The moment a coffee bean is ground, all of its wonderful flavors and aromas are most present. In fact, experts recommend grinding beans within minutes before brewing to get the most out of your daily cup of joe. So, if you're buying your beans pre-ground, you may be doing yourself a disservice. After all, the best coffee is fresh coffee. The solution? A coffee grinder.
Breville The Smart Grinder Pro
Consistent grind size
Coffee grounds cup doubles as storage
60 grind settings
Short power cord
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 easy-to-read 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 18 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.
Sometimes a litany of features can lead to confusion, but not with this machine. We found the grinder simple to use. There's a graph on the LCD display that shows the grind size from coarsest to finest, complete with markers for press, perk, drip, and espresso along the way.
This machine comes with two sizes of portafilter cradles, a ground-coffee container with a lid and a cleaning brush. We found it super easy to clean. This model is available in three different colors to fit your kitchen décor.
Price at time of publish: $350
Type: Burr | Capacity: 18 ounces | Dimensions: 6.3 x 8.4 x 15.3 inches | Weight: 6.4 pounds | Warranty: One-year limited
Baratza Encore Conical Burr Coffee Grinder
40 grind settings
Prone to static cling
Tinted coffee bin, difficult to see through
If a $300 grinder isn't in your future but you want something reliable, Baratza has a model for you. The Encore has the ability to create grinds coarse enough for a French press and fine enough for espresso, which makes it ideal for the everyday coffee drinker. And it does it all automatically, saving time, effort, and guesswork compared to manual grinders.
The hopper is adequately sized and can hold 8 ounces of coffee beans. Customers say it's a little messy though, partially due to the high rate of static cling. If you can overlook those downsides, along with some noisiness, this is an excellent value buy.
Reviewers give the Encore high marks for its ease of use and consistency, which are two of the most important traits when looking for a grinder. Baratza is also dedicated to service, which means that parts and repairs are relatively simple on its units, unlike many other home appliances available.
Price at time of publish: $160
Type: Burr | Capacity: 227 grams (8 ounces) | Dimensions: 6.3 x 4.7 x 13.78 inches | Weight: 7 pounds | Warranty: One-year limited
KRUPS Silent Vortex Electric Grinder
Easy to use and clean
No specific grind settings
For coffee lovers trying to save money on a grinder without sacrificing much quality, we recommend the Krups Silent Vortex Electric Grinder. This budget option doesn't offer the same level of performance as the top grinders out there, but it fared extremely well in our testing trials. In fact, it received better ratings for its design, ease of use, and grind consistency than several more expensive grinders we tested.
The item is compact and can be kept on the counter or in a cupboard without inconvenience. It has a removable grinding bowl that holds up to 90 grams of coffee. The brand says this is enough for 12 cups, but we recommend grinding a little more, at least 100 grams, for a full pot.
While the Krups Silent Vortex isn't exactly silent, we were nonetheless impressed by how quietly it grinds. It's fast, too. The brand recommends holding the top-facing button down 10 seconds for a coarse grind, 15 seconds for a medium grind (ideal for drip coffee), and 20 seconds for a fine grind. And we actually preferred grinding for less time than that when we brewed our coffee. This method of grinding is cruder and less precise than the specific grind settings that high-end models are equipped with, but fear not. The Krups Silent Vortex produces reliable coffee grounds and was possibly the most effective blade grinder we used.
Price at time of publish: $30
Type: Blade | Capacity: 90 grams (3.17 ounces) | Dimensions: 4.33 x 4.02 x 8.46 inches | Weight: 2.4 pounds | Warranty: One year
Fellow Ode Electric Brew Grinder
Excellent grind consistency
Grounds knocker makes cleaning easier
Stylish and slim design
Not for espresso
Small hopper capacity
Fellow Products has a wide selection of high-quality coffee gear, and the Ode Brew Grinder showcases the brand's signature craftsmanship. It's a sleek, efficient device that can make a major improvement in the flavor of your daily coffee. The Ode has powerful stainless steel burrs that we can recommend firsthand; there's also an upgrade available for even finer and longer-lasting burrs if you really want to splurge.
We found the item easy to use from the start. All you have to do is load the coffee beans into the top, select from one of 31 clearly marked settings on the large dial, and press the start button. The hopper is smaller than average with an 80-gram capacity, but we didn't find it to be an issue. The Ode was one of the fastest coffee grinders we tested out of more than 20 models, so it's not a huge hassle to add more coffee beans as needed.
