How to Choose a Grinder

Choosing your first (or next) herb grinder can be an arduous task with all of the different options and evolving technology surrounding the fine art of shredding.  The Hippie Butler has quite an impressive selection of grinders, ranging from $2 to $1,500 by 15 brand names of every color, style, and size. Let’s make sure you choose a grinder that is perfect for your needs.

How to Choose an Herb Grinder

Grinder Features

Grinders are no longer two simple pieces of plastic that you spin together (although these still exist). These days, there are all different types of sizes, available compartments, grinding/shredding styles, grips, threadings and other features that will help you achieve a faster, smoother and more desirable grind of your product.

Standard Grinder Sizes

One of the first things you need to consider is what size grinder you need. This all comes down to your own personal consumption habits, but in general, you can follow this guide to help you choose.

Small / Mini Sized Grinders

Small grinders are normally 40-50mm (or ~1.5-2 inches) in diameter. You can even find some mini grinders coming in at 1″ across. This class is perfect for those looking for something that is discreet and easy to take with you during travel. They are also ideal for those who are looking to grind up a half gram or less of material at one time.

*The Grinder Card is also a great choice that falls into the mini category.

Medium Sized Grinders

Your next class of grinders is going to measure in at 62-70mm (or ~2.5-3 inches) in diameter. Medium sized grinders are a great middle ground for consumers as they offer a little bit of both worlds. They’re still fairly discreet and portable, but they offer quite a bit more room to grind your materials at one time. This size can usually handle grinding up to 2-3 grams of material at one time but still works perfectly for smaller hauls as well if you aren’t as big of a smoker.

Large Sized Grinders

Large grinders usually start at 75mm (or ~3 inches) in diameter and can go up to 110mm or larger. These fantastic beasts are perfect for one thing: plowing through large amounts of material. While these certainly aren’t grinders that you’ll be putting in your pocket, they are the premier class for heavy consumers looking to grind upwards of 3.5-7 grams at a time. Some of these shredders can even handle more than a half ounce of material in one go. Grinders are usually heavy, durable and high quality at this size range.

Grinder Compartments

When you’re shopping around for a grinder, you’ll notice there are many that are labeled by the number of compartments, or pieces, that they have. The most common terms that you will see are 2-piece, 3-piece, 4-piece and 5-piece grinders. The more pieces that a grinder has, the more functionality it will provide. Each compartment will provide a different utility, from grinding to collecting, to sifting and storing.

Herb Grinder Compartments

2-Piece Grinders

Two-piece grinders are the most basic and simple of all grinders, offering two separate pieces with sharp shredders on them that press together and grind up your product in between them. They also have the benefit of being the easiest to deal with when it comes to cleaning your grinder. When you’re done grinding, you’ll open it up and pour out the ground product on to your table or rolling tray. These are the least expensive option and work great for at-home use if grinding is all you wish to accomplish.

3-Piece Grinders

While not as popular as the 4-piece grinder, 3-piece grinders are an excellent upgrade from the simple 2-piece. In addition to the two shredding pieces, these grinders also provide you with an extra compartment for collecting and storing your ground up product. After a few seconds of grinding, all of your material will sift down into the 3rd compartment where you can either pour it out or store it for later use.

4-Piece Grinders

The most popular of all grinders: the 4-piece grinder. While similar to the 3-piece, this style of grinder adds a very useful and highly desirable function for many users. Utilizing a fine mesh screen, the 4th piece of this grinder is designed to sift and collect pollen from the ground up product that’s in the 3rd compartment of the grinder. After a few grinding sessions, you will end up with a nice collection of fine, concentrated pollen in the 4th compartment that you can either use or store for later use.

5-Piece Grinders

While less popular than the 4-piece grinder, these are the most advanced and versatile class of herb grinders on the market. Functionally, they operate the same as the 4-piece grinders, however, they offer 2 different sizes of mesh screen which will allow you to collect an even finer and purer collection of pollen in the 5th compartment. If you are big on the pollen-collecting functionality of a 4-piece grinder, you will definitely want to give a 5-piece grinder a try.

Common Grinder Materials

There was a time when grinders were only made out of cheap plastic. These days, there’s a wide selection of materials that herb grinders are made out of and which one you prefer is completely up to you.

Aluminum Grinders

Aluminum grinders are the most commonly manufactured and for good reason. They are durable and relatively inexpensive. Within this class of grinders comes a whole subset of aluminum types and qualities, most commonly: 1061 Aircraft Aluminum, 6061-T6, 7075, and Medical Grade Aluminum. There are all kinds of small differences between these types of aluminum, but for most users, any of these will serve you just fine.

Stainless Steel Grinders

100% stainless steel grinders are incredibly rare and if you do find one, you’ll pay a pretty penny for it. With that being said, many of the parts in your aluminum grinder will be made out of stainless steel such as the grinding teeth or the mesh screens. Stainless steel grinders are on another level of durability and are often made out of “surgical-grade” stainless steel.

Plastic / Acrylic Grinders

Plastic/acrylic grinders are the cheapest of all materials when it comes to grinders. Although they are not the most durable or long-lasting, they offer the least expensive price point which makes them a great option for smokers who need a simple and cheap solution to replace their fingers.

Wooden Grinders

You can find some amazingly artistic options when it comes to wooden grinders. While they aren’t the most effective or durable of grinder materials, they can still hold their own and offer a low price point for consumers who want something a little nicer than plastic.

24K Gold Grinders

This list wouldn’t be complete without including one of the most prestigious of materials used in grinder manufacturing. That’s right, a 24-karat gold plated grinder from Phoenician. If you can handle the $1,500 price tag, this medical-grade, 4-piece grinder can be yours to showcase your lavish lifestyle.

24K Gold Grinder from Phoenician

Unique Grinders

If you are looking for a unique grinder that offers more than your traditional style, we offer many styles of grinders that will fit your fancy.

Which Grinder is Right for Me?

When it comes down to it, no one grinder is right for every type of smoker – it all depends on your style, preferences, and budget. If you are having trouble deciding, send your correspondence to the Hippie Butler at [email protected] along with your budget and style preferences and he can recommend a perfect match for you.

Erinn Holman

A millennial writer who's passionate about alternative medicine, the smoking industry, and the Oxford comma.

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