Updated May 05, 2019 by Jeff Newburgh

The 10 Best Burr Grinders

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This wiki has been updated 22 times since it was first published in March of 2015. When you need a caffeine boost to jump-start the day, but refuse to settle for anything less than that perfect cup of joe, look to one of these powerful burr grinders to process your coffee beans with efficiency and precision, ensuring maximum flavor extraction at all times. We've included both electric and manually-operated mills designed to suit almost any brewing method. When users buy our independently chosen editorial choices, we may earn commissions to help fund the Wiki. Skip to the best burr grinder on Amazon.

10. Bodum Bistro

9. Rancilio Rocky

8. JavaPresse Manual

7. Hario Skerton Plus

6. Capresso Infinity

5. Baratza Vario-W

4. Breville Smart Grinder Pro

3. Eureka Mignon Specialita

2. Krups GX420851

1. Baratza Forte BG

Editor's Notes

April 29, 2019:

An individual's preference for coffee is always personal. Some of us prefer coarse grinds, while others want the smoothness and strength of espresso to wake us up in the morning. That said, having a burr grinder that is both powerful and versatile enough to process all grind types with maximum flavor is extremely important. For that reason, I made a concerted effort to include multifunctional machines that can work for the entire "spectrum" of coffee aficionados.

I added the Baratza Forte BG for its extremely durable metal exterior, 260 grind settings, digital touchscreen, and grind-by-weight functionality for pinpoint coffee precision. I thought the Krups GX420851 was a formidable option due to the detachable hopper with auto-closing trap doors for easy transport and storage of unused beans. Included the Eureka Mignon Specialita for its insulated steel casing, which significantly reduces its noise levels during operation. Its extra-wide internal chute also helps prevent coffee grounds from clumping up inside it. Maintained the Breville Smart Grinder Pro for its smart dosing technology and easy-to-read LCD. I added the Baratza Vario-W for its ceramic flat burrs and bean shutoff feature, which helps to reduce wasted coffee. I maintained the Capresso Infinity because of the internal reduction gears and their ability to reduce the buildup of excess heat. Both the Hario Skerton Plus and JavaPresse Manual can be operated using a convenient hand crank, the former of which leverages a dishwasher-safe glass storage bowl and the latter of which utilizes a dual-plated ceramic conical burr assembly for ensuring grind consistency. Maintained the Rancilio Rocky for its transparent, blue-tinted collection hopper and built-in thermal overload protection.

Burr, It's Cold Out There

The larger the gap between the two rough surfaces of the grinder, the coarser the grind will be.

A burr grinder, also known as a burr mill, is an appliance used to grind coffee beans and other food particles. The burr grinder is composed of two abrasive surfaces that come into contact with food particles for the purpose of grinding them down into a powder. The larger the gap between the two rough surfaces of the grinder, the coarser the grind will be. The opposite is also true; a smaller gap results in a finer grind. The grinder may be manually operated or powered by electricity. Both power sources are capable of a quality grind.

A burr grinder should not be confused with a blade mill, which is another appliance for grinding food particles. A blade mill is composed of a spinning blade that repeatedly comes in contact with the particles, resulting in a grind. The design is similar to that of a propeller blade. While effective, the blade mill is usually seen as inferior to the burr grinder because of the heat and friction a blade mill produces. The excessive heat of the blade alters the taste of the coffee, whereas the burr grinder does not have this variable.

A food-grade burr grinder accommodates peppercorns, flax seed, flour, and coffee. Most likely, you have been to a chain Italian restaurant and you have seen the waiter come around and wave that large wooden wand of peppercorns over your salad; this is a prime example of a burr grinder in action to give you freshly-ground pepper. Obviously, the wand is a manually-operated burr grinder that makes it easy for wait staff to carry when traveling from table to table.

For The Coffee Fanatic

As previously mentioned, a burr grinder can be operated manually or automatically. For those of you who don't want to put in the elbow grease, or you don't have a minute to hands-on supervise the grind, an automatic grinder may be your best option. Manual grinders can give as great of a performance too, as our list reflects.

Depending on your coffee drinking habits, you might want to factor in the number of coffee cups that can be ground with your grinder.

Depending on your coffee drinking habits, you might want to factor in the number of coffee cups that can be ground with your grinder. Personally, I believe that you should grind only the amount of beans that you intend to use in that very sitting. Larger burr grinders will allow you the option of grinding up the twelve cups of coffee at once, which may be excessive if you are a solo coffee drinker.

If you intend to store the excess grounds they will lose their flavor by the time you brew again. Coffee beans have a very short window of freshness once ground. If you grind beans en masse for later consumption, it may be simply best for you to buy pre-ground coffee and forgo a burr grinder entirely. However, if you are brewing large amounts of coffee in one sitting for large events, of course, investing in a burr grinder is the wisest option.

The benefit of grinding your beans versus buying pre-ground coffee is the variety of grain size. Some burr grinders are equipped to produced very fine espresso grinds and they will measure it out in cups for you. These machines will also produce a fine grind for Turkish coffee consumption. If you prefer a coarse grind, the burr grinder will be able to accommodate that as well.

Lastly, if you intend to purchase electric-powered grinder, take a moment to consider the motor size; a small motor may take significantly longer to grind the beans and emit louder noises in the process. If possible, test the grinder before you purchase.

A Brief History of the Burr Grinder

The first burr grinders were invented before the advent of electricity, and naturally they were manually operated. The original burr grinder surfaced in England in 1799, created by a blacksmith named Richard Dearmann. The widely popular grinder made its way across the pond and it was embraced by Americans as a simpler way to grind their coffee beans. Increase Wilson patented the first coffee grinder to be installed on a wall in 1818. The design was similar to the pencil sharpeners you remember from grade school.

Increase Wilson patented the first coffee grinder to be installed on a wall in 1818.

Peugeot, known today as the popular French car manufacturer, invented the first ever pepper grinder in 1842. The steel prototype was specifically designed for the tough exteriors of peppercorns. The durable grinder was also accommodating to coffee beans, and other softer food particles.

The burr grinder's manual design has changed little in the past 150 years. The adage, "if it ain't broke, don't fix it" couldn't apply more here. The electric models, however, are constantly changing and improving in motor size, design, and capacity. Ideally, a quality grinder should be a staple in your kitchen and it will last decades. The emergence of do-it-yourself gourmet coffee has many consumers creating cafe shop quality brews at home for a fraction of the cost. The burr grinder is your investment for excellent homemade coffee.

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Jeff Newburgh
Last updated on May 05, 2019 by Jeff Newburgh

Jeff is a dedicated writer and communications professional from San Francisco with a bachelor of arts in anthropology from UC Berkeley. He began his career in computer consulting and later branched out into customer service. Jeff focuses on making complex topics easy to understand. With over 10 years' experience in research, his relentless curiosity fuels a love of writing and learning how things work, and has helped to build expertise in categories such as heavy-duty power tools and computer equipment. Jeff's passion for animals affords him a strong understanding of pet products, including dog houses, beds, and grain-free foods. When he's not writing, he prefers spending time with his family and three dogs, while kicking back and relaxing with a nice glass of red wine.

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