Last updated on December 2nd, 2023

Cheap vs Expensive Coffee Grinder: Are Expensive Grinders Worth It?

Cheap vs Expensive Coffee Grinder: a picture introducing an article that answers the question: are expensive coffee grinders worth it?

MY VERDICT: In the cheap vs expensive coffee grinder debate, there’s no doubt that the more expensive models produce way better grinds. But, which models are solid, and how much should you spend on coffee grinding at home? Are the super-expensive coffee grinders worth it? As a coffee geek, I generally avoid recommending cheap budget grinders. Besides the benefit of freshly ground beans (which, to be fair, is a huge plus,) they struggle to produce even particles and can’t make precise adjustments. Any grinder is better than pre-ground coffee, but for a serious coffee lover, I would say spending over $100 is worth it. From there, more expensive grinders will give you more evenness and the precision to dial in every coffee.

I have used all kinds of coffee grinders over the years, from the most basic blade models to the highest-end burr grinders for espresso. I also know how confusing the grinder market can get. So this is my attempt to brush up on the current range of coffee grinder prices which will hopefully help you sort out the ideal budget for your home coffee grinder.

Whether you’re a coffee novice or an experienced aficionado, I think this article will clarify things for you!

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The Value of Having a Coffee Grinder

Before getting into the details of specific grinders and models, this section will review why having a coffee grinder at home is one of the most valuable coffee investments you can make. You can also take a detour to our gigantic guide to grinding coffee beans if you don’t want to skip any detail!

Grinding for Freshness

Picture waking up to the enticing and comforting aroma of freshly brewed coffee, including the leftover scent of the beans someone ground to make it. That smell alone is enough to convince many why they should own a grinder. But there’s also a more practical reason.

Pre ground coffee, while convenient, has a major drawback—it loses its freshness rapidly. The moment coffee beans are ground, the clock on freshness starts ticking. The increased surface area exposes too much of the precious coffee cells to oxygen. Within 30 minutes, ground coffee can lose the complexity and freshness of its flavor.

So owning a grinder means you can grind the coffee beans moments before brewing, ensuring each cup reflects the wonderful flavors locked within that coffee.

Altering Grind Size

A graphic explaining Coffee Grinding 101: why buying an expensive burr coffee grinder might be worth it.

The other gigantic benefit to owning a quality grinder at home is the ability to alter grind size. Each brewing method requires a slightly different particle size to ensure the best extraction. Even within one brewing method, each coffee bean requires a nuanced change in grind size to dial in the ideal flavor.

So, while all grinders give you freshly ground coffee, this precision grinding feature will be a factor that separates the wheat from the chaff​​—aka answering whether or not a cheap coffee grinder is worth it for you.

Are Expensive Coffee Grinders Worth It?

Assuming you’re convinced that a home grinder is better than pre ground coffee, let’s answer the next pressing question: Is a good coffee grinder worth it? Should you go for the high-priced models like this Baratza Forte BG?

Flat Burr Grinder
Baratza Forte BG


  • Flat Steel Burr Commercial Coffee Grinder
  • 54mm professional burrs by Ditting
  • Powerful DC motor
  • 260 grind settings (espresso & all brewing styles)

Or are cheap coffee grinders worth it more? To answer these questions properly, we need to consider a few key factors.

The Brewing Expertise Factor

Think of coffee brewing as a spectrum. On one end, you have the casual coffee drinker who enjoys a simple cup in the morning. On the other end, you have the passionate barista or homebrew enthusiast who revels in the delicate nuances of the coffee-making process. As you move along this spectrum—and invest in other expensive coffee gear—having a quality grinder becomes more crucial.

The high-priced burr grinders are probably not worth it for a coffee beginner, someone just getting started with a French Press or a pour over dripper. However, if you own a gooseneck kettle and a scale, and you enjoy fine-tuning each coffee extraction, having precise control over coffee grind size is worth it.

Tailoring to Brewing Methods

The right grinder choice also depends on your preferred brewing methods. Some models work best with French Press coffee, cold brew, and other coarser grind sizes. Yet other grinder models focus on the precision of fine grind settings so you can legitimately dial in espresso.

Besides their consistent grind size, high-end grinders also excel at adjusting the grind size. The cheapest grinders, usually blade grinders, don’t have any grind settings. After these, the plethora of burr grinders can have anywhere from 20 to hundreds of grind settings.

So whether an expensive grinder is worth it depends on whether you will use these adjustment capabilities.

Cheap vs Expensive Coffee Grinder: How To Find the Right Grinder for Your Budget

Now that we’ve explored why people consider such expensive models, let’s convert this knowledge into a practical guide for matching your budget with the right grinder.

