Magical Grinders; The Best Angle Grinders in 2023. Electric grinder machine

Magical Grinders; The Best Angle Grinders in 2023

Using Angle Grinders to Cut Metal is one the most convenient ways of metal fabrication as angle grinders are a metalworker’s right hand; You can tackle a wide range of metalworking operations with the right angle grinder equipment and accessories while staying safe on the job. An angle grinder is a versatile tool that may be used to work with a number of materials and applications.

Can You Use Angle Grinder to Cut Metal?

“Can you use an angleAngle Grinders to Cut Metal?” is a question that pops up frequently on the appropriate message boards. What’s the quick and easy answer? Absolutely! Indeed, among the many hand-held equipment available, the angle grinder appears to be the most flexible of metalworking power tools. That’s why it’s no surprise that this specific item is utilized by a variety of crafts, including those in the automotive sector, HVAC, plumbing, and a variety of others.

Grinders are often used for refurbishing and polishing metal materials, so it shouldn’t come as a surprise that you can use them on stainless steel surfaces if you have the correct disc.

You shouldn’t, however, go into the process without taking any safeguards. That’s why, throughout the post, we’ve included a few safety guidelines to assist you learn how to use angle grinder to cut metal in the most efficient and effective way possible.

How to Use an Angle Grinder to Cut Metal

Now that we’ve established the notion of using an Angle Grinders to Cut Metal, let’s examine what the optimum way of operating an angle grinder to cut metal. We must point out that the method is not always the same because different angle grinder models work in different ways. Even yet, the safety measures you must follow while cutting metal or steel are very similar.

What is the maximum thickness of steel when operating an angle grinder to cut metal?

It truly relies on the angle grinder’s cutting capacity as well as the size and type of disc you’re using. Apart from that, the thickness of the material you’ll be cutting is a determinant in determining the steel’s possible cutting depth.

Not only that, but cutting discs come in a variety of thicknesses, so you’ll need to pick the proper one.

But let’s pretend you’re using a 4-1/2-inch grinder with a flat diamond cutoff blade to cut stainless or mild steel, as most people do. A 1mm or 1.6mm iron-free disc should be used to cut the stainless steel.

When cutting thin metal materials like sheet metal, a 1.0mm or 0.8mm cutting disc is recommended. Due to the reduced blade thickness that results in less heat transmission, any of these discs will provide a cleaner appearing cut and minimize any potential discoloration.

When cutting or buffing metal or aluminum with an angle grinder, using a type saw lubrication will extend the disc’s life and prevent the risk of chipping.

If you’re going to chop thicker, heavier steel like rebar or structural steel like angle iron, you’ll need a cutting disc with a thickness of 1.6mm or 2.5mm. Using a bigger blade, such as a 2.5mm cutting disc, to cut through dense steel has certain disadvantages.

Due to the slower blade speed of the bigger disc-equipped, the completed cut of your steel workpiece may show evidence of discoloration. What is the reason behind this? Because of the increase in friction, essentially.

You could always use another power tool to cut metal, depending on how thick the material is and how clean of a cut you want.

While accuracy and elegance are required when cutting thick, dense steel, a metal cutting circular saw or a metal chop saw are two of the most common suspects. Break out the trusty grinder if all you want to do is make short cuts when accuracy and overall aesthetics are secondary concerns. Simply use the suggested CDs whenever possible.

The Best Angle Grinder for Metal Work

If you’re looking for a high-quality, easy-to-useAngle Grinders to Cut Metal with, here we present you some of the best tools in the market today.

Bosch 4-1/2-Inch Angle Grinder

The Bosch 4-1/2-inch angle grinder has a powerful 6.0amp motor that produces 11,000 no load rpm for professional cutting and grinding. Its Efficient motor has a very tiny field diameter, allowing the operator to grind or cut with minimal effort. This item is lightweight, with a small size and shape that makes it suitable for metal craftsmen. Vehicle fabricators, plumbers, and other professions who utilize grinders on a regular basis, such as home builders, are among those who employ them.

Ronix 3212 Angle Grinder, 2350W, 230mm

Having a strong an Angle Grinders to Cut Metal and other difficult materials is a huge benefit for a professional metal worker who conducts a lot of grinding and metal fabrication operations. The Ronix 3212 Angle Grinder is a powerful power tool that can tackle a wide range of industrial and heavy-duty tasks. You can confidently operate this angle grinder to cut metal any time.

Makita 9557PBX1 4-1/2″ Cut-Off/Angle Grinder

Makita’s angle grinder is a high-quality tool for metalworkers. A powerful 7.5 AMP motor provides high output power in a smaller, lighter tool. You may carry this device anyplace and cut metal with ease by using both hands to control it.

magical, grinders, best, angle, 2023

The ‘tool-less wheel guard adjustment allows effortless clamping, and it also offers a grinder with an AC/DC switch for use with various power sources, which is a nice feature of this Makita angle grinder.

Safety Tips When Operating an Angle Grinder to Cut Metal

When you use Angle Grinders to Cut Metal or grind it, small chips or shards of metal fly all over the place. They can also be fiery and abrasive. Follow these guidelines to avoid eye injuries, wounds, burns, and other problems when cutting metal: Read and follow all safety warnings on metal-cutting discs and blades. Protect your eyes and ears with safety glasses, a face shield, and hearing protection. Wear gloves, a long-sleeve shirt, and slacks to protect any exposed skin.

Let newly cut metal cool completely before handling it.

When working with metal that may have sharp edges, use gloves.

Before cutting metal, secure it with a clamp. If you’re use angle grinder to cut metal, don’t let anyone close you unless they’re wearing hearing and eye protection.

Suggested disc types.

You can use angle grinder to cut metal and all types of it, including bolts, angle iron, rebar, and even sheet metal, when it’s equipped with an abrasive metal-cutting disc. However, as you use the discs, they wear down fast, cut slowly, and reduce in diameter. Instead, we recommend utilizing a diamond blade with a ferrous metal cutting rating. These will last far longer than abrasive discs, cut quicker and cleaner, and wear down much slower.

The Disc Type Application Consideration
Metal cutting disc / cut off disc Most metals can be cut. It can’t be used to grind anything. Present at a 90-degree angle to the workpiece Aluminium Oxide is used to make the cutting edge
Grinding disc Metals, both ferrous and non-ferrous, are ground. Present at a 45-degree angle to the workpiece. Aluminium Oxide is used to make the cutting edge.
Multi-cut cutting disc Metals, both ferrous and non-ferrous, are cut through (including stainless steel). For more sophisticated cutting needs, it will also cut through brick, stone, contemporary composites, and tiles.
Stainless steel cutting disc Steel and stainless steel are cut through. It’s especially handy for cross-sections with tiny cross-sections.
All cut diamond blade Cast iron, various ferrous and non-ferrous metals, and most building materials are all cuttable. Cutting edge with diamond grains attached to it.
Abrasive grit mop disc Metal grinding in general, especially for edge grinding jobs like deburring, sharpening, and surface finishing. Grinding flaps in a fan-shaped radial pattern.
Slitting disc / thin cutting disc Pipes and profiles with thin walls are cut. This tool creates a fine cut line. Use on ferrous and non-ferrous metals, as well as stainless steel. Thin cutting discs produce less heat during operation, cause less tool vibration, finish cuts faster, and waste less metal in each cut, saving up to 2 mm each cut.

FAQ1. What tools do I need to cut metal with an angle grinder?the necessary tools when it comes to metal cutting with angle grinder are: angle grinder, metal disc, c-clamp, power outlet/source, earmuff and the metal material you plan to use.

What’s the difference between a cut-off tool and an angle grinder?A cut off tool is used to cut surfaces, as its name implies. The angle grinder, on the other hand, is a more flexible tool that can be used for a variety of activities such as sharpening and grinding.

Is it possible to cut steel with an angle grinder?Yes, if you have the appropriate disc. However, due to the steel’s hardness, they will wear out more quickly.

Is it possible to useAngle Grinders to Cut Metal. even a thick steel piece? Yes, it surely can. At the end of the day, cutting metal with an angle grinder may be very effective and incredibly safe if you have the proper equipment and safety gear.If you’ve never used a grinder before, you won’t need much practice to learn the skill of slicing and dicing materials properly. That is, as long as you use the suitable cutting disc with this powerful hand-held equipment.Because an angle grinder is designed to cut through stronger metals, as well as bricks and concrete, you won’t have to worry about its durability. In time, a decent grinder will become a need rather than a luxury.While the ordinary DIYer is unlikely to be hacking at dense steel on a regular basis, a good grinder is the one equipment you’ll want in the back of your truck or tool shop if you need to make Rapid cuts in metal.Finally, when using a grinder, make sure you are in complete control of the equipment and that you are wearing the proper protective safety eyewear. All that’s left to do now is select the appropriate cutting disc and material, and begin cutting metal with ease.

Manual vs Electric Burr Grinder. What’s The Difference?

Should you get a manual burr grinder or an electric burr grinder? The difference is pretty significant, so this is one detail you should take some time on.

Coffee is enjoyed best when it complements – not contradicts – your unique lifestyle and personality.

What’s the Difference Between a Manual Burr Grinder and Electric Burr Grinder?

Don’t have time for the full article? Here’s a quick answer to your question:

A manual burr grinder is a coffee grinder that requires hands-on grinding. They usually have predetermined settings and come with a little knob you twist to crush the coffee inside. Manual grinders are useful choices for single homebrewers with extra time on their hands. They’re also a good pick for coffee brewers who like to camp or travel, since they’re designed to be portable.

An electric burr grinder is very hands-off, grinding up your coffee with the press of a button. These are very convenient for large households, busy office spaces, and on-the-go coffee drinkers. That said, single homebrewers find them convenient for their speed and ability to hold large volumes of coffee.

Do Burr Grinders Really Make a Difference?

The higher price point of the burr grinder can be a turn-off. Why spend more money when you can get a budget-friendly blade grinder that technically does the same thing?

The answer to this question lies in quality. Burr grinders use conical or flat burrs to crush coffee beans: they’re well-known for creating much more consistent particle sizes than their blade cousins. Since coffee extraction relies on water being pulled consistently, the choppy and inconsistent results from a blade grinder often create poor-tasting cups.

If you’re thinking of stepping up your homebrewing game and creating more flavorful cups of coffee, it’s highly recommended you buy a burr grinder.

Can You Use a Manual Grinder for Espresso?

The answer to this question lies in the kind of espresso you’re talking about. If you’re making Moka pot espresso, manual hand grinders do a great job of creating a medium-fine grind.

If you want to create espresso with a classic espresso machine, it’s best to get an electric grinder. It’s difficult for even the best manual burr grinder to achieve the ultra-fine coffee grind needed for an espresso shot.

Is it Better to Get a Manual or Electric Coffee Grinder?

A manual burr grinder and electric burr grinder do the same thing: crush your coffee beans into smooth, even coffee grounds. Where they differ is in speed and portability.

The manual coffee grinder requires you to twist a knob to crush coffee beans. Just pick a setting, choose a spot in your kitchen, and grind away. Depending on how much you put into your manual grinder, you can expect to take one or two minutes for a single cup of coffee. It will take three to five minutes to grind enough for two or three cups.

An electric coffee grinder is much faster and requires less interaction from the brewer. Choose a setting, press a button, and sit back as your coffee grinds up. While the speed also depends on how much coffee you put into the hopper, it usually doesn’t take more than fifteen seconds to grind enough for a single cup of coffee.

Single homebrewers who lead a slower-paced lifestyle fare well with a manual burr grinder. This coffee grinder is also well-suited to avid campers and travelers. An electric coffee grinder is a better choice for busy households or office spaces that see constant coffee production.

How Long Do Manual Coffee Grinders Last?

How long your coffee grinder lasts depends heavily on the quality of your purchase and how often you use your equipment.

Burrs are crafted with either stainless steel or ceramic, both materials that hold up well to the test of time. Daily usage will see a manual burr grinder lasting around four to five years before it starts showing its age. Semi-regular usage will see your manual coffee grinder lasting five to seven years.

Extending this longevity means cleaning out your equipment regularly and following the manufacturing guidelines. A common mistake beginner homebrewers make is twisting the knob backwards: this can ruin the inner workings of your burr grinder, so be careful!

How Long Do Electric Coffee Grinders Last?

Electric coffee grinders have a pretty good shelf life. Expect to see your electric coffee grinder lasting between seven to ten years with regular usage.

Electric burr grinders are usually designed with the ability to grind between five hundred to seven hundred pounds of coffee before they need to be replaced. Despite these impressive figures, make sure to maintain your machine properly. Wipe out the hopper periodically and clean out the machine once or twice a month.

Your purchase will come with a guideline on how to clean your grinder without disassembling it. Dropping your electric grinder will damage its hardware, so handle it carefully.

Wrap Up

This purchasing decision will be one of the easier ones on your coffee brewing journey. Manual and electric grinders are pretty different in terms of convenience and flexibility.

Still need a little help choosing? Reach out to our live chat or send us a message with your coffee-related questions. We’re happy to help you narrow down your choices and get you closer to the home brewing set-up you’ve always wanted.

The 5 Best Spice Grinders of 2023

We went in search of the best spice grinders, researching over 20 models, both electric and manual. We then purchased 10 to test side-by-side. We spent a week in the kitchen grinding common household spices like cumin and cardamom seeds while also grinding tough spices like cloves and cinnamon sticks. Some grinders have the ability to chop or pulse veggies as well, which we also put to the test. In addition to buying each model at retail price and testing it hands-on, we spent hours comparing the smallest details, like grinding capacity, product size and storability, sound, and versatility. All products in this test were tested as household spice grinders, though many double as coffee grinders. There’s nothing like grinding your own whole spices; it adds a great deal of fragrance and flavor to any meal.

