If you've decided to take the next step in getting fresh coffee each morning, you'll be in the market for a good grinder for your coffee beans. Don't grab the first cheap grinder you find. Learn about grinders before making your choice.
Blade or Burr
There are 2 basic types of coffee grinder, ones with metal blades and ones with burrs. The blade style grinders are usually cheaper, but will allow much less control over your fineness levels. Understanding the differences can help you make your choice.
How much control do you want to have over the fineness of your finished ground coffee? If you always use one particular brewing method, then you may not need much range for your grinder. But anyone who likes to experiment with different brewing styles will also want to be able to grind their coffee to different coarseness levels. Some machines offer no specific control, and you just have to judge by eye when your grind is done. Some offer only 3 or 4 specific levels, and higher end machines have up to 30 or more different settings for fineness.
The power or strength of a grinder motor is measured in Watts, and can range from around 150 to nearly 300 for the more expensive models. Less powerful grinders are more likely to jam or may burn out sooner with frequent use.
If you only grind enough for one pot of coffee at a time, then you don't need to worry about having a large bean capacity. But if you prefer to grind several days worth of coffee at one time, then make sure to check the size of the hopper. Some grinders will only hold a few ounces of beans, whereas some will hold a quarter pound or more.
Cannister or Not
Most grinders will have a cannister for the finished ground coffee to be deposited in. Don't make any assumptions and take a peek before you buy. You don't want your fresh coffee to be poured out onto the counter because you didn't know you needed to place a container to catch the grounds.
Auto Off Feature
A very minor feature, but an important one. For small hand-held models, its not relevant, but its nice to be able to leave a larger countertop grinder alone while it's working, knowing that the burrs or blades won't keep spinning aimlessly once the beans are ground. Saves wear and tear on the parts and motor.