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We can’t all afford a $200 coffee grinder. Here’s the good news: A budget coffee grinder can still have a huge impact on your home coffee game.
No matter what coffee maker you use, learning to grind coffee is almost always the best way to make your coffee sweeter, fresher, and less bitter (or sour). If you’re ready to find the best budget coffee grinders—or just learn why coffee grinders matter to home baristas—you’ve come to the right place.
Quick Take: Best Budget Coffee Grinders
Best budget coffee grinder
|CUISINART Coffee Grinder, Electric Burr One-Touch Automatic Grinder with18-Position Grind Selector, Stainless Steel, DBM-8P1||Check price|
Best coffee grinder under $50
|SHARDOR Electric Burr Coffee Grinder 2.0, Adjustable Burr Mill with 16 Precise Grind Setting for 2-14 Cup, Black||Check price|
Best burr grinder under $100
|OXO Brew Conical Burr Coffee Grinder , Silver||Check price|
Best budget manual grinder
|JavaPresse Manual Coffee Grinder - Stainless Steel Hand Coffee Grinder - 18 Adjustable Settings, Portable Conical Burr Coffee Bean Grinder, Camping, Travel Espresso Coffee Hand Grinder with Hand Crank||Check price|
Cheapest coffee grinder
|KONA Manual Coffee Grinder, Conical Burr Mill with Adjustable Setting, Best Ceramic Burr Coffee Grinder for Aeropress, Drip Coffee, Espresso, French Press, Turkish Brew||Check price|
Why Buy a Coffee Grinder?
You have two options when making coffee at home: pre-ground or whole bean coffee. Pre-ground coffee is clearly the more convenient option. You don’t need a grinder or extra prep time for it—you just pour the coffee grounds into your favorite coffee maker.
With whole bean coffee, on the other hand, you need a coffee grinder and you need to learn how to grind your own coffee. Grinding coffee isn’t hard, but it’s still one more step in your morning routine.
So why would anyone bother with whole bean coffee?
Whole bean coffee is fresher
The main reason is freshness. Coffee doesn’t last forever, and coffee grounds go stale a lot faster than whole bean coffee. That’s especially true for espresso grounds, but even coarse grounds should be used within a day or two of when you open the bag.
And that’s assuming you buy only the freshest coffee beans. If you are buying grocery store coffee, the pre-ground stuff is probably long stale before you ever see it. If you’re going to buy ground coffee (or whole bean, for that matter), you need to order it from a reputable online source or a local roaster.
Properly stored whole bean coffee can maintain its freshness for a few weeks, plenty of time for you to make your way through the entire bag. If you’re switching from ground coffee, you’ll notice the impact immediately. Fresh coffee makes sweeter, more flavorful brews than the bland garbage you get from stale grounds.
Grind size is important
Pre-ground coffee is only available in a handful of sizes. It’s not too hard to find drip grinds, but most coffee brands don’t have French press, espresso, or cold brew grounds.
On the other hand, all but the cheapest coffee brands should have whole bean coffee options. That gives you a lot more choices, especially if you are using a coffee maker that requires a specific grind.
Even you drip coffee fanatics will find that your coffee improves once you can tweak the grind size. Slight adjustments in grind size can turn bitter coffee into a sweet, delicious brew. It’s not the only factor that matters, but it’s one of the easiest ones to master in your quest to become a coffee expert.
2 Tips for Choosing a Budget Coffee Grinder
1. Avoid blade grinders
Don’t be fooled by those $10 blade grinders. They grind coffee so terribly that you’d be better off buying pre-ground coffee.
The problem with blade grinders is that they don’t actually grind coffee beans! Instead, they chop the beans apart randomly. Some beans get pulverized while others end up in huge chunks.
Inconsistent grind size is a surefire path to bad coffee. The finer grounds will get over-extracted while the coarser grinds get under-extracted. That means your final cup of joe will be somewhere between bland, sour, and bitter.