If you choose to go the manual grinder route, you may want to take a gander at our best mortar and pestle set review. Either way, having the right cooking tool for the job can do wonders to enhance your time spent whipping up tasty meals in the kitchen. That’s why we test all sorts of kitchen gadgets like the top-rated graters, garlic presses, the best whisks, pizza cutters, and more.

Best Overall Spice Grinder

Secura Electric Coffee and Spice

Type: Electric | Used for: Coffee, whole spices, nuts, seeds, fresh herbs, small quantities of vegetables

If you are looking for a well-designed, consistent, and versatile all-purpose grinder, the Secura Electric Coffee and Spice is a great option. It creates the finest grinds at the fastest speeds of those we tested, and we love the fine consistency it achieved in all our test spices. The Secura is also versatile, including two stainless steel bowls, one designed for grinding and one designed for chopping. This means it can handle a variety of tasks, including grinding various spices, seeds, nuts, and coffee, while also being able to chop small amounts of nuts, veggies, and fresh herbs. Its Smart design includes a rubber-sealed lid that covers the bowls during grinding and chopping, which makes for less of a mess and an easy clean-up. The lid doubles for storage of excess spice. The grinding cups themselves are easy to clean with soapy water or a rinse and towel dry.

Though we love this grinder, we have a few minor gripes. The cord-keeping feature is a bit annoying as we found it difficult to wrap the cord around the spool on the bottom, and it kept trying to escape the guide. It is also difficult to see the grind consistency through the two plastic lids, one of which is pressed down to start the grinder (a typical feature) and the other a fitted lid that keeps spices from flying out of the machine. Still, this model is a great choice for the home chef looking to grind a variety of spices and herbs and occasionally chop small additions to the meal.

Best Bang for the Buck

Hamilton Beach Fresh Grind 4.5oz Electric

The Hamilton Beach Fresh Grind 4.5oz Electric is an affordable, quiet powerhouse that boasts a great design. It kept up with the specialty electric grinders and grinding spices, including cinnamon, cumin, and coriander. It has a 200-watt motor in a slim plastic housing. This model is one of the smaller electric grinders we tested. For how powerful it is, we’re impressed by its consistently fine grind. It was the quietest model we tested while grinding coffee or spices and also has a removable cup that clicks into the base like a blender. The cup is made of stainless steel and plastic and has convenient max fill lines for coffee and spices.

This quiet little grinder is sleek, but it has the smallest spice capacity of all the grinders. The max line on the cup for spices holds two ounces, compared to 4.5 ounces at the max line for coffee. After a day of testing, we noticed that the blade was loose and wobbly unless snapped into the base. Once the cup and base were connected, the blade seemed more secure; this made us question if the mechanism that connects the blade to the cup was properly attached.

A Great, All-Purpose Option

ChefSofi Mortar and Pestle Set

The ChefSofi Mortar and Pestle Set is a great all-purpose grinder for its simple, durable design, versatility, and ease of use. We ground all our spices, including tough cinnamon sticks and cloves. Its simple design is made of strong and heavy unpolished granite, allowing users to crush ingredients into the desired consistency. It’s also easy to clean and care for. It doesn’t grind quite as fast or fine as our best electric grinder (most spices took between one and two minutes to grind), but it was competitive in all categories and created fine enough powders to include in most home cooks’ recipes. The versatility of this set is attractive to us; it ground spices (including cloves that cannot be ground in many electric grinders or grinders with plastic components), herbs, garlic cloves, and other wet ingredients. It also crushes nuts and grinds small quantities of seeds. We just rinsed it out with warm water and let air dry after we were finished, setting it on our counter as an attractive appliance until we needed it again.

Though we found this to be a great tool for grinding spices, it is a little high maintenance at first. You must season it to ensure there is no granite dust residue left in the bowl before you start using it for cooking. To do this, we ground small handfuls of white rice several times until rice grinds white (our rice stayed white the entire time, but we still ground three handfuls of rice, as per the instructions). After grinding the rice, the instructions give you a recipe of garlic cloves, cumin, salt, and pepper to grind in your new mortar to season it. After all this work, it is ready to be rinsed, dried, and used! This set is certainly an investment when you can get an electric grinder for half the price, but it is a long-lasting, durable and versatile tool for the home cook that likes to keep it traditional.

Best for Tough Spices

Microplane Manual Spice Mill

The Microplane Manual Spice Mill impressed us with its small but very effective design. It was an instant top contender as we started to grind our test spices. We started with the tough spices, as this device is advertised to grind cinnamon and nutmeg. It did not disappoint; while grinding cinnamon and cloves, we could hear the blades shaving down the spices into a fine powder. We ground coriander and cumin seeds; all of the spices produced the finest grind of all manual grinders. We also like that it is easy to use, requiring only small amounts of spices in the grinding cylinder and then twists of the plunger to grind. After grinding, it was an easy rinse and air dry for clean-up. It also has a small spice storage compartment inside the top/plunger for storing excess ground spices.

As a manual spice grinder, we were impressed by the Microplane’s performance. However, its small capacity is the downside of its sleek and compact design. We also can’t ignore its lack of versatility compared to some of the electric models. Of all the manual grinders, it took the longest to grind tough spices like cinnamon; to get the same quantities, we had to grind for more than twice the amount of time the other manual grinders took. Even with its shortcomings, the Microplane spice mill is a great addition for someone looking to add small amounts of freshly ground spices to their dishes and beverages.

Best Model with a Fixed Cup

Krups F203 Electric Spice and Coffee Grinder

The Krups F203 Electric Spice and Coffee Grinder is the lowest-profile electric grinder we tested. For a small grinder, it houses a powerful 200-watt motor and performed very well. It kept up with the pack with grind consistency, offering similar performance to the Hamilton Beach model. We like the simplicity, particularly the simple power button on the lid and the fixed-cup design. It was the easiest to use and clean, and its slim design made pouring spices easy. It outperformed the Quiseen in grind performance and design.

As the cup is fixed, we did find that pouring spices or coffee from it was a little less comfortable than the models with removable cups. However, its slim, oval shape and steep walls helped keep spices and coffee in place better than the Quiseen model. This is a great option for someone looking for a simple design to get the job done with no fuss and no frills.

Great Dual Cup Model

Cuisinart Electric Spice and Nut Grinder

Type: Electric | Used for: Coffee, Whole spices, nuts, seeds, fresh herbs, small quantities of vegetables

We like the Cuisinart Electric Spice and Nut Grinder because of its versatility, ease of use, and its design. It has two detachable stainless steel bowls, one designed for grinding and one designed for chopping. The Cuisinart shares this feature and versatility with the Shardor and Secura models. It is capable of grinding spices and nut flours and chopping fresh herbs and aromatics like garlic and ginger. We like that it has one of the highest capacities, is easy to clean and operate, and features a unique cord-keeper.

We like the operation and the features of this model; it has good grind consistency in the same ballpark as other electric options. Though we like the design, one minor flaw is that the plastic storage lid (provided for the stainless steel bowls) only fits the grinding bowl; it is too big for the chopping bowl. In testing grind consistency, it fell behind while grinding the tough spices like cinnamon and fell to the back of the pack when grinding at full capacity. This grinder is also the most expensive of all the models tested. This Cuisinart appliance would be a great option for someone looking for a versatile tool in their kitchen that can easily be stowed away when not in use.

Great Multi-Purpose Grinder

SHARDOR Electric Coffee and Spice Grinder

Type: Electric | Used for: Coffee, Whole spices, nuts, seeds, fresh herbs, small quantities of vegetables

The SHARDOR Electric Coffee and Spice Grinder is a versatile tool. It’s a coffee and spice grinder, and it also chops small amounts of vegetables or nuts. This grinder has a large capacity; at its max fill line, it holds six ounces of spices — the largest we tested held seven ounces. It had the finest grind in testing at full capacity, making up for its average grinding performance at lower capacities. This grinder comes with two removable stainless steel bowls — one for grinding coffee or spices and one for chopping vegetables or nuts, which adds to its versatility. We used it to grind spices and then used the chopping cup to chop onions and garlic. The Shardor has a 200-watt motor, which makes it a powerful grinder. The chopping cup can be too powerful for small amounts of onion, and if pulsed too much, tends to puree vegetables instead of chopping them. Take care and pulse accordingly.

This model is the loudest and largest of all of the grinders tested. At 8 ½ inches tall and 3 ½ inches wide, it has a big presence in the kitchen. The two cups stack within each other, and the lid stacks on top, making for a clean look when storing. It has a sturdy and handsome design, complete with black plastic housing and a clear lid. This leaves a very small window to peer in and check the consistency of the grind; sometimes, it is necessary to take the lid off to do so. It’s a bit bulky for grinding spices, and the chopping tool is less effective than a food processor because of its limited capacity and hard-to-control power. This is a versatile tool to have in the kitchen if you plan to maximize its use as a bulk spice grinder or utilize its chopping capacity.

Good for Small Quantities

Zassenhaus Cast Iron Spice Grinding Set 3″

We love the design of the compact Zassenhaus Cast Iron Spice Grinding Set 3″. At three inches tall and three inches wide, it’s a powerhouse made of cast iron and a beechwood lid. It is comprised of three pieces — an outer cup, an inner cup that doubles as a compartment to hold excess spices, and a lid. It’s heavy and durable, and the weight of the cast iron, combined with the ridges on the bottom of the grinding bowl and outer bowl, work together to pulverize whole spices in a simple twisting motion. We ground cloves and cinnamon with some elbow grease and other spices more easily. We found that it ground small quantities easier — optimally ½. 1 tbsp. It ground one stick of cinnamon to an acceptable powder, leaving only a couple of small pieces. It didn’t perform as well as the ChefSofi Mortar and Pestle, the Microplane, or the electric grinders, but we found it very useful and easy to use, and it has an attractive, rustic design that we wanted to show off on our counter.

As Smart as this grinder is, there are some design flaws. We like that it has a storage compartment with a lid to hold excess spices, but we wouldn’t want to keep them in there while grinding other spices, as the lid isn’t snug and moves around while twisting and grinding. The cast iron is a durable, safe, and attractive material; it is also easy to rinse clean with just a little warm water, but it requires a little TLC (like any cast iron product) and occasional lubrication to prevent rust. It can be a little tiring to use and takes more energy than the mortar and pestle manual grinding motion. Take care with this grinder, as the heavy cast iron can be damaging to countertops if not held still while grinding. We found it best to hold the grinder and twist instead of placing it on the counter and twisting.

Great Spice Mill

Kuhn Rikon Ratchet Grinder

Type: Manual | Used for: Spices, salt, pepper (excluding cloves and cinnamon)

The Kuhn Rikon Ratchet Grinder is a lesson in sleek design. This model is all one piece, with no removable parts. It has a small trap door, a simple twisting mechanism on the bottom to adjust the grind, and an ergonomic handle to crank back and forth, moving the ceramic grinding device inside. This grinder was fun to use, super simple, and could be used with all the spices we ground except for cloves and cinnamon. It’s small and unimposing on the counter or in the cupboard, standing about eight inches tall with the handle up, and has a narrow cylindrical base of two inches. It looks like an unassuming salt or pepper grinder but is capable of grinding a variety of small spices quickly. We occasionally ground coarse salt to clean the grinder.

Though this is not the most versatile grinder — as it cannot grind big spices — it is a capable addition to the kitchen and can be used to grind quick, small amounts of fragrant spices. While testing, this little grinder was by far the fastest manual grinder to use on the course setting. However, when set on the fine setting, it took a good chunk of time — far longer than the ChefSofi Mortar and Pestle and the Zassenhaus Cast Iron. We didn’t find the course and fine settings results to be so dramatically different that you would want to spend the time grinding at the fine setting.

Excellent Electric Grinder

Quiseen One-Touch Electric Coffee Grinder

The Quiseen One-Touch Electric Coffee Grinder is a fixed-cup simple design with decent grinding performance. It offers decent grinding consistency and comes in at a nice price point. Its weakest point was the cinnamon test, understandably. This model scored a very close second in the sound test, falling just behind the Hamilton Beach model. It is a competent and quiet grinder.

Though we liked the performance of this grinder, some design considerations affected its use and effectiveness. During testing, we noticed that the lid was shallow, slick, and hard to remove. It was also hard to get back on, as the pin that presses the power button is hard to perfectly align. The grinder is designed with a wide top and wide grinding cup, with a crease between the stainless steel cup and the plastic housing. Because of these things, ground material collected and spilled when we opened the lid. The wide opening made it hard to pour from, while the challenging lid made it difficult to use the device without creating a bit of a mess — losing some of the ground coffee or spices in the process.

Why You Should Trust Us

To start our scientific testing, we did our research, sifting through products. After purchasing ten different models to test, we got to work and created a testing plan. With all grinders in hand, we started by unboxing each one, comparing details like size, materials, features, etc. We then started grinding spices in each device at intervals of five seconds. We compared consistency by sifting the spices through a sieve. We ground cardamom, cumin seed, cinnamon sticks, and cloves (in the devices that can handle clove oil). We measured decibel levels while grinding, cleaned each one between use, and noted design features we liked.

