the Best Weed Grinder

No matter how we choose to consume cannabis, we almost always do the same thing first: break the herb down! Some prefer fingers, others use scissors, and some even shove handfuls of bud, stem and all, into a coffee grinder. But what’s the best way?

There’s no wrong way to do it (okay, we’re not big on grinding stems…) but the different methods can make a big difference in your overall experience. As much as we love the versatility of breaking it down by hand, sticky herb can leave your fingers too tacky to roll a joint, and scissors quickly get stuck together and require cleaning. Using a proper weed grinder gets the job done in a way that says “it’s time for business”.

weed grinders group product photo

The problem is, there’s a million choices and not many ways to tell them apart. Why are some grinders so expensive? Are they worth it? As usual, what’s important depends a lot on needs and preferences, but there are a few key things to consider. 

For one, how fine or coarse the buds get broken down can change how they smoke — much in the same way that the ideal coffee grind changes with the way it's being brewed. Fans of rolling up will want a coarse texture, especially with blunts, and vapes tend to do better with a fine grind, even more so with a highly-efficient conduction vape.

That being said, a lot of high-end grinders offer multiple ‘sizes’ and even when they don’t, many people opt to turn their grinder upside down to get a finer grind. That can put the focus on other qualities such as:

Capacity: How much herb can fit into the grinder at once? How much can it hold before overflowing?

Strength: Does it grind with ease or require some elbow grease? Does it ever get jammed?

Materials and construction: How long will it last? Are metal shavings or aluminum coatings getting in my buds?

Ease of cleaning: Can it be easily cleaned?

Pieces: Does it have a kief screen? How fine is the screen? 

We asked around town and browsed all corners of the internet and beyond to find out what people are talking about and we’ve chosen a few of the most interesting options to share with you. Here’s the list for our round up:

The Brilliant Cut Grinder ($75)

Our research showed the Brilliant Cut Grinder is one of the most popular choices. It boasts a ‘jam-free’ and threadless quick-connect construction made of quality aluminum alloy. It’s not cheap, but still more affordable than the stainless steel options we reviewed. Do the features of its teeth and plate design make for less friction and faster grinding? 

Boomers Stainless Steel ($129)

For a truly no-nonsense option, we came across this offering from Wacky Willys, which also makes all sorts of hash equipment and other paraphernalia. It’s made of stainless steel and comes in two hefty pieces that you definitely don’t want to drop on your toe. With no bells and whistles to speak of, it still tops the price list. What makes it worth it in the end?

Androck Vintage Nut Grinder (approx $20)

We know what you’re thinking. What the hell is a nut grinder? Apparently, they were common in kitchens of the 1940s and somewhere along the line, people went into the cupboards searching for better ways to roll a nice fatty. There’s a surprising number of rave reviews for these things on weed forums, especially about how well the chunky results burn slowly in a paper. They’re pretty cheap and easy to find on eBay, and we admit it’s a fun idea, but will it really work?

The Cali Crusher ($90)

This lightweight aluminum grinder is a breeze to open and close (they call it quicklock technology) and has tons of options to customize its appearance. In addition to an assortment of colors, you can choose to have yours etched with a custom logo or design. It has widely spaced teeth and jumbo sizes appropriate for heavy duty use, but how will its aluminum construction compare to stainless steel options?

Lift Innovations ($95-125)

Instead of using ‘teeth’ to rip the bud apart, the Lift Innovations grinder has a swirling blade that shreds your herb into a fluffy consistency- at least that’s what they say. It’s made from a combination of aluminum and stainless steel, providing benefits of stainless without all the extra weight and cost.

The Herb Ripper ($99-129)

We were definitely skeptical about such a compact grinder at a high price point. But it’s made of stainless steel and that means it should last forever. Plus, you won’t have to worry about metal debris or aluminum coatings coming off into your buds. How will its smaller size compare to our other options?

Herb Mill ($20)

The Herb Mill is geared more towards grinding actual herbs and does a great job of shredding cilantro without the need for a knife and cutting board. Like the Androck Nut Grinder, it’s got a large capacity and theoretically it has an adjustable ‘grade’ based on the amount of pressure applied with grinding. Have we been missing out by not using our weed grinder in the kitchen, or is this one best left in the cupboard it came from?

best weed grinder

Brilliant Cut Grinder

The Brilliant Cut Grinder comes widely recommended for its smooth action and jam-free design features. It’s made of 7075 aluminum alloy and has a sturdy, durable feel without feeling too clunky. The threadless pieces are magnetized and snap themselves together with a snug fit that holds tight, even when dropped onto a linoleum floor.

