Licensed Q Arabica Grader, M.A. Journalism
- April 4, 2020
The difference between buying pre-ground coffee and grinding your own beans can’t be exaggerated.
It’s a little bit like cooking; think of the difference between fresh, delicate herbs on one hand and then the dried, stale ones you find on the shelves in supermarkets.
In cooking freshness is essential, and the same goes for coffee.
Grinders can be overwhelmingly expensive, but there are actually a few cheap coffee grinders out there that are capable of producing a consistent grind.
Here are some of the best options for the budget conscious home-barista.
My top pick:
|1Zpresso JX Manual Coffee…||350 Reviews|
|TIMEMORE Chestnut C2 Manual…||237 Reviews|
|Hario Ceramic Coffee Mill…||8,062 Reviews|
|Secura Electric Coffee Grinder||1,339 Reviews|
|Cuisinart DBM-8 Supreme Grind…||22,961 Reviews|
There are many factors to consider when choosing a coffee grinder.
Some models are merely glorified salt and pepper mills, while others have advanced functions like timers and built-in scales.
However, if you’re reading this you probably want a basic model that can be used for stuff like French press, drip and pour over.
This grinder from the Taiwanese brand 1Zpresso has been my favorite since it was released in mid 2019.
The grounds are extremely consistent with almost no fines. This mean that your coffee just tastes a lot more smooth and less bitter.
If you buy beans from artisan roasters having flavor notes such as ‘chocolate‘ and ‘peach‘, then you need a grinder like this bring out these flavors clearly. Most budget grinders just won’t make the cut.
Since this is a manual grinder you will have to some work yourself. However, due to the smooth bearings and sharp steel burrs, it actually grinds very fast. I usually grind 2 big handfuls of beans for my morning coffee, which takes less than 45 seconds.
Many readers of the site, have sent emails to me, saying thanks for recommending this grinder. You can see my full review here.
The only people who I wouldn’t recommend this grinder to are people who care more about convenience than coffee flavor, and people who tend to brew big batches every day. Those are probably better served with an electric grinder instead.
This is an end-game grinder that is built to last for years. If you can stretch your budget just a little bit, I’d recommend this one to most people.See more reviews
Timemore C2 has become extremely popular within the last year or so. It’s easy to see why: This is a grinder that’s close to many of the famous manual grinders in terms of performance, but the price is still on the budget-friendly side.
The Timemore C2 offers a consistent grind and can be used for all brewing methods except espresso and Turkish.
The most remarkable thing about the C2 is that it’s very speedy for a manual grinder. It can almost grind a gram per second, which is quite amazing.
It’s also quite compact, while still having a solid enough capacity, which means that it can work well both as your daily workhorse or as a travel companion, if you’re going camping.
There’s a lot of good stuff to be said about Timemore’s budget model. I see it as being significantly better than the Hario Skerton, but not quite as good as the abovementioned, Jx. Check out, the full review here.See more reviews
The Hario Skerton Pro is the upgraded version of Hario’s classic hand grinder.
Besides the attractive price and cute design, it has a lot of cool things going for it.
First of all, it’s a manual grinder, which means that you can bring it everywhere, since there’s no need for electricity.
It also has a pretty consistent grind, which means that it will be great for everything from pour over to French press.
If you have the patience, it can even grind for espresso. But it does take quite some time grind that fine with a manual grinder.
The downside with a manual grinder is that it’s a little bit of work every time you want coffee. If you’re just grinding for yourself it’s not a demanding task, but if you’re going to make coffee for more than two people it’s a bit of a pain.
However, I really like the Skerton Pro, and if you’re looking for a budget burr grinder, this is a good option. Make sure to check out myreview of the Hario Skerton Pro.See more reviews
This electric grinder features a disc burr grinder. It is fairly lightweight at 4.5 pounds. Its dimensions are 7.13” x 10.75” x 6”. It features a 140-watt motor and is BPA free.
While the grind chamber is removable and holds up to 32 cups worth of ground coffee, you can only ground between four and eighteen cups at a time.
If you want to grind less than four cups worth of grounds, you can add fewer beans and the automatic shut off will turn off the machine once it is out of beans.
The Cuisinart DBM-8 Supreme Grind features a grind selector with 18 positions, allowing you to choose anywhere from a fine grind for an espresso machine to a coarser grind for a French Press.
The removable bean hopper holds 8oz of coffee beans and comes with a scoop and cleaning brush. The stainless steel Cuisinart DBM-8 Supreme Grind comes with an eighteen-month limited manufacturer’s warranty.
