Something I've been doing for several years now is comparing popular coffee makers side-by-side. These comparisons have actually turned out to be some of my most popular content, which is why I'm happy to introduce a new series to you today: Coffee Grinder Showdown.

What is a Coffee Grinder Showdown?

Coffee Grinder Showdowns, just like Coffeemaker Showdowns, are side-by-side comparisons of two popular pieces of coffee equipment. In this case, it's obviously a comparison of  coffee grinders.

At this point, I haven't reviewed nearly as many coffee grinders as coffee makers, but I plan to really start revving it up as I continue to grow this site. After all, grinders play an integral role in making great coffee.

These showdowns will be structured similarly to reviews, but instead of giving numeric ratings to the grinders in question, I'll instead be declaring a “winner” for each of the different rating categories.

The current rating categories I use for coffee grinders can be found here.

OXO On Barista Brain vs. Breville Smart Grinder Pro

In the first iteration of this coffee grinder showdown we have two conical burr grinders with extremely long names facing off.

In the left corner we have the handsome OXO On Barista Brain, which boasts a built-in scale and LED display.

In the right corner we have the Breville Smart Grinder Pro, AKA Ms. Bells and Whistles.

Each of these grinders fall somewhere between the consumer and prosumer level, making them ideal options for those who want to brew more than just drip coffee.

Ratings

There is a lot to consider when investing in a coffee grinder.

Can it grind sufficiently for the brew methods you like? Is there consistency in terms of the ground coffee particle sizes? Is there a lot of noise? Is it quick? Easy to use? Easy to clean?

Here's a summary of this coffee grinder showdown across each of the different rating categories.

Price

Both of these grinders are in a very similar price range, but the OXO On Barista Brain retails for a tad bit less. Now, if we were talking about value I'd probably give this to the Breville Smart Grinder Pro, but since we're only talking about price, the Barista Brain wins in this category.

Winner: OXO On Barista Brain

Grinder Quality

There are things about the construction of both of these grinders that I like.

For the Breville, the hopper locking mechanism is much nicer than the OXO. It's so simple to remove, whereas the OXO is ever-so-slightly trickier.

The Breville also has a more solid, heavier feel to it with its larger body. Both seem to use equal parts stainless steel and plastic, so I can't say that one is made with better materials than the other.

I can tell you that I like Breville's grind adjustment dial more than OXO's (you have to twist the hopper itself).

I also like that the Breville comes with portafilter cradles and a cleaning brush.

The one advantage in the grinder quality that I found in the OXO is that it seems to have a slower motor with more torque. The ground coffee never comes out hot, which is something I can't always say about the Breville.

It's a close call, but I think the winner is the Breville in this category.

Winner: Breville Smart Grinder Pro

Grind Consistency

While both of these grinders do a pretty good job in terms of grind consistency, the Breville wins in this category because it doesn't ever seem to falter, no matter what setting you're on.

In contrast, the OXO has an incredibly inconsistent grind for its coarser settings, as pictured below:

Coarsest Grind

Coarsest Grind

Winner: Breville Smart Grinder Pro

Grind Range

The OXO has 15 grind settings while the Breville has 60, plus an additional 10 if you adjust the upper burr. I also found that the Breville can brew across more brew types than the OXO.

Winner: Breville Smart Grinder Pro

Ease of Use

I wouldn't call either of these grinders “easy to use”, however, I found that despite having only one button the OXO was a little bit less-intuitive to use.

In other words, if neither of these grinder came with an instruction manual I would figure out how to grind the coffee with the Breville before figuring out how to do so with the OXO.

Winner: Breville Smart Grinder Pro

Cleaning Ease

In many respects, these grinders have a lot of similarities (hence, the showdown).

In this case, I don't think there's a clear winner given how similar they are with removable hoppers and upper burrs, plus a very similar grind chute.

Winner: none

Appearance

I gotta give this to the OXO with its small footprint and beautiful LED interface.

Winner: OXO On Barista Brain

Durability

Considering that I had to return two units for the Breville, the OXO is my easy pick here. Keep in mind that I only have had the OXO on-hand for about a month though. Still, no issues.

Winner: OXO On Barista Brain

Grind Speed

I didn't notice any major differences in speed between these two grinders. I could have tested it, but I think the difference was negligible (anecdotally-speaking).

Winner: none

Grind Noise

The Breville is quieter. You can watch the video above to hear for yourself.

Winner: Breville Smart Grinder Pro

Summary

The Breville wins this showdown with a final score of 5-3.

But not so fast…this does not mean that you should immediately run off and buy the Breville Smart Grinder Pro.

To me, the Breville Smart Grinder Pro is the better option if you are looking to make espresso with a non-pressurized filter basket. Unfortunately, the OXO On Barista Brain can't grind at a sufficiently fine setting for non-pressurized filter baskets.

For drip coffee, particularly auto drip, I prefer the OXO because of its dosing system. Being able to weigh out your dose without owning a separate gram scale is huge.

For French Press, I wouldn't buy either of these grinders, but if I had to choose it would be the OXO. The Breville Smart Grinder Pro cannot produce a coarse grind. The OXO can, but it's pretty inconsistent.

If you're willing to use a sieve to filter out fines, the OXO is a suitable option for both French Press and drip coffee.

The Breville is suitable for auto drip, pour over drip, and espresso.

To add the Breville Smart Grinder Pro to your shopping cart on Amazon, click the link below:

To add the OXO On Barista Brain to your shopping cart on Amazon, click the link below: