Coffee grinders come in all price ranges, from dirt-cheap models to top-of-the-line machines that are priced like they’re made of solid gold. Most people try to avoid those kinds of extremes and shoot for something in the middle. You want something that works without paying too much for it, but you also don’t want a cheap plastic toy.
Given how popular it has become to grind your own coffee, there are more brand-name manufacturers out there building more grinders in the mid-price range than you might think. There are multiple grind settings, attachments, portafilters, containers, timer adjustments, and weight calibrations, all combined in various ways and competing for your time and attention—not to mention your money.
We’ve done the reviews you’d do yourself if you had the time. We’ve compared their features, looked them over, analyzed the good versus the bad, better versus blah, and come up with a final list of five grinders for your consideration. This should make it simpler for you to make the decision about which one you want to spend your hard-earned money on.
|DeLonghi America KG521|
|Breville BCG820BSSXL||6 lbs||4.6/5|
|Capresso 560.04 Infinity|
(Best for the Money)
|Baratza Encore||7 lbs||4.3/5|
|Bodum Bistro 10903-01US||5 lbs||4.1/5|
This coffee bean grinder has eighteen grind settings plus three “strength” settings. The strength settings determine how many grams of coffee ground go into each cup. Combine that with the grind settings for espresso, drip, pour-over, and French press, and you have nearly an infinite variety of settings for every palate. It’s really quite remarkable.
This machine has an excellent design, works wonderfully, and looks fantastic on the counter. It’s sleek and functional with an LED display on top. It has a small footprint so it’s not a counter hog. It leaves a lot of room on the counter for the rest of your kitchen utensils.
It’s so easy to use you almost don’t need the manual. The “espresso portafilter” attachment is especially popular. You can grind coffee straight into the espresso filter for a single easy step. Likewise, there’s enough room for you to grind it directly into a storage carafe. Talk about convenient!
Occasionally it has problems grinding small enough for espresso, but the removable upper burrs can be taken out for cleaning which seems to solve the problem.
This beautiful machine sports sixty grind settings (from the finest to the coarsest) to satisfy the most discriminating taste buds. It has stainless steel conical burrs which minimize grinding heat and preserve the flavor.
Like the top pick, you can grind directly into the portafilter, a grinds container, filter basket, or paper basket—whichever you prefer. The electronic timers have 0.2-second increments which allow very precise grind time adjustments for your individual taste. Because it’s digital, there aren’t any worries about bumping the machine and throwing off your adjustments.
The bean hopper is easy to remove and store. The grounds always dispense down instead of out the front, which keeps it from clogging. If you want to change the grind size and time, the digital display and timer simplify that process too.
It’s very quiet and has a removable magnetic grounds tray.
This machine performs poorly when grinding French Press or Moka. It also uses a plastic impeller to move the grounds into the collection container. The cheap impeller can wear down too easily, at which point the whole machine is dead until a new impeller can be installed.
This machine has a wide range of settings from ultrafine Turkish to coarse French Press, which are further divided into extra fine, fine, medium, and coarse. The burrs are commercial grade steel with a reduction motor that grinds slow with little noise and a minimum of static. The slow grind also prevents heat buildup.
Despite the wide range of settings, it works best if left on one setting. Grounds tend to collect under the nylon collar around the upper burr. To change the bean and/or the grind setting you’ll need to first take it apart and clean it to remove the previous grounds. Coffee grinders are supposed to be convenient and this process isn’t.
The selection knob for choosing how much to grind looks like it came from the dashboard of Ford Taurus. It’s made of cheap plastic that breaks too easily; this is clearly the product of poor engineering.
This is a decent grinder but the grounds retention, the need for cleaning between grind changes, and the cheap knob will keep it out of the running for the top two spots. Still, for the price, it’s the “best for the money.”
This is advertised as “THE go-to entry level grinder.” Maybe it is, maybe it isn’t.
It has forty grind settings (which is respectable), and it performs decently on the coarser end of the scale for French Press and such. Its construction is all plastic except for the stainless steel conical burr grinders. It seems fairly sturdy at first glance.
However, don’t fill the hopper with beans beyond the halfway point or you’ll wind up with a clog that’ll take you an hour or more to get rid of. You have been warned.
Adjusting the setting is harder than necessary and the sturdy construction is an illusion. Many parts break, causing jams. When you call customer service they don’t want to fix an “in warranty” machine but will ship you the part so you can fix it yourself. Following their repair instructions leaves scratches, nicks, and dings on the machine. And the repairs only work some of the time.
It spills grounds out of the basket and performs poorly on fine grinds. Along with the other problems we’ve mentioned, this leaves it in fourth place on the list.
This grinder comes in a variety of colors: black, chrome, copper, red, and shiny copper. Apparently, this is supposed to make up for having only fourteen grind settings. Unfortunately, this is another one of those products that works well when it’s working. But most of the time it isn’t.
The internal gears, which should be made of metal, are of a cheap plastic that could break within a few weeks of purchase. What’s worse, Bodum doesn’t sell replacement parts. Once these gears break (and they will), you’re left with a useless machine.
Due to its cheap plastic construction, it’s prone to frequent jams, necessitating disassembling the grinder to clear the jam. This creates a mess of bean debris littering the counter when you take it apart. Who wants to clean up a mess when they should be drinking coffee?
Bodum refuses to honor their warranty if you buy the grinder from a “third party.” Since most people buy from retailers and other “third parties,” why bother having a warranty?
This is badly designed and horribly engineered, made worse by the fact that the manufacturer exhibits utter contempt for its customers. Who needs it? This will never be in the top two on the list.
Two important options to consider buying are a grinds container with a lid and sealing cup, as well as a burr cleaning brush. The burrs will need cleaning. Go ahead and get the brush.
In our reviews, the DeLonghi America KG521 is the top pick. It earned its place on the top.
The “best for the money” choice is the Capresso 560.04 Infinity. Trade a few features to get a better price. What’s not to like?
Hopefully, these reviews have helped you narrow down the field so you can get the perfect grinder for your needs.
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