You can also decide what material your burrs are made of. Ceramic is a durable, sharp material, but it's more expensive. Also, If you get a stone or some other small, rough particle in your grinder, you may potentially crack the material. Steel, on the other hand, is generally less expensive but needs to be sharpened more often. To be frank, we’ve had great results from both steel burr and ceramic burr grinders. The “steel vs. ceramic” debate is one that has passionate advocates on both end, so we’ll save that conversation for another post!
The second benefit is the fact that it is often easier to adjust an electric version. With a lot of manual grinders, you will have to experiment a bit before you find the preferred size. With an electric grinder, you just have to memorize the right number or step and it should be a breeze to readjust to, say, your preferred setting for pour over coffee.
Chris provided us with high quality Bird Rock Roasters coffee beans from the same batch to keep our testing consistent and acted as the on-site expert for taste testing and quality control. We tested each grinder for grind quality and again in a blind taste tests with both French press and pour over brewing. For heating up water, check out our electric kettle review, but if you need a more controlled pour for pourover brewing we recommend a goose neck kettle.
While the overall build of the grinder is top notch, its machine parts are not of the highest quality. There is a built-in mechanism that limits the grinding time in order to prevent the motor from overheating, but this does not seem to be enough to prevent this grinder from breaking down over time. However, Bodum is a large company with a long history and offers decent customer service that can replace any parts that begin to malfunction.
Testing out my new @handground and blind tasting @angelscup #1790. This coffee (by @blackoakcoffeeroasters) was so sweet and balanced. I loved it. The first couple sessions with the Handground have been fun. I think I'm going to like it. . . . . #coffee #coffeetime #blindtasting #coffeehunter #handground #handmill #brewingcoffeemanually #coffeeprops #coffeesesh #instacoffee
Finally, before we get to our recommendations, some grinders do better than others given a certain grind type so the grind type that you typically use may play a factor in selecting the best grinder for you. The grind types that you will need depends on your choice of brewing method. Below is a coffee grind chart and what brewing method uses that grind type:
With all the above criteria in mind, we narrowed down our list of electric burr grinders to test in 2017. Despite long-term love for the Baratza line, both in terms of performance and customer support, we were eager to know what else had come out in the two years since our last test. Additionally, we really wanted to find some more affordable grinders out there, since $100 as an entry-level price is a tough sell for anyone who doesn’t consider themselves a major coffee geek. Ultimately, we brought back our top pick and runner-up from last time, the Baratza Virtuoso and the Baratza Encore, as well as our former budget pick, the Capresso Infinity, plus the OXO On Conical Burr Grinder (also called the Barista Brain) and the Breville SmartGrinder Pro. We also added in the Cuisinart CBM-20N (their highest-quality grinder) and tested the popular Krups GX5000 to see if it’s possible for a $50 grinder to hold up against the big (ticket) guys. In fall of 2018, we also tested the affordable OXO Brew Conical Burr Grinder against our picks.
Then we looked to see if they were aesthetically appealing. Personal taste will vary, but there were notable design differences between the grinders. Some seemed to have been built solely with function in mind, and some seemed to have design as a part of the build process. That included color scheme of materials, length of the electrical cord and design of the user interface including setting icons, digital screens and timer.
The OXO’s simple, intuitive design and consistent performance both helped put it at the top of our budget ranks. Grind consistency at medium grind settings was nearly on par with our top picks (with its coarsest grind being the least consistent and very, very boulder-filled), but it wasn’t able to grind as finely as our top picks. When we sifted 10 grams of grounds from first the OXO, then Baratza Encore in the Kruve sifter, the OXO yielded about 4.9 grams of coffee ground to the target optimal size, while the Baratza yielded 5.1 grams; the Capresso yielded only 3.8 grams of coffee ground to the target size.

While the overall build of the grinder is top notch, its machine parts are not of the highest quality. There is a built-in mechanism that limits the grinding time in order to prevent the motor from overheating, but this does not seem to be enough to prevent this grinder from breaking down over time. However, Bodum is a large company with a long history and offers decent customer service that can replace any parts that begin to malfunction.

This dual-purpose grinder is designed to switch back and froth from herbs or spices and coffee beans. Epica claims it has the “most powerful grinder on Amazon” and while that may be true, keep in mind that behind that power is a risk of overheating; you should only grind for 20 seconds at a time. Luckily, 20 seconds seems to be more than enough for you to get any consistency you want.
We tested the Breville SmartGrinder Pro, intrigued by its encyclopedic list of options and features. But the abundance of settings—timed dosing down to 0.2-second increments and up to 60 different grind sizes—and complicated digital interface made it difficult to use. It took forever for us to dial in, and our tests produced over-extracted batches each time.
The Capresso – Infinity had a quiet, smooth grind with an accurate settings guide, but the grinds had to traverse a long chute between the hopper and the grind receptacle, forcing the user to flush the chute between each grind or risk stale grinds being mixed in with fresh ones. It performed well in the fine to medium-fine range, making it good for pour over coffees, but quality and consistency was lacking for other styles. The Capresso did everything okay, but nothing great.
As with everything in the kitchen, the best tasting coffee begins with the freshest ingredients paired with the right tool to create quality beverages. At Williams Sonoma, we offer all coffee lovers the best of both: ingredients and tools for a perfect cup of coffee right at home. Our coffee grinders range from vintage hand-crank coffee mills to electric coffee grinders that transform whole roasted coffee beans into ground coffee quickly and concisely, which is the first step to creating a coffee cup to rival your favorite coffee house. Consider yourself warned, the fresh ground coffee beans and the alluring caffeinated aroma of these tabletop treasures will spoil you. Convenient and affordable electric coffee grinders will prove they are a necessity for anyone who drinks coffee, from those who want a casual cup now and again to the serious coffee connoisseurs, whose world, personality and mood all depend on their first sip of the day.

