4 Best Coffee Grinders, Tested by Food Network Kitchen
We ground pounds of coffee to find the best grinders for every kind of coffee drinker.
Our Top Coffee Grinder Picks
Tested by Stevie Stewart for Food Network Kitchen
This article has been reviewed since its original publish date for accuracy, pricing and availability. We stand by our list of top coffee grinder picks.
One of the most important ways to ensure you do not end up with a watery or bitter cup of coffee is to make sure you grind your beans correctly. When you grind high quality beans and use a well-made coffeemaker, you're helping to ensure you get a cup of joe that's as close to your craft coffee spot as possible. We tested 10 coffee grinders in a variety of sizes and styles to find the best coffee grinders on the market.
What's the Difference Between Burr and Blade Grinders?
Giorgio Milos, the U.S.-based master barista for Illy, swears by a flat or conical burr grinder, especially when it comes to brewing espresso. Compared to a blade grinder, which resembles the function of a blender and chops beans at an inconsistent rate, burr grinders run the beans through the two abrasive surfaces (burrs), easily controlling the coarseness of your grind and resulting in evenly-ground coffee beans. Blade grinders can be an affordable and fast way to grind your beans, but for beginners or anyone looking for precision, a burr grinder is a better option.
What to Look for When Buying the Best Coffee Grinder
Grind Setting: No matter what kind of coffeemaker you have at home, look for a coffee grinder with a variety of grind settings including fine, medium and coarse grinds. For example, a drip coffeemaker makes the best cup of coffee when brewed using medium coarse beans. A cup of espresso in an espresso machine requires a very fine grind. And if you are a fan of French press coffee, you are going to want coarse beans.
Burr Type: We tested flat burr, conical burr, and burr mill grinders. In the end, we found the most consistent and even grounds came from the conical burr grinders. This consistency produced smooth, delicious coffee that was neither bitter nor bland.
Noise Level: All coffee grinders are going to be on the noisier side. We found the quietest burr grinder was the Breville Smart Grinder Pro, but it is a splurge. The OXO model is a more affordable option if noise isn't as much of an issue.
Dosage: When it comes to coffee grinders, electric burr grinders can easily grind just enough beans for the amount of coffee you want to brew. This is great for people who have fancier automatic drip coffeemakers or espresso machines. We also looked for burr grinder that could hold nearly a whole bag of coffee beans, which makes storage easy.
How We Tested
We started out with one of our favorite coffee bean varieties and used that for all of our tests. We used each machine to grind the beans fine, medium and coarse. We placed all the grounds next to one another to make comparisons in size and uniformity. We then took the medium coarse beans and brewed cups of coffee from each grind in our coffee machine. We tasted all 10 cups of coffee side-by-side to see which coffees were smooth, and which, if any, were bitter or lacking in flavor. We took into consideration how loud the machines were, their size, how user friendly, how many beans they held, and how easy they were to clean.
The OXO Brew Conical Burr grinder offers a range of coarseness from 1 to 15 giving you the ability to fine tune your grounds. It also has a dial ranging from 0 to 30 seconds to determine the amount of time you would like to grind the beans. Going beyond just fine, medium and coarse allows you to really create your favorite cup of coffee and also provides for the variety of choices to make different cups of coffees when you please. The hopper can hold up to 3/4 lb of beans and the grounds container holds 2 cups of ground beans (enough to brew 12 cups of coffee). With all that storage, it is one of the larger grinders we tested but it has a sleak, narrow design that does not take up a ton of room on your countertop. The conical burr grinder created consistently uniform grounds which helped in making one of the most delicious cups of coffee of the machines we tested. While not the quietest machine on the list, it is not overly loud and it works very quickly. Grinding is done with the touch of just one button making it super easy to navigate. The user manual also provides a helpful guide for the size of beans to use for which coffee machine and type of coffee.
If you really like to "geek out" on coffee and really refine your cup to your specific tastes, the Breville may be the choice for you. A conical burr grinder, the Breville takes the grind precision a step further providing for 60 different grind settings. It also has a timer that allows you to set the grind time to the .02 of a second. The Breville was the largest machine we tested and was the only one with a digital interface. This machine does come with a bit of a learning curve, and we recommend reading the user manual before getting started to really understand its bells and whistles. Relatively quiet and easy to clean, this is a wonderful option for someone who is looking to really looking to splurge on their at-home coffee habit.
For a completely different kind of coffee grinder, you can go the manual, hand-held route. This kind of grinder is really great for traveling, especially camping. The only power needed is your own energy to turn the crank and grind the beans. The JavaPresse has a slim design making it very comfortable to hold and grind the beans. Some of the other manual grinders we used were tiring to hold after a while but the JavaPresse remained comfortable after grinding for some time. Despite its small size, it still has 18 grind settings and holds ⅓ cups of beans. It grinds with a ceramic conical burr to create consistent sized grinds every time.
While we prefer the taste and evenness of the grounds made with the burr grinders, there is a place for blade grinders as well. If you want a machine that is straightforward, simple to use and affordable, a blade grinder is great. We found that this style of machine is great for things beyond coffee like the grinding of whole spices or seeds. The Hamilton Beach version was our favorite as it was on the quieter side and has a hidden space on the bottom to keep the cord. The biggest bonus of this machine was the removable and dishwasher safe grinding bowl. One of the biggest downsides to a blade grinder can be the difficulty to clean around the blade. The removable bowl makes cleaning a breeze.