Best Burr Grinders

Updated December 2021
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Buying guide for best burr grinders

Did you know that blade grinders don't really grind your coffee beans? They whirl, smash, and cut the beans into uneven chunks using a process that diminishes flavor. Burr grinders, on the other hand, grind the beans to create an even texture and a more robust flavor.

When you're looking to purchase a burr grinder, you want a model that offers you the most control over your grind size and is easy to clean. A ceramic burr grinder is more durable but costs more than a stainless-steel model. If you drink a lot of coffee, you'll want to choose an electric burr grinder over a manual one.

Are you wondering what the difference is between a blade grinder and a burr grinder? Blade grinders work fast, whereas burr grinders work slowly. Due to the slow grind, your final product is much more aromatic and flavorful.

How a burr grinder works

A burr grinder features two abrasive surfaces (burrs) that rotate. With each rotation, a few beans are caught between the burrs and ground down.

To change the size of the grind, you simply adjust the distance between the burrs. The greater the distance between the burrs, the coarser the grind will be. Moving the burrs closer together creates a finer grind.

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For your safety
It’s important to clean a flat burr grinder regularly, because trapped grounds inside the machine could cause mold to grow. Conical burr grinders should be cleaned, too, but they don’t tend to collect as many grounds as flat burr grinders do.

The benefits of a burr grinder

You may be wondering how a burr grinder differs from any other type of coffee bean grinder. Here are some of the benefits you get from a burr grinder.

  • Uniformity

A burr grinder offers a more uniform grind than a blade grinder. This improves the flavor of your coffee and prevents clogs in your coffee maker.

  • Choice

A burr grinder usually offers more flexibility when it comes to the grind of your coffee. You can create a coarse grind for your French press and a fine grind for your espresso maker.

  • Flavor

A burr grinder doesn’t generate as much heat as a blade grinder, so your grounds don’t get warm. This prevents flavor loss before you brew your coffee.

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Did you know?
The heat created by some high-speed electric burr grinders can actually alter the taste and scent of your coffee.

Flat burr grinders vs. conical burr grinders

There are two basic “types” of burr grinders: flat and conical. The two types produce similar results, but there are a few small differences that may make one type a better option for your kitchen than the other.

Flat burr grinders

Flat burr grinders typically feature two abrasive burrs that sit horizontally inside the grinder. One of the burrs faces upward; the other faces downward. The beans are caught between the two burrs and are ground down when the burrs turn.

Flat burr grinders tend to produce grounds that are uniform in size. However, these grounds easily become trapped inside the grinder, making it difficult to clean.

Conical burr grinders

Conical burr grinders feature two abrasive cone-shaped burrs, one inside the other. The beans fall into the cones in a vertical path and are ground between them as the burrs rotate.

Conical grinders create two grind sizes, large and small, no matter which setting you choose. The difference in size may be difficult to see at a glance, but under a microscope, it becomes more apparent.

A conical burr grinder is easier to clean than a flat burr grinder.

Stainless steel burr grinders vs. ceramic burr grinders

In addition to the type of burrs that you choose, you’ll want to pay attention to the material that the burrs are made of.

Generally speaking, burrs are made of either stainless steel or ceramic.

  • Stainless steel burr grinders are usually less expensive, but they don’t tend to last as long.

  • Ceramic burr grinders are extremely durable, but you’ll pay more for them. They’re the top choice for espresso aficionados because they produce a finer grind.

"“Dosing” refers to how a burr grinder distributes the coffee once it’s finished being ground. A grinder with a doser separates the grounds into chambers, so each section can be filled with a single dose of coffee or espresso. This allows you to make several cups of coffee quickly."

Manual burr grinders vs. electric burr grinders

Which will you choose, a manual burr grinder or an electric burr grinder? Here are some points to keep in mind as you decide.

  • Manual burr grinders require you to turn a crank to grind your beans. Electric grinders require a simple press of a button.

  • It’s true that manual burr grinders demand more time and physical effort than electric burr grinders. But they also generate less heat, which means the flavor and aroma of your coffee is nicely preserved.

Stepped burr grinders vs. stepless burr grinders

When it comes to grind settings, burr grinders are either stepped or stepless.

