Grinders are an essential for any serious flower consumer, which, shouldn’t that be everyone who loves cannabis?
The grinder is more than just a utilitarian way to break weed down into more manageable bits, it is the first step in a ritual that is calming, that connects us as humans, and which kicks off a lifted journey of relaxation, creativity or giggles.
Marijuana grinders come in all sizes and forms and are often just called “herb grinders” for legality reasons.
3 Piece vs. 4 Piece: Pre-Shopping Briefing
The primary function remains the same: break a whole flower bud down into a grated form that can be rolled, packed, or decarbed.
How that product is ground varies from brand to brand. The biggest differences in grinders you’ll see will be that they either come in 3 piece units or 4 piece units.
The 3-piece are the more utilitarian version, meaning it will have two teeth-laden halves, and one catch tray. These work quite simply and are effective at quickly grinding up your herb.
The 4-piece will have to teeth-laden grinder halves but also have a screen layer before the catch tray. This allows the user to separate the chunky flower material from the resinous “kief”, which is collected in the bottom most tray.
Kief is the little bits of THC that look like frosting on flower. This sticky substance is mass extracted to produce hash and is valuable because of it’s high THC content.
Many cannabis users like to collect their kief to either add to a bowl/joint to make it a little extra powerful.
Kief is kind of like gravy is to a Thanksgiving turkey..it’s all the good stuff that you like to add sparingly to your main course.
A few other things you’ll want to take into consideration when grinder shopping include:
- Tooth pattern/density/quality (this dictates how fine your ground product will be)
- Material of construction (always go metal, never plastic)
- Number of components (only consider 3 and 4 pieces, 2 piece grinders are trash)
- Brand history (long before widespread legalization some brands have been earning trust among users for years, these are usually the most durable)
From big grinders, to cutting edge high-tech inventions, we break down some of the most well known grinder brands of all time in our list below. Bon appetite!
Best Daily Use Personal Grinders
Grinders come in all sizes and all shapes for a reason: different applications.
If you rip 3 foot bongs on the daily with your 4 roommates and their friends then you need the biggest bad boy you can find.
If you occasionally only pack one-hitters then you obviously are looking for a more compact option.
For most people, occasional bud users, a medium sized aluminum 4-piece grinder is the best blend between size, quality, practicality and style.
Below are a few of the most well-known metal grinders that are perfect for casual users.
Santa Cruz Shredder: The OG
Not to be confused with the iconic skateboard brand, Santa Cruz Shredder is a dedicated grinder company based out of, you guessed it, Santa Cruz California baby!
Santa Cruz Shredder aren’t just “based” in CA, they actually make their grinders in the U.S too, which always makes you feel better about your purchase, supporting the local economy and all.
Not that the S.C Shredder needs to lean on your compassion. The grinders this company makes are the most popular grinders on the market for a reason.
Available at nearly every head-shop across America, Santa Cruz Grinder has earned a reputation for innovation, durability, quality grinding technology, and style.
The design was created with the consultation of a NASA engineer, the teeth are engineered not to dull or flake off, the threads screwing the pieces together use a patented design for maximum ease-of-use and reliability, the knurling is lifted from medical equipment design for maximum ergonomics, finished units are ultrasonically cleansed to remove any dirt/metal from manufacturing, they are also anodized for sick effect and scratch resistance.
Why is this thing so boss? Well, it was designed from the ground-up to be the best, with patents galore, because it wasn’t just a copy of an existing design. Santa Cruz Shredder espouses true innovation in it’s purest and most pleasing form.
Put succinctly the Santa Cruz Shredder is one of the best engineered, best manufactured, most loved grinders at a very respectable price point.
Cali Crusher: Brotherly Love
Cali Crusher is another OG grinder company out of, you guessed it, California (made in San Diego to be exact).
This grinder is milled out of aluminum to stringent manufacturing specifications similar to the Santa Cruz Shredder and is also available in a wide variety of dope anodized colors.
A lot of people do comparison shopping between the Santa Cruz Shredder vs. the Cali Crusher. So what are the primary differences between these west coast titans?
Both are legends in their own right, so at the end of the day you really can’t go wrong with either.
There are some differences however that may help you decide between the two.
First, the grip style. The S.C Shredder features a fine medical-equipment inspired knurling while the Cali Crusher uses a more gas can inspired chunky grip. Choosing grip comes down to personal feel.
Another difference in the 4-piece models is that the Cali Crusher features a removable screen while the S.C Shredder’s screen is built in. This is a cool feature and depending on how much of a clean freak you are may be worth taking into consideration.
The biggest difference between these two grinders in our opinion is the tooth configuration and the end result consistency of the ground herb.
The Cali Crusher has fewer teeth more spaced apart. The S.C Shredder has more numerous, smaller teeth closer together.
