The Best Burr Coffee Grinder For You In 2020 Is Below…
You’re here to find the best burr grinder. That tells me you understand how important grinding your coffee beans well is if you want to brew an amazing cup of coffee.
True story: It took me years, and I blew somewhere around $1150 in wasted beans and crappy grinders (Ouch!) to understand the importance of grinding.
I had amazing beans and brewers, but no matter what I did, my coffee tasted average. My grinder was letting me down, and I had no idea. Keep reading this article, and you’re not going to have this problem.
But you do have another small problem: which coffee bean grinder do you choose out of the hundreds available online? What’s the best coffee grinder for your needs?
Baratza Virtuoso Plus
The Virtuoso ‘plus’ is the upgraded version of the Virtuoso, which has been one of the best selling home-barista grinders of the last 2 decades.
This small but powerful grinder has 40 grind settings, a digital display, and state-of-the-art conical burrs. Your coffee will be ground at high precision, meaning it will taste fantastic.
This grinder is the industry favorite, for good reason. Click the button below to read more reviews:
The Importance of Choosing Burr over Blade
First things first, I want to say: thank you for helping rid the world of shitty coffee. I know you’re here because you’ve already done your homework. You know the importance of getting the grind right.
You already know that only a fool would choose a blade grinder over a burr grinder. The video below is a refreshing reminder of it. And you wouldn’t think of buying pre-ground coffee because you know that it just never tastes as good as freshly ground coffee (if you want to learn the science behind this, read this article).
I respect you and thank you. I hope I can help you find the perfect grinder. Let’s do it, shall we?
How to Choose The Best Electric Grinder
Please don’t be impatient; all I ask is that you spend 2 minutes to read this section, and you’ll know exactly what to look for in your perfect grinder.
Think About Consistency
I know it, you know it, we all know it – The aim is to end up with grinds that are very consistent in size for filter coffee. This means each ground will be extracted to the same degree, and your coffee will taste better. But this is less important for espresso-based coffee.Don’t take my word for it, listen to one of the best in the business, Scott Rao (1) has to say:
To make the best-possible filter coffee … minimize fines (and boulders, for what it’s worth). Given that fines are guaranteed to over-extract and contribute bitterness and astringency, if you can remove fines or avoid creating them in the first place, you’ll make a cleaner, sweeter cup with smoother mouthfeel.
Manual vs Electric Coffee Grinders
The first micro decision you have to make is: do I want a manual or electric burr grinder? Manual, while requiring more work, are good options if you are brewing in smaller quantities, or if you want to take your grinder traveling with you.
In fact, most serious coffee lovers have both. In this article, we’ll only be covering electric grinders. If you’re looking for a hand grinder (aka a manual grinder or coffee mill), read this article.
Grind Settings: Pulse, Auto-Grind And Timed Grinding
Most options available have a ‘pulse.’ Push the button and your coffee grinds. Let go of the button, and your coffee does not grind. Simple. Some grinders have an ‘auto-grind’ function which allows you to grind without having to push the button. Turn the dial, the coffee grinds, and you can check your Facebook news feed while you wait. And then some grinders have a ‘timed grinding’ function. Set the time, and let her grind.
Do you really need all these extra features? And are you willing to pay more for them? If you grind for more than one cup at a time: yes, they will make your life easier.
It gets annoying pushing and holding a button when you need to do it for minutes at a time, multiple times per day.
But if you just brew a cup or two a few times a day, a push to grind button will do the trick. Don’t overcomplicate things.
Number of Grinding settings – how many is too many?
Grinders with hundreds of settings could be a case of over-engineering. Yes, having more grind steps will allow you to do more. But do you really need 500 settings?
This totally depends on you, though. As humans, we tend to fall victim to ‘more is better’ when buying new things.
Instead of choosing a grinder based on the number of settings, here’s my advice:
- You’ll need 40+ settings if: you want to use ALL brew styles (including espresso) and you love to experiment like a true coffee scientist.
- 20-40 settings will do if: You want to brew most typical brew styles, and experiment a little here and there.
- Less than 30 settings are fine if: you use standard brew styles, like French press and pour over, and are happy with leaving it at that.
