Why You Should Use a 4-Piece Grinder
What to Look for in a Grinder
When it comes to the elements that make for a great grinder, there are a number of variables to consider. What are the size of the teeth and what configuration are they in? Is the grinder powered manually or by electricity? How durable is the material it’s made of? Does it have extra features like a handle or clear window? And, of course, how many chambers does the grinder have? Every smoker needs a herb grinder and we are here to help you decide!
Say Peace to 2-Piece Grinders
Plenty of people have stashes of those useless plastic two-piece grinders lying around: you know the ones I’m talking about, those pyramid-toothed click-together saucers that are given out in first-timer packages. Sure, they might do in a pinch if you’re camping or at a festival and need something disposable, but they’re not the best thing to have on the coffee table.
Two-piece grinders in general, whether they’re plastic or not, really only do one job—and messily at that. They’ll grind what you need ground, but you have to pour out the results onto a table or other surface before loading or rolling up. That can be a really frustrating affair when things get stuck inside the grinder’s teeth, which will happen if they’re not positioned correctly. It’s hard to tell whether using a two-piece is much of a step up from hand-separating and using scissors, especially because harder matter like stems can get stuck and cause a backup in the whole system. Some two-piece herb grinders can be useful, such as this pendant one or at least attractive like this Ryot accessory.
3-Piece Grinders: Small Step Up
Three-piece grinders solve the messiness problem introduced by two-piece models, at least, offering holes leading to a second chamber for the ground material to pass into. Smaller versions of these grinders make transportation still possible and sets up a better storage system. Three-piece grinders offer a compromise between usability and portability. They’re usually also better at breaking down tougher or more dense material than two-piece ones.
And while it might seem like enough to just have a clean, self-contained grind, using a two- or even three-piece grinder is far from the best way to maximize your experience. If you’re looking for something more advanced that offers additional functionality, four-piece grinders have an extra compartment that creates an entirely expanded experience—literally and figuratively.
Best Bang for Your Buck
Four-piece grinders offer a bottom layer that’s separated from the main chamber with a fine mesh screen (ranging from roughly 40 wire threads per inch to 100). The screen is designed to let smaller, concentrated particulates into the bottom of the grinder while keeping larger pieces of ground material up and out of the way. This delicate material often gets lost and stuck in two- and three-piece grinders.
Once you get to four-piece grinders, they’re rarely made of anything other than metals like aluminum and titanium so you don’t have to worry much about dealing with basic, shoddy designs or breakable acrylic. Clunky designs that are popular among two-piece grinders, including wooden pieces made with metal spikes/rods to break up material, luckily fall by the wayside once you get to higher-piece grinders.
Herb Grinders Don't Have to Be Boring
This level of grinders can have all sorts of added features: grinders with turning levers, see-through top-down windows, clear chambers, and embossed designs to name a few. Novelty starts to become mixed with usability at this point and while it’s possible to discern what adds value to the product and what doesn’t, this is really all personal preference once it comes down to it. Things like magnetic lids to keep the chambers shut are crucial for preventing messy accidents, for instance, while a clear middle chamber might or might not add anything to the grinder’s usability.
There are a number of basics to keep in mind whether or not you decide to go for a four-piece grinder. When it comes to teeth, for instance, the best and most efficient grinders have a common shape to them. While teeth are available in plenty of different shapes—square, narrow, circular—the best grinders have spikes that are diamond-shaped in order to maximize crushing area. But as long as they’re evenly spaced, the number of teeth doesn’t really change much. It’s more quality and consistency over quantity.
For the record electric options also exist, resembling highlighter-sized coffee grinders. Though they’re convenient, these handheld and tabletop electric grinders generally have only one chamber and therefore no kief catcher. And, naturally, five-piece grinders are also starting to pop up, filtering the ground material through two differently spaced screens.
You could settle for a two- or three-piece grinder, but when it comes down to it what’s the harm in getting the most bang for your buck? If you’re going to be spending the money to get a grinder you might as well get the best of the best—or at least the most useful piece that you can. When it comes to neatness, functionality, and efficiency, the four-piece model is a cost-efficient way to get the most out of your favorite dry herbs.
Still indecisive about which grinder to choose? Let us help you!