Hours of Research
Even budget coffee grinders can grind evenly and have advanced features; here are our experts' favorites.
One of the important elements of making coffee is using fresh beans and a uniform, correctly sized grind. A coffee grinder will help you with this.
But can a budget coffee grinder grind coffee beans well?
To find the answer, the Urban Bean Coffee team researched affordable grinders and found the five best budget coffee grinders 2021. We've also compiled a buying guide to help you choose the best grinder.
Let's get started!
If coffee is part of your life, then there should also be a place for the best coffee grinder.
• 43 grind size settings: 15 main settings and 28 micro-settings
• Compact - 12 x 7.4 x 16 inches
• Has professional-level features like stainless steel burrs and a one-touch start setting
BEST FOR BEGINNERS
With minimal set-up and intuitive controls, this grinder is a great choice for those new to it.
• Conical burrs provide better grinding quality
• It will last for years
• 40 grind sizes for any brewing method
BEST FOR ESPRESSO
Affordable price and functionality at the level of professional devices makes this grinder one of the best in the budget category.
• Ability to dose the amount of grind and pour directly into the portafilter
• Compact - just 13.5 inches high
• It’s easy to disassemble and clean
How to Choose a Budget Coffee Grinder
Why is an integrated approach to choosing coffee grinders so important?
Freshly ground beans taste brighter and more aromatic than pre-ground coffee. Additionally, you can use different brewing methods once you buy a grinder because each method requires its own grind size.
Plus, grinders can ensure a uniform, precise grind that will give you consistently good results when brewing your favorite coffee drinks.
And grind size affects extraction. You will be able to control the taste of your drink by experimenting with small changes to the grind settings.
Let's take a look at the various elements of grinders so that you can determine which functions are right for you.
Manual or Electric
Electric models work much faster than manual devices. They require minimal participation on your part. Just pour in beans, select a setting, and press a button.
Most electric models allow you to dispense grounds based on weight or number of cups. They also have more grind size settings than manual ones. This allows for a more accurate result.
Electric coffee grinders are quite noisy. Using them early in the morning is like an alarm clock for everyone around. Your family members may not appreciate this. In this case, a manual grinder could be a better choice.
Electric models are more expensive. Get ready to shell out about $100 to get a reliable and functional machine. You can buy a manual model for $20 and it will still be high quality.
Also, electric models don't last as long. The more complex the device, the more small parts it contains that can be prone to breakage.
Manual models will be an excellent purchase for home-brewing beginners. They are small in size and high in strength. The devices are light enough that you can easily move them when needed.
The disadvantage of manual models is that they are not 100% consistent in their results. But to fix this, just clean them regularly.
Another disadvantage of hand-held devices is grinding time. It may take you more than 10 minutes to get the desired result. But at least it's a good workout!
Burr or Blade
Burr grinders allow you to grind the beans uniformly, and you can set the desired size. The grinds will have a large extraction surface, which has a positive effect on the taste of the drink.
Burr grinders are quieter than blade grinders. Also, most burr models are equipped with timers for calculating the grinding time, have automatic shutdown functions, and have dosing settings.
Burr grinders are considered safer, as the burrs are inside the device and can't come into contact with your hands.
Burr grinders are universal for preparing coffee drinks via any brewing method: pour-over, cold brew, French press, espresso machine, etc. All you need to do is select the grind size and press the button.
Blade grinders are cheaper than burr grinders. When using a blade grinder, the grind size depends on how long you grind for. Plus, they're more compact than burr grinders.
The disadvantage of blade grinders is that you cannot set the grind size and control its uniformity. Freshly ground coffee will contain particles ranging in size from extra fine to extra coarse. Even with a longer grinding time, the grinds won't reach uniformity.
Plus, blades can overheat during prolonged use, which can cause the beans to overheat and lead to bitter coffee.
Overall, blade grinders don't grind very smoothly, but if your goal is to get coarse grind beans for a cold brew or French press, then these models will suit you.
Conical or Flat burrs
Flat burrs produce a grind where all particles are the same size. When using conical burrs, the grounds are slightly less uniform. Plus, grinders with flat burrs are more compact and also more accurate in their dosing. And conical burr grinders are noisier than flat burr grinders because they're equipped with a more powerful motor. However, conical burr grinders do have an advantage; they're more efficient and less prone to overheating.