There Is a Grinder for Every Budget

First and foremost, I want to ensure anyone reading understands that there is a grinder out there for every financial situation. This regularly updated guide to the best coffee grinders for every budget shows this broad range.

Overall Best Burr Grinder
Baratza Encore Conical Burr Coffee Grinder (Black)


  • Baratza's best-selling award-winning entry-level grinder
  • 40 grind settings
  • 40mm commercial-grade conical burrs
  • Fantastic price: quality ratio
  • 1-year warranty

So whether the deciding factor is your financial comfort zone or the seriousness of your relationship with coffee, everyone can find something.

See Also: Baratza Encore Grinder Review: Pros, Cons, & Considerations

Are Cheap Coffee Grinders Worth It?

Yes, if the alternative is the dead smell and taste of pre ground coffee, I will always say that even a cheap coffee grinder is worth it. Even the cheapest grinders give you better flavors and aromas than ground coffee, which already aged in the bag.

But this topic wouldn’t be worth an entire article if no nuances existed. And answering whether or not a cheap grinder is worth it is much more difficult when comparing grinder brands, designs, and models.

Let’s talk about some questions you can ask yourself to refine your options.

See Also: The Best Budget Coffee Grinders Under $100

Evaluating Your Needs

Before evaluating your coffee grinder investment, you need to know why you are investing and how willing you are to learn about coffee brewing. Are you content with a simple, straightforward grinder, or do you crave the precision and consistency of a higher-end model?

Will you be making espresso at home? Or do you have a typical drip coffee machine and just want the upgrade of fresher grounds? Lastly, do you care whether the grinder is electric or manual?

Many people love to travel with their coffee gear, and a manual hand grinder can be the best option. For others, the idea of standing in the kitchen and hand-grinding beans for 2-3 minutes sounds awful.

So, knowing your needs is crucial for deciding which grinder is right for you.

The Science Behind Expensive Grinders

This section will briefly explain how the design and materials of a grinder can affect coffee extraction and flavor, in other words, why people are willing to spend so much on a quality grinder.

Burr Grinders and Uniformity

Is a good coffee grinder worth it? A graphic showing why burr coffee grinders are better.

One of the crucial distinctions between expensive and cheap grinders is their ability to produce uniform coffee grounds. Imagine crushing some coffee beans with a rock—they would break into random sizes. And each size would undergo different extraction rates.

Now imagine putting beans into a blender. The spinning blade will break them apart more easily. But again, the sizes would be pretty random.

And delicious coffee relies on an even extraction–water equally interacting with each particle.

So all expensive models are called burr grinders. A coffee burr grinder has two sharp surfaces, the burrs, that have a precise distance separating them. The burr material has to be durable, usually steel or ceramic. Because each bean has to fall through the same spacing, these designs create an extremely uniform grind size.

But the concept and materials tend to be expensive, and there is a range of how precise the burr design can be.

Blade vs Burr Grinders

At this point, it is worth pointing you towards the debate between blade vs burr grinders. The linked article goes fully down that rabbit hole. But the short takeaway is that blade grinders are often the go-to option for coffee lovers on a strict budget. They struggle with grind adjustment and uniformity. But they are an affordable coffee grinder option, and many people prefer the speed of electric rather than the budget manual grinders.

are cheap coffee grinders worth it? a graphic comparing burr vs blade grinders

So while blade grinders can be an option for those on a tight budget, burr grinders are the preferred choice for those who prioritize grind quality and flavor consistency.

Expensive Burr Grinders: Precisely Altering Grind Size

Assuming you understand why the burr design is preferable, let’s examine what sets the most expensive burr grinders apart.

Firstly, they will have better materials, construction durability, and burr sharpness to increase grind consistency. But they also solve the more difficult problem of making precise adjustments to grind size. Whether you’re dialing in for espresso, a French press, or a pour-over, these grinders offer a wide range of grind settings.

For example, the Baratza Sette 270 has 30 macro and 9 micro adjustments for a total of 270 grind sizes.

Great For Espresso
Baratza Sette 270 Conical Burr Coffee Grinder


  • 270 Grind Settings (macro/micro adjustment)
  • High-speed grinding (5g/second)
  • Ideal for dialing in espresso
  • 3 programmable dosing buttons

Additionally, the Etzinger steel burrs are sharp, durable, and attached to a high-torque DC motor. The quality build of such a grinder makes it consistent and precise. But precision also makes it expensive.

