With that, we set out to explain the different types of coffee grinders out there, so you can avoid the confusion and overwhelm that we experienced.
Table of Contents
- 1 Our Top Pick: The Baratza Encore
- 2 Top Low-Budget Pick: The Capresso 560
- 3 Top 11 Burr Grinders
- 4 Things To Consider When Looking For The Best Coffee Grinder
- 5 Best Professional Coffee Grinder
- 6 Best Commercial Coffee Grinder
- 7 Best Espresso Coffee Grinder
- 8 Best Electric Coffee Grinder
- 9 Best Burr Grinder for French Press
- 10 Best Coffee Grinder for Pour Over and Chemex
- 11 Best Home Coffee Grinder
- 12 Our Best Burr Coffee Grinder Reviews:
Our Top Pick: The Baratza Encore
"We love its ability to produce a high-quality coarse and fine grind for both espresso and drip coffee maker."
Something this powerful should cost more than it does. We consider the Baratza Encore to be a total steal for the value and endless cups of great brew you’ll enjoy. Easily our pick for one of the best coffee grinders out there for a wide variety of uses.
Top Low-Budget Pick: The Capresso 560
Before we get into it though, a quick word on buying an uber-cheap coffee grinder: just don’t do it.
That being said, it is possible to pick up a great espresso bean grinder without breaking the bank – we just encourage you to see this as a worthwhile investment for the quality you crave.
Top 11 Burr Grinders
Best value for money
Best low budget
Breville Smart Pro
Baratza Vario 886
54mm flat ceramic burrs
Rancilio SD Rocky
Quiet and grinds directly into portafilter
Built in scale
Best for making espresso
Things To Consider When Looking For The Best Coffee Grinder
Burr Grinder vs Blade Grinder
So you’re ready to go shopping – and immediately overwhelmed by all of the options and decisions to make.
Burr vs blade? Ceramic or steel? Conical or flat? This section will break it all down so you can purchase the best mill for your coffee maker.
The first important factor when it comes to selecting an espresso grinder is to understand the differences between burr vs blade grinders, as they will produce a very different quality of grind and taste.
Blade grinders are generally cheaper, using a high-speed spinning metal blade to chop the beans into smaller pieces.
While this might seem efficient, it’s actually not great for the quality of your grounds.
Blade grinders can’t be set to produce any particular size of grounds; they simply chop until the beans are past a certain point.
Because of this, you end up with different size grounds – from large particles called “boulders,” down to dusty particles called “fines.”
So what’s the big deal with having different sized coffee grounds?
Plenty, when it comes to taste and quality. Large boulder particles slow down the extraction, producing a weaker cup of coffee, while the dusty fine particles will create bitterness from over-extraction. So if you can avoid it, we’d recommend skipping the blade grinders completely.
These are made of two abrasive surfaces which revolve against one another to grind beans into a consistent size of ground.
A burr coffee grinder gives you complete control over the size of your grounds, which is important depending on what type of coffee maker you're using.
The best machine offer options for everything from coarser grounds for a French press, to the finer grounds needed for a great shot of espresso.
As you can probably tell, we’d recommend the burr coffee grinder over a blade grinder every time. The cheap, uneven quality of grounds you get from a blade grinder just isn’t worth the money you’d save – and we’ve found a ton of affordable options for home use, so you can count on great brew without breaking the bank!
Ceramic Burr Grinder vs Steel Burr Grinder
Okay, so you’ve settled on what you want to buy. The next thing you’ll find is that burr grinders come in two materials: ceramic and stainless steel.
So what’s the difference between these, and which is right for you?
Essentially, a ceramic burr grinder is more durable and expensive to produce, and more commonly used in home grinders.
The steel ones are cheaper (but may not last as long), and are more commonly used in commercial or industrial machines.
Ceramic coffee grinders also tend to result in a slightly higher quality of coffee because they run cooler than steel ones.
This cooler temperature means that the grinder won’t burn off some of the natural oils present in the beans the way that a steel grinder might.
Steel grinders tend to be cheaper, but are actually a bit safer when it comes to dealing with any foreign objects that might be found in the beans, as these could potentially crack a ceramic burr.
Conical vs Flat Grinder
Here's more big distinction to make before we can dive more into the grinders themselves!
