What is a grinder?
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- What is a grinder used for?
- Parts of a grinder
- Buying the right herb grinder
- Tips for using a grinder
- Bottom line
Since the 1960s, cannabis enthusiasts have been using grinders to break down dense buds into fine, smokable particles. In this article, you’ll learn about the benefits of using a weed grinder and how to choose the best grinder. We’ll also offer some pro tips for getting the most out of your herb grinder.
Photo by: Gine Coleman/Weedmaps
What is a grinder used for?
The purpose of an herb grinder is to grind marijuana buds down to a finer consistency that you can roll into a joint or pack into a bowl. Grinders are used primarily to improve the smoking experience by breaking down cannabis flower evenly. You may not need a grinder to break down nugs into smaller pieces, but using one decreases the likelihood of clogging your pipe. It allows you to use the flower more efficiently and makes joints and blunts burn more evenly.
Photo by: Gina Coleman/Weedmaps
Parts of a grinder
Grinders may be made from metal, plastic, or wood, with some lacking detachable parts and others assembled in as many as five pieces.
- Two-piece grinders include a lid and grinder bottom (also called a bud catcher)
- Three-piece grinders have a lid, grinding chamber, and storage chamber
- Four- and five-piece grinders come with a lid, grinder bottom, storage catcher, and one or two kief catchers. The addition of a kief catcher can inspire some creative uses for collected kief. You can press it into hash or rosin, sprinkle some into a favorite recipe, or roll your joint in kief for an extra potent kick.
Four- and five-piece grinders come with a lid, grinder bottom, storage catcher, and one or two kief catchers. Photo by: Gina Coleman/Weedmaps
If you prefer a simpler structure, go for a flat grinder that resembles a cheese grater and can fit right in your pocket. There are also electric and battery-operated options if you want your weed ready at the touch of a button.
Buying the right herb grinder
The two main types of grinders are manual (hand-cranked) and automatic (electric or battery-powered).
Manual grinders: You can find a basic hand-cranked grinder for as little as $15 online, including on sites such as Etsy, where some artists offer customized options with your name or favorite phrase engraved. There are also plenty of hand-cranked mini grinders online that cost less than $25.
Automatic grinders: Grinders with three or more components may cost as little as $25 and go all the way up to $200 or more. For example, the handheld, battery-operated E-shredder from Aux Tools retails for $199.99. Other automatic grinders, such as the Mamba Electric Herb Grinder, sell at a much lower price point.
Tips for using a grinder
Whether you buy a manual or automatic grinder, the process of grinding weed is fairly straightforward. Here are a few expert tips to get the best output from your herb grinder.
Be gentle: You don’t have to exert much force when twisting a manual grinder. About a dozen steady turns should get you the perfect weed grind on a well-maintained grinder with sharp blades. It’s also important not to overfill the grinder. You can always go back for a second round to avoid taxing the grinder.
Turn it upside down: If you want a super fine grind, remove the kief chamber, turn the grinder upside down, grind, and then put the kief chamber back in place after you grind. This technique prevents the buds from dropping into the bottom chamber, allowing for finer grinding and resulting in smoother ground weed.
Clean the grinder: As with other cannabis accessories, like water pipes and ash catchers, it’s crucial to keep a grinder clean. A soft cloth and brush should do the trick, but avoid abrasive materials like scrubbing pads, which can damage an herb grinder. Use rubbing alcohol as a cleaning agent, rinse with warm water, and thoroughly dry. This basic maintenance can help your grinder last longer and allow you to enjoy a smooth cannabis experience every time.
Cleaning your grinder can help it last longer and allow you to enjoy a smooth cannabis experience every time. Photo by: Gina Coleman/Weedmaps
An herb grinder requires a minimal financial investment (as low as $15) and can last for years with proper use and upkeep.
In this article, you'll learn about the benefits of using a weed grinder and how to choose the best grinder. We'll also offer some pro tips for getting the most out of your herb grinder.
What Is a Grinder and How Do You Use It for Cannabis?
If you’re new to cannabis, you may have a few questions about grinders and how to use one. Grinders can be purchased at almost any smoke store or head shop, or you can order one online from a variety of retail outlets. They can be as simple as a grinding card (like a cheese grater for cannabis) or a more complex multi-chamber device. In this tutorial, we’re going to teach you how to use the most common type of cannabis grinder: a 4-piece grinder with a kief catcher.
But first, let’s go over the basics.
What Is a Grinder and Why Do I Need One for Cannabis?
As you might have guessed, a grinder is the tool you use to break your cannabis up into small bits for smoother-hitting bowls or for wrapping in rolling papers and blunt wraps. There are a number of ways to grind cannabis if you don’t have a grinder, but grinders speed up the process and offer perks like kief catchers.
A kief catcher refers to the bottom chamber below the screen that gathers all the potent crystal kief knocked off the buds in the grinding process. You can scoop the kief out and add it to the top of your bowl, or use it later to press your own hash or cook edibles.
Above the screen, you’ll find the grinding chamber with “teeth,” or the blades that do all the work. The lid of the grinder attaches to this part, and metal grinders typically have a magnet to help keep things secure as you grind.
How to Use a Marijuana Grinder
Step 1: Take off the top lid. Use your fingers to break bigger buds up and place them in between the grinder’s teeth. Don’t bother putting any bud in the direct center–this is where the magnet pivots, so nothing in the center will get shredded.
Step 2: Replace the top of the grinder and give it about 10 rotations, until all the bud has fallen through the holes. You can remove the top and tap it against the grinder’s side to help loosen up any sticky pieces stuck in the teeth.
Step 3: Unscrew the chamber with the teeth to find the basket layer holding all your freshly ground cannabis. Load it into your pipe, joint, or blunt and enjoy!
Step 4: Once you’ve collected some kief in the bottom chamber, scrape some out with a piece of paper or the scraping tool provided (not all grinder purchases will include one, but they’re definitely handy). Again, you can sprinkle kief onto a bowl to make it more potent, or save it for something else. Be careful with metal scrapers, as they can scrape aluminum particulates along with your kief!
Some people like to put a weight in the kief chamber to help knock resin from the screen into the bottom dish. A cleaned penny or nickel works perfectly for this.
Find a cannabis grinder on Leafly
How to Clean a Sticky Grinder
One day, you’ll have used your grinder so often that it will become sticky with kiefy resin. The threading on the sides where pieces screw together will become gummy, making it difficult (or impossible) to twist open. Avoid having your grinder lock up on you by keeping it clean; here are a few tips for keeping things running smoothly.
- Rub the sticky grinder parts with isopropyl alcohol and salt. This is a go-to cleaning method for pipes and bongs, but it works just as well for getting rid of the stickiness on grinder pieces.
- Use a small brush (e.g. a stiff-bristled paintbrush, or a clean beard brush or toothbrush) to knock kief loose from the screen.
- Freezing your grinder makes it harder for kief to stick to surfaces. Consider putting your grinder in the freezer before cleaning up the kiefy mess if it’s being particularly stubborn.
- For really irredeemably sticky grinders, sometimes it’s best to just replace the thing altogether, especially if it’s a cheap grinder.
What other grinder tips and hacks do you have to offer those new to cannabis? Leave any questions or advice in the comments section below!
Learn about all the basics of a cannabis grinder, how to use it to grind your buds, and how to clean it when it gets too sticky from kief.