14 Best Coffee Grinders (2023): Conical-Burr, Flat-Burr, Manual, Blade | WIRED

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14 Best Coffee Grinders (2023): Conical-Burr, Flat-Burr, Manual, Blade | WIRED

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It's all in the beans. Nothing will improve your morning coffee like grinding the beans right before you brew. It doesn't matter whether you're rocking a fancy liquid-cooled-quantum-AI-powered espresso machine or a $20 Mr. Coffee—making the switch to whole beans will transform your coffee-drinking experience. We have advice at the end of this article on finding good whole beans, and you might want to read our Best Coffee Bean Subscription Services guide. Once you have your beans, it's time to grind ’em up fresh each day. These are the best coffee grinders we've tested.

Be sure to check out our coffee buying guides, like the Best Latte and Cappuccino Machines, Best Portable Coffee Makers, Best Espresso Machines, and Best Portable Espresso Makers.

Updated October 2023: We added the DmofwHi Wireless Grinder and Breville Barista Express.

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Our list consists mostly of conical-burr grinders. In a conical grinder, coffee beans are crushed and ground between two rings of burrs. They deliver a finer, much more consistent grind than you’d get with a traditional blade grinder, even the nicest ones.

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. The grinder action pushes the grounds out of one end, instead of relying on gravity like a conical-burr grinder, and the beans spend more time in contact with the burrs. This results in a more consistent grind, but 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.

Blade grinders have a chopping blade that spins around like a food processor. But 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.)

If you can afford it, we highly recommend going with one of the burr grinders we've listed. There's a reason why they cost a little more than a budget burr grinder. The machinery in a high-quality burr grinder is a bit more complicated, and it's built to withstand greater wear and tear. In cheap burr grinders, the burrs will typically get blunt from regular use, and the flimsier motors may burn out with regular use in a matter of months.

PSA: Do not put preground coffee into a burr grinder. Logically, it makes sense. It's too coarse, so you put it through again, right? No! With a burr grinder, the preground coffee gets stuck inside the burrs, and you''ll have to do some disassembly to set them to rights again.

I had mixed feelings about the Opus (9/10, WIRED Recommends) when I first set it up. It's lighter than some of the other offerings in this guide, and there's more plastic in the build than I usually like. Then I turned it on. The grounds it produced at its finest setting were like double-zero flour. They were super-fine, and under a macro lens, they were remarkably consistent. That's the performance I saw with every grade of coarseness it offers—remarkable consistency.

There's another feature that's easy to overlook: it's quiet. I've tested dozens of burr grinders over the years, and this one was so hushed I almost thought it was broken. That might not seem like an important detail for a coffee grinder, but burr grinders are loud, and if you're the first one to get up in the morning, you're basically hitting an alarm clock for the whole house. The Opus grinds quietly and cleanly and can meet your needs no matter what kind of coffee you're grinding. And it's less than $200.

Oxo's Brew grinder has a good balance of features, usefulness, and a relatively low price among the electric grinders we've used. It's a conical-burr grinder, so it gives you the precision for most types of brewing. There are 15 settings, covering every brewing scenario from finely ground espresso to coarse-ground that’s perfect for a French press. Its slim, narrow profile doesn't hog counter space—though it is 16 inches tall and might be a tight fit under the cabinets. (Remember, you need some clearance to take the lid off and pour in beans.) It's not silent by any means, but it's not too loud, and it grinds quickly.

We've used this grinder daily for more than a year, and it's held up well. If you've never had a burr grinder and want to see what all the fuss is about without breaking the bank, this is where you should start. But be careful, you will end up drinking more coffee because it tastes so good when it's burr-ground. Avoid the equally popular Cuisinart burr grinder ($60). 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, and the motor gave out on all of our units (which we purchased years apart) after a month or two.

Hand-built in Florence, Italy, the Eureka Mignon Notte is the best grinder we've ever tested. It's built from top to bottom with longevity in mind. You can disassemble it to service its robust inner machinery, clean the burrs, and troubleshoot any issues. Moreover, the chassis is built like a tank, and unlike most grinders, it's made almost entirely of steel. Servicing a heavy-duty machine like a burr grinder encased in flimsy plastic can be a huge pain—and sometimes impossible without breaking something.

Burr grinders will always run into problems. They break up oily beans into fine powders, so there's going to be some buildup, somewhere. The Mignon Notte is one of the first burr grinders that I feel confident might actually outlast me. Plus, it grinds coffee to perfection in a matter of seconds, no matter how fine or coarse you want it, and it costs hundreds less than most flat-burr grinders.

There’s a good reason the Baratza Encore’s been unchanged on the market for over a decade. While coffee culture can often seem elitist and uninviting, this conical-burr grinder is more accessible and less expensive than most quality grinders. It's simple to operate and doesn't hog counter space. (It's about 14 inches tall, so check the specs against your kitchen.)

The Baratza Encore is also easily cleanable and repairable. No tools are required to remove the hopper or outer ring of the burr grinder, and replacement parts are easy to obtain. Plus, there’s a one-year limited warranty. The Encore has a bigger, beefier cousin, the Encore Vario-W, but for most people, the Encore is a much better pick. The Vario-W does include a scale and it has flat burrs, but at over $500, it doesn't do much to justify that price.