You’ll need super-fine grounds for Turkish coffee (yes, finer than espresso). Such a small grind size is usually out of range of your typical electric burr grinder. You’ll need a Turkish grinder, like one of these.
Does It Grind Into A Portafilter or Bucket?
Some grinders have a handy little bracket that holds your Portafilter in place (which is the handle thing that takes your grinds for espresso brewing). They grind your beans and spit the grounds into the portafilter. And some grinders will spit your grinds directly into a container.
If you want to brew espresso, having a portafilter holder is very handy. If you want to brew espresso AND other styles, make sure this bracket can be removed.
If you are not grinding for espresso, you definitely don’t need a Portafilter holder – It will just get in the way and make things hard to clean. Cleaning your grinder is critical for it to keep performing, but it’s not exactly a thrilling activity. Choosing something easy to clean is a great decision in the long run.
Cleaning my grinder’s burrs is something I look forward to
Getting Technical: Burr size, type, RPMs
While this section may seem a little nerdy or technical, your grinder is usually your most expensive purchase. So the more you know the better.
We have high-speed grinders and low-speed grinders. Grinder speed is measured in revolutions per minute (RPMs), which affects your final brew in several ways.
A little problem: The higher the RPMs the more consistent the grind. But with speed comes heat, and heat is bad when grinding; it changes the flavor of the coffee (ruining it).
As per the Coffee Technician Guild’s website (2):
…by managing temperature shift in the grinder you can affect a big improvement in quality consistency throughout the day…
High-speed grinders get around the heat problem if they have large, flat burrs, and a powerful motor. These burrs result in super consistent grinding without risking heat buildup. The grinders that fall in this category are best for espresso grinding.
Low-speed grinders generally have conical, ceramic burrs and grind at slower speeds to avoid heat and static buildup. You’ll find these burrs in most home market grinders and most on this list. Read more about flat vs conical burrs here if you really want to nerd out on this topic.
To sum it up: Higher RPMs = better IF the grinder has larger, flat burrs and a powerful motor.
If you are espresso brewing, you’ll prefer higher RPM grinders. Lower RPM grinders are best suited for manual brewing techniques.
Now that you know what to look for in a grinder, download this coffee grind chart to use your grinder to its fullest potential.
Burr Coffee Grinder Reviews: The 7 Best Coffee Grinders of 2020
Based on years of nerding out on coffee, and our friendly review/research team, these are the 7 best burr grinders in 2020. Quick announcement: we use a secret weapon to take our grinds consistency from great, to un-friggin-believeable. Want to know what the secret is? It’s this.
And now, for the main event – the reviews:
1. Bodum Bistro Electric Burr Coffee Grinder – Best Budget Burr Grinder
“Best if you want something cheap for standard home brewing (e.g. French press) and you’re not fussy over consistency”
Grind Settings: 12
- Grind Speed: –
- Motor Specs: 720 RPM
- Burr Specs: 35 mm Stainless Steel, Conical
- Grinding Button: Timed grinding only (5 – 20 seconds)
- Portafilter Holder? No
Looking for something cheap? You don’t want to ‘stoop’ to the low levels of buying pre-ground coffee, and you definitely don’t want to butcher your beans with a blade grinder. But you don’t have much to spend. Good news: the Bodum Bistro can help (read our full review of the Bistro here).
We’ll be the first to admit that this is NOT a 10/10 grinder. So why would we include it in the list? Because it’s cheap, very easy to use and maintain, and it’s innovative because it’s very good at eliminating grinder static issues.
The material and build-spec mean minimal cleaning and NO clogging from oily coffee beans. The borosilicate grounds bin also keeps this machine free from static-cling. This is a huge plus if you love convenience.
Simplicity, value, and style are what the Bistro flaunts… It’s a funky looking grinder that will grind well enough for your standard brew styles (such as french press and drip coffee). You could use it for espresso, but you won’t be winning any awards for a perfectly pulled shot. The Cuisinart supreme grind is another budget grinder that often gets talked about, but the Bistro is a much better option.
Grind quality and consistency? With 720 RPMs and conical burrs, it’s good enough (better than using a hand grinder).