This feature is essential, especially if you like to experiment with different brewing methods. Each brewing method requires a specific grind size.
Models with a wide range of grind settings are popular. With these models, you can select from the main grind sizes and also adjust the micro-grind settings. These settings will help your drink perfectly balance flavor and aroma.
Grinders are most often made of plastic or stainless steel. Models made of plastic come in a variety of colors and shapes, but they can crack when hit or dropped. Models with a steel case look very stylish and fit perfectly with lots of kitchen decor. They're also more reliable, and thus more expensive.
Stainless steel burrs are the most common. You don't have to worry about them cracking. Since burrs made from this material are susceptible to corrosion, don't use water when cleaning them. Ceramic burrs cannot be blunted and their lifespan is theoretically infinite. They hardly generate any noise during operation, do not corrode, and create a uniform grind. However, ceramic is more fragile and there's a risk of cracking the burrs if a hard object gets into your beans.
When choosing a grinder, pay attention to the volume of the bean hopper and the grounds container. The more cups you want to make at a time, the larger the containers you should choose.
Best Inexpensive Coffee Grinders
1. OXO BREW - Top Pick
Looking for the best budget burr grinder that won’t break the bank? Look no further than the OXO BREW Conical Burr Coffee Grinder. Featuring durable 40mm stainless steel conical burrs, this grinder will help you brew a great cup of coffee.
The OXO BREW grinder features 43 grind size settings: 15 main settings and 28 micro-settings. This means you can use the grinder to grind beans for any brewing method. And reviewers praise the grinder’s ability to produce a uniform, consistent grind.
The grinder is compact (12 x 7.4 x 16 inches) but can still grind enough beans for 12 cups of coffee. The bean hopper can hold up to 340 grams/12 oz of beans and the grounds container has a capacity of 110 grams/3.88 oz.
The best feature of the OXO BREW grinder is its one-touch start feature. Set the timer once to grind the right amount of beans, and the timer will remember your last setting. Whenever you want a cup of coffee, just press the timer button and the machine will grind the exact amount of beans you need!
Some reviewers mentioned that while the grinder is quiet, it’s not as quiet as other burr grinders. And the grounds container will sometimes move out of place during grinding. But at such an affordable price point, this easy-to-clean, durable grinder is still well worth it.
2. Baratza Encore - Best for Beginners
With its easy-to-understand features, the Baratza Encore Conical Burr Coffee Grinder is a great choice for beginner home baristas. Simply twist the bean hopper to choose between 40 grind settings, use the pulse button to grind small amounts at a time, or turn the on/off dial for longer periods of grinding.
This best entry level burr grinder will last for years. Not only does it have a powerful DC motor and 40mm hardened alloy steel conical burrs, but it also comes with a one-year warranty. With regular cleaning and maintenance, your grinder will last a long time. Plus, you can send in your grinder for repair if it breaks, so you don’t have to spend tons of money on a new machine. Baratza has even repaired some reviewers’ grinders for free after the warranty had expired.
Other great features of the Baratza Encore include its stylish design (you can choose between white and black so it will match any kitchen décor), the fact that it produces an even, uniform grind, and the fact that it’s easy to clean.
The only drawback is that the grinder doesn’t have a weight-dosing system, so you’ll need to measure out your beans before adding them to the hopper, or estimate how long it’ll take to grind the amount you want. Still, the Baratza Encore is a great choice due to its simple features and durability.
3. Mueller Ultra-Grind - Best for Espresso
The Mueller Ultra-Grind grinder is a great choice for anyone on a budget. Though this best budget espresso grinder costs less than $100, it performs well, and its features are comparable to those of higher-end grinders.
Its conical burrs are made of hardened alloy steel, and its gear reduction motor means it’s not noisy at all. Plus, it can hold and grind enough beans to brew 32 cups of coffee, but it’s still compact and will fit well in your kitchen.
Mueller’s one-button touch operation feature means the grinder is easy and convenient to use. Simply press the power button to start grinding, and either press it again to stop grinding or wait for the auto-stop feature. The grinder is also easy to clean: it comes with an embedded cleaning brush, and the grinding chamber is fully detachable.
