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The Best Coffee Grinders You Can Buy Right Now

published Dec 17, 2021
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Credit: KitchenAid, OXO, Baratza, Breville

Ask any coffee professional, and they’ll probably tell you the same thing: No matter how you make your coffee at home, your coffee grinder is the most important tool in the process.

Having a grinder means you have the ability to store your coffee fresh, in whole-bean form, and grind only what you need right before you brew, which preserves the flavor and helps keep things from going stale. Having a good grinder can help you achieve an even extraction of your coffee, and will let you adjust the size of your coffee particles so you can make tiny adjustments to ensure you’re getting the best quality as well as switch between different kinds of brewers. 

I’ve worked in the coffee industry for 21 years, and while I have my favorites, I wanted to do some scientific testing to find out which coffee grinders are best. I tried a variety of models currently available, focusing on those with burrs rather than blades. (Blade grinders use a single flat piece of metal to chop the coffee beans, like what a food processor uses to chop vegetables; burrs are more intricate machine-cut pieces of metal or ceramic that can be adjusted to control the size of the particles, and they do a more efficient, uniform job.) 

During the testing, I paid special attention to the profile of the grind particles each grinder created, as well as how quickly they worked, how quiet they were (my partner is especially grateful for this), and what extra features made them stand out from the crowd. I made sure to test a coarse French press grind, a fine espresso grind, and various sizes in between. I took note of how easy the machines were to load with beans, how much static they produced, and what it felt like to change the grind size. I also compared the models’ shape and size, as well as overall appearance, as these tools typically sit on display on the counter. 

It was a bit of a “grind,” but it was also a lot of fun — and here’s what I found!

Credit: Ever Meister

The Best Coffee Grinders

The Tests

  • Grind 30 grams of coffee on a coarse grind setting that would be appropriate for French press, and use Kruve sieves to determine how varied the grind profile is for each batch.
  • Grind 30 grams of coffee on a medium-fine grind setting that would be appropriate for pour-over or drip coffee, and use Kruve sieves to determine how varied the grind profile is for each batch.
  • Grind 20 grams of coffee on a fine grind setting that would be appropriate for espresso, and use Kruve sieves to determine how varied the grind profile is for each batch.
  • Compare the noise level of each grinder. First, I took a recording of each grinder, to judge not only the volume but also the tone of each one as it grinds. Then, I sat in the main bedroom of our house while my partner ground coffee in each model, to see if I could hear it.
  • Clean each grinder following the manufacturer’s instructions.

Why You Should Trust Us

For the past 21 years, I have been a journalist and a specialty-coffee professional, focusing on making great coffee more accessible to everyone. I was the director of education for the green-coffee importing company Cafe Imports and am the author of New York City Coffee: A Caffeinated History, and the host of the podcast In Good Taste. I have also written a cold brew coffee maker and a French press coffee maker Best List for Kitchn.

Credit: Ever Meister

What to Consider When Buying a Coffee Grinder

What Kind of Coffee Do You Make?

This question is important because not all grinders are, in fact, created equal — especially when it comes to the far ends of the coffee-brewing spectrum: French press (coarse grind) and espresso (fine grind). 

Many home coffee grinders aren’t capable of producing a true espresso-fine grind size; others create too uneven a grind for French press (more on evenness in just a moment). I looked for grinders that had enough versatility to cover a wide range of coffee types, while being sure that they were also easily adjustable to switch from one to another. 

Credit: Ever Meister

How Evenly Does the Grinder Grind?

One of the things that mattered the most during my testing: how uniform the grind size came out. Just like a chef wants to make sure they chop all their vegetables about the same size so they roast evenly, you want your grinder to create evenly ground coffee that is the appropriate size for the kind of extraction you’re doing. 

Credit: Ever Meister

The way I measured this was by using a Kruve coffee sifting tool. For each batch, I placed the ground coffee in the sifter set with the appropriate screens, and sifted the grounds for 45 seconds. The Kruve tool separates out coffee particles that are bigger (coarser) than would be ideal for the brewing method, as well as those that are smaller (finer) than ideal. For example, to see how each grinder handled coffee for a pour-over or drip application, I sifted each batch to see how much of the ground coffee fell between a range of 600 to 1200 micrometers (μm). 

By testing several different grind settings for each type of brew, I was able to determine which grinders tend to create a more uniform profile. 

How Often Will You Use It?

Are you a one-cup-a-day type, or a pot-an-hour type drinker? Do you sometimes drink tea or treat yourself to barista-made lattes, leaving your coffee-brewing equipment dormant? Or do you like to have drip coffee in the morning, espresso midday, and then an after-dinner decaf? 

