The Best Coffee Burr Grinder - Your Complete Buyer's Guide

top burr grinders buyer's guide


If you’re a java junkie like us, anything but the best cup of joe just won’t cut it. And that perfectly balanced coffee, whether espresso, drip, or French press, always starts with the right beans – and the right grind. 

For a while, we were buying high-quality coffee beans from our favorite local coffee shop, and utterly confused as to why the coffee never tasted nearly as good as when they made it. Then we realized: we were taking these beans and ruining them in a cheap grinder!

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.

Then we tested and reviewed the top coffee grinders in as many categories as we could, so you’ll never have to ruin as many beans as we did to achieve that vibrantly delicious cup of coffee!
For ease of use, delightfully consistent grind and simplistic design and price, This is absolutely the best entry level grinder for home use, as it’s easy to use out of the box and doesn’t take up much counter space.

"We love its ability to produce a high-quality grind for both espresso and drip coffee." 

With 40 grind settings, you can pick the exact coarseness or fineness you prefer for your cup of joe, producing a reliable grind each and every time.

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 coffee you’ll enjoy. Easily our pick for the best coffee grinder out there for a wide variety of uses.

Top Low-Budget Pick: The Capresso 560

If you’re looking for the best affordable burr grinder, we have just the one for you – the Capresso 560 easily outperforms its price tag in terms of consistency and ease of use.

Before we get into it though, a quick word on buying an uber-cheap coffee grinder: just don’t do it.

We ruined bags of quality beans in $30 grinders that produced a splintered mess of uneven grounds and terrible-tasting coffee.

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 coffee you crave.

Back to the Capresso 560: sturdy and compact, it’s by far the best affordable coffee grinder we found if you’re really not looking to spend a lot.

While it has slightly less versatility than the Baratza Encore (it’s better at producing finer grounds than coarser), we were still happy with the end result with this conical grinder. 

It takes a bit more effort to clean the Capresso than the Baratza, but overall, we have no complaints about the price!

Top 12 Burr Grinders

Grinder Name
Grind Settings
Best Feature

Baratza Encore

40
Best value for money
Baratza Virtuoso 
40
Best high-end grinder
Capresso 565
16
Best low budget grinder
Breville Smart Pro
60
Electronic display
Baratza Vario 886
230
54mm flat ceramic burrs 
Rancilio SD Rocky
40
Quiet and grinds directly into portafilter
Bellemain
17 
Flexible
Oxo
15
Built in scale
Gaggia 8002
34
Best for making espresso
Mr. Coffee
18
Cheap
Bodum Bistro
14
Pre-set timer

Things To Consider When Looking For The Best Coffee Grinder

Burr Grinder vs. Blade Grinder

burr vs blade

So you’re ready to shop for a new coffee grinder – and immediately overwhelmed by all of the options and decisions to make.

Burr or blade? Ceramic or steel? Conical or flat? This section will break it all down so you can purchase the best coffee grinder for your needs. 


The first important factor when it comes to selecting an espresso grinder is to understand the differences between burr and blade grinders, as they will produce a very different quality of coffee.

Blade grinders

Blade grinders are generally cheaper, using a high-speed spinning metal blade to chop the coffee 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.

Burr grinders

Burr grinders 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 you are making. 

The best burr grinders 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 burr grinders for home use, so you can count on great coffee without breaking the bank!


Ceramic Burr Grinder vs. Steel Burr Grinder

difference between ceramic and steel burr grinder

Okay, so you’ve settled on buying a burr coffee grinder. 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 burr grinder is right for you?

Essentially, a ceramic burr grinder is more durable and expensive to produce, and more commonly used in home grinders.

Steel burr grinders are cheaper (but may not last as long), and are more commonly used in commercial or industrial coffee machines. 

Ceramic grinders also tend to result in a slightly higher quality of coffee because they run cooler than steel burr grinders. 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.

