Breville the Smart Grinder Pro Review
Pros: Great grind consistency, intuitive interface, relatively clean and quiet
Cons: Not ideal for coarser grinds, expensive
Compare to Similar Products
Breville the Smart Grinder Pro
$199.95 at Amazon
$99.95 at Amazon
$22.99 at Amazon
|Check Price at Amazon||$40 List|
$29.99 at Amazon
|Pros||Great grind consistency, intuitive interface, relatively clean and quiet||Good grind consistency, relatively inexpensive||Relatively clean and easy to use, quieter than most blade models||Inexpensive, small footprint||Cheaper than a burr model, very little spillage|
|Cons||Not ideal for coarser grinds, expensive||Somewhat loud, can make a mess||Produces inconsistent grinds||Inconsistant grind-sizes, heavy static||More expensive than many other blade models, inconsistent grinds|
|Bottom Line||This grinder provides top-notch performance in every category except for the coarsest of grinds||Excellent performance and one of the best values on the market make this a great choice||One of the better blade models on the market, but definitely don't expect it to produce consistent grinds||A basic burr grinder one-step above a blade grinder, providing mediocre grind consistency||A standard blade model that may be a bit more expensive than many are hoping|
|Rating Categories||Breville the Smart Pro||Bodum Bistro||Mr. Coffee 12 Cup E...||Krups GX500050||KitchenAid Blade|
|Grind Consistency (35%)|
|User Friendliness (25%)|
|Specs||Breville the Smart Pro||Bodum Bistro||Mr. Coffee 12 Cup E...||Krups GX500050||KitchenAid Blade|
|Grinding Mechanism||Conical burr||Conical burr||Blade||Flat burr||Blade|
|Burr/Blade Material||Stainless steel||Stainless steel||Stainless steel||Metallic||Stainless steel|
|Best Brew Application||Pour over, espresso||Pour over, french press||Pour over, french press||Pour over, french press||Pour over, french press|
|Dimensions||12.5" x 8.5" x 16.3"||7.6" x 7.1" x 12.5"||5" x 5" x 9"||4.29" x 7.24" x 10.4"||7.1" x 4.1" x 3.7"|
|Weight||6.4 lbs||3.2 lbs||1.7 lbs||3.2 lbs||2.6 lbs|
|Cup Material||Plastic||Plastic||Plastic, metal||Plastic||Metal|
Our Analysis and Test Results
Sitting at or near the front of the pack in all of our tests, the Smart Grinder Pro is an excellent choice for the most discerning coffee aficionados that don't mind spending a bit more to ensure their coffee receives the best expression possible in their cup. Really the only weak point of this machine is that it creates a little more fine coffee dust than other models when grinding at coarser sizes, but from pour-over to Turkish coffee, it's hard to beat.
The Smart Pro was exceptional in all of our grind consistency tests, with coarse grinds being the one area where it showed some minor weaknesses.
When we ground 21 grams of coffee at a pour-over-appropriate grind size and ran it through a series of sieves to analyze the distribution of grind sizes in the sample, the Smart Pro got a whopping 74% of the grinds into the ideal size range. Another 13% was just adjacent to the ideal size, and only the remaining 13% fell at the extremely small (fines) and large (boulders) end of the spectrum. This distribution is much tighter than the vast majority of consumer models that we've tested and sets you up with a great chance of getting a good extraction from your coffee brewing.
Speaking of good extraction, the ideal extraction time (time from the water hitting the grinds to all of it making its way through the filter) for a cup of coffee made via pour-over is 3 minutes. When we made multiple cups in this fashion with grinds from the Smart Pro, the extraction times ranged from 2:51 to 2:55. Not only is that incredibly close to the ideal, but it is also a very tight grouping, indicating the grinder can produce the same results time and time again.
This is further evidenced by the fact that we saw only a 0.3-gram variation in the amount of coffee ground when prepping all of those pour-overs. This may not seem that impressive, but even with some other high-end machines, we saw them grind out 23 grams of coffee when set to 21 grams and then spit out just 19 grams the next time around.
The Smart Pro also produced very consistent and close-to-ideal extraction times when making espresso. Very few countertop grinders that can handle pour-over-sized grinds can function well in the very fine espresso range as well, but the Smart Pro is certainly one of them.
The one area where the Smart Pro didn't fare well in this metric was in producing coarse-sized grounds. Our sieve test revealed that it produced noticeably more coffee dust (fines) than other grinders, which can result in a muddy, oily, and over-extracted brew. You can open the machine up and physically adjust the burrs to be more optimized for coarse or fine grind sizes, which we found to reduce the amount of fines by about half (and this didn't affect the grind range too much either). However, even with that reduction, we still think there are more fines than a French press or cold brew devotee would want from a high-quality grinder.
Grinding is by definition a messy business, but the Smart Pro keeps things about as neat as possible.
For the most part, the Smart Pro checks all of the cleanliness boxes. It creates a minimal amount of static, so the grind cup doesn't hang onto many grinds. The cup itself makes for an easy and smooth pour of the grinds into your coffee-making apparatus of choice. The chute doesn't hang onto many grinds either, so there is minimal spillage when removing the grind cup or moving the machine.
The one cleanliness annoyance we found with this machine is that it can spit grinds onto the counter because the opening on the cover of the grind cup is just a bit too small. However, this problem is mostly resolved if you leave the lid off and grind directly into the open grind cup.
The Smart Pro provides a great user experience, offering just about every bell and whistle you could want, yet keeping general operation streamlined and simple.
The nicest feature of the interface on the Smart Pro is the large LCD screen, which clearly displays what settings are selected. Those settings are also incredibly easy to select, as there are dedicated knobs for both grind size and grind amount (seconds). There is also a cups/shots button, which you can program yourself. For instance, if after some experimentation you find that grinding for 18 seconds produces the perfect amount of grinds for your preferred brewing method, you can program the "1-cup" setting to be 18 seconds. You can also easily pause the grinding halfway through, which is great if you're grinding into a portafilter that needs a little shake midway through filling up.
The machine itself is also quite easy to take apart in order to clean and/or adjust the burrs. A safety mechanism disables the grinder when the hopper is removed to access the burrs, which is a nice touch.
Though not the quietest, the Smart Pro produces a less offensive noise than most grinders on the market.
This machine emits a relatively high-pitched noise, but that noise stays consistent and isn't particularly whiny. This results in a sound that we found to be quite bearable, even when grinding coffee for multiple cups in a row. There's even a chance it won't annoy light sleepers in the next room, provided your walls aren't too thin.
The price of the Smart Grinder Pro is certainly at the higher end of the spectrum, but its overall performance is well above average as well. If you don't mind paying a bit of a premium for great grind consistency and a streamlined user experience, we think this device is well worth the price. If, however, you're looking to maximize your performance per dollar or minimize your overall grinder expenditure, you'll be happier looking elsewhere.
There are only two reasons not to get the Breville Smart Grinder Pro: the premium price and the fact that it doesn't produce coarse grinds with exceptional quality. If you don't mind paying a premium for a top-tier machine and you don't often need coarse grounds, we think you're going to love this grinder.
— Max Mutter and Michelle Powell
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