Guide to the Best Herb Grinder
Grinders, shredders, crushers, mulchers. A grinder is a grinder isn’t it? The truth is that there are many different types of herb grinders. A good quality grinder should be strong, turns smoothly, has sharp teeth that cuts through herb like butter, breaking it up to a nice, even consistency that enhances the smoking or vaping experience. Choosing the right grinder depends on what features are important to you. Small or large? Two, 3, or 4 piece? Kief or no kief? This guide will show you what to look for in deciding which is the perfect herb grinder for you.
Top Herb Grinders
Santa Cruz Shredder
Smooth, effortless grinding
'Fluffy' grind results
Unique teeth design that shred
Scratch Proof Finish
Smooth, easy grinding
Sharp diamond teeth
Non-stick anodized coating
Double the number of teeth
Original designer grinder
Curved diamond teeth
Excellent value grinder
In the video below, you will see the how herb grinders work, how grinders are not all the same, and a quick review of our top 3 grinders in action.
A Herb Grinder is a cylindrical device used to grind marijuana, tobacco, or other herbs.
The main benefits of using a grinder are:
- breaks the herb down evenly and quickly
- increases the surface area of the herb, resulting in using less, making your herb last longer
- collect kief
- saves you time versus using scissors or fingers
When you’re looking at weed grinders you want to make sure it’s built to last. You’ll usually find weed grinders made from acrylic, wood, and metal.
Acrylic grinders are made from plastic and are the cheapest grinders, usually costing a couple of dollars. Made from plastic, acrylic grinders break easily and generally don’t last long. Also, smoking or vaping weed with pieces of acrylic in it is highly dangerous to your health. NOT recommended.
Wooden herb grinders are nice looking grinders. They are generally inexpensive but lack the durability and quality of metal herb grinders. The teeth are usually nails or sometimes little wooden pegs and can wear or fall out with use. They gum up easier and are more difficult to clean. Being made from wood, they can crack and break if dropped. There is also the chance that some small pieces of wood can end up in the grind, which isn’t great for your lung health. NOT recommended.
The exception being the Magic Flight Finishing Grinder which takes the ground material and grinds it again into a micro fine grind that is ideal for vaping (not recommended for use as your primary grinder)
For a few more dollars that you would spend on an acrylic or wood grinder, you can get a decent metal grinder.
Metal weed grinders are the best grinders overall. They’re strong, sharp, easy to clean, and generally last a long time. But, not all metal grinders are the same!
Grinders made in the USA versus those made overseas (China) have their differences. Manufacturing standards of the two countries vary as US standards are regulated and enforced (not to mention the potential lawsuits) whereas China is less regulated with minimum standards. American made grinders are made from quality materials and precision CNC machined, which results in a smoother operating herb grinder, and most US manufacturers stand behind the quality of their product by offering a lifetime guarantee. Overseas makes are made from questionable materials with little guarantees. As you’ll see, most of the top rated grinders are USA made.
Most metal herb grinders are made from aluminum or zinc alloys. Look for grinders made from a strong aluminum (ie. aerospace or medical grade). A majority of aluminum grinders are anodized, an electrolytic passivation process used to increase the thickness of the natural oxide layer on the surface of metal parts. This process increases corrosion and wear resistance, and provides better adhesion for paint primers. The colourful grinders that you see have been anodized.
Zinc alloy grinders (i.e. Chromium Crusher) are heavier than aluminum grinders. Both metals are excellent grinder materials.
TIP: Clean the grinder. Before you use your new grinder, check the inside to ensure that it is clean of any manufacturing debris, oil, or burrs (on the teeth). If you do find some something, put in some strips of paper into the grinding chamber and give it a few turns and check again.
Are Aluminum Grinders Safe
There have been numerous discussions and debates about the safety of aluminum (non-anodized) grinders: of aluminum rubbing off on the herb, and aluminum shavings/bits being scraped from the grinder into the herb. High quality aluminum should not rub off onto herb that is being ground up. Herb or tobacco are organic plant matter that is not hard enough to rub off aluminum. A well made grinder should not be scraping metal shavings off when you use it. If either is happening, you should stop using it.
All in all, yes, aluminum grinders are safe to use, but if you still feel unsure, go with an anodized aluminum grinder.
Note that non-anodized grinders will gum up more easily and will need to be cleaned more often for smoother grinding.
It’s all About the Teeth
With weed grinders, it’s important to take note of the teeth. The teeth are what’s going to break up and grind or shred the herb. Most herb grinders have the traditional diamond shaped teeth (i.e. Space Case Grinder), but some companies are offering different teeth designs (i.e. Santa Cruz Shredder, Cali Crusher Homegrown) that make grinding easier and the grind better. Also watch for teeth wear. A well made grinders’ teeth shouldn’t wear down.
The size of a marijuana grinder depends on how much you want to grind. Grinders come in several sizes depending on the manufacturer, ranging from the ultra portable 1.5” (36mm) to 4”(100mm), the most popular sizes being the 2 and 2.5 inch grinder.
For medical marijuana patients, a larger size such as 2.25” and bigger, provides better grip and more leverage for easier grinding.
