Freshly ground coffee is the best – but should your grinder be burr or blade? And how loud will it get?
Coffee is a delicate wee bean that loses its oils and aromas the longer it sits around. So for the most flavorful coffee, you want to use it as quickly as possible, which means you need a grinder in your kitchen.
You want a burr grinder, not a blade grinder. The latter is like a tiny blender, usually used for herbs but often sold as dual-purpose. Burr grinders, where beans are ground between two metal plates, produce more consistent results. They can also be adjusted to create different-sized grounds – finer for espresso, coarser for soft brews. Blade grinders won't give you consistency.
From our testing, it's clear grinders either work perfectly or poorly – there's no in-between. More than half our tested grinders scored a perfect 10 for grinding performance, so you need to look at other factors when deciding.
Our ease of use score includes a cleaning assessment. Cleaning your grinder is a necessary chore. You don't want old coffee sticking around and getting into newly ground batches.
Some grinders have a hopper shutter, which allows you to shut off the delivery of beans from the hopper into the grinding mechanism.
The biggest downside of grinders is noise: it's tough finding a quiet one. Across our grinders, the average noise created was 78dBA (decibels). This is the same as a truck travelling 50km/h (loud enough that you won't be having a conversation while you're grinding).