If you’ll be counting on your coffee grinder each day for that morning jolt you’ll want a model that fits conveniently on the counter or in a cabinet. Some bulkier models may wind up hidden away in a closet! It’s also important to assess how much capacity of coffee you want it to be able to grind at once so you won’t have to grind multiple batches at once. Some models even feature hoppers to hold your coffee beans at the ready.
Because someone will always chime in with the question, “Can’t I just buy a much more affordable hand grinder?” we tested a couple of those as well: the Porlex Mini and the Hario Mini Mill Slim. I don’t ever believe that people will really want to hand grind their coffee every morning like they tell themselves when they’re making this purchase—it takes ages of manual cranking, during which you’re wasting precious morning minutes while the dog is barking, the baby is crying, and you lack caffeine. That said, these grinders are great for travel, with the Porlex even fitting conveniently into the tube of an AeroPress for that coffee geek on the go.
The Baratza Encore is an automatic conical burr grinder, complete with a storage bun on the top for all of your coffee and a capture container for the ground coffee at the bottom. It sports over 40 different grind settings, and as far as automatic grinders go, it's relatively affordable at about $130 at Amazon. A quick twist of the knob on the side will give you coffee perfectly ground for whatever your favorite coffee preparation may be, whether it's drip, press, or pour-over. The Encore may not be the objective best Baratza grinder, but it's certainly the best for home coffee enthusiasts or people who aren't willing to spend hundreds upon hundreds just to get a good consistent grind every morning. It's been lauded by coffee reviewers (and criticized, more on that in a moment), and it does a good job of getting a consistent grind without heating up your coffee beans or getting too loud (although it's not particularly quiet, either.) The Encore is the successor to the immensely popular Maestro, and follows in its footsteps in both design and build quality. It's a sturdy, reliable grinder, and many of you particularly highlighted Baratza's superior customer service should you run into problems with it.
Then we looked to see if they were aesthetically appealing. Personal taste will vary, but there were notable design differences between the grinders. Some seemed to have been built solely with function in mind, and some seemed to have design as a part of the build process. That included color scheme of materials, length of the electrical cord and design of the user interface including setting icons, digital screens and timer.
With but a few exceptions, budget coffee grinders seem to last. Many reviewers tell of replacing a treasured machine after five or even 15 years, and often with another of the same brand. Yet, even the coffee grinders we favor sometimes disappoint. We read plenty of reports lamenting units that failed in one way or another after minimal use; no model we researched escaped users' darts.
There are two main types of coffee grinders: blade grinders (pretty much what they sound like—a metal blade that spins around to grind the beans) and burr grinders (two serrated pieces of metal that rotate around each other to crush the beans, by hand or electronically). Blade grinders will get the job done, but coffee snobs will tell you that they yield uneven grinds, meaning you’ll never get the most flavor out of your beans. Burr grinders do a much better job at consistent grinding, making them the grinder of choice for most coffee drinkers. They do tend to pricier than blade grinders, but there are still plenty of very affordable options out there.
Slim, sleek, portable, infinitely adjustable: The Porlex stainless-steel hand grinder is a perfect tool for the coffee geek who has little space, needs a noiseless grinder, or travels a lot. Stepless adjustments make the tool adaptable for any number of coffee brewing methods, from French press to something close to espresso, and the tiny footprint is ideal for a counter, a cubby at work, or a luggage pocket for the on-the-go coffee brewer. While hand-grinding can admittedly be a chore, the Porlex only holds enough for one or two cups at a time (about 40 grams), making it a powerful weapon in the fight against single-brew mediocrity—but don't try to grind enough for a crowd with this thing.
The bottom line: At about $200, the Breville coffee grinder is on the high-end of our price spectrum and is a bit of an investment, but considering its range of features and the quality of its performance, it still seems like a great value. If we had to find a quibble, we'd say that even on the coarser settings, the grind seemed to skew slightly finer than the other machines we tested, so it may be better suited to espresso and filter drinkers—and if you're a devoted French press user who prefers her cup 100% sediment-free, it might be worth a pause. That said, our taste testers were universally pleased with the French press pot we brewed, so it really is a matter of personal taste. Bottom line: once you get the hang of using it, there's no way this grinder won't make your coffee—and therefore your life—a whole lot better.

Best Coffee Grinder

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