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14 of the Very Best Coffee Grinders

Any cup of coffee worth drinking is made from freshly ground beans.

Photo: Marcus McDonald
Photo: Marcus McDonald

In this article

I’ll be honest: I’m not a coffee snob. Give me a cup — pretty much any old cup — and I won’t complain. However, that doesn’t mean I don’t appreciate a particularly good one. And as any actual coffee snob will tell you (trust me, I’ve talked with a lot of them), your coffee is only going to be as good as your beans. And your beans won’t be any good at all if you’re not grinding them yourself right before brewing.

Unfortunately, most decent coffee grinders, even those made specifically for home use, cost a very pretty penny — we’re talking hundreds of dollars. So to figure out which models are worth the investment, we asked baristas, roasters, and coffee-shop owners about the versions they keep on their own kitchen counters (and sometimes in their suitcases because apparently good coffee never takes a vacation).

If you’re still not quite convinced a coffee grinder is something you should put so much hard-earned money toward (ahem, me), don’t worry: We’ve included a few more affordable options that are still very much pro-approved.

What we’re looking for

Blade style

Every expert we spoke to noted that burr grinders (which break down beans in a kind of milling action) are better than blade grinders (which act more like choppers). As someone who has a barely used blade grinder sitting shamefully in the back of a cabinet, I concur. Will Pratt, owner and founder of Tandem Coffee Roasters in Portland, Maine, explains that with burr grinders, all the beans pass from the top of the machine to the bottom, meaning they end up a uniform and precise size, as opposed to getting “thrown around like they’re in the dryer.” Joanna Lareau, cafe manager at Stumptown Coffee, agrees that blades are a haphazard method, leaving you with some coffee that’s “over-extracted” (quite bitter) and some that’s “under-extracted” (quite sour). Plus, she says, “with burr grinders, you can tinker until you find what tastes good” for whatever coffee maker you use.

Noise level

Whether it’s at your own pre-coffee expense, or your sleeping partner or roommate’s expense, early morning noise is pretty universally unwelcome. Almost every grinder makes some, but we categorized each as either “loud” or “quiet” depending on which way it leaned — and went into more detail in the description of each.


As noted above, these aren’t cheap. But with coffee grinders, cost is relative, denoted by the number of dollar signs. $ means it costs less than $100, $$ means between $100 and $400, $$$ between $400 and $800, and $$$$ above $800.

Best overall coffee grinder

Blade style: Burr | Noise level: Loud | Price: $$

As a brand, Baratza came up in our reporting more often than any other. Some favor its higher-end models (more on a couple of those below), but nearly a dozen of the coffee aficionados we spoke with recommended this more affordable option, highlighting its quality performance and solid build — especially for the price. “It’s simple to use and super-consistent,” Lareau says. In my own testing, I found the same to be true. The machine took me no more than five minutes to set up, and the switches — one to set the grind size and another to turn it on and off — were easy to understand. It takes a couple of rounds to grind a full bag of beans (how I prefer to do it — as opposed to per serving) but works quickly at about a minute per turn. In general, my biggest qualm with coffee grinders is the mess they make, but this one has nicely angled sides on the grind chamber that allow for neat pouring. I find it easy to disassemble, clean, and reassemble the detachable parts before I store it.

Humberto Ricardo, founder of Third Rail Coffee, adds that Baratza machines are “designed to be repaired instead of thrown away should something break, which is good for my wallet and for the planet.” And speaking of repairs, Pratt noted Baratza’s great customer service. “When you have to replace the burrs every few years, they make it incredibly easy to do so,” he says.

Elliott Foos, director of coffee at Daymoves in Brooklyn, told us that he used the Encore at work when he previously ran the coffee shop attached to chef Flynn McGarry’s Lower East Side restaurant Gem. “It’s intuitive and performs wonderfully,” he says, “grinding from fine espresso to the most coarse setting for French press or cold brew.” (The Encore, in fact, has 40 grind settings, so you can easily adjust to whatever you’re looking for.) While he acknowledges it can be a little loud — or a “touch chatty,” in his words — Foos says that’s to be expected for a grinder made of plastic and designed for the home.

Best less expensive coffee grinder

Photo: retailer

Blade style: Burr | Noise level: Quiet | Price: $

If you’re not quite ready to take the plunge on a model upwards of $100, the Krups Precision Grinder is a very solid place to start. It comes recommended by Paul Schlader, owner of New York City–based Birch Coffee, who promises it has the essentials: 12 settings for selecting your preferred grind size and a “cup selector” dial to grind the exact amount of coffee you need for the number of drinks you’re making.

