To find the best coffee grinders, we brewed hundreds of cups of coffee, with 17 of the best machines on the market today. Additionally, we ran the coffee grounds through a series of sieves, measuring the grind consistency of every machine. From there, we cleaned up their messes and measured the noise level of each device to discover everything you need to know before purchasing a grinder. Whether you are looking for the most consistent grind possible, need something that won't wake your housemates, or want a blend of the two, we can guide you to the best model for your needs and budget.
Type: Burr | Dosing Control: Digital (cups/seconds)
REASONS TO BUY
Great grind consistency
Relatively clean and quiet
REASONS TO AVOID
Not ideal for French press
If you're looking for the best possible starting point for your morning brew, we can't recommend the Breville Smart Grinder Pro highly enough. It earned the highest score in our all-important grind consistency metric and was a frontrunner in every other metric. It can even grind finely enough to make proper espresso. This model is definitely for you if you're seeking something that offers a clean operation, is easy to use, surprisingly quiet, and produces impressively consistent grinds.
Apart from the fact that you have to pay a premium for its top-notch performance, the only downside of the Smart Grinder Pro is that it struggles a bit when grinding on the coarse end. In this range, which is what you want for cold brew and what many want for French press, it tends to create a good number of fines (dust-like grinds) that can cause a muddy and more bitter brew. However, if your preferred brewing method is anything from pour-over to espresso, this machine will treat you to an incredibly consistent, high-quality grind.
Are you seeking to make the best cup of coffee affordably? If so, the Bodum Bistro will be a perfect building block for your morning coffee setup. Although we wouldn't exactly call it cheap, it rivals the grind consistency of our top scorers and costs much less. That means you get nearly as high-quality grounds with a much smaller hit to your bank account.
The most significant sacrifices you make with the budget-friendly Bistro are things that are peripheral to the quality and consistency of the grind itself. For example, this machine is a bit louder than some of its pricier competitors, has a higher tendency to spill fine grounds, and comes with fewer programmable features. However, none of these slight downsides ruined our morning coffee experience. These modest drawbacks will likely be well worth the cost savings to most coffee drinkers.
The Cuisinart Supreme Grind is an inexpensive burr grinder that earned average scores in all but the cleaning assessment. This grinder will appeal to folks trying out burr grinders for craft coffee making for the first time as it produces consistent medium to coarse grounds that are perfect for pour-over and French press extraction. Additionally, the grinder produces average noise for the class, so it won't drive family or housemates crazy when it gets turned on at six in the morning.
While the Supreme Grind is reasonably priced and produces consistent coarse grounds, it has some noteworthy shortcomings that potential buyers should understand. First, this is not a good choice to be used in conjunction with an espresso machine. We could not get it to produce a consistently fine grind, and thus we could not pull a decent shot. Additionally, this grinder has some cleaning issues related to static build-up in the bin and the hopper shooting grounds around if the bin isn't seated correctly. Despite these issues, the Supreme Grind remains a good choice for those focused on pour-over and French press coffee and looking to save money.
If you're shopping for the best espresso grinder to complement your home espresso machine, the Baratza Sette 270 will not disappoint. This grinder excels in regard to grind consistency and dosing accuracy. Baratza designed the Sette 270 with macro and micro adjustments to allow you to get specific dialing in your grind size. And, even though we found it to be the best espresso grinder in its class, it also produces a grind range great for pour-overs. This is one of our top recommendations for a household of espresso and manual brew enthusiasts.
However, you'll have to pay top dollar to enjoy these luxuries. Although, you may find the Sette 270 is still worth the investment, especially if you're using it with a home espresso machine to avoid splurging on pricey specialty drinks from the coffee shop. We love its sleek appearance, but take note that the dimensions aren't ideal for under-cabinet scenarios. This coffee grinder is rather tall and may not be compatible with tighter spaces.
If you're shopping for a large family or small office of caffeine addicts, our top recommendation is the Baratza Virtuoso+. It can pump out a consistent grind size and is also kitted out with more industrial-grade components than most of its consumer-level competitors. This means it is more likely to stand the test of time and shake off the abuse of multiple people making multiple cups of coffee daily. It had a long stint as our office grinder, where it consistently churned out 20+ cups of ground beans per day like a champ.
The higher price tag of the Virtuoso+ may be the main deterrent. Additionally, its grind consistency is slightly less impressive than some less durable models we've tested. However, the grind consistency isn't very far off from that of top performers, and its components are likely to last longer when subjected to heavy use, which should save anyone that grinds lots of coffee money in the long run.
We spent more than 100 hours meticulously evaluating each grinder's consistency, mess (or lack of), user-friendliness, and noise level. To organize these four attributes, we used 12 separate tests. Then we weighted these attributes according to their importance to arrive at our final scores.