The lead tester in this review is Kristin Anderson, a long-time cook, outdoor enthusiast, and jeweler. She loves detail-oriented tasks like testing products, comparing details, or fabricating tiny pieces of silver into works of art. Kristin learned to cook in her youth while working at a cafe in a natural food store; she was an understudy in cooking for different dietary needs, herbal remedies, and eating for health and nutrition. She mixes a lot of her own spice mixes and uses them in various recipes throughout the year.

Analysis and Test Results

Whether you want to grind small amounts of fresh spices to liven up your dishes each night, or you plan to shop at the grocery and stock up on five pounds of spices and grind in bulk, we have recommendations for you. We’ve analyzed and tested ten spice grinders, both manual and electric side-by-side. After three days of grinding spices and herbs manually and with electric grinders, we ranked each based on four metrics: grinding performance, ease of use, design, and versatility.

Grinding Performance

To test grinding performance, we gathered five pounds of spices and ground them. We ground cumin seed, cardamom seeds, cinnamon sticks, and cloves, as well as freshly dried oregano from the garden. We specifically looked at the consistency and speed of the grind. We did this by grinding pre-measured amounts of spices (e.g., eight grams of cumin seed) with the electric grinders in five-second intervals, sifting the spices through sieves. We measured the fineness of the grind at five, ten, fifteen, and twenty seconds.

For the manual grinders, longer intervals from 1.5 to two minutes were given to completely grind the spices. This test was repeated with each spice. We needed to grind the pre-measured amount until the chamber was empty and compared the time to the other manual models with the Kuhn Rikon model. The manual grinders were obviously considerably slower. The other models that did well in this category were the Hamilton Beach Fresh Grind and the Krups F203 Spice and Coffee Grinder, offering similar test results, surpassing the grinding performance of the Shardor coffee and spice grinder, even with tough spices like cinnamon sticks.

We do not recommend grinding cloves in electric grinders with plastic lids, as the cloves will scratch and gum up the plastic with oils. This could affect the plastic and make it sticky for the lifetime of the product.

Ease of Use

When evaluating ease of use, we looked at key features like how many pieces and parts there were to assemble. We also questioned if the lids fit securely and if the operation was simple or complicated. Is it easy to control the consistency of the grind? Is the product easy to clean and maintain? All these things are hard to know until you’ve fully put the product to the test.

For ease of use, we appreciated the simplicity of the ChefSofi Mortar and Pestle. It was a little laborious to get going with pre-seasoning, but with just two pieces, simple instructions, and tips and tricks in the instructions to help you get started, it was the most basic and simple to use. The open bowl allowed us to see the consistency as we ground the spices, and cleaning it was a breeze — just a rinse in warm water and air dry.

Another grinder that performed well in this category is the Kuhn Rikon grinder; it has simple and ergonomic grinding, practically no setup, and fast grinding on the coarsest setting. The Zassenhaus Cast Iron is similar to the mortar and pestle; it takes a simple twisting motion to grind and requires a similar cleaning process. The removable cup grinder, like Shardor, was great for easy cleaning if you like to toss things in the dishwasher or clean the cup separately and let air dry. Most electric grinders require a little more effort when getting spices out of the grinding cups and blades or cleaning between uses. It’s also harder to see the grind and manage consistency through the plastic lid.


We looked at size and storability, sound (measured in decibels), grinding capacity, and fun features like cord keepers and adjustability for this metric. The electric grinder that stood out for design was the quiet and efficient Hamilton Beach Fresh Grind. What it lacked in capacity (compared to other electric grinders), it made up for with its extremely quiet motor and fine grinding capability. It’s also one of the smallest electric grinders to have a removable cup that is easy to empty and clean. It also features a practical, easy-to-use cord keeper, which keeps the cord out of the way while storing.

The manual grinder that stood out in this category was the Kuhn Rikon ratchet grinder. It has an ergonomic, slim design and an easy, quiet ratchet system. It can grind substantial amounts of spices, especially for its size, and has an adjustable setting that allows you to choose the consistency of your grind, making it an easy, Smart addition to your kitchen.


To understand the versatility of each grinder, we looked at what each one was designed to do. Some are meant for specific kinds of herbs, while some can handle seeds and spices.

Others can handle anything you throw at them. As a spice grinder, the ChefSofi mortar and pestle is the most versatile; it can handle all the spices you can throw at it, including cloves, which can often ruin the plastic on electric grinders and other plastic grinders.

It can also crush wet ingredients like garlic and fresh herbs to make a poultice or seeds and nuts. The Shardor Coffee and Spice Grinder also shines in this metric, as it sports two removable cups — one for chopping vegetables and fresh herbs and nuts, and the other designated to grind spices and coffee.

We used both functions on this grinder; it performed as an average electric spice grinder, made a tasty cilantro chutney, and chopped onions, garlic, and fresh jalapenos with ease.


Choosing a spice grinder to fit your kitchen needs can be confusing, especially with electric models and manual models — with each being designed to do different jobs. This review is designed to do some of the leg work for you. Our research is thorough, unbiased, and can help you choose what kind of spice grinder suits your culinary style. We hope that this information can help you narrow down the list of contenders and choose the best option for your kitchen.

The Best Coffee Grinder

We tested two new grinders and the updated burr set on the Fellow Ode (but not the Gen 2), and our picks remain the same. We plan to test the Fellow Ode Gen 2 soon.

If you want to make better coffee at home, the most important tool you can buy isn’t an expensive brewer or fancy filters, but a good burr grinder. No matter how you choose to make your coffee, even the best beans won’t be as delicious if they aren’t ground consistently. We’ve been testing grinders (and using our picks daily) since 2015, and we’ve found that the no-frills Baratza Encore delivers high-quality, ultra-consistent grinding. It is also easy to maintain, clean, repair, and even customize, all for a fair price.

The best coffee grinder

This all-around workhorse grinder produces the consistent grind required to brew delicious coffee, and it doesn’t cost a fortune.

Buying Options

At the time of publishing, the price was 135.

The Baratza Encore grinds coffee more evenly, and on a wider range of settings, than any other machine we’ve tested at its price level—and many that cost more. It’s a time-tested, reliable, straightforward tool that takes up a modest square of counter space. It’s easy to clean and maintain, and an investment you can rely on morning after morning. This grinder should be great for anyone who makes drip coffee or uses other methods that require beans ground at medium-fine to coarse settings (like pour-over, Chemex, AeroPress, or French press). It won’t produce the tiny adjustments in fine grinds that thrill serious espresso enthusiasts, but its output is consistent enough to create a decent shot. The Encore is our only pick (besides the hand grinder) that doesn’t have a timer or some automated way to measure out beans, but we’ve found it’s easy enough to measure your beans before you add them to the hopper—and many coffee aficionados already do that. Plus, Baratza also makes a smaller 60-gram hopper, which lets you use its top lid to measure out beans, streamlining that process. You can also add color accents to match your kitchen.

Slightly better grind, more features

For a steeper price, the Virtuoso has everything we like about the Encore in terms of reliability and consistent grind size, plus a few improved features.

Buying Options

The Baratza Virtuoso is a great grinder with a burr set that’s a little faster and more consistent than the Encore’s, and it offers a slightly broader range for both fine and coarse grounds. Unlike the Encore, this grinder has a precise, 60-second digital timer that allows you to grind a set amount of beans from the hopper—meaning you don’t have to measure them each time you make coffee. (You can also add hopper extenders, which would allow your Virtuoso to store a whole bag of beans.) The Virtuoso also has a light for the bin, so you can easily see how much you’ve ground. Even so, this model is not significantly better at grinding than the Encore. You’re paying for incremental improvements that may be important if coffee is a blossoming passion or hobby for you.

A good-enough grinder

This compact grinder is easy to use and has a wider range than most budget grinders, but it’s a bit less consistent than our top picks and less repairable.

Buying Options

The OXO Brew Conical Burr Coffee Grinder is the best we’ve tried in its price range of about 100. (We’ve found that any electric grinder below that price represents a significant step down in terms of grind consistency and durability.) The Encore offers a more consistent, versatile grind and a long-term maintenance and repair program, but the OXO hits the sweet spot in terms of price, grind quality, and ease of use. If you wanted to fill up the OXO with a bag of beans and just hit a button every morning, you could: It has a 12-ounce hopper and a timer ranging from zero to 30 seconds that lets you automate how much to grind. It’s also easier to clean than the Baratza, as the hopper comes with a shutoff valve so that it can be easily removed with the beans still inside, and the top burr has a little handle that lets you twist out the top half. If you drink mostly drip or French press coffee, the OXO’s relatively even grind, wide range of settings, and more-convenient features make it a good alternative to the pricier Baratza Encore.

Portable, consistent, and easy to use (albeit more labor-intensive)

For those who want an affordable yet high-quality portable hand grinder, the Timemore Chestnut C2 is the best in its class for speed, ease of grinding, and consistency.

Buying Options

If you have a modest budget, a very small kitchen, or a desire for a more portable or off-the-grid burr coffee grinder, we’ve found the Chestnut C2 Manual Coffee Grinder to be the best option under 100. The C2 is the lowest-cost grinder from coffee gear company Timemore, whose manual grinders are well-regarded among coffee experts. To sell the C2 at a lower price, Timemore uses durable, high-quality plastic in the interior shaft rather than the metal in its higher-end models, and gave it a slightly less complex burr and crank arm, which is still easily removable for storage or travel. The C2 has an impressively smooth and speedy grinding action, and is sturdy and well-built. Some options come with a pebbly aluminum surface that’s easy to grip. Like the electric models in this guide, the C2 is not designed for espresso making, and because it is much smaller than an electric grinder, it can make only enough grounds for a cup or two of coffee at a time. But it only takes a couple of minutes—even cranking slowly—to grind through that, and it is easy to refill.

The best coffee grinder

This all-around workhorse grinder produces the consistent grind required to brew delicious coffee, and it doesn’t cost a fortune.

Buying Options

At the time of publishing, the price was 135.

Slightly better grind, more features

For a steeper price, the Virtuoso has everything we like about the Encore in terms of reliability and consistent grind size, plus a few improved features.

A good-enough grinder

This compact grinder is easy to use and has a wider range than most budget grinders, but it’s a bit less consistent than our top picks and less repairable.

Portable, consistent, and easy to use (albeit more labor-intensive)

For those who want an affordable yet high-quality portable hand grinder, the Timemore Chestnut C2 is the best in its class for speed, ease of grinding, and consistency.

Why you should trust us

Wirecutter senior staff writer Rachel Wharton, who worked on the 2021 and 2022 updates of this guide, has decades of experience in breaking down complicated culinary subjects for readers, as well as a good grasp of sensory analysis and coffee-brewing principles. The research and reporting in this version of the guide builds on the work of Cale Guthrie Weissman (who wrote the previous versions of this guide and spent months researching and testing grinders) and coffee writer Liz Clayton.

For even more in-depth expertise, we worked with or spoke to a range of experts, like the folks who ran the New York City training center of Counter Culture Coffee, the founder of the professional education program at Coffee Project NY, and the product manager who evaluates grinders for a large American coffee equipment distributor. We also sought out the wisdom of Kyle Ramage, the 2017 United States Barista Champion and a respected coffee roaster. Ramage, who previously worked for many years at leading international commercial coffee-grinder manufacturer Mahlkönig and has consulted for many other makers, is the ideal kind of source. His insights often go beyond what to buy or what to spend, and get to the heart of why things are important. (Be sure to read his thoughts on just buying pre-ground beans if you don’t want to buy a good quality grinder.)

This guide is based on many years of hands-on testing and research, beginning in 2015. For the 2022 update, we spent two weeks performing testing of two newly available grinders. This was in addition to several months of research and reporting, which had us sorting through newly available grinders, interviewing experts, re-researching all of our old recommendations and dismissals, and combing through a mountain of existing reviews of high- and low-end machines, as well as recommendations and long-term testing notes from Wirecutter staff.

Perhaps most important, we understand that for many people switching from a small, cheap blade grinder (which you can stash in the kitchen cupboard between uses) to a 100 or 200 device that is messier and louder and demands permanent counter space is a big deal. Coffee is a particularly beloved topic at Wirecutter, and many of our staff buy and use these picks daily, and provide detailed feedback. We know how these grinders operate in real-world conditions, and whether they truly improve your daily coffee drinking existence or get in the way of it.

Who this is for

If you’re reading this guide, you’re interested in making better coffee at home, or buying a grinder for someone who is. You may have already read that the most important component of your coffee making setup is a quality burr grinder, one that will grind beans evenly—no matter how coarse or fine you want your grounds. The reason is that unevenly ground beans yield muddy cups of coffee with unpleasant sour or bitter notes—or both.

When you grind coffee beans, coffee writer and researcher Scott Rao told us, “There are going to be dusty little particles we call ‘fines,’ and there are going to be some larger particles we call ‘boulders,’ and a whole bunch of particles in the middle that are going to be the size you want.”

Even the best burr grinders will produce some fines and boulders, but good grinders will yield a lot fewer of them, and the ones at the right size will be more consistently shaped, too. And that makes for better coffee. The short explanation, said Rao, is that fines will brew too quickly and thus too long, giving you the bitter, astringent, tannic flavors of over-extracted coffee. Boulders brew too slowly and thus not long enough, giving you the weak, or even sour, flavors of under-extracted coffee.

