An Herb Grinder Overview


An Herb Grinder is one of the most essential pieces of equipment any patient will need in order to process their medicine for proper and effective use. This article aims to give new patients a quick overview of the various types of grinders on the market and some advice on how to select one that is right for you. To see a selection of some of the top herb grinders check ReadRate&’s List of Best Herb Grinders.

Herb Grinder

Electric Vs Manual Herb Grinder

The top level distinction in the herb grinder world are electric vs manual grinders. Electric grinders are typically repurposed coffee or spice grinders with a few cannabis specific grinders finding their way onto store shelves. These do an excellent job on dry medicine but for fresher stickier medicine they don’t perform as well due to the traditional blender style blade design. They cost more, require batteries, and are trickier to clean than a manual grinder. Manual grinders are the most popular type and have cannabis specific blade designs and other features like kief screens for sifting and collecting trichomes for hash or other uses. The lower cost and abundance of design styles also makes them a popular choice. Manual grinders come in many different diameters and heights allowing for a variety of grinding and storage capacities depending your particular needs. As a rule of thumb, wider grinders grind more at a time and taller grinders have more storage capacity.

Single Compartment or 2 Piece

One of the most basic types of manual grinder is the single compartment grinder. Consisting of a top and bottom half it grinds and stores medicine in the same compartment. These grinders are the easiest to use but have the fewest features. Being among the least expensive grinders you can find them made of wood with nails, or made of plastic with plastic teeth, or made of die cast aluminum and in some cases the more expensive ones will be made of CNC machined aluminum. Single compartment grinders can also be found attached to the bottoms of cannabis specific medicine bottles. The pros of this kind of grinder are smaller size for portability, low cost for the budget conscious, and ease of use. The cons include lack of kief separation and it can be easily jammed because the ground material isn’t removed from the grinding compartment causing a build up of material. Usually smaller amounts of medicine have to be ground at a time to prevent clogging. Single compartment grinders also need more frequent cleaning since ground material and trichomes build up in the corners and on the teeth due to compaction during grinding.

Double Compartment or 3 Piece

The next evolution in manual grinders is the double compartment grinder which comes in two variations. The first variation separates the ground material from the grinding chamber into a storage chamber using drop through holes. This makes grinding much easier and less susceptible to jamming. It adds height, weight, and cost to the grinder but improves performance and functionality. The grinding chamber stays cleaner longer since there is less compaction of ground material and kief resulting in less build up. The main weakness in this design is the lack of kief separation. The second variation on the double compartment adds a kief screen to the drop out holes meaning only the trichomes fall through giving you kief separation but the ground material remains in the grinding chamber similar to the single chamber designs. This design allows for kief collection, limits kief build up in the grinding chamber but limits the amount of medicine you can grind at a time because the material isn’t evacuated from the chamber causing jamming with fuller loads. Double compartment grinders are understandably more expensive than single and are usually made of higher quality materials such as CNC machined or die cast aluminum as opposed to plastic or wood.

Triple Compartment or 4 Piece

Triple compartment or 4 piece grinders are the most functional type of manual grinder. These grinders separate the ground material from the grinding chamber and also separates the kief from the storage chamber giving you the best of both worlds. Something that a double compartment grinder can’t do. This type of grinder has the least amount of build up in the grinding chamber and is the most versatile. The majority of 4pc grinders are made of CNC aluminum with the exception of a few wooden designs. Higher end 4pc grinders such as the Kannastor line of grinders even have options such as see through jars, cranks, and interchangeable mesh screens. See through jars allow you to determine how much medicine you have left, the cranks add speed, and different mesh sizes allows you to tailor the purity of your kief. The main drawback to 4pc grinders is it’s bulky size, weight, and higher cost.

Herb Grinder Cards

The last type of herb grinder you should be familiar with is the Grinder Card type. These grinders are the size of a credit card and functions exactly like a grater. These grinders are made by V-Syndicate and come in a variety of designs but all are made of metal for durability. Similar to coffee grinds these grinders come in 3 different grind sizes; fine, med, and coarse depending on your use. For example vaporizers tend to work better with finer grinds. Edible extractions like cannabutteror cannaoil also work better with finer grinds. These grinders are the most portable of all the types because it has the exact same dimensions as a credit card and fit into any wallet.

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