The Complete Guide to Cannabis Grinders
The purpose of a grinder is to shred and cut the cannabis into smaller particles. This process makes it easier to smoke marijuana. It also increases the surface area of the plant matter, which ensures better flavor. This guide looks at how a cannabis grinder functions, the different types, and outlines how to clean one. It also investigates the best options on the market and concludes with tips on finding the best cannabis grinder.
How Does a Cannabis Grinder Work?
The best grinders make it easy to shred marijuana buds. Doing this makes it simpler to pack a bowl or roll a joint. It also provides a smoother smoking experience. You don’t necessarily need a grinder. You can use your hands, keys & cards, scissors, a coffee grinder, or other household items. However, a grinder does a far better job.
It is a tool specifically designed to grind cannabis. It should also have ‘extras’ such as a handy kief catcher that gathers the potent crystals knocked off the plant material when you grind it. You can use kief to increase the THC content of a joint or bowl.
Why Not Buy Pre-Ground Cannabis?
It is unwise to buy pre-ground herbs because dried buds become stale over time. If you see already ground bud, there’s a good chance it has already lost much of its flavor. To get the best out of your cannabis, you need to keep the buds intact until it is time to use them. This is where a grinder comes in useful.
Type of Cannabis Grinder
In general, you’ll find four types of cannabis grinders available for commercial sale. The following relates to hand grinders capable of handling a few grams at a time.
Two-Piece Single-Chamber Grinder
This is the grinder of choice for marijuana users on a budget. It is a basic design with both parts containing sharp teeth. These grinders have no kief catcher, and the crystals usually get stuck to the chamber’s sides. Typically, these items are made from metal, plastic, or wood.
Which will come out on top?…
Four-Piece Three-Chambers Grinder
This is the cannabis grinder best suited to regular users. Each of the three chambers has a specific function:
- One for the bud you want to grind
- One for the bud you’ve already ground
- One for catching kief
These are quite expensive but provide you with an immense level of convenience. It is best to find a battery-powered one. Otherwise, you’ll need to find a power outlet for a plug. The other downside with electric grinders is that they can demolish your cannabis. In general, you should only use one of these devices if you need to grind a large amount of marijuana in a short timeframe.
This is the least popular option, and you won’t find much of a difference between the top brands. Advantages of card grinders include low cost and being easy to store and carry. The design is very basic: A metal card with numerous small holes for grinding. They look like food graters but using one typically results in a mess.
How to Use a Cannabis Grinder
While each one has the same function, they don’t necessarily work in the same way. Here is how to use each of the four cannabis grinder types outlined above.
Using this type of grinder is very easy. Place your buds in one part, close the two pieces together and start rotating. Keep spinning the device until you feel no further resistance as you grind. Place the ground bud into a container and knock the two pieces together upside-down to remove whatever gets stuck. If any large buds remain, put them back inside and start grinding again.
Using this one is slightly more complicated but is still fairly easy.
- Remove the top lid and add the buds to the chamber designed for grinding. It is helpful to use your hands to reduce the size of the buds. Avoid putting anything in the middle, as this is where the grinder’s magnet turns. As a result, buds you place in this area don’t get shredded.
- Put the lid back on and rotate the grinder. Keep rotating it for as long as it takes for all plant material to fall through the holes. Remove the lid and tap it against the grinder’s side to loosen the bud stuck in the teeth.
- Unscrew the chamber that holds the ground bud, and you’ll see the fruits of your labor. Load the bud into a bowl or joint and enjoy the experience.
- You should also check the kief chamber regularly to see if there is enough to add to a joint or bowl.
A lot depends on the brand as one electric grinder could have different instructions than another. Generally, however, the process will look like the following:
- Unscrew the glass chamber and place the buds inside.
- Put the chamber back in and press the power button.
- Switch off the power from the mains and check to ensure the bud is well ground. If it isn’t, switch the power back on.
- Clean the device thoroughly after use.
