Our list consists of mostly conical-burr grinders, for their affordability compared to flat-burr grinders. In a conical grinder, coffee beans are ground between two rings of burrs that crush and grind up the beans. That means you’re getting a more consistent grind than you’d get with a traditional blade grinder, and most burr grinders can go much finer than even the nicest blade grinder can—that means you’ll be properly equipped for grinding your own beans for espresso at home.
Flat-burr grinders are similar, but they’re typically more expensive. In these, the burrs are laid on top of each other, and the beans pass through them as they grind. This means the action of the grinder pushes the grounds out of one end (instead of relying on gravity like a conical burr grinder, so fewer fine particles will get stuck in your burrs), and the beans spend more time in contact with the burrs. This results in a more consistent grind overall. But, generally, for home brewers, conical-burr grinders are just as good—even if they require more maintenance and don’t result in consistent-down-to-the-micron-scale grounds.
TIRED: Blade grinders
The $14 Krups model you see here is a totally fine blade grinder. It does its job as intended. Blade grinders are made more like blenders, with a chopping blade that spins around like a food processor. The problem is that blades don’t produce even results. Some of your coffee will be fine powder at the bottom, and at the top you’ll have bits too large for even French press. The result is an inconsistent, unpredictable brew. These grinders are cheap, and yes, using fresh beans in a blade grinder is far better than buying ground coffee. (You can learn how to shake the beans to even your grind just a little. See world barista champion James Hoffmann’s video for some more blade grinder hacks.) But if you can afford it, we highly recommend going with one of the burr grinder options we’ve listed.
EXPIRED: The Cusinart Supreme Grind
It may be a burr grinder, but members of our reviews team have purchased and tested this Cuisinart model at least three times because of its low price. It was loud, the grind wasn’t as even as we wanted, and the motor gave out on all of our units (which we purchased years between one another) after a month or two. We recommend you stick to $100-plus models for electric burr grinding.