Best Small Weed Grinder 2021
Finding the best tiny weed grinder may seem like an easy thing to do, but there’s a lot to consider! Let’s break down some of the things you should think about.
Size: The most important attribute, it’s why you’re reading this article after all.
Cost/Quality: There are a lot of grinders out there, are you looking for a cheap grinder to get you through the day, or do you want something that will last you a life time? What type of grinders should you stay away from?
Additional Features: What do you want your grinder to accomplish? A simple two piece, or maybe you’re looking for a little more? What defines a small grinder is subjective, so figuring out what “piece” or how many sections you want your grinder to have is important too.
Are you carrying only flower? Many people carry both flower and concentrates nowadays, maybe you need something that can hold both?
Objective: Where are you taking this grinder? Why do you want it to be small? Should it fit in your pocket for your daily going-arounds, or do you just want it to be stealthy and easily carried? Do you plan to take this grinder camping, out on the water? Taking these things into consideration will help you pick the best mini grinder in 2021.
But honestly, I’m biased — I think the ZAM grinder is the best mini grinder, because…well, I built it to be the best. All those characteristics/attributes I listed above were taken into consideration when designing the ZAM grinder. Let me show you.
Size: Again, the most important aspect if you’re looking for a tiny grinder for cannabis is…drum roll please… the size of the grinder, duh. But there’s more to it than that. It’s about taking into account the small size of the grinder and maximizing all that it can do. It’s about taking those same limitations/issues you normally find in a teeny weeny grinder, and turning them into benefits.
New Patent Pending Neodymium Magnet
Here’s where the ZAM grinder is better: Every other tiny grinder on the market has this annoying, often giant, flat magnet in the middle that becomes this obstacle you have to avoid when you’re ready to grind some weed. That’s annoying, and for a small grinder with already miniscule space available, this often makes the grinder useless.
But the ZAM grinder has a patent pending magnetic neodymium ring that sits on the outside perimeter of the grinding chamber rather than the center. OOooooh. That’s right, no more center bud patties jamming everything up. Throw everything in the center without any worry of that annoying-ass magnet in the center, but still experience the same lovely magnetic pull you’re used to. The ring magnet has other benefits, but we’ll talk about that later, we’re talking about size related issues right now.
Small Teeth, No Place to Grind Cannabis
So you’ve got a handy-dandy-teeny-weeny-polkda-dot… grinder, and you want to grind up some dankelicious, but you realize you can only fit a small amount in the grinder because the teeth are so small. This is another major issue that plagues tiny grinders.
And it’s another one the ZAM has fixed. The teeth are 9mm in height while most other grinder’s teeth are 5mm-6mm. These longer teeth provide a deeper grinding area for you to mash all that bud in. And remember, no center magnet, so you really can just chuck a bunch in there. Now don’t get me wrong, this is a mini weed grinder that’s supposed to easily fit in your pocket, it’s not meant for grinding a lot of cannabis at once in the first place, but that doesn’t mean I can’t make it the best it can be, right!? Need to grind up .5-1g at a time? No problem. An eighth? Not a chance.
So as you can see the ZAM grinder is built to get the most out of its small size and at only 1.1” in diameter every cm (mm for those across the pond) counts. With the teeth longer and the magnet removed, this 1.1” inch ZAM can grind more than most 1.5” inch mini grinders, and the ZAM is way more portable!
Major Factors That Influence the Cost of A Weed Grinder
Now let’s talk about cost, another important factor that determines what league you want to play in. The major factors that influence this are the manufacturing process (CNC, casted), tolerance used (how specific/consistent the grinder was CNC’d), material type (wood, acrylic, zinc, aluminum, steel) and grade (ex. Aluminum 6061 & 7075), grinder size (2 piece – 6 piece), and grinder complexity (special add-ons, unique attributes/surface finish/aesthetics)
The tolerance used when CNCing is hard to notice unless they used really crappy tolerances. You might notice this on the $15-20 grinders, but manufacturers understand the importance of a decent build, so you are more likely to see lower quality metal being used (zinc, aluminum grade lower than 6061) rather than a grinder with poor tolerances. The easiest way to determine poor tolerances is if the threading is all shaky and squeaky when opening/closing. Another is if you see left over CNC machining lines.
Material type/grade is the largest contributing factor to the cost of a grinder. While a zinc grinder will be $5-10, a low quality aluminum grinder will be $5-$25, an anodized aluminum grinder made from 6061 or 7075 will be $30-$120 depending on the country it was manufactured, and steel will be $90-170.
