When Breville invented the Smart Grinder Pro, it’s clear that they took a page from Apple’s playbook. Breville aimed to modernize the home grinding experience by making an efficient, convenient, and easy-to-use machine. Its user-friendly features make grinding a breeze for the novice, while a plethora of adjustable options allow it to compete with the professional.
Let’s look at what makes this grinder such a formidable opponent when pitted against the old standbys.
- Stainless steel conical burrs designed to minimize grinding heat and protect the essential oils in the coffee bean
- 60 precise grind settings from the finest Espresso to the coarsest French Press Grind. Voltage: 110 120 Volts. Power: 165 Watts
- Precision Electronic Timer allows users to adjust grind time in 0.2 second increments and consistent dose every time
- 18 ounce coffee bean capacity with locking system for easy removal, storage, and transfer of the bean hopper
- Grind directly into portafilter, grinds container, gold tone filter basket or paper filter
Breville’s designers don’t understand the concept of “good enough” because they’ve packed this guy with useful features to make your morning routine even easier.
Design of the burr and motor: This Breville coffee grinder, equipped with 40 mm conical steel burrs, will provide a consistent grind as good as some of the best burr grinders in this price range. You can see our top picks here. A 165-watt motor spins these burrs at 450 RPM to prevent excessive heat buildup in the ground coffee beans. The motor, on the other hand, is a little louder.
Value for money
This grinder is a running list of incredible features. Aside from the massive number of grind settings and convenient features, the price is jaw-droppingly low. Burr grinders can cost more than twice as much as the Smart Grinder Pro, but they are less versatile and have fewer settings.
Good luck finding a machine built with such attention to detail for consumer use at such a low price. If the other perks weren’t enough to sway you, the price tag might be.
Excellent performance and numerous clever details contribute to the Breville Smart Grinder Pro’s clever design, though there are times when the device may be a little too smart for its good.
The Breville coffee grinder has 40mm stainless steel conical burrs that provide a fine enough grind consistency for espresso.
The grinder is mostly made of plastic, making it feel lighter and less durable than typical Italian espresso grinders, but the main body is stainless steel. This adds weight to the overall grinder and keeps it stable while it works.
As previously stated, the impeller under the burrs is made of a plastic material that will wear out over time. The impeller has been enforced in more recent grinder versions, but it is still unknown whether this has completely eliminated the issues.
This grinder has 60 settings that can be fine-tuned to be coarser or finer. It should be sufficient for adjusting the strength of your espresso. Alternatively, you can adjust the grinder to focus more on the medium to coarse spectrum.
The consistency of the grind, like that of any other grinder, decreases as the coarseness of the grind increases.
This grinder struggles to offer a consistently coarse grind, but it performs admirably with medium to fine grounds.
Interestingly, Consumer Reports rates this grinder as ‘excellent’ for medium-level grinding, used for pour-over coffee. However, the fine-tuning is only rated as ‘good.’
Overall, it has a ‘69’ rating from the consumer organization, which puts it just a notch below another entry-level favorite, the Baratza Encore.
The digital LCD screen is useful for selecting and returning to one of Breville’s generous 60 grind adjustments (many of which are fine enough for espresso brewing). The beans feed smoothly, and the burrs stop quickly enough to yield a consistently consistent dose by setting the timer.
Breville, ever the hand-holder in all things coffee, has also baked in a time-per-cup dosing system that is both complicated and persistent. The machine inspires you to grind by the number of cups or shots you plan to brew, which is useful if you and Breville agree on the best amount of ground coffee per cup or shot.
To add a serving, press the center button on the interface, and the machine will set a corresponding grind-time. However, if you enjoy a variety of coffees at various roast levels brewed in various ways, this system’s tenacity becomes a nuisance in a hurry.
You can change the time setting in 0.2-second increments, but doing so is laborious when trying to move the timer forward or back a few whole seconds at a time. Individual cup settings can also be reprogrammed, though this may not be worth the effort given how the many differences between coffees, including time off the roast, affect grind requirements.
Breville appears to go out of its way here to accommodate neophytes, which some appreciate while others, like us, can workaround. We avoided the confusion by setting the timer to grind more than we needed and manually starting and stopping the grind action. This strategy allowed us to appreciate Breville’s incredibly versatile and well-engineered hardware’s otherwise excellent grind consistency and quiet operation.
Noise and static
Our decibel meter recorded an amazingly low 80dB during grinding with the Breville’s generous hopper full and a medium grind setting, which is a full 15dB quieter than the other machines we reviewed for this report. Under slightly different circumstances, this increased to an average of 85dB, and a wavering, higher-pitched whine emerged in the espresso range.
Still, in general, the machine is easier on the ears than most, and it’s reassuring to know that the racket is unlikely to disturb a napping toddler. At the same time, you’re putting together that crucial afternoon cup.