Our testing of coffee grinders is divided across four different metrics:
Grind Consistency (35% of overall score weighting)
Michelle is joined by Liz Nelson, who has worked in both cafes and roasteries for over ten years, accumulating many hours of experience with thousands of pounds of coffee grinding on a variety of machines. She is now running her own importing and roasting operation in Colorado, further refining her craft. Penney Garrett, another coffee industry veteran, also lent her expertise. Penney worked in specialty coffee for over a decade, everything from slinging lattes to working with farmers to teaching palate training. The most recent update also brought on author Nick Miley and tester Genaveve Bradshaw. This pair has spent the last several years investigating and examining all manner of home products in depth. Altogether, this team brings some serious expertise to produce a comprehensive guide to finding the best coffee grinder for your morning ritual.
While value can be different from person to person, we define it as the perfect balance between price and performance. Cheap is great, but not if you lose any semblance of good performance. And while expensive things often work better than bargain-basement deals, it's not always that cut and dry.
We recommend the Bodum Bistro for anyone looking to maximize return on their grinding investment. Even though the price tag is very middle-of-the-road, it offers excellent grind consistency and smooth operation. The Baratza Encore is also a solid bet. It's a little pricier than the Bistro but also cleaner and quieter. And, though costly, for those that grind a lot of coffee, the sturdy construction of Baratza Virtuoso+ may save you money in the long run by investing upfront. Additionally, the Cuisinart Supreme Grind offers a very low cost of entry into burr grinders though the performance suffers some as a result.
If these options are still outside your budget, you could consider one of the blade grinders we tested. However, since the blade models grind so inconsistently, we think their only advantage over pre-ground coffee is to access coffees only available in whole bean. If you can pay up for a burr grinder, we highly recommend you do so.
Creating a consistent grind is the most crucial thing a coffee grinder can do to ensure a higher-quality cup of coffee. A grinder that leaves too many larger-sized particles will produce coffee that tastes under-extracted (sour, weak). On the other hand, creating fine coffee dust can lead to over-extraction (bitter, astringent). You'll have fewer undesirable traits when the grounds produced are consistently in the ideal size range. In addition, a good grind consistency makes it more likely to express all the flavor nuances your coffee has to offer. To test this, we put grounds of various sizes (from coarse to finer pour-over or espresso ranges) through a series of sieve shakers that divide grains by size. We also evaluated each machine's dosing accuracy or the ability to produce the same amount of coffee repeatedly — does the machine consistently grind 21 grams of coffee when set at 21 grams? Finally, we dialed each model to the perfect pour-over grind and measured consistency in producing a cup of coffee in the ideal 3-minute brew time.
The Breville Smart Grinder Pro was the clear winner in our consistency test. In the sieve test, this contender was able to keep 43% of the grinds in the ideal size range, with only 14% percent falling into the problematic extremes of the spectrum. The Smart Grinder Pro also produced both consistent extraction times and dosing amounts. Its only weakness became apparent when grinding at the coarser end of the spectrum; it made more fine dust than some other machines at the same setting.
A slew of models fell right behind the Smart Grinder Pro in our grind consistency testing, all displaying slightly different strengths. The Baratza Sette 270 offers more nuanced adjustments than any other grinder in this review. The inclusion of macro and micro adjustment dials means you have an incredible amount of control over your final grind. This feature, coupled with extra included shims to move the grind ranges into an even finer range, makes this our favorite grinder for espresso. And, don't worry, the Sette can also handle pour-overs and the like. It had more variation in the final brew time than the Smart Grinder Pro, but not enough to be a dealbreaker.
The Bodum Bistro scored well in almost all of our tests, keeping 39% of its grinds in the ideal size range, moving from coarse to fine sizes without deterioration in quality, and displaying minimal dosing discrepancy. However, it did showed slight variations in extraction times in our pour-over test, suggesting it produces different amounts of fines and boulders every time it grinds. Still, we were impressed with the performance of this much cheaper model.
The Baratza Virtuoso+ achieved incredibly consistent results, nailing our pour-over and dosing tests. However, it only kept 59% of the grinds in the ideal size range in the sieve test, slightly lower than some of the other top scorers. When grinding at the finer (espresso) end of the spectrum, it also had some trouble keeping things neat, tidy, and consistent.
The OXO BREW Conical Burr with Integrated Scale rounded out the top scorers, doing well in both our pour-over and range tests. Over the course of three pour-over brews, it displayed only a 6-second discrepancy in extraction time and produced everything from French press to espresso grinds with aplomb. However, it was slightly less than top-notch in our sieve testing, and we also observed a 3.5g variation in its dosing size, which is much higher than most other frontrunners.
The lower-scoring machines in this metric were almost exclusively blade grinders. These products were so inconsistent that in some cases, we think it could be better to just purchase pre-ground coffee. However, if you like the idea of an inexpensive blade grinder and prefer to use fresh beans, no matter their consistency, we suggest choosing the Hamilton Beach Fresh Grind. It produces noticeably more consistent results than its notoriously unpredictable blade-equipped siblings and fared better than several of the expensive burr grinders. We were impressed.
Mornings are better when they're simple and streamlined. Unfortunately, a coffee grinder that requires extra cleanup is a surefire way to make your mornings more complicated. We ground hundreds of cups worth of coffee while paying attention to each model's three most salient cleanliness attributes; 1. Static electricity, which results in coffee clinging to the grounds bin, 2. How much spilled out of the grinder during operation, and 3. The ease of neatly pouring grounds from the bin to brewer.
