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The moment a coffee bean is ground, all of its wonderful flavors and aromas are most present. Experts recommend grinding beans within minutes before brewing to get the most out of your daily cup of joe.
Grinders can be hefty investments, however. Some are budget priced, but those are typically blade grinders—a variety that’s less consistent and less durable than burr grinders. Burr grinders are heralded for their evenness and consistency (with blade grinders, you’ll often see fine particles mixed with larger chunks) and they produce less heat so the coffee’s flavor profile isn’t altered.
These machines can cost hundreds of dollars, likely more expensive, even, than your actual coffee maker. Our list details a number of reliable options for coffee lovers on all kinds of budgets. After all, the best coffee is fresh coffee.
Here are the top coffee grinders to buy.
Best Overall: Breville The Smart Grinder Pro Coffee Bean Grinder
Consistent grind size
Coffee grounds cup doubles as storage
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 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. Our product tester found the grinder "very comprehensive" and "simple to use." She added that 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. This model is available in three different colors to fit your kitchen décor.
Capacity: 18 ounces | Dimensions: 6.3 x 8.4 x 15.3 inches | Weight: 6.4 pounds | Warranty: 1-year limited
"If you’re serious about coffee, you’ll be happy with this machine. From the finest grind to the coarsest, the bits of coffee were consistent." — Donna Currie, Product Tester
Best Value: 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. Its 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.
Capacity: 8 ounces | Dimensions: 6.3 x 4.7 x 13.78 inches | Weight: 7 pounds | Warranty: 1-year limited
Best Versatile: KitchenAid Blade Coffee and Spice Grinder
Easy to use
Grind size is changed manually
If you shy away from single-use appliances (or don’t like them taking up your limited storage space), then the KitchenAid Coffee and Spice Grinder Pack has appealing versatility. Its stainless steel blades can grind coffee beans for your morning joe or take on herbs and spices for lightning-fast ingredient prep while cooking. And with its single-button design, it couldn’t be easier to use. The downside of the one-touch button, however, is that the only way to adjust grind size is by manually grinding for a shorter or longer amount of time, which may lead to unevenness.
The item achieves such versatility through interchangeable pieces, which may be an annoyance for some or a non-issue for others. It comes with a 4-ounce hopper for coffee beans and two 2-ounce grinding bowls for spices. This grinder doesn’t offer the advanced features or precise control of the more expensive models on this list—coffee connoisseurs may even express horror at the concept of a multi-use grinder—but if you’re looking for a way to grind coffee at home without devoting counter space to a single-use device, then this is a worthwhile option.
Capacity: 4 ounces | Dimensions: 4.25 x 3.94 x 8.75 inches | Weight: 2 pounds | Warranty: 1-year limited
Best Budget: Hamilton Beach Custom Grind Coffee Grinder
Easy to use
Removable, dishwasher-safe grinding chamber
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.
Capacity: 14 cups | Dimensions: 4.7 x 4.5 x 8 inches | Weight: 1.87 pounds | Warranty: 1-year limited
“Nine out of ten times that you get a bad cup of coffee it’s because you use a different amount of coffee grounds, a different amount of water, or a different size grind. We recommend that you get a burr grinder because it will grind your coffee evenly and consistently. And consistency is key.” — Allie Caran, Program Manager at BaristaValet
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
No cord wrap
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.
Capacity: 16 ounces | Dimensions: 11.8 x 6.8 x 14.8 inches | Weight: 5.6 pounds | Warranty: 2-year limited
"The accuracy of a scale means that coffee lovers can make the perfect cup every single time, while the ease of use will please people who just want to brew coffee at the push of a button. The one sticking point is the high price tag." — Donna Currie, Product Tester
Best Manual: 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.
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
Best Design: 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. 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.
Capacity: 350 grams (12.3 ounces) | Dimensions: 5.9 x 8.6 x 15.1 inches | Weight: 6.8 pounds | Warranty: 1 year
"Coffee grinders aren't usually the most aesthetically pleasing kitchen appliances, but like most Smeg products, this one is stunning. I was also impressed by how quiet the machine is when grinding. It's a great option for making early-morning coffee while others in the house are still asleep." — Derek Rose, Product Tester
Best for Espresso: KitchenAid Burr Coffee Grinder
Labels for different coffee makers
Easy-to-understand digital display
A little pricey
There's a lot to like about the KitchenAid Burr Coffee Grinder, from the way it looks on the countertop to its powerful and consistent grinding performance. It replaces an older KitchenAid burr grinder model and is an upgrade in many ways. This one has a bigger hopper capacity of 10 ounces and significantly more grind settings at 70 compared to 15. One downside, however, is that it's taller than the older model at 15 inches high and may even be too tall for some cupboards.
That said, there are several features that set it apart from most coffee grinders. First off, it can save dose preferences with the "program" button on the sleek display. Second, the device comes with an attachable holder for a portafilter when you're making espresso. This makes it easy to lock a portafilter into the grinder as it dispenses freshly ground beans right into the basket. Finally, there are convenient labels on the dial to indicate the best grind for different brewing devices, starting with a coarse grind for a French press and ranging to the fine grind needed for rich espresso.
Capacity: 10 ounces | Dimensions: 5 x 8.25 x 15 inches | Weight: 9 pounds | Warranty: 1 year
Best Electric: Bodum Bistro Premium Burr Grinder
Various grind settings
Especially nice fine grind
Full bean hopper spills beans if removed
Coarsest grind is uneven
Hopper exposes beans to light
Prone to static cling
The Bodum Electric Burr Grinder is a middle-tier option, ideal for customers who want a few advanced features but don't want to break the bank. The conical burrs are an upgrade over cheaper, less effective blade grinders. This machine also has 12 adjustable grind settings, ranging from a fine espresso grind to a coarser grind, best for French presses. A built-in timer is extremely handy, and part of the reason the item receives so much praise for its ease of use.
There are some drawbacks worth noting, however. Even though the glass coffee ground catcher is meant to reduce static cling—common with finer grinds—our reviewer said the item is "inexplicably prone to static cling." She added that the grinder isn't quite as effective on the coarser grind settings, often leading to an end result that's "chunky and a bit uneven." Nonetheless, the Bodum Electric Burr Grinder earned an above-average score in our product testing.
Capacity: 220 grams (8 ounces) | Dimensions: 6.4 x 7 x 11 inches | Weight: 3.2 pounds | Warranty: 2 years
"If you want a simple grinder that can be set once and used every day without fuss, this grinder will do the trick." — Donna Currie, Product Tester
The Breville Smart Grinder Pro is our runaway winner thanks to its numerous features, sleek LCD, and exceptional consistency. However, it is also one of the most expensive coffee grinders on the list. Customers looking for a slightly cheaper alternative may prefer the Baratza Encore (view at Amazon), which is also electric and comes with numerous grind settings.
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.
Grind size options
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.
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.
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" (view at Amazon).
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. Some of his favorite coffee beans to grind up are the extra-dark, extra-caffeinated Death Wish Coffee (view at Amazon).
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.