If you’re currently using a subpar grinder—especially a budget, blade-style grinder—our testing shows that by switching to a quality burr grinder, you’ll significantly improve the flavor of your coffee. Make your brew with properly ground beans—as in, beans ground to a consistent shape and size—and you’ll easily detect a difference in aromatics and complexity of flavor, in sweetness and acidity, and even in the coffee’s texture and body. A good grinder can have a tremendous positive effect on your brew, whether you brew mail-order single estate beans with a Hario V60 and a precision scale or use your supermarket’s blend with an automatic drip machine.

The consistency of the grind is so important to Kyle Ramage, a coffee roaster and award-winning barista (who has also worked with a professional grinder manufacturer), that he recommends you just buy coffee ground-to-order from a high-quality source rather than use a blade or bad burr grinder. You might lose some complexity and aromatics with pre-ground coffee, he said, but you won’t get bad, off flavors.

“If you use a really bad grinder at home, you’re not going to get the expression of that coffee even close to what you’d get at the café,” he told us. “Grinding it at the café and bringing it home is still better.” (A grinder at a good local café should be ideal, he says, but not those at a supermarket, since just one batch of chemically flavored coffee beans can flavor a grinder for life.)

Our testing shows that by switching to a quality burr grinder, you will significantly improve the flavor of your cup.

A good-quality burr grinder also gives you options. You can bring home one bag of coffee, and then perfectly grind the beans to various sizes for a broad range of brewing devices and styles. Burr grinders can grind coarsely enough for a traditional French press or cold-brew batch, but they can also do a medium grind for drip and a medium-fine grind for pour-over. You can also make finer adjustments in each of these categories, to see exactly which size grind you prefer most for which method. In fact, after many hours of taste-testing, we can’t stress enough how even small variations in grind size can make a huge difference in flavor.

A good grinder will help you graduate to the next level in your coffee routine. Once you know the grind is consistent, you can experiment to find your ideal brewing time or dose weight (aka the ratio of beans to water). And you’ll know for sure whether you prefer Indonesian coffee more than French roast, or French press coffee more than drip.

The one thing the grinders in this guide aren’t great for is making espresso. Our picks will grind your coffee fine enough to make a shot with a pressurized machine or a stovetop brewer. But to make the best espresso, you need to pay more for a machine that’s designed to produce the necessary finer, precise grounds, and to allow for small adjustments at the finer end of your grinding range. We have recommendations in our guide to espresso machines and gear, but they’re really only worth the extra 200 to 300 if you’re serious about making espresso at home.

How we picked

We rated electric burr grinders first and foremost on the quality and consistency of their grind, the number-one thing a good grinder must do well. But there are other features and factors to consider, like how easy the machine is to use and how long it lasts. A good grinder should be simple to operate, maintain, and clean, and it should last for years, with proper maintenance. These and other features are explained in more detail below.

Build quality

The quality of a grinder’s burr set will affect everything from how consistently it grinds to how long it lasts, though ideally you should also be able to replace the burrs when they do wear out. Burr sets—they have two pieces, a top and a bottom, which work a little like teeth—can be made of steel (or sometimes ceramic or plastic, which are not ideal and not currently a part of any machine we considered), and they come in a variety of widths and configurations. Some machines have burrs that are off the shelf, so to speak, while other companies spend the time to design their own, with the hopes that their teeth and grooves more perfectly cut beans into consistent pieces. There are also burr sizes—the wider the burr, the faster it will grind; in this guide, the burrs in most of the best electric machines hover around 40 millimeters in width, while manual burrs are often slightly smaller. Steel burrs, some coated with various other metals, are the most common, and are durable and easy to maintain, and they can be cleaned with a stiff wire brush.

From top left, the top part of the burr set from Zwilling, Smeg, and OXO. They all appear to have the same design, though Zwilling’s was a few millimeters smaller. Photo: Rachel Wharton

The OXO top burr (left) and the Smeg (right) appear to be identical, except for their color and a few markings on the edge. Photo: Rachel Wharton

From top left, the top part of the burr set from Zwilling, Smeg, and OXO. They all appear to have the same design, though Zwilling’s was a few millimeters smaller. Photo: Rachel Wharton

The quality of the machine and the motor is also important. A machine with a smaller or cheaper motor (and often a lower-quality block burr) can add unwanted heat to the beans, and may be at risk of burning out sooner, because it has to work harder to grind. It also has a harder time pulling beans through the burrs. A poorly built machine also grinds less consistently, because the burrs may wobble or slip slightly out of alignment. This shouldn’t be an issue with any of our picks.

Grind settings

Most electric burr grinders have a range of numerical size selections—designed to grind beans anywhere from very fine, for a Moka pot or an espresso machine, to very coarse, for making cold brew or French press coffee.

There are two types of grind settings: stepped and stepless. Most home burr grinders are stepped—you pick a preset number on a dial. With a stepless grinder, there are numbers, but you can also select any point in between those numbers, which means you can tinker endlessly with the size of your grinds. For obsessive coffee drinkers, this is great. But with a stepless grinder, if you change the grind setting at all (for example, if you like to switch between coffee-brewing methods), it’s not easy to repeat the optimal settings for your daily brews. For this guide, we decided the ideal grinder is a stepped model with plenty of range and clear markings between each step, so that it’s easy to go back to your favorite setting.

All grinders include starter guides to grind size in their manuals. But a few offer easy visual clues on the machines themselves as to where on the dial the starting points for various brew methods fall. These clues can be helpful at first (a “medium” or “drip” grind setting is rarely halfway between the finest and the coarsest grind), but they’re not essential. Your grinder’s definition of an ideal Chemex or French press grind may not match up with your own, and even grinders from the same maker vary slightly. As we already mentioned, even small variations in grind size make a big difference: Be sure to experiment with your grinder to find the best-tasting setting, instead of taking the grinder’s recommendations as gospel.

Repairs and maintenance

With proper maintenance, a good grinder should last you many years. To maintain your grinder, it’s essential to be able to easily clean inside the burr chamber. This is especially true if you have a taste for oilier, darker-roast, or even flavored coffees. Those beans leave more of a residue, which you need to remove occasionally (every few weeks, for oily beans) for peak flavor and grinder performance. In our tests we looked for machines that had easily removable parts—particularly around the burr set—to allow for regular cleaning and, if necessary, replacement. (With normal use, a good set of burrs could last for a decade before needing to be replaced.)

We chose grinders with easily accessible, transparent customer service in the United States. Being able to replace all kinds of parts—such as the entire burr set (not just the top), the bins, and even the motor—is also a plus.


After years of testing grinders, we’ve learned that a good electric grinder currently costs at least 100. Even our budget pick doesn’t dip below that price, except during occasional sales. We know that it still may be a tough sell for those who don’t consider themselves major coffee geeks, but we think spending more is well worth it for most coffee drinkers—whether that worth is measured in more cups made at home, fewer dead grinders sent to the landfill, or just added daily pleasure from making your own delicious coffee.

If price is an issue, you can also look online for a used Baratza grinder. Because Baratza grinders are so durable and repairable, used ones are a pretty safe bet, and you may be able to find a good deal (we’ve seen refurbished Encores going for around 100). You might also consider our manual hand grinder pick.

If you don’t want to spend at least 100 for an electric grinder or use a manual grinder, you might also consider getting your coffee ground-to-order from your local roaster or café. As we mentioned previously, barista Kyle Ramage says that you’re better off getting your coffee pre-ground with an excellent burr grinder than using a blade grinder or even a cheaper burr grinder every day. You lose a little complexity, he notes, but you don’t get the bad, off-flavors that come with an inconsistent grind.

Dosage measurements

Some grinders come with features that allow you to easily grind the same amount of coffee—known as the dose—each time, so you don’t have to measure the beans before or after you grind them. (This means you could just store your beans in the grinder’s hopper, even though most experts don’t recommend it, as they’re more exposed to light and air.)

Some machines do this with a timer, so you can set them to grind for, say, 15 or 30 seconds, yielding about the same amount of ground coffee each time, especially if you’re always using the same kind of beans. Some timers are analog, and some are digital, measuring by the tenth of a second, for even greater accuracy. Still other grinders have seemingly fancier methods of measuring preset dosage amounts; these allow you to choose how many cups you’re grinding for or program your own presets. And some grinders come with an integrated scale, so you can weigh out the beans before you grind them.

Machines without these timers, scales, or presets require you to measure the beans yourself. Although it’s nice not to have to take that extra step, it’s also not a huge inconvenience to do so, and many people who invest in a daily coffee routine are already doing this. The most precise way to measure coffee is to weigh it because beans are not all the same shape, size, or density. (If you need a scale, we recommend the American Weigh Scales LB-3000.) Dosage measurement usually adds 100 or more to a machine and has varying degrees of precision or usefulness. It also adds an extra potential point of failure to your grinder.


Every electric burr grinder will create some static or mess, and that’s normal. (If this is your number one issue, you might consider a manual grinder; they’re less messy and also easier to use over a sink or a trash can.) This can vary depending on a number of external factors: a room’s humidity, the type and age of the coffee you’re grinding, the grind setting, whether your machine has a flat or conical burr, and even what kind of surface your grinder sits on. Dry environments produce more static, and lighter roasts produce more chaff than darker, oily ones do.

Some grinders do make claims about using special types of glass, magnets or metal to reduce static electricity. (For those who have an ongoing problem with static cling, prevailing wisdom says to wait a few minutes before removing the grounds chamber from the grinder, allowing the dust to settle, as it were.) And some grinders seem to be noticeably messier than others. Their burrs constantly drop grounds—no matter how hard you work to clean the machine. Or it’s hard to get the chaff and fine particles out of the bin or drawer that collects the coffee grounds.

What about hand grinders?

The top-ranked manual grinders, those with the broadest range, best design and most precision, are still more expensive than our budget pick, but there are now at least a few options at the lower end that produce excellent results.

Manual grinders are also great for travel, as a backup if you don’t have electricity, or if you are trying to be extra quiet in the morning. (No motor means no noise! We’ve found them to be less messy in our testing, too.) And they’re a great option for people who have a small, already-cluttered kitchen or those who generally make only a cup or two at a time. With that in mind, for this guide we wanted to recommend a good-quality manual grinder that a) cost less than our electric grinder budget pick, b) was small enough to carry in a purse or backpack, and c) was also comfortable enough, and good enough, to use as your everyday grinder for various brew methods.

Still, for the vast majority of households, manual grinders are probably too small or impractical for everyday use. It’s not impossible to wake up and grind your own beans every morning before work (one of this guide’s writers, Rachel Wharton, uses a manual grinder herself), but it’s important to know that it takes a little more time (and elbow grease) than you would need using an electric grinder, especially if you are making a big pot of coffee. And if you have any issues with upper body mobility, they’re simply not a good option.

With a manual hand grinder, features are also minimal: You can grind only about 18 to 35 grams at a time. And with most of the hand grinders we tested, you adjust the size of the grind by turning a knob connected to the burr set, which opens or tightens it as you click. While more expensive manual grinders usually have numbers on this knob, lower cost manual grinders usually require that you take note of your selected settings, usually something like 14 clicks past zero for a medium grind or 18 clicks above zero for a French press grind. (This sounds complicated at first, but it is not very hard to master, especially if you’re the only one using it every day.)

How we tested

For the 2022 update, we wanted to revisit all our top picks from the previous guide to see what might have changed, test two new electric burr grinders on the market and compare them against our picks, and check back in on the cult favorite Fellow Ode, which had just been released around the time of our last update.

For the two newcomers, we first did a series of initial tests to see how their build and grind quality might perform against our top picks, and whether they needed to move to more advanced testing described below. This included grinding several hundred grams of dark and medium roasted coffee at various settings on each machine, and a visual test of grounds at various grind sizes to look at grind shape and consistency. We also took the machines apart to inspect the burr size and complexity in comparison to our top picks. Then, even though neither machine came close to our picks, we also used a Kruve coffee sifter and guide—-designed to help coffee professionals identify target-size grounds—to confirm this impression. We also used these machines to make several cups of coffee.

This work builds on the extensive research and test plans we created for previous guides. For the 2021 update, we narrowed down a long list of new electric and manual grinders that had hit the market since prior tests, when we first settled on the Baratza and OXO models as our picks. With our 15 test models, we began with a visual evaluation of grounds from each machine to check a grinder’s range and to look at grind shape and consistency. For each machine, we considered the following: Are there obvious large coffee particles (boulders) and small particles (fines)? How fine does the grinder really go? And how well does it handle a coarse grind (something that’s usually inconsistent in lesser-quality machines)? For each machine, we ground coffee at the finest setting, the coarsest setting, and at the recommended setting for a medium grind.

To find the right grind setting on each machine for a taste test, and to test for grind-size consistency, we used the Kruve coffee sifter and guide. The sifter works by separating boulders and fines into separate compartments; grounds at the ideal size are left in between. With each grinder, we used the Kruve tools to calibrate a medium-fine grind for drip coffee, and later to visually quantify which machines had the most grounds in the target range. In other words, with better machines, you should see fewer fines and boulders and more grounds that are in your target range.

Once we separated boulders and fines, we were able to see how many of those boulders were extra-large or odd-shaped, which can also affect the way coffee tastes. (Kyle Ramage said he worries more about there being too many boulders than too many fines, partly because fines are inevitable as brittle beans are jostled or ground, and partly because he thinks boulders are what really muddy the flavor of the coffee.)

Then we twice brewed coffee from each grinder on an 8-cup Bonavita Connoisseur brewer, a pick in our guide to coffee makers that’s known to make great-tasting drip coffee. For all of the above tests, we used the same medium-roasted coffee we’ve used in the past: the Fast Forward blend from Counter Culture.

