Materials & Use

5 Top Cannabis Grinders: 2019 Picks

Gabi Antunes

Aug 18, 2019

If you’ve ever broken up cannabis flower by hand, you know it can be a tedious, labor-intensive process. Luckily, grinders serve to make it quick and easy to break your dry flower into fine pieces in no time. A quality cannabis grinder can be a trusty companion for all types of sessions, whether you need to break up a large amount of flower or just want to make it a bit easier to pack your vaporizer. Whatever your approach to cannabis flower, a handy cannabis grinder is a must-have tool for cannabis or hemp-derived CBD flower consumers.

What is a Cannabis Grinder?

A cannabis grinder helps cut through dried cannabis flower. Typically round and filled with small prongs, grinders help break down cannabis quickly, as well as sort out and collect the potent kief, which is often wasted when breaking up buds by hand.

Grinders come in a wide range of sizes and styles. Some grind flower coarse, while others grind it fine. Some models are simple, composed of two interlocking pieces that quickly tear through flower by twisting the ends in opposite directions. Others are more complicated, comprised of as many as five pieces that can be swapped in and out to alter the composition of the final product. Each of these pieces fits together to form separate “chambers,” which are central to the way a grinder works.

Cannabis grinders offer a boost to every session, saving time and making it easier to pack your preferred smoking implement. Some consumption tools and accessories, such as the PAX 3 portable vaporizer, require finely-ground flower for optimal airflow and device performance.

How do Cannabis Grinders Work?

The first chamber of any cannabis grinder, known as the grinding chamber, features “teeth” on either side. The teeth tear through the flower from both sides of the grinder, breaking down the bud into finer, more manageable pieces. Some grinders only consist of this chamber and are intended for immediate use of the cannabis or hemp-derived CBD flower, while other models include a second chamber, where the ground flower falls for short-term storage.

Many fan-favorite grinders include a third chamber, designed to catch kief. The powder-like crystals are separated from the dried flower during the grinding process and can be caught and reserved in this specially-designated chamber. Kief is highly sought-after because many of the trichomes found on and around the buds of the cannabis plant contain high concentrations of cannabinoids and terpenes, making kief a potent cannabis product.

Some cannabis grinders employ additional pieces or accessories as well, but all support this basic functionality and simple process. However, there are slight variations from cannabis grinder to cannabis grinder that might make one more well suited to your specific needs than another.

What are the Types of Cannabis Grinders?

The market for cannabis grinders is vast and there are many exceptions to the rule, but generally there are three types of grinders you will frequently encounter. Grinders can be quickly identified by the number of pieces they include, which gives you significant information about how the unit functions.

  • Two-piece grinders: The simplest type of grinder on the market, a two-piece grinder simply features two discs that each contain teeth. These grinders are designed for quick, basic grinding at a low price tag.
  • Three-piece grinders: Three-piece grinders enable the storage aspect by creating the second chamber, into which the ground flower falls after it is cut apart by the metal teeth. These models begin to include variants as well, such as those with a mill handle crank that can be used to chew through flower easily.
  • Four-piece grinders: These types of grinders have three distinct chambers. The third chamber generally serves as a “kief catcher.” These grinders tend to be the most elaborate models on the market.

In addition to these conventional cannabis grinders, which are manually operated, electric grinding devices have emerged as a prominent segment of the market. Electric cannabis grinders bring grinding time down to seconds with battery powered operation. These units vary in functionality, with some grinding through a funnel or including a spout through which the consumer can fill a cone. Others more closely resemble an electric coffee grinder, cutting up the flower and capturing it in a bowl or lid.

Each type of grinder also varies in size as well. Depending on how much material you’d like to grind and store at any given time, you might prefer a larger or smaller grinder. Typically, cannabis grinders vary in size from 1.5″ to 3″. However, if you’re looking for an even more compact grinder or a massive unit that could store a large amount of flower, outliers are available as well.

What are Cannabis Grinders Made Of?

Most cannabis grinders are made from metal. Naturally, metal cannabis grinders are extremely sturdy and tend to be the longest lasting. There are also grinders made from wood and acrylic or plastic grinders.