Grinder Features To Look For

Hopefully, you now understand that choosing the right grinder largely comes down to your needs: budget, brewing skills, and overall passion for coffee. But this section will cover the primary features you should inspect to make sure you’re getting your money’s worth from a grinder:

  • Burr Material: Burrs should be ceramic or steel, and there are better and worse versions of these. I can personally vouch for the quality of Baratza and Fellow burrs, along with the ceramic burrs on Hario hand grinders (both have lasted me many years.)
  • Grind Range: A decent burr grinder should have at least 20-30 grind settings, but preferably 30-40. For espresso, you want even more than that.
  • Noise Level: Read the review to find out how noisy each grinder is. Sometimes the best motors and designs have the downside of being too loud for a home kitchen.
  • Build Quality: You can assess a grinder’s construction and materials by picking it up or noting its main materials. It should feel solid and grounded. Durable materials like stainless steel or ceramic are preferable for longevity.
  • Brand Reputation: Research reputable brands with a track record of quality and customer satisfaction. I recommend Baratza, Fellow, Breville, and Hario the most (Baratza and Hario the most considering my personal experience.)
  • Capacity: Determine the grinder’s capacity, especially if you often brew large batches or multiple cups at once.
  • Price: Last but not least, no grinder is worth it if it is outside of your budget. Choose an affordable grinder that still gets you excited and aligns with your coffee preferences.

Electric vs Manual Coffee Grinders

The last decision you’ll have to make is whether to buy an electric or manual grinder. And on that front, don’t assume that hand grinders are worse by default. The cheaper manual grinders might be more of a budget-friendly choice, but high-end models like the 1Zpresso K-Ultra Hand Coffee Grinder are more expensive than many electric burr grinders.

What Is the Most Expensive Manual Coffee Grinder?

This 1Zpresso Premium Hand Grinder might be the most expensive manual coffee grinder on the market. But it is an exception compared to the affordability of most hand grinders.

1Zpresso K-Ultra Manual Coffee Grinder


  • Foldable Handle - Compact and easy to carry
  • External Adjustment Ring (over 100 grind settings)
  • Specialized Heptagonal Conical Burr (K-Burr)
  • Quick-release Magnetic Catch Cup

The primary advantage of most manual burr grinders is that you can get a fantastic grind quality for much less than an equal grind on an electric burr grinder. Other advantages include:

  • Quiet
  • Easy to travel with
  • Affordable

I wrote a separate guide to the best manual coffee grinders if you’re leaning in that direction.

Recommendations for Coffee Grinder Brands

expensive coffee grinder brands

With the growth of specialty coffee, you have to beware of copycat brands that are not high quality. So if you’re unfamiliar with the specialty coffee world and which brands are reputable, this section will list some of the top companies you can count on.

While I have not had extensive brewing time with every single brand, coffee professionals regularly attest to the reliability of these companies and their products. Like many areas of life, you get what you pay for with coffee grinders.

Head over to this ultimate coffee grinding guide where I compiled lots more information on these top brands and models.


As a review and summary of this grinding guide, let’s answer some common questions on expensive vs affordable coffee grinders.

Why are some coffee grinders so expensive?

Coffee grinders vary in price due to factors like build quality, grind consistency, and precision grind adjustments. Expensive models are always burr grinders and often feature superior materials, engineering, and performance, making them worth the investment for serious coffee enthusiasts.

Why is a good coffee grinder worth it?

A high-end coffee grinder is not necessarily worth it for everyone because much depends on your coffee brewing goals. If you’re content with a basic brewing method and don’t require precision, a budget-friendly grinder can suffice. However, if you’re aiming for high-level coffee brewing, changing brew methods often, or owning an espresso machine, an expensive grinder becomes a valuable tool.

Are budget coffee grinders worth it?

Cheap coffee grinders can be worth it if you understand their limitations. While they may not offer the precision and consistency of more expensive options, they can still provide an improvement over pre-ground coffee and serve as a budget-friendly entry point into the wonderful smells of freshly ground coffee.

Are blade or burr coffee grinders better?

Burr grinders are generally considered better than blade grinders due to their ability to produce consistent grind sizes. Burr grinders also offer greater precision when adjusting the grind size for different coffees and brewing methods.

What should I look for when buying a coffee grinder?

When buying a coffee grinder, consider factors like grind consistency, number of grind settings, burr vs blade design, build quality/materials, and portability. You should, of course, make sure that you are buying a reputable brand so that the price and quality match.

Final Thoughts: Are The Expensive Coffee Grinders Really Worth It?

So when comparing the quality and price of various grinders, are the expensive models really worth it for you? Hopefully, you now understand that the answer depends on many factors, including your budget, brewing experience, and how much you love the nuances of coffee flavor.

For a coffee geek like me who loves dialing in coffee, the answer is yes. Although my Baratza Virtuoso+ is not the most expensive model, it gets the job done. And, I’m sure I’ll upgrade to something better one day. However, for others who just want a slight upgrade to their coffee at home, there’s no need for fancy equipment—a budget grinder will suffice.

Whatever you decide, I hope your house will soon be filled with that inspiring aroma of freshly ground coffee!