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The 5 Very Best Coffee Grinders

Photo-Illustration: The Strategist; Photos: Retailers

If you ask any barista, they’ll tell you that the quality of your beans is the key to making a great cup of coffee — and the best way to treat your beans is to grind them yourself. This is because the flavour of ground coffee fades quickly over time (not unlike ground spices), so grinding as you go is the best way to preserve that brown-sugar sweetness in your beloved Mexican roast.

In order to find the best grinders, I spoke to eight coffee-industry professionals — including roasters, brewers, and founders — to find out what they used themselves. I also compared models on Amazon, John Lewis, and Curry’s and consulted with ten independent coffee shops including Hard Lines, Dark Arts, Monmouth, and Ozone.

Best overall | Best less expensive | Best quiet | Best manual | Best digital

What we’re looking for:

Grind consistency: Coffee grinders come in two styles: ceramic “burr” grinders and blade grinders. All our experts recommended burr grinders, as the cog-style mechanism ensures the coffee is ground more evenly. “Surface area is important,” says Alex Wallace, head of quality management at Caravan Coffee Roasters. “And with blades, the coffee is whizzed around and smashed into big, medium, and small pieces — they also produce a lot of coffee dust. That inconsistency isn’t good for your coffee: It means the water will struggle to extract flavour from the large bits which will cause it to taste sour.” Proper Coffee’s Sertan Djelal adds: “Metal grinders can sometimes burn or singe the coffee — resulting in a more ‘bitter’ taste.” All the grinders featured here are burr-style, but, within that, there are two kinds: conical and flat. Most coffee grinders use the cheaper and very effective conical burrs, but we feature a flat burr grinder here too. Beyond that, we’re looking at their versatility; some models can grind to over 30 different specifications, while others have labels specifically referring to the coffee style (espresso and Turkish coffee, for example, is ground as fine as icing sugar, while cold brew requires a coarse grind not unlike a flake of Maldon sea salt).

Noise level: Unfortunately, all grinders make a degree of noise so, if you are prone to blitzing your coffee beans at an unsocial hour, consider a quieter model (or a manual grinder). We label our choices “loud” or “quiet” based on recommendations and our own research.

Best overall coffee grinder

£125

34 grind settings | Medium noise | Conical burr

I have been using this grinder since 2016. It also comes recommended by Howard Gill, head roaster at Grind, and is sold at coffee shops like Dark Arts and Hard Lines. (Djelal says Wilfa is one of the best electric models.) The burr grinders create an even grind every time — even when I use frozen (I keep most of my coffee in the freezer and grind it fresh). It’s easy to clean, and the coffee is always ground consistently — whether I want it coarse or fine. The timer allows me to grind a single portion of coffee on a whim in ten seconds, which is useful, but my favourite thing is the way the machine labels coarseness by brew method not numerically.

As there is no universal metric for coffee coarseness, labelling on different machines can be confusing. The Sage Smart Grinder Pro, for example, ranges from 1 to 60, while the Delonghi KG89 goes from 1 to 16, meaning it can be hard to compare the two. But if I want a French press, an Aeropress, or even a Turkish coffee, I can just turn the dial and not get too granular about it (it’s worth noting, however, that the Wilfa can’t grind espresso). If this seems like a lot of money, especially if it’s your first foray into coffee grinding, I would suggest the original Wilfa Svart grinder (in silver) as a more affordable option. Aside from the colour difference, the original has a slightly faster motor which means, according to Wilfa, it grinds slightly hotter and could impact the flavour of your coffee, but it’s under £100 and features the same ceramic burrs, so it might be a good alternative.

Best (less expensive) coffee grinder

De’Longhi KG79 coffee grinder
£60
£60

17 grind settings | Medium noise | Small footprint | Conical burr

This is an excellent grinder for £50 — not least because it has many of the features of the Wilfa model above. The container for the grounds is the same size (250 ml), but this grinder is much more compact and features a dial with 17 grind settings as well as a quantity dial: You can opt to grind coffee for 1 to 12 people — handy if you are making a pour-over in a Chemex or preparing a batch of cold brew. It’s highly reviewed on Amazon, Argos, Fenwick, and Currys. On Argos, 90 percent of the 190 reviews recommend it. On Fenwick, one reviewer says their previous KG79 lasted ten years. While the grinder isn’t quiet, it has an auto-stop feature on the grind button — something my Wilfa does not have, so, more often than not, I hover around it while it grinds. One reviewer, whose parents own a coffee shop, said it’s even capable of grinding coffee to the talc-line consistency desirable for espresso.

