Blade vs. Burr Grinder: Which is Better for Coffee?

You’re very passionate about your coffee, and you want to begin replicating brewing techniques you’ve seen at esteemed cafés in the comfort of your home. You’ve been recommended two types of coffee grinder: blade and burr grinders. Which will make more delectable, crave-worthy coffee?

When choosing between a blade and burr coffee grinders, always choose a Burr grinders. Using one will produce a more consistent cup of coffee as the grinder breaks down coffee beans into a uniform size.

We want to help you decide which coffee grinder best suits your needs and budget, which is why we’ll talk about the pros and cons of both blade and burr grinders ahead. You’re certainly not going to want to miss it!

Are Coffee Grinders Necessary?

Coffee grinders are a must if wanting to brew a perfect cup every everytime. Coffee made from freshly ground coffee beans is going to have a fresher, more flavorful taste than pre-ground coffee.

The better the coffee grinder, the more uniform grind. When each grind is similar in size, the more likely it is to extract as evenly as every other piece of coffee in the brew. 

This is why we grind coffee in coffee grinders and not blenders. Blenders just keep chopping a thing until they are eventually chopped up and blended together. They do not chop pieces evenly.

Click the link to read more on why coffee grinders are necessary.

What Is a Blade Coffee Grinder?

Before we can fairly contrast blade and burr grinders, we want you to be clear on both kinds of coffee grinders.

So, what is a blade coffee grinder? Known also as a propeller grinder, whirly grinder, electric blade grinder, or a coffee mill, a blade grinder is a machine for making coffee. Included in the grinder are propeller blades that are often made of a durable material like stainless steel.

You pour your coffee beans into the blade grinder, turn it on, and the blades spin somewhere in the ballpark of 20,000 to 30,000 rotations per minute. The motion of the blades doesn’t grind coffee beans, per se, despite the blade grinder’s name. Instead, they’re sliced. 

Blade grinders don’t have settings that let you control coffee bean particle size, but you can still use this grinder to make chunkier versus fine beans, at least according to some users. What you’d have to do is run the grinder in short bursts versus for longer periods.  

Pros of a Blade Coffee Grinder

The biggest benefit of a blade grinder by far is how inexpensive it is. You can buy one of these machines for around $20. Here’s a popular one on Amazon.

For the coffee lover on a budget who’s tired of funneling cash into coffeehouses for overpriced drinks, you’ll love the cost of a blade grinder. You’ll now be able to make your own homebrewed coffee on the cheap.

Another perk of blade grinders is their size. If you don’t have a lot of counter space because you rent an apartment or the kitchen in your home is small, then you know you have to be picky about which appliances go on the counter. A blade grinder won’t take up a lot of room!

Cons of a Blade Coffee Grinder

Blade coffee grinders certainly have their drawbacks. 

The biggest and most significant one is that the grinder lacks settings for you to adjust coffee bean size. If you ran your blade grinder every day for 15 minutes and then bagged the coffee beans after each grinding session, you’d notice it doesn’t produce a consistent grind size rom one day to another.

That means the consistency from one cup of coffee to another will vary as well! 

Also, although you could theoretically run a blade grinder for 15 minutes, you wouldn’t want to. The blades produce friction since they run so quickly, and the longer the machine is on, the more heat those blades generate. Parts of the coffee beans can burn.

On top of all that, blade grinders are known to produce a static charge, again from the propeller blade’s rotation speed. Some of the ground coffee might get stuck not only to the inside of the machine but inside your cup as well. 

What Is a Burr Coffee Grinder?

Next are burr coffee grinders. Inside this machine are burrs, with burrs being metal pieces with a ridged or roughened edge. Stainless steel is a popular material for burrs, as is ceramic. Burr grinders will have two pieces of burr that send the coffee beans into the machine in small groups. 

The beans enter the grinding area, where they’re ground instead of chopped. Unlike blade grinders, with a burr grinder, the coffee ground size is up to you. All you have to do is open the burrs up more or move them closer together. Burr grinders offers a more consistent grind.

You can pick between two types of burr grinders, conical or flat burrs. Flat burr grinders are more consistent and offer a more uniform grind size. This type of burr grinder is more expensive, but it might make noise when running. Using one of these machines can also get a little messy.

Conical burr grinders are typically less expensive than flat burr grinders. They are usually not as loud and don’t heat up as much. Compared to a flat burr, these don’t produce as much consistency in grind.

Comparison between a flat burr grinder and a conical burr grinder for coffee beans
Burr Grinders

Pros of a Burr Coffee Grinder

The biggest advantage of a burr coffee grinder is its consistency. If you want somewhat thicker ground coffee beans, then by setting the burr positioning, you get it every time. That’s also the case if you’re in the mood for finely ground beans. 