Another caveat to this otherwise exceptional coffee grinder is that it's not designed for espresso. It can grind coffee for all other brewing methods, from drip to pour over, but it doesn't produce fine enough grounds for espresso. Thankfully, Fellow frequently makes a point to mention this in its product descriptions. So, as long as you don't need it for espresso, the Ode is one of the best all-around coffee grinders for home use.
Price at time of publish: $255
Type: Burr | Capacity: 80 grams (2.8 ounces) | Dimensions: 9.4 x 4.2 x 9.5 inches | Weight: 9.9 pounds | Warranty: One year
Best for Espresso
Baratza Sette 270 Conical Burr Grinder
270 grind settings
Almost no grind retention
Easy to clean
Longer learning curve than other grinders
There's a phrase in the coffee industry called "dialing in." It's the process of fine-tuning the many factors that go into creating rich, café-quality espresso—and one of those factors is grind size. While many coffee grinders have espresso settings that are suitable for casual home use, a true espresso grinder, like the Baratza Sette 270, can grind much finer and lead to more consistency, flavor, and body in every espresso shot.
We tested several grinders made specifically for espresso and this was our all-around favorite. Its name comes from the 270 different grind settings it's equipped with. There are 30 macro settings (labeled as numbers) which you select from first, then 9 micro settings (labeled as letters) which you adjust for even greater precision. The grind range runs from 230 to 950 microns, which makes the Sette usable for drip coffee as well. We brewed multiple espresso shots after grinding on an 8-C setting, which leans toward the finer side, and we found the results both consistent and impressive. Each shot was strong yet balanced and had a heavy mouthfeel.
Unfortunately, the Sette 270 is quite loud when grinding, but luckily it fills a portafilter in less than six seconds, so the noise doesn't last long. One of the only other criticisms we have is that it's tricky to alternate between the macro dial to the micro dial, particularly for beginners. Otherwise this is a stellar option for the at-home barista. It's more expensive than an average coffee grinder, but for an espresso grinder it's actually well-priced and offers great value for money.
Price at time of publish: $400
Type: Burr | Capacity: 238 grams (10 ounces) | Dimensions: 5.12 x 9.45 x 14.96 inches | Weight: 7 pounds | Warranty: 1-year limited
Best With Scale
OXO Brew Conical Burr Coffee Grinder With Integrated Scale
Bean hopper locks securely
Integrated scale to weigh beans
Senses empty bean hopper
Coarsest grind is chunky
Scale sometimes needs to be tared
Want a burr grinder without useless, unnecessary frills? This OXO grinder might be your best bet. One feature that really sets the item apart is its built-in scale. During our product testing, our reviewer found that the scale is accurate to the gram and seamlessly integrates with the grinding operation. Such precision leads to a consistently delicious cup of coffee. Another small perk is that the grinder won’t start if the cup isn’t on the scale, which prevents grounds from flying everywhere if someone bumps or removes the cup.
On top of that, the easy-to-use digital interface lets you change the programs and dose weights, and it's 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.
Price at time of publish: $300
Type: Burr | Capacity: 340 grams (12 ounces) | Dimensions: 11.8 x 6.8 x 14.8 inches | Weight: 5.6 pounds | Warranty: Two-year limited
Hario Skerton Plus Ceramic Coffee Mill
Adjustable grind size
Tough to keep stable
Coarser grinds can be inconsistent
While the Hario Skerton Plus 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.
Price at time of publish: $42
Type: Burr | Capacity: 100 grams (3.5 ounces) | Dimensions: 3.6 x 6.8 x 9 inches (with crank arm attached) | Weight: 1 pound | Warranty: 90 days
Smeg Coffee Grinder
Grinds evenly from fine to coarse
Available in multiple colors
Some beans in burrs after grinding
The Italian manufacturer Smeg has a long history of combining innovative technology and eye-catching designs for its array of home appliances. This coffee grinder continues that tradition.
Smeg sent a model to The Spruce Eats for testing and, right away, several features stood out, from its aesthetic to its user-friendly touches. Its gleaming matte exterior and bold color options evoke a quintessential 1950s style. Yet, the item blends in with modern kitchen décor. Smeg produces other appliances in the same retro style to pair with the grinder, including a drip coffee maker, milk frother, and more.