A burr grinder will get you noticeably tastier coffee, but there's nothing wrong with a plain old blade grinder. If you're just grinding coffee for a drip machine, French press, or pour-over, a blade grinder will do just fine in most cases. My personal favorite has been this KitchenAid that I picked up on Amazon a few years back. It's sturdy, and it has a little removable cup so you don't have to invert the whole grinder over your coffee machine to empty out the grounds. Most importantly, it gets the job done. Add in fresh, locally roasted beans and you'll be in for a killer cup of coffee.  Pro tip: If you pulse it instead of holding it down for one long grind, you'll get a more consistent grind, and you won't end up with as many nearly whole beans floating at the top of your coffee filter. A more consistent grind equals more flavor in your cup.

The Ode Brew Grinder only grinds coffee coarse enough for pour-over, drip, or French press brewing, but it's a great grinder. Its flat burrs produce a super consistent grind that really elevates a good pour-over. It's also nice to look at and is built from solid metal, like a tank. The Ode thoroughly, speedily, and relatively quietly grinds your coffee beans. We recommend it if you’re looking to raise your coffee game at home but aren't interested in making espresso.

The Baratza Encore ESP (9/10 WIRED Recommends) grinder is a little different from the standard Encore. The ESP costs a bit more, but it has a good reason for that: It offers more granular adjustments at the finer end of the scale, meaning you can really fine-tune your espresso grind. It has 40 grind settings, 20 micro settings which will produce super-fine espresso grounds, and 20 macro settings which will produce coarser grounds suitable for pour-over or drip.

On top of that, you can also remove the hopper and outer ring of the grinder without any tools, which makes cleaning and servicing the machine pretty easy.

The Wilfa Uniform grinder (9/10, WIRED Recommends) isn't the kind of device that's built for espresso, but it will provide consistent grounds for almost all other types of coffee. Because it's a flat burr grinder, it's going to give you noticeably uniform grounds. Each and every ground comes out with almost exactly the same shape. That level of consistency is great for at-home coffee because it ensures each cup you brew is going to be as rich and flavorful as possible. It also boasts an auto-stop feature, so it'll stop grinding when it runs out of beans to grind.

We have killed quite a few burr grinders in our day. They can be hard to keep clean and hard to maintain, plus most of the ones you’ll find under $80 aren’t going to live long no matter how well you look after them. The motors burn out, the burrs get worn down, and coffee dust builds up in places you can’t get to—it's a hard life.

The Breville Smart Grinder Pro is one of the best I’ve used. It has all kinds of helpful features, like a grind timer and adjustable dose control, plus attachments that let you settle a portafilter right under the spout where the grounds come out. The standout feature for me is its cleanability. You can easily disassemble the hopper, get access to the burrs, and pull out the spill tray under the spout—it’s amazing for keeping a burr grinder in working order.

★ Alternative: The KitchenAid Burr Grinder ($200) is stylish and also easy to clean. The burrs are just a bit more accessible thanks to their placement directly beneath the hopper. It also features precise dose control and a dial controlling the consistency of the grind (with helpful guidelines for different kinds of coffee preparation). Plus, you can swap the little container that catches the grounds with a holder for a portafilter—which makes it super easy to grind exactly how much you need and not a single bean more.

Making great coffee is all about starting with fresh roasted beans, getting them to just the right grind, and adding hot water. Making great coffee consistently is all about measuring your variables, and adjusting one at a time. One key variable is the weight of grounds you use, and this Oxo model comes with a built-in scale. Set your grind size, select the weight you want, hit Start, and walk away; it shuts itself off when it's done. You can use a kitchen scale to weigh your beans, but this is a nice way to streamline your morning ritual, especially if counter space is at a premium. Be warned though, it does have a tendency to cast off a few grounds here or there when you open the little grounds container, so make sure you sweep your counter regularly.

WIRED senior reviewer Scott Gilbertson prefers to hand-grind his coffee, and he's tried half a dozen manual grinders. The Skerton Pro is far and away his favorite. It's fast, taking less than two minutes to grind out the half cup of fine grounds for my moka pot—and the burr design produces a consistent, fine grind. Note that we said “fine.” This is not the best choice for French press brewing, because the Skerton Pro is just not consistent enough at coarse grinds.

On the downside, the silicone grip constantly falls off. (Scott threw his away, as it didn't do much anyway.) On the upside, the threads on the grinder portion are standard, so if anything happens to the glass jar you can just use a regular Ball mason jar.

14 Best Coffee Grinders (2023): Conical-Burr, Flat-Burr, Manual, Blade | WIRED

Table Belt Sander This smaller Hario is the first hand grinder that senior reviewer Scott Gilbertson ever used. It's perfect for a shot of espresso or even a small moka pot. It doesn't grind as fast as the Skerton, but it's much lighter and safer to throw in your bag when you travel, thanks to the plastic construction. There's also the slightly larger and more expensive Mini Slim Pro. Grind-wise, the Mini Slim is about the same, but he doesn't like it as much, because you can't see how much coffee you've ground.