Manual coffee grinders are a fine option if you are brewing in smaller quantities, or if you want to take your grinder traveling with you. But if you are looking for a no-hassle solution for grinding larger batches of coffee with more consistency, you may want to look into an electric burr grinder.
But how should you go about finding the right electric burr grinder for you?
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All of the proverbial bells and whistles aren’t essential for a quality grind, but if you’re grinding daily, or even multiple times per day, there are a few features that can go a long way.
A common feature available amongst electric grinders is a ‘pulse.’ The ‘pulse’ features allows you to push a button to immediately begin grinding. Upon letting go of the button, the machine immediately stops grinding.
In contrast, some grinders ‘auto-grind’- you turn a dial, the machine grinds and you wait for it to finish grinding all of the loaded coffee beans.
Perhaps most convenient is a ‘timed grinding’ setting. Set the desired grinding time and let it go! Often, machines featuring a timed grinding setting will even “remember” past timing settings, allowing you to easily repeat dosages brew to brew.
Variety in Grind Size Settings
Grinders with hundreds of settings are generally over-engineered. Instead of choosing a grinder based on the number of settings, here’s some advice:
Generally aim for about 20-40 settings if you are looking to brew in typical ways with some experimentation here and there. Aim for more settings than that if you want to do more while less settings can be acceptable if you are OK with more limited ways to brew.
One additional note: electric burr grinders generally can’t handle Turkish grind which is even finer than espresso. You’ll need a Turkish grinder for that.
When shopping for an electric burr grinder, consider which of these features might be important to you and which you’d be OK passing on.
Price vs. Grind Consistency
There are really three price tiers out there for electric burr grinders: A) $50 to $100, B) $100 to about $200, and C) Very Expensive.
Grinders that grind consistency without many fines are VERY rare in tier A; there aren’t many grinders worth your aggravation in this tier. Tier B is probably the value sweet spot, but you will still find numerous grinders in this price range with surprising inconsistency in their grind. Most tier C grinders will do a fine job, but can range up to the $1000 price point.
Most consumers are looking for a grinder with a decent feature set in the $100-$200 price range, so we’ll be focusing our efforts there.
Now that we’ve covered a few basics, let’s get down to the grind and review our top 5 picks for electric burr grinders!
Our Top Choices for Electric Burr Grinders
#5 OXO Brew Conical Burr Coffee Grinder with Integrated Scale
Chief among the reasons to like the OXO Brew Conical Burr Grinder is its “built-in intelligent scale.” This feature simplifies the process of grinding coffee for your average home-brewer and cuts down on the equipment you’d need- you won’t need to spend extra money and counter space for a weighing scale. Enter the number of cups you want and your preferred coarseness, and the grinder spits out exactly the amount of coffee recommended. Details like the UV-blocking plastic hopper that’s designed to “protect the integrity of your beans” are also a nice touch.
Some of our “pros” for this grinder are that the Oxo offers admirable grind consistency and conveniently controls how much coffee is ground by weight rather than by time.
Some of the drawbacks we found were that the weight of the actual dose always slightly misses the target. The unit’s high-pitched noise is on the louder side and its lightweight materials raise longevity concerns.
#4 KitchenAid Burr Coffee Bean Grinder
The KitchenAid grinds with an insanely consistent particle size, right up there with commercial coffee grinders that cost significantly more. In addition to top-notch technicals, the KitchenAid is also really classic-looking in the kitchen. Its also quite sturdy- ours still worked fine even after being dropped on a concrete floor!
The KitchenAid’s noise level ranges from just shy of 90 up to 95 decibels on average, which is slightly higher than other grinders in its class and loud enough to disrupt a conversation you might want to have with guests about the beauty of your grinder.
While the machine does not produce much static from coffees that are less static-prone to begin with, a fresh or darkly roasted coffee ground on the coarser side sometimes results in a flurry of staticky bits swirling up onto the thin walls of the catch jar. This is not an uncommon affliction with burr grinders, but the KitchenAid’s vibrations particularly seem to cause its jar to shift just far enough out of place to allow some charged-up particles to cling to the sides of the machine or even escape onto your counter
Some of our “pros” for this grinder are that, in keeping with the classic KitchenAid ethos, this coffee grinder’s strong and handsome construction paired with its simple operation makes for a compelling value proposition.
Some of the drawbacks we found were the grounds retention, static and noise can all be problematic in various usage scenarios.
#3 Bodum Bistro Electric Burr Coffee Grinder
Looking for something cheap and no-frills? Good news: the Bodum Bistro might be the right fit for you in terms of value and convenience. 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.
It’s a bit of a funky looking grinder that will grind well enough for standard brew styles (for example, french press or drip coffee). It indicates that you can use it for espresso grind, but your results will be merely workable.
What about grind quality and consistency? With 720 RPMs and conical burrs, it’s good enough and better than most hand grinders – a good value for its cheaper price point.
Some of our “pros” for this grinder are that its very affordable, easy to operate, clean, and maintain, and had minimal static-cling.
Some of the drawbacks we found were that finer grinds (including espresso) were somewhat inconsistent and the coarser grinders weren’t quite sufficient for cold brew. The build quality also was not quite as high as other models on our list.
#2 Baratza Encore
The Baratza brand comes up more often than any other when talking to coffee enthusiasts. While Baratza makes higher-end models, the Encore hits a quality for price sweet spot, with excellent performance and a solid build. You can spend way more money on the higher-end Baratza models, but this one does the job for a fraction of the cost- it’s simple to use and super-consistent.
The Encore is incredibly intuitive with a wide grind range varying from espresso fine to settings for French press or cold brew. While it can be a little loud, that’s probably to be expected for a grinder made of plastic and designed for the home.
Some of our “pros” for this grinder are that it provides a very high quality grind for its price point while being minimalistic and simple to use.
Some of the drawbacks we found were that it has no programmability with all of the settings being performed manually and that it was slightly inconsistent at very fine grind settings.
#1 Breville Smart Grinder Pro
Breville’s Smart Grinder Pro consistently provided near-commercial-level quality at consumer-level costs. This is our favorite grinder for making coffee at home. Obviously, there will be some quality differences between this and top end grinders, but considering its rich feature set and high grind quality at a fraction of price, its hard to complain!
The Smart Grinder Pro features 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 options out there. It is programmable with a timed grind setting and “remembers” your past grind times for repeating dosage. It’s also easy to use with intuitive controls, deposits grinds into an included sealable bin, and is quite easy to clean. This our pick for best value amongst electric coffee grinders.
Some of our “pros” for this grinder are the abundance of convenient features, the high quality, long-lasting burrs, and the 60 different grind settings with 10 available micro-adjustments
Some of the drawbacks we found were that its not really built to be a workhorse, especially with dark roasts – long grinds take a bit longer than you’d like and seem to tax the grinder a bit. Also, despite the convenience of the digital controls, it does have a bit of a learning curve upon first trying to use it.