Conical Burr Coffee Grinder with Integrated Scale (View Product on Amazon) is our second choice for coffee grinders. It is moderately priced and allows grinding by weight, number of cups, and time. The OXO Brew grinder is quite attractive at its price point. Stainless Steel burrs, a powerful motor, and low grinding speed make this an excellent choice. This easy-to-use burr grinder should more than satisfy your coffee grinding needs.
- Third Overall: The KitchenAid KCG0702CS Burr Coffee Grinder (View Product on Amazon) places third overall in our ratings. This KitchenAid is a great choice for moderately-priced burr coffee grinders. It is “retro” styled and has excellent grinding performance. It features stainless steel burrs for precise grinding control, with 15 grind settings.
- Fourth Overall: The Breville BCG820BSSXL The Smart Grinder Pro Coffee Bean Grinder (View Product on Amazon) is a moderately priced coffee grinder with excellent features and modern, brushed stainless steel styling. With 60 grind settings and super-precise “Dosing IQ”, this quality Breville Smart Grinder Pro provided great control over your coffee grinding.
You may want to consider getting a super automatic espresso machine with a built-in coffee grinder that automates the entire brewing process from bean to beverage. But you may also want to purchase a separate coffee grinder because you want the even finer control these grinders give you, because you want to grind beans for a variety of purposes, or because you need to grind larger quantities of coffee.
These coffee grinders reviewed here are all great coffee grinders with excellent performance and price points for stand-alone grinders. These fine coffee grinders will exceed your expectations for a stand-alone coffee grinder.