Choosing a Grinder for Best Value and Function
Posted on May 24 2019
By Aimee Accinno and Eric Robichaud.
In a previous blog post, we produced a video that explains what a grinder is and why you would want to use one. We encourage you to check out that short, fun video. Succinctly, grinders are used by most cannabis enthusiasts to break plant buds down into tiny, uniform pieces. This process makes it easier to pack cannabis into your preferred smoking device and ensures that your buds burn more fully and more easily, which results in a better smoking experience.
However, as you’ve likely noticed, there are many varieties on the market today and each comes with its unique benefits and drawbacks. With so many choices available, how do you determine which one is right for you?
In this article, we explore the various options to help you choose the right grinder. If you want to skip the details and get right to our best, recommended grinders simply scroll to the end. There, you will find our top picks on devices that provide a excellent grind and best value for your hard earned money.
Circular grinders are built with 1, 2 or 3 chambers.
The most basic grinders have a single chamber for the “teeth”, with two pieces that fit together, and most often use a magnet in the center to hold them together and allow them to spin freely. We usually refer to these as “grind and dump” since the herb has nowhere to go – you grind it up, then dump it back out – it’s that simple. These are super basic. They’re great if they’re smaller and used to just grind one nug at a time. But they aren’t very useful for grinding larger quantities, and single chamber units do not allow you to collect kief, which is a highly desired pollen-like material containing concentrated levels of THC, cannabinoids and terpenes.
The next option is a three piece grinder that contains two chambers. The first chamber is similar to the single chamber grinder above, except it has small holes between the teeth in the bottom of the top chamber for the ground up material to fall through and collect in the second chamber. This second chamber is called the “catch chamber” and is designed to collect and store the ground up bud. By letting it fall through to the catch chamber, the grinder allows you to grind up more herb at once, and keep grinding until it’s all ground up and falls through to the catch chamber. You can typically reload more nugs and keep going and make a few passes before you have to open and dump the catch chamber. It’s harder to explain the benefits in words alone – you have to try it to fully understand. But the net result is that it’s a lot more convenient to grind a larger quantity of bud when you have a catch chamber. We typically transfer the contents to a stash jar or kief sifter box for longer term storage, but some people keep their bud in the grinder and use the grinder like a stash jar. The downside to this type of design is the inability to collect the aforementioned kief.
The most desirable type of grinder has four pieces that comprise three chambers. The top chamber contains the grinding teeth and holes for the ground up plant matter to fall through. The second chamber is the catch chamber where the ground up flower falls into and it has a sifting screen at the bottom to allows the passage of the highly valued kief through to the bottom chamber. The bottom piece contains the kief catch chamber.
Types of Grinders
Grinders are commonly made from plastic, acrylic, wood, steel (iron), zinc, aluminum and titanium. You may also find them in the form of a wallet sized “cheese grater” style card called a “Grinder Card.”
Grinder Cards are not as easy to use as traditional circular versions, but do a much better job (and faster and easier too) than simply using your fingers. They cost a only few dollars and are easy slip in your wallet or purse to use in a pinch when you’re on the go.
Plastic and acrylic grinders are the least expensive of all circular options, which tends to be their main selling point, but you get what you pay for — they never last, and the teeth break pretty quickly. These are suitable for situations in which you’re more likely to misplace one, such as while traveling or outdoors. Due to their material, they are less durable, so if you happen to drop one it has a greater chance of cracking and will typically wear out more quickly than one made of metal. These grinders tend to have only one chamber, which means kief cannot be collected. In addition, after regular use, the herbs oftentimes get stuck to the grinder’s teeth and become difficult to remove. These are generally “crap” and Green Goddess Supply doesn’t even bother with these.
Wood grinders tend to be more elegant and eye-catching with nice designs carved or burned into the top lid. They are heavier in weight than other materials and contain metal teeth for grinding. The downside is that they usually come in two piece, single chamber units, so you miss the opportunity to collect kief, and the “teeth” are usually not very sharp, and they come loose easily. Although they look pretty initially, we generally consider these crap too, like their plastic counterparts, and we do not produce any wooden grinders.
Good, quality grinders are generally made of metal. But the type of metal matters. Stay away from steel and zinc, which can corrode (rust), and are most often plated (eg nickle plated, or silver plated, or painted for colors). Beware of plated metal grinders as they have a tendency to see the plating flake off after continued use. Inhaling metal flakes will ruin your smoking experience and compromise your health. Just say no.
Aluminum grinders are one of the best options due to their durability and affordable price points. They come in 2-, 3- and 4-chamber styles and are made from plated or anodized aluminum. Always choose anodized aluminum, which is also scratch and rust resistant. Non-anodized grinders will gum up more easily and need more frequent cleanings to ensure a smooth grind. Additionally, anodizing an aluminum grinder means that the grinder metal IS the color you see – it’s not plated, so it’s not going to flake off. And anodizing a grinder not only colorizes it, but it also makes the metal stronger (this is why anodized aluminum pans are so popular for cookware too). Only Titanium and Aluminum can be anodized. You cannot anodize zinc or steel, only plate them.
