Steel Blade Grinder versus Burr Grinder

The eternal battle of coffee grinders. However, is it really a fair battle?

What is the difference between Steel Blade and Burr Coffee Grinders?


The Design: A double-pronged blade at the bottom of a chamber that spins rapidly, chopping up the coffee beans.  Most of them have a single button that, when pressed, causes the blade to spin.

Krups Coffee Grinder Steel Blade

Krups Coffee Grinder Steel Blade


The Process: Coffee beans that are hit by the blade are broken apart into different sized pieces. The fine grounds fall to the bottom of the grinder where the blade is and get chopped again. The big grounds stay at the top and may get hit by the blade.


The Result: Coffee grounds of all shapes and sizes, depending on how long you press down the button of the grinder. Beans are essentially chopped caused irregularities in size and shape of the ground coffee. How coarse or fine the coffee is ground depends entirely on the duration the blades spin when the button is manually pressed.



The Design: Two burr pieces funnel the beans through the grinding area where the beans are ground to a uniform size.

A look at the blades inside a burr coffee grinder

Inside a Burr Grinder

The Process: Burrs are either moved closer or farther apart to adjust the size of your coffee grounds.


The Result: Uniform sized grounds are produced based on the exact setting desired.



CONICAL COFFEE GRINDERS have a cone-shaped ring that sits inside another cone-shaped ring that’s hallow. Beans are directed down through the burrs at a slight angle, but the path is essentially vertical. Conical burr grinders are commonly available in manual (hand crank) at a low entry price point or electric conical coffee grinders.


FLAT BURR GRINDERS have two rings of burrs that sit horizontal to the ground. One faces upwards and the other faces down. Coffee beans drop between the burrs, are ground through the burrs and then drop again. Flat burr grinders are almost exclusively the higher priced electric models.


Scorecard Burr versus Blade Coffee Grinders


Not really. Burr coffee grinders are the clear winner of this battle. For us coffee lovers we never sacrifice quality. We never want anything messing up our coffee experience. So, whatever promotes leaving the flavors and aroma of the coffee beans intact, is our winner.