Before loading it up, the pieces have a satin smooth spinning action, but it feels like that’s partially due to the ring that fits between the spinning pieces (which feels like teflon), and not just the ‘centering cylinder’ design. Basically, the teeth surrounding the center post keep things in place and this prevents the sidewalls from rubbing together during grinding, which greatly reduces the amount of surface area that buds can get squished into.

weed grinder purple

The Brilliant Cut Grinder has the middle plate designed so that more of its holes are on the outside edges instead of in the middle, and that seems to allow for a fairly consistent grind, but with some dense buds there’s quite a few chunkier pieces left. Overall, the medium plate produces a slightly finer consistency than the others. Turning it upside down for a finer grind isn’t recommended because of how the top piece fits inside the middle piece (instead of over and around). It makes a huge mess and starts spitting out buds or squishing them onto the ring between the two pieces. This actually makes it easier to see how the design prevents jamming on the sidewalls, but it means you’re better off buying multiple plates if you want to get different bud consistencies.

the brilliant cut grinder

One feature that’s missing here is a kief screen, which might be a deal breaker for some, but the design does seem to prevent a lot of kief from becoming ‘grinder hash’, so all the good stuff makes its way down to the bottom compartment instead of getting stuck in crevices.

I’d recommend this grinder for on-the-go users due to its sturdy but lightweight design. Folks looking for a fine consistency for vaping may find the best results from the Brilliant Cut Grinder, but they should keep in mind that upside-down grinding isn’t a good option here. 

Capacity: Medium

Strength: Takes more effort than stainless steel options but doesn’t get jammed up as fast

Materials and construction: Study construction, anodized aluminum may wear over time

Ease of cleaning: Fairly easy to clean and accumulates less residue than others

Pieces: No kief screen

boomers stainless steel grinder

Boomers Stainless Steel Grinder

If you’re a fan of the ‘less is more’ mantra, the Boomers Stainless Steel Grinder can’t be beat. Its hefty stainless steel pieces have a surprisingly elegant finish, with a nicely etched logo and criss-cross scoring on its edges. It’s an age-old design that’s typically found with acrylic grinders that we wouldn’t recommend these days, but in a way thing this gives us a nice fuzzy nostalgic feeling without fear of plastic residue making a bonus appearance.  

stainless grinder

There’s no kief screen, no magnets, no plates with various size holes. Just two hunks of metal with sharp teeth that sink into big nugs and tear them apart with ease. This thing could probably decimate a bag of nails if you wanted it to, which leaves us wondering about other ways to put this thing to use. Just for fun, I tossed in some almonds and cashews and sure enough, in a matter of seconds I was ready to top off a salad or noodle dish.

best weed grinder stainless

The Boomers grinder isn’t a top choice for portability. For one, it’s super heavy, but it also has no threads or magnets to keep it together while jostling around. Without a collection chamber, it's hard to pre-grind weed for a show or event. 

The one thing that I do like about the two-piece design is the flexibility to get just the right consistency. The more you spin, the finer it gets. Another feature is that you can literally put this in the dishwasher. That’s somewhat true of any stainless steel grinder, but most have some parts that could potentially trap soap and water. This thing has no nuts, bolts, rings, or gaskets to worry about and therefore doesn’t require any finesse or extra drying time to wash or soak it.

Ultimately, the Boomer Stainless Steel Grinder is best suited for all-around at home use. Unless you manage to lose it, this thing will last forever with very little maintenance.

Capacity: Medium (fits about two grams without squishing or overflow)

Strength: Tears through herb with ease

Materials and construction: Tougher than the Terminator

Ease of cleaning: Accumulates some residue, but easily scraped or soaked out

Pieces: No screen or collection chamber

androck nut grinder photo

Androck Vintage Nut Grinder

After searching through listings on eBay, I found that a lot of these devices are, well, vintage in every sense of the word. Faded, rusty, and altogether unappealing. A little bit of rust in your apple walnut salad won't kill ya (free iron supplement!), but at the same time, doctors in the early 1900s prescribed things like arsenic and mercury for the treatment of syphilis, erectile dysfunction, and even the common cold, so it’s safe to assume they weren’t so concerned with metal contamination in consumer products. And by the way, doc, we’re gonna be smoking our salad this time. Sounds good, right?

