All coffee aficionados agree that if you want to make truly delicious coffee, you must start by grinding your coffee and then brew it shortly after.The aroma and flavor contained in a cup coffee made using freshly ground beans cannot be compared to coffee brewed using pre-ground coffee. Grinding can be done using either a blade or burr coffee grinder, but the latter guarantees that you get the best possible flavor out of your coffee beans.
Indeed, if you love great coffee, a burr coffee grinder is the perfect addition to your kitchen. But with over 200 and counting grinder models on the market, picking the right one for you can be challenging.
If you need some guidance deciding which is the best burr coffee grinder, you’ve come to the right place.In this article, I put together a list of the 5 top burr grinders on the market, including my personal best pick, and highlighted a host of important features and factors you should look out for when buying a coffee grinder.
I hope that this guide will help you choose the best burr grinder, and save you time and money in the process.
Here is a comparison chart of the 5 top rated burr grinders.
|Breville The Smart Grinder Pro||Baratza Encore Conical Burr Grinder||Capresso 565 Infinity||Rancilio HSD-ROC-SD Rocky||Baratza Vario 886 Burr Grinder|
|Great Build Quality||-|
|Great Espresso Grinds||-|
|Easy to Clean||-|
|Burr Material||Stainless Steel||Stainless Steel||Stainless Steel||Stainless Steel||Ceramic|
|Grind Settings||60 Grind Settings / Stepless Grinder||40 Grind Settings / Stepped Grinder||16 Grind Settings / Stepped Grinder||40 Grind Settings / Stepped Grinder||230 Grind Settings / Stepless Grinder|
|Bean Hopper Capacity||18 ounces||8 ounces||8.8 ounces||10.5 ounces||8 ounces|
|Price||View Price||View Price||View Price||View Price||View Price|
How The 5 Best Burr Grinder Machines Were Chosen
Before deciding which grinders would make the cut, I selected and evaluated a sample of 23 of the top rated and most popular electric burr coffee grinders on the market.
I then proceeded to read up on the opinions of industry experts like the Specialty Coffee Association of America on what features constitute a great burr coffee grinder.
In addition, I spent several hours on Amazon analyzing customer feedback on each burr grinder’s durability, performance, ease of use and grind quality.
Points were awarded to each grinder and at the end of the process I chose the 5 best grinders with the most points.
The coffee grinders reviewed in this article were limited to only those costing less than $500 because this the maximum amount of money most homeowners are willing spend on their coffee grinding gear.
Without further ado, here are my 5 top picks:
- Breville The Smart Grinder Pro Coffee Bean Grinder (Recommended Product)
- Baratza Encore
- Capresso 565 Infinity
- Rancilio HSD-ROC-SD Rocky
- Baratza Vario 886
Now let’s delve into the individual reviews for each of the burr grinders
Burr Coffee Grinder Reviews
1. Breville The Smart Grinder Pro Coffee Bean Grinder (Recommended Product)
After many hours of research and hands-on grinding, I have no doubt that the Breville Smart Grinder Pro is the best burr grinder for most people. While this grinder may have a slightly higher price point, it still gives you value for money, considering that it works almost like a professional grinder.
It is equipped with stainless steel conical burrs that grind coffee beans consistently, and which are designed to minimize grinding heat to ensure that flavor is not lost.
Breville’s Smart Grinder Pro has 60 precise grind settings to choose from, allowing you to make fine grinds for a quality espresso or coarse grinds if you prefer French Press, and everything else in between. It has a large but removable bean hopper, which makes it easier to clean.
Furthermore, the grinder comes in different colors including Red, Black and Brushed Stain Steel so you can choose the one that best matches your kitchen décor.
This burr coffee grinder is equipped with easy to read LCD screen that lights up well in the dark. Other bells and whistles include a digital timer which allows you to set and save your preferred grind time for each grind setting, enabling you to grind uniformly across multiple cups.
Best suited for
If you are looking for a grinder that gives you a high degree of control and user friendliness at this price range, then the Breville Smart Grinder Pro is a great option. It offers near commercial-level quality grinds, and has almost every feature you require in a home grinder. I wouldn’t hesitate recommending this grinder to anyone.
2. Baratza Encore Conical Burr Coffee Grinder
If you are a newbie brewer looking for entry-level grinder, the Baratza Encore is great for you. Since its release, many home brewers have relied on it as their go-to grinder and most of them haven’t really felt the need to upgrade.
The Encore delivers reasonably high-quality grinds, with great grind consistency, needed to make a tasty cup of coffee. Furthermore, it is a straightforward appliance which retails at a practical price without sacrificing durability.