While commercial coffee grinders typically come with specs outlining how many pounds of coffee they’re designed to handle before needing to be replaced, most home coffee grinders don’t offer that kind of intel. Instead, you can rely on other clues that your burrs are wearing down.

  • Needing to keep adjusting your grind finer to achieve the same result. This is a normal part of using a burr grinder, but if you have adjusted to a considerably finer setting and aren’t satisfied with the results, your burrs might be ready to call it quits.
  • It takes a much longer time to grind the same amount of coffee.
  • Your coffee grounds come out feeling warm to the touch. As you continue to adjust finer in order to keep your quality consistent, the burrs will be getting closer together. Over time, that proximity combined with the dull blades on the burrs will cause friction, which will noticeably heat up your coffee.

If you regularly use your grinder twice or more per day, you may want to invest in a grinder that has replaceable burrs, which will spare you the cost of replacing the whole machine. If you’re a little more of a casual user, a good burr grinder may last you a few solid years before needing to be swapped out. 

How Are the Burrs Designed?

In general, ceramic burrs will be longer-lasting, as they don’t dull the same way that stainless-steel ones do, but steel burrs are more commonly found and can be both less expensive in the short term and more replaceable in the long. All burrs, regardless of material, will typically need to be replaced at some point, and if you’re a heavy coffee drinker you may want to prioritize finding a grinder that offers replacement burrs. (Many models require you to replace the entire machine, instead.) 

The difference between conical and flat burrs might also be a consideration, although the jury is somewhat out on this: While conical burrs have long been thought to be more efficient, quickly cutting coffee beans into more uniform pieces, flat burrs that are on the larger side can achieve nearly the same — and sometimes even better — results. Flat burrs do tend to transfer more heat to the coffee grounds as they become worn down, but this should only be a concern if you are a multiple-times-a-day grinder. My favorite grinder for espresso features larger-size, flat ceramic burrs, but my overall choice has smaller conical burrs made of stainless steel. Your mileage, therefore, may vary.

What’s Your Budget?

Burr grinders typically start around $100 and can go all the way up to $400 or more. Grinders in the higher price range usually include some adaptation for espresso preparation, like bigger burrs, a bigger motor, or an attachment to hold a portafilter. 

Whether or not the burrs can be replaced might be a consideration when tabulating the actual cost of buying a less-expensive grinder, as you may find yourself needing to replace the whole machine rather than swapping out a $40 or $50 part. Price is not, however, always an indication of quality in this category: My second-favorite model actually happened to take the Best Budget grinder spot because it comes in at just over $100. 

What We Look for in a Coffee Grinder

I judged all of the coffee grinders on the following criteria, on a scale of 1 to 5 (1 being the worst and 5 being the best):

  • Ease of use: How easy is it to use? 
  • Hopper functionality: How easy is it to remove the bean hopper for cleaning or to change coffees? 
  • Noise level: How quiet is it while grinding coffee?
  • Grinds retention: How much coffee remains stuck in the grinder from each batch?
  • Grind profile: How uniform is the grind profile for each different setting? 
  • Speed: How quickly does it grind a particular batch of coffee?
  • Cleanup: How easy is it to clean? 

Best Overall: KitchenAid Burr Grinder

Versatile, easy to use, and exceptionally quiet, this grinder checks all of the boxes. The stepped grind adjustment features 70 settings, allowing the user to dial-in a wide variety of coffee brewing methods — including espresso — and even comes with a portafilter adapter to allow direct grinding and dosing. The large hopper is easy to fill, remove, and clean, and the grinder’s antistatic dosing design means that there’s virtually no mess on the counter after use. The grinder’s large, easy-to-read digital display clearly indicates the selected grind size, number of cups’ or espresso shots’ worth of coffee you’d like to grind, and the anticipated grinding time. While there is no manual override function, the settings are simple to navigate and can take a lot of the fuss out of figuring out a coffee-brewing recipe. (Note that this grinder measures “cups” of brewed coffee as 5 ounces.) 


  • Burrs: 40mm stainless steel conical burs
  • Number of grind settings: 70
  • Hopper capacity (beans): 10 ounces
  • Doser capacity (grounds): 7 ounces
  • Weight: 9 pounds

Rating Criteria

  • Ease of use: 4
  • Hopper functionality: 4 
  • Noise level: 5
  • Grind profile: 4
  • Grinds retention: 5
  • Speed: 2
  • Cleanup: 5

Who it’s best for: The coffee-lover who likes to switch among different types of brewing styles. 
Good to know: While this grinder is the quietest by far of all the models I tested, it’s also one of the slowest, coming in at or around 20 seconds for most of the 30-gram batches. Turns out, you can’t rush perfection.

