Burr grinders are known for their ability to deliver consistent size coffee grounds. The best conical burr grinder will ensure you have the freshest, highest quality coffee grounds, which will lead to the best coffee you can drink at home.
Why is consistency important?
Depending on the type of coffee you drink, inconsistent grounds can cause all kinds of problems.
If you’re an espresso person, uneven grind in your puck can cause water to channel through areas with ‘boulders’ (large grounds) and the resulting gaps, causing under-extraction and a weak espresso.
Areas with ‘dust’ (too small grounds) can clump together and not allow water to pass through, again causing under-extraction. Alternatively, dust can pass straight through the portafilter and into in your espresso.
If you’re a french press person, dust can either pass straight through the mesh filter and into your coffee and lead to over-extraction and bitterness. Or, it can get trapped in the mesh, clogging it up. This will require more force on the plunger, either causing something to break, or coffee to spill.
The best burr coffee grinder will allow your coffee machine to do what it’s designed to do – make great coffee.
Why the Best Conical Burr Grinder?
A conical burr grinder produces less heat and friction during the grinding process, which preserves the aroma of your coffee.
For two minutes after grinding, coffee ‘degasses’, producing carbon dioxide. This behaves like a tiny protective bubble around each grain, keeping the aroma and flavor safe from attack by the air.
After this time, the flavor and aroma start to get eaten away. So by using the a conical burr grinder to get your fresh coffee beans straight into your coffee maker, you’re perfectly preserving your coffee’s taste.
Finding the best coffee grinder can be confusing, especially since each one specializes in different size grounds. This comprehensive guide will help you find the right one to suit your needs and budget.
The Ultimate Burr Grinder Guide
Use the search box and sort the columns to find the best coffee grinder for your needs.
E.g. if you only want to see grinders which grind for both French press and espresso, and displayed in order of price, enter ‘espresso french press’ into the search box, and then click the ‘PRICE’ heading to sort by price.
|Coffee Grinder||Best for||Consistency||Summary||Price||Rating|
|Capresso 560.01 Infinity Burr Grinder||French Press, Drip||*||Budget, high maintenance. The cheapest coffee grinder with sufficient grain consistency for coarse grains.||$||3.7|
|Baratza Encore Conical Burr Coffee Grinder||Espresso, Drip, French Press||**||The cheapest grinder with sufficient grain uniformity for espresso.||$$||4.1|
|Breville BCG800XL Smart Grinder||Espresso||**||Style over substance. The Baratza Encore is a better choice for less money.||$$$||3.5|
|Baratza Virtuoso Coffee Grinder 586||Drip, French Press||***||Anti-static. 40 grind settings.||$$$||4.3|
|Baratza Preciso Coffee Grinder 685||Espresso||***||Good consistency for the price, easy to use. 440 grind settings to find the perfect grind.||$$$||4.5|
|Gaggia 8002 MDF Burr Grinder with Doser, Black||Espresso||***||Good, if finicky, grinder. Not easy to use. Good if you want the true barista experience.||$$$||4.2|
|Rancilio HSD-ROC-SD Rocky Coffee Grinder||Espresso, Drip, French Press||****||Semi-commercial, stainless steel.||$$$$||4.6|
|Baratza Vario Ceramic Burr Coffee Grinder||Espresso||*****||Extremely uniform, with 230 grind settings. Anti-static. Flate plate burrs.||$$$$||4.9|
|Mazzer Mini Espresso Grinder||Espresso, Drip, French Press||******||Full commercial unit, small enough for home use. Flate plate burrs.||$$$$$||5.0|
Things to Consider when Choosing the Grinder for You
- Purpose. Will you be using it for Espresso, drip, French press, or all of the above?
- Price. Pricier grinders are better engineered to produce a more consistent grind. They also use stronger burrs and parts, meaning they will last longer.
- Leftover grounds. Some grinders leave more grounds in the grind chamber than others, which will make its way into tomorrow’s coffee. While it isn’t the end of the world, it does put a dampener on our quest for the perfect cup of coffee.
- Static. Grinding produces static to build up in the grinds. When you open the grind collector to tip it into your coffee machine, some can jump out onto your counter. Again, not a big deal, but some grinders are better designed than others to discharge this build up without mess.
The Best Conical Grinders Reviewed
Best for: Coarse grinds (drip, French Press, percolator)
In a line: Entry level, high maintenance.
The Capresso Infinity is an entry level conical burr grinder, with a grind consistency in line with its price point.
While it performs well, there are a lot of leftover grounds in the grinding chamber after use. These are hard to remove, and needs to be taken apart and cleaned to dislodge it all. This can take a couple of minutes, and needs to be done each time you use it to avoid yesterday’s coffee making it into today’s, affecting your coffee’s flavor.
It also isn’t designed to discharge static, which is common with grinders at this price range.
Although it has 16 grind settings, unfortunately it doesn’t produce a grind fully suited to espresso or finer.
This is best for coarser grinds if you have a very tight budget.
- The Capresso Infinity can be found on Amazon here.
Best for: Espresso, drip, French press, percolator.
In a line: Entry level for espresso.
The Baratza Encore is the best budget burr grinder for Espresso. It’s versatile too, being able to grind coarser grinds (such as drip, French press and percolator) at a good enough consistency for its price.
Another improvement this has over the entry level Capresso Infinity is the amount of leftover grounds in the grind chamber – there’s hardly any. This will save you a few minutes a day in cleaning time, and mean you’ll always start the day with coffee from the freshest grounds.
It has 40 settings all, which is enough to be able to test at least a few different sizes for your preferred method of coffee.
