Ah, the humble grinder: an unglamorous, but essential, piece of gear for any marijuana enthusiast. Whether you're vaping or rolling, breaking up the goods by hand or with scissors is sticky, unnecessary, and time-consuming work. We present the pros and cons of the three most common grinders: choose wisely to get the most bang for your bud.
Price Range: $10-$30
Pros: Probably the most common and cost-effective: while some people prefer one-chamber metal grinders, the three-chamber variety (pictured) both busts up the product, and catches the kief in the bottom. Impossible to break, good for travel. Opaque design is a plus - ensures the non-stoners in your life probably won't know what it is.
Cons: After a while, kief catches in the moving parts and gums up the works. Pro tip: use a toothpick, business card, or flat/pointed object to scrape the moving parts and screen. For deeper cleaning, you'll have to bathe the whole thing in isopropyl alcohol, which can be a hassle (although worth it - especially if you know how to make ISO hash).
Overall Rating: Highly recommended.
Price Range: $3-$5
Pros: Cheap. Light. That's about all we can say.
Cons: Tendency to break instantly, shedding the little plastic pyramid-shaped grinding implements into your pot. As cheaply made as they are cost effective. Weed falls out everywhere as soon as you open it.
Overall rating: Pretty terrible.
Electric Herb Grinder
Price Range: $7-$15
Pros: Screw-on plastic cap can hold a gram or two without spilling. Battery operated grinding action means - unlike with metal or plastic grinders - that you're not going to give yourself a repetitive strain injury from twisting chambers around. Looks vaguely like a flashlight, so semi-subtle to carry around.
Cons: Gimmicky: we've never seen a seasoned stoner actually use one of these. Cheaply constructed.
Overall rating: Acceptable; not great
Price Range: $30-$50
Pros: Super fast: pop in the product, press the button, whiz it around, and you've got nice, fluffy product that's ready to roll, pack in a bowl, or whatever. If anybody asks, it's a coffee grinder (You know, because it actually is a coffee grinder).
Cons: On the pricey side. Not portable. Needs to be plugged in. Makes a startling "znnnnsh!!!" sound when in use.
Overall Rating: Good for your in-home smoking den. Anywhere else? Not so much.
Price Range: $3-$8
Pros: By far the cheapest, slimmest and most portable option. On that: plenty of dispensaries and other cannabis companies are embracing these as business cards, so you may even be able to find one for free; thus, not a big deal if you misplace it.
Cons: Finicky. Takes a little while to figure out the best method, and even then works best for dense, well-cured buds. Little bits can stick in the holes, leaving crumbs in your wallet. Some designs are thicker than you'd anticipate.
Overall rating: Value-for-money is hard to beat.
There are many video demonstrations out there if you want to see how it works, and get more of a sense of what kind of grinder would work best for you. Here's one from The Vape Critic: