4 min

An Ultimate Guide To Grinders

4 min

An exhaustive guide on grinders. You will find out how to best choose a grinder so it suits your needs; also, you will find information on what to look for and what to avoid.

The main purpose of a grinder is to grind down weed; the same can also be effectively accomplished using your hands. There is no actual need to use a grinder, but once you try it there is a good chance you will continue to use it. A grinder makes grinding weed a much faster and cleaner experience than doing it with your hands. Also, it is worthy to note that some grinders can isolate and store kief (fine trichome rich powder) while doing their primary task of grinding weed.

Grinders made from various materials and come in many sizes and shapes, but what separates good grinder from the bad one? The more expensive the better is the rule that often doesn’t apply when shopping for grinders.

GrinderView Grinders



The first thing to think about when shopping for grinders is what is it that you are actually looking for, or in other words, what will you be using your grinder for.

The basic difference between grinders is the number of pieces they are made from; the number of pieces ranges from two to four, or more recently five.

Two piece grinders are the simplest of grinders you can get and they perform only one task: grind weed. These grinders are the smallest and easiest to carry; they easily fit any pocket. The simplicity of the design makes for very reliable and consistent grinding. On the other hand, when using two piece grinders getting all of the weed out will usually be a process which will make you get your hands a bit dirty. The cheapest of all types of grinders, two piece grinders are the best choice for casual smokers and those that have to carry their grinder around.

Three piece grinders include an additional container to which the weed drops when grinding it. Some three piece grinders include a metal mesh which separates kief. Kief is a fine trichome powder with high cannabinoid levels and can be enjoyed separately; if kief is not separated in the grinding process it remains a part of ground cannabis.

Four piece grinders offer a dedicated chamber for storing kief as well as a mesh that filters it. Other than that they are the same as three piece grinders. For those that grind a lot of cannabis and want the extra value of storing kief a three piece grinder with a kief mesh or a four piece grinder is a must. The downside of three piece and four piece grinder is a relatively complex design which makes getting a quality product a lot harder; also, the number of pieces makes the cleaning process longer and more tedious.


MATERIALS Cannabis grinder

There are several materials grinders can be made of plastic, zinc, aluminum, wood, soapstone, titanium…

To be clear from the start, plastic and zinc grinders are not top quality products.

Even with great design, those materials are the easiest to break down and pollute the weed being ground. Also, the materials don’t offer great durability or resilience; the grinder falling down on the ground or accidentally sitting on the grinder is likely to break it.

There are not a lot of titanium grinders on the market and for a good reason; titanium is extremely expensive and the added durability and quality are not worth the money. A titanium grinder is a luxury item and solely a thing of prestige.

Wood and soapstone make for very visually attractive grinders but when it comes to wear and tear and hygiene they fall behind top quality products.

The best grinders on the market are made from aluminum. The material is durable and safe. Piercings and some medical equipment are also made from aluminum. Although there are no official medical grade grinders on the market, aluminum is considered medically safe. Anodized aluminum offers extra strength as well as some visual appeal.

It is worth noting that the market offers grinders made from a lot more materials than described here, but as with all new products, the jury is not out on them yet.

An important note when looking for grinders is to favor the grinders which have the teeth and the surrounding material made out of a single piece; it ensures resilience and ease of cleaning. The fewer nooks and crannies a grinder has, the easier it is to clean spaces weed can get stuck in.


QUALITY Grinders

When you get a new grinder you should definitely make a quality test. It will ensure safety and provide satisfaction with your new product.

The first and most important step to the quality test is also known as the paper test.

  1. Clean the grinder with water and leave it to dry

  2. Turn it several times with nothing inside, no metal shavings should be visible. If there are visible metal shavings the teeth are misaligned and you should return the grinder.

  3. Put some white paper in the grinder and grind it. The paper shouldn’t be colored after you grind it. If it is colored the grinder is soft or overly reactive and you should return the grinder.

A new clean grinder should always be twisting smoothly. Smooth twisting ensures no excessive force needs to be used when grinding and no wear and tear occurs while twisting. You can check the edges where the lid connects with the base for irregularities as an indicator quality.

Any squeaking when turning the grinder is usually a sign of a poorly aligned grinder. The squeaking sound is produced from the grinder rubbing against itself, which leads to wear and tear, and possibly pollution of the weed being ground.

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As a part of a quality test, you should check the quality of the magnet holding the lid. Aluminum grinders usually have better magnets, but that is no guarantee. Give the grinder a few spins, turn it in your hand and check if the lid is holding up. Try holding the grinder by the lid and lightly shaking it; good quality grinders should pass the test. A good magnet will last you for several years with no diminished performance.


Design Grinder

Other than the hugely important quality of manufacture a thing to look for in a grinder are design pros and cons. Some of those might be subjective and depending on use, while others simply objective deficiencies.

  • Teeth

Teeth in a grinder come in various shapes, sizes, and density. The two most commonly used shapes are the spear-like sharp tip teeth and diamond-shaped sharp side teeth. The diamond shaped teeth are better for most uses as they grind up the weed faster and better. The advantage of sharp tip teeth is that you can grind up weed without grinding the stem. The denser the teeth set-up the less weed you can put in your grinder, but the weed is ground much faster.

  • SIZE

Size preference is entirely subjective. You want a grinder that is large enough to grind the amount of weed you usually grind, but still easy to handle and comfortable.


When it comes to three and four piece grinders closing and opening a grinder becomes an issue worth looking into. If the treads aren’t aligned properly, you will have issues opening and closing the compartment easily; that is definitely something to avoid. Another aspect is how many turns does it take to open the compartment; while most users won’t think much of this, those that use their grinder often want it to open fast, keep it in mind.


Hole size in three and four piece grinders is also a thing of preference. If you like your weed finer you want smaller holes, but some of the smaller sized holes don’t allow weed to pass at all. Most three and four piece grinders can be turned upside down to provide finer ground weed.

It is important that the kief mesh in not close to the holes, as a lot of weed will get stuck.

As already said grinders can consist of two pieces up to four pieces. What follows are examples of good and affordable grinders in each of those categories: Zamnesia Acrylic GrinderGR8TR Wooden Grinder With Jar (RYOT)Zamnesia Premium Grinder.

Now you are equipped with the knowledge to help you tackle the tricky grinder market. Choose your budget, have our tips in mind and start browsing. Happy grinding.

Steven Voser
Steven Voser
Steven Voser is an independent cannabis journalist with over 6 years of experience writing about all things weed; how to grow it, how best to enjoy it, and the booming industry and murky legal landscape surrounding it.
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