Baratza Encore Burr Coffee Grinder has 40 different grind settings allowing you finely tune it to get your desired cup of coffee. In addition, it has a slow but powerful motor which grinds your coffee beans without overheating them, thus preserving their aromas and flavor.
Best suited for
The newbie brewer who appreciates a great cup of freshly ground coffee. If you are looking for a quality burr grinder for your home or office without having to worry about the cost, the Baratza Encore has got you covered.
3. Capresso 565 Infinity Conical Burr Grinder
Not to be confused with the 560 model, the Capresso Infinity 565 grinder is a strong contender for the top burr grinder. It is built with quality and reliability in mind, boasting of an impressive stainless steel build.
It produces minimal noise and grinds at a lower RPMs ensuring that coffee beans are not burnt during the process. The grinds are very consistent and uniform, a huge improvement from the cheaper 560 series. Burr quality stands out in this grinder, as it comes equipped with computer controlled grinder heads which means that grinding is done at high precision.
Capresso Infinity 565 offers 16 grind settings marked as 4 Coarse, 4 Regular, 4 Fine and 4 Extra Fine. The Extra fine grind option is capable of producing very fine coffee grinds, which makes this grinder a must-have for Espresso lovers.
Best suited for
Having an ”Extra Fine” grind setting makes it ideal for brewers who prefer a fine cup of Espresso or Turkish coffee. If you are looking for a sturdy and dependable model that isn’t too pricey and you don’t mind the hassle of cleaning it, then this is good for you.
4. Rancilio HSD-ROC-SD Rocky Espresso Coffee Grinder
Despite its hefty price tag, Rancilio Rocky Grinder is perhaps the best and most durable burr coffee grinder you can purchase if you’re addicted to great Espresso. It is sturdily built with an aluminum frame complete with a beautiful stainless steel cover which makes it both durable and aesthetically pleasing in your kitchen.
The Rocky has 40 grind settings to choose from, granting you enough flexibility to select and grind your preferred coffee. It boasts of a very powerful and capable motor that can achieve speeds of up to 1725 RPM without producing significant noise during operation.
Best suited for
If you’re an Espresso enthusiast looking for a powerful, expertly crafted and durable home grinder, then the Rancilio Rocky is a great choice for you.
5. Baratza Vario 886
Last but not least, the Baratza Vario 886 is a beautiful and easy to use professional-grade grinder which does not come cheap but is definitely worth having. Considered by many an entry point to high end coffee grinding, this grinder offers reliability, consistency and range of grinds all in one package.
The Vario 886 has a sheer number of grinding options – 230 grind settings to be precise, which makes it highly useful and customizable when dialing in the perfect coffee grind.
It utilizes flat ceramic burrs which grind more accurately, and often lasts twice as longer as stainless steel burrs used in other grinders. On top of all this, the Vario 886 has an LED control panel and 3 programmable buttons which allow you to save your custom grind time settings ensuring repeatability and precision of results.
Best suited for
This is the best burr grinder for coffee aficionados and professional baristas alike. It can fit anywhere from the kitchen, office to your own cafe. If you’re simply looking to upgrade from a different grinder, I can guarantee that you won’t be disappointed in the Vario 886.
Choosing a Burr Grinder – Buying Guide
To further assist you narrow down your options, here are some of the factors you should consider.
1) Burr Shapes: Flat vs Conical
Without going into the mechanics of how each burr type works, conical burrs disperse heat slightly faster than flat burrs, while the latter perform better at creating more uniform grinds.
However, the overall difference with regards to grind quality is almost imperceptible, therefore you shouldn’t get hung up on this. Many users have pointed out though, that conical burr grinders are easier to clean.
2) Burr Material: Steel vs Ceramic
Grinding burrs are either made of stainless steel or ceramic material. Stainless steel burr grinders are generally less durable while ceramic burr grinders tend to last longer. On the flipside, ceramic burrs are harder to replace when they eventually break.
Ceramic burrs are better at achieving a higher level of fineness, needed for great quality Espresso or Turkish coffee. For this reason, ceramic burr grinders are usually more expensive.
3) Grind Settings
No matter which grinder you choose, dialing in the grind is always an important task. Having numerous grinding settings gives you much needed flexibility and customizability to dial in on the perfect grind. Burr coffee grinders have two variations for grind size adjustment: stepped and stepless.