We also did further testing with La Colombe’s darker Phocea roast (which is no longer available) and the lightly roasted, natural sun-dried Jabanto beans from Counter Culture, to see how our recommended machines handled a range of beans. (This is especially important for some low-cost manual grinders, as certain roasts can be noticeably hard to crank through.)

During the grinding process, we timed how fast each grinder was at different settings, as well as how easy each was to use and clean. We also paid attention to ancillary issues such as whether the machines were especially large (could they fit under upper cabinets?) or noisy (all electric ones are, but some are more elegant about it than others). And we looked at whether they were especially slow or fast or made a bigger mess than others. We also kept an eye out for potential durability issues, weaknesses in workmanship, and excessive messiness.

In original tests of the Baratza and OXO grinders in 2017, we also had access to professionally trained palates and a suite of brewing and analytical equipment at the Counter Culture Coffee lab in New York City. There, we used a refractometer to measure the extraction percentage (essentially, how much coffee you get from the coffee grounds) and total dissolved solids (TDS), based on the light refracted by the particles within the coffee. These measurements told us how much of the coffee was dissolved into the water, and thus how successful the extraction of the grinds was. (A well-extracted cup of coffee should measure between 18% to 22% extraction on a refractometer.)

Because we were able to at the time, we also compared the grinds from a professional-grade Mahlkönig EK43 grinder (3,150 at the time of writing), a model frequently found in specialty cafés. We visually evaluated the EK43’s grinds, and we used the Kruve sifters to see which home machine could best replicate the EK43’s consistency. We also ground coffee with a simple Krups blade grinder to see what the opposite end of the spectrum looked like.

Equally important, the Counter Culture team taught us that no professional tool was as accurate as a trained palate when it comes to determining over- and under-extraction. The last step was to have their professionally trained team taste the coffee made with each grinder.

Coffee ground in the Baratza Encore (on a slightly finer setting than on the Mahlkönig EK43). Photo: Michael Hession

Our pick: Baratza Encore

The best coffee grinder

This all-around workhorse grinder produces the consistent grind required to brew delicious coffee, and it doesn’t cost a fortune.

Buying Options

At the time of publishing, the price was 135.

Year after year in our taste tests, the trim Baratza Encore performs as well as or better than any other home grinder, and it’s priced lower than other machines of a comparable quality. Most reviewers like to refer to the Encore as Baratza’s entry-level grinder, but we think that’s selling it short. It’s the most affordable grinder Baratza sells, but it’s also a workhorse, and it could easily be the only grinder you’ll ever need. The Encore grinds beans quickly and evenly for every application, apart from advanced espresso making, and it’s simple to use and adjust. It’s also easy to clean, maintain, and repair, which means it could last for decades.

Although even the most consistent burr grinder will produce at least some particles that are smaller and larger than you’d like, we found that the Encore performed incredibly well at grinding evenly. When we used a Kruve sifter set to measure the amount of oversize and undersize particles created on a medium grind setting, the two Baratza machines (the Encore and the Virtuoso, our upgrade pick) were the best in their price ranges at hitting the target. In our original coffee lab trials, only the professional-grade Mahlkönig EK43 yielded a more uniform grind than Baratza’s machines.

As expected, the grinders that produced the most consistent grinds also produced the best-tasting coffee, both in our own hands-on testing and with our 2017 professional tasting panel. These results were corroborated by Counter Culture’s coffee refractometer. In our previous tests, the coffee brewed with the Baratza Encore had the best extraction percentage of all grinders we examined—19.53%, right in the middle of the ideal range of 18% to 22%. (The Virtuoso came in a very close second.)

When the Encore was on a medium setting, it took us about 35 to 40 seconds to grind 68 grams of medium-grind coffee appropriate for filter brewing—in other words, it took less than a minute to grind enough for a pot of coffee, on a par with other grinders we tested.

The Encore also fell in the medium range for noise: It wasn’t significantly quieter or louder than most other grinders we’ve tested, but it did have a more pleasant sound, as opposed to a high whine or an ugly chug. In the past, it was just a little louder than the OXO, our budget pick. Baratza had told us they made improvements to the gearbox to bring the noise level in newer machines down, so for this update, we tested the most current version of the Encore side by side with the old version using the CDC-approved NIOSH Sound Level Meter app for the iPhone. We found that the newest version is quieter than the old version by a few decibels when both are running empty, but also that the pitch of the motor is now even lower, and even more pleasant-sounding.

We also tested the most current version of the Encore against the most current version of the OXO using the NIOSH app. We learned that the Encore is now slightly quieter than the OXO when the machines are running empty (by about 5 decibels), but slightly louder than the OXO (by about 2 decibels) when the two machines are actively processing beans. But the sound of the Encore is still more pleasant to our ears by far, even a bit louder.

The Encore doesn’t have the bells and whistles of a lot of other machines—it doesn’t have a scale, a timer, or any other dials other than a push-down pulse button and an on/off switch. But we found this made it supremely easy to produce a great cup of coffee. To adjust grind size, you turn the hopper to the preferred tick mark on the base (measured in numbered intervals from 0 to 40, with 40 being the coarsest), so you can quickly move from setting to setting and remember your preferences. In contrast with many entry-level machines, the Encore and the Virtuoso tend to have a broader grinding range, which is desirable—you want as broad a range as possible, especially if you regularly use different brewing methods. The Encore’s range is more than sufficient for the average home coffee drinker and the budding enthusiast.

Most other machines we tested—like the Breville, the KitchenAid, and the Cuisinart CBM-20—offer more features. But they were confusing to use and took longer to calibrate, with dials and digital settings that were unintuitive, inaccurate or overly detailed for most users. For example, the Breville has 60 grind settings and a timer that measures fractions of seconds; the KitchenAid lets you set the number of cups and type of brewing method, which is confusing if you don’t fully understand your coffee machine’s interpretation of the word cup. What’s more, if you want to adjust your approach to make a better cup of coffee, you have to play around with multiple variables that can actually mask the changes you’re making.

Baratza has a great reputation among customers and coffee professionals for durability and customer service. Almost every part of the Baratza grinder is repairable or replaceable, which is rare among grinders designed for home use, and the company has detailed video guides for many fixes.

None of the coffee veterans we spoke with were very surprised that Baratza’s grinders came out on top over and over again. Baratza is a coffee grinder company—this is the only thing it does.

If your machine does break after the warranty’s up, and MacGyver isn’t your middle name, you can still send the Encore to the company for repairs, which amounts to cleaning, recalibration, testing, replacing all worn or broken parts except for burrs, return shipping, and a six-month warranty. (Repairs used to cost a flat 45, but after the large kitchenware company Breville bought Baratza, the policy changed: You now have to fill out a form for a repair quote. Previously, a Baratza spokesperson had said there would be no changes for the company, service, or warranties—because this does constitute a change, we’ll continue to monitor the repair process and service.)

The Encore—like all Baratza grinders—is covered by a limited one-year warranty, provided that you keep up regular maintenance and cleaning and don’t use the machine to grind rocks. To clean or even repair the machine, you just twist off the hopper and remove the top burr. And when it’s time to replace the burr set (which the manufacturer recommends after you grind 500 to 1,000 pounds of coffee), you can easily order the parts from Baratza’s website.

In recent years, Baratza has also tried to make the Encore even more user-friendly: The company modernized the body shape, and it now sells a single-dose hopper that lets you use the lid to measure out beans with a scale. You can get 6 kits to customize your grinder with color accents, and you can even upgrade to the slightly better burr set in the Virtuoso for just 35 at the time of writing. Or you can add 10 extenders to the hopper so it holds more beans.

This single-dose hopper for the Encore is sold separately, but it’s handy if you like to weigh your beans before grinding them. Photo: Michael Hession

You can weigh beans out into the lid of the single-dose hopper before dumping them into the machine. Photo: Michael Hession

Baratza sells kits that allow you to customize your grinder with a couple of colorful accents. Photo: Michael Hession

This single-dose hopper for the Encore is sold separately, but it’s handy if you like to weigh your beans before grinding them. Photo: Michael Hession

Ultimately, none of the coffee veterans we spoke with were very surprised that Baratza’s Encore and Virtuoso (our current upgrade pick) grinders came out on top over and over again. Baratza is a coffee grinder company—this is the only thing it does, unlike the majority of other companies whose electric grinders we tested.

How the Baratza Encore has held up

Lesley Stockton, Wirecutter senior staff writer, has had her Encore for 10 years and uses it to brew both espresso and drip coffee. She had to replace the plastic holder on the upper burr but says it was a “relatively cheap and easy fix.” She also told us, “The Encore isn’t quite as fast as the Virtuoso that the Wirecutter staff uses in our office kitchen, but having the means to make delicious coffee at home is the most important thing for me, and the Encore definitely delivers that!”

Wirecutter writer James Austin has had his Encore for about five years, and even though he didn’t clean it for more than a year (we don’t recommend this!), he said it still handles “both small daily grinds for my Chemex and really big grinds for when I make a big batch of cold brew” without issue.

Meanwhile, senior staff writer Dave Gershgorn has owned his Encore for four years, and it’s still going strong—and he bought his used.

Flaws but not dealbreakers

The Encore doesn’t allow for a timed grind like the Baratza Virtuoso. This means you have to measure the beans before or after grinding in some way—with a scale, a scoop, by eye, or your own preferred method. But considering that many of us do that when we make coffee anyway (and this is considered the most precise way to make coffee), we don’t consider this to be a big deal. A timer would also allow you to turn on the machine and walk away, knowing the machine would stop at a certain point; this is convenient but not essential, since grinding enough coffee for a full pot usually takes less than a minute.

Like many machines, the Encore also takes a long time to grind on a very fine, espresso-like setting. But we don’t recommend this machine for serious espresso makers, because its range on the fine end just isn’t nuanced enough to allow you to really refine a shot, and it wasn’t designed for espresso grinding. (In late 2022, Baratza will release a version of the Encore designed for espresso––it will have more settings for fine grinding, and its gearbox is specifically designed for the slower grinding speeds espresso requires.)

The hopper has no closure at the bottom. So if you store your beans in the hopper, and then want to remove those beans for any reason (to, say, switch to decaf beans or a different roast), you’ll have to invert the entire grinder over a bowl to empty it out, or just grind through what’s left. (Some coffee grinders, like those from OXO, Smeg, and Zwilling, allow you to adjust the hopper before removing it so that you can move it with the beans inside.) If you don’t usually store beans in the hopper or if you always use the same kind of beans, this isn’t a big deal.

You will have to put the burrs and a rubber gasket in place before you use the machine for the first time, as well as take them back out to clean the machine when that time comes. But this task is not terribly difficult, especially once you’ve learned how to do it. The Encore can also be messy—both the Encore and the Virtuoso throw off more chaff and stray grounds than our budget pick, the OXO Brew Conical Burr Grinder. Some people suggest workarounds, like gently slapping the hopper’s lid before you remove the bin or even better, placing the machine on a tray. But no method of making coffee is completely mess-free, so this isn’t a dealbreaker.

We also feel duty bound to address the fact that the Encore is not one of the most cutting edge in terms of external design, which is a bit of a bummer. Most of us like the things that live on our counter to look great, and it’s hard to pass up a grinder in a cool pastel color or sleek shape for the humble rectangle and triangle of the Baratza. But we’d rather you have a machine that can make you better tasting coffee for up to a decade instead of one that’s mere eye candy.

Upgrade pick: Baratza Virtuoso

Slightly better grind, more features

For a steeper price, the Virtuoso has everything we like about the Encore in terms of reliability and consistent grind size, plus a few improved features.

Buying Options

If you’re willing to pay more, the Baratza Virtuoso is similar to the Encore in shape and size, yet it has a faster, slightly different burr set, a digital timer, and a heavier, mostly metal base, which gives it a higher-end look and feel. It also has a light that lets you clearly see the level of grounds in the bin, which is a nice addition, especially if you grind a lot of beans at once.

The Virtuoso has a slightly broader grind-size range, can grind a little finer, and has fewer small particles at most grind sizes. These are small enough differences that many coffee drinkers may not notice them. But the added digital timer is accurate to a tenth of a second, and it saves the time you’ve set it to—so you can grind the same amount of coffee each morning with almost no effort or measuring. You can also set the Virtuoso to grind a lot of coffee, and then walk away from the machine, knowing it will stop on its own—very useful for anyone who’s a morning multitasker.

Like with the Encore, you can also add a single-dose hopper that lets you use the lid to measure out beans with a scale or add 10 extenders to the hopper so that it can store a whole bag of beans (the hopper that comes with the grinder holds about 8 ounces, or half a pound/225 grams).

Still, we think this model is worth the extra investment only for more-serious coffee lovers, or those who think the timer will improve their day-to-day experience. And we’d still recommend the Virtuoso rather than other grinders with similar time-saving features for around the same price—the others we tested couldn’t beat the grind consistency, breadth, and ease of use of either Baratza.

LED lighting illuminates the grounds bin, so you can see how much coffee you’ve ground. Photo: Michael Hession

The timer on the Virtuoso does make the grinder a little less straightforward to use than the Encore, especially if you’re not using the timer to grind the same amount every day. Unlike the Encore, the Virtuoso doesn’t have a simple on/off button that you can just hold down to grind manually. Instead, you have to hold down the timer dial button for three seconds to activate the Pulse Mode; to deactivate the Pulse Mode, you spin the dial.

