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Freshly ground coffee is addictive and delicious. If you want to make the perfect brew each morning, you need a coffee grinder.
After much research and some testing, we found that the Baratza Encore Conical Burr Grinder is the best option for most people with its affordable $139 price tag and consistently great grinds.
There’s nothing better than a perfect cup of coffee. If you’re a coffee snob, you probably know that freshly ground coffee makes for a better cup of Joe. Coffee goes stale relatively quickly, so when you buy pre-ground beans, you may be losing some of your coffee’s flavor. A good grinder will grind your beans to a uniform size so that you get the most out of your beans. Grinding beans every day before you make coffee may sound like a hassle, but a grinder can quickly pulverize your beans to maximize their flavor.
Coffee grinders range from the incredibly affordable to the absurdly expensive. You can get grinders at any point in between as well. We’ve tested a few coffee grinders and researched dozens more to find the best ones you can buy. Before we get into our picks, these are the key terms and features you need to know.
Blade versus Burr grinders
There are two main types of coffee grinders: blade and burr grinders. Purists say that you shouldn’t even consider blade grinders because they don’t grind the coffee beans to a nice uniform particle size, which results in an uneven and unpredictable brew. Blade grinders are much cheaper than burr grinders, though, and not everyone will be able to afford the pricier burr grinders. As such, we’ve included one blade grinder and the rest are burr grinders at varying price points.
When you start looking at burr grinder machines, there’s a lot more to know. As The Wirecutter explains, “burrs work by using two serrated pieces of metal or ceramic that are positioned a specific distance apart from each other (depending on the grind) and rotate to crush the beans to the exact size you want.” Here are the different types of burrs used on most machines:
- Flat versus Conical burrs: There’s much debate over which type of burr is better, but they perform pretty similarly, so you shouldn’t worry too much about this point. Flat burrs are two parallel rings with a space between them where the beans enter to be sheared into coffee grounds, while conical burrs involve a cone in a ring that grinds your beans down to the right size.
- Steel versus Ceramic burrs: Steel burrs are more affordable and more common in coffee grinders, but they don’t last as long as ceramic ones do. Ceramic burrs are typically used in manual hand grinders and for grinding espresso beans perfectly.
Having a powerful, consistent, and well-made grinder is essential to making the most out of your beans. These are the best grinders you can buy, ranging from less than $20 to $230.
Here are our picks for the best coffee grinders you can buy:
- Best coffee grinder overall: Baratza Encore Conical Burr Coffee Grinder
- Best coffee grinder for less than $100: Capresso 560.01 Infinity Burr Grinder
- Best coffee grinder for less than $75: Brim Electric Handheld Burr Grinder
- Best expensive coffee grinder: Baratza Virtuoso Conical Burr Coffee Grinder
- Best blade coffee grinder: KRUPS F203 Electric Spice and Coffee Grinder
- Best manual coffee grinder: Hario Mini Mill Slim Hand Coffee Grinder
Updated on 11/20/2018 by Owen Burke: Updated prices and formatting, added the OXO BREW Conical Burr Grinder as a “Best for less than $100” pick and the Brim 1.6-Oz Handheld Electric Coffee Grinder for a less than $75 pick.
Read on in the slides below to check out our top picks.
The best coffee grinder overall
Why you’ll love it: The Baratza Encore Conical Burr Coffee Grinder produces consistently uniform coffee grounds for all grind settings, and it costs far less than other high-end models.
Every coffee expert will tell you that the least amount of money you should spend on a coffee grinder is $100 because you get what you pay for in the coffee world. Although there are fancier high-end models that cost hundreds more than the Baratza Encore Conical Burr Coffee Grinder, this really is the best grinder for most people.
The Encore is considered the ultimate entry-level burr grinder for coffee enthusiasts at home. You really don’t need more than what the Encore offers. It has 40 individual grind settings, ranging from fine to coarse and everything in between. Once you find the perfect setting for your tastes, you’re all set.
