Materials & Use

Best Herb Grinder: 5 Most Popular in 2019

Gabi Antunes

Sep 20, 2019

Cannabis flower takes a bit of work before it can be used in a joint or a portable vaporizer in legal markets. The buds need to be broken up before they are packed into a vaporizer chamber. Herb grinders improve the process, not only making it faster but also producing the right-size grind for consumption.

While choosing an herb grinder for your cannabis flower might seem like a straightforward prospect, there are nuances between models that can make them easier to use and more effective. Here’s a look at the different types of herb grinders on the market today, what they’re used for, and how they are made.


Why use a Herb Grinder?

Herb grinders serve to streamline the tedious process of breaking up cannabis flower by hand. Cannabis flower grows in dense buds, which need to be separated into smaller pieces before packing your vaporizer’s chamber. Finely ground flower is best for vaporizers, allowing air to pass through virtually unobstructed and supports even heating of all the material.

Some grinders also have separate chambers that serve to catch the extra-fine, dust-like substance often referred to as “kief.” Kief is essentially made up of the near-microscopic trichomes that fall off cannabis flower during the grinding process. It is a desirable part of the plant because trichomes are potent, containing the largest concentrations of the plant’s cannabinoids, including Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and Cannabidiol (CBD). When breaking up cannabis flower by hand, kief tends to fall off or stick to your fingers. Herb grinders instead gather the kief in a bottom compartment, where you can later collect it and consume it.


What are the Types of Herb Grinders?

There are several types of grinders available, ranging from the extremely simple to the more complex. Manual herb grinders are commonly used, but electric herb grinders are gaining popularity, as they can quickly break down large amounts of cannabis flower with the touch of a button. Here’s a look at some of the most popular types of herb grinders on the market today:

  • Two-piece grinders: These are the most straightforward herb grinders available. They contain a top and bottom piece, typically held together with a magnet. Each half has interlocking teeth designed to tear through cannabis flower. To use a two-piece grinder, you sandwich a small amount of cannabis flower between the two pieces and twist until it is ground up.
  • Three-plus piece grinders: Grinders with three pieces or more have separate chambers into which finely ground herbs fall after they are broken down. Three-piece grinders feature a single chamber, where the flower and kief collect as one. Four-piece grinders feature the “kief catcher” that collects the trichomes that pass through a fine mesh screen, separating flower from kief and safely storing the latter. A five-piece grinder has four separate chambers, including two kief catchers with screens for ensuring that even the finest material is captured and collected.
  • Mill handle grinders: Mill handle grinders can have any number of pieces. What is distinctive about these grinders is the crank, which provides additional leverage for turning the lid when grinding up flower. These manual grinders further simplify the process by making it easier to quickly grind up cannabis with less effort.
  • Electric grinders: Electric grinders are the cream of the crop when it comes to herb grinders, offering a powerful, automatic way to grind cannabis flower with the touch of a button. These grinders are also, unsurprisingly, the most expensive models on the market.

The type of grinder you choose is important, but it’s not the only factor to consider when selecting a model. Grinders can also be constructed from a variety of materials, which determines their durability and effectiveness over time.


What are Herb Grinders Made of?

Herb grinders are most commonly made of metal, although there are models out there made from acrylic, plastic, or wood. When choosing a grinder based on construction material, you should consider its durability, longevity, and performance. In addition, aesthetic is important to many people who use grinders, so you should consider the finish of the device and its overall appearance.

  • Metals: Metal is one of the most popular materials for making herb grinders. Many are made with an anodized aluminum or zinc alloy, which provides significant durability at a relatively cost-effective price point. The more expensive models boast a stainless-steel construction, which is guaranteed to last for the long haul but comes with a heightened cost.
  • Wood: Wood grinders are less durable than metal but allow for beautiful aesthetic designs and a lighter weight. They are naturally more prone to wearing down, as wood is a soft material, but they can also be quite effective when grinding small amounts of cannabis flower.
  • Acrylic: Acrylic herb grinders are the lowest cost units on the market, as well as the least durable products. They are extremely lightweight, often small, and translucent, available at a fraction of the price of other herb grinders. While they are suitable for infrequent use or small amounts of cannabis flower, they tend to wear down quickly.

When trying to gauge if a grinder will be durable enough for you, keep in mind how frequently you will use it. You should also consider how much cannabis flower you intend to grind up at once, as larger amounts require a sturdier construction capable of tearing through the buds. Cost is also a significant factor when choosing a construction material. As a rule of thumb, the more durable the material, the more expensive the grinder.


How to Use a Herb Grinder

Using a manual herb grinder is relatively simple, regardless of how many pieces it is comprised of. Load a small amount of your cannabis flower into the first chamber and sandwich it between the two teeth-studded lids. Your device should easily close, almost completely. If it doesn’t, remove some of the cannabis flower until the teeth can interlock over the flower. Once loaded, twist the lid to begin grinding. If you have a multi-chamber device, the ground flower will fall into the next chamber ready for collection.