The dial is also a little finicky. It’s designed to increase the timer by whole seconds when you spin it clockwise and to decrease the timer by one-tenth of a second when you spin it counterclockwise. If you spin the timer dial too fast, it will jump around, which can be frustrating. If you pause in the middle of grinding—by hitting the dial button—the dial stays stuck wherever you paused it. You have to either start and stop the machine again manually or wait 30 seconds for it to switch back to the set time, at which point you can adjust accordingly again.

Like all of Baratza’s grinders, almost every part of the machine is repairable or replaceable, which is rare among grinders designed for home use. Just like the Encore, the Virtuoso comes with a limited one-year warranty. And beyond that, you can still send the machine back to Baratza for repairs. To clean or even repair the machine yourself, you just twist off the hopper and remove the top burr. (Repairs used to cost a flat 45, but after Baratza was acquired by the large kitchenware company Breville, the policy changed: You now have to fill out a form for a repair quote. We’re continuing to monitor the repair process and service.)

Budget pick: OXO Brew Conical Burr Coffee Grinder

A good-enough grinder

This compact grinder is easy to use and has a wider range than most budget grinders, but it’s a bit less consistent than our top picks and less repairable.

Buying Options

For those willing to trade a little consistency and longevity for convenience—or those who simply don’t want to spend more than 100—we recommend the OXO Brew Conical Burr Coffee Grinder. Though it doesn’t grind as well as the Baratza Encore or the Virtuoso in terms of range or consistency, the OXO is a very capable grinder with very good grind quality and a simple, intuitive design. It’s a great machine for an average person’s daily pot of drip or French press coffee. It also comes with many nice features that can make grinding coffee to order more convenient, like a timer and an extra-large hopper that holds a whole 12-ounce bag of coffee and is easily removable even when filled with beans.

The OXO’s burr sets are also slightly faster (grinding 10 grams more than the Encore in 15 seconds) and just a little bit quieter than those of the Baratza machines when grinding through beans—though the motor sound is a little higher and whinier. While these variations in speed and sound don’t make a huge difference in our testing, they might be very important in your own household.

Grind consistency at medium grind settings was close to—but not on a par with—that of our top picks, especially at the high and low end of its range. The OXO’s coarsest grind was the least consistent and full of boulders. And the machine wasn’t able to grind quite as fine as that of our top picks. That this grinder did well with consistency in our medium-grind tests didn’t surprise coffee expert Kyle Ramage, who told us that OXO had been working to improve and refine its coffee-related equipment in recent years.

The range of grinds, from coarsest (top) to finest (bottom) produced by the Baratza Encore (left), OXO Brew (center), and Capresso Infinity (our former budget pick, right). Photo: Sarah Kobos

The coarsest grind the OXO can produce (far left) is very coarse, though somewhat uneven. The finest grind (far right) is not quite fine enough for espresso. Photo: Sarah Kobos

In comparison to the range of grinds produced by the OXO (previous slide), the Capresso’s range is much narrower. The coarsest grind isn’t wildly different from medium, though the Capresso (our former budget pick) can grind a bit finer than the OXO. Photo: Sarah Kobos

The range of grinds, from coarsest (top) to finest (bottom) produced by the Baratza Encore (left), OXO Brew (center), and Capresso Infinity (our former budget pick, right). Photo: Sarah Kobos

Unlike those on many coffee grinders, the markers on this machine are easy to use—the timer times (more or less) in actual seconds marked, and the grind setting markers offer a wide span of small, easy-to-read increments, making tiny adjustments uncomplicated.

The OXO Brew’s grinds canister is also a huge improvement over the one on OXO’s more expensive grinder with an integrated scale, which we quickly disqualified for spraying coffee all over the counter. The OXO Brew’s canister sits snugly below the exit chute, neatly catching all of the grounds, and the shape makes it super-easy to pour fresh-ground coffee into your filter.

Senior editor Marguerite Preston used the OXO grinder at home for about two years before switching to the Baratza Encore. (She switched because she found a Baratza for free on the street, but otherwise, she would have happily continued using the OXO.) She had only one issue with the OXO, after grinding a lot of oily beans on a very hot and humid day, and after a year of use. “The OXO totally clogged up on me, to the point where it couldn’t grind anything,” she said, but she fixed the problem by taking out the burr and cleaning it and the clogged chute with a stiff brush.

Alejandra Matos, a former deputy audience director with Wirecutter, also had many issues with her chute and grinder clogging after using darker-roasted, oily beans. The clogging occurred despite regular cleanings, and sometimes she found the beans would get stuck in the hopper, too. “The problem is so regular that I now recognize the sound of when the grinder is on but not grinding beans,” she said, “I have to constantly give it a shake, and even that doesn’t work at times.” Since her grinder was still within its two-year warranty when this happened, she called OXO, and the company offered to send a new machine, and she also switched to a lighter roast.

Also great: Timemore Chestnut C2 Manual Coffee Grinder

Portable, consistent, and easy to use (albeit more labor-intensive)

For those who want an affordable yet high-quality portable hand grinder, the Timemore Chestnut C2 is the best in its class for speed, ease of grinding, and consistency.

Buying Options

If you’re looking for a reasonably priced, high-quality and portable hand grinder, we recommend the Timemore Chestnut C2 Manual Coffee Grinder. It was by far the easiest to use of all the manual grinders we tested in this price range, easily beating the Porlex Mini, a small manual grinder that many coffee lovers already travel with. For about the same price, the C2 is easier to use and has a better burr and a more stable design – it also makes better-tasting coffee.

The C2 is a tube-shaped grinder, only slightly wider and taller than the Porlex Mini—it’s 5 ¾ inches tall and weighs 1 pound. The pebbled texture of the model we tested also make this grinder easy to grip. (You can find the C2 in steel, cream, and some primary colors; it also comes in smooth matte white.)

The C2 did well in our grind consistency tests, because it uses a custom-designed steel conical burr, rather than the ceramic burrs common in the Porlex and many other lower-cost manual grinders. Like the Porlex, the C2 has a handle that pops off in a second, making it easy to pack.

An even bigger draw is this manual grinder’s ultra-smooth grinding action. With most coffees, the C2’s handle spins with almost no resistance, making this model almost a pleasure to use, after trying the other manual grinders. To grind about 25 to 30 grams of coffee—the max that fits in the hopper at one time—it took us between 1 and 2 minutes.

Timemore has been making high-end manual grinders for several years, which have earned strong reviews from coffee experts. With the C2, their budget grinder, the company purposefully sought to bring the price well under 100. It did this by using PCTG plastic, rather than steel, in some of the interior pieces that hold the burr mechanism together, by skipping some of the higher-end finishes, and by using a burr set that is less complex than their high end models. The C2 is made of a thick, sturdy aluminum alloy metal, rather than the glass or plastic of many other low-cost manual machines, and it includes a one-year warranty.

Unlike many other low-cost manual grinders, the new Timemore Chestnut C2 makes easy work of grinding a cup or two of great-tasting coffee.

There are many reasons we don’t recommend a hand grinder as an everyday tool for everybody. But there are times when a good, under 100 manual grinder is just the thing: when you aren’t preparing very much coffee every day, when you’re traveling to a coffee-shop-free location, or when you’re on a road trip or spending a few days in the great outdoors, or when you have a small kitchen or lack a lot of outlets on your countertops. (They also are quiet, and much less messy, which might be important factors for many people.)

With the C2, the grind adjustment dial has only dots, not numbers. With most hand grinders, you adjust the size of the grind by turning a knob inside the grinder that is connected to the top or bottom of the burr set. expensive manual grinders usually have numbers on this knob, just like an electric grinder. With dots, you just have to take note of your selected settings—how many dots past zero is the setting you want. (Grinders make an audible click when you hit a dot, so technically this is more like how many clicks past zero.) Since this is common with grinders in this price range, we don’t consider it a dealbreaker, and in our experience it is not that hard to use—if you take notes about which settings work best. And if you’re just making the same kind of coffee every day, you’ll rarely need to adjust it.

As of this update, there is also a slightly larger size of the C2 – the C2 Max – that is an inch taller than the C2 and holds about 5 grams more beans. (It might not sound like much, but given that the average serving of coffee is 10 grams, the C2 Max might give you three cups at a time, instead of two and a half.) The C2 Max is usually about 20 to 40 more than the C2. In testing, we found we still prefer using the C2 and just refilling it if needed, because it was easier to hold. If you have larger hands, the C2 Max might be perfect for you.

If you’re thinking about buying the C2, you should know that Timemore is in the process of phasing out the C2 and C2 Max for the C3 and C3 Max, which will have the same body with a new burr set that is sharper and better designed based on the one in their higher-end models. Today, the price of the C2 models are lower than they were when we originally recommended them in 2021, making them an even better choice for someone who wanted a very good burr grinder for less than 100. That’s one reason we’d still recommend the C2. The other reason is that while C3 models appear to be already available on Amazon from the company, which is based in Shanghai, when we’ve spoken to distributors and retailers based in the United States, they don’t yet have them in stock. These companies can more easily handle returns or requests for spare parts, and usually have the manuals translated into English. For now it’s hard to communicate with the company through their Amazon page if either of those issues arose. As soon as the C3 is more widely available, we will test it and update this guide.

How the Timemore C2 has held up

“I have the C2 Max manual grinder. I believe the only difference between it and the C2 is the capacity. The grinder is easy to use and produces a consistent and uniform grind. I like the diamond pattern on the surface of the body which makes it non-slippery and easy to grip. I like that the grinder has a wide range of grind adjustments. The only complaint I have after more than a year using it is that the grind adjustment dial does not have any numbers on it to help set it up to the desired grind size.” —Carlos Maldonado, Wirecutter senior web producer, tested from 2020 to 2022

“I have the C2 Max manual grinder. I believe the only difference between it and the C2 is the capacity. The grinder is easy to use and produces a consistent and uniform grind. I like the diamond pattern on the surface of the body which makes it non-slippery and easy to grip. I like that the grinder has a wide range of grind adjustments. The only complaint I have after more than a year using it is that the grind adjustment dial does not have any numbers on it to help set it up to the desired grind size.” —Carlos Maldonado, Wirecutter senior web producer, tested from 2020 to 2022

“I have the C2 Max manual grinder. I believe the only difference between it and the C2 is the capacity. The grinder is easy to use and produces a consistent and uniform grind. I like the diamond pattern on the surface of the body which makes it non-slippery and easy to grip. I like that the grinder has a wide range of grind adjustments. The only complaint I have after more than a year using it is that the grind adjustment dial does not have any numbers on it to help set it up to the desired grind size.” —Carlos Maldonado, Wirecutter senior web producer, tested from 2020 to 2022

“I have the C2 Max manual grinder. I believe the only difference between it and the C2 is the capacity. The grinder is easy to use and produces a consistent and uniform grind. I like the diamond pattern on the surface of the body which makes it non-slippery and easy to grip. I like that the grinder has a wide range of grind adjustments. The only complaint I have after more than a year using it is that the grind adjustment dial does not have any numbers on it to help set it up to the desired grind size.” —Carlos Maldonado, Wirecutter senior web producer, tested from 2020 to 2022

Burr grinders vs. blade grinders

Unlike blade grinders, which randomly blitz coffee beans into smaller and smaller pieces, burr grinders cut coffee beans between a set of two grooved burrs, the same way flour is milled. The space between the two burrs determines the final size of the coffee grounds, so the grounds end up being a much more consistent size than anything buzzed in a blade grinder.

importantly, blade grinders have literally no way to set the grind size for a drip pot over a French press, unlike an electric grinder. You usually end up with a lot of fine powder, some bigger chunks, and (hopefully) some grounds that are the desired size.

Over years of testing, we’ve consistently found that even the casual coffee drinker notices the difference in taste between poorly ground and properly ground coffee. And we’ve heard the same thing from Wirecutter staffers who’ve made the switch to a burr grinder. Yes, good burr grinders cost significantly more than a standard 20 blade grinder, but for those who enjoy coffee, the flavor difference makes the upgrade worth it.

By the way, if you own a blade grinder and are curious about the difference more evenly ground coffee could make—but you’re not ready to spend 100 on a burr grinder—you could also try these tips from YouTube coffee expert James Hoffmann on how to get better results from your blade grinder. Or, you could try getting your coffee ground-to-order from a high-quality cafe.

But what if I still want to use a blade grinder?

We know that some people will stand by their blade grinders and dismiss burr grinders as being pretentious or a waste of money. Though some experts may tell them they’re wrong, we believe that if someone likes the coffee they make with a blade grinder, they don’t need to change things.

That said, if you want to buy a blade grinder, there are a few things to consider. While we haven’t conducted hands-on testing of blade grinders (though we hope to one day!) we know that there are differences in blade shape, size, and sharpness at various price points, so think twice before you just buy the absolute cheapest version you find. You can also choose a traditional barrel grinder or one with a removable cup that lets you wash the blade and the grinds cup. If you ever use your blade grinder to grind spices, the removable cup might be the way to go: Ground spices leave behind aromatic oils that are hard to just wipe away.

Conical vs. flat burr grinders: What’s the difference?

Burr sets in a good grinder are either flat or conical: Flat burr sets consist of two flat, ring-shaped burrs lined with grooves that break up the beans as the burrs press together. Conical burrs are more of a V shape, with the center burr fitting into the outer burr, both of them also lined with sharp-edged grooves that cut up the beans as they press together.

These two types of burrs work in slightly different ways, and you’ll find plenty of experts arguing that one type is slightly better than the other for various reasons, from speed to minimizing heat retention. But the main takeaway for our guide is that both types yield extremely consistent results. Until recently, most home grinders used conical burrs. Flat sets were found mainly in commercial machines (flat burr sets often cost more and tend to collect coffee between their burrs; the coffee then drops all over, which is something that’s easier to overlook in a café). But this is beginning to change.

