Best Burr Coffee Grinder 2020

Coffee burr grinder internals

“Coffee burr grinder” by Hustvedt, Wikimedia Commons (CC BY-SA 3.0)

I’m guessing you’re like me and find it impossible to know what to look for when selecting the right coffee bean grinder.  All you want is a properly prepared cup of coffee in the morning.

Is a Burr Coffee Grinder the answer?

Well it turns out that with a lot of research, selection of a top notch coffee grinder is a lot easier!

Do You Want the BEST Burr Coffee Grinder?


Lucky for you…We are sharing our up to date research.

Our research will provide you all the tools you need to make the right choice.  It will provide the reasons why burr grinding is superior and what style of burr coffee grinder to look for.

Then, to make things even easier…

We’ll give you three different Burr Coffee Grinder examples in different price ranges, and let you know what features make one more expensive than the other.  Then, you can decide for yourself if there is a feature you can’t live without.  Or, if the bare bones burr coffee grinder is perfect for you.

What is a Burr Coffee Grinder?

Burrs are abrasive surfaces that are used to grinder down coffee beans one or two at a time.  Why is this important?

A Burr Grinder produces much better tasting coffee than one that cuts or slices the bean.

What is a Burr Mill?

What is a burr grinder? Not this Pepper mill poivrier...

“Pepper mill poivrier” by eurok (CC BY 2.0) via Flickr

I wanted to start this part out with a definition of ‘burr mill’.

And, then explain how it’s used to grind coffee, just in case someone wandered in here blindly didn’t read the title and didn’t know that this site is all about coffee.

I wanted to, but when I went to the Online Free Dictionary and searched burr+mill, it just gave me a thesaurus reference:

Noun 1: pepper grinder – a mill for grinding pepper

While that gave me a good chuckle, it was far from helpful.

But, I digress…

The simplest explanation of a burr mill is that it is a way of grinding that uses burrs to cut the grains (or in our case, coffee beans).

This is as opposed to steel blades or running them in between a pair of flat stones like the original mills did.

So, what else can a burr be?

In nature, burrs are those strange prickly little seeds that stick to your pants, your dog and your soul during the summer months.

Dang burrs - Another form of burr

“Dang burrs” by Dan McKay (CC BY 2.0) via Flickr

In metal working, burrs refer to imperfections in the form of sharp little bits of metal that stick out after being drilled.

In a coffee grinder, burrs are sharp little points on the metal plates that chew the coffee bean as it passes through the grinder.

Why Burr Grinders are Better

What’s the real story?

The best burr grinders can produce a finer ground than blade grinders.

In truth, average coffee drinkers may not care about this all that much. In fact, some drinkers even find that finer grounds make a bitterer cup of Joe.

Cup of Joe - Caffè espresso and dark chocolate

“Caffè espresso and dark chocolate” by Jean-Etienne Minh-Duy Poirrier (CC BY-SA 2.0) via Flickr

If your home coffee bean menu is expanding to exotic, single source beans, you are probably ready to aspire to become a “coffee expert” like me.

We coffee experts tend to agree that the fuller bodied, richer texture of an espresso ground coffee is what life is all about.

And, we don’t think that the naturally bitter coffee bean should be restrained in any way.

Why is that important?

The difference between coarse, blade ground coffee and fine burr ground coffee is like the difference between milk chocolate and the bitter sweet dark; sometimes, to some people, bitter is just better.

Which style of Burr Grinders is best?

Coffee Burr Grinder Overview

If budget is an issue than you may want to look at plate or wheel burr grinders. They are still better than blade grinders, but not as desirable as conical burr coffee grinders.

But, there’s a catch.

This type of grinder often uses plate like burr blades that practically chew the coffee beans.

This is a noisy process and can result in uneven grounds. Like the blade grinders, it moves fast, uses a lot of friction and can heat up.

Perfect Espresso

Espresso by Jordan Merrick (CC BY-ND 2.0) via Flickr

This means that the delicate oils in your coffee may be sacrificed; you may even burn your grounds if you run it too long.

It can still make a good cup of fresh ground coffee, but perhaps not a great shot of espresso.

But, why settle?

The conical burr coffee grinder is the luxury car of coffee grinders.

