Spice Grinder Vs Coffee Grinder: What Makes The Real Difference?

Regardless of whether you’re an expert or a beginner in your kitchen, you can’t deny the necessity of a quality grinder. Yeah, I’m talking about spice grinders and coffee grinders as well, classifying coffee as a spice.

Now, a question might be lingering in your mind, “What is the difference between a spice grinder vs coffee grinder?”

The main difference between these two grinders lies in the size of the grinder canals; for example, the canals of a spice grinder are a bit wider for black peppers but much narrower for coffee beans. In other words, you have to use the proper grinder for grinding the proper spices.

However, this is only a single factor that differentiates these two grinders. Several more key differences are available to help you narrow down your choice.

Before comparing these two grinders, I’m going to talk about them individually with benefits and drawbacks in detail.

If you already know all about both grinders, you can skip the definition and types of coffee and spice grinder sections.

What is a Spice Grinder?

A spice grinder (or simply, a grinder) is a piece of equipment that can grind up a lot of hard, dried spices, such as cinnamon, black pepper, cumin, coriander, cardamom, nutmeg, and more, coarsely or to a fine powder.

Types of Spice Grinders

Basically, two types of spice grinders, manual and electric, are available on the market today. Now, let’s see how they grind a wide variety of spices and the differences between them to make a final decision.

Manual Spice Grinder

Typically, a manual spice grinder comes with either a metal or ceramic gear. It consists of a knob that allows you to crush various types of spices and adjust the size of the grind by turning this.

Besides, this excellent grinder is easily portable and quite affordable. To run this grinder, you don’t need an electric outlet.

However, manual grinders need more time and labor to operate. These pieces of equipment can cause pain in the muscles of your hands, especially if you already have arthritis, carpal tunnel, or any other muscle problems.

Electric Spice Grinder

An electric spice grinder uses blades to grind up a wide variety of spices, even coffee beans, and other grains. This piece of equipment can eliminate almost all the disadvantages of manual grinders.

The best part is these grinders are quite time-consuming and less laborious. However, they’re not as portable as manual grinders since they’re electrically operated. Another drawback is that if you have no electricity, you won’t be able to run this machine.

Besides, they’re quite noisy, and therefore, they usually make sound pollution. Some models are also difficult to clean because they may get clogged easily.

Manual vs Electric Spice Grinder

If you’re looking for a spice grinder, there are only two options to choose from. In my opinion, a manual spice grinder will be the right choice for you if you’re using it on a regular basis.

Although a quality manual grinder is not as fast as an electric grinder, it lets you adjust coarseness or fineness, according to your requirements. Once you’ve finished grinding up the spices, put a few finches of rice into the grinder to clean it perfectly.

In contrast, if you’re going to grind a large number of spices all at once, for example, for Christmas bulk baking, or you’re facing some soreness of hands or wrists while grinding the spices manually, then an electric spice grinder will be what you should use.

With keeping all these things in mind, I suggest you purchase the Cuisinart Spice/Nut Grinder SG10C from Amazon. This one comes with almost everything that a quality piece of equipment should have.

What is a Coffee Grinder?

A coffee grinder is a useful tool used to grind coffee beans to make coffee powders. It usually has considerably smaller canals that guarantee a proper grind. Regardless of coffee beans, you can grind so many spices if you’re using an electric one.

Types of Coffee Grinders

Similar to spice grinders, coffee grinders are available in manual and electric on today’s market. Here is the description of these two main coffee grinders below.

Manual Coffee Grinder

As the name suggests, a manual coffee grinder absolutely works manually. When you provide energy to it by turning the gear knob, it starts getting the job done.

You just have to put coffee beans into it and then grind them accordingly. As a consequence, you can make a lot of fresh ground coffee powder within minutes.

Like a manual spice grinder, you can adjust a manual coffee grinder to produce coffee coarsely or in a fine powder. If you want to make finer grounds, you have to grind them as long as possible.

Since this grinder doesn’t need a power outlet to be operated, it’s relatively easier than an electric one.

However, compared to an electric coffee grinder, it’s more tiresome and time-consuming. When you’re grinding a large number of coffee beans at a time, it could be an issue.

Electric Coffee Grinder

Electric coffee grinders are pretty appealing nowadays due to their capabilities of eliminating all the efforts that you need in operating the manual coffee grinders.

If you’re looking for the best coffee grinder, the SHARDOR Electric Coffee Grinder, which you’ll find on Amazon, could be an appropriate option for you.

To use an electric grinder, you have to plug it in a power outlet. After that, simply put the beans into the grinder and then press the ON button. The machine starts grinding those beans, and therefore, produces freshly ground coffee powder in seconds.

In terms of grinding a lot of coffee beans at once, it’s what you’re looking for. The only downside with this grinder is that if you don’t have any power outlet, you cannot run it.

Note: There was only one type of electric grinder, the blade grinder, ago on the market. These days, a significant change has occurred in technology, and a new type of coffee grinder, the burr grinder, comes into the market.

Blade Grinder

As the name suggests, a blade grinder uses small blades to crush coffee beans to produce coffee powders. It has another name, ‘the coffee grinder for spices,’ which means you can use it to grind other culinary spices.

In fact, it’s recommended for those who drink coffee casually or who don’t think about fine or coarse coffee.

Typically, blade grinders are less expensive than burr grinders because the technology that has been used in these grinders is not complicated. If you’re one of those who are looking for a budget-friendly grinder, you’re highly recommended to get one.

As you know, a blade grinder chops the coffee beans into smaller pieces, which means it cannot provide an even grinding to coffee beans. If you want the fineness of coffee beans, you have to grind them as long as possible.