The burrs come in two shapes: flat or conical. Each of these has a different purpose, and produces different types of ground particles.
A flat grinder will produce very uniform particles, while a conical grinder produces both larger and smaller particles.
You might not be able to tell the difference with a naked eye, but the uniform vs. dual sized grounds definitely result in a very different kind of coffee.
While you may be tempted to assume the flat grinder with its uniform grounds is superior, think again!
The bimodal grounds produced by a conical burr grinder are actually much more ideal for an espresso machine.
The smaller particles restrict water flow during the shot pull, so the larger particles can be more greatly saturated.
To pull espresso with a flat grinder, you’d need to grind a bit finer or pull longer shots to achieve an ideal flavor.
Overall, we’d recommend a conical coffee grinder for its versatility and quality. And again, we have to mention the Baratza Encore as a superior pick, rating it as the best conical burr grinder of the category!
You just can’t go wrong for the price tag, durability, and consistency of quality grounds that come from this machine.
Best Professional Coffee Grinder
Here are some things to look:
For heavy-duty yet quality industrial use, the Mahlkonig EK43 is by far our top pick.
This powerhouse delivers unparalleled consistency in particle size, nearly a full two horsepower motor, and quick and easy versatility for any coffee type.
Best Commercial Coffee Grinder
Again, we’re going to point you to the Mahlkonig EK43 for commercial use, as its power and performance are simply unmatched.
Best Espresso Coffee Grinder
The Gaggia MDF burr grinder is one of our top picks for espresso-enthusiasts on a budget.
Best Electric Coffee Grinder
At the risk of sounding redundant, the Baratza Encore and Virtuoso are our top picks for the best electric grinder.
Best Burr Grinder for French Press
Again, we’re going to go with the Baratza Encore for this category. We’ve simply found this grinder to produce the most consistent results with its 40 grind settings, so once you discover the ideal consistency, you can count on a great cup of joe every time.
Our second pick for this purpose is the Capresso 565 Infinity SS grinder, an affordable option with a wide range of options and sturdy, simple finish.
We love the consistency of this grinder’s texture, and its ability to produce a perfectly coarse grind.
Bonus: this grinder produces an especially excellent fine ground for lovers of Turkish coffee!
Best Coffee Grinder for Pour Over and Chemex
If you crave a smooth and rich coffee experience without the expense of investing in an espresso machine, the pour-over method may be for you!
Pour-over coffee, and the Chemex method in particular, is a beautiful and easy-to-use technique that creates a uniquely full-bodied cup of coffee.
So what types of coffee grounds are used in a Chemex, and which is the best option?
A medium-coarse grind is the best option for the Chemex, or pour-over method. Too large particles will cause the water to flow through too fast, producing a weak coffee. And too fine particles will cause the water to become trapped and sludgy. The ideal grounds will resemble sea salt in texture.
The best coffee grinder for Chemex or pour-over coffee will be able to produce the medium-coarse grounds needed for this method. The Baratza Encore and Capresso Infinity are the two options we’ve found to produce the most consistent results in this area.
Best Home Coffee Grinder
If you’re grinding beans for drip coffee, a flat grinder may be the best option. These tend to be cheaper, and produce grinds of a uniform consistency.
For espresso however, we’d recommend going with a conical burr grinder. These tend to be higher quality, and while a bit more expensive, are a good investment if you want to produce quality shots.
We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again: The Baratza Encore does it all if you’re looking for a powerful, best home burr grinder that won’t break the bank.
Our Best Burr Coffee Grinder Reviews:
Breville Smart Grinder Pro
Baratza Vario 886
Rancilio SD Rocky
Bellemain Burr Coffee Grinder
Oxo Burr Grinder
Mr. Coffee Automatic Burr Grinder
Cuisinart Supreme Grind Automatic Burr Grinder
Bodum Bistro Burr Grinder
Kitchenaid Burr Coffee Grinder
Gaggia 8002 MDF Burr Grinder
By now, you should be well-versed in the in’s and out’s of burr coffee grinders, and the best grinders you can buy in each category!
While the amount of information about coffee grinders can be daunting, we hope this has minimized overwhelm and helped you to narrow in on the best rated coffee grinder to add to your kitchen and help bring that great cup of coffee into your morning routine!