It uses gravity to feed the beast, the burrs are more like serrated blades that cut the beans and can be set to much slower speeds which also reduce friction so you can run it longer, get finer grounds and preserve all of the natural oils.

A perfect espresso starts with a good conical burr coffee grinder.

Best Conical Burr Coffee Grinders Under $200

When you enter the world of gourmet coffee, you inevitably encounter a little coffee snobbery.

There are those who are adamant that if you don’t have an insanely expensive grinder to accompany your over the top espresso machine.

Then, you’re just a loser really and therefore not worth discussing the matter further.

I am here to tell you that is rubbish. It’s just coffee snobbery.  Ignore it.

Thousand dollar grinders are meant to be used in high volume coffee shops.

Spending over $200 on a grinder that sits on your kitchen counter is just showing off.

The grinders we found consistently outperform other home burr grinders and they are the grinders of choice for gourmet baristas worldwide.

Breville Smart Grinder Pro

The Smart grinder weighs in at just under $200 and does everything those fancy industrial grinders do; it’s sleek, good looking, well behaved and gets along with your mother too.

In short, if you are looking for an amazing espresso grind, the Breville Smart Grinder Pro will make a great addition to your family.

One drawback…

If you can call it a drawback, is that even on the coarsest setting, the Breville Smart Grinder Pro makes pretty fine grounds.

Why is this important?

This rocks for espresso.  But, it makes a less than desirable cup of French Press coffee which calls for larger bits and pieces.

For a French Press, you want the larger grind because then, the coffee grinds spend more time swimming around in the coffee water extracting all the flavor.

A small grind that takes a long bath equals a bitter cup of coffee.

Key Takeaway:

If you want to create the best espresso you’ve ever had, it will probably start with this machine. If you want French press, you should probably save your money anyway and get a cheaper grinder.  One burr coffee grinder we found as an alternative is this Krups burr grinder.

Capresso Infinity Burr Coffee Grinder

The Capresso Infinity is very competent at its job as a coffee grinder for French press lovers.

The Capresso Infinity is a much less expensive option to the Breville.

That’s not all…

This burr grinder is super quiet and very friendly. It’s the kind of friend that lets you do all the talking.

It’s true that the extra fine setting is still not quite as fine as the Breville, but it still makes a great espresso.

And, with 16 different grind settings, you have the ability to dial in the perfect level of coarseness.

Bottom line.

This is probably the most economical choice for a family that can’t come to an agreement on what grind is perfect.

It’s a versatile machine and its medium grind is ideal for most drip coffee drinkers.

Hario Ceramic Coffee Mill Skerton

You always hear people say things like “you appreciate things more when you work for them“.

This is one of those times that I wholeheartedly agree.

If you are always in a rush to get ready in the morning- get one of the electric grinders.

If you appreciate slow, simple pleasures, this little Hario Ceramic Coffee Mill Skerton will quickly become that old friend you want to sit on the porch with for a friendly visit and a nice chat in the morning.

But, that’s not all…

The design of this burr coffee grinder is ingeniously simple and has few moving parts which is great because that means there is less to go wrong with it.

Simply set the gears and manually crank it until all your beans are ground to the consistency desired.

I have to admit that I have only gone as far as a medium grind for our drip coffee maker.  I don’t know if I have the fortitude grind anything too fine.

Either way, this grinder is a very strong contender for the least expensive best burr grinder.

Wrap Up: The Best Burr Coffee Grinder

When looking for the Best Burr Coffee Grinder, you should take into consideration price, functionality, the drink you want (regular, cappuccino, espresso), and your taste.

Do You Want the BEST Burr Coffee Grinder?


We feel like we’ve found three great offerings for each level of Best Burr Coffee Grinder.  Hopefully you will take a look at the one that appeals to you!

  4 Responses to “Best Burr Coffee Grinder 2020”

  1. The Capresso Infinity is a much less expensive option so that is what I get as a very practical mom. Let me share you, this is a great resource on checking the best coffee grinder nowadays. You may get additional information on this.

  2. kc,

    Thank you for your feedback on the Capresso Infinity. It’s always great to hear feedback from a practical mom who is likely a frequent user of coffee grinders.


  3. Very impressive blog.

    Interesting article right on the subject.

  4. Thank you Tracy!


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