Burr grinders are better. They offer control over the grind size, and they create a much more consistent grind. You can skimp on nearly every other feature of your grinder, but you should definitely make sure it uses burrs instead of blades.
2. Consider a manual coffee grinder
Electric grinders are convenient, but much of your money is going toward the motor. With a manual grinder, you are the motor.
The absolute cheapest burr grinders are always going to be handheld, manual grinders. You can get a small, glass-bodied grinder for as low as $20.
Some of these budget grinders are incredibly durable, too, so they’ll last you a lot longer than a budget electric grinder. Since they don’t have motors, manual grinders are the quietest grinders, too. That’s especially important in the budget price range, where electric burr grinders often have louder motors and poorer sound dampening.
While they save you money, though, they are not the easiest devices to use. Most coffee lovers shouldn’t have a problem making a single serving of coffee with a manual grinder, but I don’t recommend them if you are making a full pot each day. For that, you’ll probably want to opt for an electric grinder, even though it will at least double the price.
Best Cheap Coffee Grinders
Best budget coffee grinder: Cuisinart DBM-8 Supreme Grind Automatic Burr Mill
Cuisinart’s entry-level burr grinder has a huge capacity and all the power you’ll need. With 18 grind settings, this machine has options that work for drip coffee, French press, cold brew, and a variety of other types of coffee brewers.
The easy-to-use slide dial lets you grind enough beans for between 4 and 18 cups of coffee. The hopper holds 8 ounces of coffee beans, and the grounds container holds enough for 32 cups of coffee. That’s easily enough for whatever coffee maker you use, even if you are making multiple pots at a time.
Given those specs, I was impressed with just how compact this grinder is. At just 6 x 7.1 x 10.8 inches, it can easily fit into a crowded countertop, even if you have to place it under a low cabinet.
Cuisinart’s grinder is missing some of the premium features you’d see in the best coffee grinders, but you can’t have everything at a budget price. Because it doesn’t have a tinted hopper and grounds bin, you’ll want to avoid leaving beans in the machine for too long as direct light can cause beans to go stale.
The biggest complaint most people have about the DBM-8 is that it has a very noisy motor and little noise suppression in the grinder housing. That’s a pretty common problem with budget electric grinders, but it’s particularly noticeable here. Unless the noise is a deal-breaker for you, though, this is an incredible grinder for the price.
Best coffee grinder under $50: Shardor electric burr coffee grinder
Shardor has created one of the cheapest electric burr grinders on the market. Here’s the thing, though: It’s better than a lot of $100 grinders. They clearly knew what features they could cut back on and what features were absolutely crucial to the grinding experience.
The controls on Shardor’s grinder opt for ease-of-use over precision, which is probably a better option for beginner coffee aficionados.
The grind amount selector lets you select the number of cups you’ll be brewing, which is fine for now. You can always invest in a coffee scale later for more accurate measurements. The grind size selector labels the sections by brewer type instead of grind size, which is a huge help as you evolve your coffee grinding skills.
Speaking of settings, here’s what you get with the Shardor. You can brew enough beans for between 2 and 14 cups of coffee at once. There are 16 grind size settings to choose from, ranging from espresso grinds (fine grind) to French Press grinds (coarse grind).
You won’t have any problem keeping this grinder perfectly clean and ready to use. The inner burr, grounds chamber, and hopper can all be cleaned with the built-in brush, and that will keep the machine going for years to come.
Best burr grinder under $100: Oxo Brew conical burr coffee grinder
The Oxo Brew is the grinder I use on a daily basis. Like the other grinders on this list, Oxo’s grinder is beginner-friendly. Unlike the others, though, this powerhouse of a grinder will grow with you on your home barista journey. It’ll be many years before you need to trade in your Oxo for a high-end grinder (like the Baratza Virtuoso+).
What’s different about the Oxo Brew?