Grind settings and limitations? Not suited for Turkish coffee or even espresso, but for other brew styles, you’re good to go.
- Very affordable
- Extremely easy to operate, clean, and maintain
- Very little static-cling
- Comes in 5 funky colors
- Only grinds on a timer, which is not consistent
- Can’t grind fine enough for Turkish or espresso, or coarse enough for cold brew
- Not very durable (especially the borosilicate grounds bin)
2. Baratza Encore Conical Burr Coffee Grinder – Best Overall Value
“Perfect for the home coffee hobbyist who is getting started”
Grind Settings: 40
- Grind Speed: 0.8 – 1.1 g/sec
- Motor Specs: 550 RPM
- Burr Specs: 40 mm Stainless Steel, Conical
- Grinding Button: Pulse and Auto-grind
- Portafilter Holder? No
The Encore is the entry-level model for this brand (a brand well known for building quality grinders for people that value good coffee). Two ways to describe the Encore: ‘great value for money,’ and ‘minimalistic.’
There’s a rule in the coffee market, price = quality.
The good news: The Encore is the exception to this rule. It’s priced extremely well and has outstanding grind consistency. The designers removed all the extra gimmicks that its bigger and better brother (the Virtuoso) had.
You get a grinder that can handle most brew styles, without the extras. You’re here to grind coffee right? Full review of the Encore grinder here.
Grind quality and consistency? The Encore grinds at 550 RPMs and has 40 mm conical burrs; perfect for all manual styles of brewing.
Grind settings and limitations? 40 settings mean you’re good for most standard home-brew styles. You could grind for espresso with the Encore, but you won’t have a world-class grind. Perfectly suited for manual brew styles.
- Great value for money
- Minimalistic and simple to use
- Has an auto-grind feature
- All manual settings (no programmability)
- Can’t grind super-fine for Turkish coffee
- Fine grind setting only good enough for pressurized portafilters
3. Baratza Virtuoso Plus Conical Burr Coffee Grinder – Best For Manual Brew Styles
“If you love brewing manual styles of coffee (e.g., Hario v60) but also venture into espresso-based brews from time to time, the Virtuoso+ is your new best friend”
Grind Settings: 40
- Grind Speed: 1.5 – 2.4 g/sec
- Motor Specs: 550 RPM
- Burr Specs: 40mm Stainless Steel, Conical
- Grinding Button: Pulse and timed grinding
- Portafilter Holder? No
The Virtuoso Plus is the updated version of the Baratza Virtuoso, which has been one of the industry’s favorite grinders for the past 2 decades. It’s easy to use (and you can’t deny that it’s sexy AF) but the reason it’s so well-loved is the exceptional motor and burr design. Read our full review of the Virtuoso+ here.
The commercial-quality burrs and DC motor work together to reduce friction, heat, and grind beans extremely consistently. They say that if you ask a barista what grinder they have at home, chances are it will be a Virtuoso – that’s a strong vote! The upgraded ‘+’ model features a digital display and timer to make grinding even easier than before.
Grind quality and consistency? Grinding at 550 RPMs with commercial-quality 40 mm conical burrs allows the Virtuoso to deliver highly consistent grounds day after day.
Grind settings and limitations? 40 steps of adjustment mean you can grind for every brewing style apart from Turkish coffee. The Virtuoso is great if you want to brew espresso and manual at home. This is a great choice if you brew with coffee makers like Hario brewers or the Aeropress.
- Commercial-grade components.
- Extremely consistent grind.
- Easy to clean and maintain.
- More expensive than its brother, the Encore.
4. Baratza Vario Flat Burr Coffee Grinder – For All Brew Styles
“If you’re ready to step up your home-brewing game and start experimenting with micro adjusted grounds. Yes, you’ve reached ‘home barista nerd’ status”
Grind Settings: 230
- Grind Speed: 1.6 – 2.2 g/sec
- Motor Specs: 1350 RPM
- Burr Specs: 54mm Ceramic, Flat
- Grinding Button: Pulse, smart and timed grinding
- Portafilter Holder? Yes
This gorgeous machine would not look out of place in a coffee shop, yet it was designed for the home. You’ll find this grinder in the kitchens of home baristas who are serious about grinding and brewing perfect coffee.