The machine also reduces static well enough that the user can use it without the problematic lid that fits atop its wide-mouthed catch cup. Vibration during longer coffee grinds causes the cup to shift out of place underneath the chute, causing the opening of the lid beneath the flow of grounds to be misaligned. Coffee then accumulates on the closed portion of the lid, potentially causing the grinder to fail due to clogging, as it did once in our tests. The problem was solved by removing the lid and storing it in a drawer.
Particle-size uniformity and grounds retention
Horiba Instruments’ laser diffraction particle size analysis confirmed that of the four grinders we tested for this report, the Smart Grinder Pro produces the highest percentage of grounds within an optimal range of particle size at a variety of settings. It performed best at a fine grind of a light roast, where it landed 58.1 percent within a 400-micron range. That may not seem like much, but it is the best we saw among the four well-known grinders we tested for this report. The bar graph at the end of this review contains detailed test results.
Nonetheless, a large number of the fine particles produced by Smart Grinder Pro tend to stick around. Cleaning out the grinder yielded approximately 3 grams of retained grounds, the bulk of which was very fine powder caked under the cone burr at the bottom of the chamber. This isn’t the worst we’ve seen in terms of grounds retention, but it’s also not the best.
During our testing, the Smart Pro produced some of the most consistent grinds.
Talking of good extraction, the ideal extraction time (from the time the water hits the grinds to the time it all makes its way through the filter) for a cup of pour-over coffee is 3 minutes. Extraction times ranged from 2:51 to 2:55 when we made multiple cups in this manner using Smart Pro grinds. Not only is that extremely close to the ideal, but it is also a very tight grouping, indicating that the grinder can produce the same results repeatedly.
The smart pro grinds pour-overs with impressive consistency.
When making espresso, the Smart Pro also made very consistent and close-to-ideal extraction times. There aren’t many countertop grinders that can handle pour-over-sized grinds and work well in the very fine espresso range, but the Smart Pro is one of them.
The Smart Pro performed poorly in this metric when it came to producing coarse-sized grounds. Our sieve test produced significantly more coffee dust (fines) than other grinders, resulting in a muddy, oily, and over-extracted brew. You can physically adjust the burrs to be more optimized for fine or coarse grind sizes, which we found reduced the number of fines by about half (and didn’t affect the grind range too much). Even with that reduction, we believe there are still more fines than a French press or cold brew enthusiast would want from a high-quality grinder.
The Smart Pro, for the most part, checks all of the cleanliness boxes. It generates very little static, so the grind cup does not cling to many grinds. The cup itself allows for an easy and smooth pour of the grinds into your preferred coffee-making apparatus. Because the chute does not catch many grinds, there is little spillage when removing the grind cup or moving the machine.
The one annoyance we discovered with this machine in terms of cleanliness is that it can spit grinds onto the counter because the opening on the cover of the grind cup is just a tad too small. However, this problem is mostly resolved if you leave the lid off and grind directly into the hollow grind cup.
It’s worth noting that Breville’s customer service is notoriously poor. According to Breville Smart Grinder Pro reviews, getting competent, professional help over the phone is difficult, and ordering replacement parts is nearly as difficult. This reason alone may be enough to persuade some to look for a different brand because if this unit breaks down, you may be out of luck in repairing it.
The Smart Grinder Pro ostensibly comes with a one-year limited warranty, but whether you’ll be able to collect on that warranty with untrustworthy customer service is anyone’s guess.
Appearance and looks
When it comes to looks, the Breville Smart Grinder does not disappoint! The unit is available in a variety of colors, including silver, red, and all-black. As previously stated, this unit is stainless steel with some plastic areas, and the overall appearance is quite classy.
The Smart Grinder Pro also has an eye-catching LCD that is easy to read.
Are there any other alternatives?
The Baratza encore
- SPECIALTY COFFEE ASSOCIATION AWARD WINNING GRINDERS - Baratza grinders are preferred by coffee professionals and backed by Baratza’s world class support.
- GO-TO ENTRY LEVEL GRINDER - Baratza’s best-selling grinder, with its small footprint, is THE choice for brewing coffee at home. Available in White or Black.
- USER FRIENDLY - A convenient, front-mounted pulse button, plus a simple ON/OFF switch make it easy to grind fresh coffee.
- 40 GRIND SETTINGS - Engineered with 40mm commercial-grade conical burrs that help you explore the extensive range of brew methods (espresso, Aeropress, Hario V60, Chemex, French Press, and automatic brewers).
- WARRANTY/QUALITY PARTS - Hardened alloy steel burrs manufactured in Liechtenstein, Europe, plus a powerful DC motor. This combination creates a consistent grind and durability to ensure the longevity users have come to expect from the Baratza brand. The Encore is backed by Baratza’s world class support and a 1 year warranty. 2020 Update has exact same trusted functionality with a sleek new exterior.