To start with, it has a whopping 45 grind size settings! That gives you a lot of room to discover how grind size impacts your brew and fine-tune your favorite coffee recipes. The size settings are grouped under 15 larger notches which are grouped into 3 larger groupings, so remembering your favorite settings isn’t terribly difficult.
This is the first grinder on our list to include a tinted hopper and a stainless-steel grounds bin. Those two features go a long way toward maintaining the freshness of your coffee, especially if you leave beans in the hopper in a well-lit kitchen.
The entire body of the Oxo Brew is made of stainless steel, making it the hardiest and most stunning grinder I’m recommending today. Combine that with the stainless-steel burrs and easy cleaning procedure, and this grinder can last you for several years to come.
Aside from the higher price tag, the biggest downside of the Oxo Brew is its size. It’s not overly wide, but it’s rather tall for a budget grinder. That’s especially important when you consider that you’ll need a few extra inches of clearance to remove the lid from the hopper and pour beans into the top.
Best budget manual grinder: JavaPresse manual coffee grinder
Now, we’re into the hand grinders. Rather than start with the cheapest hand grinder, I want to introduce you to a grinder that has the beauty, durability, and features of a much more expensive grinder.
JavaPresse’s grinder has ceramic burrs, unlike the stainless-steel burrs usually found in budget grinders. There’s nothing necessarily wrong with steel burrs. In fact, they start off sharper than ceramic burrs. But ceramic burrs last roughly five times as long, so in a few years when your ceramic burrs are still going strong, you’ll be glad you didn’t settle for steel.
The 18 grind size settings of the JavaPresse are pretty good for a budget hand grinder. More expensive hand grinders (like the 1Zpresso Q2) will have a lot more grind settings, but 18 is good enough for beginner and novice users.
My favorite thing about this grinder is the steel casing. Most budget hand grinders have glass bodies that feel cheap and don’t have the durability to handle travel or general clumsiness (i.e., my superpower). You can toss the JavaPresse in a drawer or a suitcase without worrying about broken glass and shattered dreams.
Cheapest coffee grinder: Kona manual coffee grinder
The Kona coffee grinder is the most affordable coffee grinder that I feel comfortable recommending. I’m sure you can find a cheaper grinder if you look, but it will likely have blades or other major quality issues.
With 18 grind settings, the Kona grinder has enough versatility for everything from French press coffee to AeroPress espresso. The jar holds enough grounds for about three cups of coffee, which isn’t bad for a manual grinder. After all, this is not the machine you want if you are making a 12-cup pot of coffee.
The glass body of the Kona isn’t as durable as the JavaPresse’s steel body, but it’s better than most glass coffee grinders. You can travel or backpack with it as long as you are careful and always remove the handle prior to packing your grinder.
Frequently Asked Questions
Are cheap coffee grinders worth it?
Yes, you can find cheap coffee grinders under $50 that are good enough for beginner coffee lovers. You may have to spend closer to $100 if you want one that will have the longevity and features to bring you to novice home barista status.
What type of coffee grinder is best?
Burr grinders are far better than blade grinders. Electric grinders are better than manual grinders in the high price range, but in the budget price range, it’s easier to find a quality manual grinder. Beyond those characteristics, you just need to look for features, ease of use, and durability.
Are blade coffee grinders good?
No, blade grinders are absolutely terrible. You are always better off buying a comparably priced burr grinder, even if you have to sacrifice a few other features. No blade grinder can match the grind quality of even a low-end burr grinder.
A coffee grinder will do wonders for your home barista status. If you are just getting into the coffee game, though, I totally understand not wanting to spend the money on a top-notch grinder. A budget burr grinder (not blade!) is still better than relying on pre-ground coffee.
Are you looking for more budget coffee options. Check out the AeroPress and AeroPress Go, two cheap coffee makers that make truly amazing coffee. And for you espresso junkies, I’ve also put together a list of the best espresso machines under $200. If you’re relying on a steam espresso machine, it’s definitely time to think about that upgrade to go with your new espresso grinder.