230 repeatable settings mean you can grind for all brewing styles, and features such as the digital timer and programmable buttons make it easy to use once you’ve dialed in those perfect grind sizes.
Grind quality and consistency? At 1350 RPMs with 54mm flat burrs, you’ll be grinding your beans as expertly as a professional barista.
Grind settings and limitations? 230 repeatable and saveable settings mean you can brew any style you want, from ultra-fine to super-coarse, you’ll have it all. For more info on this solid grinder, read our Baratza Vario review here.
- Powerful yet quiet operation
- 230 settings
- Large, high-quality burrs
- Sturdy build-quality
- Overwhelming if you want simplicity
5. Rancilio Rocky Espresso Coffee Grinder – Best Coffee Grinder For Espresso
“Best for espresso lovers wanting something that can handle the pressure of lots of coffee”
Grind Settings: 55
- Grind Speed: 0.7 – 1 g/sec
- Motor Specs: 1725 RPM
- Burr Specs: 50 mm Tempered Steel, Flat
- Grinding Button: Push-button auto-grind
- Portafilter Holder? Yes, Removable
The Rancilio Rocky is a commercial-quality grinder designed for home use. Don’t be shocked when your new machine arrives with coffee dust within it – every model is factory tested with coffee to ensure they work perfectly. Like the Vario above, the Rocky Grinder was built for the home coffee brewing fanatic who wants the perfect grinding companion and is not willing to sacrifice on quality.
The difference, however, is that the Rocky is a workhorse and can handle more. It would fit in nicely in a large household or even a small office or cafe. It produces perfectly consistent grinds for espresso and all other brewing styles, and has a removable portafilter bracket so you can grind into a container for manual style brewing.
Grind quality and consistency? 50 mm flat steel burrs combined with a very powerful 1725 RPM motor means the Rocky can grind large amounts of beans with ease.
Grind settings and limitations? 55 settings will allow you to grind from superfine to super-coarse with ease. Check our full review of the Rancilio Rocky here.
- Can grind large amounts with ease
- Removable portafilter fork
- Every machine is factory tested
- Commercial-grade build quality
- Can’t fine-tune your espresso grind due to the stepped adjustment
- Can’t grind fine enough for Turkish coffee
- Expensive for a home grinder
6. Capresso 565.05 Infinity Stainless Steel Conical Burr Grinder – Best Home Grinder That Can Grind Super-Fine Grounds
“An affordable grinder that can grind for ALL brewing styles, especially Turkish coffee”
Grind Settings: 16
- Grind Speed: –
- Motor Specs: 450 RPM
- Burr Specs: 40 mm Hardened Steel, Conical
- Grinding Button: Timed (5-60 seconds)
- Portafilter Holder? No
This grinder has 4 major settings: extra-fine, fine, medium, and coarse. And then, it has 4 sub-settings within each setting. Why does this matter? Because you can grind super fine for Turkish coffee – the only grinder on this list that can do that. Combine this feature with the 40 mm conical steel burrs, the slow grind time (for avoiding heat), and the easy-to-remove upper burr for cleaning, and you have a fine home grinder that ticks many boxes… at an amazing price.
Grind quality and consistency? Hardened steel 40mm conical burrs and a nice low 450 RPM means the Infinity grinds at an astonishingly consistent level for its price.
Grind settings and limitations? None. You can grind from ultra-fine to super-coarse, meaning you can grind for all brewing styles, including Turkish coffee. Impressive!
- Ability to grind for Turkish coffee
- Quality burrs with low RPMs
- Extremely easy to clean
- Very small bin for ground coffee
- Can’t produce grinds for pulling high-quality espresso shots
7. Breville BCG820BSSXL Smart Grinder Pro Coffee Bean Grinder – A Super-Versatile Grinder
“Best if you’re looking for a grinder that is above the entry-level but not quite prosumer level. It can dial in a fine espresso grind, handle most other manual methods, and has a tonne of handy features”
Grind Settings: 60
- Motor Specs: 450 RPM
- Burr Specs: 40 mm Stainless Steel, Conical
- Grinding Button: Digital Timer & Manual push button
- Portafilter Holder? Yes
This Grinder was designed for those who like techy solutions with plenty of options. In other words, it will make your coffee grinding, easy, repeatable, and give you flexibility between brewing styles. The Pro will grind your beans from espresso-fine to French-Press-coarse, and gives you the option of grinding directly into the portafilter, container, gold-tone filter basket, or paper filter.