However, blades grinders have a few drawbacks. Compared to the burr grinders, these grinders are noisier. When revolving the blade to grinding coffee beans, they generate heat that can affect the taste of your coffee.

So, if you’re willing to compromise all these issues, we recommend you have a look at the Morpilot Electric Coffee Grinder on Amazon.

Burr Grinder

Unlike the blade grinder, a burr grinder usually grinds a larger quantity of coffee beans evenly with wheels against a static surface. This grinder doesn’t burn the beans and doesn’t affect the taste of coffee if it’s overused.

Compared to blade grinders, burr grinders are superior in almost every aspect.

In terms of size, these grinders provide you with more privileges than their counterparts, allowing you to dictate the coffee beans more constantly.

You can also set the appropriate coarseness or fineness of the beans, although this depends on the burr position.

Again, these grinders usually don’t generate more noise than blade grinders. As burr grinders are ahead in almost every factor, it’s obvious that they might be a bit more expensive.

Most importantly, burr grinders can be categorized into two, which are the disc burr grinder and the conical burr grinders. The only difference is that disc burr grinders have flat wheels, while conical burr grinders come with conical wheels.

Disc Burr Grinder

A disc burr grinder is a piece of equipment that uses a burr to grind coffee beans between a stationary surface and a moving wheel/disc. It can be operated at 10 thousand rpm to 20 thousand rpm, generating a higher degree of warm coffee.

This means a disc burr grinder is 20 to 40 times faster than a conical burr grinder. Due to the speed, it can quickly produce a large quantity of coffee. However, it’s a bit noisier than its counterpart for the same reason.

Conical Burr Grinder

When you’re using a conical burr grinder for grinding coffee beans, this crushes the beans vertically. It has two burrs, while one sits inside another. With a larger base, the inside burr is conical, but the outer one is circular with small, angled teeth.

A conical burr grinder can be operated at about 500 rpm, much slower than a disc burr grinder. This grinder is less noisy and messy compared to its counterpart. This is why it can be used to grind oily or flavored coffee without clogging.

Spice Grinder vs Coffee Grinder: Key Differences

You can use both coffee and spice grinders interchangeably for grinding coffee beans and a wide variety of spices. However, one grinder isn’t an appropriate alternative for another one. So, let’s see some of the key factors in which these grinders differ.

Width of the Canals

The width of the canals is not the same in both grinders. Spice grinders have much wider canals than those of the coffee grinders.

If you, for example, grind coffee beans in a black paper grinder, the beans won’t match the canals, and therefore, provide uneven coffee powders.

Grinding Quality

A spice grinder usually doesn’t grind the spices evenly, although they’re all right for utilizing in any recipe. If you use it to crush coffee beans, chances are you’re going to get unevenly ground coffee powders.

On the other hand, coffee grinders grind coffee beans finely and uniformly and allow you to get the taste of evenly ground coffee. A burr coffee grinder gets the job done better according to the requirements of coffee lovers.


As I mentioned earlier, both spice and coffee grinders are interchangeable. For instance, you can grind java beans in a spice grinder and different herbs or spices in the other. But, make sure that both grinders are electric.

If you’re not using the right grinder, chances are the taste of the particular spice will bother you. You may not drink a cup of coffee manipulated with the taste of different spices. That’s why you shouldn’t use them interchangeably.

However, if the changing taste doesn’t bother you, you shouldn’t spend money to purchase both grinders. Instead, buy a quality unit that fulfills your requirements. But, I don’t recommend anyone buy only a unit for grinding both spices and coffee beans.


In terms of functionality, you won’t find so many differences between these two grinders. Both of them mainly grind, slice, and chop a wide variety of coffee beans and spices.

However, different models have different types of features and benefits. So, keep an eye on them when preferring one according to your requirements.


Compared to spice grinders, coffee grinders crush coffee beans more precisely. That’s why these grinders are comparatively expensive than their counterparts.

But, anyone cannot tell the actual price of these grinders. This entirely depends on the model and brand of a particular grinder.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

I’ve already compared spice and coffee grinders above in this article. Now, let’s see if there is any similarity between them or not to prove that one is possible to use in the place of another. This question-answer section, hopefully, will explain everything.

1. Can a coffee grinder be used as a spice grinder?

A coffee grinder is an excellent substitute for a mortar and pestle combo. That’s why you can use a coffee grinder as a spice grinder without any hassle. Blade grinders are relatively similar to spice ones. So, make sure you’re going to use a blade grinder as an alternative.

2. Can a spice grinder be used as a coffee grinder?

Since you won’t find many differences between these two types of grinders, you can use one instead of the other. In this case, an electric spice grinder can be the best alternative to a coffee grinder.

3. Can you grind spices in a burr grinder?

A burr grinder usually doesn’t grind spices as fine as a spice grinder. When it comes to handling larger spices, like cardamom, you’ll be able to grind them with a burr grinder.

4. Can a coffee grinder be used to grind grains?

A coffee grinder can be used to grind grains, like rice and wheat. If you use this piece of equipment for grinding these grains, it will be a cost-effective way to prepare tasty homemade bread.

Final Verdict

To sum up, blade grinders and spice grinders are almost the same, except the names. But, burr grinders are different from these grinders.

If you have a blade grinder but need to grind spices, don’t hesitate to use it then prepare whatever food you want.

You can do the same thing when you don’t have a coffee grinder and need to grind coffee beans.

In both times, you have to clean the grinder properly for the next use. Otherwise, there will be a problem with the taste of your coffee.

However, I hope you have clearly got the debate of coffee grinder vs spice grinder. And you won’t be confused when choosing the right one according to your requirement.

But, if you’re still feeling any issue regarding these grinders, you can leave your valuable comment below.

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