  • Stepped burr grinders have a set number of grind settings that you can choose from before you begin grinding.

  • Stepless grinders don’t have pre-determined settings. Instead, you choose from a range of settings, which means you can alter the grind by as little or as much as you like. This allows you to fully customize the grind for your coffee, giving you precise control.

"If you like to vary your coffee consumption – a French press here, an espresso there – you will probably want a stepless burr grinder. This type of grinder allows you to customize the grind depending on what you’re drinking."

Burr grinder motor speed

An electric burr grinder with a high-speed motor might sound like a great deal – especially if the cost is fairly low. But in truth, you’re more likely to find higher speeds on cheaper burr grinders. Why? Because a high-speed motor produces more heat, which can actually burn the coffee beans as they’re processed.

The best burr grinders generate as little heat as possible. For this reason, an electric burr grinder with a low-speed motor is actually the better choice. Keep in mind that you’ll pay more for a low-speed burr grinder.

So what do you do if you want great-tasting coffee on a budget? Choose a high-speed burr grinder that offers gear reduction. This type of grinder features a motor that’s connected to gears. The gears slow down the burrs and reduce the amount of heat generated.

Burr grinder prices

Burr grinders vary in price from $15 to approximately $200. The following guidelines offer a broad picture of what to expect in terms of cost.

  • A small manual burr grinder may cost between $15 and $35.

  • A large manual burr grinder may between $35 and $70.

  • A small automatic burr grinder may cost between $35 and $70.

  • A large automatic burr grinder may cost between $70 and $100+.

Capacity, motor speed, number of grind settings, and other features impact cost even further.

For example, a large electric burr grinder with few features and a fast motor speed might cost $70, whereas a feature-rich burr grinder of the same size and type (but a slower motor speed) might cost $100 to $200.

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Did you know?
Like espresso, Turkish coffee requires a very fine grind. If you’re partial to Turkish coffee, you may want to add a burr grinder to your kitchen arsenal.


  • Store whole coffee beans in an airtight container. This method of storage will help keep them as fresh as possible for when it’s time to grind them.

  • Grind your coffee beans right before you brew them for the best-tasting coffee. Don’t let the grounds sit around losing flavor.

  • Take the burr grinder apart to clean it. You’ll want to read the manufacturer’s instructions first. A stiff brush and soft cloth are usually recommended.

  • Don’t clean the burrs with water. This could damage your appliance.

  • For a quick cleaning of your burr grinder, use grinder cleaning tablets.

    • Pour the recommended number of tablets into the grinder, and run them through the machine.

    • Next, run some coffee grounds through the grinder.

    • Throw away the grounds and tablet residue. Wipe down the ground coffee receptacle to ensure the appliance is clean.

Because it’s best to grind coffee beans fresh each time you make coffee, you don’t necessarily need a burr grinder with a very large capacity – unless you regularly make coffee for large groups. In general, a grinder with an eight-ounce capacity is sufficient for most kitchens.


Q. How long does a burr grinder last?

A. The lifespan of a burr grinder depends on its quality and the burr material. In general, ceramic burrs tend to last longer than stainless steel burrs. Specifically, ceramic burr grinders usually last through 1,000 to 1,500 pounds of coffee. Stainless steel burr grinders typically make it through 500 to 1,000 pounds of coffee.

Q. What is a direct drive burr grinder?

A. A direct drive burr grinder features a low-speed motor that connects to the burrs, which allows them to spin at the same speed. The lower speed generates less, thereby preserving the quality of the beans. Direct drive burr grinders also tend to be very quiet.

Q. What type of burr grinder is best for making espresso?

A. To achieve the fine grind necessary for espresso, it’s best to go with a conical burr grinder. In particular, look for a conical grinder with ceramic burrs. The ceramic allows for a finer grind than stainless steel.

Q. How much noise does a burr grinder make?

A. Like any coffee grinder, a burr grinder can make a lot of noise. If you’re sensitive to noise or don’t want to disturb other members of your household in the morning, a conical burr grinder with a low-speed motor would probably be the quietest option. Conversely, a flat burr grinder with a high-speed motor would probably make the most noise.

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