I like to make sure my buds are as clean as possible, so I had to make sure I found something in great condition that wouldn’t start wearing down into my herb. Eventually I was satisfied with the overall condition of my choice, which cost just over $20 with shipping, and eagerly awaited it’s arrival in the mail. When it showed up and I began unpacking it, I was charmed by its cute glass jar and crank handle but as skeptical as ever about how well it might work. Even though the condition was nice, I found a little surprise inside the metal teeth.

androck nut grinder teeth clogged

Turns out, it was just ground up nuts that got lodged in there. I was happy knowing that my device was rust free, but it was not easy scraping the nut residue from the metal teeth (...what’s so funny?) and I eventually settled for “close enough”. Now onto the fun part!

androck nut grinder loaded with weed

As you can see, the Androck Nut Grinder easily holds the 1.5 grams I used to test each grinder and could fit way, way more. The receptacle at the bottom is even bigger, meaning you could throw in about 10 grams, grind it, add another 10 grams, etc, until you filled the jar with well over an ounce of ground bud. When you load it and crank the handle, it’s hard not to crack a smile as you watch the flat metal teeth squish and rip apart your weed and drop it into the container below. Cranking the handle through big chunks of weed isn’t effortless, but considering it has no sharp or pointy edges, it’s easier than you might think. If I’m understanding correctly, it’s supposed to put out a finer grind if you spin it one way, and coarser the other, but I had too much fun spinning it around to notice much difference.

Except for a jumbo size coffee grinder, there’s no other grinder on the market that makes it that easy to prepare for a party, festival, or any other serious smoke out. If you’ve ever tried using a coffee grinder, you’ve probably been disappointed with the mixture of weed dust and large chunks- but that’s where the Androck Nut Grinder really shines.

For blunt and joint smokers, the mixed consistency of medium and larger pieces is the closest thing I’ve seen to using one’s own fingers. It’s no trivial matter either- larger chunks reduce the amount of air introduced to the ember and that means lower, safer, more flavorful temperatures. With enough small pieces to fill in all the gaps, you should have the perfect, slow burning blunt or joint with a minimal amount of pinching for some of the largest chunks.

Consistency: Large consistency of bud great for rolling up but somewhat useless for vaping

Capacity: Huge capacity (grinds and collects an ounce or more in minutes)

Strength: Fairly strong 

Materials/Construction: Well-built but materials unknown

Cleaning: Somewhat easy to clean but probably not washable

Pieces/Kief Screen: No kief screen

The Androck Nut Grinder is recommended for heavy smokers that exclusively smokes joints, blunts, or fat bowls with chunky nugs. Not recommended for light users, vapers, or edible-makers. 

cali crusher weed grinder photo

The Cali Crusher

Next up is the Cali Crusher, which comes with some customizable options but may be the only one that offers custom etching. Not too shabby! Unfortunately, that’s where my praises end. Compared to other options, its lightweight construction felt nice at first, but after some use it just feels cheaply made, and when you take a closer look, that’s exactly what it is.

cali crusher weed grinder disassembled photo

Despite having one of the biggest capacities of the standard weed grinders, it took way more effort than any other grinder to chew up 1.5 grams of fairly dense buds. The threadless “quicklock technology'' works well when it hasn’t been used, but it still holds itself together using, wait for it… threads! Which means it can probably still get clogged up eventually and make it harder to open and close the grinder.

There’s no o-rings to keep freshness and aroma sealed inside and the magnets aren’t strong enough to make it feel like I could throw the Cali Crusher in a bag or backpack without worry of it busting open and dumping out the contents under turbulence. 

And the kief screen? I’m pretty sure they just bolted a window screen into this thing! It’s basically an oversized pipe screen that’s so flimsy that I can bend it out of place with almost no effort. Not to mention that the resulting “kief” ends up being mostly pieces of leaf and plant matter. A proper stainless steel screen is very costly compared to what they’re using here, but at a $90 price point, this feels like an outrageous compromise.