There is also a cheaper kind of flat burr that is better described as a disc or block burr. This is the kind of burr used in the electric burr grinders that sell for way less than 100. These burr grinders cost less in part because their burr sets aren’t as good as a conical or flat set The rings of these burr sets are lined with knobby protrusions that look more like teeth than sharpened grooves, and they act like teeth, too, chewing and breaking beans instead of cutting them. The result: inconsistent grounds, more fines, and a muddier cup of coffee.

“We call those masticating burrs,” coffee expert Kyle Ramage told us. “In the burr world or coffee world, we kind of ignore those, because they are crazy cheap and not worth having.”

Disc or block burrs are often found in machines with cheaper motors, because the teeth can help break apart the beans with less power They’re also often found in machines that you can’t open to inspect the burr set. With electric burr grinders, said Ramage, there simply aren’t many shortcuts: “Almost every single time you go up in price, you go up in quality.”

Grinder care and maintenance

Regularly cleaning your grinder—not just brushing away coffee but taking out the top burr and gently brushing both sides—can help prevent clogs and maintain the machine’s overall performance. It can also keep your coffee from picking up any off tastes from residual oils or coffee grounds. Kaleena Teoh, a co-founder of Coffee Project NY, taught us that cleaning the drawer is easier if you have a clean rag that is barely damp on one side and bone dry on the other. You wipe the particles away with the barely damp side then use the dry side to fully remove the moisture.

How often does “regularly” mean? Baratza, in a blog post, says that “a reasonable regimen to stick to is a thorough scrubbing of your burrs and grind chamber using the brush that came with your grinder every four to six weeks.” The company also suggests doing this biweekly if you frequently grind dark, oilier roasts. However, several Wirecutter staffers who own and use Baratza grinders at home report cleaning at less frequent intervals—say, every two to three months or every six months—without any noticeable ill effects on their machine’s performance—you just don’t want to let it go for years, because coffee oils will go rancid or stale, and those aromas are nearly impossible to get rid of.

In between deep cleanings, most experts recommend running some Grindz cleaning tablets through your machine about once a month, or when you are switching from one type of bean to another. Although this can’t fully replace a thorough manual cleaning, it can be a quick way to refresh your grinder and remove some of the coffee oil buildup. These tablets are made of grain composites and can leave some dusty residue, which may not fully dissipate on the first one or two grinds after use. Urnex, the company that makes Grindz, claims that its tablets are food-safe and gluten-free, so it’s not the end of the world if you get a few flecks in your cup of Joe, and we’ve had a particle or two in our coffees and lived. (Most experts would tell you to just grind about ¼ cup (30 grams) of beans after you use Grindz and throw them away.) But if you have celiac disease or other specific grain sensitivities, we recommend calling the company for a more detailed breakdown of ingredients.

Other good coffee grinders

If you’re looking for another more-affordable model: The Capresso Infinity was our budget pick before the OXO Brew Conical Burr Coffee Grinder came along, and it was a fine choice for less than 100. (Its price rose to 115, more than the OXO, but has come back down.) The Infinity did well in our tests, but it’s better at grinding coffee into very fine particles than into coarse ones. And we found its usability to be a bit arbitrary; the numbers on its timer switch indicate the number of cups you want to brew, rather than seconds (this is impractical since the amount of coffee ground in a set period depends on how coarse the grind is, and different brewing methods require different amounts of ground coffee per cup). This grinder has a heavier base than the OXO, as well as a pretty small countertop profile, which may appeal to some. But ultimately, we found the OXO to have a better range, as well as a better set of extra features, like an accurate timer and a removable hopper.

If you need a budget option that’s compact: The Bodum Bistro electric burr grinder is an attractive and inexpensive little machine, often on sale for less than 100. It has a small footprint, a range of color options, and a nice design that matches the look and feel of other Bodum equipment. Its steel conical burr did well in our grind tests, and the grinder was fun to use (though it doesn’t quite have the range or the consistency of the OXO, and the Bistro is an even lighter machine). You can replace some of its components, including the outer burr. It is likely too lightweight for heavy users. But given that some color options are often marked down, this grinder could be a solid budget pick for certain people.

If you’re a filter method enthusiast willing to spend a bit more: You might be interested in the Eureka Mignon Filtro Coffee Grinder. It’s a flat burr machine designed for pour-overs, drip, French press, and other brew methods that use a filter. The Mignon is not a machine for someone who’s just getting into coffee or who makes only a giant pot of coffee for their office each morning. But it might be worth the price (around 200 at this writing) for someone who thinks about drawdown time and owns both a Chemex and a Hario V60. The Mignon produces extremely consistent grinds (and great-tasting coffee) very quickly, creating almost no mess. It is heavier, larger, and louder than every machine we tested (though it has a satisfying purr), and it has a stepless dial with unlimited options for grind size. This requires you to take note of where on the dial you land (it’s marked 1 to 5 only) so you know how to go back to that setting. (It also has a funny box-shaped body and hopper, which is either interestingly modern or ugly, depending on your point of view.) This grinder would likely also be harder to repair or service than the Baratza Virtuoso, since it’s imported from Italy.

If you want to experiment with the hottest pour-over gear: If you follow coffee, then you know that the hottest thing to hit the home-brewing scene in the last few years is the Fellow Ode Brew Grinder, which the boutique coffee company revealed on Kickstarter in 2019. We’ve tested the original Ode, and a slightly updated version with a better burr set, but not their newest release, the Ode Gen 2. The Ode (sold for about 300 at the time of writing) is beautiful—from its custom packaging and handsome, pencil-shaped burr brush to the machine itself. It is ultracompact, and has a superfast flat burr and one large, smooth dial for changing the grind size. This grinder looks fantastic, but is it worth the money? The answer is yes, but only if countertop aesthetics are important to you and your main brew method is a pour-over (or something similar). That’s the particular range of grinds the Ode is designed for. Kaleena Teoh, a co-founder of Coffee Project NY, uses it in her shop for pour-overs, and they also sell the machines. (There is a burr upgrade that gets you even more consistency and a broader range of grinds for pour-overs for about 185 more, but that’s really for Ode super fans or those heavily invested in pour-over tinkering.)

For everyone else, the Ode is probably not worth the cost. Like the Mignon, it can produce great-tasting drip, French press, and cold brew coffee, its hopper won’t hold enough coffee to make coffee for more than two people at a time, and it has an even smaller range of grind sizes, especially on the finer half of the dial. Plus, it doesn’t have a timer or other convenience features. This grinder also has many design issues that should be improved, given that design is part of its appeal. Inside the grounds bin, there are built-in metal wings. These wings make measuring and pouring beans into the hopper easy. But they also make it really hard to actually pour the grinds into your coffee maker, and they make the bin hard to clean. Using this grinder in general was noticeably messy, with grinds falling out of the burrs every time we touched the machine, even after we tried to knock them out with a knocker included for that purpose—though we’ve heard this gets better the more you use the machine. (The one we tested was brand new.)

Wirecutter’s head of photo and video has been using this machine at home since 2021 and has grown to prefer it to his Baratza Virtuoso for pour-overs. Photo: Michael Hession

Wirecutter’s head of photo and video has been using this machine at home since 2021 and has grown to prefer it to his Baratza Virtuoso for pour-overs. Photo: Michael Hession

Michael Hession, Wirecutter’s head of photo and video, has been using this machine since 2021 and has grown to prefer it to his Baratza Virtuoso for pour-overs. It’s just much faster and more pleasant to listen to than the Baratzas. I also like the heavy build of it. It definitely has a limited range, which could be a dealbreaker if you’re experimenting with many different methods, but for my own situation it’s just fine. I have heard some coffee people say it doesn’t grind fine enough even for some light roast pour-overs, but I haven’t experienced that at all.”

If you want an affordable hand grinder that fits inside your AeroPress brewer: The Porlex Mini manual grinder was our top pick for a hand grinder before the Timemore Chestnut C2 came along. The Porlex has a smooth hand-cranking action, a sturdy, stainless steel body, and a ceramic burr. Perhaps most important for many readers who love to camp or travel: It has a built-in rubber Band for storing the handle, fits perfectly inside the chamber of an AeroPress brewer, and costs less than 100.

The competition

101 to 300

The Zwilling Enfinigy Coffee Grinder (which comes in black or silver) actually produces a fairly consistent grind in the medium range that most casual coffee drinkers would need for drip or French press, but this machine felt flimsy and lightweight for its price point (140 at the time of writing). It didn’t grind as well as the cheaper OXO, and our tests revealed it has a similar but slightly smaller burr set—it often struggled to get beans from the hopper through the machine unless you slapped it on the sides and top. This was even worse with a dark roast. It also got (and stayed) noticeably hot while grinding, and once shut down on its own while we were grinding several cups worth of coffee at a time.

The OXO Brew Conical Burr Grinder with Integrated Scale looks great on the counter, is able to grind by weight, and has a simple and friendly interface—check out that much-hyped backlit dial! But it has a slightly different design than the lower-cost OXO machine we recommend. And this one disqualified itself almost immediately by spewing seemingly endless coffee chaff all over the countertop every time we used it, thanks to a gap between the chute and the opening of the grounds container. What a mess.

The Cuisinart Deluxe Grind CBM-20 at first seemed promising—if rather large—but its lightweight feel and unintuitive interface quickly became off-putting. Its grind size tended to be coarse, and we found the measurements to be inconsistent. Finally, the upper burr’s handle snapped off in our hands when we tried to remove it for routine maintenance.

We tested the Breville Smart Grinder Pro, intrigued by its encyclopedic list of options and features. But the abundance of settings (timed dosing down to 0.2-second increments, and nearly 60 grind sizes) and complicated digital interface made this grinder difficult to use. It took forever for us to dial in. And perhaps more importantly, our tests produced over-extracted batches each time, which means there are likely too many small particles in the results.

Like the Breville, the KitchenAid Burr Coffee Grinder also came with a vast list of options, boasting 70 different settings. Also like the Breville, those options made this grinder more confusing to use and dial in what you want: You set the brewing method on a slider; then there is a digital interface where you can tinker with a numerical grind size, the number of cups you want to make, and the time to grind. The grind consistency was good (not as good as with the Encore, but not that far behind the OXO). One big flaw is that the plastic used in the bin and hopper feels cheap and has an unattractive gloss (though this grinder does come in a range of colors, which is nice). At 15 inches tall, it’s also the largest machine we tested—and one of the messier ones.

300 to 500

The Smeg CGF01 coffee grinder felt like a tank on our counter, which was reassuring, as usually heavy machines indicate an attention to build quality that results in better coffee. But it had a visibly inconsistent grind at fine, medium, and coarse settings, including lots of the odd-shaped, large pieces that experts told us are the worst offenders when it comes to bad flavors. (This was after seasoning the machine with more than a pound of coffee, to account for inconsistencies in brand new machines.) We wanted to love this grinder, given how many lovely colors it comes in and how handsome it was, but can’t currently recommend it given its lackluster performance and high price, which was 330 at the time of writing. That’s even more than the two specialized pour-over grinders we’d recommend only for those who consider themselves true enthusiasts. Its burr set also looks remarkably similar to the one in the OXO, which is a third of the price and easily outperforms the Smeg.

We had also wanted to test the heavy-duty retro burr grinder from KitchenAid, which is shaped like a professional grinder. It came highly recommended by the coffee experts at Abraço in New York City and is still available online in some places, but the company informed us the model has been discontinued.

Over 500

We also considered upper-level Baratza models, like its Sette grinder. But we ultimately decided the price tag and feature sets were well above what most people need. We think they’re best for those who are interested in making espresso, and we’ve covered some of them in our guide to espresso machines.

Manual grinders

For great manual machines under 100 that you might still be able to use every day, we considered the Handground Precision Manual Coffee Grinder, which has an intriguing design: Shaped like an oversize hourglass with a side-mounted crank arm and a numbered slider for changing grind size, it’s made to sit on the countertop. But the grinder is much larger than it appears in photos and doesn’t seem like it matches up to its promise. The grinder wobbles a bit on the table, and it’s hard to hold and to crank (especially with your left hand). And this model is so large it isn’t even that portable.

The Hario Skerton Pro was also promising, since it was designed to counter the flaws in the original Hario Skerton grinders (which required you to take apart the machine to adjust the grind size and also had issues with wobbling burrs, especially with coarser grind sizes). The Skerton Pro grinder was quickly disqualified because the nonslip rubber bottom came off the glass bin far too easily, and our grind selector slipped out of place on more than one occasion. We also easily dismissed the tiny Hario Mini Mill, which simply takes too long to grind a cup of coffee. Both of these grinders also have ceramic burr sets, which don’t perform as well as metal ones.

What to look forward to

The 300 Wilfa Uniform grinder, which gets good reviews in Europe, will soon be available in the United States, and we look forward to seeing how it compares with our upgrade picks. Fellow has also just released an Ode Gen 2 that (according to a representative) has a larger catch cup for grinds, a larger hopper, a burr that allows for a wider range of grinding, and more features to tamp down on the mess. We’ll be testing the new machine to see if these changes fix the related issues we found in our testing (which many users have complained about).

The OXO grinder has also had small tweaks to both its electrical components and the assembly of its chute, and the Baratza Encore has had an update to its gearbox to reduce noise. We’re testing out the new models and seeing how they perform compared to the old ones, especially given that some users report chute clogging issues with the OXO when they use certain types of coffee.