Wood grinders can be nice, but they’re mostly purchased for aesthetic reasons rather than grind quality. Wood is too soft to be machine into a fine point, so metal pins or wooden pyramids are often used for teeth shape. They work ok, but not on the level of a name brand metal grinder.
Acrylic grinders have their place. Some people swear by them, but in truth they’re just the cheapest option available. Because plastics are first molded they require a large upfront cost, but after that grinders are ridiculously cheap to manufacture. That being said, if I was looking to spend less than $10 on a grinder I would probably go with a hard acrylic plastic grinder over zinc, even if you might end up smoking some melted plastic.
The zinc grade doesn’t matter. Manufacturers won’t list the grade of zinc because it doesn’t matter. If you’re considering buying a zinc grinder then you’re looking for a basic cheap grinder and they know this. Don’t bother with zinc grinders.
If your grinder is aluminum and doesn’t mention the grade of metal it’s made from, it’s most likely made from low quality aluminum. I don’t recommend the super cheap $5-10 grinders as they aren’t cleaned properly and the softer metals can be easily scratched resulting in metal shavings in your weed. That’s bad news bears.
Like many other notable grinder brands, the ZAM grinder is made from anodized aluminum 6061. This is the same metal used in aircraft part fabrication among many other military/industrial uses. You will often see the buzz-phrase “aircraft grade aluminum” associated with this grade of aluminum, but beware! The whole “aircraft grade aluminum” phrase has been so widely proliferated that even low quality aluminum and zinc brands have started touting the phrase. Check for the metal grade to be listed, otherwise assume it’s lower than 6061.
Another thing that annoys me — there are no titanium weed grinders! Titanium is ridiculously expensive to machine, do you hear me!? They would be hundreds of dollars each. Titanium refers to the color of the metal, don’t be fooled! Any website that advertises/links to/or discusses cheap titanium (under $150) grinders is a manipulative liar and you shouldn’t trust anything they say.
Aluminum 7075 is next step up in metal grade after 6061, and while uncommon in grinders today we’re starting to see more brands use this grade as the cannabis industry evolves and luxury weed grinders become more popular. This is where things start to get interesting as the majority of name-brand grinders are made from aluminum 6061. The price increases substantially from 6061 to 7075 because of the basic cost difference in the material, but mostly because of the increased difficulty in machinability (it’s more difficult to CNC). While aluminum 6061 is given a machinability rating of “good”, aluminum 7075 is given a rating of “fair”.
So we know the cost difference to machine, now let’s check out each grade’s strength properties. The most important attributes we’ll look at are “yield strength”, “hardness” (Brinell scale), “corrosion resistance”, and “weight”, as these impact the quality of a grinder.
But just in case you fall into a vat of lava and need to know which grinder would last longer, the winner is aluminum 6061. Surprisingly 7075 aluminum has a lower melting point.
Yield strength is defined as maximum stress at which a material begins to deform permanently.
The yield strength of aluminum 6061 is 40,000 psi while the yield strength of aluminum 7075 is 73,000, so 7075 has yield strength ~80% higher. This is one of the most important properties that distinguish 7075 from 6061. This means no broken teeth, but how often do you really experience broken teeth on a grinder? Is that worth it?
Hardness is defines as the ability of a material to resist deformation either by penetration or indentation.
The hardness of aluminum 6061 is 95 while the hardness of aluminum 7075 is 150, so 7075 is ~57% harder (brinell scale). The hardness of the metal will prevent dents, scratches, and general wear-and-tear on the grinder. The main reason 7075 has grown in popularity over the years is the metals hardness. Some people are concerned about smoking aluminum shavings that fall in the grinder as a result of this general wear-and-tear.
Corrosion resistance is defined as the ability to prevent environmental deterioration by chemical or electro-chemical reaction.
While the direct statistics of each metal’s ability to resist corrosion can’t be found, it’s often mentioned that 6061 has a higher corrosion resistance than 7075. Anodized 6061 is often used in manufacturing boat hulls, scuba tanks, docks, etc. That’s not to say 7075 has poor corrosion resistance, it’s just not as high as 6061. And with the ability to anodize 7075, 7075’s poor corrosion resistance has little impact on the quality of a grinder. (unless maybe you go to the beach all day)
Weight – obvious. (it’s actually the measure of force of gravity on an object, but who cares about that)
The mass density of aluminum 6061 is 2.7 g/cm3 while aluminum 7075’s is
Click here to see a more complete breakdown of the different properties of aluminum 6061 vs aluminum 7075.