This grinder has a better build quality than most of the other budget grinders, but unfortunately, the burrs are not the best. That means that the grinder is quite noisy and also produces a lot of dust, also known as fines.
Still, it should be a good grinder for most people just getting into coffee. Read our full review here.See more reviews
This electric burr grinder features legit conical burrs – not the fake kind. It weighs in at 3 pounds and has dimensions of 7.75” x 5” x 10.5”. The motor is 100 watts and the grinder is made of ABS and stainless steel. The grinder has a one-year limited warranty
The bean hopper holds up to 8.5 ounces of whole coffee beans and the removable coffee ground container holds up to 4 ounces of coffee grounds. The Capresso 560.04 Infinity features 16 grind settings from extra-fine to coarse, with four settings for each: extra-fine, fine, regular, and coarse. The grinding timer can be set for anywhere from five to 60 seconds.
The Capresso 560 Infinity has a slower grinding speed to reduce friction and heat. It also features a safety lock system. For easy cleaning, the bean hopper, upper conical burr, and coffee ground container are all removable. The grinder also comes with a scoop and cleaning brush.
This grinder is more expensive than the other ones we have been looking at in this roundup review. So it should come as no surprise that it also offers a more consistent grind than the other models we have been looking at.
If you can afford the Capresso Infinity it’s a very solid option that should be able to serve you for years.See more reviews
This grinder from Danish company Bodum just has a striking look. It looks more like a high-end product compared to most of the other cheap grinders. It still lands firmly in the budget range though, which means it should be on your radar.
The Bodum Bistro has a clever design and it’s solidly built. The ground container is made out of borosilicate glass, which is quite nice because it means less static and fewer fines and chaff clinging to the container.
As with many of the better grinder in this price range, there’s a set of true steel conical burrs inside the device, meaning that you should be able to get uniformly ground coffee for many years, depending on usage.
The Bodum has a built-in timer, which can both be a blessing and a curse. A few users on Amazon complain that the maximum time setting of 20 seconds isn’t enough time to grind larger quantities. So keep that in mind if you’re often brewing big batches.
The Bodum Burr Grinder has got 14 settings and is capable of producing grinds for anything from moka pot to French Press. I personally wouldn’t use it for espresso.
This electric coffee grinder features a ceramic burr grinder. It is extremely lightweight at only 2.5 pounds.
The Secura SCG-903B Automatic Electric Burr Coffee Grinder features 17 grind selections from fine to coarse, so you should be good to go whether you are using a pour over filter cone or a French Press.
With the ability to place up to 7oz of whole coffee beans in the bean hopper, you can choose a cup selection anywhere from two to twelve cups. The electric grinder features an on/off switch, as well as being capable of automatic shutoff once it reaches the quantity you put in.
If you are low on counter space, the Secura SCG-903B Automatic Electric Burr Coffee Grinder takes up very little. Its dimensions are 6” x 4” x 8.75”, so it is pretty compact. It also features a one-year limited manufacturer’s warranty.
There’s a lot of good things to say about this cheap, little grinder. A ceramic burr is always capable to punch well above its weight, so this grinder will definitely be a worthy upgrade over a pre-ground or a blade grinder.See more reviews
You may be wondering why you should have the added expense of whole beans and a coffee grinder. The answer is quite simple and scientific: oxidation.
As oxygen meets your ground coffee, it starts to break down the oils and aroma compounds.
This causes your ground coffee to go stale, giving your coffee a more boring flavor. Simply put, the fresher your ground coffee is, the more flavorful it is.
When it comes to the inner workings of coffee grinders, there are two main choices: blades or burrs. They both grind your coffee, so how do you know how to choose?
The shape of the burrs can be either conical or flat.
Both are good in their own way, but usually, the entry-level models will feature conical burrs and more expensive espresso-oriented grinders that are used in coffee shops will have flat steel burrs.
Comparing a manual grinder to an electric one is a bit like comparing apples to oranges; they are quite different and there are use cases to both. There are a variety of choices to choose from either way you go.
With a manual grinder, you basically put the beans in, turn the crank, and out comes your freshly ground coffee. Sizes can vary from incredibly small grinders suitable for travel, and go up to larger models meant for daily use at home.
Manual grinders tend to grind more uniform for the money, and they also last longer since only few parts can break.
The caveat is that they do require a fair amount of biceps exercise for every cuppa joe you want.
An electric grinder is way more convenient for most people. Especially, if you’re often brewing bigger batches of coffee. Realistically, manual grinding becomes cumbersome if you have to grind for more than two people (around 30 grams).
There are three main benefits to choosing an electric grinder over a manual one.