The 3 Best Affordable Coffee Grinders of 2020
The Top 3 Inexpensive Coffee Grinders You Can Buy
As a huge coffee enthusiast for over thirty years, I can't emphasize enough the importance of grinding in the brewing process.
These choices are based on my own experiences and the numerous machines that I've either owned or used enough to be very familiar with their advantages and flaws. All three of these grinders are priced at around the twenty dollar price mark or lower, and they all offer excellent value.
- The Krups F203 follows a tried and tested design and is a robust and very affordable blade grinder.
- The JavaPresse is my favorite low-priced manually-operated mill. It's portable and quiet.
- The Hamilton Beach is another very practical one-touch electric that's inexpensive to buy.
I give more information and explain each of my choices below.
Tried and Tested Classic Design: The Krups F203
I've used one of these machines every day in my workplace for a number of years and I can highly recommend it. In my opinion, the Krups F203 will meet most people's basic needs regarding freshly ground coffee.
It's true that there are better grinders out there, but they will cost you substantially more money (mid-quality electric burr grinders start at around $90 - $100). The Krups has a classic design, it can be bought for well under twenty dollars and offers excellent value.
As well as coffee, I've also used mine to grind spices, nuts and grains. I have the black version, but it is also available in white, red, and cappuccino colors.
I've had my machine for over eight years and have seen no deterioration regarding its ability to grind. It's robust and small enough to stash away when not in use. It's compact design means that I can just keep it in a corner of the counter, as it takes up so little surface space.
Are there any negatives? Well, the size of the grounds depends on how long you run it for, that does take a little getting used to - there are no settings that you can select. The only other possible negative is the noise. It's loud enough to wake a light sleeper in the next room. That said, blade grinders are never quiet in my experience. If you require something quiet, your options are limited, you may want to consider a manual grinder (see below), which you operate using a hand crank.
Tip: You can muffle the sound that the grinder produces a little by placing it on top of a towel when you grind!
Sleek, Portable, and Inexpensive: The JavaPresse
The best budget coffee grinders don't have to be electrically powered! A hand-cranked mill has two big advantages over electric machines. First of all, they are usually portable and usable anywhere, I take mine camping and on road trips. Secondly, they are very quiet, you don't wake up other people when you make your morning brew.
The has such a lovely, sleek design, it's great to look at and hold, as well as use. There are 18 settings for grinding, making it easy to be precise. Different coffee makers require different sized grounds so this really helps. It is easy to use, easy to clean, and compact enough to store away easily when not in use, I've found. JavaPresse manual grinder
The only down side is that being a manual, it does take a degree of time and effort to grind your coffee. You can't just press a button or flip a switch like with an electric.
Affordable and Quiet Grinder With a Cool Design: The Hamilton Beach Fresh Grind 4.5oz
I never thought that I would never find a budget grinder to rival my Krups, but then a friend introduced me to the Hamilton Beach Fresh Grind 4.5oz.
This compact machine has a striking and practical design. It works in a similar way to the Krups in that there's a push button that you keep pressed until your beans have been reduced to the size of grounds you want. A transparent grinding chamber allows you to see the spinning blades and the grounds. The chamber is also removable for easy use and cleaning.
Perhaps it's best selling point though is that it's definitely quieter than most of the grinders in this category that I've used. That means that there's less chance of waking another member of the household if you rise early.
The main downside is that as with all the blade grinders of this type, you judge the coarseness of the grounds by sight, there are no settings to determine it for you. You basically have to get used to holding the button for the appropriate amount of time. That may put some people off, but to be honest, it's not rocket science.
What are the Benefits of Grinding Your Own Coffee?
Grinding your own coffee beans, rather than buying them ready ground, is simply the best way of ensuring a fresh, fragrant, and tasty brew.
I started grinding over twenty five years ago and I've never looked back. For sure, to some extent you get what you pay for when purchasing a grinder, and the best machines tend to start at around the $90 to $100 mark - but a $20 grinder will still do the job and give you way better tasting coffee than buying ready ground.
There are some very stylish, efficient, and affordable products on the market nowadays, both electrically powered and hand-cranked, which will meet most people's basic needs and give excellent value for money.
We want to do a lot of stuff; we're not in great shape. We didn't get a good night's sleep. We're a little depressed. Coffee solves all these problems in one delightful little cup.— Jerry Seinfeld
Types of Grinder
There are three main types of grinder: blade; burr, and manual.
- Blade grinders are very often the cheapest type of powered machine that you will find. They may not be the quietest, or the most accurate, but they get the job done and usually won't cost you too much. I would favor them for use in a small kitchen where space is a premium, or for use as an office grinder. They work via a spinning, propeller-like blade cutting up the beans into smaller and smaller pieces. The longer the blade spins, the smaller the grounds will be.
- (Electric) burr grinders are generally quieter than blades, more accurate and less messy, but they usually cost more. They work by crushing the beans. There is usually a choice of settings, enabling you to select the precise coarseness or fineness that you require for your coffee maker. They are widely viewed as the best type of grinder.
- Manual grinders are generally operated with a crank and the beans are crushed by rotating burrs. Because they are not motorized, they are very quiet, and don't require a power supply so are great for taking traveling, or camping. The size of the grounds produced is dictated by how long you turn the crank for: the more you turn, the finer the grounds.
A Brief History of Coffee
According to legend, coffee was first discovered by an Ethiopian goat herder, who noticed that his animals became more lively after eating berries from a certain plant. At first the berries were chewed, but then people realized that they could be used to make a drink. In the 15th century Arabs in Yemen began cultivating the plant. By the 16th century coffee was being drunk in Iran and Turkey before spreading to Western Europe via Italy. The first American coffee house began business in 1689.
Tips for Storing Coffee
Buy beans instead of ready ground, and grind the beans right before you make your brew for maximum flavor.
Keep the coffee in an air tight container. (Ceramic, glass, or stainless steel containers are generally best).
Keep away from direct sunlight and big temperature changes, somewhere fairly dark and fairly cool is ideal
Avoid refrigerating or freezing the beans, if at all possible, as very cold storage will cause a loss of taste.
I can't imagine a day without coffee. I can't imagine!— Howard Schultz
Questions & Answers
© 2011 Paul Goodman