Consistency: Medium-fine consistency works reasonably well for most uses

Capacity: Medium large (grinds 2.5+ grams)

Strength: Unimpressive compared to premium options

Materials/Construction: Poor for the price

Cleaning: Wide space teeth make this one easy to clean out

Pieces/Screen: Four piece grinder with a very low quality screen, can be used as a 3 piece

Unless the customized logo is the only thing that matters, the Cali Crusher is too expensive for its part and build quality and we can’t recommend it to anyone.

herb ripper weed grinder photo

The Herb Ripper

Here we have the Herb Ripper, a small but curiously strong and well-built grinder. It’s expensive, but it’s made entirely of stainless steel. If you ask me, it’s the best looking grinder I’ve reviewed. It has a sleek elegance with none of the gaudiness we often find in “high-end” cannabis products. The Herb Ripper wouldn’t feel out of place in a limousine sitting next to a bottle of iced champagne.

herb ripper weed grinder disassembled

My main concern with the Herb Ripper was its size — can it even handle the 2.5 grams I’m stuffing these grinders with?

herb ripper weed grinder fully loaded photo

See what I mean, no way that doesn’t get jammed up, right? I was pleasantly surprised to find that this little cylinder of steel had no problem tearing through all that weed. In fact, it was almost effortless. Even though it was overfilled for its size, the Herb Ripper happily spun around like butter in a frying pan. It was actually smoother and easier to twist than most of the bigger grinders I've used.

What’s more, the middle compartment for holding bud is actually pretty huge, and the kief compartment has plenty of space as well. The magnet is by far the strongest of our reviewed products, and it’s got rubber o-rings on the top AND bottom pieces so you can confidently toss this thing around without worry. It is really, really heavy though, so if you’re planning to stuff the Herb Ripper in your pocket, make sure to wear a belt or you might end up mooning everyone in sight.

Oh, and I almost forgot, the Herb Ripper comes with a stainless steel ball for shaking kief off your buds, and the custom guitar pick made for scraping kief is pretty sweet, too!

Consistency: Standard plate has medium-fine consistency, coarse and fine grade plates are options at checkout

Capacity: Medium low (grinds up to 1.5 grams but has large collection chamber)

Strength: Makes up for low capacity with super strong, effortless grinding

Materials/Construction: Beautiful polished steel and build quality

Cleaning: Small teeth should make this fairly easy to clean

Pieces/Screen: Works as 3 or 4 piece with high quality kief screen

The Herb Ripper is recommended for superb materials and build quality plus elegant looks.

lift innovations weed grinder photo

Lift Innovations

The Lift Innovations weed grinder is one to be excited about. Many people echo the sentiment, ‘if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’, but if we left it up to them, we’d still be pooping in outhouses and using toilet paper with splinters in it. So what does the Lift Innovations weed grinder bring to the table? Instead of using teeth to tear apart the herb, it ‘shreds’ the product with a big, mean looking set of blades that swirls around and gently breaks apart your weed instead of squishing it together first. It’s definitely a novel concept for weed grinders but in a lot of ways it’s similar to a food processor or coffee grinder. 

lift innovations grinder disassembled photo

Loading this thing up is a bit different as it has three compartments to stuff up instead of the standard ‘plate’ arrangement. I thought this would prevent me from getting in a full 2.5 grams, but it actually fit with a bit of room to spare. Grinding the stuff took very little effort and quickly worked to provide me with a nice fluffy consistency of medium sized pieces. I did notice that some bits and pieces of bud do get attached to the swirling blade and won’t fall through without some vigorous spinning or the addition of more weed, which isn’t really a problem unless you’re down to your last pinch. When weed gets stuck, it's harder to immediately dislodge it than with a standard grinder, but it doesn't get squish bud into the crevices like regular grinders. As long as you have the ashtray handy (see below), it's a breeze to take apart and clean out!

lift innovations grinder loaded with weed

I love the feel of the Lift Innovations grinder and while it does seem to produce nice fluffy shreds of bud, at first glance it's not all that different from the other grinders, but it is way more fun to use. If we get the chance to examine the differences under a microscope, we’ll let you know! It also comes with an ashtray (not pictured) that’s styled and colored to match the grinder, which makes it a great accessory for your ‘coffee’ table.

Update: The included ashtray (not pictured) is also a tool that disassembles the grinder! This is really important for cleaning and also allows for the replacement of parts, which they sell on their website. For more info, check out their Youtube video on the subject.