Best even less expensive coffee grinder

Blade style: Burr | Noise level: Loud | Price: $

Before I got my hands on the Baratza, this was the entry-level grinder I had for about a year — one of the most affordable on the market with burr-style blades. It’s quite intuitive to use: You simply fill the chamber with beans, set the dial to any of the 18 settings between fine and coarse grind, set the number of cups you are planning to brew (though you won’t need this if you pre-weigh the amount of beans you use in the first place), and press start. And while I only used mine only once a month or so (I often buy pre-ground beans), Strategist writer Erin Schwartz has used the same model nearly every day for more than five years and says that “it’s kind of incredible that it hasn’t broken or shown any signs of serious wear and tear yet.” They like that the top container can fit a standard-size bag of beans, so they don’t have to waste pantry space on leftovers. And while they note that it’s not the easiest to take apart to clean, most of the pieces are dishwasher-safe and it stores well — retangular and compact with a place to wrap the cord underneath.

Best coffee grinder for filter brew methods

Blade style: Burr | Noise level: Quiet | Price: $$

Matthew Kang, editor of Eater L.A., likes the Eureka Mignon even more than the similarly priced Baratza because he says it has better grind consistency. The catch is that it only mills on the coarser end of the spectrum — meaning it’s great for methods like pour-over, French press, and Aeropress, but not espresso. But the grinder is “strong, durable, and powerful,” Kang says, breaking down whole bags of coffee at a time with its bigger-than-average 50-mm. flat burrs. Kang does note that the machine only has a small dial to change the grind setting and a tiny button on the bottom to start the grinder without any timers. But he says that doesn’t matter — in the end, “the beans will be ground more consistently, resulting in better-tasting coffee.” This grinder certainly makes some noise, but as you can see in this video, it’s quite a reasonable level — especially for this price point, as the pro testing it points out.

Best quiet coffee grinder

Fellow Ode Brew Grinder
From $246

Blade style: Burr | Noise level: Quiet | Price: $$

When it came out a little over a year ago, Fellow’s Ode grinder was all the buzz among professional and amateur baristas alike — so much so that it prompted associate editor Louis Cheslaw to try it out and write an extremely favorable review, noting in particular that at its very loudest, the grinder sounds “like crumpling up a newspaper.”

But its appeal goes beyond noise control. The Ode combines fast, consistent, and typically commercial-grade flat-burr grinding technology with a compact size and the thoughtful design details that Fellow’s other tea and coffee products are known for (here at the Strategist, we’re particularly fond of the company’s electric kettle). “They really thought about every detail,” says Jerad Morrison, co-founder and co-CEO of Sightglass Coffee in San Francisco. “The dial that adjusts the grind size is very intuitive. The cup that catches the grind is magnetic, so it clicks into position tightly and easily. The machine even has a button that shakes out any residual chaff” — the leftover coffee skins that mostly come off during roasting but usually not all the way — “into the cup instead of blowing them out onto your counter, which happens with other grinders.” (For what it’s worth, when I checked back in with Cheslaw, he noted that he did sometimes find excess grounds on his counter but that he might have misunderstood the correct button — and, regardless, that it’s a “small price for quieter grinding.”)

Best coffee grinder with an integrated scale

Blade style: Burr | Noise level: Loud | Price: $$

Schlader loves this Oxo grinder for a number of reasons, but chief among them is its “built-in intelligent scale” — which means you won’t lose extra money or counter space buying a separate one. The feature “simplifies the process of grinding coffee for your average home brewer and cuts down on equipment,” he says. Enter the number of cups you’re going to brew and your preferred coarseness for whatever coffee-making method you employ, and the grinder spits out exactly what you need. “It’s an incredibly thoughtful product,” he says.

Best coffee grinder with an integrated timer

Blade style: Burr | Noise level: Loud | Price: $$

If you’re looking for a grinder with a timer (or if you’d just like a general step up from the Baratza Encore), four of our baristas praised this model. You can set it to grind for a specific time, turn it on, walk away, and come back to beans that are never overground. (The Encore, by contrast, must be stopped and started manually.) Ricardo says it’s fast and relatively quiet.

Best coffee grinder for espresso

Blade style: Burr | Noise level: Loud | Price: $$$$

The grinder is on the pricier side, but according to Morrison, it’s worth it. “Most grinders claim they can get a fine-enough consistency for espresso,” he says, “but that’s just not true.” The Marzocco, on the other hand, was made specifically for espresso and espresso alone. It’s high-quality enough to be used in many coffee shops but is still a good investment at home if you’re a serious espresso drinker. “For espresso preparation, a mediocre grind is a nonstarter,” says Morrison.