So, how does the actually grinder perform? Fortunately, it is equal parts style and equal parts substance. The conical burrs grind quickly, evenly, and are astoundingly quiet. (It's a great option for making early-morning coffee while others in the house are still asleep.) Its 30 grind settings are well labeled and easy to navigate thanks to a rotating chrome knob. The capacity is also slightly larger than average at 350 grams. Perhaps the only downside to this stellar and stylish machine is its high price tag.
Price at time of publish: $330
Type: Burr | Capacity: 350 grams (12.3 ounces) | Dimensions: 5.9 x 8.6 x 15.1 inches | Weight: 6.8 pounds | Warranty: Two years
The Breville Smart Grinder Pro is our top overall pick thanks to its numerous features, sleek LCD display, and exceptional consistency. Another option we highly recommend is the Baratza Encore, which also has powerful ceramic burrs and a variety of grind sizes.
How We Tested
In testing, we ground 15 grams of whole coffee beans and sifted them to evaluate grind uniformity and consistency. Grinders with different settings were sent through their paces to create fine, medium, and coarse grinds. Grinders without specific settings were given a certain amount of grinding time to create fine, medium and coarse grinds (and if a proper consistency had not yet been achieved, they continued grinding for 10 second intervals). After grinding was complete, we brewed the coffee, allowed it to cool to a temperature range of 120 to 130 degrees, and performed a blind taste test. Finally, we cleaned the grinders and made an assessment of how easy that was. Each product was rated on a scale from 1 to 5 on its ease of use, design, performance, and value.
We performed a second test for espresso grinders, which included a dial-in test to (see how well each espresso grinder can handle dialing in both a medium to medium-dark roasted blend and a lighter-roasted single origin coffee), a consistency test featuring back-to-back shots, and a usability and cleanup test (to see how easy it was to use and clean each machine).
Other Options We Tested
- Bodum Bistro Burr Coffee Grinder: This coffee grinder is still a worthwhile option for many customers, especially those looking for a budget pick-up, but there are a few drawbacks that prevent us from wholeheartedly recommending it. Namely, our product tester found coarse grinds uneven and that an excess of coffee bean chaff stuck to the sides of the hopper when grinding.
- KitchenAid Blade Coffee and Spice Grinder Combo Pack: We found the coffee grounds uneven in every trial run we conducted with the KitchenAid Blade Coffee and Spice Grinder. The item is also surprisingly pricey considering it uses a blade grinder, so it doesn't offer much value for money. There are similarly priced burr grinders available that perform better than this model.
- VSSL Java Coffee Grinder: We gave the VSSL Java Coffee Grinder a reasonable score in our testing trials, but none of its qualities especially stand out. There are several shortcomings that keep us from including it on our list as well. It has a small capacity; the short handle makes grinding rigorous; and it's very expensive for a manual grinder. All of that adds up and leaves us unable to recommend it.
- Porlex Mini Stainless Steel Coffee Grinder: This compact grinder has several positives, starting with its reliable ceramic burrs, and can make a suitable grinder for many customers. That said, disassembly and cleaning were more difficult than most grinders we tested. And while the space-saving design is a potential draw, the grinder is hard to hold, especially for people with larger hands.
What to Look for in a Coffee Grinder
A large hopper is convenient since you don’t need to refill it daily, but if you like to brew different types of coffee on different days, a small bean hopper works just as well—plus, it reduces the overall size of the grinder.
How many types of coffee do you drink? If you always make the same variety, you may never need to change the grind size. However, if you make espresso on some days and French press coffee on others, it’s nice to be able to select exactly the right size every time.
Unfortunately, you can't tell the noise level of a coffee grinder without using it or, at least, relying on the advice of people who have used it. Yet, noise level greatly affects how pleasant the grinding experience is. If a grinder is too loud, we might be put off from using it, especially early in the morning. So it's worthwhile to check customer reviews and third-party articles to see how loud a grinder is before purchasing it.
Ease of Cleaning
Most grinders don’t need a lot of cleaning, particularly if you use them daily. Even if you switch between dark and light roasts, a few errant beans won’t ruin the brew. But if you occasionally like flavored coffees, you’ll want a grinder that’s easy to clean, so your morning coffee doesn’t retain a hint of hazelnut for longer than you like.
What’s the difference between a blade grinder and a burr grinder?
Every coffee grinder falls into one of two categories: blade or burr. Blade grinders rely on a spinning metal blade to chop up coffee beans, similar to a blender. They are less consistent than burr grinders and, as a result, are much cheaper. Blades also create a lot of heat when in use, which may alter the flavor of your coffee beans.