With 10 main grind size settings and many more micro-settings, the Mueller grinder can grind coffee for any brewing method. Want an espresso? Cold brew? French press? No problem—the Ultra-Grind can do it all. And for espresso lovers, this budget espresso grinder also has a portafilter bracket. A portafilter isn’t included, but once you buy one, just set it on the bracket and push in to start grinding.
4. Bodum Bistro - Best for Pour-Over
The Bodum Bistro Burr Grinder uses stainless steel conical burrs for a consistent grind. The burrs grind the beans rather than chopping them. This ensures uniformity and better preservation of flavor and aroma than with blade grinders.
The Bodum Bistro budget grinder can be easily adjusted by rotating the bean hopper to select the desired grind size. The model has 12 adjustable grind settings. You can get both a fine grind for espresso and a coarse grind for French press. The timer allows you to set the grinding time and get the required amount of grounds at the touch of a button. A friction clutch protects the grinder from any small stones that may have found their way into your beans.
The bean hopper holds 7.75 ounces of beans and is made of plastic. The body of the device is also made of plastic, which makes this model affordable. It still functions at a high level.
The container lid is multifunctional. It keeps the beans fresh and contains helpful hints for grind settings. Using the lid, you can determine how long to set the timer depending on the grind size and your desired number of cups.
The model is equipped with an antistatic borosilicate glass container for the fresh grounds. It fits comfortably at the base of the device and has a non-slip silicone band so you won't drop it.
5. Cuisinart DBM-8 - Best for French Press
This elegant model is made of stainless steel and will complement your other stainless steel appliances.
The Cuisinart DBM-8 is compact and does not take up much space in your kitchen, and it also has convenient cord storage. This automatic budget coffee grinder is equipped with burr grinders, so your beans will be uniformly ground to the correct size and maintain their oils, aromas, and flavors.
The removable container for fresh grounds holds enough grounds to brew 32 cups of coffee. The container is made of plastic and grounds can stick to it due to static electricity. But that's not a problem—just clean it when you need to.
What is important when choosing among the many coffee grinders on the market? The number of grind settings, of course. The Cuisinart DBM-8 boasts an 18-position grind selector and ensures a consistent grind. You can choose grinds from ultra-fine to extra-coarse depending on your preferences and needs.
The device is easy to use, and it's easy to adjust the grind size. The model has a spacious 8oz hopper for whole beans. You don't have to intuitively figure out how much grounds you want—just specify the number of cups you want to brew (between 4 and 18). The model works pretty fast. The electric timer automatically switches off the device after the end of the grind cycle.
The device is very easy to clean and comes with a special cleaning brush.
How a Coffee Grinder Works
There are two types of grinders: burr and blade.
Burr grinders have two containers. Whole beans are poured into one (the bean hopper) and freshly ground coffee is dispensed into the other. Coffee is ground between two rotating burrs. The size of the grind is set by adjusting the distance between the burrs—the larger the distance, the coarser the grind.
Blade grinders have blades inside the bean container. The blades rotate at high speed and grind the beans, which remain in that same container.
Are cheap coffee grinders good?
They are a great option if you are just starting to dive into the world of making coffee at home. Manufacturers offer options with an excellent price-quality ratio and a sufficient set of functions. You can start experimenting with different brewing methods and fine-tune the taste and quality of your coffee by adjusting the grind setting.
Is a coffee grinder worth it?
Freshly ground beans make the drink brighter and more aromatic than pre-ground coffee from a bag. Whole beans keep their freshness longer, so they can be stored for a long time. To enjoy a rich drink every day, you should buy whole beans and grind them just before brewing. Also, coffee grinders allow you to experiment with different brewing methods. You won’t have to purchase a separate grind for each method. You’ll be able to purchase one package and get the required grind at home.
What about manual coffee grinders?
Manual grinders are a great choice for those who like to enjoy the whole process of making coffee, from grinding coffee beans to brewing them. The main advantage manual grinders is that the grinding process is slow, so the beans do not overheat and burn. Therefore, you preserve the natural taste of the drink.
1. How To Pick The Perfect Manual Coffee Grinder For You - JavaPresse
2. Why Is Having A Good Coffee Grinder So Important? - Atlass Coffee Club