It runs on a DC motor with electric and gear speed reducers that slow the burr to 450 RPM to reduce noise, static, and unwanted variations in particle size. The Encore is a great all-around grinder that performs nearly as well and consistently as the pricier competition.
Baratza also has a great repair program, so if your machine needs a repair or a full cleaning, they’ll take care of it for you for a fee.
User reviews on Amazon are mostly positive, and many say there’s no need to pay more for a high-end grinder. The Wirecutter named the Encore its best coffee grinder. Home Grounds highly recommends it, as does Lifehacker and Foodal.
Pros: Conical burr grinder, 40 grind settings, easy to use, reliable, consistent, relatively affordable, a good repair program
Cons: One-year warranty is a bit short, it’s entry-level – not high-end
The best burr grinder for less than $100
Why you’ll love it: The OXO Brew Conical Burr Grinder grinds slowly, but that in turn reduces static, noise, and inconsistencies in your grounds.
A burr grinder is a great tool to have if you can afford it, but lower-end grinders can be something of a let-down. Uneven grounds, static mess, and overheating are some of the regular issues with burr grinders in the sub-$100 category, but OXO nearly eliminates them all with a thriftiness you can’t help but appreciate – and respect.
OXO includes a grounding prong in the power plug, which grounds the stainless steel grounds bin and keeps static down. Other grinders with plastic bins produce just as much static, which, with plastic, there’s no eliminating.
This device also employs a much lower motor RPM, which comes with its own pros and cons. While you’ll have to wait for what feels like twice as long as you would with most burr grinders, this allows for a kind of precision most others in the price range won’t match. It also makes much less sound, which the rest of the household will surely appreciate. One Amazon reviewer recorded 74 decibels, reporting it to be less than a blender.
PC Verge is a big fan of the OXO Brew grinder, suggesting that at this price, you won’t find a better grinder. They do note that the machine doesn’t come with a scale, which might be upsetting for certain coffee drinkers, scales that come along at this price tend to be fraught with difficulties anyhow.
Amazon reviews are encouraging with a 4.3-star rating based on a list of nearly 200, many of which are from amateur testers who received the unit for free, but there are enough positive reviews verified buyers to suggest they’re not wrong.
Basically, if you want a burr grinder and don’t want to spend over $100 on it, this is your best bet for now. – Owen Burke
Pros: Thoroughly well-designed, consistent grounds, low noise level, minimal static
Cons: Slower than other burr grinders, no built-in scale
The best burr grinder under $80
- Best Buy
Why you’ll love it: The Brim Electric Handheld Burr Grinder is slim, sleek, tidy, and affordable.
If the Brim Electric Handheld Burr Grinder looks like an electric pepper mill, that’s because, in essence, it is. Wire-free, this tall, lean, battery-powered gizmo will alleviate clutter from your kitchen counter, but just keep in mind that it is small.
Grinding coffee for the whole household could be quite the chore with the small, 30-gram capacity, but for a couple of people each morning, it’s the perfect size. It’s also portable.
A motor on top of steel burrs with a hopper and grinds container in the bottom keep this thing compact, but nine grinding settings keep it fully functional.
Like the OXO Brew, this grinder is slow – though it’s even slower because it’s battery-powered. This has its advantages. It’s also quiet, and it also produces unburnt grounds, which can be a common problem with high-velocity grinders whose blades get hot and can burn the grounds.
There aren’t many reviews out yet for the Brim Electric Handheld Burr Grinder, but the handful on BestBuy are all enthusiastic, and Insider Picks’ Buying Guides editor Malarie Gokey is a big fan, too.
In effect, this is the reliable but no-frills choice for small households. You’ll keep very busy running this machine if you’re trying to keep up with any more than a few people’s coffee habits, but other than that, we’re pretty confident it won’t let you down. Stay tuned for longevity notes. – Owen Burke
Pros: Quiet, efficient, battery-powered, compact, portable
Cons: Only grinds about 30 grams at a time
The best expensive burr coffee grinder
Why you’ll love it: The Baratza Virtuoso Conical Burr Coffee Grinder is the best high-end burr grinder you can get in the $200 range.