Stepped simply means that you have a fixed number of grind settings to choose from while Stepless refers to where there the grind selection control moves smoothly without any preset options. While stepless burr grinders generally offer better precision when adjusting the grind size, there are some good stepped grinders which have 40 or more settings to choose from, which is more than enough even for finicky coffee lovers.
A point to note here is that even some of the best burr grinders might not perform well at every setting. For example some models may excel at fine grounds required for Espresso but perform relatively poorly in coarse grinds for French Press and Drip.
4) Burr grinder motor speed
Higher speed burr grinders are usually more costly but grind quicker and better than their low speed counterparts. They have beefy motors which grind at higher RPMs although you have to be careful to prevent heat buildup which could overheat the coffee beans. They also employ a direct drive system which makes them quieter and more durable.
Low RPM grinders are usually lower cost but they have less heat buildup. They use a gear reduction system which means that they contain more gears that could wear or break, making them less durable. They are also more susceptible to static buildup which causes ground coffee to stubbornly stick to the sides of the container.
5) Customer Reviews
It’s always a good idea to read feedback which other users have written about any product or device you’re interested in purchasing, as this could shed light on a variety of important issues or problems which you’re likely to encounter yourself.
Before deciding on which burr coffee grinder to buy, always read up on some of the reviews by verified customers. While every grinder will always have several 1-star ratings left by fussy or unlucky customers, if you find a common and consistent complaint from several users about the grinder’s quality or durability, you should probably think twice before buying it.
Reading customers’ reviews will also help you to know other crucial factors about the burr coffee grinder, which you might have no other way of finding out including: durability, customer support, quality of coffee grinds for each grind setting, noise output, static and the ease of cleaning.
1. What are the advantages of grinding your coffee?
Grinding coffee just before you brew it ensures that its flavor and taste is preserved, ensuring a delicious cup of coffee.
2. Why choose burr over blade coffee grinders?
Burr grinders are better than blade grinders because the achieve a more uniform grind size, give you better control, and produce less heat ensuring that fresh flavors in your coffee are not lost. The only real advantage of a blade grinders is that they are cheaper.
3. How long will my burr coffee grinder last?
It’s not possible to give a hard and fast rule, because it depends on several factors including the quality of the burrs, motor type and how you clean it, but you can typically expect a good coffee grinder to grind well over 1500 pounds of coffee or 240 grams a day for 5 to 7 years. If the burrs wear out prematurely, it is possible to get replacements. One way you can tell that it is time to get new burrs is if your coffee grinder is no longer capable of doing coarse grinds.
4. Which is the best burr grinder for making espresso?
All the grinders reviewed in this article, except the Baratza Encore excel at fine grinds necessary for Espresso.
5. What is the Right Grind Size for Espresso?
Use the ‘Fine’ grind setting if you want to grind for Espresso
6. What is the Right Grind Size for French Press?
You should do a coarse grind for your French Press
7. How do I clean my burr coffee grinder?
Follow the instruction manual to learn the specific directions on how to disassemble and clean your coffee grinder. Some manufacturers include cleaning tablets that can simply be run through the machine to clean it, removing the need to disassemble it. Always ensure your coffee grinder is unplugged before you start cleaning it, and do not use harsh detergents or abrasive scouring pads on the appliance.
8. Why should I clean my burr coffee grinder?
Keeping your grinder clean is essential to get the best taste out of your coffee beans and prevent decreased performance. Oils and particles tend to build up inside your grinder and therefore it is necessary to do regular cleaning.
9. How long can I store my ground coffee made using my burr coffee grinder?
Since coffee quickly loses its flavor once it has been ground, it is best to use it immediately. However, you can store your ground coffee for week at room temperature, or up to 1 month in a refrigerator.
10. Can I grind anything else besides coffee with a burr grinder?
Yes. Coffee grinders can also be used to grind pepper, spices, nuts and whole grains unless indicated otherwise in the instructions manual
11. How can I Prevent Static in my Burr Coffee Grinder?
Because static build up may be caused by several factors out of your control, experts recommend that you wait at least 30 seconds after the grind has completed so that the static charge can bleed away, and then simply tap the sides of the bin.
I hope that this guide about burr coffee grinders was useful and comprehensive. While my list is in no way exhaustive, I feel that the burr grinders recommended here are your best bet in terms of providing you with grind quality and consistency, ease of use and durability at a moderate budget.
I would say that the relatively low-cost Breville Smart Grinder Pro is the best burr coffee grinder reviewed here, because it helps you make the perfect coffee cup of coffee and it has many helpful digital controls which average burr grinders don’t include. Despite being an entry-level grinder, it should work very well with most home coffee or espresso makers.