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How To Use a Grinder

How To Use a Grinder

Are you new to grinders? Asking how to use a grinder is one of those things that you might feel too embarrassed to even ask at the start of your journey. It’s one of the very basics.

Go into any smoke shop or explore any online head shop and you will see that there are loads of types of grinders, and this might add to your confusion.

Fear not. In this guide, we dive into how to use a grinder, and to get it right so that you can have the very best experience and won't have to get a new grinder for years to come.

Assortment of Grinders

What is a Grinder?

The first step is to understand what a grinder is, and what it does. Well, it grinds, of course. That’s not the end of the story, though.

The role of the grinder is to break up the herb into smaller sections so you can use it in whatever way you wish. For instance, rolling it in a blunt or packing it in a bowl. Ground herb is also needed for loads of recipes out there for cooking with anything. Just about everyone who enjoys smoking will need to learn how to use a grinder.

Though there are other ways to grind up your stuff, it helps to have something that is specifically set up for the job. Herb grinders make it quick and easy to break down the flower, and have pollen catchers.

Kief Catcher

These are also known as “kief catchers”. Their role is to catch some of the trichomes that may otherwise get lost in the grind. You can then use these for making your own preroll, or adding to your bowl. It ensures none of the precious components of your flower get lost.

How To Grind Herbs – Step By Step

Let’s dive into how to use a standard grinder. Of course, there are some variations. You can even buy grinders that resemble a kitchen grater, called a grinding card. These are used in a slightly different way.

The ‘standard’ grinder looks like a small pot, with a lid on top.

Step 1: – Remove the lid at the top and insert your herbs into the grinder. If you’ve got some large pieces of flower that don’t really fit, you can break them up to make sure they go into the teeth and are properly set up to get ground down. If it’s directly in the middle, the teeth won’t always reach.

How To Use A Grinder

Step 2: Put the grinder lid back on and start to rotate. Many grinders will let you look at the bud falling through the little holes in the device into the chamber. Grind 10-12 times first of all, and then you might need to tap the grinder at the side to encourage any pieces that have got stuck, or not entered the teeth. You can then grind a few times again to make sure the bud gets grated down.

Step 3: Remove the chamber with the teeth and you’ll see your herb, ground and ready to go. You can either choose to use this as it is, putting it straight into your joint or bong, or you can store it. Freshly-ground is normally best, though.

After Grinding Herbs


Step 4: Check for the “pollen” collected in the bottom chamber. You can use a tool to scrape out the bottom and access these trichomes. Some of the top grinders on the market come with this tool, meaning you can easily access all those readies that would otherwise get lost. Once you’ve collected the kief you can add it to your bowl or you can even use it to make a fancy preroll. The choice is up to you.

Different Types of Grinders

There are different types of grinder on the market, mainly categorized by the number of chambers they have. To understand how to use the grinders it helps to understand the different varieties.

Two-piece, three-piece, and four-piece are the names of the different mainstream types of grinder.

1. Two-Piece Grinder

2 Piece Grinder

Two-piece grinders have one single chamber. They’re called a two-piece because between the bowl and the lid, there are two pieces of kit to make up this chamber. They’re usually pretty small and compact, and the teeth that grind sit within the bowl.

2. Three-Piece Grinder

3 Piece Grinder

The three-piece has a slightly different design.

The lid is similar, or even exactly the same as those you’d find on a two-piece. It has teeth to help with the grinding within the chamber. Underneath, there’s a chamber with holes that the ground herb can fall through into another chamber, which some users refer to as the “collection chamber”.

The bottom chamber is where you can grab the herb that has been ground. It usually just unscrews from the bottom so you can easily take the herb out, but don’t forget that some pollen can get stuck and you might not notice it in the grinding chamber.

3. Four-Piece Grinder

4 Piece Grinder

Yes, you’ve guessed it, there’s an extra chamber.

These have yet another piece on top, often referred to as the ‘kief chamber’. This is a specific collection for the pollen-like kief that can often get stuck in the bottom chambers. It usually has a mesh design and only allows the smaller parts (pollen) to fall through.

These can then be separately collected and used after you’ve ground your herb, as discussed above. This eliminates the need to scrape these trichomes or the kief out.

Summary – How to Use a Grinder to Good Effect

So there we have it. Grinders aren’t a complex item to get to grips with. In this guide we’ve explained the different varieties in terms of chambers, but the actual method tends to remain exactly the same, it is just the collection from the chamber that can vary, based on the style of grinder. Armed with these basic tips, you can make sure you don’t lose out on the precious pollen that may fall from the dry herbs as you grind. Enjoy every drop, instead.

Check out our follow up guide on how to clean your grinder.

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