If you want the very best and you’re willing to pay upwards of $200 for your coffee grinder, the Baratza Virtuoso’s professional-grade 40mm conical burr grinder is the one for you.
It has 40 individual grind settings, ranging from fine to coarse and everything in between. Once you find the perfect setting for your tastes, you’re all set. It also has a pulse button on the front, so you can grind directly into an espresso machine filter basket. The Baratza Virtuoso’s 60-second timer makes it easy to get the perfect grind every time, so you don’t worry about running it just a bit too long.
It runs on a DC motor with electric and gear speed reducers that slow the burr to 450 RPM to reduce noise, static, and unwanted variations in particle size. The Virtuoso is slightly more reliable and consistent than the cheaper Encore, and it’s French Press particle size is on point.
Experts at The Wirecutter say that the Virtuoso is the best upgrade pick. In microscopic tests, its experts couldn’t even tell the difference between the particles it produced versus one of the most high-end and expensive grinders you can buy – that’s high praise indeed. Home Grounds also highly recommends it and user reviews on Amazon are top notch.
Baratza also has a great repair program, so if your machine needs a repair or a full cleaning, they’ll take care of it for you for a fee.
Pros: Conical burr grinder, 40 grind settings, reliable, consistent, timer improves grind, a good repair program
Cons: Expensive with a limited warranty
The best blade coffee grinder
Why you’ll love it: The KRUPS F203 Electric Spice and Coffee Grinder is a basic blade grinder that will cost you less than $20.
Although the experts say that blade grinders are absolutely awful, they are much more affordable for people on a budget. You can still get freshly ground coffee at home for less than $20. It may not be barista approved, but it’s more than enough for most people.
We plugged in the KRUPS Electric Spice and Coffee Grinder at home, poured some beans in the top, and hit the button to grind. A short time after, we had fine grinds of coffee to scoop into our Bialetti Moka Express stovetop espresso maker. The resulting brew tasted delicious.
Of course, it’s a blade grinder, so if you’re looking for coarse grinds for French Press or pourover coffee, you should pass this one by. You can grind your beans coarsely, but they’ll be in little chunks of varying sizes, so you may get a bitter or weak brew out of them. At least at a fine grind, the blade grinder can get closer to a uniform particle size and you won’t notice the difference unless you have a very refined palate.
The KRUPS grinder was remarkably easy to clean, too. We simply used a pastry brush to kick out the excess grinds that were left over. It’s a best-seller on Amazon, and the reviews are mostly positive. Coffee Bean Grinder+ calls it the best blade grinder you can buy, and Bean Ground says it’s great for people on a budget who are just getting into coffee.
Since it’s a blade grinder, the KRUPS can grind spices down to powder, too, so if you’re looking for a versatile machine that can grind coffee beans and spices like cloves and cardamom or even nuts, this is a good option. It’s also less than $20, which is very affordable.
Pros: Affordable, grinds coffee beans and spices, two-year warranty, easy to use, easy to clean
Cons: It’s a blade grinder with one setting, it’s not as good as a burr grinder
The best manual coffee grinder
Why you’ll love it: The Hario Mini Mill Slim Hand Coffee Grinder cranks out great grinds if you’re willing to put in a little elbow grease.
Got a lot of time in your hands and enjoy some manual labor? Then buy a manual coffee grinder like the Hario Mini Mill Slim Hand Coffee Grinder.
It’s as basic as it gets: you pop some beans in, crank the handle, and grind away until all the beans are turned into beautiful coffee particles lying in the glass holder below. You only get one cup’s worth of coffee for all your hard work, but the grinds are uniform and high quality.
The ceramic mill is hardy and should last a lifetime. Be careful with the glass portion, and this grinder should outlast many of the more high-end machines.
It’s easy to clean and very easy to store in your cupboard. Since the Hario is small, you can take it with you when you travel if you’re desperate to grind coffee in your hotel room or campsite.