Finding a suitable ‘workspace’ is essential given how easy it is to lose bud when using a card grinder. Although you can get by with a flat table or even a book in a pinch, a rolling tray is ideal. Here’s how to use a card grinder:
- Keep the marijuana between the thumb and forefinger of your dominant hand. It is best if the plant material sticks out from the bottom of these two fingers.
- Proceed to grate the bud like you’re grating cheese. Use a reasonable degree of force and push the bud through the card with your fingers if necessary.
- Reposition the marijuana as necessary for better efficiency and cut down on the wear and tear on your fingers!
- Pick up whatever large chunks that fall and grind them down.
- Continue grinding in this fashion until you’re happy with the consistency of the cannabis buds.
How to Clean a Cannabis Grinder
There will come a time when you have to give your grinder a deep clean. Incidentally, make sure you clean it thoroughly when you first buy it. The shipping process could leave residues you don’t want in your cannabis. In an ideal world, you’ll clean your grinder after every single use. This ensures that you’re not mixing old buds with new plant material.
If you don’t clean your grinder for a while, you’ll eventually notice a resin build-up. It will cause the threading on the sides where you screw the pieces together to get sticky. This means you won’t be able to twist them. If this happens, here’s what to do:
- Use salt and isopropyl alcohol on the stickiest parts.
- Knock the kief loose with a small brush.
- Consider freezing your grinder before cleaning the kief, as this makes it harder for the resin to stick to things.
A must read if you hate wastin…
Alternatively, you can soak your grinder in warm water, salt, and isopropyl solution after each use. This should make it easy to wipe clean.
If your grinder no longer functions well, it is time to replace it even after a deep clean. You should also buy a new one if you cannot clean the sticky kief properly. It is possible to get a reasonably good four-piece grinder for around $50. However, the top brands can charge over $100. Care for it correctly, and it should last you a long time. There are cheap two-piece grinders available for less than $20 if you’re on an extremely tight budget.
Who Sells the Best Cannabis Grinders on the Market?
Marijuana users have a wide range of options. Here are three of the best choices in the four cannabis grinder categories outlined above.
- Cali Crusher
- Croc Crusher 1.5”
- Masterdam Grinders Anodized Aluminum
- Santa Cruz Shredder
- Marley Natural Wood Grinder
- Higher Standards Aerospaced
- LONZEN Rechargeable Electric Dry Herb Grinder
- Banana Bros. Otto
- Quant Premium Electric Grinder
- G Card Grinder
- Tokyo Smoke Dot Infinity Grinder Card
- Vsyndicate Caterpillar Nonstick Grinder Card
Shopping for Weed Grinders? Here Are Some Quick Tips
It is all too easy to pick the first cannabis grinder on the list above. However, there are a few things to consider before investing.
- Material: Above all else, make sure the grinder is made from premium-quality aluminum. Such devices are safer and more durable than their plastic counterparts.
- Teeth Shape & Quantity: There is nothing better than a marijuana grinder with razor-sharp diamond-shaped teeth. This tooth shape does an excellent job of grinding smaller particles and provides a smooth and consistent grind. Also, while it is tempting to focus on grinders with a large number of teeth, bear in mind that too many teeth can result in clogging. For reference, 30-40 teeth is a good range for a 2.5-inch grinder.
- Storage & Size: Simply put, the larger the storage and device, the more cannabis you can grind at once. Consider how much weed you intend to grind at a time before making a purchasing decision. As an aside, a magnetic lid is useful as it prevents the smell of weed from escaping. However, remember that large grinders aren’t discreet and are perhaps unsuitable for travel. 1.5-inch grinders can fit in your pocket, whereas 3-inch devices are far more noticeable.
- Grip: If a grinder doesn’t provide a strong grip, turning it can soon become a literal pain! Less force is required with a good grip, ensuring smoother and easier operation.
- Performance: If you’re a regular marijuana user, a cheap and cheerful grinder will cause more problems than it solves. Ultimately, it is best to pay as much as you can afford for a grinder that operates efficiently and effectively.
