The Daily Grind: Why Buy a Grinder?


Published: 06/12/2017

by Doug Mackar


It’s easy enough to break up herb with your fingers or even a pair of scissors, so why would you ever need a grinder? Like many things, it’s not so much a matter of need as it is once you’ve used one, you’ll wonder why you waited so long to start. A grinder is a simple machine, and like all good machines, they do tasks better and more efficiently with less effort. Fact is: grinders do what your fingers and your scissors do faster and more effectively. Your herb will be more consistently shaped which will make for a better, smoother and more pleasurable smoke. It will last longer, too. Doesn’t that sound good? Yeah, I know.

So now it’s just a matter of choosing the right grinder for you. The first thing to take into consideration is material. The three most common materials for grinders are wood, plastic (technically acrylic), and metal. Wood grinders look natural and classy. They are lightweight and when utilizing the design aspects we’ll discuss in a minute, they can work very well. Plastic grinders are usually the cheapest option, and we all know what comes from cheap options, right? They definitely would definitely be good to keep in a backpack to have on hiking trips, but for daily use around the house, it would be better to invest in a metal grinder. Metal grinders are the industry standard and by far the best built and best value for your money. Most have a magnetic upper section that makes grinding quick and easy. The rest of the sections screw together like lids on a jar.

Two Piece, Single Chamber

The most basic grinder consists of only two pieces forming a single chamber. Like all other grinders, both the top and bottom pieces have teeth which work together to grind your herb. Diamond shaped teeth are one of the most popular designs because they can cut evenly in both directions and allow the herb to flow around them more efficiently. The more teeth the grinder has, the finer the grind will be. The disadvantage to a single chamber is that you have to get the herb out from between the teeth to get it out of the grinder, which can get to be a bit annoying when pieces of herb get stuck between the teeth.

Three Piece, Double Chamber

The next options is a three piece grinder which consists of two chambers. The top chamber is basically the same as a single chamber grinder, with teeth on both the top and bottom sections, but in addition to that, the bottom section also has holes in between the teeth, which the ground herb falls through when it reaches the appropriate size. An additional chamber below the upper section fills with the ground herb and can be easily retrieved by unscrewing just that section of the grinder.

Four Piece, Triple Chamber

A four part grinder is the one to buy. Here’s why: In addition to the functions stated above, a four part, three chamber grinder adds one important feature: a screen below the second chamber that allows kief to sift down into a third chamber. Most folks will let this kief build up over a long period of time, then use it to top bowls or joints. It is a great way to get that little extra out of your smoke, and it’s a great treat that otherwise would get burned up. Some grinders with this extra screen come with a small tool to make it easier to scrape the kief out of the lower chamber. These tools usually look like tiny plastic spatulas or mini guitar pics. Chromium Crusher makes some of the best four piece grinders on the market.

There are more options that are available on some models of grinders. A lot of your decision making will come down to aesthetics once you decide on the size and material of the grinder you want. There are grinders that have windows on them, either on the top so you can watch the grinding happen, or on the side so you can see how much herb or kief you have built up without having to open the grinder and potentially spill the contents.
In the end, the point is, whether you buy the simplest, cheapest grinder, or the fanciest, most action-packed grinder on the market, you’re going to be glad you did it. Your joints and bowls will burn more evenly and you’ll get more out of your bag than if you just grind it by hand. Plus, the kief. Can’t complain about that. Check out these different grinder options and see which one you think is a good fit for you.