Any serious vapour connoisseur needs a hardy, reliable grinder. When vaporising, a fine grind performs more efficiently and produces better quality vapour than coarsely ground herb. This is because smaller particles will heat quicker and cover more surface area inside the chamber, while providing more room for heated air to flow throughout.
Herb grinders come in many different styles, sizes, and materials. If you’re in need of a grinder but don’t know where to start, we're breaking down each type and its potential benefits.
Two-piece: The most simple kind of grinder consists of only two grinding halves. Examples of two-piece grinders are the Space Case Large Aluminum Grinder, the New Vape Coarse Herb Grinder, and the Natural Wood Grinder.
Three-piece: This type of grinder is a two-piece grinder with an extra storage compartment to keep your ground material. Three-piece grinders often have holes in the bottom of the grinding compartment to let ground particles fall through into the storage chamber. Examples of three-piece grinders are the Volcano Acrylic Herb Grinder, the Red Acrylic Herb Grinder, and the Acrylic Herb Grinder.
Four-piece: These grinders comprise of a grinder and storage compartment with a sifter screen. Material is ground and collected in the storage compartment, where a screen at the bottom sifts out fine pollen particles and collects it in another, smaller storage compartment. This type of grinder is ideal for connoisseurs who don’t want to waste a speck of material. The pollen collected at the bottom of your four-piece can be sprinkled on top of your regular blend or made into solid pollen discs with the use of a pollen press. Examples of four-piece grinders are the Space Case Large Titanium Grinder, the Silver Ripple Aluminum Grinder, and the Kannastor Grinder.
Five-piece: These grinders are rarer to find, but include a grinder, storage compartment and two sifting screens – one coarse micron mesh and one fine micron mesh. The two screens will leave you with separate collections of ground material, finer particles, and super fine pollen. Though having two screens is not at all necessary, some people do enjoy grinding their material into varying consistencies. Examples of five-piece grinders are the Aerospaced Red Acrylic Grinder and the Silver Aluminum Grinder.
Crank top: Some four-piece grinders come with a crank top (also called a mill top) which allows you to turn a crank to grind your material rather than manually twisting the grinding halves together. Generally, we do not recommend this type of grinder, as moving parts always carry extra risk of breaking. It is not uncommon for crank tops to break, become jammed or stop rotating smoothly over time. However, for those with limited dexterity or who have trouble using a regular grinder, this can be a good option that makes the process easier. An example of a crank top grinder is the Aluminum Mill Top Grinder with Rasta Jar.
Grinders are available in a wide variety of materials from cheap acrylic and wooden grinders to more expensive, top of the line aluminium and titanium. The material your grinder is made of is important for both the effectiveness of its grinding capabilities and the durability of the grinder.
Wooden grinders look nice, but unfortunately they are often poor grinders if they use thin steel nails as grinding teeth. Plus, wooden grinders often produce a coarse grind which is not as well suited to vaporizing. Most wooden grinders don’t have magnets in them to keep the two halves together while you grind, so they can be a messy option. They can also be difficult to clean and the grain in the wood can hold some of your material. However, wooden grinders are affordable, have a nice aesthetic, and some believe that they can also enhance the flavour of your herbs.
Acrylic grinders are some of the most affordable options and are made of hard acrylic resin in a range of colours. It’s possible to get acrylic grinders in two-piece, three-piece and four-piece models. Generally, acrylic grinders tend to be sturdy and reliable grinders but they vary a lot in the quality of their results. Some acrylic grinders may have blunt teeth, as a sharp edge is difficult to achieve, and their grinding teeth can also dull or chip with use. However, some acrylic grinders such as the Volcano Acrylic Herb Grinder by Storz & Bickel are very good quality for the price and do produce a fine grind.
Aluminium grinders are very popular among vaping enthusiasts, and there is a huge range in quality and price. Whatever your budget, it is possible to find an aluminium grinder to suit your needs. Sharp teeth produce fine results, and aluminium grinders are available in a huge range of prices to suit most budgets. However, some low quality aluminium grinders have been known to leave metal shavings inside people’s blends, which can be dangerous if inhaled. Low quality Aluminium grinding teeth can also become blunt over time.
Titanium is without a doubt the highest quality material, and this is often reflected in the price. Titanium grinders are not a cheap option, but their quality and durability is above any other. Titanium is very strong, sharp, and unlike some aluminium grinders, there is zero chance of metal shavings chipping off into your grind. Titanium grinders are usually dark in colour, which makes them easy to tell them apart from their silver aluminium brothers.
Our budget pick: Volcano Acrylic Three-Piece
Our mid-range pick: Sharpstone
Our premium pick: Space Case