  • Metals: Most cannabis grinders are made of some type of metal, though the specific material varies. For example, the popular brand SharpStone uses anodized aluminum in its designs. Other cannabis grinders, like Masterdam, employ a zinc alloy for their products. Less common but also used is stainless steel, which can be found in products like Iaso’s 4-piece grinder.
  • Wood: While metal is overwhelmingly the dominant material used in cannabis grinders, you can also find wooden grinders. The Magic Flight Launch Box Grinder, for example, produces a fine grind using components made of wood.
  • Acrylic: Acrylic is a cost-effective alternative to metal and wood cannabis grinders. Typically lightweight and often transparent or translucent, acrylic grinders are available for a fraction of the price of their sturdier counterparts. These cannabis grinders are best for casual or infrequent users.

You can determine which type of grinder is best for you by considering how frequently you will use it. Metal grinders are the best for regular, hardy use, while wooden grinders can be used in a similar, heavy fashion without impacting its functionality. An acrylic grinder tends to wear down quickly and even break with excessive use but can save you some money if you only need to use it on occasion.

How to use a Grinder

Most cannabis grinders are relatively simple to use. If your cannabis grinder is in separate pieces, assemble it so that each component is snugly connected to the next. Oftentimes, the first chamber – where the metal teeth will grind up your flower – is connected by a small magnet. When you are ready, remove the lid to this chamber and press a small amount of flower into the metal teeth of the first chamber. Replace the lid and twist the two pieces in opposite directions back and forth until the flower is of desired size.

Once the flower is ground you should no longer feel any resistance while twisting. That signals that all your material is fine enough to pass into the second chamber (if you have a three- or four-piece grinder.) If you have a four-piece grinder, give it a light shake or a few taps to ensure all the kief falls into the third chamber before opening your grinder.

Unscrew the second chamber of your grinder to reveal the now-ground flower inside. Take the required amount to pack whatever device you are using in your session and leave the rest for later. However, if you’re planning on storing the flower long-term, it might be wise to remove it from the grinder and place it in an airtight jar to preserve its freshness.

Popular Cannabis Grinders

There are many cannabis grinders on the market today. Some stand out for their unique designs, while others excel when it comes to durability. Which type you choose depends on the style that is best for your purposes but be sure to do some research to ensure you choose a cannabis grinder that will work well for years to come. Here’s a look at some popular cannabis grinders that have been acknowledged for their quality or innovative designs:

  • Iaso Four-Piece Grinder: Constructed from a durable stainless steel, the Iaso’s teeth are designed to stay strong and sharp. It uses a patent-pending labyrinth design to seal your flower in as you grind, keeping it fresh and preventing sticking.
  • Kingtop Three-Inch Grinder: On the larger side of the spectrum is Heavy.com’s best pick for three-inch diameter grinder: the Kingtop Three-Inch Grinder. The Kingtop features enough capacity for about 3.5 grams of ground herb. This grinder also includes a kief catcher.
  • Chromium Crusher Four-Piece Grinder: When you need your flower ground fine and thoroughly, the Chromium Crusher Four-Piece Grinder offers a mill handle functionality that provides additional leverage when grinding flower. This grinder is made of a zinc alloy and features a clear top so you can keep an eye on your flower as you grind it.
  • iRainy Five-Piece Grinder: The iRainy Five-Piece Grinder is one of Esquire’s top picks for cannabis grinders in 2019. This cost-effective five-piece cannabis grinder includes two mesh screens for sorting out kief. This grinder is built from zinc alloy metal and has a diameter of 2.1″.
  • Mamba Battery-Powered Herb Grinder: This electric cannabis grinder is a battery-powered device that can quickly grind up to a half gram of dried flower at once. It was Heavy.com’s 2019 best pick for easy packing. It includes a funnel attachment that makes packing clean and easy.

The best grinder for you might not be the best for someone else. As it is with most accessories, the most effective and dependable grinder is going to be the one that is best suited to your ideal session. Quality of design, durability of materials, and maintenance can also ensure a long shelf life and guarantee your grinder serves you well for years to come.