2 Piece, 3 Piece, 4 Piece Grinder
Next to consider is if you want a 2 piece, 3 piece, or 4 piece grinder. I’ll break down the differences between the three types.
2 Piece Grinders (single compartment) are the most popular and least expensive of the three types. The single compartment is where the herb is ground up and removed. The problem with 2 piece grinders is that you may not get a nice uniform grind due to pieces getting stuck. Note that you’ll need something to dump the herb into after grinding.
3 Piece Grinders (two compartment) are a step above the 2 piece. The grinding compartment has holes in the bottom that allows the ground herb to fall through and into the second chamber, which holds the material until you’re ready to use it which is convenient. The result is a nicely ground herb that is easy to get to. There is no separation of kief or pollen in this type of grinder which some herbalists prefer.
4 Piece Grinders (three compartment) are the more expensive type of the grinders. These grinders are the same as the 3 piece grinders but in addition they have a third compartment (kief catcher) that is separated by a metal screen that allows the kief to fall through. Serious herbalists like to collect the kief to use on its own or in edibles. Note that collecting kief can take some time.
TIP: Some 4 piece marijuana grinders can be turned into 3 piece grinders by removing the pollen screen piece (just don’t lose the screen piece!) if you want to change it up.
What is Kief
Kief are the trichomes (little hairs) that grow on the cannabis plant’s leaves, stems, and buds. These tiny trichomes are concentrated THC crystals that are more potent than the herb itself. This little crystal has divided herbalists into 2 camps: 1. Keep the kief with the herb, and 2. Kief collection (this is where a 4 piece grinder comes in). Which one you fall into depends on what you’re looking for. Now you know that when you break up weed with your fingers, your sticky finger tips are covered in kief. Don’t waste the kief!
How Much does a Grinder Cost
Herb grinders can cost as low as $3 that you’ll have to replace soon (why bother?) to $145 for a large top quality weed grinder to even $500 plus for a gold plated grinder. A decent quality grinder will start at $15 to $75 for a game-changer grinder. It really depends on you. The old saying of “you get what you pay for” applies to grinders as well. Look on-line at Amazon and EBay for the best selection and price. Get the best that you can afford and you won’t regret it later.
And remember, it’s not just a grinder, it’s an investment.
Top 5 Herb Grinders
1. Santa Cruz Shredder
The Santa Cruz Shredder is hands down the best marijuana grinder overall. Many herbalists have converted over to this grinder for its excellent design, ease of use, and excellent fluffy grind. The Shredder features a patented tooth design, gripable lid, high quality neodymium magnets, “drum-skintight” micronic stainless steel screen, a scratch-proof anodized finish, and is made in California, USA.
The Shedder is one of the very few medical grade grinders on the market, using medical-grade ultrasonic cleansing procedures in the manufacturing process.
The Santa Cruz Shredder comes in a 2, 3, and 4 piece design in 3 sizes.
Yes, they do cost more than more than most weed grinders but the quality of the Santa Cruz Shredder is above the rest. If you’re looking to buy one grinder for life, this would be it.
Check our Santa Cruz Shredder review here.
2. Space Case Titanium
A close second is the Space Case Titanium Grinder, one of the most popular herb grinders. Made in California, USA, from aerospace grade aluminum that has been precision machined and then anodized with a non-stick black titanium-blend coating, with a teflon O-ring for smooth grinding. Its diamond teeth are razor sharp and cut through herb easily, leaving you with a fine grind. The Titanium comes in a 2 and 4 piece design in 4 sizes and is also backed by a lifetime guarantee. The Space Case is renowned for its easy grinding and flawless construction. Though it costs more than most grinders, the quality is what you pay for.
Check our Space Case Grinder review here.
3. Mendo Mulcher
The Mendo Mulcher has been a popular herb grinder for several reasons. It has twice the number of teeth (88) than its competitors, which make for fine grinding. Made with high grade aluminum, it features diamond teeth with a slight curve. The 4 piece set has the pollen screen and lid magnets set in the grinder, making it a more solid build. Also with a lifetime guarantee, the Mendo Mulcher is hand-made in Mendocino County, California, and is run as a small family operation. Now it may not have the look and colors of other grinders but it does the job very well. A great small town American-made grinder.
4. Cali Crusher
The Cali Crusher is one of the original designer grinder companies. Based in California, USA, the Cali Crusher Original Grinder (OG) is the grinder design that other companies replicate. The Original Grinder is CNC precision machined 4 piece aluminum anodized grinder that comes in several colors. Its diamond cut teeth crushes through herb nicely and has a stainless steel micron screen to catch the kief. The OG is the affordable favorite herb grinder.
5. Golden Gate Grinder
The Golden Gate Grinder is a newer company and they make a decent herb grinder. The Golden Gate is a simple looking 4 piece 2.5” black grinder but it’s a grinder that works very well. Made from anodized aircraft grade aluminum, it has neodymium magnets that keep it closed, and textured sides that help with grip. The 2.5” diameter makes the grinder easy to hold and turn. The curved diamond shaped teeth cut through herb smoothly, producing a good grind. Though not made in the US, this company does offer a lifetime warranty. The Golden Gate Grinder is a great value grinder.