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Coffee is a delicate thing. The light, floral, fruity flavours that define the most sought-after beans begin to dissipate the moment you open your vacuum-sealed, nitrogen-flushed bag of coffee beans, and the process only accelerates once you grind them to make your coffee. But oxygen isn't the only enemy of coffee flavour—a bad grind can do just as much damage.

The key to avoiding a bad grind is buying a good grinder. Ask any expert and they'll tell you to avoid cheap blade grinders, which indiscriminately chop beans into random-sized chunks. What you want is a burr grinder, like our favourite Baratza Encore (available at Amazon for £149.99), which evenly grinds the beans between two serrated steel plates that can be moved closer or further apart to control the size of the grind to produce a consistent grind. Burr grinders are typically more expensive, but they're worth it. An even grind promotes even extraction, which results in a smoother, cleaner-tasting cup of coffee whether you're making French press, pour-over, or espresso.

That said, we know not everyone wants to fuss over their coffee. Maybe you just want to pulverize some supermarket beans to stuff in your reusable Nespresso pod, or maybe you're ok with less-than-perfect flavours from your cold brew. We understand, no judgment!

That's why we tested some of the most popular grinders out there to find the best burr and blade options for the average coffee drinker.

Here are the best electric coffee grinders ranked, in order:

  1. Baratza Encore  
  2. Sage Smart Grinder Pro
  3. Bodum BISTRO
  4. Cuisinart DBM-8 Supreme Grind
  5. Krups F20342 Coffee Grinder

BEST OVERALL Baratza Encore

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Photo: Reviewed / Ben KeoughPhoto: Reviewed / Ben Keough

The Baratza Encore is simplicity defined. This burr grinder has a 40-setting grind size selector, an on-off switch for continuous grinding, and a push-button for manual control. That's it. Other grinders include complicated timers, built-in scales, strength adjustment sliders, and other doodahs, but Baratza suggests that you don't need them—and they're right. Measure your beans using a separate scale, grind them fresh for each cup. That's the way to do it.

This grinder produced the evenest grounds out of all the machines I tested, and its range of output is all-encompassing. The coarsest setting produces large flakes, while the finest setting produces puffy grounds akin to powdered sugar—perfect for Turkish coffee. In between, I was quickly able to find the ideal settings for my Hario Woodneck, Aeropress, and even some mason jar cold brew.

The machine itself is large, but not as monstrous as some of the other grinders I tested. It's also very bottom-heavy, which makes it feel more durable than other machines and means it won't rattle all over your counter while grinding. The heavy-duty translucent plastic collection cup generates less static cling than the glossy clear plastic cups I tested, and the chute that connects the burrs to the cup collects less debris than other models. Cleaning is simple: Just remove the top burr and use the included wire brush to remove residual grounds.

Pros

  • Even grinding
  • Durable, bottom-heavy
  • 40-setting grind size

Cons

  • No complicated features such as timer

Get the Baratza Encore at Amazon

BEST BLADE GRINDER Krups F20342 Coffee Grinder

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Photo: Reviewed / Ben KeoughPhoto: Reviewed / Ben Keough

You shouldn't buy a blade grinder. They're just not as good as burrs. But if you must, I recommend the Krups F20342.

Though the grounds it produces aren't anywhere near as consistent as even the worst burr grinder I tried, it's capable of producing a decent cup. After grinding continuously for five seconds, the Fast Touch reduced two scoops of beans to a nearly uniform medium-fine grind—no huge chunks, no whole beans. With a little experimentation, I was able to hit a consistent medium grind that produced a bright, slightly acidic Aeropress cup. If you want an ultra-fine espresso grind, it can do that too. Simply hold the button down until all you have left is powder.

Like most cheap grinders, the Krups produces a ton of static cling, meaning you need to tap the lid or bang the grinder on your counter to keep grounds from going everywhere when you open it. If you grind ultra-fine, the particles tend to cake on the bottom of the bowl, too. Cleaning is relatively simple; just be sure to watch your fingers when working around the blades.

Pros

  • Best blade grinder
  • Fast grinding

Cons

  • Grounds will statically cling to the cover.
  • Particles tend to cake on the bottom.

Get the Krups F20342 Coffee Grinder at Amazon

Get the Krups F20342 Coffee Grinder at John Lewis

Get the Krups F20342 Coffee Grinder at Debenhams

How We Tested

I'm Ben Keough, and I've been testing and writing about consumer tech and home goods for more than a decade. I previously served as Reviewed's Editor in Chief of News and Features, where I covered everything from new oven announcements to cutting-edge developments in digital camera sensors. For the last year, I also owned and operated the top-rated speciality coffee shop in Da Nang, Vietnam's third-largest city. There, I converted my love for drinking coffee into a passion for making coffee and learned what it takes to produce a perfect cup.

The Tests Since the type of bean and the level of roast you're using can affect the quality of the grind (not to mention how easy your grinder is to clean), I chose a middle of the road coffee that would represent the average bean used by most homebrewers.

Blade and burr grinders differ drastically in how they're used, so I tested them in different ways. For the blade grinders, I first ground two Aeropress scoops of beans for five seconds, to assess how quickly and consistently they chopped the beans. After that, I did my best to grind two scoops to coarse, medium, and fine consistency. In addition, to grind size and uniformity, I took note of things like static cling in the grinder cup, how much caking occurs with finer grounds, whether the blades spat ground coffee all over the machine and countertop, and how easy the grinders were to clean when I was done.

