If you’re looking for advice on how to find the best cheap coffee grinder, you’ve come to the right place. Coffee grinders run the gamut from the price of a light lunch to an extravagant dinner, and often it’s unclear what features come with a higher price.
In this article, we’ll take a look at why you might want to use a cheap coffee grinder, or why you might not want to use a cheap coffee grinder.
We wrap up by reviewing a few options that we think are contenders for the best budget coffee grinder award.
In this article you will find the best cheap coffee grinder for 2018, along with its pros & cons. You will also find an alternative, along with a comprehensive report of how it differs from the #1. We have also included a more pricier alternative, to show you what you can get if you raise your budget.
Best Choice for Budget Grinder
Best Budget Manual Grinder
Best Upgraded Budget Grinder
The goal of each of the reviews on Let's Grind Some Coffee is to do an insane amount of research, so you don't have to anymore. We work with a number of talented and experienced writers, who know what they're talking about. Each writer is responsible for conducting his/her own research, so there's no miscommunication possible. When doing this article we only owned the Handground Precision Grinder. For conducting this article we used other product reviews, customers comments, and instruction videos and manuals.
Sometimes we've had the products in our hands to test it directly, but in most cases, we rely on other espresso machine reviews, product manuals, comment sections, Youtube videos, forum discussion and so on. This way you don't only get our opinion, but a collective opinion of experts all around the globe.
By combining all of our findings in our reviews, each article should serve as your definite resource to base your decisions on. As the research can get quite extensive, our individual product reviews tend to be very long and detailed. However, when making a "Best Pick" article like this one we try to be as comprehensive as possible. We will break down the pros and cons of each product as clearly as possible, so you know what you're buying. If you want to learn more about a product you can read its longer and more detailed review.
We base our "Best Choice" on a couple of points, including:
The feature set, build quality/durability and output quality. After we rate each finding, we have a look at its price. We want you to be able to afford the product you're interested. It's easy to get a maximum score with a product costing $5,000+. While this ultimately may be the best product you can get, its price tag will prevent most people from being able to afford it. Therefore, the price of a product is an important consideration before declaring a product the best.
For each category, we list the following options:
- What is the overall best product, based on price vs. quality?
- What is the best product under $XX (where we use a relevant budget)?
- What is the best product is money is not an issue?
This way we think we can satisfy anyone looking for a product, as well as being able to show what you can get for each different price range. After all, it's up to you whether you think a better product is worth its money, we just make sure you know what you're getting.
Don't hesitate to leave any feedback or questions in the comment section. We're more than happy to help. We're always open to adding relevant information to the article if there's an omission or if something is unclear, just let us know.
You don’t always need the most extravagant coffee grinder. If you’re just starting to learn how to make coffee or taste coffee, the best inexpensive coffee grinder is probably a better purchase than a top of the line model.
Novices are more prone to damage the grinder by misuse or by improper care, so it’s better to risk cheaper grinders. It’s also possible that you’re not sold on the idea of grinding your coffee at all, which means that a cheaper grinder is a smaller financial risk to take.
Furthermore, those who are just starting to learn the basics of coffee flavors probably won’t get the most out of a more expensive grinder’s uniformity or configurable size grounds. If you can’t detect nuanced flavors, you won’t be able to notice their absence when you use a cheap grinder.
That goes double for novice baristas who may not have the other essential coffee equipment necessary to take advantage of the bells and whistles of a more expensive grinder. There’s no point in buying a top of the line grinder if your other brewing equipment isn’t at the same level.
Likewise, big-batch coffee doesn’t require a perfect grinder. If you’re just making drip coffee for the household, you’re not going to notice the difference between an expensive grinder and a cheaper one. If you’re making coffee that will likely sit in a pot after it drips, any advantages that a decked out grinder can bring to the table are negated.
In a nutshell, buying best cheap coffee grinder can work just fine provided that you’re not banking on making the best possible coffee as consistently as possible. If you’re looking for a grinder that can make your beans sing with flavor, a cheap grinder isn’t going to cut it, however.
