Breville Smart Grinder Pro Coffee Grinder Review

Breville Smart Grinder Pro Review

Table of Contents

Breville Smart Grinder Pro

8

Price

9.0/10

Grinder Quality

7.0/10

Grind Consistency

7.0/10

Grind Range

7.0/10

Ease of Use

8.0/10

Cleaning Ease

9.0/10

Appearance

9.0/10

Durability

7.0/10

Grind Speed

8.0/10

Grind Noise

9.0/10

Pros

  • Quiet
  • 60 default grind settings
  • Stepless (technically 600+ grind sizes)
  • Great for espresso
  • Easy to clean
  • Removable grounds tray
  • Two magnetic portafilter holders
  • Great value
  • Good for drip

Cons

  • Grind timer is not an accurate way to dose
  • Grounds container lid is not airtight
  • Durability is questionable
  • Plastic smell post-grind
  • No good for French Press

Breville Smart Grinder Pro Coffee Grinder Review

The days of manually grinding my coffee with a hand crank grinder are over. After using the new Breville Smart Grinder Pro for a couple weeks now, I’m pretty blown away.

It didn’t start off so pretty though.

After only one day of using my new grinder, it had already stopped working. I couldn’t believe it.

$250 and a week of waiting for the delivery and I already had to send it back to Breville. Fortunately, it was a relatively smooth (and free) process, but I still had a sour taste in my mouth. And unfortunately it wasn’t from a bad shot of espresso.

Then My Replacement Came

It’s working like a charm. In fact, it’s way better than I was expecting.

I don’t come anywhere close to the finest grind setting and I have beautiful shots of espresso. I adjust the grinder by one level of fineness or coarseness, and the change isn’t even visible to the naked eye. It’s definitely apparent in my espresso shots though.

Go down one level on the grinder, the shot time is reduced by about 5 seconds. OK, so I haven’t quite measured how much shot time is affected, but it’s ever so slight. To me, this is a great thing.

Then, I had to get it replaced again

In August of 2015 I got my second unit replaced due to the burrs locking at finer grind settings. This was a major bummer, especially after my replacement came and was still having the same lock-up issues.

This may just be an issue with some of the units, but I think in general the Breville Smart Grinder Pro doesn’t do well with lighter roasts at finer settings (10 and under).

Update December 2017

I’m still on my third unit (as of December 2015) and it has been holding up pretty well without the burrs locking up.

However, I still hold my breath every time I grind for espresso, especially with lighter roasts.

Here are some tips I’ve found to prevent issues:

  • Try not to use old coffee beans, especially if they are lighter roasts
  • Adjust the burrs with coffee beans in the hopper while running the grinder
  • Grind in small increments. e.g. run the grinder for a few seconds, pause, then run it again
  • Try not to run the grinder with an empty hopper

By doing these 4 things, your Smart Grinder Pro will last longer.

The Step-less Step

The Breville Smart Grinder Pro is technically a stepless grinder, but it still has the clarity of a step grinder.

Let me explain…

By default, there are 60 grind settings displayed on an LCD screen on the front grinder. These grind settings are labeled 1 to 60, but when you turn the dial to adjust the grind, you aren’t definitively on 40 or 41 for example, even if it displays this on the screen.

In reality, you could actually be between 40 and 41 somewhere, as there are no notches that the burr grinders settle into.

Think of stepless grinders as Pi. You could be on grind setting 3.145926535 even if it’s displayed as grind setting 3.

Video Review

Smart Grinder vs. Smart Grinder Pro

I could tell you the differences between the Breville Smart Grinder (old version) and the Breville Smart Grinder Pro (new version), but I’ve already done this in the video review above.

So let me show you:

[go_pricing id=”breville_smart_grinders”]

Is This The Best Value Grinder Out There?

Right now, I’m not sure if there is a better value home grinder out there. There are just way too many grind settings on the Breville Smart Grinder Pro for it to cost so little in comparison to comparable grinders.

If anything, the Lido 2 or 3 by Orphan Espresso is probably the best value grinder. Don’t let the fact that they are manual fool you either. These grinders are said to grind extremely fast!

I should have a review for one of the Lido grinders coming in 2016.

Have a Favorite Coffee Grinder? Share By Commenting Below!

Until there is a grinder that comes along and does a better job than the Breville Smart Grinder Pro is currently doing, I’m sticking with it as my go-to grinder.

Sure, I’m concerned it might break down after the 1 year warranty given the fact that I already had a dud, but when it works it really works. I’m willing to take the risk.

Why? Because for now the alternative is grinding by hand…something I hope to never have to do again (unless I’m on the go).

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  • […] He also recommended that I overdose my filter basket for espresso, using about 23.5 grams in an 18 gram filter basket. I only used 20 grams for most of my shots, but this recommendation was pretty much moot considering I couldn’t ever get the grind fine enough with my Breville Smart Grinder Pro’s recurring lock-up issues. […]

  • I’m looking to replace and old KitchenAid Proline grinder. It worked really well in its day, but it’s 10 years old and replacement burrs cannot be found anywhere.
    I’m mainly looking to grind for other than espresso (I’ve stopped going through the effort of the prep), so I’m looking for an adjustable grind based upon however I’m brewing at the moment: Chemex, French Press, Aeropress, etc. Nothing quite espresso-fine.
    That’s one thing that attracted me to the Breville: that I could go back and forth and save settings. Any thoughts about this grinder for such a use?
    (I thought that might also address some of the durability issues: I won’t have it on the finer settings.)

    • Hi Scott,

      It’s definitely easy to use and return to previously used settings. Honestly though, if it were me I’d buy a Baratza or Lido 2 for these brew methods.

