Learn all about the different types of herb grinders to decide which one works best for you.
Second only to the wheel, the prolific herb grinder is perhaps the most innovative and forward-thinking invention in human history. While that may not be entirely true, there is no denying the fact that grinders simply make life easier. Much like, you guessed it, the wheel!
Whether you are rolling or packing, owning an efficient grinder is essential to doing things the right way. When you invest in a grinder, you are investing in a tool that is designed to do specifically what you need it to do: grind! Grinders come in many different sizes and styles, but they all serve the same purpose.
If you have yet to grind, trust us when we say that it is time to leave the days of dull scissors and sticky fingers behind you. The convenience of being able to break down your herbs (or even tobacco) with the simple twist of the wrist is invaluable. The only question remaining: which grinder is best for me?
With a vast selection of hemp grinder options on the market today, it can be tricky to navigate and ultimately choose the perfect grinder best suited for you. This how-to blog will guide you through choosing a grinder based on type, preference, and usability.
Why Use a Grinder?
If you read the introduction and weren’t sold immediately on the importance of a grinder, this portion of the guide is for you.
A chef needs a proper set of knives to cut. A painter needs the appropriate brush to paint. An herb-enthusiast needs a grinder to properly enjoy their herb. It’s a simple science.
Although they may seem obvious, there are several reasons why using an herb grinder is the right move.
6 Reasons to Use a Grinder
1. Cavemen Use Their Hands
That’s right! Another analogy. If you are still grinding up your hemp and herbs by hand, you might as well use brush and tinder to light your joint. Major burn aside, grinders truly do take the archaic aspect out of getting the most out your flower.
Breaking down herbs into a fine grind is nearly impossible without the right tool. Scissors and fingernails can only do so much. And the amount of time and effort that go into the process can be rather frustrating.
Here in the 21st century, convenience and technology reign king and queen. So, naturally, the grinder is a welcome member of the royal family.
If you haven’t already, give yourself the royal treatment and purchase a grinder. I assure you, you and your residue-encased finger tips will ask: why didn't you buy one sooner?
Smokability is maybe the most convincing argument for using a grinder. Simply put, when you grind your herb you make it not only easier to smoke, but you get more out of it.
In terms of density and general composition, herbs come in many different forms. Hemp grinders take the effort out of dealing with these different forms by breaking down all herbs in the same way.
When herb is broken up into smaller particles it allows for more surface area to be exposed, providing the user with more benefits than say smoking a larger, condensed form of the herb.
When it comes to rolling, a finely ground herb is most favorable.
Clumps and clusters procured from picking at flower with your hands and scissors are not suited to be rolled up in a zig-zag, or tobacco leaf. Larger pieces of herb tend to burn unevenly, which as I’m sure you’ve found, is detrimental to enjoying a smooth pull from a rollie.
Grinders evenly separate your hemp herbs into a smokable, rollable blend; and one that is consistent and uniform throughout. Depending on how fine you prefer to roll your herb, there are several different options among different grinder styles and products.
If you prefer to enjoy your herb with glass pieces, you will also find a friend in the grinder.
Enjoying a packed bowl from a fresh grind is much more satisfying and smokable than doing so with a couple of heavy snaps from the herb plant. The same surface area science mentioned earlier can be applied to pipes and bongs, as the finer the grind the more of the herb there is to enjoy.
Another concern with burning thicker pieces of herb is the overuse of lighter fluid. Whether you have an issue with consuming chemicals or just want to conserve your lighter, grinding your flower will help reduce both.
When herb is ground up, it becomes lighter and has more room for air flow, allowing for a cherry to occur (or simply keeping the herb lit without using a flame). If the herb is still in its denser, larger form it requires a longer burn and therefore more fluid to be used.
When you grind your flowers and herbs, you even everything out. In the blend that is.
With an even blend that is fine enough to separate, you give yourself portion control. This allows you to conserve your herb much easier than breaking off chunks from a stemmed nug.
Combined with the science of surface area, grinding your herb into an even shake is the ultimate way to conserve and enjoy.
6. Collecting Kief
Another reason to use a grinder is collecting kief. What is kief exactly? It’s the tiny, sticky crystals, or trichomes, that you’ll find encompassing your flower. Kief contains concentrated amounts of THC, a.k.a. the part of the herb that’s most precious.