Cheap grinders are cheap for a reason, namely that they’re made with lower quality materials, with lower quality assembly, and provide a lower quality grind. If you’re an aspiring coffee snob, trying to squeak by with the best inexpensive coffee grinder will be an exercise in frustration.
Even if your coffee taste buds aren’t developed enough to tell a Sumatra bean from a Brazilian bean, inexpensive grinders have a host of problems that others don’t have.
Cheap grinders can’t change the granularity of their grind, meaning that you’ll always get grounds of the same size. This means that your other coffee equipment like your French press or drip filters will have to work around the size of your grounds rather than vice versa, which causes suboptimal brewing and worse flavor.
To call the grounds produced by a cheap grinder “of the same size” brings up another issue, though: cheap grinders produce extremely inconsistent grounds. There’s some debate about how important ground consistency is in the context of brewing coffee via the most popular methods, but there’s one application where consistency is everything: espresso.
Cheaper grinders also can’t make grounds fine enough for use in an espresso machine, and even if they could, they wouldn’t be consistently sized anyway. Using poorly ground and inconsistent beans will make a soupy mess out of any hot water and pressure that attempts to go through. Put simply, cheap grinders don’t grind the beans enough to pack densely enough to produce espresso when subject to pressure and water.
Most frustratingly of all, cheap grinders are hard to clean, and because they’re hard to clean, they break easily. Grounds get lodged in places where they don’t belong, and cause stress on the mechanisms of cheap grinders, accelerating their demise. You’ll get more grounds over your countertop while unloading a cheap grinder than you will with a moderately priced one to boot.
If you're willing to spend a bit more on your coffee grinder, please have a look at our "Best Coffee Grinder" article.
The Cuisinart DBM-8 Supreme Grind wins our award for the overall best affordable coffee grinder. With the Cuisinart, you’ll get an electric burr grinder that’s easy to use and packs a few features that you’d typically only find in a much more expensive grinder.
First, the Cuisinart has adjustable ground size, and it works pretty well. You can pick between 18 different ground sizes, and also calibrate the number of beans that you’ll need to make whatever number of cups of coffee. In reality, the 18 ground sizes work out to be more like four or five different options which you’ll be able to tell the difference between—still not bad for a budget grinder.
The unit has a decent aesthetic, bean scoop, cleaning brush, and has a fairly good build quality with a couple of exceptions.
The blades of the Cuisinart are its weak point. Whereas a more expensive grinder would have a conical burr grinder, the Cuisinart has a disk burr grinder. This means that you probably won’t be able to get your grounds to the very fine dust required for espresso making.
The blades also mean that your coffee grounds aren’t going to be perfectly consistent, which is another strike against using this grinder with an espresso machine.
To Burr or not to Burr?
Burr grinders are far superior to blade grinders, as they allow for a more consistent grind. Two burr are rotated against each other to grind the coffee, with different grind setting to get the grind as fine or coarse as you need.
To Burr or not to Burr?
Given these limitations, the Cuisinart still has quite a few strong points. This grinder will do great for making French press coffee. Unlike many other inexpensive grinders, the Cuisinart grinder has a clear conical hopper which makes transferring grounds into the next step of the process cleaner than it would be otherwise.
On the note of cleaning, you’ll need to keep this grinder in sparkling condition if you want it to last. Though it’s not abundantly difficult to break the unit down and deep clean every mechanism that comes into contact with coffee grounds, you’ll need to do so after every ten uses or so, which is much more than you’d have to clean other grinders.
The consequences of not cleaning the Cuisinart are faster wearing down of the mechanisms and likely early failure. This unit can last a long time and perform in great form if it’s properly taken care of, so be sure to make the most out of the cleaning brush and other cleaning features.