Burr grinders are a higher-quality option. In turn, they are significantly more expensive. There are two kinds of burr grinders—wheel and conical—both of which essentially crush coffee beans to your desired grind size instead of chopping them. Conical burrs are considered superior because they are a little smoother, slower, and quieter than wheel burrs. There are great options out there for both blade and burr grinders, but try going with the latter if your budget permits.
How do I clean a coffee grinder?
Between the leftover oils and chaff from coffee beans, grinders can quickly become messy. It’s important to regularly clean your grinder so it can continue working properly and lead to a delicious cup of joe. We recommend cleaning at least once a week unless manufacturer guidelines say otherwise.
The cleaning process differs for blade grinders and burr grinders. If you own a blade grinder, add one-fourth cup of uncooked rice—yes, rice!—to the hopper, run the grind cycle until the rice becomes a fine powder, empty the contents, and wipe inside and out with a damp microfiber cloth. The reasons for this are that rice soaks up the oils that coffee beans leave behind and that it's gentle on the blades.
Cleaning a burr grinder is slightly more intensive, but luckily you can go a month or two without performing a full clean. Start by removing and rinsing the hopper. Then disassemble the burrs and scrub them with a toothbrush or bottle brush to remove old coffee grounds. You should scrub inside the machine itself, as stray grounds will likely be there too; a small vacuum or can of compressed air will also suffice. Avoid cleaning the burrs with soap or water unless otherwise specified. If this process seems too rigorous, several brands manufacture cleaning products (like grindable coffee bean-sized pellets) to speed things up.
What grind size should I use?
Grind sizes for coffee beans range from fine (almost a powder) to coarse (chunky like sea salt). The best size to use depends on the type of coffee maker you own. If you plan on making espresso, Turkish coffee, or coffee from a moka pot, fine-ground coffee is recommended. Those making drip coffee or brewing with a pour over or an AeroPress should use a medium grind. Chemex owners will want to lean toward a medium-coarse grind. Finally, French presses, percolators, and cold brew coffee makers work best with coarse-ground beans. Even though these are the recommended grind sizes, it’s worth experimenting on your own to find your perfect cup.
What's the difference between an espresso grind and a regular grind?
The only difference between espresso grinds and grinds for, say, drip coffee is the size of the particles, which is measured in microns. Espresso is typically brewed with ground coffee in the 200 to 400 micron range, while drip coffee requires around 800 microns.
There are a couple key reasons espresso is best when made with finely ground coffee beans. First, the tiny particles let you pack more coffee into a portafilter; think of filling a bucket with sand as opposed to all the empty space there would be if you filled the same bucket with rocks. Second, smaller particles extract faster. Since water passes through the grounds so quickly during the brewing process, a faster extraction time is necessary for stronger flavor.
As a result of these differences, the best type of grinder for making espresso is one that can grind very finely, down in that 200-micron range. It also helps if the grinder is more precise. That could mean it lets users adjust to a specific grind size or that it has low grind retention.
How long does coffee stay fresh?
The first thing to know is that whole bean coffee stays fresh longer than ground coffee. Whole bean coffee retains noticeable flavor for an average of six to nine months if stored properly; ground coffee keeps flavor for three to five months.
It's important to note that coffee slowly begins losing flavor long before this, though. We recommend using whole bean coffee within 14 days of when it's roasted and ground coffee within about 10 days. This window may feel brief, but don't worry: coffee still tastes good even after these respective time periods have passed. Think of them as reference points for when coffee is at peak freshness rather than deadlines you have to use it by.
Why Trust The Spruce Eats?
Erin Meister has spent years both working in and reporting on the coffee industry. Since moving to New York City in 2003, she has worked at Joe Coffee Company and Counter Culture Coffee. Her writing has appeared in The Washington Post, The Boston Globe Serious Eats, Rachael Ray Every Day, and more. Erin is also the author of "New York City Coffee: A Caffeinated History."
This piece was updated by Derek Rose, the coffee and tea expert for The Spruce Eats. He researches a variety of coffee products, from measuring scoops to commercial espresso machines, and interviews field experts for their insight. He has used and recommends two coffee grinders that appear on this list: the Smeg Coffee Grinder and Hario Skerton Plus.
Allie Caran, the Product Manager at BaristaValet, was interviewed for this piece. She previously worked as the Director of Education at Partners Coffee. Allie has been in the coffee industry for more than 15 years.
National Coffee Association. How to Brew Coffee.