The Breville Smart Grinder Pro has a lot of positive attributes. However, this is a highly competitive market with a plethora of excellent options. Let’s look at some of our other top picks in this price range. The Baratza Encore is a no-fuss, everyday grinder that most home users love.
Baratza is also well-known for its support and customer service, which is far superior to Breville’s. That being said, the Breville Smart Grinder Pro does have an advantage: it performs much better when grinding for espresso, so that should be taken into account.
However, if you’re looking for a grinder for filter brewing, I’d go with Encore’s no-frills approach.
- ☕BEST SALE GRINDER - Looking for quality but budget grinder? 1Zpresso JX grinder worth it!! Durable 48mm conical burr makes greater grinding efficiency. Internal fixing between the burr and central shaft, impressive consistency grind.
- ☕BALANCE YOUR COFFEE - Over 40 clicks range of grind settings, ideal for your filters coffee, get your freshly ground coffee with full-bodied flavor. Also, if you would like to drink espresso occasionally, there are 20 clicks range for espresso. Grinding coffee no longer has to equate to hassle, having a fun time!
- ☕ EASY TO CLEAN - By dismantling pieces without tools, proper allows the best grinding results and the best taste in the cup. With assemble properly, you don't even need to recalibrate again. Bonus free cleaning brush included.
- ☕ PRODUCT GUARANTEES - The burr was calibrated and fixed in place by the 1Zpresso team, ensure no wobbly parts or burrs that come loose as time goes on. Estimated grind approx 100-200KG by general use. Includes a one-year limited warranty, you will definitely get 100% customer support.
- ☕COFFEE IS LIFE - With users vision, we are working on the products what are you actually need! Chose a 1Zpresso product to stay with you.
So you want an all-purpose grinder with espresso features that is also inexpensive? Manual grinders, on the other hand, should be on your radar. The Jx Pro is a popular grinder among coffee lovers on a tight budget. It has a lot of wiggle adjustability so you can dial in your shot, and the burrs are large and powerful 48mm conical burrs.
This grinder is quick and consistent at all grind settings, and it’s a steal at the current price.
Don’t buy the Breville smart grinder pro if…
You’re not trying to learn at least how to make an espresso
If you don’t already have an espresso machine and don’t intend to get one soon, I wouldn’t recommend purchasing this Breville. The main benefit of purchasing this grinder is its compatibility with espresso machines. However, if you’ll only be using it for drip coffee, you might be better off investing in a less expensive alternative, such as the Bratza Encore.
For roughly the same price, some alternatives are more simple and durable than this option. The ability to adjust your grind time is only useful for espresso drinkers.
You have enough money to invest in a high-end coffee grinder
Don’t get me wrong: this is a fantastic option for those who cannot afford expensive equipment.
But, as they say, you get what you pay for, so don’t expect it to outperform high-end grinders on any level. Consider it to be able to do everything a high-end grinder can do, but with less expensive parts.
However, it is not the most durable option available. If you don’t think you’ll take care of this grinder (by using it in spurts, cleaning it regularly, not leaving it on, etc.), it’s probably better to buy something else.
You intend to use it in a coffee shop
As I previously stated, this grinder is intended for home use, which means it should only be used a couple of times per day. It would degrade quickly in an environment where it would be used 100 times per day.
If you’re going to use it for business, it’s better to get something more expensive that will last rather than something cheap that will likely break after a lot of use.
However, if you want to practice pulling espressos before bringing the coffee shop home, this is a great grinder to have. You can improve your coffee skills without spending a lot of money, and you’ll have more money to spend on other useful items like a gooseneck kettle.
There’s a lot to like about this squat and clever machine that grinds more consistently and costs $25-$70 less than the other three grinders reviewed in this report. The rounded and contoured design language of the Breville brand may not complement every kitchen aesthetic. Still, for the relatively low price, you would be hard-pressed to find a machine as all-around ready to contribute to any morning coffee ritual.
What is the best way to clean my Breville smart grinder pro?
The Breville Smart Grinder Pro can be cleaned by removing the hopper and top burr and brushing out any visible residue. Consider using oily, dark-roasted coffee beans instead.
What is the difference between a Breville smart grinder pro and a Breville dose control pro?
The main difference between the Smart Grinder Pro and the Dose Control Pro from Breville is the level of grind time control. The Smart Grinder Pro can be adjusted in 0.2-second increments, whereas the Dose Control Pro can only be adjusted in 1-second increments. We recommend the Smart Grinder Pro over the Dose Control Pro because of its superior fine-tuning capability. It costs only $40 more than the Dose Control Pro.
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