While it can't match the quality of a high-end burr grinder, the KitchenAid Blade excels at upping your at home coffee experience for less than a quarter of the cost. It makes a decent cup that is clearly superior to using pre-ground beans. The removable grinding bowl makes it very easy to clean and to transfer grounds without making a mess. Most inexpensive grinders tend to produce a high pitched whir, but the Blade produces a pleasant rumble by comparison. To boot, it's often available for less than $30. If you're looking for a bit more refinement in your morning cup but don't want to spend too much, look no further.
KitchenAid Blade Review
Pros: Easy to use, clean operation, inexpensive
Cons: Inconsistent grind size
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Our Analysis and Test Results
If you're looking for a shoestring budget friendly grinder, you can't do much better than the KitchenAid Blade. It makes a relatively good cup of coffee, is easy to use, and costs less than $30 at most retailers.
The KitchenAid Blade made a cup that was a decent step above coffee made with comparable preground beans in our testing, but still lacked some of the nuanced flavor notes found in coffee made with some of the pricer models.
With most budget grinders we've found problems with the production of very fine coffee 'dust' that leads to over-extraction and a fairly bitter taste. The KitchenBlade produces far less of this dust than other comparably priced models, resulting in a better flavor profile with noticeably less bitterness. This, combined with the use of fresh beans, made us clearly prefer coffee made with the KitchenAid over that of comparable pre-ground beans. In particular, the KitchenAid made better coffee in our testing than most of the sub-$50 burr models. It seems that the required mechanical precision for a burr can't be obtained for this low of a price, and that a blade model is actually your best bet.
While the KitchenAid made the best tasting coffee of the budget models we tested, it still suffers from some grid size inconsistency, which can miss out on some of the flavors present in a good roast. If you want a stellar and very consistent grinder, the $100 OXO Conical Burr is the best value around. However, the KitchenAid Blade is still a great way to up your coffee game without spending too much.
Ease of Use
The KitchenAid Blade generally offers a good user experience with a couple of downsides, which garnered a score of 6 out of 10 in our ease of use testing.
Grinding with the Blade is simple. Just insert beans into the grinding bowl, put the grinding cap on, and push it down. The blades turn on when you push down, and you just have to keep pushing down until the grinds look ready. Markings on the inside of the bowl give you an idea of how much coffee you've ground. The grinding bowl can be removed from the machine, making transferring grinds to your french press or coffee maker easy and mess free (this was one of our favorite features of the Blade).
The only reason we didn't award the Blade a higher score is the fact that it is a bit of an art to figure out the right amount of beans to put into the grinder. Other models have bean hoppers and the grinds fall into a separate compartment, so you can just put in a bunch of beans and grind until you have the right amount. The KitchenAid Blade only has one compartment, so you just have to put in some beans and then grind all of them down, making it more likely that you'll end up with less or more than you wanted.
Considering that it's a blade grinder the KitchenAid Blade is actually fairly innocuous when it comes to the noise it makes. This earned it a 6 out of 10 in our noise testing.
Yes, it is much more noticeable than the burr grinders we tested, but not to the nails on a chalkboard degree of most of the other blade grinders. It might wake up a light sleeper in the next room, but we doubt they'd bolt up in bed.
The KitchenAid Blade was one of the top scorers in our messiness testing, earning an 8 out of 10.
This was mostly due to its removable grinding bowl, which makes both transferring grinds and cleaning out the bowl very easy. The only reason it didn't get a higher score has to do with its grinding consistency. It always made at least some fine dust that got gunked up in the grinding bowl, which required a little bit of extra cleaning effort to get off. Still, it was far and away the best blade grinder we tested in terms of keeping the kitchen clean. In this regard it even rivaled some of the nicer burr grinders we tested.
While the KitchenAid Blade is not a top model, it delivers quite a bit of performance in comparison to what you pay. It lists for $50, but is generally available online for less than $30. Considering its taste quality, user friendliness, and mess free operation, we consider the KitchenAid Blade an excellent value at this price. If you're looking for an inexpensive grinder, you're going to be hard pressed to find a better value.
The KitchenAid Blade provides a decent tasting cup and user friendly operation for an incredibly low price. If you want to up your coffee game but you're on a shoestring budget, this is a great choice.
— Max Mutter and Steven Tata