Pros & Cons
The JavaPresse Manual Coffee Grinder is a high quality grinder that manages to be a budget grinder by its hand-driven crank. Unlike the other grinders we review, you’ll need to put your physical labor into grinding each batch of beans when you use the JavaPresse. This means that grinding your coffee with the JavaPresse is going to take at least one or two minutes of sustained effort each time.
Arm exercise aside, the JavaPresse is an excellent grinder by most standards. Though its bean capacity is very small, the JavaPresse offers adjustable ground size, easy cleaning, clean transfer of grounds, quiet grinding, and high quality ceramic burrs.
The JavaPresse also produces somewhat consistent ground size on its merit, which is quite the accomplishment given its size. The issue is that because it’s a hand powered grinder, variations in your application of force to the crank create variations in the size of grounds by default.
You’ll still struggle to create the right grounds for use in an espresso machine with this grinder, although it’s possible to get closer than you’d imagine if you keep your cranking consistent.
Aside from the cranking centric issues, the build quality of the JavaPresse is high, except the plastic piece in the conical burr, which is prone to breaking. The plastic window on the front of the grinder also tends to scratch, which can make it look beaten up even if it’s brand new.
The ground size selection on the JavaPresse is a bit wobbly. It shouldn’t accidentally cause you to grind your beans at a different size setting than you intended, but the wobbliness may bother you or make you think that there is a screw loose when there isn’t.
The wobbliness of the ground selector joins the slight play in the crank, which may offend some users. As it turns out, the play in the angle of the crank is an effort-saving measure for the user because it reduces the amount of arm force required if the crank were stiff.
This choice paradoxically also increases the durability of the unit, as arm force used on a stiff crank ends up being transferred to the rest of the grinder, stressing it. With the JavaPresse, a little bit of wobble is exactly as intended.
Pros & Cons
If you’re willing to spend a bit more on your coffee grinder, the Baratza Encore is the grinder for you. Though it doesn’t look like much, the Baratza is the crème de la crème of coffee grinders, and it’s a great value too.
If you thought 18 grind size settings was impressive, how does 40 sound? That’s right, the Baratza can offer you more ground settings than you can probably differentiate between, and it can deliver you the ground size you want with unimpeachable consistency. There’s a reason why coffee experts love the Baratza.
The Baratza is the coffee grinder that you’ll want to use to grind espresso beans. You’ll never have a problem creating the perfect powdery espresso ready for hot steam and pressure. Likewise, you’ll never be held back by your grinder’s ground size again with the Baratza. No matter the brewing equipment, you can get the right ground.
The Baratza boasts conical burrs which are nigh indestructible. The build quality of the mechanisms within the Baratza is extremely high, and you probably won’t have to replace any of them unless you put them through a lot of abuse.
The Baratza has a long lifespan because to some extent, it self-cleans by regrinding anything left over from the last grinding session.
You should still clean the Baratza, even if doing so isn’t the easiest. You won’t have to do any major disassembly, but the quality of the burrs means that it can be a bit tough to get grounds out of every nook and cranny within their grasp.
Cleaning the burrs ensures that there’s zero chance of any grounds escaping into where they shouldn’t, though the Baratza’s build quality tends to exclude that possibility anyway. The only exception to the high build quality is the unit’s stand, which is made of plastic that can be scratched easily.
The Baratza brings a lot of power into its burrs, which means that it’s quite loud despite its noise insulating features. Make no mistake, the motors on the Baratza are very powerful. You can also adjust the speed of the burrs, though you’ll find that your grounds stay cool no matter which setting you pick.
Cool grounds are important because otherwise, the flavor-giving chemicals within your beans can burn away, as happens with many inexpensive grinders who grind hot.
Pros & Cons
If you want to know more about this grinder, check out our Baratza Encore review.
That wraps up our reviews of the best affordable coffee grinders and why they might be worth a buy. We hope that you’ve learned a thing or two about how you should think about coffee grinders.
If you have a question or comment about cheap grinders, leave us a line in the section below. That goes double if you think that you have another option for the best budget coffee grinder.
Thanks for joining us, and good luck grinding your beans.