When you use a grinder, you’re bound to lose some of the kief as the flower breaks apart. Some of the kief sticks to the internal chambers. That’s why most 4 piece grinders are designed with what is called a kief collector.
Multi-chambered grinders are made with a thin mesh screen at the bottom of the middle chamber. This allows the tiny particles to fall through and collect in a separate chamber for you to use later. There are several genius ways to use your kief, including:
- Sprinkling it on your bowl or joint
- Rolling it into a joint on its own (you’ll have to gather quite a bit to pull this off)
- Making hash or rosin
- Adding it to your coffee (sounds strange, but it can be done!)
- Using it to make cannabutter for baking or cooking cannabis-infused snacks or meals
*content offer opportunity: Infographic for Ways to Use Kief*
What are the Different Types of Grinders?
There are several different types of grinders on the market to choose from.
Although they all serve the same purpose, each grinder type is unique in style and material, mainly to accommodate for their price.
While most swear by their metal multi-chambered grinders, those with a lesser budget are still able to enjoy the wonders of grinding herbs with a simpler type made from plastic.
Let’s go through the major types of grinders.
7 Types of Grinders
1. Plastic Grinders
We all can’t be ballers. But we can be ballers on a budget. And when you’re a baller on a budget, plastic grinders are the way to go.
Plastic grinders have a basic design - two halves, with angled teeth in between, that come together to twist and grind.
They are the least expensive types of grinders you can buy. Reason being, plastic grinders are very cheaply produced. But that means they won’t last you super long. In fact, to be perfectly honest, most plastic grinders tend to have very poor structural integrity and are often used as promotional tools.
But resilience and longevity aside, plastic grinders shine when it comes to portability. They are absolutely clutch when you are traveling and just want to grind your herb with something you wouldn’t worry about losing.
If you are new to grinding, an approachable, easy-to-use plastic grinder may be the one to try first. They are inexpensive and usually pretty colorful. Oh and they also won’t go off in a metal detector. Just saying.
2. Wooden Grinders
When it comes to durability and price, the wooden grinder sits just a notch above the plastic grinder.
Its build has the same basics as a plastic grinder (two halves) but the teeth are cylindrical pegs or little metal posts. Many have unique designs carved or etched onto their wooden bodies.
The upside to the wooden grinder is longevity and durability. Unlike some brittle plastic grinders, wooden ones are made from sturdy pieces of wood that won’t crack or chip over time. In fact, the metal pegs will likely break long before the grinder itself.
Wooden grinders are pretty neutral across the board. They do get the grinding job done, but you may need to put a little more effort into the twist than you might with the other types of grinders. They are great for traveling but also serve as the most ecologically friendly choice as well.
Although they may lack the features of modern types, wooden grinders have proven trustworthy sidekicks dating back to the 1970s.
3. Metal Grinders
In the modern age metal grinders are the champions. Taking the same basic structural design as the plastic and wooden grinder, the metal grinder takes two halves with teeth from a die-cut metal.
Metal grinders are tough. They are incredibly durable, essentially indestructible. And because they are cut from metal, the teeth are often sharp and edged properly and can cut through any herb, regardless of density or condition.
Two-piece metal grinders are, of course, a step up in price. But nothing too drastic.
When more chambers and pieces are incorporated though, the cost does go up. But so do the uses of the grinder. These 4 piece grinders are premium metal grinders with multiple chambers.
4. Multi Chambered Grinders
The most common premium metal grinder you will find at your local head shop or on your neighbor’s coffee table is the multi-chambered grinder. Multi-chambered grinders consist of four pieces and do more than the average two-piece.
You place your herb in the top grinding chamber and as you grind, it filters through holes down into the second chamber. In most 4 part grinders, this second chamber typically has a mesh screen that runs across the bottom. This screen catches your ground herb and allows for loose particles and kief (as we discussed above) to be caught and saved in the third and final chamber. Herb grinding efficiency at its finest.
These premium 4 piece grinders are truly the pick of the litter. They are reliable, efficient, indestructible, and the obvious choice among veteran smokers.