In the manual category, we hope to add recommendations for some of the more expensive models, whose grind consistency and longevity is on a par with (and possibly better than) electric grinders at the same price point. Many of these models also have larger capacity and more intuitive grind adjustment systems, and some claim to accommodate a broader range of brewing methods, including finer grind adjustments for espresso. There’s also some smaller, higher-end manual grinders that claim to fit into an Aeropress for travel, and we’d like to test them to make sure they do.

This article was edited by Marilyn Ong and Marguerite Preston.

We Tested 13 Spice Grinders to Find the Best Ones

Our top pick is the Cuisinart Electric Spice and Nut Grinder.

Sohla El-Waylly is a culinary creator, video host, and CIA graduate whose work can be found on Serious Eats, Bon Appetit, The New York Times, Food52, YouTube, and more.

Straight to the Point

The best spice grinder is the Cuisinart Electric Spice and Nut Grinder. It’s incredibly fast and has a removable bowl that’s dishwasher-safe for easy clean up. For about half the price, we also like the Krups Fast-Touch Electric Coffee and Spice Grinder, which has a fixed cup. However, we still found the Krups easy to clean.

Fresh spices liven up a dish unlike anything else. You can travel to India through garam masala and be transported to China in a flash by a fiery xinjiang blend. Unfortunately, the volatile aromatics in spices dissipate rapidly, leaving pre-ground coriander tasting less of citrus and more of stale pine.

The best way to purchase spices is to buy them whole, so their complex aromas and flavors remain under lock and key until you decide to set them loose. With the a good spice grinder, this is as easy as it sounds. A mortar and pestle is useful for small, on-the-fly spoonfuls of fennel and mace—you can read about our favorite mortar and pestles here—but if you find yourself frequently pounding away for large batches or daily cooking, then a great electric spice grinder is a necessity.

We rigorously tested the top 13 models to find you the ones that quickly blended spices to a fine and consistent powder, while remaining easy to use, clean, and store.

The Best Removable Cup Spice Grinder

Cuisinart Electric Spice and Nut Grinder

The high-capacity removable bowl and lighting fast grinding speed make the Cuisinart the ideal spice grinder for the spice fanatic. The grinder cup easily locks into place with a twist and is dishwasher-safe for fast clean up. The cord tucks away into the base for tidy storage and the grinder is simply activated by pressing down on the lid.

The Best Fixed-Cup Spice Grinder

KRUPS Fast Touch Electric Coffee and Spice Grinder

The sleek and minimalist design of the Krups is easy to hold, handle, and store—perfect for anyone tight on space. Even without a removable bowl, clean up is a cinch because spices never get trapped beneath the blade and there are no unnecessary ridges or notches to clog with spices. The one-touch button makes it easy to operate, quickly yielding a fine and consistent grind with both large and tough spices like cinnamon as well as smaller seeds.

magical, grinders, best, angle, 2023

The Criteria: What We Look For in a Great Spice Grinder

The majority of blade spice grinders available are also marketed as coffee grinders (sometimes exclusively so). While these devices can be used to grind coffee, the reality is you’re probably better off with a burr grinder for coffee. Burr grinders allow you to more consistently control your coffee-grind size, leading to better brewing results.

Instead, we think these blade grinders should be used for what they excel at—grinding spices—regardless of how they’re marketed and sold. (In a rare shift, Cuisinart broke with their competitors and decided to market their grinder exclusively for spices and nuts, not for coffee.) However, if you do prefer to use a blade grinder for coffee, we suggest you purchase two, keeping one strictly for grinding spices and the other for coffee. This will help you prevent unfortunate cross-contamination—cumin-tinged coffee doesn’t sound like “the best part of waking up” to me.

Blade grinders are available in two major styles—fixed cup and removable cup. Models with a fixed cup can be harder to clean, but there’s not as much risk of spices getting into the motor housing. With the removable cup models, there is some risk of ground spices working their way down into the motor housing over time, which could shorten the lifespan of the grinder. On the flip side, the grinder cup itself is easier to clean, limiting cross-contamination of flavors.

For the past several weeks, we’ve on the hunt for a great spice grinder—one that quickly pulverizes tough spices down to a powder fine enough that it will blend into soups and curries without leaving them gritty. When it comes to spices, the finer the grind, the better. Consistency, too, is key. A spice grinder that’s capable of blitzing cinnamon into the finest powder is useless if some jagged shards remain in the mix.

Speed is important not just to save you time in the kitchen, but also to ensure that the spices don’t heat up during prolonged grinding times. Heat releases many aromatic compounds, which is something you want to happen during cooking, not while you’re prepping your ingredients. If a unit takes minutes to properly grind the spices, and heats them up in the process, you’ve already lost a lot of flavor.

Because your spice needs may vary, we also wanted to find grinders that work equally well with smaller and larger quantities of spices. Blending as little as a teaspoon can become challenging for an electric grinder, but a good unit that can handle smaller amounts can save you from also needing to equip your kitchen with a manual grinder or a small mortar and pestle.

Easy clean up is essential, especially for a step that might seem excessive to some. We marked down units with annoying ridges or nooks that became caked after repeated use. We also looked for spice grinders designed in a way that prevented too many granules from getting trapped beneath the blades, and ones that didn’t spill powdery spices during use.

The Testing

Test 1: Grinding Large Spices: Cinnamon

Cinnamon is a tough spice to grind, especially if you want that perfect, delicate powder that comes pre-ground at the store. It’s definitely a challenge for a mortar and pestle, and turned out to be a tough one on several of the electric grinders as well—one brand even warned against attempting it at all.

For the first cinnamon test, we ground ten grams of cinnamon sticks broken into one-inch pieces for ten seconds. After grinding for ten seconds, we passed the cinnamon through medium and fine lab-grade sieves to determine which units performed the best at initially cracking through the sticks and how consistently they were able to do so. The worst units left nearly all ten grams of the cinnamon unable to pass through either sieve.

For the second cinnamon test, we ground 20 grams of cinnamon sticks broken into one-inch pieces until it was visibly fully ground and no more than five grams remained after sifting through our finest sieve. We ground the cinnamon in ten-second bursts with a break after one minute to allow the motors to cool down, per the manufacturers’ instructions. We also noted any units that heated up the cinnamon by the time if was fully ground. There was quite a wide range in the results of the second test, with the worst performers taking as long as 110 seconds and the best completing the task in just 45 seconds.

Test 2: Grinding Small Spices: Cumin

Cumin is smaller and easier to grind than cinnamon, but it has challenges of its own. When grinding cumin by hand, tough fibers often remain. The tiny seeds can also easily become lodged beneath the blades of an electric grinder.

As with the cinnamon, we ran two cumin grinding tests. For the first test we ground ten grams of cumin for ten seconds before sifting through medium and fine lab-grade sieves. The winning spice grinders left almost no cumin behind after just ten seconds, while the worst performers failed to break down all the seeds.

For the second cumin test we ground 20 grams of cumin until fully ground, again following the manufacturer’s recommendations. All the grinders were able to fully grind the cumin into a fine enough powder to pass through the finest sieve, but the top performers accomplished the task between 20 to 40 seconds, while the worst unit took 70 seconds.

After narrowing down to six finalists through the cinnamon and cumin tests, we put the remaining six contenders through more spice grinding tests. In addition to repeating the earlier tests, we tested each unit’s ability to handle extremes, filling the grinders to maximum capacity and also filling them with a small amount to just below the blades, checking for consistency once again by passing through sieves.

magical, grinders, best, angle, 2023

User Experience

Some of the units featured simple one-touch operation while others required you to dial in settings. Even among the spices grinders with one-touch operations, a few had buttons that were uncomfortable to hold down, especially with longer grinding sessions.

Grinders with removable bowls allow you to run them under water or put them in the dishwasher for fast clean up, but in those cases we wanted a bowl that was a cinch to snap on and off the grinding body. Some of the spice grinders with removable bowls also left too much room between the bowl and the base, which led to spices getting trapped beneath the bowl and thus required additional cleaning.

Sufficient cord length is important, since it makes maneuvering around a kitchen easier, so we measured the length of each cord. Built-in cord storage can be a great bonus if well designed. A couple of units have designs that allow you to quickly coil or tuck away the cord, but the majority were tough to use.

While most of the spice grinders did a good job of keeping the spice dust contained while blending, several had short lids or shallow blending bowls that spilled upon opening, even with as little as ten grams of spice. We preferred units with taller lids that didn’t spill upon opening, even when grinding large amounts.

How We Chose Our Winners

Our winning spice grinders blasted through cinnamon and cumin, providing a fine and even grind without overheating. They are both easy to clean, with simple smooth designs that are quick to wipe down. We found these units the most comfortable to hold, with intuitive and user-friendly designs.

The Best Removable Cup Spice Grinder

Cuisinart Electric Spice and Nut Grinder

What we liked: The Cuisinart offered the highest capacity with a maximum volume of 120 milliliters, grinding just as well with its volume topped out as it does with just a teaspoon. It was one of the fastest grinders, pulverizing cinnamon sticks to a powder in 70 seconds and cumin in only 40.

This is the only unit that didn’t require you to blend in ten-second bursts, nor did it require that you stop blending after one minute. Instead, the Cuisinart spice grinder can be run until it feels warm, which we found through our testing to take at least two minutes. The removable bowl twists on and off in one quick motion and is dishwasher-safe along with the transparent lid.

What we didn’t like: At two pounds and four ounces, this is one of the heftier units. Some spice dust was emitted upon opening the lid. Some of the ground spices can end up on the inner rim during blending, which can then find their way under the removable bowl.

Price at time of publish: 40.

Key Specs

  • Dimensions: 5 x 6 x 9 inches
  • Material: Stainless steel
  • Weight: 1 pound
  • Capacity: 90 grams
  • Motor: 200 watts
  • Removable cup: Yes
  • Care instructions: Dishwasher-safe removable cup

The Best Fixed-Cup Spice Grinder

KRUPS Fast Touch Electric Coffee and Spice Grinder

What we liked: The Krups is one of the smallest and lightest models we tested, at just over six inches tall and one pound and five ounces, and a steal at nearly half the price of the Cuisinart. The smaller size doesn’t mean smaller capacity: This unit can grind up to 85 milliliters of spices at a time. The slim, oval design was easy to handle, and the grinder bowl narrows at one end to cleanly pour out its contents.

It was one of our fastest and most consistent grinders, crushing cinnamon to a fine powder in 60 seconds and cumin in 40. The fixed cup doesn’t make it harder to clean because it’s wide enough to allow you to reach inside and thoroughly wipe it down. Plus, no ground spice was ever trapped under the blades. We also appreciate the generous two and a half–foot long cord.

What we didn’t like: If only the Krups had cord storage, it might be the ultimate spice grinder.

Price at time of publish: 19.

Key Specs

  • Dimensions: 4 x 3 x 7 inches
  • Material: Plastic
  • Weight: 1.72 pounds
  • Capacity: 85 grams
  • Motor: 150 watts
  • Removable cup: No
  • Care Instructions: Wipe clean with damp cloth


What’s the best way to clean a spice grinder?

If your spice grinder features a removable bowl, check the manual to see if it’s dishwasher-safe. Otherwise, rinsing the bowl with warm water and wiping it with a clean cloth is easy and gets the job done. If your grinder doesn’t have a removable bowl or if you grind something especially pungent and are left with a stubborn odor even after cleaning, have no fear. Simply place some plain, raw, white rice (about 1/4 cup will do) into the grinder and blend until it resembles a fine powder. Remove the powder and give the grinder a quick wipe with a damp paper towel or clean cloth. If the smell still persists, try wiping the bowl with a bit of white distilled vinegar and letting it air out (without the lid on) overnight.

Can you grind spices in a blender or food processor?

Food processors are not great at grinding spices. They are designed to chop, mince, puree, knead, and pulse—but not to finely grind small amounts of ingredients. If you tried to grind a few tablespoons of spices in a food process, the spices would end up getting whirled around the food processor bowl, but not ground. Blenders, on the other hand, are designed to funnel food down towards the blade and will grind spices. However, blenders have a minimum volume requirement that ranges from 1/4 to 1/2 cup, depending on the model. A blender just won’t be able to finely grind a tablespoon or two of spices. So, for completely pulverizing large amounts of whole spices, a blender can do the trick. Otherwise, stick to a spice grinder for finely ground spices time after time.

Can you make nut butter in a spice grinder?

We wouldn’t recommend attempting to make nut butter in a spice grinder. Firstly, spice grinders have a small capacity—too small for the substantial amount of nuts needed to make nut butter. Secondly, spice grinders are not designed to power through the thick consistency of nut butter (some food processors and blenders aren’t even up to the task). So, if you want to make your own nut butters, we suggest investing in a great food processor or high-powered blender.

Can you use a coffee grinder for spices?

We don’t recommend using a burr grinder for spices, which is our preferred grinder for coffee. Blade grinders (the ones in the review above), can be used for coffee, but won’t produce as consistent of a grind and are very much prone to user error. So, if you have a blade grinder you use for grinding coffee and would like to grind spices with it, clean it out and do so. Then, consider getting yourself a burr grinder.

Why use a spice grinder?

Whole spices retain their oils and aromatics better than ground spices, so grinding fresh can add more vibrant flavors to your meals. Once a spice is ground, their aromatics become volatile and can dissipate into the air, so a best practice is to grind small amounts just before cooking.

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