If you want to brew the best possible coffee, you’ll need a coffee grinder. That’s because the fresher the coffee beans you use, the better the flavor of your beverage will be.
Still, if you’re new to domestic brewing, the array of expensive coffee grinders on the market can be off-putting. However, blade grinders are a cheaper alternative to some of the pricier burr grinders, and will still do the job, albeit not as effectively.
Blade grinders have a poor reputation in the coffee world because they don’t grind consistently. Nevertheless, this buying guide will examine ways to improve the grind quality of a blade grinder. We will also reveal which are the best blade grinders around so that you can enjoy decent coffee on a budget.
Is There Anything Good About Blade Grinders?
Many coffee enthusiasts, including us, recommend burr coffee grinders as they offer far better grind consistency than blade grinders. In turn, this leads to a better coffee flavor. Previously, we have compared blade and burr grinders and detailed precisely why burr grinders are the best option.
However, fresh coffee is still a better option than pre-ground beans. After all, as long as the grinder can turn your whole beans into coffee grounds, you can brew coffee to a reasonable standard.
Contrary to what you may have heard, there are a few advantages of blade grinders, too. Let’s go over them:
Inexpensive – Most blade coffee grinders are around $20, which is significantly cheaper than most burr coffee grinders.
Compact and portable – Blade grinders are not complex machines, meaning they are usually small and lightweight, so they won’t take up much kitchen space and are easy to take with you on your travels.
Easy to use – A simple blade grinder has only one button, and the longer it grinds, the finer the grounds will be.
No manual effort – An electric blade grinder gets the job done at the push of a button. In contrast, while some manual conical burr hand grinders are also inexpensive, the need to grind the coffee beans manually puts some people off.
Flexible – You can also use a blade grinder to grind other items, including spices. Meanwhile, they have straightforward designs, making them easy to clean and maintain. Finally, the stainless steel blades won’t absorb the coffee odors.
Drawbacks Of A Blade Grinder
Blade grinders use a simple propeller-like blade that spins rapidly to chop the coffee beans. However, this is detrimental to the consistency, so you’ll have different particle sizes in each batch.
Also, while most burr grinders allow you to adjust the grind size by changing the distance between the burrs, you need to rely on the grinding time to determine the grind size with a coffee blade grinder. This involves far more guesswork.
Tips For Choosing The Best Blade Coffee Grinder
Most blade coffee grinders are simple and work in similar ways. However, there are a few considerations while choosing a blade grinder.
Removable vs One-Piece
A blade grinder with removable grinding chambers is easier to use than a one-piece product.
The blades rotate at high speed, so it’s easier to create static during the grinding process, causing some mess. If you can take off the grinding bowl, it’s far easier to remove the residue by rinsing the grinder with water. Meanwhile, some grinding chambers are dishwasher-safe. Also, when you’re pouring the grounds into your coffee maker, having a removable chamber saves you from having to lift the entire machine.
Automatic vs Manual Control
Many blade grinders have only one button to press and hold while grinding. The longer you do this, the finer your coffee grounds will become.
However, some grinders have a hands-free option, with time the only thing you control. Automatic blade grinders stop when they reach a preset grinding time, which is dependent on how much coffee you’re grinding and the coarseness you choose. This can lead to more consistent results.
Length Of The Cord
Cord length may seem like a minor issue. However, we’ve seen many user reviews that complain about the length of a particular machine’s power cord. Blade grinders are inexpensive machines, and some manufacturers use extremely short cords to further reduce costs.
Unfortunately, the shorter the power cord, the less flexibility you will have. Thankfully, some products have longer cords with cord storage for keeping your countertop tidy.
There are also cordless blade grinders that use rechargeable batteries, which are the best option for taking with you on your travels.
As we’ve already mentioned, blade grinders are simple machines that are easy to make for many manufacturers. However, the motor’s primary component and quality dictate the machine’s longevity. Products from established companies are likely to be more durable. So, look out for manufacturers including Bodum, Cuisineart, Hamilton Beach, KitchenAid, Krup, and Mr. Coffee.
Best Blade Coffee Grinders In 2021
1. Hamilton Beach Fresh Grind Electric Coffee Grinder – Best Budget Option
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Hamilton Beach offers a wide variety of thoughtfully-designed home appliances. This applies to its blade coffee grinders, too. This is Hamilton Beach’s most affordable blade grinder, but it still has the key features we laid out in the buying guide earlier.
Firstly, there is a removable grinding chamber so you can easily add your coffee beans and pour out the grounds without causing a mess.
Meanwhile, grinding spices won’t leave an unpleasant odor on the blades because the grinder chamber is dishwasher-safe. Therefore, you can effortlessly clean it.
Finally, there’s a hideaway cord storage under the base for holding the 25in cord when the grinder is not in use.
This is an excellent machine for domestic brewers with a limited budget. It costs around as much as a bag of coffee but ensures you won’t need to use pre-ground coffee anymore.
2. Hamilton Beach 10oz Electric Coffee Grinder With Multiple Grind Settings – Best Automatic Option
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If you want an automatic, hands-free grinder, this is a more advanced option from Hamilton Beach.