5. Ergonomic Grinders
Ergonomic grinders refer to grinders that have ulterior functionalities. Or simply they do other stuff besides grind.
For example, you can buy a cylindrical herb container that is built specifically to also be used as a grinder. The idea is that once you grind your herb you have a place to store it.
Other grinders also double as pipes or even rolling trays.
6. High Fashion Grinders
Once you’ve hit it big and don’t have to worry about the money you’re spending on your grinders, you may want to bring some luxury into the grind. Enter high-fashion grinders.
Nowadays you can really splurge on herb necessities. Some companies make multi-chambered premium grinders that are plated with 24K gold. A bit excessive for some but a fashion statement to others.
Some grinders are meant to also be worn as jewelry. Whether it’s iced out or hanging on a chain, high-fashion premium grinders are definitely going to be more expensive.
7. Electric Grinders
If you’re worried about pulling a finger or wrist muscle grinding your herb manually, an electric grinder is another option.
Electric grinders are designed similarly to a small hand-held flashlight, but instead of a bulb in the larger end, there are electric-powered grinding blades and a container to place your herb.
Just press the button on the opposite end, and watch your flower spin into finely ground goodness.
However, there are usually more downsides to owning an electric grinder as opposed to a manual one. On one hand, it is an easier way to grind your herb quickly. But these electric grinders are usually poorly built and don’t last as long as manual grinders.
Plus, you have to keep up with either charging it or replacing its batteries. Another thing to remember to plug in overnight? That’s a no for me.
4 Tips for Choosing a Grinder
When it’s all said and done, the choice of grinder is up to you. Next to type, there are a couple of factors that are important to consider when figuring out your herb grinder preference.
Premium grinders come in varying sizes. You should choose your grinder size based on your own personal consumption habits as well as portability.
It’s very possible to find a multi-chambered grinder that fits in the palm of your hand. Smaller grinders are perfect for those who need something discreet and portable.
It’s also not unusual to come across massive herb grinders capable of grinding and grinding and grinding. These larger grinders are excellent for breaking down massive amounts of herb in a very short amount of time.
For those of us who need something a little more practical and stable, a medium-sized grinder is the way to go. A medium sized hemp grinder is still relatively discrete while offering much more room for your herb.
Of course, the size of the grinder depends on your personal preference. Remember that price is also directly proportional to size.
Budget is the great equalizer. When you’re buying a grinder, it may likely come down to how much money you are willing to shell out.
Choose a grinder that fits within your price range, but remember you get what you pay for! Investing in a higher quality grinder that will last you years will save you money in the long run, which brings us to our next tip: quality.
If you’re someone that enjoys herb regularly, it is worth it to invest in a higher quality grinder. Top shelf grinders might cost you a little more upfront, but will save you from spending again and again once your cheaper grinder breaks or gets jammed.
Premium metal grinders are created to withstand wear and tear, as well as resist the build up of residue. When your grinder gets too sticky inside due to the accumulation of debris from days, weeks or months of grinding herb, it will quickly become defective.
The best herb grinders are thoughtfully designed with long term use in mind, so you don’t have to worry about it jamming and having to purchase another one.
Another great feature to look out for is the ease of the spin. You’ll notice with cheap grinders, they don’t spin and twist as easily as more expensive grinders.
When you’re in the mood to enjoy some elevated down-time after a long day, you don’t want the hassle of fighting with your grinder. Modern grinders are implementing better methods to make the grinding experience smoother and easier.
It all comes down to your personal preference and usage.
Find a grinder with a pretty floral design, or a glow-in-the dark plastic encasing. Anything goes in the world of herb grinders, as long as it goes for you!
If you are a regular smoker, maybe you’d prefer a larger grinder. If you are a naturalist living without metal, maybe you’d prefer a wooden grinder.
Your grinder. Your choice.
Simply put, there are a crazy amount of different grinders out there to choose from for your daily grind. And as the hemp market expands, it’s vital to know the differences as well as what is available to you.
Do yourself a favor and invest in a premium 4 piece herb grinder that will preserve the most precious parts of your flower and last for many happy herb-filled days to come. With the right grinder, you can elevate your favorite pastime and keep it stress-free.