If you don’t mind the workout, the Hario is a great coffee grinder to have, and it costs only $30. Experts at The Wirecutter previously recommended the Hario but doesn’t anymore because it takes a long time to grind enough beans. If you’re on a budget or you’re intentionally seeking a manual coffee grinder, this is your best option. Amazon reviewers still love it, though.
Pros: Easy to use, ceramic mill, easy to store, portable, affordable
Cons: Manual grinders can tire you out fast
How to choose the right grind for your coffee
It’s all about the grind. Some smart grinders measure out how much coffee you need for your daily cup of Java, but most just let you grind as little or as much as the capacity allows.
Most high-end grinders let you choose how coarse or fine you want your coffee beans ground. Different brewing methods require different types of grind. Here is the breakdown of the different grinds and what kind of brewing method you should use as explained by Gear Patrol.
Coarse: Coarsely ground coffee beans look like large particles of salt. This grind is best for cold brew, French Press, and percolators.
Medium: Medium coarse and medium fine grinds look and feel like pieces of grit that you can pick out individually – think sand on a beach. It’s best for drip coffee, Chemex, pour-over, and vacuum pots.
Fine: Fine coffee is smooth and silky. You can’t see any individual grains, and it feels very close to powdery, but not quite. This grind is best for espresso machines.
Turkish: Turkish coffee is made with the finest grinds of coffee imaginable, and it feels like perfect powder. You can’t see any grains or particles at all. It’s only good for Turkish coffee pots.
Check out our other great coffee related buying guides
We’ve included top picks for all of these different types of coffee makers. We’ve tested the majority of our top picks and heavily researched those we have yet to use to bring you the best of all coffee makers.
- Best drip coffee maker: Bonavita BV1900TS Drip Coffee Maker
- Best coffee maker under $40: Mr. Coffee BVMC-SJX33GT Machine
- Best coffee maker under $50: Hamilton Beach 12-Cup Coffee Maker
- Best coffee maker and grinder: Cuisinart Burr Grind & Brew Automatic
- Best pour-over coffee: Melitta Ready Set Joe Single Cup Coffee Brewer
- Best French Press: SterlingPro French Press
- Best cold brew machine: OXO Good Grips 4-Cup Cold Brew Coffee Maker
- Best pod coffee machine: Keurig K575 Pod Machine
- Best stovetop espresso maker: Bialetti 6-Cup Stovetop Espresso Maker
- Best espresso machine: Breville Barista Express Espresso Machine
- Best overall: Breville BES870XL Barista Express Espresso Machine
- Best machine for $400: Gaggia Classic Semi-Automatic Espresso Maker
- Best machine under $100: De’Longhi EC155 15 BAR Pump Espresso Maker
- Best capsule machine: Nespresso VertuoPlus Coffee and Espresso Maker
- Best $1,200 machine: Breville Barista Touch Espresso Machine
- Best high-end: Frieling Double Wall Stainless Steel French Press Coffee Maker
- Best affordable: Bodum Brazil 8-Cup French Press Coffee Maker
- Best affordable stainless steel: SterlingPro Double Wall Stainless Steel French Press
- Best travel-friendly: Bodum Stainless-Steel Travel French Press Mug
- Best overall: Bialetti 6-Cup Moka Express Stovetop Espresso Maker
- Best for gas stoves: GROSCHE Milano Stovetop Espresso Maker
- Best expensive moka pot: Cuisinox Roma 6-Cup Stainless Steel Stovetop Espresso Maker
- Best affordable moka pot: Bialetti Kitty Espresso Coffee Maker
- Best espresso-esque shots: Bialetti Mini Express Espresso Maker
- Best-looking moka pot: 6-Cup Alessi Pulcina Stovetop Espresso Maker
- Best electric moka pot: Delonghi EMK6 Alicia Electric Moka Espresso Coffee Maker
- Best overall: Stainless Steel HIC Milk Creamer Frother
- Second-best: Bodum Latteo
- Best expensive: Breville Milk Cafe
- Best electric: Nespresso Aeroccino4 Electric Milk Frother
- Best cheap: Epica Automatic Electric Milk Frother