Aside from your herb and smoking device, the most important tool a smoker can have is a grinder. In the old days, smokers were caught between a rock and a hard place when it came to breaking up their herb. Either they tore herb up with their fingers, or threw the whole nug into the bowl. With the invention of herb grinders, this problem is no more. They give you the ability to conserve herb, catch your pollen (depending on the grinder type), and stock up prepared dry herb for your next session.
TYPES OF HERB GRINDERS
Finding the right grinder for you is important. Herb grinders can be anywhere from 1 to 5 pieces, acrylic or metal, and manual or automatic. There are many choices, but whatever herb grinder ends up in your smoking arsenal will make preparing your session a breeze. You can choose between acrylic, metal, or wood grinders, each offering its own benefits.
METAL HERB GRINDERS
There is a reason metal grinders are the most widely used. The teeth on metal pieces will stay sharper than their acrylic and wood counterparts. They also have a few different teeth options depending on how fine or fluffy you want your herb. An aluminum device will be much easier to clean compared to a wood or acrylic grinder, ensuring long-lasting, optimal performance.
Weight wise, metal herb grinders are heavier, but remain portable. The construction is extremely durable. In addition, if you need to grind on-the-go, aluminum devices conceal odor better than others with an airtight seal.
WOOD HERB GRINDERS
Wood herb grinders are characterized by a rustic, down-to-earth aesthetic. The feel of a wood herb grinder tends to be described as “smooth” given the simplicity of their set up and ergonomic design. Wood grinders can be manufactured from recycled and naturally sourced wood, for those who prefer eco-friendly products.
ACRYLIC HERB GRINDERS
Acrylic grinders are definitely the most portable and affordable herb grinders available. Most are constructed using a high strength polycarbonate and designed for non-slip action. Usually boasting a "shark tooth" design, acrylic grinders give the user easy shredding that produces fine ground material. These grinders are very travel-friendly, as they are shatterproof and can easily fit in your pocket or purse. Since the plastic used is non-toxic, you can be sure that it is safe for daily use and strong enough to be in your smoking arsenal for a very long time.
HOW MANY PIECES SHOULD MY HERB GRINDER HAVE?
An herb grinder can have anywhere from 2 to 5 total pieces. No matter what your smoking preferences are, there is a grinder for you. From pollen catches to stash boxes, herb grinders can do a lot more than just simply fluff up your stash. Those who want to grind on the go might opt for a smaller grinder, while the pollen and “process oriented” smokers can opt for something more dynamic like a 4-piece grinder.
TWO PIECE HERB GRINDERS
Two piece herb grinders are a “beginner grinder” with simple designs and affordable prices. A two piece grinder consists of a lid and grinding chamber. These grinders are perfect for travel, as they can fit in most any small bag or pocket. Your herb is placed inside and then sandwiched between the two pieces to be shredded up. While a two piece herb grinder is convenient to carry, they tend to produce less high quality shredded herb than its multi-chamber counterparts but do offer simplicity for newcomers. A large percentage of wooden grinders are two piece, however multi-piece ones do exist.
THREE PIECE HERB GRINDERS
Three piece grinders are the “in between” in terms of grinder complexity and price. They consist of a lid, grinding chamber, and storage chamber. Your herb will be ground up in the top chamber, between pieces 1 and 2 of the grinder. The ground herb will fall into the bottom chamber for storage, and easy access. A three piece herb grinder makes getting to your herb easier than the two-piece option. This form does not use a crystal catch, so if you’re a pollen-saver this type of herb grinder isn’t for you. Although the extra piece offers additional space for more herb, three piece herb grinders are still very portable.
FOUR PIECE HERB GRINDERS
For those looking to cash in on their pollen supply, the four piece herb grinder is a worthy investment. Four piece grinders are the most commonly used multi-chamber herb grinder thanks to their functionality and power. Structurally, a four piece grinder consists of a lid, grinding chamber with teeth, a top chamber to catch the ground bud, and a bottom chamber that is separated by a fine screen. The screen is designed to sift out pollen and let it collect in the bottom chamber for use later. This kind of herb grinder separates out every part of your herb, allowing you to fully control your smoking experience every time. With the advent of the pollen catcher, you can store very potent herb crystals to add to the top of your next session. The only real downside to the four piece herb grinder is that it is not as portable. It can’t fit in your pocket, so if you’re on the move it's best to toss this type in your bag. There is a reason this is the most widely used type of herb grinder. It encompasses everything an herb grinder can and should do, but if you need something more portable, a three or two piece herb grinder are for you.
5 PIECE GRINDERS
The five piece grinder is the exact same as a four piece, but instead of just one screen and pollen collection chamber, it has two. Yup that’s right, even more pollen catching opportunities. Users who are serious about their herb will love being able to switch screens out to customize the size and amount of pollen that can be collected. Five piece herb grinders are not as discreet as other types and aren’t recommended for mobile use. Their large size and complex nature makes them more suited for large quantities of herb.
Credit Card Grinders
Credit card grinders are easy to use devices with extreme portability. Every credit card grinder will come with its own protective sleeve. The look and size of these grinders is, as you can imagine, just like a credit card. This type of herb grinder is easily the most portable, fitting in your wallet or pocket. These ultra-small grinders work just like a cheese grater. Just take your herb and grate it against the card.
On the other end of the “simplicity spectrum” of grinders is the automatic grinder, also known as an electric grinder. Electric herb grinders are faster than manual grinders, and as easy to use as a two or three piece grinder. Consistency is king with automatic grinders, every time you press the button you will get the same kind of ground herb as your first session. All you have to do with these grinders is place your dry herb into the grinding compartment, attach it to the grinder (or provided tube) and hit the grind button. In just a few seconds you’ll have perfectly ground herb at your fingertips. The downside of some electric herb grinders is portability, as some need to be charged via USB and can be kind of noisy. Automatic herb grinders also usually lack pollen catchers. For those who want faster, more efficient grinding, the electric herb grinder is for you.
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