If your schedule is especially busy, brewing coffee will be one of the easier parts of your day because you know you’ll get a reliable cup of coffee day in and day out with a burr grinder. 

Lots of cafés and professional baristas will use burr grinders, so when you choose one of these grinders as well, you’re making a cup of coffee at home that’s professional-grade. 

The durability of burr grinders is worth talking about as well. When producing these machines, manufacturers choose high-quality burr materials such as ceramic or stainless steel. The burrs will last for years without losing their ridges or sharpness.

Cons of a Burr Coffee Grinder

Burr grinders, as advantageous as they are, are far from the norm. Only baristas and true coffee lovers might have one of these machines in their homes. If you were hoping to visit your favorite department store or grocery store to pick up a burr grinder, you probably will come home empty-handed.

Of course, you can always buy a burr grinder online, which makes the above a partially moot point. Still, your takeaway should be that these grinders are quite uncommon, especially compared to blade grinders.

As you might have guessed, the price of a burr grinder is commensurate with its rarity. Unlike a blade grinder, which you can buy for about $20, burr grinders can cost hundreds of dollars. 

Blade vs. Burr Grinder – Which Coffee Has the Better Taste?

Now that you’re more familiar with blade and burr grinders respectively, it’s time to answer that all-important question. Between the two types of grinder, which will produce the better cup of coffee?

The answer, hands down, is a burr grinder. Here are the reasons these machines far outpace blade grinders.

Consistent Grounds Every Time

If you’re going to bother with the time and expense of buying a coffee grinder, you want consistent coffee grounds for your trouble. Otherwise, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t just buy a container of pre-made coffee grounds at your local grocery store and brew those. 

With a burr grinder, you’ll enjoy consistency each time you run this machine. The uniformity of the beans is such even if you like your grounds finer than most. 

Blade grinders cannot guarantee that consistency. We mentioned before that as an experiment, you can run your blade grinder for the same amount of time several days in a row, and then examine the results. The grounds would not all be the same size by far. 

The fineness and coarseness of your coffee beans absolutely impact the taste. Over-grinding, for example, can make coffee taste bitter. Larger coffee grounds can be chunky and unappealing when you’re expecting a smooth cup of coffee. 

Is saving the money in buying a blade grinder worth it for the inconsistent cups of coffee you get time and again? We’d say no! 

No Risk of Overheating and Burning Beans

That’s not the only issue with blade grinders, as we talked about. Due to the very fast speed of the blades, these machines can overheat. Some of the beans can end up burnt and others not, which further makes drinking blade-grinded coffee very inconsistent. 

If you’ve ever over-brewed coffee beans to the point that they’re burnt, then you know how horrible they taste. For anyone who hasn’t made this cardinal coffee sin, there are notes of charcoal in your burnt cup of coffee, not to mention bitterness. It’s not appetizing in the least. 

Some blade grinder lovers have come up with a sort of hack that mitigates this problem. They run their machine in seconds-long bursts. 

Sure, this can prevent bean burning, but it’s also quite time-consuming. If you overslept this morning, you’re not going to have time to monitor your blade grinder every few seconds to see how finely ground the beans are. Even on days where you do have the time, you might not necessarily have the patience. We can’t blame you! 

Burr grinders will not burn your beans, especially conical burr grinders, and you can run them for longer than a few seconds without worrying. These machines are too high-quality and low-speed to leave you with a bitter cup of coffee. 

No Static Cling 

Have you ever had your coffee beans stick to your grinder? Then you know the properties of that cup of coffee can be quite interesting, to say the least. Static cling is a common byproduct of blade grinders, but that’s not the case with burr grinders. 

Compared to the other issues with blade coffee grinders, a bit of static is not the worst thing ever, but it’s still inconvenient and strange. Your cups of coffee will always be static-free with a burr grinder. 

Recommended Burr Grinder

Our top pick for the best coffee grinder is the Baratza Encore Conical Grinder. This electric burr grinder is great to use for all brew methods including espresso and French press and makes quality coffee with great flavor every time.

The Baratza Encore will give you a consistent grind every time and is built to last. It is straightforward to use with 40 grind settings to choose from, so you’re always going to find that perfect grind size for whichever brewing device you are using.

Final Thoughts 

Home baristas deciding on a blade grinder versus a burr grinder should choose the latter for several reasons. Burr grinders will grind coffee beans to the same size for consistent cups of coffee daily. 

Burr grinders also lack static electricity and won’t burn your beans. They are harder to find at stores than blade grinders, although you can always shop online. We do have to note that burr grinders are far more expensive than blade coffee grinders, especially if yours is a flat burr grinder.

We hope the information in this article has helped you choose the right grinder for you! 

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