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: The best burr grinders, like the Baratza Encore, produce consistent grounds at all grind sizes. Photo: Reviewed / Ben KeoughThe best burr grinders, like the Baratza Encore, produce consistent grounds at all grind sizes. Photo: Reviewed / Ben Keough

For burr grinders, I did two rounds of three grind size tests. The first time around, I ground two Aeropress scoops of coffee using the manufacturer-recommended settings for coarse, medium, and fine (or, depending on the machine, French press, pour-over, and espresso). The second time, I ground using the coarsest and finest settings, plus the one that I thought would produce the best Aeropress cup. In each case, I examined the grounds for consistency and appropriateness for the brew method. Again, I took note of other things, like build quality, the space each grinder took up on the counter, static cling, grounds getting stuck in the chute, noise levels, speed, and ease of cleaning.

What You Should Know About Coffee Grinders

Before you make a purchase, it's important to understand the differences between electric, manual, blade, and burr grinders. A conical burr grinder pulverizes the roasted beans between two serrated moving steel plates, a handful of beans at a time. This mechanism allows a more consistent, even grind, but it will cost you a lot more than a simple blade grinder. The more affordable option is the blade grinder, which chops up the beans with spinning blades. This can cause the grounds to vary in size and shape, which is a problem as the grounds will extract at different rates. Blade grinders also introduce heat to the coffee grounds, which destroys some of the flavour and adds a “burnt” taste to the coffee.

Other Coffee Grinders We Tested

Sage Smart Grinder Pro

If you really like to fine-tune your grind and dosing, the Sage Smart Grinder Pro has enough tools to satisfy your OCD. You can choose from 60 grind size settings, and when it comes to dosing, you can set your grind time in increments of 0.2 seconds or simply choose your number of cups. The grinder comes with portafilter attachments in two sizes, reducing mess for those with home espresso machines, and is also designed to accommodate paper filters for drip coffee makers. A large digital display makes the settings easy to understand at a glance.

The machine is full of other thoughtful design flourishes. Both the top burr and the bean hopper include well-labelled locking mechanisms that ensure the machine won't run unless it's properly set up. The lid on the hopper has a pull-ring to make it easy to remove, as does the electrical plug. The grind collection cup includes a screw-on lid with a rubber stopper for airtight storage. I recommend grinding your coffee right before brewing, but if you have to store it, that's a nifty feature to have.

But how does it grind, you ask? Pretty well! The coarsest setting is too fine for my taste, but it does an excellent job at pour-over/Aeropress/cold brew sizes and produces a beautifully fine espresso grind. Grind consistency is very good, though not quite as perfect as what you get from the Baratza Encore.

Of course, there are downsides. The Smart Grinder Pro is expensive, huge, heavy, and perhaps a touch over-engineered. I can't help but think that all those whiz-bang electronics behind the flashy display are more likely to give out than the Baratza's simple mechanical controls. That said, if you demand the shiniest tech and the most possible control over your grind, it's a great choice.

Pros

  • 60-setting grind size
  • Good for pour-over coffee

Cons

  • Expensive
  • Heavy and over-engineered

Get the Sage Smart Grinder Pro at Amazon

Get the Sage Smart Grinder Pro at John Lewis

Get the Sage Smart Grinder Pro at Currys

Get the Sage Smart Grinder Pro at Wayfair

Get the Sage Smart Grinder Pro at Harts of Stur

Bodum BISTRO

Bodum is best known to most coffee lovers for their iconic French presses, but the company makes a wide range of other coffee gadgets. The Bodum BISTRO burr grinder is a solid, uncomplicated machine that I enjoyed using, but there's little to recommend it over other more accomplished grinders.

Here's what I liked: The BISTRO is smaller and lighter than a lot of burr grinders, but it doesn't feel cheap. It includes helpful grind setting suggestions under the hopper lid. It's not too noisy when grinding, despite being pretty quick about it. The grind size range is broad, and the grounds are pretty consistent at all settings. The machine is also quite easy to clean because the chute between the burrs and the collection cup is short and broad.

What didn't I like? The glass grounds cup feels premium, but it's small, prone to static, and more breakable than the plastic cups that come with other grinders. The machine's soft rubber coating—familiar to Bodum French press owners—gets dirty fast and is difficult to clean. The BISTRO also tends to spill grounds all over the place when you pick up the cup. That gets annoying fast.

Pros

  • Small and light, but not cheap
  • Consistent grounds
  • Easy to clean

Cons

  • The glass grounds cup is prone to break
  • Hard to clean
  • Grounds can spill everywhere

Get the Bodum BISTRO at Bodum

Get the Bodum BISTRO at Amazon

Cuisinart DBM-8 Supreme Grind

Cuisinart makes many of my favourite kitchen gadgets, but the DBM-8 Supreme misses the mark. Along with the Krups GX5000, it's one of the cheapest burr grinders available, and after using it, it's easy to see why. To begin with, the grounds it produces are reasonably uniform, but the range of grind sizes is quite limited. Its coarsest setting isn't very coarse and the finest setting definitely won't get you into Turkish territory. It also seems to have a pretty hard time grabbing onto beans, tossing them around the hopper almost like a popcorn maker. It's among the loudest grinders I tested, and the collection bin produces atrocious static cling that makes it annoying to empty. Cleanup is messy, but at least Cuisinart says all removable parts are dishwasher-safe. (I wouldn't recommend washing the top burr, though. Use a dry cloth or brush.) Pros

  • Inexpensive

Cons

  • Range of grind size limited
  • Particles are not fine enough
  • Very noisy

Get the Cuisinart DBM-8 Supreme Grind at Amazon

Get the Cuisinart DBM-8 Supreme Grind at John Lewis

Get the Cuisinart DBM-8 Supreme Grind at Harts of Stur

Get the Cuisinart DBM-8 Supreme Grind at Selfridges