The grinder has five coarseness settings for different brewing methods. So, you can select a coarse grind for French press. Meanwhile, there’s a medium grind for drip coffee or a fine grind for Moka pot. Keep in mind that these settings only adjust the grinding time, which is different from a burr grinder that adjusts the space between the burrs to determine the grind size.
You can choose between 4, 8, 12, and 14 cups, corresponding to the amount of coffee beans in the grinding chamber. Each cup setting has a preset grinding time, and it will stop when it is complete. With the touch of a button, you will get a more consistent grind than manual blade grinders.
The grinder also has a removable stainless steel grinding bowl that’s dishwasher-safe.
Finally, this machine has a higher build quality with more features than the first on our list, making it a good option for just a little more money.
3. Mr. Coffee Electric Coffee Grinder With Multi Settings – Easiest To Clean
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Mr. Coffee offers excellent value for coffee lovers, and this automatic coffee and spice grinder is no exception.
Like the Hamilton Beach grinder, there are several grind size options and cup size settings, offering hands-free grinding. However, what sets this grinder apart from the others is the ease of cleaning. There is a plastic part in the grinding chamber called the Chamber Maid Cleaning System. After grinding, you turn it, and it scrubs the coffee grounds attached to the chamber wall. As we mentioned earlier, blade grinders are known to create more static, so this is a useful – and welcome – addition.
There is a removable grinding chamber, so it is easy to give it a deep clean with water. Meanwhile, the hopper lid has a wide opening, making adding the coffee mess-free. The lid and chamber are transparent, too, so you can check the grind size while you’re grinding.
Finally, there is cord storage for the 25in the cord at the foot of the grinder.
4. DmofwHi USB Rechargeable Grinder – Best Cordless Coffee Grinder
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If you’re in the market for the best blade grinder you can take with you on the move, this is the perfect option. The cordless coffee grinder allows you to grind your own beans to a standard that will ensure good coffee wherever you are.
The grinder runs on a 2000mAh USB rechargeable battery. The battery charges in three hours and grinds up to 25 cycles per charge. Handily, the grinder’s body has a display indicating the remaining battery power. Using a Type-C USB wire, you can recharge the battery with a power bank or laptop while you’re out. Meanwhile, it’s small enough to fit comfortably in your suitcase.
The machine is also nicely designed. For example, a removable grinding bowl built from food-grade 304 stainless steel is easy to clean and durable. Also, there is a 2-in-1 coffee spoon and brush for easy cleaning.
Finally, user reviews indicate that the grinder is quiet as it works, making it a good option to consider if you grind coffee while others are sleeping.
Hacks To Improve The Quality Of A Blade Grinder
Blade grinders may not grind as consistently as burr grinders, but there are still ways to improve their results. Coffee expert James Hoffmann shared this trick on his channel, we tried and this really works. Let’s examine how to achieve a relatively consistent grind for a decent beverage.
Tip 1: Stop And Shake During Grinding
It’s all too easy to simply hold down the button from the start to the finish of the grinding cycle. However, if you pause and give the grounds a gentle shake from time to time, you’ll get a more even grind. Our tests found doing this reduces the coffee dust and is particularly effective when aiming for a coarse grind for French press.
Another advantage of regularly pausing is it allows the blades to cool down a little while grinding.
Tip 2: Remove The Larger Particles
The main issue with blade grinders is they struggle to produce consistent grind sizes. That’s because they randomly chop the coffee beans, leaving a mixture of fine powder and larger particles in each batch.
You will always have some larger particles that cause under-extraction, leading to sourness. Try using a kitchen sieve to filter the smaller particles and leave the larger ones to counteract this issue. Then, place the larger particles back into the grinder and grind them smaller. You can repeat this process as many times as you need to.
Tip 3: Remove The Fine Particles
Once you’ve limited the bigger particles, you can remove the smaller ones using a paper towel. So, pour and spread the coffee grounds over a paper towel. Most paper towels are patterned, which helps catch and trap the coffee dust.
It’s important to remove these extremely small particles because they over-extract easily, leaving bitterness in the finished drink.
Tip 4: Grind Smaller Batches Each Time
Coffee goes stale more quickly after your grind it. Therefore, we recommend not grinding a full pot of coffee each time, but instead only grinding just enough beans you need for each brew. Grinding smaller batches not only helps retain the freshness of the coffee, but it’s also easier to control the grind size.
Blade grinders have a poor reputation among many coffee enthusiasts, and not without good reason. The main issue is their inability to grind the beans to a consistent size. Without a uniform grind size, the flavor of the finished coffee diminishes, leading to a sub-optimal result.
However, blade grinders are still a better option than using pre-ground coffee. That’s because if you grind your coffee beans immediately before brewing, the grounds will be fresher, which enhances the flavor.
Despite being frowned upon in the coffee community, blade grinders are not a bad option for either inexperienced domestic brewers or those on a tight budget. This is because they’re easy to use and are usually significantly cheaper than a burr grinder.
As with any piece of coffee equipment, some blade grinders are more suitable than others, and this buying guide has highlighted the best of them.
Finally, there are ways to ensure you get better results using a few simple methods, meaning that whichever blade grinder you use, with a little effort, you can produce grounds that are consistent enough for a thoroughly enjoyable cup of coffee.