Both have their pros and cons. The wider and fewer teeth of the Cali Crusher make it easier to drop in larger weed nuggest for quick crushing, but produces a slightly chunkier final grind compared to the Santa Cruz Shredder, which with it’s more tightly packed teeth mean you have to break up big nugs first, but will ultimately end up with a slightly finer grind.
Final grind size isn’t that important, however a finer grind is generally considered more conducive to vaporizers and smaller joint/cones rolling vs chunkier grind which works great in pipes, bowls, and blunts.
At the end of the day though both the Cali Crusher and Santa Cruz Shredder are both stellar products that will last you a lifetime but won’t cost an arm and a leg to obtain.
Other Popular Grinder Brands to Consider
Even though Santa Cruz and Cali Crusher may be the most widely discussed grinders at your local shop there are actually a plethora of trippy, well-engineered grinders available from an assortment of brands at varying price points..
These guys make a product that looks similar to both the above grinders but is a little sleaker in it’s design aesthetic (no knurlig) and is also made in the U.S.A.
Milled from a solid block of 6061 aircraft grade aluminum both their Aerospaced classic and Groove models are nice little anodized grinders for the more minimalist user.
These aren’t the fanciest grinders but they are well-known, well-reviewed and thus a great first-grinder option for those just dipping their feet into the cannosphere.
No, despite the name, these grinders are not made out of stone, although that would look rad..
SharpStone though is already known for making rad looking grinders that are ubiquitous in local headshops and pipe retailers because of their very consumer-friendly price points.
They offer a classic 4-piece grinder setup with pollen/kief catcher that bears the company name SharpStone V2, a cool “Clear Top” variant that replaces the top metal lid piece with a clear disc of acrylic.
With the transparent Clear Top you get to see your herb as it is ground, which is a pretty neat concept.
If you ain’t got time for that, then SharpStone also has a model for the speed-conscious called the Grinder Top which features a coffee-grinder styled hand crank for maximum grinding efficiency.
Phoenician are kind of like the Cadillac of grinders. They are over-engineered (in a good way) for maximum tactile usefulness.
This is made evident by the very pronounced tactile nubs/lobes that ring the outside of their grinders.
Their grinders come in small, medium, and large, unlike most companies that just offer one or two sizes.
They even offer an “Elite” series, one of which can be had in 24K plated gold (for the right price of course) in addition to other cool CNC’d products like a utilitarian rolling/grinding tray and futuristic looking little metal pipes
If you’re looking to get jiggy with it or just want to rep the west coast then Compton Grinders might be for you.
These aluminum 4-piece grinders are also manufactured in the United States and feature indented grip cutouts on the outside for maximum tactfulness.
The screens in the Compton’s are removable, they come in a variety of sick anodized colors, have a lifetime warranty, and have a very gangster logo emBLAZoned on the lid.
If you’re looking for something that would be at home in a S.W.A.T vehicle then Kozo grinders might be for you.
Kozo offer a very affordable (albeit not USA made) 4-piece aluminum grinder VERY pronounced external diamond-cut grip nubs.
Otherwise it’s more of the same, except for less, as the Kozo can regularly be found for sale for under $20, making it a great budget option if you don’t have much to spend on a more premium brand.
Kannastor by RYOT
Looking for a stash jar and grinder all-in-one? Well, then you are looking for a Kannastor.
Not only do they offer grinders with built-in storage space for your herb, the GR8TR line are also modular by design, so you can add or subtract components depending on what situation you are in.
Some of the modular units are clear so you can see your bud inside as well, which is always trippy. Classic looking solid metal variants can also be had if that is more your style.
Oh and did we mention they have a lifetime warranty as well? Well they do, which combined with their innovative grinder-storage-all-in-one design make them a top contender for most practical grinder brand.
RYOT also offer wood-based grinders called the Eye, Fly, SLIM, and SQUARE. These are less-sophisticated wood grinders carved out of the extremely hard walnut tree.
The grinding teeth are more of a spike design so the final product may not be as finely ground as some razor-sharp metal grinders, but for bongs, bowls, and blunts the wood aesthetic may be worth it.
KOBRA & Nestpark Grinders
If you want more than pure functionality out of your grinder or just fancy yourself more of an artist than these movie/TV show inspired grinders might be for you.
Available in Pokeball, Dragon Ball Z, or Deathstar shapes, these are equal parts conversation starters as they are grinders.
While they are made of metal (zinc alloy and aluminum) and Nestpark offers a lifetime guarantee, the engineering isn’t as impressive as some of the above mentioned brands, but they work just fine and definitely put a smile on anyone’s face the first time they visit and discover that Pokeball on your coffee table is actually a discreet little grinder.
V-Syndicate Card Grinder
Last but not least we have the V-Syndicate grinder cards. These are definitely “low-tech” compared to the other grinders on this list, but sophistication isn’t what the card grinder is all about no sir.
These are literally designed to fit in your wallet/purse so that they can be brought with you anywhere and you are never in need without a grinder again.