Best less expensive coffee grinder for espresso

Blade style: Burr | Noise level: Quiet | Price: $$$

Several times a year, Cary Wong, a member of the Partners Coffee education team, attends trade shows to try lots of new products. This grinder left such a lasting impression that he still recommends it years later. The Niche Zero is a stepless grinder, which means you have infinite grind-size settings as opposed to having to choose from predetermined ones. That feature, Wong says, “really allows you to grind fine enough coffee to make great espresso.” While it’s only single dose, that makes its footprint smaller than most — ideal for if you have limited counter space or want to store it in a cabinet. “I love that it comes with a nice dosing cup with a perfect size for your portafilter,” Wong says, “which makes it easy and allows for no mess.” Other pluses he points out are its sleek design, well-built construction, and the fact that it’s quiet, “perfect for early-morning coffee drinkers.”

[Editor’s note: The Niche Zero is priced in pounds, so the price shown is an approximate conversion to U.S. dollars.]

Best durable coffee grinder

Blade style: Burr | Noise level: Loud | Price: $$

Jamie McCormick, co-owner of the East Village coffee shop Abraço, swears by this KitchenAid model. “It grinds at an insanely consistent particle size, right up there with my shop’s Mahlkonig EK,” a commercial coffee grinder that costs over $2,500. In addition to the top-notch technicals, it’s “very sturdy.” How does he know? It still works fine after being dropped on a concrete floor at the roastery about five years ago. “It looks totaled and unusable, but it still purrs, no problem,” he says. One potential downside to take into consideration, according to McCormick: “It is loud and sounds like the machine it is.” Naama Shefi, founder of Jewish Food Society, calls this model “strong,” using it every day — sometimes multiple times a day — to brew coffee in her moka pot.

Best retro-style coffee grinder

Blade style: Burr | Noise level: Quiet | Price: $

Smeg makes many particularly attractive, retro-style appliances (we’re talking everything from refrigerators to toasters). And while we would never urge you to buy something just for looks, Kang says its coffee grinder is super solid, the one he has been using nearly every day at home for the last year and a half. Kang owns it in pastel green, which he says “looks really adorable with its 1950s design.” But he points out that the grind consistency is good, the container captures most of the coffee dust, it’s easy to dose a specific amount, and the hopper is big enough for almost a pound of beans.

Best professional-quality coffee grinder

Photo: retailer

Blade style: Burr | Noise level: Quiet | Price: $$$$

If you are in fact ready to take the plunge on the very high end of the coffee-grinder spectrum, it doesn’t get much better than the Baratza Forte BG. The word commercial in the name is an indicator; it’s intended for extensive daily use in restaurants and cafés. For one, it’s virtually silent. For another, “the grind-by-weight feature is incredible,” says Reagan Petrehn, specialty coffee consultant and former branding lead of Felix Roasting Co. Petrehn adds that he loves its capabilities across the board, which allow him to use it “both for espresso and pour-over” and change his grind settings as he goes.

Best manual coffee grinder

Although it may sound strange to take a technological step backward, manual grinders have plenty of fans. This one — which, yes, clocks in at a three-digit price point — is top of the line and comes recommended by Tom Bomford, coffee director at New York City’s Black Fox. “When you buy an electric grinder, a huge chunk of your money goes into the build of the unit,” he says. “With a hand mill, you will find that more of your money goes into the blade quality and the grinder’s internal gears.” Accordingly, the Comandante’s construction is strong, and the blades are sharp and durable. While hand mills are better suited for smaller amounts of coffee, Bomford assures it’s a “fantastic” investment for anyone who regularly brews a couple of cups at a time, especially if they don’t want a large appliance taking up space.

Best less expensive manual coffee grinder

Burr | Quiet | $

The Porlex II is an updated version of a model that a couple of our experts noted was great. It features the same burr blades as every other grinder on this list, but is significantly more affordable than the Comandante. “It’s great to travel with, or to gift someone if you don’t want to assume anything about the setup of their kitchen,” says Caroline Bell, owner of Cafe Grumpy in New York City. “It’s easy to adjust, and the grind size is really consistent.” I think this would be a good pick for someone who doesn’t make coffee every single day.

Other coffee products we’ve written about

Our experts

• Caroline Bell, owner of Cafe Grumpy
• Tom Bomford, coffee director at Black Fox
• Louis Cheslaw, Strategist associate editor
• Elliott Foos, director of coffee at Daymoves
• Matthew Kang, editor of Eater LA
• Joanna Lareau, cafe manager at Stumptown Coffee
• Jamie McCormick, co-owner of Abraço
• Jerad Morrison, co-founder and co-CEO of Sightglass Coffee
• Reagan Petrehn, specialty coffee consultant
• Will Pratt, owner and founder of Tandem Coffee Roasters
• Humberto Ricardo, founder of Third Rail Coffee
• Paul Schlader, owner of Birch Coffee
• Erin Schwartz, Strategist writer
• Naama Shefi, founder of Jewish Food Society
• Cary Wong, member of the Partners Coffee education team

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14 of the Very Best Coffee Grinders