Best quiet coffee grinder

31 grind settings | Medium-low noise | Small footprint | Flat burr

When Strategist associate editor Louis Cheslaw heard whispers of an affordable professional-grade grinder, he had to try it out for himself. On Kickstarter, the Ode by Fellow claimed to have the efficiency of the leading industry standard — the flat-burr grinder by Baratze which retails for an eye-popping £750 — at a fraction of the price. Barista Zachary Elbourne of Bedford-Stuyvesant’s Burly Coffee told Cheslaw the Ode promised “big, flat burrs that are the same as those in commercial grinders but in a home machine — the only thing close is the Baratza Forte.” This burr style looks like two flat donuts, one on top of the other with sharp teeth like a conical burr, and offers an even more refined grind — hence its popularity in the industry.

Cheslaw wrote in his ode to the Ode: “Although it’s not silent, the noise it makes isn’t at all unpleasant (I’d compare it to the sound of crumpling up a newspaper). It’s also satisfyingly easy to use: Unlike with my Baratza grinder, all it takes to accurately adjust grind size is a turn of its pleasingly giant dial. With only one button on the entire device, it’s truly quite hard to get a step wrong.”

There are thoughtful design-y touches, too, including a magnetic base in the grind receptacle that makes it snap into place like a pair of Airpods. And the underside of the lid has a guide to the best dial settings for the seven brewing methods it accommodates. Elbourne notes that this does not include espresso: “Too many grinders try to do both and end up doing neither well.” This is the grinder used by Oh Wonder’s Anthony Vander West and Josephine Vander West — the couple behind coffee shop Nola in Peckham.

Best manual coffee grinder

Conical burr | Low noise 

Many coffee enthusiasts will point to the German-engineered Comandante as the best manual grinder. It features stainless-steel burrs, has 65 grind settings, and, according to Matt Jones (co-founder of Hard Lines coffee), “It’s one of the best on the market.” However, aside from the supply-chain problems which have made the Comandante elusive lately, the price tag is steep: You’re looking at around £240 — making this more of a splurge-y item than a day-to-day essential. There are less expensive, highly recommended manual grinders out there that might be better for a beginner.

This grinder by Hario comes recommended by Djelal and is sold at places including Pact Coffee and Clumsy Goat (Hard Lines sells the sleeker-looking plastic Pro model, but I prefer glass). It has 5,589 reviews on Amazon, and, while it has far less in terms of bells and whistles, one reviewer likes the screw-top lid you can put on the glass bottom — which they use to take their freshly ground coffee to the office in the morning. The general consensus is that a cup of coffee takes 45 seconds or so to grind and this grinder has the capacity for two cups at a time. Several reviewers noted trying this grinder out before committing to an extensive, automatic option, so we think it would make an excellent gift for a recent graduate or new homeowner.

Best digital coffee grinder

60 grind settings | Medium noise | Espresso grinder

Like the Wilfa, this isn’t a particularly compact grinder, but its size allows for more functionality. There are options to grind directly into a container, coffee filter (if making a pour-over), or cafetière. The Sage Pro offers both “cup” and “shot” functionality — meaning you can grind your coffee for either a long black or a shot of espresso. The LCD screen makes it easy to navigate the many, many settings, and it takes the pressure off of figuring out the grind size yourself. This is one of the best-rated digital grinders — with reviewers at Amazon, John Lewis, and Currys all remarking on the functionality and simplicity. But if you’re a simple black-coffee sort of person, you might not need all the bells and whistles that come with this model.

Some other coffee grinders we like

Our experts

Louis Cheslaw, Strategist associate editor
Sertan Djelal, Proper Coffee
Zachary Elbourne, barista at Burly Coffee
Howard Gill, head roaster at Grind
Matt Jones, co-founder of Hard Lines
Anthony Vander West, co-founder of Nola
Josephine Vander West, co-founder of Nola
Alex Wallace, head of quality management at Caravan Coffee Roasters

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The 5 Very Best Coffee Grinders