Grinders are an essential part of every stoner’s arsenal. In fact, they’re probably the most important tool in your entire stash case, mainly because they make such a huge difference when it comes to your overall smoking experience. Whether you’re just getting started or looking to make an upgrade, your grinder is your first and most important tool to purchase. You can accomplish a lot with a basic grinder, but you can get a lot more bang for your buck with a proper investment. That said, we’re covering everything you need to know when it comes to purchasing a grinder, along with what to look out for in a quality grinder.
What are the advantages of using a grinder?
As we mentioned, grinders are some of the most important tools available to flower smokers. While you can get by without one, having one around makes life easier in numerous different ways.
- Grinds your weed into a consistent form: Grinders are able to break your flowers down into small, consistent pieces that roll up better and burn more evenly. A grinder is essential if you prefer to roll your cannabis up into blunts or joints, though they also make bongs and pipes burn more evenly.
- Allows you to get more out of your flower: The act of grinding brings the best aromas out of your weed. Mechanically breaking buds down with your fingers damages the structural integrity of your trichomes and resin glands, which holds your THC and terpenes. Grinding on the other hand separates more gently, preserving the integrity of your flowers and encouraging the best scents and flavors from your smokable flower.
- Saves bud: Grinders utilize every piece of the flower and break them down into consistent small pieces. These pieces go a lot longer than flower broken up in other ways since they burn longer and more evenly. Further, grinders can also collect kief, which makes a great bowl topper and can help you postpone a trip to the dispensary.
- Saves time and effort: Without a grinder, it’s difficult to get a decent grind on your weed. Whether you use your fingers or a pair of scissors, it’s difficult to get an even, consistent grind without spending a lot of time in the process. A grinder on the other hand is quick and easy. You just load up your flower, give it a couple of twists, and your ground flower is ready to be smoked.
Different Grinder Materials: Pros and Cons
The first thing to consider when purchasing a new grinder is the material that it’s made out of. Grinders come in all different shapes and sizes and come in many different materials including ceramic, metal, wood and plastic. However, for all intents and purposes, the best grinders are made from wood, metal and acrylic. While a plastic or ceramic grinder would serve you in a pinch, they tend to break easily and wear out quickly, making them an unworthy investment. Here’s an in-depth guide to the big three.
Metal grinders should only be made from stainless steel or aluminum. Other metals run the risk of burring with prolonged use or rusting with exposure to the elements, making them dangerous to run your weed through. That said, there’s a lot to like about using a metal grinder. They’re heavyweight and make grinding a breeze, and they’re easy to clean. They also come in a variety of different colors and designs, producing lots of different consistencies to your weed.
- Good weight
- Easy to clean
- Laser-cut teeth that don’t need to be resharpened
- Prone to getting jammed and sticky without regular maintenance
Wooden grinders are typically made from bamboo or other polished, treated woods. They look great with any natural setup and grind weed just as well as any other grinders using carved wooden teeth or laser-cut metal teeth. Wooden grinders are lightweight and come in all different sizes and shapes. They’re also less likely to get jammed up with resin gunk with regular maintenance.
- Lighter weight
- Sturdy teeth that don’t need to be resharpened
- Less likely to jam
- Come in many different designs and patterns
- Difficult to clean and maintain while protecting the longevity of the wood
Acrylic grinders are grinders made from a strong plastic. They’re lightweight and durable, though with a lot of use the teeth may break faster than the teeth of wood or metal grinders. Acrylic grinders are also some of the easiest grinders to clean, and come in many different colors and designs.
- Easy to use and clean
- Come in many different designs and colors
- Long lasting
- Strong sharp teeth
- Teeth may break with prolonged use
How many chambers do you need?
When purchasing a grinder, you’ll find many grinders listed as 2, 3, or 4-pieces. Each piece, or chamber, serves a purpose within the grinder. The number of chambers you need will depend on your personal preferences and what you’d like your grinder to do.
- 2-piece: these are 2-chamber grinders. They contain the two pieces of the grinder itself without a storage compartment and are ideal for people grinding just enough to roll into a joint or pack into a bowl for immediate use.
- 3-piece: these are 3-chamber grinders. They contain the two pieces of the grinder, and a third chamber for collecting and storing ground flower. They are ideal for people who like to keep pre-ground flower on hand during a smoke sesh.
- 4-piece: these are 4-chamber grinders. They contain two pieces of the grinder itself, along with a third chamber for collecting bud, and a fourth chamber for collecting kief. They are ideal for people who like the added benefit of catching kief and saving bud.
Other things to consider
Everyone’s ideal grinder will be different based on their personal preferences or intended uses. Here are a few other things to consider when buying a grinder:
Size is your number one consideration. If you’re a solo-smoker, odds are you’re going to need a smaller, more portable grinder. However, if you know you’re going to blow through a lot of product with your grinder, a larger one might make more sense.
Manual or electric
While manual grinders are the standard, electric grinders are great if you have a lot of herb to grind in a short amount of time. If you make your own pre-rolls, an electric grinder can help streamline the process for you. On the other hand, manual grinders are excellent for their portability. They take a little bit of elbow grease, but if you aren’t blowing through massive quantities of weed, they’re your better bet.
If you’re torn between a 3-chamber and a 4-chamber grinder, think about whether or not you want to collect kief. Kief is leftover trichome glands from the weed you run through your grinder. They are considered a solventless concentrate and make a great addition to bowls or joints. However, kief can also be pressed into hash, which is a great concentrate for smoking or dabbing. A grinder with a kief collector can help you get the most out of your weed and make it possible to save more money at the dispensary. However, they also take up space in your grinder. Omitting the kief collector makes it possible to have a larger catch chamber for your ground bud, keeping the kief in with each batch of flower.
Grinding vs milling
Grinding involves using teeth to separate and break down plant materials, including flowers and stems. Milling on the other hand involves friction and separating plant materials into smaller pieces where they’d naturally separate, excluding the stem. While grinding is a great catch-all option, a lot of smokers are starting to prefer milling since its more gentle on the flower itself. Milling grinders (such as Flower Mill Grinders) do the same thing as traditional grinders, though they offer more consistent results a little bit faster.
Bells and whistles
There are lots of optional things you can find in grinders. For example, magnetic closures prevent grinders from opening and spilling during transport. Others come with odor-proof chamber linings, dispensers, and kief scrapers. Some can be airtight and watertight or come with a hand crank for grinding. There has been a lot of innovation conducted on the simplistic design of standard grinders, so be on the lookout for features that might come in handy for you.
Our recommendations: best weed grinders
With so many different things to consider and even more grinder options out there, it can be tricky to find an ideal grinder on your own. Below, we’ve outlined some of the best weed grinders on the market that satisfy our tastes across the board.
- Flower Mill Grinder (Best milling grinder)
- Mamba V2-50 (Best electric grinder)
- Spice Herb Grinder (Best grinder with a hand crank)
- Tectonic9 Manual Herb Grinder with Electric Dispenser (Best grinder with a dispenser)