Ceramic Burr Grinder Features
  • More durable material which tends to last longer than steel.
  • More expensive to produce
  • Runs a bit cooler than steel, because they are less thermally conductive
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    Rarely need to be sharpened
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    Prone to chipping if they come into contact with a foreign object
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    Tend to be quieter than steel burr grinders
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    Often used in home coffee grinders
Steel Burr Grinder Features
  • Cheaper to produce and replace, makes a more affordable grinder.
  • May not last as long as ceramic
  • Less prone to chipping or cracking from foreign objects
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    May be susceptible to blunting, need to be sharpened more often
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    Often used in commercial coffee machines

​Conical vs. Flat Grinder

difference between a conical and a flat burr

One more big distinction to make with burr grinders before we can dive more into the grinders themselves! 

The burrs on burr grinders 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 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.

Flat Burr Grinder Features
  • Produces uniform particles
  • Most ideal for drip coffee or French press
  • List Element
Conical Burr Grinder Features
  • Produces bimodal particles (large and small)
  • More versatile than flat.
  • Most ideal for espresso grounds, but also works for drip and French press.

Overall, we’d recommend a conical burr grinder for its versatility and quality. And again, we have to mention the Baratza Encore as a superior pick in the conical burr grinder category!

You just can’t go wrong for the price tag, durability, and consistency of quality grounds that come from this machine.


Best Industrial Coffee Grinder

An industrial coffee grinder is used to produce high volumes of coffee. You can think of this as a large capacity coffee grinder – something you might see in a restaurant or busy coffee shop.

For these purposes, you’ll want a coffee grinder that can handle a high volume while producing highly consistent results each time.

Here are some things to look for in the best industrial coffee grinder: 

  • Airtight hopper for your coffee beans. 
  • Settings for a consistent grind
  • Larger burr size. Because you’ll be grinding a higher volume of beans, you want a grinder that can handle that without overheating the grounds and ruining the flavor.

For heavy-duty yet quality industrial use, the Mahlkonig EK43 Coffee Grinder 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

A commercial coffee grinder may or may not be interchangeable with an industrial one. This is what you’ll see in coffee shops, restaurants, or anywhere that’s producing lots of coffee each day.

The qualities you want in a commercial coffee grinder are essentially the same as those for an industrial grinder.
  • Consistency – Does the grinder have the ability to produce a consistent grind each time?
  • Capacity – What volume of coffee beans can the grinder handle at once?
  • Durability – Will this grinder be able to stand the test of time and large volumes of grinding?

Again, we’re going to point you to the Mahlkonig EK43 Coffee Grinder for commercial use, as its power and performance are simply unmatched.


Best Espresso Coffee Grinder

As mentioned before, the best espresso coffee grinder will have a conical burr that produces two different sizes of grounds. This allows the water to saturate the grounds longer for a richer flavor.

You also want a grinder with the ability to produce the finer grounds needed for pulling a fine espresso shot.

The Gaggia MDF burr grinder is one of our top picks for espresso-enthusiasts on a budget.

With a 120W motor, 34 grind settings, and a reputation for excellence and durability, we can definitely recommend this burr grinder for a consistently great espresso shot.

It even comes with a pull-lever doser to dispense the grounds right into an espresso portafilter for even greater convenience.

Best Electric Coffee Grinder

Unless you’re wanting to manually grind your coffee each day, you’ll want to opt for an electric grinder for power and convenience purposes.

Electric grinders efficiently grind your beans in a consistent way that you might not achieve manually.

At the risk of sounding redundant, the Baratza Encore and Virtuoso are our top picks for electric burr grinders.

They simply top the class in overall reliability, usability, and ability to produce a quality grind each and every time.

Best Burr Grinder for French Press

If French press is your style, you’ll want a grinder that can produce a consistent, coarser ground than what you’d use for drip or espresso.

If we’re looking at a scale of 1-10, with 1 being the finest grind and 10 being the coarsest, the ideal grind for a French press is around a 7. But because each French press is different, you’ll need to experiment to find the ideal size.

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 for your French press, you can count on a great cup of joe every time.

Our second pick for French press grounds 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 for French press. 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 burr grinder 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 burr grinders we’ve found to produce the most consistent results in this area.


Best Home Coffee Grinder

When selecting a grinder to use at home, you’ll want to consider the type of coffee you’re making, and the price point you’re willing to invest in a quality grinder.

There are such a huge range of home coffee grinders out there – but by now, you’re well educated in the different options, and have some idea of what you particularly need!