Best Budget: OXO Conical Burr Grinder

You don’t have to grind through a ton of money to get a burr grinder that’s reliable, easy to use, and offers a relatively stable grind profile. The OXO Conical Burr Grinder has a smallish footprint and a classic shape, tucking comfortably into a corner or under a cabinet when not in use. Its controls are simple as can be: The push-button on-off control is foolproof, and also has the capacity to be set to grind by time, up to 30 seconds. Grind adjustments are made with a quick click of the hopper, a piece which is also easy to remove for cleaning or changing coffees. The instructions offer a wide range of “recommended grind settings,” so dialing-in might take a bit of trial-and-error to find your sweet spot, but this grinder performs well for both French press and any kind of pour-over or drip preparation. While the grounds doser build up some static cling, it isn’t as messy as some, and the grinder itself retains very little coffee between batches. 


  • Burrs: 40mm stainless steel conical burrs
  • Number of grind settings: 43
  • Hopper capacity (beans): 12 ounces
  • Doser capacity (grounds): 4 ounces
  • Weight: 5.6 pounds

Rating Criteria

  • Ease of use: 4
  • Hopper functionality: 4 
  • Noise level: 4
  • Grind profile: 4
  • Speed: 3
  • Cleanup: 3

Who it’s best for: Anyone in need of an inexpensive but sturdy starter grinder.
Good to know: OXO also makes a version of this grinder with an integrated scale that is more expensive. It’s good, but I found this one to be both better in terms of performance and value.

Best for Espresso: Baratza Vario+

To make espresso, you not only need a grinder that can produce very fine coffee particles, but also one that allows for minute adjustments in order to properly dial in. Espresso is the most temperamental of brewing methods, and the least “set it and forget it” when it comes to grind settings. The Baratza Vario+ addresses that need by featuring “macro” and “micro” grind adjustments, giving the user advanced control over their grind profile and allowing them to adapt the grinder to different coffees. Its larger ceramic burrs are not only durable (ceramic doesn’t dull like steel does), but they also enable the grinder to make more precise cuts through the coffee beans. The Vario+ also has a direct-to-portafilter dosing attachment that makes it easy to grind, dose, and tamp straightaway. 


  • Burrs: 54mm ceramic flat burrs
  • Number of grind settings: 32
  • Hopper capacity (beans): 8 ounces
  • Doser capacity (grounds): 6.3 ounces
  • Weight: 9 pounds

Rating Criteria

  • Ease of use: 3
  • Hopper functionality: 3
  • Noise level: 5
  • Grind profile: 4
  • Speed: 4
  • Cleanup: 4

Who it’s best for: Espresso-lovers who also need a grinder suitable for other types of coffee brewing. 
Good to know: If you’re not familiar with making tiny, precise adjustments to your grinder, the macro-micro feature may be a bit hard to manage. The micro adjustments are also somewhat tricky to make using the dial on the front of the machine: I often found myself wanting to make a 1-step change only to overshoot by 2 or 3. 

Best Features: Breville Smart Grinder

Sometimes the extra features really do give a grinder a certain edge. With an easy-grip cord, a highly readable digital display, and quiet, low-static grinding, the Smart Grinder is evidence of the amount of consideration that Breville puts into the end user experience. This model has the capacity to grind by weight and/or time: You can adjust both the grind time in 0.2-second increments, as well as control the volume (by cups) of coffee that you’re grinding, for a more accurate dose based on your recipe. The 60 available grind settings are controlled by a simple turn of a knob and reflected on the digital screen, making minute adjustments possible as well as easily recordable. There’s even a feature to dose directly into a filter basket or portafilter, rather than the included grounds dosing bin, although the grounds doser also has a sealable lid on top to keep ground coffee fresher longer.   


  • Burrs: 40mm stainless steel conical burrs
  • Number of grind settings: 60
  • Hopper capacity (beans): 16 ounces
  • Doser capacity (grounds): 8 ounces
  • Weight: 6.4 pounds

Rating Criteria

  • Ease of use: 4
  • Hopper functionality: 4
  • Noise level: 2
  • Grind profile: 3
  • Speed: 3
  • Cleanup: 4

Who it’s best for: Coffee gearheads who love small technological details and want to tinker.
Good to know: This model performs best on the medium-to-fine side of the grind-profile spectrum, and I don’t recommend it for French press.

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