Titanium grinders tend to be the most expensive option because they have the highest quality material and weigh less than aluminum. They are also highly durable, so you won’t have to worry about metal shavings ending up in your lungs. But you pay a premium for Titanium.
In our estimation, Titanium is strongest, but probably not worth the cost tradeoff for the average consumer – anodized aluminum tends to be the “sweet spot” in terms of best quality at best price.
Finally, there are electric grinders, which aren’t as great as one might expect. They tend to be cheaply made, break down easily and require the added expense of batteries unless you invest in a rechargeable one. The also only have one chamber, so you once again miss out on collecting kief. They seems super cool at first sight, but become underwhelming after using them once or twice. Most people get over the gee-whiz factor pretty quickly and end up going back to a simple anodized aluminum grinder before long. They’re not worth the premium cost. I’ve also seen them pulverize the herb too much – you don’t want dust.
Our Top Choice for Best Value and Function
Our top pick for the best grinder is an anodized aluminum three chamber model. In fact, Green Goddess Supply has created its own custom designed grinders that are by far the best on the market.
Every detail was cared for in the making of these high quality, affordable units. They have precisely milled threading to ensure smooth assembly every time you use it. They are made of anodized aluminum, which means the color is baked all the way through and will never flake off. They are also strong yet lightweight and easy to clean and will not rust.
The grinders are made of five pieces: a magnetized lid, grinding deck, flower catch chamber with built in sifting screen, and a bottom catch chamber with a kief/pollen scraper. There is also a teflon ring on the grinding deck, which allows the lid to glide smoothly. The first chamber has a perfect balance of diamond shaped teeth and holes. With other models, the holes are sometimes too small or there aren’t enough of them, which causes the ground up herb to remain stuck. Our Green Goddess Supply grinders allow the freshly ground material to fall out of the way into the bottom catch chamber so that the teeth can continue working on the remaining larger pieces.
If you want a top of the line, affordable grinder, click here to view and purchase one of our custom designed units.
Choosing a Grinder for Best Value and Function Posted on May 24 2019 By Aimee Accinno and Eric Robichaud. In a previous blog post, we produced a video that explains what a grinder is and
How To Use A Grinder: A Step-By-Step Guide
Want to get the most out of that ounce of Cherry OG you just bought? Want to look like a “professional” stoner (oh, if only there was such a thing)? Want to impress your friends and be the envy of all those around you? If you answered yes to any of these questions, the answer is simple: learn how to use a grinder.
Grinders don’t get a lot of press, but they’re an essential piece of equipment that no committed cannaseur should be without. In this article, the experts at Honest Marijuana show you how to use a grinder and tell you everything you need to know about this helpful tool.
What Is A Grinder?
The original ganja gurus from way-back-when came up with some pretty interesting cannabis slang. Some of that jargon is not very self-explanatory (like sploof and chronic).
Thankfully, there’s no wacky etymology behind the word “grinder.” In fact, it’s probably one of the most obvious terms you’ll find in the marijuana lexicon.
So what exactly is a grinder? It’s a small container with “teeth” used for dispensing smoothies. Just kidding! It’s a small container with “teeth” used for grinding nugs of weed into smaller pieces.
It’s also one of the easiest ways to get ahold of kief (which we’ll get to later on in this article). But before that, let’s talk about the different types of grinders and their parts.
What Are The Parts Of A Grinder?
All grinders must have at least three components:
- A grinding chamber
- Teeth or pegs to do the actual grinding
- A lid to keep it all contained
As simple as that may sound, grinders come in a variety of different sizes, so it’s essential to understand what you’re looking for before you buy.
Here are the three most common types of grinders:
- Two-piece (single chamber)
- Three-piece (two-chamber)
- Four-piece (three-chamber)
The naming conventions here may seem a little strange, so allow us to explain.
Two-Piece (Single Chamber)
Two-piece, single chamber grinders are made up of a small bowl about the size and shape of a hockey puck (maybe a little bit smaller). That’s the single chamber.
This kind of grinder is called a two-piece because it also has a lid. Bowl + lid = two pieces. Put the lid on the bowl and you’ve created the single chamber. Get it? Good. Let’s move on.
Picture a two-piece grinder with the lid and the bowl. Now add another piece underneath. That’s the three-piece, two-chamber grinder. Let’s start from the top.
First comes the lid. It may have teeth or pegs to help with the grinding. Next comes the grinding chamber. It may have teeth or pegs as well. In a three-piece grinder, the bottom of the grinding chamber will have holes for the ground-up bud to fall through (a two-piece grinder won’t have those holes).
When your weed is chopped small enough in the grinding chamber, it will fall through the holes into the collection chamber. You can then unscrew this bottom chamber and collect the pot for use.
Lid + Grinding Bowl + Collection Chamber = 3 pieces and 2 chambers.
In a four-piece, three-chamber grinder, the collection chamber has a small mesh screen instead of a solid bottom. Underneath the collection chamber is the final piece of the puzzle: the kief chamber.