      My next grinder purchase is going to be a Lido. Great consistency and very sharp burrs, which makes it extremely quick for a hand grinder.

      • I used to have manual grinders but I got fed up with them. It was fun to start, but using one every day got tedious. Plus it doesn’t solve the issue of switching back and forth between grinds. Once I find that sweet spot for a particular method I want to easily get back to it.
        That was a reason I hadn’t gone for the Baratza (Virtuoso): that dial is pretty tiny and I thought it might be tricky to move it between different positions and get it back to the right spot, especially since there’s no numbering or tick marks. Baratza describes it as having 40 settings, but the markings they do have are limited to 6… how are those 40 settings divided up and how do you find them again?

        • You might want to watch this Lido 2 demo: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tc_1zH9jgto

          I had the same attitude about hand grinding when I bought my Breville SGP, but that was because I was using a Hario Mini Mill, which is like comparing apples to oranges if the Lido 2 is mentioned in the same breath.

          Regarding the Baratza, I think you may be confusing the dial on the side (grinder’s timer) with the actual 40 grind settings that are labeled at the base of the hopper. It’s totally clear, just not displayed on a digital screen like the Breville (which is obviously a super cool user interface).

          I totally get that you want repeatability, the problem is that different beans will produce different results at different settings. So unless you’re switching between brew methods frequently with the same coffee, I think going back to the exact same number on your grinder is less important than things like grind consistency, counter space, price, and some of the other things that I think make these grinders I’ve mentioned shine.

          Look, I like my Breville SGP. It gets the job done, but I don’t know if I really believe it’s the best value. If I were starting over and just looking for something that DIDN’T do espresso, it would be the Encore or Lido 2.

          All 3 are good options though.

          • Right about the Baratza; I didn’t look carefully enough.

            From what I see about the Lido, the grinding is relatively quick (though, day after day for years, it might get old), but from what I’ve been reading the main complaints are about the adjustment: that it’s not so quick, and that people are accidentally rotating the grind adjustment ring while grinding.

            But, I’m capricious; I put in an order for the Lido 2 this afternoon. Thanks for the heads-up.

          • I hope you love it. If not, I’m sure they’ll take good care of you. They are a small company and really value their customers.

            Please follow up with your experience and let me know if I can help out with anything else.

          • OK, I’ve had it for a few days now.

            So far, I’m somewhat mixed. It is a VERY good grinder: faster than I’d thought and the grind consistency puts my KitchenAid Proline to shame (keeping in mind, of course, that the latter’s burrs are a decade old).

            I’m not so keen on how messy it is, though. I get grinds all over the place when removing the grounds container, while trying to scoop the grounds out, and when brushing the burrs clean–probably in no small part part due to static. Also, the glass grounds container takes more effort to unscrew than do(es) the grinds adjustment ring(s), so I keep slightly changing the grind adjustment when removing the grounds container. I’ll have to get in the habit of holding both rings firmly while removing the container.

            I’ll see what some practice yields.

          • Thanks so much for the update, Scott! Glad to hear that it is *mostly* good.

            I heard that adding a drop of water (I know it sounds asinine) can help reduce the static. Would be curious to hear about your workarounds as well as what the folks from Lido suggest.

          • A drop of water into the grounds chamber or in with the whole beans? Lido is pretty definite about not getting the grinder (the metal parts) wet.

          • Looks like the replacement is available:
            http://www.oehandgrinders.com/OE-LIDO-Anti-Static-ABS-Plastic-Grounds-Jar_p_56.html
            Probably about $20 with shipping, so I’ll see how I can work things out on my own first.

            I don’t know how long they’re talking about waiting. I already knock the thing onto a silicone drain matt (padded ribs). This has to be done before removing the jar, as the static causes the grounds to fly out the moment the jar is removed. I’ve learned to remove the jar and scoop out the grinds in/over the sink, else it makes a mess.

            I wonder if I can make something to dissipate static. Maybe a antistatic wrist strap held up against the glass, the other end attached to metal plumbing?

      • Hi

        Sorry I sm late to respond. I did not see your reply.

        What do you mean by inner burr setting #4? Do you mean the top burr ?

        I’m setting the upper burr at 6-9. Grind settings on the screen are 54-60. Most often I user the default upper burr setting of 6 and the grind setting of 53-60. Getting good results with 54 using the Chemex Ottomatic.

        Thanks

        Jay

  • Did the plastic burnt taste of the grind go away after some use, or did it remain? I’ve noticed the same issue with the Smart Pro I purchased and used since yesterday.

  • Hi I am looking at getting an automatic grinder for an espresso grind, Im living at home and mum hates it when the grinds get over the kitchen table. So the grinder that i get needs to grind fine enough for espresso and not be messy…. and not over $300ish
    Is the The Breville BCG820 Smart Grinder Pro a good choice?

    Much thanks!

    • Yes, it’s a great choice for espresso, and currently what I use on a regular basis. The static build-up is really only an issue with it when you’re grinding more coarsely. I just shared a video with a trick to prevent static on my Facebook page. Will do a write-up shortly.

    • When you grind at the coarser settings, which is generally the grind size recommended for French Press, a lot of fine particles get mixed in. In other words, the grind is very inconsistent the coarser you go on this machine.

      If you don’t mind a little bit of sediment in your cup, it’s not a huge issue though. You could also do the James Hoffman French Press method where you never press, just remove the crust from the stop and pour through the mesh filter.

  • Breville Smart Grinder Pro, I’ve used the grinder for past 3 years, not a single issue, great burr grinder.

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