Consistency: Medium-large consistency is fluffy and provides slightly more surface area for vaping/cooking than a conventional grinder

Capacity: Medium (fits about 2 grams)

Strength: Easily shreds dense material

Materials/Construction: Well-crafted, durable materials, lightweight for its sturdiness

Cleaning: Easily disassembles for cleaning

Pieces/Screen: Works as 3 or 4 piece with high quality, fine grade kief screen

The Lift Innovations is recommended for an all around option at the $100 price point, but it may be hard to track one down at this time, and we’re still concerned about past reports of poor communication and customer service (although they seem to have been resolved).

herb mill weed grinder photo

The Herb Mill

For an affordable option that can double as a kitchen tool, we came across suggestions for The Herb Mill from Microplane. It’s a nifty gadget for prepping cilantro on taco tuesday but like the Androck Nut Grinder, it’s got a huge capacity and the ability to break down an ounce of weed faster than even the larger size weed grinders. It’s relatively cheaply made, but it’s also a fraction of the price of premium options, so that’s not a deal-breaker in this case. As I give it a test whirl before filling it up, my only concern is how long the aluminum ‘teeth’ will last when really put to work on dense herbs and the occasional stray stems.

herb mill grinder blades photo

The one thing this grinder requires that the others don’t is a significant amount of pressure. As you twist, you also need to push down on the ‘plunger’ to push the ingredients into the blades. This is a drawback in its own right, but it does allow for one thing that other grinders don’t: on the fly adjustments from fine to coarse grading, or vice versa. If you use light pressure, you’ll get a very fine consistency, but with more pressure you’ll push bigger pieces through the blade before they get chopped up.

Honestly, it’s not as fun as the Androck Nut Grinder and the control isn’t all that precise (so you get a mix of consistency regardless of how careful you are), but there’s no other grinder that produces a super fine consistency for conduction vaping in so little time. There’s a big issue, though. There’s no receptacle for the ground herb, so you’ve got the hold the thing over a jar or container as you grinder or else it just falls to the ground. Maybe that’s not a huge deal, but it’s definitely an inconvenience when most grinders also act as a container.

herb mill grinder weed loaded

I want to say The Herb Mill really isn’t all that useful, but it’s not totally useless, either. The main reasons to recommend against it are the need for a separate container, and durability. It’s hard to imagine the blades won’t get jammed up unless you clean this thing every time, and let’s be honest, nobody wants to do that. All-in-all, it’s an amusing way to make smoking weed feel like cooking, but when making edibles or conduction vaping calls for super fine grinding, I’d probably opt for a coffee grinder instead.

Consistency: Adjustable- capable of very fine grinding

Capacity: Huge

Strength: Takes some effort

Materials/Construction: Fairly cheap, but so is the price tag

Cleaning: Not gonna be fun after repeated use, but should be soakable

Pieces/Screen: No kief screen OR container for ground bud

The Herb Mill is a cheap back-up option that can quickly break down a big pile of bud into different consistencies, but we expect that the blades will dull fairly quickly and it will become hard to clean and maintain.

Weed Grinder Round Up Final Thoughts

In all honesty, many of these grinders are nicer than what we’ve bought ourselves in the past. But now that we’ve used them, it’s hard not to notice the premium appeal. The outcome doesn’t change drastically but they do come with improved style, feel, ease-of-use, durability, and options for consistency. Here are our recommendations for best use:

Most Portable Grinder

Winner: The Brilliant Cut Grinder is sturdy and compact with a good capacity. It’s a low-maintenance option that sacrifices a kief screen for ease of use.

Runner Up: The Herb Ripper is a hefty but compact option that’s sturdy enough to get tossed around and still hold together.

Build Quality and Design

Winner: The Lift Innovations grinder has a unique design that allows it to be disassembled for cleaning and maintenance, which makes it great for tinkering types. Not to mention the badass swirling blades that you won’t find on any other grinder.

Runner Up: The Herb Ripper has top-notch build materials and quality with a more classic style that still checks all the boxes.

Most Durable

Winner: The Boomers Stainless Steel Grinder is basically indestructible and won’t ever need replacement parts no matter what you do to it.

Runner Up: The Herb Ripper’s solid steel construction is built to last without noticeable wear n’ tear.

Best Look and Feel

Winner: We love how the Herb Ripper looks and the smooth steel finish has a stand-out elegance to it.

Runners Up: The Brilliant Cut, Lift Innovations, and Boomers all have their own style and quality feel.