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It's a little-known fact that the grinder is actually the single most important piece of coffee equipment you can own. In fact, if you're making a budget for your home coffee set-up, whether you prefer a French press or you can’t get enough espresso, you should set aside a significant chunk of money for the grinder, regardless of your brewing equipment. Why? Because the uniformity and size of the individual coffee grounds you brew is one of—if not the—most important part of your lineup. If your coffee is unevenly ground, sitting in your filter in all different shapes and sizes, the effect will be the coffee equivalent of trying to evenly roast vegetables that are cut in various thicknesses from paper thin to one inch chunks. Different sizes of cut veggies will roast at different rates, and different sizes of coffee grounds will brew inconsistently. The end result? A mediocre cup of coffee that could have been great.
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Best Overall: Breville Smart Grinder Pro Coffee Bean Grinder
This grinder has stainless steel conical burrs that are designed to minimize grinding heat and protect the essential oils, maximizing the flavor you get from your coffee beans. It has 60 precise-grind settings from the finest espresso to a coarse grind for French Press and everything in between. You’ll always have exactly the right grind for your beans and your coffee grinder.
This has an electronic timer that allows you to adjust the grind time down to two-tenths of a second, so you can produce exactly the amount of ground coffee you need every single time.
You can store up to 16 ounces in the hopper, which has a locking system that makes it easy to remove and clean. You can also grind beans directly into a filter or your favorite container, so there’s less to clean.
This includes two sizes of portafilter cradles, a ground-coffee container with a lid and a cleaning brush. This model is available in three different colors to fit your kitchen décor.
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Runner-Up, Best Overall: Baratza Virtuoso Conical Burr Coffee Grinder
If a $500 grinder isn't in your future but you want something reliable, Baratza has another model for you. The Virtuoso's conical burrs will last roughly two-thirds as long as the ceramic burrs in the Vario, and their shape encourages an even and just as adjustable particle size as those in the machine's more expensive, flashier cousin.
The Virtuoso has the capacity to create grinds coarse enough for French press and fine enough for just about everything short of espresso, which makes it ideal for the everyday coffee geek who loves their daily brew but isn't ready to go down the espresso rabbit hole. Baratza is also dedicated to service, which means that parts and repair are relatively simple on these units, unlike many other home appliances available.
03 of 10
Best Budget: Bodum Bistro Electric Burr Coffee Grinder
If you're looking for a decent burr grinder without a price tag in the hundreds, this stylish little device from Bodum actually does a serviceable job, considering it's not a "coffee-specific" brand. This would make a great starter grinder, perfect for anyone who has been buying pre-ground or bringing bags of whole beans to the local market or cafe for grinding. It might not be perfect, but it's a good little grinder that gets the job done, churning out really solid coffee at home on a budget. Plus, it comes in five fun colors.
04 of 10
Runner-Up, Best Budget: Hamilton Beach Custom Grind Coffee Maker
For die-hard believers in burr grinders, it’s nearly impossible to find one that’s both decently operable and truly inexpensive. That’s why we’ve landed on this blade grinder from Hamilton Beach, a solid option for those who aren’t interested in spending more than $30 on this part of their morning coffee routine. This device is certainly not as advanced or customizable as more expensive models, but it does offer some broad adjustment options for at least a degree of precision above a single-button design. And it holds a lot — up to 14 cups worth of coffee. Simply fill the stainless steel chamber, set your quantity and the coarseness of your grind, and press the button. It will automatically grind to your desired consistency and then turn itself off, allowing you to continue your morning routine in the meantime. And the chamber is removable, meaning you can pour out your grounds with ease and clean up in a snap.Continue to 5 of 10 below.
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Best Simple Design: OXO On Conical Burr Grinder with Scale
Want a burr grinder without any bells and whistles? This OXO grinder might be your best bet—except it comes with one big whistle, in that it actually has a built-in scale! An easy-to-use digital interface allows you not only to change the programs and dose weights but is also precise enough to give you anything from one batch of espresso-ground coffee to five doses of filter-ground coffee, at the touch of a button. You can also make minute adjustments to coffee strength with the gentle twist of a knob, and the hopper is easily removable to switch from bean to bean whenever necessary.