Our highest scorer in the cleanliness department is the Baratza Sette 270. This grinder produces very little static, and the adjustable arms work great to hold either a portafilter or the grounds bin in place. Coffee pours smoothly from the bin with very minimal clinging of grounds or chaff. On top of that, a removable mat at the grinder's base pulls out for easy disposal of any remaining grinds.
The Smart Grinder Pro is another great choice for those who like to keep a tidy countertop. It grinds cleanly and creates very little static, meaning the grounds pour neatly and predictably without sticking to the container. Our only complaint about cleanliness is that the hole in the cover of the grounds bin is too small and causes a tiny amount of coffee to shoot out onto the counter. However, you can eliminate the mess by leaving the cover off while grinding. Without the lid, all of the grounds make their way into the bin neatly. It also has a removable base for cleaning up quickly.
The Baratza Encore also proved to be quite orderly in our cleanliness tests; it directs all of its grounds to the bin and offers a smooth pour into the brewing vessel of your choice. However, it does imbue the grind container with some static, so finer grinds often stick to the bin. Removing the waste necessitates either a rinse or some heavy tapping to get those stuck grounds free.
With one of the most thoughtfully designed bins of the bunch, the Baratza Virtuoso+ rolled in near the top as well. This cup prevents any coffee shrapnel from escaping during grinding and makes for easy pour into your brewing vessel. However, some grounds tend to drop from the chute when removing the bin, and since the slot for the grounds bin is on the small side, those grounds can be a bit difficult to clean out.
Ease of Use
Luckily, none of the models we tested are complicated, so even before caffeine, you shouldn't experience significant issues trying to operate them. However, some models provide a few extra touches that make them more pleasant to use in the morning. Our ease of use scores represent the collective opinions of a panel of testers ranging from coffee pros to complete grinding newbies. We focused our tests for this metric on general daily use and considered how easy each is to take apart for maintenance and deep cleaning.
We found the Smart Grinder Pro easiest to use out of all the tested models. Its relatively large LCD screen and intuitive knobs make it clear which setting is selected and uncomplicated to change. In addition, general maintenance and deep cleaning are simple because the Smart Grinder Pro is easy to take apart and put back together.
A close runner-up is the Baratza Sette 270 with an easy-to-read LCD screen and preset buttons for start/pause, stop, and time adjustments. Changing the grind is straightforward with both a micro and macro adjustment. The burr assembly comes apart with a hex key (included), making maintenance relatively easy as well.
An honorable mention in this category is both of our OXO models, the OXO BREW Conical Burr with Integrated Scale and the regular (non-scaled) OXO BREW Conical Burr, which both sport one of the company's iconically intuitive interfaces. Unfortunately, on the version with the scale, we discovered that you must tare the scale during the initial setup to get the grinder to work correctly. We arrived at this conclusion ourselves because the instructions never mentioned this step.
The Delonghi Dedica Digital is super convenient to use but can be a pain to disassemble if you need to perform any maintenance. Similarly, the Baratza Virtuoso+ is easy to use but hard to take apart when the need arises. The Fellow Ode is also worth a mention here — it offers a lot in user-friendly design with its large stepped adjustment dial, built-in grind-size chart, auto shut-off, and it's simple to take apart for maintenance.
These machines emit sounds ranging from relatively innocuous whirrs to ear-splitting whines and everything in between. Since these devices are generally only used for short durations, we don't think noise should strongly influence your purchase decision unless you tend to grind coffee before others at home are awake. In that case, noise can be a make-or-break characteristic. Therefore, we measured noise objectively with a decibel meter placed 24" from each machine. We also measured more subjectively by ranking their relative levels of annoyance. The subjective tests are more important because it is often the pitch and rhythm of a noise that makes it annoying rather than the pure volume.
The least audibly offensive grinders we tested were both Fellow models, the original Ode and the Ode with upgraded SSP MP burrs. The Smart Grinder Pro is also a top performer though it emits a slightly higher-pitched sound. Both Ode models emit an almost gentle purring sound when grinding. They are also very fast, averaging 30 seconds of operation time for 30 grams of coffee. Another great feature of the Ode models is an automatic shut-off when grinding is complete. So if you're often the first person awake and making coffee in a house full of light sleepers, we think an Ode is an apt choice.
Falling into the quite noticeable but not terribly grating category, the Baratza Virtuoso+ has a slightly higher pitch. Its noise is relatively constant without undulation, making it somewhat more tolerable. The pitch of the Capresso Infinity is slightly lower, but the sound pulses, making it about as audibly annoying as the Virtuoso+ in our opinion.
Most of the blade models we reviewed earned a lower score in this metric. By default of design, blade grinding is noticeably noisy, and as the grinding process progresses, the noise level changes. This changing soundscape is far more noticeable and irritating than many burr-fitted counterparts, though there are exceptions.
Morning coffee rituals can be sacred, and having a grinder you love can raise you to a whole new level. We hope our testing results have helped you find the best coffee grinder to make your routine easier and tastier.
Michelle Powell, Liz Nelson, Nick Miley, and Penney Garrett
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