Best and Worst Burr Coffee Grinders

We run a total of 40 pounds of coffee through 8 burr grinders in the quest for a great cup of joe

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coffee grinder testing
A CR test technician times how long it takes coffee grinders to yield a finished grind.

True coffee connoisseurs will tell you that nothing grinds coffee beans better than a good burr model. These crush the beans rather than cutting them into pieces, thereby releasing more flavor. Sounds simple. Yet in Consumer Reports’ first test of burr coffee grinders, we found that performance varied.

“Most of the grinders were able to produce a coarse grind with relative ease, but when it came to producing a very fine grind, most could not yield a grind with a true powdery consistency,” says Ginny Lui, CR’s test engineer for coffee makers and coffee grinders.

To evaluate coffee grinders, Lui and her team grind a total of 40 pounds of coffee, measuring how uniformly each model turns out coffee on coarse, medium, and fine grind settings. We also assess, among other factors, how loud a grinder is, because having one shake the whole kitchen every morning isn't how you want to wake up.

Below are our takes on three of the best burr coffee grinders, listed in alphabetical order (not by rank), as well as two of the worst grinders we tested. Learn more—and see how other grinders fared—in our coffee grinder ratings. CR members can click on each model name for detailed test results.

CR’s Take: The Baratza Encore Conical Burr Grinder performs well in our tests, especially when it comes to coarse- and fine-ground coffee; it's a great choice if you prefer cold brew or espresso. However, it doesn't do as well with medium grind, which is ideal for drip machines. This machine was very easy to clean and convenient to use but is somewhat noisy. And though the Baratza allows for a lot of precision with 40 individual grind settings, it's more expensive that the other models here and lacks many features the other grinders have, such as the ability to select a preset number of cups and an auto-stop feature to halt grinding after a certain number of cups or minutes.

CR’s Take: The Bodum Bistro Electric Burr Coffee Grinder earns solid scores in all our grind performance tests, including an Excellent rating for coarse grind performance (great for cold brew and French-press coffee). This model is easy to clean but not as convenient to use as other top-performing models, due to unclear markings on its controls. The Bodum is also one of the two noisiest grinders in our tests—we're talking loud enough that constant exposure over a long period of time could cause hearing loss. But because you're using your coffee grinder only for a minute or two at a time, it's more of an annoyance than a health issue. This model features 12 grind settings, an auto-stop feature, and a timer.

CR’s Take: The Oxo Brew Conical Burr Coffee Grinder is a fantastic grinder and one of the more affordable models that does well in our tests. It receives strong scores in our grind performance tests, making it a good choice for any brew method you want to use. It also earns a Very Good rating for convenience, thanks to its clearly marked and easy-to-use controls. Our testers find it extremely easy to clean, too, because it has a removable hopper. This Oxo is a bit noisy, but nothing like the Bodum above. It features 15 grind settings, a 12-ounce bean hopper (one of the largest), an auto-stop feature, and a timer.

Worst Coffee Grinders

DeLonghi Burr Coffee Grinder KG89

CR’s Take: The DeLonghi Burr Coffee Grinder is more affordable than our top models, but its grind performance—whether you want coarse, medium, or fine coffee—is just okay. Plus, our testers found that it's harder to clean than every other grinder in our ratings.

Mr. Coffee Automatic Burr Mill Grinder BVMC-BMH23-RB

CR’s Take: The Mr. Coffee Automatic Burr Mill Grinder is the cheapest model in our ratings, and it shows. This model is one of the noisiest in our tests, receiving a Fair rating, and its grind performance is subpar, especially when it comes to making medium and fine grinds.

Home Content Creator Daniel Wroclawski

Daniel Wroclawski

I'm obsessed with smart home tech and channel my obsession into new stories for Consumer Reports. When I'm not writing about products, I spend time either outside hiking and skiing or up in the air in small airplanes. For my latest obsessions, follow me on Facebook and Twitter (@danwroc).