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Best Versatile Design: Westinghouse Select Series Electric Grinder
If you shy away from single-use appliances (or don’t like them taking up your limited storage space), then the Westinghouse Select Series Electric Grinder has appealing versatility. With a 200-watt motor and 2.1-ounce capacity, this device is large enough — and powerful enough — to handle more than your daily cup of joe. Its high-quality stainless steel blades can grind beans to your preferred coarseness in seconds. But it can also take on herbs and spices for lightning-fast ingredient prep while cooking. The cylindrical shape ensures uniform grinding, and with its single-button design, it couldn’t be easier to use. The best part? The stainless steel housing is removable, meaning you can clean it between uses and (unlike most other multifunctional grinders) use the same device for both coffee and spices without the risk of flavor transfer.
Of course, the price is also hard to beat. This Westinghouse Select Series grinder doesn’t offer the advanced features or precise control of the more expensive models on this list — hardcore coffee connoisseurs may even express horror at the concept of a multi-use electric grinder. But if you’re looking for a way to grind coffee at home without devoting counter space to a single-use device, then the Westinghouse is a worthwhile and well-reviewed option with plenty of applications beyond your morning cup.
07 of 10
Best Manual Burr Grinder: Porlex JP-30 Stainless Steel Coffee Grinder
Slim, sleek, portable, infinitely adjustable: The Porlex stainless-steel hand grinder is a perfect tool for the coffee geek who has little space, needs a noiseless grinder, or travels a lot. Stepless adjustments make the tool adaptable for any number of coffee brewing methods, from French press to something close to espresso, and the tiny footprint is ideal for a counter, a cubby at work, or a luggage pocket for the on-the-go coffee brewer. While hand-grinding can admittedly be a chore, the Porlex only holds enough for one or two cups at a time (about 40 grams), making it a powerful weapon in the fight against single-brew mediocrity—but don't try to grind enough for a crowd with this thing.
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Runner-Up, Best Manual: Hario Skerton Ceramic Coffee Mill
While the Hario Skerton is less stable than the Porlex hand grinder, its separate parts make it an ideal travel companion: A screw-top lid is included in the package, making it possible to remove the grinder top, seal the bottom bowl, and use it as a storage unit for freshly hand-ground coffee. The ceramic burrs are long-lasting and precise, offering an incredibly even grind particle size for a manual grinder. As with the Porlex (and basically every other hand-powered grinder in existence), adjustments to the grind-particle size are something of a pain to make, but the accuracy and uniformity of the grind once you settle on the right one is hard to beat at the price.Continue to 9 of 10 below.
09 of 10
Best for Espresso: Gaggia MDF Burr Grinder with Doser
Espresso requires a find grind, and this commercial-grade burr grinder provides it with 30mm tempered steel burrs, a 120-watt motor, and 34 grind settings. This has a gear-reduction system that runs quietly and reduces annoying static buildup.
The housing is impact-resistant plastic that’s easy to keep clean and there is an 8-ounce container for the ground coffee and a 10-ounce bean hopper. The doser makes it easy to dispense a pre-measured portion of coffee into a filter holder — just pull the lever once for a single cup of espresso or twice for two cups.
Since this had a variety of grind settings, you can also use this for your everyday coffee. The manufacturer notes that all machines are tested before shipping, so some grounds might remain when the product is shipped.
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Runner-Up, Best for Espresso: KitchenAid Burr Coffee Grinder
This burr coffee grinder has a unique shape that’s reminiscent of a KitchenAid stand mixer, but that shape also makes it shorter than the more upright grinders, so it fits better under low kitchen cabinets or on shelves. It has 15 different grind settings, all the way down to a very fine grind that’s ideal for making espresso.
This has stainless steel cutting burrs that are durable and powerful. The burrs turn at a slow speed, so there’s less frictional heat that can degrade the coffee flavor, no matter how fine the grind. The seven-ounce bean hopper and grind jar are made from glass, so you’ll get less static cling that’s common with plastic containers. This includes a coffee scoop and a burr grinding brush for easy cleaning. This grinder includes a one-year hassle-free replacement warranty.