As you grind, the larger (but still ground-up) pieces of marijuana fall into the collection chamber. As you continue to grind and agitate the whole thing, tiny, pollen-like material falls through the screen into the bottom chamber. This pollen-like material is kief, which we’ll talk about in the next section.
Building on our little marijuana math problem, here are the components of the four-piece grinder:
Lid + Grinding Bowl + Collection Chamber/Screen + Kief Chamber = 4 pieces and 3 chambers
Now that you’re familiar with the different types of grinders and their associated pieces, we’ll tell you why you want to use one.
What Are The Benefits Of Using A Grinder?
Grinders are great as ganja goes. There are too many advantages to be ignored. Here are just a few of the benefits of using a grinder.
We’ve mentioned kief a number of times throughout this article, but what is it exactly? Kief is the term cannaseurs use to refer to the terpenes and cannabinoids that separate from the trichomes during the grinding process.
Kief is a more pure and potent part of the marijuana plant, which is why it’s prized as an additive in everything from bongs to blunts, vaporizers to vape pens, and hookah to honey oil.
If you’re considering buying your first grinder, we highly recommend getting one with a kief chamber. You may have to pay a bit more, but the rewards are well worth the expense.
When you grind your herb, you actually make it more potent. It’s not magic—it’s science.
- Grinding creates more consistently sized pieces. This maximizes surface area and makes your marijuana easier to burn.
- Grinding prevents canoeing (when the bud in a joint begins burning only down the middle) and provides a more even burn.
- Grinding limits the amount of contact your bud has with your hands. This prevents the trichomes from being absorbed by your skin.
Taste & Smell
Grinding unlocks all the wonderful tastes and aromas that your favorite strain of Thin Mint Girl Scout Cookies has to offer. This may not seem like a big deal when all you care about is getting high, but improving the flavor can only add to the amazing experience.
Grinding your marijuana into usable pieces can be done in half the time it would take you to do it by hand. That means you can get to smoking much sooner. ‘Nuff said.
As we mentioned, ground marijuana is more potent than whole buds. That means you don’t have to use as much of the ground stuff to feel the same effects and you can stretch that ounce of Yoda OG even farther.
Less Harsh Smoke
This may not sound like a good thing, but it is. Small grounds burn more evenly and more completely. That cuts down on the unburned plant matter that can harsh your experience and cause you to hack up a lung.
Sure, you can still carry your bud in a baggie, but c’mon man. This is the 21st century! It looks much cooler if you transport your weed in a grinder. Plus, your stash will be protected by the top, bottom, and sides of the grinder. That just makes good sense.
So what are you waiting for? Run (seriously, run!) out and get yourself a grinder. Then come back and we’ll show you how to use it.
How To Use A Grinder
Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to use a grinder. Enjoy!
1) Load Your Grinder
Remove the lid. With your fingers, break your bud into smaller pieces. Don’t put anything in the middle of the grinder. This is where everything pivots. Anything placed in the center won’t get ground.
2) Grind Your Ganja
Replace the lid. Hold the bottom of the grinder with one hand and rotate the lid with the other hand. At first, there will be some resistance, so give it a little muscle. Rotate the grinder until you feel the resistance disappear.
3) Tap That Grinder
Before removing the lid on either collection chamber, give your grinder a tap against the table or the palm of your hand. This helps dislodge the cannabis into the collection chamber and pushes more kief through the screen.
4) Collect Your Cannabis
Separate the grinding chamber from the collection chamber and scoop out your newly ground weed. Be careful not to damage the screen if you’re using a four-piece grinder.
If this is your first grind, you may not have much kief, but you can separate the kief chamber from the collection chamber to see for yourself. Eventually, it’ll be full of powdery goodness!
5) Enjoy The Fruits Of Your Labor
At this point, the sky’s the limit on what you can do with your ganja grounds. Here are just a few suggestions:
- Roll a joint (it’s super easy with ground-up bud)
- Roll a cross joint
- Pack a bowl
- Steep some weed tea
- Whip up a batch of your favorite edibles
If you have more patience than we do, you could use this cannabis to make a tincture, isolate, extract, or oil.
Tips For How To Use A Grinder
After a few uses, you’ll get the hang of your grinder and figure out what produces the best finished product. Here are just a few tips to get you started:
- Opt for an aluminum or zinc grinder (if you can afford it)
- Get one with plenty of teeth and holes
- Don’t overfill the grinding chamber (the finished product won’t be as fine)
- Turn the grinder upside down for a few turns
- Put a clean coin in the collection chamber to help knock the kief through the screen
There really are very few downsides to using a grinder, so we encourage you to give one a try today. If you’re still unsure whether a grinder is for you, talk the budtenders at your local dispensary.
They probably have a few floor-model grinders laying around that you can try before you buy. If you have them walk you through the process first, you might pick up more tips to make your marijuana-grinding experience even better.
Not sure how to use a grinder? The experts at Honest Marijuana tell you everything you need to know about this essential piece of stoner hardware.