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 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, well-rounded home grinder that won’t break the bank.


Review of the Best Burr Coffee Grinders: 

Baratza Virtuoso

The professional-grade Baratza Virtuoso does a great job of keeping beans cool, improving the quality of espresso. Sleek and functional, we love the Virtuoso for its powerhouse grind time, consistency, and classy image on the kitchen counter.

Breville Smart Grinder Pro

If you’re ready to take things to the next level with a more professional-grade machine, the Breville Smart Grinder is sleek and precise. With a higher capacity of 18 ounces of coffee beans, the Smart Grinder is great if you’re looking to produce more coffee than a single cup in the morning. 60 precise settings and a helpful electronic display screen round out this powerhouse for still under $200.

Baratza Vario 886

For professional level coffee lovers, you can’t go wrong with the Baratza Vario 886. Its 230 precise settings give you complete control of your coffee grounds to produce the ultimate perfect cup of java. The durable, 54mm flat ceramic burrs will stay sharp and produce quality coffee time after time, beyond your average steel burr grinder.

Rancilio SD Rocky

We love the powerhouse Rancilio SD Rocky for its ability to grind up to 7.7 pounds of coffee beans per hour. Perfect for commercial use, this grinder is surprisingly quiet and grinds directly into a convenient portafilter. Recommended for commercial or high-quality home use!

Bellemain Burr Coffee Grinder

A solid and flexible pick, the Bellemain burr grinder can handle beans for up to 14 cups of coffee and its 17 settings have you covered for everything from espresso to French Press. Another great pick for the budget burr grinder category.

Oxo Burr Grinder

What sets the Oxo burr grinder apart is its handy built-in scale, which helps you measure the grounds by weight instead of time. This results in a more accurate shot pull and overall better quality coffee. We love the precision and accuracy of this grinder, all at a very reasonable price. Perfect for the ultimate espresso connoisseur.

Krups GX5000

While we don’t normally recommend super cheap grinders, the Krups GX5000 was a surprising standout in the budget category. 17 settings and a 2-year warranty make this super-affordable little grinder a worthy pick if you’re looking to spend under $50.

Mr. Coffee Automatic Burr Grinder

Another budget grinder, the Mr. Coffee burr grinder gets the job done with 18 grind settings and a surprisingly solid burr mechanism for the price. This cheap coffee grinder sits well on the counter and holds up to half a pound of coffee beans, perfect for a simple daily cup of joe.

Cuisinart Supreme Grind Automatic Burr Grinder

An automatic stop function ensures that your beans are ground consistently in this Cuisinart burr grinder. While the grounds aren’t nearly the quality that you’d find in something in a higher price point like the Baratza Encore, we were still happy enough with the results and the price can’t be beat.

Bodum Bistro Burr Grinder

This attractive Bodum Bistro grinder looks great on the counter, and for under $100 produces great results. A pre-set timer lets you choose the precise time for grinding, and 14 settings will have you set for your finer to coarser grounds. A solid pick in the under $100 category.
We’ll be honest: this steel coffee grinder is cheap, but it gets the job done if you’re looking to grind up your beans quickly and efficiently with very little money investment. Simply insert beans, press button, and go. The steel blades grind coffee differently than a burr grinder, but this little grinder is perfect for simple drip coffee, or even grinding up spices.

Kitchenaid Burr Coffee Grinder

Another great pick for the $200 and under category, the Kitchenaid burr grinder covers its bases with 15 grind settings and a sleek design. The stainless steel burrs rotate at a rapid 450 rpm, which actually helps to reduce the heat buildup that so often happens with steel grinders, preserving the flavor of the grounds.

Gaggia 8002 MDF Burr Grinder

We loved this burr grinder for producing great espresso-ready grounds. 34 grinding settings allow you to choose the exact consistency you’re looking for, and the quiet 120-watt motor is both reliable and powerful. But what sets the Gaggia 8002 MDF apart for us in the espresso category is the way it deposits the grounds directly into a convenient portafilter holder, saving you one extra step on the way to the espresso machine.

Wrap-Up 

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 coffee grinder to add to your kitchen and help bring that great cup of coffee into your morning routine!