Once you’ve ground your flower, unscrew the main chamber of your herb grinder. This is generally the largest chamber and will contain the bulk of the ground material. If you have a three-piece grinder, it will also contain the kief as well. Four-piece and five-piece grinders will filter the kief through fine mesh screens, leaving only the larger pieces of flower in the main chamber.

With larger grinders, you can also unscrew a small, bottom chamber that contains the kief collected from your cannabis flower. Generally, kief collects in significant amounts over time, so you might have to grind up cannabis flower several times before you see much kief at all. Many grinders come with a small tool to help you shovel the kief out of this chamber, because it is often too fine to handle with your bare hands.

When you are finished removing the cannabis flower and kief you need for this session, screw each piece of the grinder back together. You can store ground cannabis flower in a grinder for a short time; however, it should be moved to an airtight container like a mason jar for long-term storage.


Why are a Herb Grinder’s Teeth Important?

Among the most important components of an herb grinder are the teeth in the first chamber. The teeth are responsible for grinding your cannabis flower down to size, so it’s important that they are sharp and resistant to dulling over time. Whether you are using a manual two-piece grinder or an electric grinder, the teeth are responsible for doing the bulk of the work. As a result, they are subject to a great deal of wear and tear, making their construction of the utmost importance.

The best herb grinder teeth will be made of a highly durable material, such as stainless steel. High quality teeth also interlock closely and have bladed edges that are visually evident when looking from above. Less expensive models might have teeth made of a softer material or with a less razor-sharp design. While these are not necessarily bad traits, you should be aware that these teeth might be prone to dulling more quickly and might require more effort to grind your cannabis flower.


What Size Herb Grinder Should You Buy?

As you might expect, the size of an herb grinder correlates with the amount of cannabis flower you would like to grind up at any given time. You should also consider whether you want a portable grinder or a larger unit with a greater capacity. Large, ornate grinders designed to primarily remain at home can also serve as conversation pieces that draw the eye.

Most herb grinders vary in diameter from 1.5″ to 3″, although there are certainly outliers. Many acrylic herb grinders, for example, are roughly the size of a large coin; you can even find some metal grinders this small. For the most part, though, the standard range should be suitable to accommodate your needs. Consider your priorities when choosing the diameter. And not to worry: most models come in multiple sizes.


How to Clean a Herb Grinder

Cleaning an herb grinder is important, especially when you are regularly using it to grind up cannabis flower. Cannabis flower often leaves behind a sticky, resinous material that can clog your grinder and reduce its ability to operate smoothly. To clean, take apart your grinder and use a dry brush to knock loose any stuck material.


There are some instances where more thorough cleaning efforts might be needed. In these cases, dip your brush in a small amount of isopropyl alcohol and give the unit another brush. If it remains messy after this process, consider taking your grinder apart and submerging each piece in a container filled with isopropyl alcohol. The alcohol will remove any resinous material left behind and a quick rinse should render your herb grinder immaculate. Not every grinder can be submerged in alcohol, so an alternative method such as dish soap and water or boiling may be required. Consult your device’s owner manual before cleaning.


Popular Herb Grinders on the Market in 2019

This list of 2019’s most popular grinders should give you an idea of your options. Each of these grinders offers unique features, and many are available in multiple diameters. They range from the extremely cost-effective to the pricier, high-quality grinders made from top-grade materials.

  • Iaso Four-Piece Grinder: This stainless-steel unit is outfitted with teeth designed to stay sharp and strong for the long haul. It also uses a patent-pending design to seal in cannabis flower after grinding, preventing it from drying out or sticking to the unit in between chambers. It is one of the more expensive models on the market.
  • Kingtop Three-Inch Grinder: The Kingtop Three-Inch Grinder offers a large chamber capacity of about 3.5 grams of material. It is a four-piece grinder that includes a kief catcher for collecting the potent trichomes that separate from your cannabis flower as you grind.
  • Chromium Crusher Four-Piece Grinder: The Chromium Crusher features a mill handle design, which offers additional leverage to quickly cut through large amounts of flower. It is made of a zinc alloy with a clear top, which allows you to watch your cannabis flower grind down into smaller pieces and fall through into the main chamber. It includes a lifetime warranty.
  • iRainy Five-Piece Grinder: The iRainy is a large five-piece grinder that contains to fine mesh screens for separating out kief from flower. It is 2.1″ in diameter and constructed from a zinc alloy. It comes with a lifetime warranty.
  • Mamba Battery-Powered Herb Grinder: The Mamba is a powerful, electric herb grinder that can easily break up a half gram of dried flower in a single go. The Mamba also comes with a funnel attachment that makes it easy to pack your vaporizer without picking out ground material by hand.


Choose a herb grinder that reflects your style

Herb grinders are a practical accessory that can improve your overall experience when vaporizing cannabis flower. They are also stylish accoutrements that reflect your aesthetic. It’s important to select a grinder that will perform well, but beyond that you should also pick one that you like to look at and enjoy using.

The ideal grinder varies from one person to the next, so investigate the market thoroughly until you find a model that calls to you. After all, an herb grinder is one of your closest companions when using cannabis flower. Choosing the right grinder means you will have a loyal sidekick for many sessions to come!