There’s a Better Way to Grind Weed, Trust Us

Traditional grinders pulverize weed. Your herb deserves better.

Design by Maitane Romagosa for Thrillist

Willie Nelson’s guitar, Trigger. Darth Vader’s red lightsaber. Buzz Lightyear’s jetpack. These guys obviously care about their trusty tool. Without it, you could argue they wouldn’t be who they are.

The same goes for stoners who care about the quality of their weed. Prepping flower for a joint, bowl, or anything else into a fine consistency requires a grinder. A bad one might leave you unhappy with the results, but a good one will turn heads. Thankfully, this accessory has evolved for more than a century as the industry continues to innovate.

When did we start using grinders?

The grinder dates back to 1905 when Australians Williams Wingfield and John Balding came up with an easy way to shred tobacco, weed, and other plant matters, primarily for culinary and medical applications. Prior to this genius invention, herbs were ground between stones, by hand, or with mortar and pestle. These methods actually produce inconsistent pieces and can ruin your delicate herb. Thankfully, a lot has changed since then.

What is the best grinder material?

Although grinders come in various shapes and models, what’s most important is their ability to perform their primary function: grinding your weed. Metal versions typically carry a higher price tag, but they are widely preferred because of their efficiency and durability. The teeth are sharp, cleaning is easy, and the grinder can last for decades of use. Those seeking more artistic designs can find carved wooden grinders, but maintenance can be a challenge with the buildup of resin over time will stain the grinder and slow down its functionality. Plastic grinders are the most lightweight and affordable, but you get what you pay for. The teeth can become noticeably dull after just a few uses.

How do weed grinders work?

Then there’s the structure. Grinders can range from simple two-piece situations to large, five-piece grinders with different layers of screens to separate kief from buds, a.k.a. a kief catcher. Those tiny trichomes—which look like a beige powdery substance with the naked eye—accumulate with every turn of the grinder. Try sprinkling some on your next bowl or joint for more potency.

As impressive and efficient as contemporary grinding tools have become, they’re not perfect. The jagged teeth inside grinders are a veritable torture chamber for your buds. Conventional grinders violently shred your weed, decimating the trichomes before they have a chance to impart their wisdom on your system.

Is a weed mill better than a weed grinder?

Please see: Flower Mill, a recent innovation that mills flower instead of grinding it. While traditional grinders cut and shred their way through your bud with sharp teeth, milling crumbles (not grinds) your flower where it naturally wants to break apart. Flower Mill allows you to put the whole nug, stem and all, into the milling chamber. It saves you time and results in consistent, fluffy herb. When you load your flower into the chamber, the rotor is designed to put just the right amount of torque on the bud.

It’s less effort than you’d put into using a traditional grinder, which means it's easier on your hands (ideal for those suffering from arthritis or carpal tunnel). Just twist the top back and forth with slight pressure, and your bud will naturally crumble down through the grind screen at a surprisingly fast rate. No little pieces of bud stuck to the mill screen. No more picking at the bits of bud stuck to the teeth of your old metal grinder.

“This is not your dad’s herb grinder,” says John Gleason, co-founder of Flower Mill. “If you’re using a grinder that pulverizes weed, it’s stripping nugs of their trichomes. Your herb deserves better.”

The product has given me fluffy herb with very little cleanup. During my very first use, I was surprised just how quickly the milling worked, and there weren’t any little pieces of bud stuck to the screen. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had to pick at buds stuck to the teeth of my old grinder.

With consumers caring more and more about the quality and longevity of their smoking accessories, it’s only a matter of time before people look for better grinder options. And once you experience milling, you might never go back.

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Seth Richtsmeier is a freelance content writer and SEO professional with a passion for all things cannabis and digital marketing.