Grinders: What Are They and How Do They Work? A Guide for Beginners

Grinders: What Are They and How Do They Work? A Guide for Beginners

Every smoker should have a grinder by them but not everyone knows what they are exactly. Far fewer even are the number of people who know how to use grinders properly! So, if you are a beginner, here’s all you need to know about grinders to get started.

What are Grinders?

Like the name itself suggests, a grinder is a small tool that smokers use to crush their cannabis seeds, tobacco leaves and medicinal herbs into a desired grind. Fine grinds make for the smoothest experience, whether you are planning to put it in a pipe or roll inside paper/wrap. If you have not used a grinder yet, you will be in for a surprise when you realise how much of a difference it does make on using it for the first time.

What are the Different Types of Grinders?

There are several different types of grinders, which are differentiated based on construction material and size (piece number). Let’s go through a brief introduction to know the different types and how they are differentiated from each other.

Plastic Grinders

Plastic grinders are named after their construction material, of course, but there’s more to it. What you should be looking for are plastic grinders that are made from acrylic polymer. Acrylic is exceptionally tough compared to other, cheaper plastic polymers, which is what makes them an affordable option for grinding down the herbs with ease. For those in business, there is a complete range of high-quality acrylic plastic grinders to choose from. There are plastic grinders in all shapes, colours, and sizes that any customer can possibly ask for.

Wood Grinders

They look classy and if you have the budget, can come with custom carvings and in intricate design patterns. However, note that they all have metal pins inside to do the actual grinding, so the quality of your grinder may have very little to do with wood beyond its aesthetic appeal. Unfortunately, wood grinders may not be able to justify their asking price.

The main issue with them is that they are harder to clean and tend to harbour bacteria and mould far more easily than any of the other materials which are used to manufacture weed grinders. Plastic grinders can also have similar issues, but they are easier to clean and cost a lot less than wood grinders.

Metal Grinders

Stainless steel grinders are the most durable and they offer a much better alternative to wood grinders. They are usually a lot more expensive than plastic grinders of course, but the longevity is to be considered as well. Aluminium is also used to manufacture metal grinders and they are much cheaper than their stainless-steel counterparts.

However, do not be misled by terms such as “aircraft grade” or “military grade” into thinking that they can be just as tough. Aluminium is a highly malleable metal, and it is valued and used because of that property, irrespective of where or how it is used. You are far better off buying plastic grinders instead if you don’t wish to spend money on a genuine stainless-steel grinder.


The next distinction is made based on a grinder’s size, or more accurately, the number of pieces it has. The minimum number of pieces that a grinder is supposed to have is two, aka, a 2-piece. These consist of just the two symmetrical pieces that grind the herbs. This simple device was the original design and although they don’t have a kief catcher, 2-pieces are cheaper to buy and easier to clean,


There is an added chamber in 3-piece grinders that collects the herb. They are much less messy since the grind doesn’t fall off or fly off as soon as you open the lid like it does in 2-piece grinders.


These add a kief catcher with a mesh filter to the 3-piece grinder and that does make a big difference. While more expensive, you should preferably invest in a 4-piece grinder.


There’s a 2nd kief catcher with an even finer mesh filter added to the bottom of a 4-piece grinder. While some may consider it unnecessarily bulky, they are the most premium option among herb pulverisers.

How to Use a Grinder?

Using a grinder is as simple as it gets but check the tips below to know for sure.

  1. Manual grinders require you to gently twist the top lid and repeat the process a few times (8 – 10 twists) until a satisfyingly fine grind is attained.
  2. Automatic grinders work in the same way as your kitchen mixer/grinder and come with manuals of their own.
  3. Don’t press down or twist hard and do not overfill the grinder.

It really is that easy to crush herbs with a good grinder, but you will need to clean it regularly to keep it that way. Also, you will want to check the grinding pins after every few uses to make sure that they don’t need changing.


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