Sure, the tech is more like a cheese-grater but hey, it will get the job done in a pinch and you wont’ be left with hand-broken chunky herb.
Available in an insane variety of colors and designs we are personally huge fans of the fake drivers license version which would look sweet in a wallet and make for a great party piece.
There is a retro tape deck version too that we are particularly nostalgic over..
Electric Weed Grinders
Well, what if you are saying to yourself those 4-piece grinders are cool and all, but I need to grind high volumes of bud and I don’t want to waste time grinding up small quantities at a time.
Well, if you are a hardcore herb user, or you just like to party with big groups of people, then a manual 4-piece grinder may not be for you. Instead you might need to up your game.
We’re talking electric grinders here, the big leagues, where you put in whole bud and an electric-driven motor does all the hard work for you in a fraction of the time it would take to do manually.
Electric grinders are huge time savers if you’re looking to grind large quantities of bud and short periods of time.
The downsides are well, they all run off of rechargeable batteries, so you have to be cognizant of how much battery life you have.
We’d recommend that even if you were to invest in an electronic grinder you’d still have a manual backup just in case you sit down for a sesh and your electric unit is out of juice.
With that said, below are some of the most highly reviewed, best selling electric grinders on the market today..
The Chewy 2.0 is our absolute favorite electric grinder. Everything Chewy does wows us, from their product design, build quality, to design aesthetic.
The Chewy 2.0 looks like a medical device lifted directly out of a Star Trek: Next Generation film set.
It holds up to 3 full grams of herb, is constructed of metal, comes in cool colors, is flat so it can easily fit in a pocket, has a very controllable output spout, and best of all, runs off a standard 9 volt battery.
Some people prefer built in rechargeable lithium ion, but given the abundance of 9 volts, buying a 6 pack means you never have to worry about your Chewy recharging, you can simply swap out batteries like a solider swaps out ammunition magazines.
The 9 volt will last 2-3 months and Chewy claims will easily fill “over three thousand bowls”. That’s a lot of grinding!
The most amazing part is these can be had for under $40 online. There are some mediocre reviews, but the lack of detail and contrast to the 5-star reviews makes us suspicious they were posted by a competitor…
The Chewy 2.0 is definitely worth considering and probably worth checking out in person at your local shop if possible.
If you’re looking for an electric grinder that is even more compact than the Chewy, and also a little more robust, then consider the Easy Grinder and Easy Grinder Clear variants.
These are essentially what PAX is to vaporizers, with a super sleek metallic form, rose, black, gold and silver color-ways, and proven dependability.
The Easy Grinders use a built-in rechargeable battery as opposed to the Chewy’s 9 volt. So, the Easy Grinder comes out of the box with a USB charing cable, a cleaning brush, extra o-rings, and 1 replacement blade.
Despite it’s compact size the Easy Grinder can hold 2.5 grams of dry herb and will do 300 grinds/sessions before you need to recharge it, which given it’s very compact size, is pretty impressive.
The nicest part is that the Easy Grinder only retails for about $100…which given the average price of a quality bong or vaporizer is not much at all for the peace of mind of having instantly ground herb on hand.
Banana Bros Otto
Last but not least is the much-hyped Banana Bros Otto automatic cone filler.
To be clear, this is an automatic grinder and cone filler all-in-one combo, so it’s not useful for bong/pipe users.
However, if you love fresh flower then you know cones are one of the purest, cheapest, most portable ways to enjoy your product, but filling them can be a royal pain in the ass.
Instead of buying pre-fills from your local dispensary, the Otto can take whatever flower your prefer and fill up however many cones you want with it.
This is a very efficient, quick and simple way to produce quality cones without air pockets or gaps in them that often happen with gravity filling.
If you’re constantly on the move and like smoking cones outdoors than the Otto is worth considering as it allows you to easily fill your cones with a variety of different herbs as opposed to buying a pre-packs.
Think about it, you can easily fill up a dozen indica-dominant cones, and dozen sativa-dominant cones in the space of a few minutes and have the luxury of choosing depending on your mood, as opposed to buying a pack of one strain at your local shop.
The world of grinders is a big one, and it can seem intimidating if you are just getting into the world of cannabis but it is definitely worth taking your time and doing your research before you go out and spend money.
We like to equate weed grinders to kitchen appliances. Sure, you could go buy a cheap chef knife from Wal-Mart right now, but it will be made of poor quality metal, will dull quickly, and likely wont’ be with you in a few years time.
But if you really enjoy cooking, and you want a tool that will enable you to do what you enjoy on a regular and consistent basis, then it is worth doing research and often times spending a little bit more money for that little extra quality.
Now that we’re at the end of this article and have allowed you to view and consider all of the popular options out there we’ll leave you with this parting recommendation: we bought a medium sized Santa Cruz Shredder a year ago and we love it as much today as the day we bought it.
But to each their own! Do your research, go to your local shop and play with a few and choose the grinder that speaks to YOU.
Peace, love and happy grinding!