It comes with a 1 year warranty, and is the best coffee grinder if you’re on a tight budget and prefer different types of coffee.
- The Baratza Encore can be found on Amazon here.
Best for: Drip, percolator, French press.
In a line: Higher quality burrs, with a focus on coarser grains.
This is the second Baratza on out best coffee bean grinder list – and it’s not by coincidence. Coffee grinding is easy to do, but exceptionally difficult to do well.
Lot’s of manufacturers will make conical burr grinders with all kinds of fancy bells and whistles, probably to make up for flaws in grind consistency. Baratza is not one of these companies.
They’re one of the few manufacturers who’ve mastered the engineering behind a consistent grind, and the only manufacturer to make it affordable for home use.
The Baratza Virtuoso is another of their wonderful grinders, with a number of improvements over their Encore model.
The most important is the improvement in grind consistency. It achieves this with an improved and more robust set of burr grinders.
Another reason for the Virtuoso’s performance is its focus – it’s focused more on the coarser grains, specializing in giving them the most uniform grind. (The machine below, the Prescio, is the Virtuoso’s sister grinder, specializing on the finer end of the scale.)
The Virtuoso is more solidly built and heavier than the Encore, but to achieve it’s affordable price tag, there are still lots of plastic parts. It’s metal in all the right places, and plastic everywhere else.
The Virtuoso has the added bonus of being anti-static, so the grounds won’t make a mess on your kitchen counter, and there are minimal grinds left in the grind chamber.
It has 40 grind settings, and comes with a 1 year warranty.
This is the best conical burr grinder for coarser grains at a mid range price.
- The Baratza Virtuoso can be found on Amazon here.
Best for: Espresso
In a line: High quality burrs, with a focus on finer grains.
The Baratza Prescio can be thought of as the big sister to the Baratza Virtuoso, focusing mainly on espresso and other fine grinds.
Like the Virtuoso, it uses an improved burr grinder to boost its consistency. It also has a neat trick up its sleeve… 440 grind settings!
As well as the standard 40 settings, it has a wheel with 11 fineness settings – so each of the 40 settings has 11 levels of fineness. This is very important for espresso.
Espresso needs exactly the right level of fineness to suit your espresso machine. If the grind is too coarse, the right pressure won’t be achieved and you’ll have a weak espresso. If it’s too fine, the espresso ‘puck’ can clump and not extract properly.
The smallest change can hugely affect the taste of espresso, and the Prescio allows you to experiment to find the best grind size for your espresso machine.
With the Prescio, you are also able to grind straight into your espresso machine’s portafilter, which you slot into the ‘Portaholder’.
Like the Virtuoso, it’s more solidly built, but still has a fair amount of plastic in the looks department to keep the cost down.
Comes with a 1 year warranty.
This is the best conical burr grinder in the mid-range for espresso.
- The Baratza Prescio can be found on Amazon here.
The next few burr grinders are actually flat plate burr grinders, not conical burr grinders.
On the low to mid range end of the price scale, conical grinders out perform flat plate grinders. But on the higher end, the flate plate burrs take the lead.
I’m not sure why this is, but in commercial grinders and higher end burr grinders, precision engineered flat plates are used.
These are the best burr grinders at the higher end of the price range.
Best for: Espresso, French press, drip.
In a line: Entry-level home-commercial.
The Rancilio Rocky Road is a next-level grinder. It’s incredibly solid and well built, and is mostly stainless steel.
The Rocky Road has a reputation of lasting owners a very long time, and has been fully supported by its manufacturer since it initially emerged in 1990. The problem with buying a less expensive grinder is that the model could be replaced, and spare parts can cease to be made.
This hasn’t been a problem with the Rocky Road, and it has been sitting at its spot as the best ‘home commercial’ burr grinder for 24 years now. It gives a very uniform grind across all settings, which is in line with its price tag.
Its focus is on the finer end of the grind scale, but it’s still suitable for French press coffee (start at 25-30 of its 55 grind settings).
On the downside, it does tend to have leftover grounds in the grind chamber. To get them out after use, you can tap on the sides, or use a curved brush to get up the spout and jiggle them out.
This is the best burr grinder on the low end of the big leagues.
- The Rancilio Rocky Road can be found on Amazon here.
Best for: Espresso
In a line: ‘Home commercial’ espresso grinder.
The Baratza Vario (yep, another Baratza!) is a step up from the Prescio. It gives a more even grind, is faster, and is more solidly built. It will do justice to espresso machines up to $1,500.
Like the other Baratzas, it leaves a minimal amount of leftovers in the grind chamber after use (even less than the other Baratzas), and you can grind straight into your portafilter.
It is focused on espresso and the finer grind sizes, and has 230 settings to help you find the perfect size for your espresso machine.
This is the best easy clean burr grinder in the mid-high price range for espresso.
- The Baratza Vario can be found on Amazon here.
Best for: All grinds. Espresso, Turkish coffee, French press, drip, percolator.
In a line: True commercial. The best home burr grinder for all coffee types, period.
The Mazzer Mini is a real commercial grinder, used by smaller cafés as a secondary machine (for example, as a decaf grinder). This means it’s heavy (seriously heavy!) and built like a tank. Every single part is replaceable, and it should last you a lifetime.
It’s suitable for both fine and course grinds, and everything in between. It’s also stepless. This means there are no set grind settings – you turn the dial to the precise grind size you want. The consistency is the best you can get at home, without shelling out on a machine which grinds in bulk.
If you have an espresso machine over $1,500, or are serious about great tasting coffee, the Mazzer Mini is the best burr grinder for home, bar none.
- The Mazzer Mini can be found on Amazon here.