When it comes to shopping for cannabis herb grinders, there are so many options that the process can be pretty daunting. You've got 2-piece grinders, 3-piece grinders, electric grinders, and that's just the types.
Underneath those umbrellas, you've got a world of different materials and teeth — or no teeth, like grater grinders — and shapes that can altogether make it pretty tough for people new to cannabis, or even seasoned veterans, to know which grinders they should really be using to break down that good ass weed.
Luckily, we can help you learn what qualities to look for in a well-made grinder, and a few companies that are absolutely killing it in that realm.
The qualities that make a good grinder
The first thing to do when purchasing a grinder is to consider the needs you're trying to fulfill. If you just want something quick and easy that will simply separate your flower and aren't too concerned about the way the grinder affects the flower or your consumption experience, then any regular ol' grinder from any random head shop will technically do the job.
But will it do the job well? Definitely not as well as the grinders created by companies that truly care about your relationship with cannabis and their products.
There are plenty of qualities to consider when purchasing a high-quality grinder. These include the materials that make up the grinder, the shape of its teeth, how it grinds, durability, and overall ease of use.
“Really, it's how it's manufactured," said Matt Hansen, co-founder of Santa Cruz Shredder, when I asked him about the qualities that make up a good grinder. "There are a thousand grinders out there that just have different branding on them; they'll all be cheap."
What to look for in a quality grinder:
- How the grinder's manufactured
- The materials used to build the grinder
- The shape of the grinder's teeth vs. your preferences
- How it grinds (i.e the texture of your flower afterward)
- Ease of use
How the grinder's manufactured
We'll never escape the fact that quality is always decided by how a product is made. “The #1 thing that makes a good grinder is accuracy in the manufacturing of the grinder, meaning the tolerances on the blade edges, where the blades are, how high/low they are, and the overall structure of the machine that's going to be cutting up your material," said Dave Richmond, Chief Innovation Officer of Banana Bros, makers of the OTTO grinder.
The materials used to build the grinder
There are so many different materials that people use to make grinders. You've got plastic, wooden, metal, and even hemp grinders — just to name a few. Most of the grinders in people's stash boxes and travel bags are made of metals like aluminum and titanium. That's because metal grinders tend to be the most durable and safe for consumption, i.e. pieces of them won't break off into your flower and have you smoking contaminated weed.
Like everything in the world, the “best" choice comes down to personal preference. We advise choosing a four-piece metal grinder with a kief compartment from a reputable company if you're in the market for a high-quality grinder, but the decision is really up to you, your needs, and your wallet.
The only truly wrong answer is buying a plastic grinder — never buy a plastic grinder. They are extremely cheap, frail, and poorly made. With every use, more pieces of the plastic will break off of the grinder and end up in your weed (and lungs). Don't be out here smoking Plastic Piece OG, man.
The shape of the grinder's teeth
There are so many different types of teeth, like pyramid teeth, diamond teeth, and nail teeth. There are also blade systems that slice your flower apart, along with grater-grinding systems that, instead of using teeth to break down your weed, use a milling-against-the-grain method.
In the end, the decision of “best" comes down to personal preference, but it's worth knowing that, generally speaking, metal grinders with diamond-shaped teeth are most common.
How it grinds your flower
The effect a grinder has on your flower might be the most important aspect of purchasing a grinder. You never want a grinder that pummels your flower into super fine weed powder that will just shoot down your throat each time you inhale. Those types of grinders absolutely destroy the trichomes on the flower, which is where all the good cannabinoids and terpenes live.
You also never want a grinder that leaves such huge chunks of weed behind that you might as well just use your fingers. Those make your joints roll and burn weirdly. The goal is to find one that will produce a fine breakage that maintains the quality of your flower.
Grinders are like cars and humans: they can only handle so many miles before they break down. This always comes down to the materials used. Plastic grinders are the least durable of them all — they get super gunked up immediately after use, and even more undesirable, the pieces of them start to flake off as the number of uses increases.
You want a grinder that can stand the test of time, especially if you're an everyday smoker. Double especially if you're putting some big dollars behind it. Metal grinders are the most durable grinders out there, however, they definitely aren't all created equal.