High-quality burrs (which will last a long time), a sexy digital display and plenty of cool ‘make-life-easy’ features mean this grinder is fast becoming one of the most popular in the home barista market.
Grind quality and consistency? Low RPMs and high-quality burrs mean this grinder delivers the goods at finer and medium-fine grounds. Not so much at the coarser settings.
Grind settings and limitations? 60 settings (and 10 and micro-adjustments) mean you can brew everything but Turkish coffee. Not recommended if you are a serious French Press fanatic, though. Read our full review of the Breville Smart Grinder Pro.
- An abundance of convenient features
- Quality, long-lasting burrs
- Easily programmable settings
- 60 grind settings (with 10 micro-adjustments)
- Not great at coarse grinds
- Not built to be a workhorse, especially with dark roasts
- Programming it to brew a full pot of coffee can be confusing
THE VERDICT: What is the Best Coffee Grinder?
This list is in no way exhaustive (i.e., there are hundreds of other grinders out there) however, these are the ‘top dawgs’ in the burr grinding space. Each is a good option in the end, but the overwhelming industry favorite is:
It combines absolute precision with slow grinding/crushing power and is one of the quietest grinders on the market. This translates to an EXQUISITE cup of coffee. Let’s not forget that this grinder also received raving reviews from hundreds of coffee connoisseurs such as yourself – the people don’t lie.
We hope you enjoyed our grinder reviews above and are one step closer to finding the best burr coffee grinder to be your coffee maker’s sidekick.
The main advantage of grinding your own coffee is that freshly ground coffee tastes better than pre-ground coffee. Irrespective of the brewing style, a cup of coffee made from freshly ground beans will taste superior. You can read more about it on our article here.
Yes, manual or hand grinders are cheaper alternatives to electric burr grinders. However, most of them are only good for grinding enough beans to make a cup or two of coffee. You can take a look at our article on the best hand coffee grinders to help you select one.
An easy way to clean your coffee grinder is by running grinder cleaning pellets through it once or twice a month. There is a manual method too, which is labor-intensive and time-consuming, but excellent for a deep clean. You can get the details of each of those methods in our burr grinder cleaning guide.
PS – Do not wash the internal parts/burrs!
The grind size depends on your type of coffee and brewing style. As a general rule, use a coarse grind for immersion-style brews (like the French Press), medium grind for pour-overs, and a fine grind for espresso. Of course, there are other factors to consider before grinding, but our coffee grind chart covers it all.
Hell no! Sorry, couldn’t help myself. It’s sacrilegious even to consider it.
Your blender/food processor is technically a powerful blade grinder. It will pulverize your beans instead of grinding them. If you go through the effort of purchasing freshly roasted, single-origin (hence, expensive) coffee beans, it’s preferable to buy them pre-ground for the brewing-style you’ll be using. Even if you use store-bought coffee beans, it’s much better to buy coffee grounds than to ruin them by grinding in your blender/food processor.
- Scott Rao. (2018, October 30). Using Extraction Levels To Rate Grinders. Retrieved from https://www.scottrao.com/blog/2018/10/4/using-extraction-levels-to-rate-grinders
- Miller, D. (2017, July 31). Effects of Grind Precision on Beverage Quality. Retrieved from https://coffeetechniciansguild.org/blog/2017/7/31/effects-of-grind-precision-on-beverage-quality
- Clayton, L. (n.d.). The Best Coffee Grinder. Retrieved from https://thewirecutter.com/reviews/the-best-coffee-grinder/
Alex is an Editor of Home Grounds, who considers himself as a traveling coffee fanatic. He is passionate about brewing amazing coffee while in obscure locations, and teaching others to do the same.