Consider your budget, and don’t be afraid to pay an extra $10-20 for a top-notch cannabis grinder as it could last several years. To make things easier, here are three reputable online stores that sell marijuana grinders:
I believe these 3 are affiliates; they are in the ‘Bongs’ tab on the Partners Sheet
Final Thoughts on Cannabis Grinders
Ultimately, it is a good idea to grind your marijuana buds before smoking them. You’ll enjoy a smoother, more flavorful smoke with a lower chance of coughing!
Look for a four-piece cannabis grinder with three chambers as these products are affordable and come with a kief catcher. Finally, make sure you clean your grinder regularly to get rid of the sticky mess.
Why You Need a Cannabis Grinder and How to Best Use it
Breaking up cannabis, whether you do it with a grinder or manually, is a minor but essential aspect of the smoking session. Every seasoned cannabis user has a preferred method for grinding their cannabis.
It doesn’t matter if you’re a recreational or medical cannabis user – investing in a good marijuana grinder can benefit you in many ways. Most cost just $10 a piece – you’ve got absolutely nothing to lose and, for a fact, you’re making things a lot faster and convenient for yourself at the end of the day.
If you prefer to consume your cannabis in edible form, a grinder can be very useful as it will quickly let you prepare your herb for cooking or baking, even if you’re not using an extractor.
What is a Marijuana Grinder Exactly? Components Explained
It’s unfortunate that grinders don’t get as much press like the rest of the ‘cool cannabis accessories’ like vaping devices, dabbing rigs and blunt rolling papers, for instance. However, they are an essential piece of the cannabis preparation process that no connoisseur should bypass.
Before we explain how to make the most of a cannabis grinder, let’s quickly go over what it is and how it works.
A grinder is a small palm-sized container that has ‘teeth’ capable of effortlessly grinding chunks of cannabis into, well, smaller and finer chunks. It’s also one of the best ways to extract kief from your herb.
All cannabis grinders have three main components: the grinding chamber, teeth/pegs to do the grinding, and a lid to keep it secured inside.
Sounds pretty basic, right? Sounds simple in theory but grinders are available in several sizes – it’s up to you to decide what you need. At a glance, there are three types of grinders common among cannabis users:
- Single chamber 2-piece grinder
- Twin-chamber 3-piece grinder
- Tri-chamber 4-piece grinder
If you find these naming conventions potentially confusing, here are brief explanations to set the record straight:
Two-piece grinders, as one might imagine, has 2 basic components: a hockey-puck sized bowl (the single chamber) and a lid. When you secure the lid over the bowl, you have a single chamber.
Imagine a 2-piece grinder which has a lid and a bowl. Add one more piece underneath. So you have three pieces, isn’t that right?
Starting from the top, you have the lid, which has teeth/peg to do the actual grinding. Right below the lid is the grinding chamber, which may also have teeth/pegs. So, in a 3-piece twin-chamber grinder, the base of the grinding chamber has holes so that the ground-up bud can fall through – the former (2-piece grinder) will not have those holes.
When you chop up your herb into fine pieces in the grinder, it falls right through the holes and into the collection chamber. All you have to do is unscrew the bottom chamber for the collected herb to be used.
To quickly reiterate – you have a collection chamber, grinding bowl and a lid – this constitutes a 2-chamber/3-piece grinder.
In this configuration, the collection chamber houses a tiny mesh screen rather than a solid, flat bottom. Right under the collection chamber is the ‘magic compartment’ – the kief chamber.
As you keep grinding, the larger ground-up buds collect up in the collection chamber. Without pausing, the consistent grinding will lead to small materials that resemble pollens – these fall through the mesh screen and into the bottom chamber. That’s your kief.
Just to reiterate – you have a collection chamber and screen, grinding bowl, lid and kief chamber at the very bottom – which constitutes a 3-chamber/4-piece grinder.
Since we’re now familiar with the common types of grinders available and their underlying components, let’s shed some light on why so many cannabis users prefer using grinders:
Benefits and Uses of Cannabis Grinders
Cannabis bud trichomes is where the highest concentrations of cannabinoids (CBD and THC) as well as terpenes are found. You really want to extract these tiny, frosty crystals, especially if you’re consuming high quality cannabis strains.
