If you've ever broken up cannabis flower by hand, you know it can be a tedious, labor-intensive process. Luckily, grinders serve to make it quick and easy to break your dry flower into fine pieces in no time. A quality cannabis grinder can be a trusty companion for all types of sessions. Learn all cannabis grinders, including definition, how they work, how they're sold, how they're made, and more.
What is a Cannabis Grinder?
A cannabis grinder helps cut through dried cannabis flower. Typically round and filled with small prongs, grinders help break down cannabis quickly, as well as sort out and collect the potent kief, which is often wasted when breaking up buds by hand. Cannabis grinders offer a boost to every session, saving time and making it easier to pack your bowl, joint, or vaporizer.
Grinders come in a wide range of sizes and styles, each catered to specific needs including grind size, captured materials, and portability. Some models are simple, composed of two interlocking pieces. Others are more complicated, comprised of as many as five pieces that can be swapped in and out to alter the composition of the final product. Each of these pieces fits together to form separate "chambers," which are central to the way a grinder works.
How do Cannabis Grinders work?
The two key components of a cannabis grinder are the lid, which has teeth for grinding and keeps the grinder secure, and the chamber, which has it's own set of teeth and in some cases is used for storage.
The first chamber of any cannabis grinder, known as the grinding chamber, features “teeth” on either side. The teeth tear through the flower from both sides of the grinder, shredding the bud into finer, more manageable pieces.
Additional chambers, if included, are intended for capturing and storing different parts of the cannabis bud. A second chamber, typically known as a "nug catcher," is intended for capturing ground flower "nugs" for use or storage. A third chamber, typically known as a "kief catcher," is a fine screen designed to catch and store powder-like crystals known as kief. Kief is trichomes that have separated from the cannabis bud, and have the highest levels of cannabinoids and trichomes.
Regardless of the number of chambers, the basic functionality remains to grind the cannabis flower into usable formats. The design you choose is based on your specific needs
What are the types of Cannabis Grinders?
The market for cannabis grinders is vast, but generally there are three types of grinders you will encounter. Grinders are typically identified by the number of pieces they include, which gives you information about how they function.
- Two-piece grinders: The simplest type of grinder on the market, a two-piece grinder simply features two discs that each contain teeth. These grinders are designed for quick, basic grinding at a low price tag.
- Three-piece grinders: Three-piece grinders enable the storage aspect by creating the second chamber, into which the ground flower falls after it is cut apart by the metal teeth. These models begin to include design variants, like a mill handle crank that can be used in place of the "twisting" action.
- Four-piece grinders: These types of grinders have three distinct chambers. The third chamber generally serves as a "kief catcher.” These grinders tend to be the most elaborate models on the market.
Grinders can also vary in size, which determines how much dry herb you can grind and story at any given time. Cannabis grinders typically vary in size from 1.5" to 3" in diameter. You can find outliers that are more compact or larger depending on your needs.
In addition to these manually operated cannabis grinders, electric herb grinder have started to emerge in the market. Electric cannabis grinders bring grinding time down to seconds with battery powered operation. These units vary in functionality, with some grinding through a funnel or spout, while others more closely resemble an electric coffee grinder.
What are Cannabis Grinders made of?
Cannabis grinders are most often made from metal, wood, or acrylic. Below we will outline the different materials available and their relevant uses.
- Metals:Most cannabis grinders are made of some type of metal, though the specific material varies. Popular brands have used anodized aluminum or zinc alloy. Some will even use stainless steel, though it is less common. Metal is prized for it's durability and strength.
- Wood: While metal is overwhelmingly the dominant material used in cannabis grinders, you can also find wooden grinders. Typically, the exterior components will be made of wood and the interior will be made of metal.
- Acrylic: Acrylic is a cost-effective alternative to metal and wood for cannabis grinders. Acrylic grinders can come in variety of colors as well as translucent and transparent.
You can determine which type of grinder is best for you by considering how frequently you will use it. Metal grinders are the best for regular, hardy use, while wooden grinders can be used in a similar, heavy fashion without impacting its functionality. An acrylic grinder tends to wear down quickly and even break with excessive use, but it typically costs less.
How do I use a Cannabis Grinder?
Most cannabis grinders are relatively simple to use. If your cannabis grinder is in separate pieces, assemble it so that each component is snugly connected to the next. Oftentimes, the first chamber – where the metal teeth will grind up your flower – is connected by a small magnet. When you are ready, remove the lid to this chamber and press a small amount of flower into the metal teeth of the first chamber. Replace the lid and twist the two pieces in opposite directions back and forth until the flower is of desired size.
Once the flower is ground you should no longer feel any resistance while twisting. That signals that all your material is fine enough to pass into the second chamber (if you have a three- or four-piece grinder.) If you have a four-piece grinder, give it a light shake or a few taps to ensure all the kief falls into the third chamber before opening your grinder.
Unscrew the second chamber of your grinder to reveal the now-ground flower inside. Take the required amount to pack whatever device you are using in your session and leave the rest for later. However, if you're planning on storing the flower long-term, it might be wise to remove it from the grinder and place it in an airtight jar to preserve its freshness.
Closing thoughts on Cannabis Grinders
There are many cannabis grinders on the market today. Some stand out for their unique designs, while others excel when it comes to durability. Which type you choose depends on the style that is best for your purposes but be sure to do some research to ensure you choose a cannabis grinder that will work well for years to come.
The best grinder for you might not be the best for someone else. As it is with most accessories, the most effective and dependable grinder is going to be the one that is best suited to your ideal session. Quality of design, durability of materials, and maintenance can also ensure a long shelf life and guarantee your grinder serves you well for years to come.