Burr coffee grinder vs. blade coffee grinder
For many people, a fresh cup of coffee is an essential part of a good morning. Almost 65% of Americans drink a cup of coffee every day, and more people are making their gourmet coffee at home instead of picking up a cup from their local cafe. If you want the best possible cup, freshly ground coffee is crucial. But different home grinders produce different results in grind size consistency, making a significant difference in the brew’s taste.
There are two types typically used to make coffee at home: burr grinders and blade grinders. Each produces a different result based on several factors, including your brew method. But which coffee grinder is right for you? Here’s a guide for coffee lovers who are ready to make a better cup of joe.
Blade coffee grinders
A blade coffee grinder is similar to a food processor or spice grinder, using a quickly spinning blade to chop coffee beans into small pieces in the desired grind size. These grinders are usually small, easy-to-store and portable, making them a popular choice for small kitchens or as a travel accessory. The coarse grind is fit for certain types of coffee preparation like a French press or cold brew.
Blade grinders are fast and powerful, but they produce a less consistent grind size than a burr grinder, resulting in less flavorful results. Instead of evenly ground coffee, the result is a mix of fine grounds and large, partially broken beans. This is because most blade grinders come with one speed instead of a variable grind setting, leaving your coffee grounds inconsistent in size and resulting in an inferior cup. However, blade grinders are very affordable, typically ranging from $15-$30, making them ideal for a smaller budget.
What you’ll love about blade coffee grinders
- Inexpensive, especially compared to burr grinders
- More portable and ideal for travel
- Can be used as a spice grinder
- Grinds small amounts of coffee very quickly
- Good choice for French press, percolator or cold brew
What you should consider about blade coffee grinders
- Inconsistent grind results leave some beans partially broken or whole
- Can overheat coffee beans
- Produces an inferior cup of coffee compared to a burr grinder
Best blade coffee grinders
As far as blade grinders go, this KitchenAid model is a straightforward and solid choice. Its stainless steel blade is durable and the machine is powerful. Plus, it comes with a one-year warranty in case of failure.
With its 200-watt motor, this grinder is powerful enough to grind coffee or spices with fair consistency. However, it may overheat your coffee beans, which can lead to a bitter taste.
Burr coffee grinders
Burr coffee grinders are the gold standard among coffee enthusiasts. It grinds coffee using a moving grinder wheel and a non-moving surface, crushing them into a consistent grind size. The uniform grind size of the grounds creates an even extraction of the coffee, producing a more well-rounded, smooth and flavorful cup.
Burr grinders use either conical burrs or flat burrs. Both produce a consistent and high-quality grind, but each has its advantages depending on your desired result. Conical burr grinders are more common both in-home and commercial use thanks to their energy-saving and heat-resistant design. But they are slightly less consistent than flat burr grinders, which use more power and make more noise but produce perfectly ground coffee. Conical grinders are great for manual and automatic drip coffee makers, while flat burr grinders are ideal for espresso machines.
Also, burr grinders come in electric and manual models. Electric burr grinders can handle higher volumes and are more convenient, while manual burr grinders are suitable for smaller batches of coffee and require a little physical effort. Electric burr grinders are the most expensive coffee grinders, but manual burr grinders are typically affordable for every budget. Prices range from $25-$50 for manual grinders, while electric burr grinders range from $50-$200 and up.
What you’ll love about burr coffee grinders
- Uniform grind produces better results, more flavorful coffee
- Electric models have a higher capacity for coffee beans and grounds
- Conical burr grinders are more energy-efficient
- Manual burr grinders are great for travel and camping
- The best option for pour-over coffee, Chemex, drip coffee and espresso
What you should consider about burr coffee grinders
- Electric grinders are much more expensive than blade grinders
- Upkeep and maintenance are more involved
- Burr grinders require a little more know-how about grind settings
Best burr coffee grinders
This burr grinder is ideal for any everyday coffee drinker, although it’s endorsed by baristas and other coffee professionals as well. It comes with timed and pulse grinding options and 40 grind-size settings, making it suitable for any type of coffee preparation.
Where to buy: Amazon
Bodum is one of the most trusted brands of home coffee equipment, and this is their premier electric burr grinder. With 12 grind-size settings, this grinder is built for everything from espresso to French press, from very coarse to ultra-fine.
Where to buy: Amazon
This flat burr grinder delivers a good bang for the buck, especially if you’re making espresso at home. It’s user-friendly, customizable in grind size and volume, and easy to clean.
Where to buy: Amazon
Hario is another trusted name in specialty coffee, and this is one of the most popular manual grinders on the market. Featuring ceramic burrs that are harder and longer-lasting than steel burrs, this is ideal for brewing small servings of coffee using a manual pour-over coffee maker.
Where to buy: Amazon
Should you get a burr coffee grinder or a blade grinder?
If you’re serious about coffee, the burr grinder is our hands-down choice. It produces the most flavorful results consistently using a wider variety of coffee makers. Although blade grinders are okay, burr grinders are superior enough to justify the higher price tag, and manual grinders are inexpensive and convenient for making coffee outdoors and on the go.
Matt Fleming is a writer for BestReviews. BestReviews is a product review company with a singular mission: to help simplify your purchasing decisions and save you time and money.
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