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Saturday November 13, 2021

By Erin Hiatt

cannabis grinder next to a lighter Education

Every dry herb cannabis enthusiast should have a few accessories in their arsenal to make the experience not only enjoyable, but also practical. Rolling papers, doob tubes, a stash bag, rolling trays, favorite lighter, and hemp wick are but a few to keep in mind. 

Let’s not forget about the humble grinder, the hardworking tool that makes easy work of breaking up and refining nugs for rolling or vaping, and preserves the potency and healing benefits of your stash. Even though using your fingers may seem to make quicker work of the process, ultimately, some of the flower will get stuck to your fingers, cause inconsistent nug size, and render the finer pieces unusable.

Varieties of Grinders

Grinders come in three types, 2-piece, 3-piece, and 4-piece. And the price can really vary, depending on the type of grinder and the material it’s made out of. Acrylic and plastic grinders are the most affordable, but also the least durable and apt to break more quickly. Wood grinders are a great choice for those who prefer to use natural materials, but they are typically handmade, cost more, and aren’t as easy to clean.  But, with the most varied range of styles and prices, grinders made from aluminum and titanium seem to be the most popular with consumers. 

a grinder
There are many different types of grinders that serve many different purposes.

How to Use Different Types of Grinders

Utilizing a grinder is about as straightforward as it seems, but there are a few pro tips that will help you make the best of this tool and get the most from your bud. Here’s a look at how to use each different type of grinder. 

2-Piece Grinders

This kind of grinder is perfect for the cannabis consumer looking for a portable, quick and effective way to grind herb for smoking or dry herb vapes.

  1. Remove the grinder lid
  2. Break your nugs into smallish pieces and place between the grinder’s teeth (be careful not to overfill the chamber)
  3. Replace the lid, then hold the bottom of the grinder in one hand while twisting the lid with the other. At first, it may be harder to twist, but give it some elbow grease until twisting becomes smooth. Some swear by grinding ten times, but it really depends on your desired consistency.
  4. With the lid still on, tap it gently against your hand or hard surface to loosen the bud, then carefully remove the lid. Et voila! Your herb is ready to be consumed.

3-Piece Grinders

A step-up in function from the 2-piece, 3-piece grinders have small holes in the grinding chamber that allow flower will fall into a collection chamber, which can store more than a 2-piece and keeps the ground bud in place when you open the lid. 

  1. As with a two piece grinder, steps 1-3 apply. If your grinder has a crank on top, simply secure the bottom and turn the crank.
  2. Once you’ve ground the herb to your desired consistency, tap the grinder to loosen the materials, and ensure that they fall into the collection chamber below.
  3. To collect the ground herb, unscrew the middle portion of your grinder.

4-Piece Grinders

Yet one more step-up in function from the 3-piece grinder is the 4-piece, which contains an additional chamber and screen for sifting and collecting kief

If you are looking to collect kief, a 4-piece grinder is the way to go!
  1. Steps 1-3 above apply (again)
  2. When using a 4-piece, continue twisting the grinder until the herb has fallen through the holes of the grinding bowl. Your bud will have fallen into the second chamber, while the kief will have passed through to the bottom (kief) chamber
  3. Once again, gently tap to loosen your herb
  4. Unscrew the piece below the grinder’s teeth to collect the ground cannabis
  5. To collect the kief, unscrew the lowest chamber of the grinder

Grinder Size

Another thing to consider is the size of your grinder, the depth of the grinding chamber and the spacing of the grinder’s teeth. These will determine how much flower you can grind at a time, and how small you’ll need to break up the buds before putting them in. If the teeth are widely spaced, you can grind larger buds, but will wind up with a coarser grind. Closer teeth will have a finer grind, but require smaller buds to grind. Always try to fill to a comfortable amount to keep your grinder turning smoothly and easily.

Choosing the Right Grinder

What kind of grinder you choose depends on a few factors. If the plan is to use ground cannabis for joints or dry herb vaporizers only, a 2-piece grinder will definitely do the trick, but might not be the most efficient for larger amounts of bud. If prolonging the life of your bud by using the extra potent kief for edibles (or even homemade tinctures or oils), or giving an extra kick to joints, bowls, or vapes is your goal, then a 3 or 4-piece would be the perfect addition to your accessories.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Is the Difference Between 2-piece, 3-piece and 4-piece Grinders?

2-piece grinders consist of just a lid and a base, the ground flower remains in the grinding chamber. 3-piece grinders allow the ground flower to fall through holes and collect in a collection chamber. 4-piece grinders have a screen below the collection chamber, and a final chamber that collects kief.

Do I Need to Grind My Weed?

You don’t need to, but you probably should. Grinding weed makes for a smoother smoke, and allows more heat to reach more trichomes when ignited. It is also easier to handle, and helps to keep sticky trichomes from covering your fingers. You can certainly smoke weed without grinding it by breaking it up with your fingers, but you’ll likely find that it does not provide the same quality of smoke.

Can I Grind Weed Without a Grinder?

Yes. There are a few ways of grinding your weed without a grinder, such as using a coin in a pill bottle, or a pestle and mortar. Click the link to learn more.

What type of grinder do you prefer? Share in the comments!


Erin Hiatt Erin Hiatt

Erin Hiatt is a New York City-based writer who has been covering the cannabis industry for more than six years. Her work - which has appeared in Hemp Connoisseur Magazine, PotGuide, Civilized, Vice, Freedom Leaf, MERRY JANE, Alternet, and CannaInvestor - covers a broad range of topics, including cannabis policy and law, CBD, hemp law and applications, science and technology, beauty, and psychedelics.

Erin's work and industry insights have been featured on the podcasts The Let's Go Eat Show, In the Know 420, and she has appeared as a featured panelist on the topic of hemp media. Erin has interviewed top industry experts such as Dr. Carl Hart, Ethan Nadelmann, Amanda Feilding, Mark A.R. Kleiman, Dr. James Fadiman, and culture icons Governor Jesse Ventura, and author Tom Robbins. You can follow her work on LinkedInWordpress, @erinhiatt on Twitter, and @erinisred on Instagram.

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