After all, you will need to grind your coffee beans, and the grind is an as important part of the coffee-making process is brewing or cooking. No matter how well you do all the other things, if you don’t do the grinding part well enough, your coffee drinking experience will suffer.
So the devices that you can use for grinding is the burr grinder and the blade grinder. They are very much different, and knowing the difference between these two is crucial for the end product: your cup of coffee.
Blade grinder for coffee is something similar to a food processor but on a smaller level, it has two blades that go round in circle inside a little container, chopping the beans and crushing them so they would end up as a fine powder. The blade grinder has the blades at the bottom of the reservoir. You put your desired beans into it, close it and the most blade grinders have a button at the front that you push to grind the coffee beans.
- Quieter than competitors: Whether it’s early morning or late at night, you can make fresh grounds without making too much noise
- Removable grinding chamber: The grinding chamber removes for easy filling of whole beans or spices once finished, remove the chamber for easy cleaning
You can pulse it to give a coarser grind, which is better for the French press method, or hold it to give you fine powder which is better for drip coffee. Don’t hold it too much though, because if you do, the blades can overheat, you have to do a coffee grinder blade replacement, and you don’t want that, you want to make the most out of your grinder parts. They can cost anywhere from $20 to $100.
Although you can use the blade grinder for espresso, it will not give you the absolute best results, but using a burr grinder will.
So the burr grinder works differently because it has different parts when compared with the first type of grinders we’ve mentioned. They grind the beans by rubbing them in between two abrasive surfaces. So there are many burrs in this machine, the beans go through each level, grinding smaller and smaller each level they pass through. This ends up in a very consistent grind. There are, however, more versions of the burr grinder.
We have the conical burr grinder, which uses burrs that are cone-shaped where one sits inside the other one. A flat burr grinder uses discs that have burrs in between. The good news is that both of them will give you a very consistent grind.
Professionals will recommend a conical burr grinder since the flat burr grinder tends to accumulate a bit of coffee in the burrs, which results in losing a bit of coffee, so the conical burr grinder is a bit more forgiving. But if you have a high-quality coffee grinder, it doesn’t matter if its flat or conical burr grinder- it will give you a consistent grind in any case.
The burr can be made out of various materials, and we will talk about metal and ceramic burrs. The metal burrs are usually made out of steel and they are more finely made and engineered. The ceramic burrs are very durable, and it’s a great suggestion for espresso, giving it, as they say an authentic and traditional espresso flavor. So all in all, it’s more the matter of personal taste- if you go for the espresso more often, look for a ceramic burr grinder.
Of course, the material isn’t the only difference, the exacting grinding process varies as well. With respect to the type of grinding process- we have two types of coffee grinders – electric and manual.
Manual vs Electric Burr Coffee Grinder
The manual burr grinder has the ability to create the same quality grind as the electric one, and some will even create a finer grind compared to his electric counterpart. Of course, there is no telling that operation with an electric grinder is easier, since the good old electricity is doing all the hard work for you, and you just have to press a button.
The manual grinder, on the other hand, demands a bit of physical effort from you, and even more skill! Now when we said it, it can even surpass the electric grinder in some ways, so the least we can say that manual grinders are extremely rewarding.
- [ Built-in Adjustable Grind Selector ] Equipped with over 18 manual grind settings to ensures you have 100% precision & control over the coarseness of your grind making for the perfect cup of coffee to start your day.
- [ Convenient, Portable & Easy to Use ] Removable hand crank mechanism consistently eliminates over 90% the noise that an electric coffee bean grinder would produce. No batteries, power, or long plastic cords needed to operate your coffee burr grinder at home or on the go.
So now when we know how both the burr and the blade grinders operate, we can have a detailed comparison.
With no more words said, the burr grinder wins in almost any round.
Round 1: is consistency:
The blade grinder isn’t the most consistent way of grinding your coffee beans. The best that you can do is pulse the grind and then shaking the entire machine. You will hardly get the results of the burr grinder, and if you’re an espresso lover, this blade grinder isn’t the thing for you.
Round 2: is heat transfer:
So the speed at which the beans move when grinding is going to heat them inevitably. This premature heating can result in a deterioration of flavor and quality. Don’t worry too much, because this isn’t a major issue, and of course if you invest in a quality burr grinder, less heat will be transferred, so you can enjoy your freshly ground coffee beans in their best state.
Round 3: is speed and quantity:
Unfortunately for the blade grinder, it won’t be victorious in this round either. Although the blade grinder is fast, it’s fast only for smaller servings. Most blade grinders are good for single servings while with burr grinders you can grind a lot of coffee beans at the same time. The last two rounds proving that the blade grinder isn’t the best option for most people out there- you need to grind a lot, and you will have an annoying and long work ahead of you. And after all, who wants to get stuck with grinding one cup of coffee at a time in the morning?
Round 4: the price, the most important round for all the buyers:
So this final round is where the blade grinder wins. It’s a simple machine, made out of a couple of cheap parts. You can find and OK grinder for about 20$.