Ease of use
Ease of use is paramount with a good grinder. You want it to easily twist, regardless of how much cannabis is in there. Some grinders get stuck if you put some super frosty or sticky flower in them, which completely defeats the purpose of buying a grinder in the first place. Then you've got to bruise your hands trying to get the top off to free the weed that just cost you $50.
The best cannabis grinders to buy right now
Here are some of the best grinders you can get today. Whether you're looking at the best grinders for kief, joints, or within a certain price range, these brands will always have you covered.
Santa Cruz Shredder 4-piece grinder
Santa Cruz Shredder's name rings history bells. If you ask anyone what the best grinder is, this brand is always on the list. That's because its patented tooth design grinds flower but doesn't ruin the weed's terp-filled trichomes, while also creating a consistency of flower that burns just right every time you smoke.
“When we came up with our grinder, the only grinder available had a diamond-shaped tooth design. We had a NASA engineer come out with this inverted square with serrated blades that no one had ever seen before. We just innovated, we don't copy anybody," said Hansen, Santa Cruz Shredder co-founder.
The 4-piece grinders are made of anodized aluminum with SC Shredder's patented and recognized tooth design. They come in a wide variety of colors, with either gloss or matte finishes.
The Flower Mill Standard Edition
The Flower Mill is my favorite grinder to ever exist. Instead of “grinding" the weed, it “mills" it through a grate. This milling system not only preserves the flower's trichomes but allows for a much higher flower capacity than traditional grinders. It allows you to grind so much more weed at once — and fast.
Additionally, because it presses the flower down versus twisting it from side to side, the sides of the Flower Mill rarely get so caked up that the device gets stuck. It lets you go a long time without needing to clean your grinder. Sure, the price of a Flower Mill will hit your pockets for about a hundo between purchasing and shipping, but it's well worth it for how awesome it works.
The Standard Edition Flower Mill comes with 3 pieces: the top mill, grater, and bottom chamber. For those that want to enhance it, the Premium Edition Flower Mill comes with an added mesh screen that transforms the flower chamber into a kief chamber.
Price: $74.99 - 99.99
Banana Bros OTTO Go
If you want something fancy, the Banana Bros OTTO Go is a great option. It's an electronic grinder that uses a mill system to break down your buds. Richmond told me that the technology in the Banana Bros OTTO allows it to adjust to any condition of cannabis, whether super wet, dry, airy, dense, whatever. He also told me, that since the inside is spring-loaded, the grinder never squeezes down and crushes your bud into too fine of a consistency. “[Weed]'s not cheap, man. We want you to enjoy it, it's a fine thing to have in our lives. Take care of it while you're milling it," he said.
If you want added automated pre-roll capabilities, the OG Otto comes with a cone-packing system that will dump your ground flower directly into a cone-filled tube. For the flashy folks who want to stunt with an electronic grinder that everyone will recognize, this might be the one.
The KLIP from HOJ is a grinder with blades that slice up your flower. It allows for a fluffier consistency that smokes nicely and burns well. It has four magnetic pieces: the top, blades, flower chamber, and kief chamber — it's also extremely easy to clean. Just pull all the pieces apart and drop them in some alcohol.
I know you're looking at the price and wondering if $150 is worth it, and I'd never force your hand that way. But, I will tell you that this grinder does work very well and it definitely makes people say "wow" when you pull it out.
If you like to stunt, the KLIP could be worth it just for that.
Zeus Bolt 2
If you're chasing kief, the Zeus Bolt 2 is one of the best grinders you can buy. It's a 4-piece grinder with three chambers and an airtight, magnetic top. It's made of aluminum and grinds with diamond-shaped teeth. I used to toss a coin in the middle of mine, and just a couple of little shakes would absolutely coat the bottom chamber with dusted trichomes. Of course, you expect that trick to work with any grinder, but sometimes even the coin won't make your kief drop through that lil' mesh screen.
The Zeus Bolt 2 wasn't even advertised as a big kief grinder, but the results are there. Plus, it's pretty cheap for a high-quality grinder that's definitely going to last for years. I've had mine for over three years now and it still breaks up bud like the best of them.
There's also a larger option called the Zeus Bolt XL for just $10 more. It's worth the investment if you're going to be rolling huge blunts or joints.