Smokers often say, “What do I need a grinder for? I have fingers.” Unfortunately, breaking up bud with your fingers presents a few problems. If you have some fresh, “sticky-icky” the flower is not going to breakup well, and essentially, you’ll end up tearing it into chunks or clumps that will just smolder in your bowl, or worse, tear your joint. Even if it’s not sticky flower, using your fingers to break up a dry bud, much of the kief is going to get lost during the process, either just through touch or simply falling through your fingers.
Therefore, grinders are an essential tool every smoker should have in their bag of tricks. Just as a coffee grinder grinds beans in grounds for easier brewing; herb grinders grind herbs into fine, consistent pieces that burn evenly, which means, a better smoking experience for you. Not all grinders are created equal however and there are a few differences to keep in mind when buying one.
Single-Chamber Grinders – These grinders are great for mobility. They are simple, compact, and they’ll get the job done. Simply put your herbs between the teeth, and twist.
Triple-Chamber Grinders – As the name suggests, these are slightly more complex. The top chamber is the grinding mechanism, and where you place the flower. After several twists, the freshly ground herb drops into a second chamber with a wire mesh bottom. At this point, you give it a few shakes, and the kief, or pollen, will sift into the third chamber for storage. Over time, you’ll build a nice collection of potent kief.
Grater-style Grinders – These type of grinders look more like something you’d find in a kitchen for grating cheese, and although incredibly simple, they also get the job done. The downside for this type of grinder is that it’s easy to end up grinding the tips of your fingers in with your weed.
Rotary Crank Grinders – These are usually just like the triple chamber grinders, except they have a handy-dandy, cranking handle on the top to do the grinding.
Whatever style you choose, a word on materials and safety. Grinders come in many different materials, wood, bamboo, plastic, and metal. Plastics should only be used in a pinch, and watch that you’re not chipping off small pieces of plastic while grinding. No one wants to smoke plastic. Wood and bamboo are good, but resin and kief will collect over time and they’ll need to be replaced. Metal grinders work the best and will last the longest.
Grinders are an inexpensive tool to help ensure a consistent, quality smoking experience. Spare your fingers the chore and invest in one today!