So I’ve discussed the common types of material used in manufacturing weed grinders and the properties of each grade of metal, and you might be thinking the answer is obvious —aluminum 7075 or steel sounds great! I’m obviously going to go with that…until you see the price. A 7075 grinder is going to cost 2x as much as an anodized aluminum 6061 grinder, and a steel grinder 3x as much. This might be worth it to you, but for many this price increase isn’t worth the minimal advantages of using 7075 or steel. There are definitely benefits to using these harder metals (mostly hypothetical health benefits) but for a mini grinder those benefits don’t justify the price. The ZAM grinder 1.1” would be $100+ if made out of steel and that’s too expensive for 95% of cannabis consumers looking for a grinder, let alone a mini one.
Number of sections/additional features
The metal and grade will be the largest influence on the cost of your grinder, but the number of sections and any additional features will add cost as well. Ten years ago you had three main types of grinders: two piece, three piece (no kief screen), and four piece (standard grinder with kief screen). But nowadays you can easily find 2-6 piece grinders with additional storage sections for the top and bottom.
For a mini grinder primarily concerned with size, extra sections probably aren’t your priority, but if you plan to take this grinder with you out-and-about, an additional storage section might be worth it. The ZAM grinder has an air-tight, water-tight section above the teeth for exactly this reason. And with the PTFE linings this extra compartment lets you keep concentrates safe on hand at the same time.
Does Space Matter to You?
The ZAM 1.1” has another optional de-bowler lining, but it’s really only useful for one hitters and stem-load dry-herb vaporizers like the Dynavap, Arizer, Tinymight, etc.
What's Your Goal With This Grinder? Where do You Intend to Go?
The last thing that affects the outcome of the best mini grinder is your personal objective. Where do you plan to go and what do you plan to do with this mini grinder? Grind weed obviously, but while hiking, fishing, maybe golfing? Do you need it to be water proof, stealthy and smell resistant? Most people looking for a micro weed grinder are planning to keep it on them as they go about their day, so being able to comfortably carry the grinder in your pocket without the smell overflowing is important.
Remember that new patent pending ring magnet we spoke about earlier? That magnet also creates a consistent and uniform magnetic pull along the circumference of the grinder. This means no wobbles, no gaps, and most important of all —no space for smell to escape. This makes the ZAM grinder the best smell proof mini herb grinder on the market.
But other than smell resistance, there are other characteristics that can make one grinder better for different events/situations such as overall size, but we’ve spoken about that already. What we haven’t spoken of is carry capacity. What is “mini” is completely subjective, so being able to adapt to different situations is important. Maybe you only want to carry .5g, but another day you want to hold an eighth. Can your grinder adapt to these situations? Some grinders have the ability to remove sections to make the grinder larger or smaller depending on the situation, and the ZAM is one of those!
At its full size, the ZAM grinder is 1.1” x 3.7”. But with the kief section and main container removed it is only 2.2”! What’s also nice is the whole things is modular, so the main container and kief screen can also screw in above the teeth if you want to try different configurations or carry multiple strains in one grinder. You can actually carry up to four different strains in one ZAM 1.1” grinder if you have the PTFE bucket.
Oh yeah, the ZAM 1.1” is completely waterproof too. The ring magnet creates an air-tight, water-tight seal, so it’s the perfect grinder for a beach/boat day where you might get a little wet but you want your good stuff readily available.
So let’s summarize — The most important thing for a mini grinder is its overall size and ability to adapt to different situations. At 1.1” in diameter and completely modular, the ZAM is the smallest, most versatile mini grinder on the market. Carrying other grinders in your pocket will cause an uncomfortable bulge, but not the ZAM, you’ll forget it’s there.
Then we have the ability of the grinder itself, does it grind well? Can it still grind a decent amount of bud? The ZAM 1.1” can grind more than any 1.5” inch grinder while being 2/3 the width. The patent pending ring magnet really makes a significant impact on the amount of cannabis you can grind at one time. No longer do you have to carefully place your weed around the magnet. No jam, twice the space.
After that it’s the overall make and cost. Are you looking to spend on a name brand grinder made out of high grade aluminum or steel that will last a lifetime? Or do you simply want a cheap plastic mini grinder to get you through the day?
This part is completely up to you. We understand that not everyone has $100 to drop on a grinder, and if you’re looking for a small grinder you definitely aren’t looking to spend that much. That’s why we use high grade anodized T6 6061 aluminum, a high quality aluminum used in countless military applications that provides a happy medium between strength and cost.
Size, cost, features/abilities, and your personal objective will affect what you think is the best weed grinder. But in almost any situation where the user is looking for a mini weed grinder, I think I’ve proven the ZAM 1.1”inch grinder is the best option available.