Grinding cannabis in a grinder is done mainly for two reasons – first and foremost, to get a nice and even, solid burn in your bowl, blunt or joint; and second, to have heat evenly distributed over nearly every trichome – allowing you to extract the most ‘goodness’ from your cannabis bud material.
An important aspect to consider when it comes to cannabis grinding, is that the grinding consistency fairly depends on how you intent to consume your herb. For instance, if you prefer smoking your herb in a bong, you definitely do not want to make the mistake of grinding too finely as it may actually enter the pipe, causing you to cough unnecessarily due to the much harsher hits.
It’s a no-brainer that cannabis needs to be grinded properly to enjoy the best effects – in addition, here are specific benefits of using a cannabis grinder:
Without a doubt, the best way to ground your cannabis evenly is through a grinder. This is an important step because it ensures that the extraction of the plant’s compounds is even – whether you prefer using a traditional pipe or a vaporiser.
If you happen to be a blunt or joint smoker, consistently ground cannabis makes for an even burn all the way to the end, and also ensures easy rolling.
Ideally, you’d really want to get a grinder just to cut your herb to an even consistency every single time.
Larger and Denser Bowls
You’ve probably heard many consumers swearing by the fact that loading up whole or loosely broken buds into bongs or pipes produces really potent hits. However, we would suggest grinding your product every time to get the best, most potent hits.
When you grind your stuff, you can easily pack it into bigger and denser bowls. Sure, you’ll end up using more product to fill out the bowl properly – but you don’t have to do this every time and can certainly fill your bowl up half way if you like.
By grounding up your cannabis properly, what you’re doing is increasing the surface area of the stuff that’s in your bowl – which equals not only a more potent, but a cleaner burn. Furthermore, ground bud in your bowl means easier draws, making the overall experience more enjoyable.
Many among us prefer to use a vaporiser and that’s great too! In this case, we’d highly recommend cannabis that’s grounded properly. Since vaporisers work on the basis of the convective heating or conductive heating principle, grinding your cannabis means you’re exposing a higher surface area to the heat – allowing for improved extraction of those wonderful compounds present in the buds.
On the other hand, if you attempt to load a whole bud or one that is not properly grinded, you’re not going to get that highly desirable thick and consistent vapour – due to insufficient heat from the vape which is needed to toast the bud’s core.
Your Super-easy Guide to Using a Marijuana Grinder
Here it is – an easy-to-follow, step-by-step guide:
Load Your Grinder
Twist and remove the lid. Using your fingers, break the initial piece of cannabis into smaller pieces. There’s no need to place anything in the middle of your herb grinder because this space is simply there to allow everything to pivot.
Grind Your Herb
Now replace the lid and firmly hold the base of the grinder with one hand. Rotate the lid with the other. You may feel a bit of resistance at first, so simply rotate the grinder until this resistance is gone.
Tap the Grinder
It’s important to follow this step before you remove the lid on either one of the collection chambers – give the grinder a tap against the palm of your hand or a table top. This will dislodge your stuff into the collection chamber. Why do we do this? To push as much kief as possible through the mesh screen.
Collect Your Herb
Now, we’ll go ahead and separate the collection chamber from the grinding chamber to scoop out the freshly ground herb. If you’re using a tri-chamber (4-piece) grinder, be extra careful as we don’t want to damage the screen.
Upon your very first attempt, you may notice that hardly any kief comes out – however, upon separating the kief chamber from the collection chamber, you’ll notice that it will be eventually full of the wonderful powdery delight.
You’re All Set!
We’re done with the grinding. Now, it’s up to you to decide what you want to do with the cannabis grounds. For example, you could:
- Steep a little marijuana tea
- Make a batch of edibles
- Roll a joint
- Pack a bowl
If you’re the patient kind, however, you can take this a step further to make cannabis extracts, oils, tinctures or isolates.
To conclude, there are hardly any downsides to using a grinder – in fact, now that we think about it, there are none!