However, the burr grinder may be more expensive but there’s a reason for it. It works way better, giving you better results. An acceptable burr grinder can be found and bought for somewhere around 100$. If you think that a high-grade burr grinder is what you need in your life, you will have to spend 200, 300, 400 and up to a 1000$ for a really good machine.
There are, of course, burr grinders with cheap, low and alluring prices, but it doesn’t mean that you should buy them. It cannot be the same for every grinder out there, but if you see a burr grinder that is around 50$ or even less, examine it very well and be careful, it’s better to have a good blade grinder that is 20-30$ than a bad burr grinder that is like 10 or 20$ more. The cheap ones are probably dull and will not give you the same experience as high-end products. The cheap burr grinders will work as blade grinders. If you’re looking to save money and have a great cup of coffee, look to buy a manual burr grinder.
So now that you’re a bit more educated on this subject, you can use the knowledge you obtained to find the best option for you.
Coffee Grinder vs Blender
There is one cheat though. If your current financial situation won’t allow you to go and buy even the cheapest grinder, a great alternative is a blender in your kitchen. It has the chopping mechanism, very similar or sometimes the same as a coffee grinder. Some a bit more advanced blenders will even have a grinder setting, which is the best option for coffee grinding. The only downside is that you have to work in smaller batches.
So now, the best budget coffee grinders for all of you are the following:
- Secura electric burr grinder comes with 17 Grind size selections, from extremely fine (Espresso) to coarse (French press).
- Quantity control dial from 2 to 12 Cups. On/off button, automatic shut off.
The first one is Secura automatic electric burr coffee grinder. It also has 17 settings, very lightweight and good capacity. It costs around 40 bucks which is an OK price.
The second one is Cuisinart DBM-8 Supreme Grind Automatic Burr Mill, a little heavier, but a very versatile grinder, at the same price as the other two.
The third one is the Capresso 560.01 Infinity Conical burr grinder, having a bit more capacity than the last one, but it is more expensive, somewhere around 75$.
- The Bistro Burr Grinder consistently crushes beans between stainless steel conical burrs. This process also preserves the bean’s intrinsic flavor and aroma better than a blade grinder.
- Push button, pre-set timer allows users to grind the exact amount of coffee needed, keeping beans fresh and preventing waste.
The final budget coffee grinder is the most expensive, coming it in at a 100$, Bodum Bistro Burr Grinder, with the continuously adjustable grind. It has a very clever design and the build is very solid.
- Metallic flat burr coffee grinder for coffee lovers Power 110 W
- Burr mill system avoids overheating, preserves aroma and has grind fineness selector for a precise grinding
The one we should mention as well is the Krups burr grinder. It’s an electric grinder with grind size and cup selection, with about 300g capacity, very well designed, for a price of somewhere around 40-45$, depends on your location.
But now, when we showed all of the best budget grinders, let’s talk about the best-nominated ones:
Best Burr Coffee Grinder 2019
- SPECIALTY COFFEE ASSOCIATION AWARD WINNING GRINDERS - Baratza grinders are preferred by coffee professionals and backed by Baratza’s world class support.
- GO-TO ENTRY LEVEL GRINDER - Baratza’s best-selling grinder, with its small footprint, is THE choice for brewing coffee at home. Available in White or Black.
The best-nominated machine for grinding coffee using the burr method in 2021 has to be the Baratza Encore Conical Burr Coffee grinder. The price lives up to the name, coming in at a $140 for this maximum-quality home grinder.
Best Burr Coffee Grinder 2018
- PRECISION GRINDING: Commercial-grade, solid steel conical burrs with advanced cutting design
- WIDE GRINDING RANGE: From ultrafine Turkish to French Press coarse and everything in between
The best-nominated burr grinder in the year 2018 was the already mentioned Capresso Infinity 560.01, but the absolute best coffee grinder that has ever hit the shelves has to be Rancilio burr coffee grinder, that has a lot of cool additions, such as the built-in cooling system. This perfection of a machine will cost you anywhere from 300 to 800$, but it’s worth it.
FAQs: Frequently Asked Questions
What is the Difference Between the Burr and Blade Grinders?
Burr coffee grinder uses friction (i.e. two abrasive surfaces), while blade grinders use sharp blades to slice coffee beans.
What’s the Best Grinder out There?
This is my pick- Baraza Encore Conical Burr grinder!
Is a Normal Blender an OK Option?
Of course, there is- for this category, I’ve chosen Bellemain burr coffee grinder.
Are Electric Grinders Better Than Manual?
Not necessarily. Sure, electric coffee grinders make it a lot easier for you, but they take the fun out of it, and a professional barista will probably say that he would choose a good manual coffee grinder over any electric grinder.
There isn’t much to say that these machines do cost a few bucks, but they show as very good spending options. If you love coffee and have the time in the morning to brew and grind your own, then hey, maybe this $100 is like a fee to start your day with an amazing, magical cup of coffee that will make your morning, day and night every day for the rest of its time. But again, look for the best options for you, maybe the most expensive one isn’t what you need. If you like going old-school, try the manual one, if not, go for the electric one. Make a choice, flat or conical, burr or blade, it’s all up to you!