I’ve been working with coffee grinders for many years, so I’ve seen all the issues that can arise. With that experience in mind, we’ll be discussing the following talking points in this article:
So let us begin.
The most important things to know about the noise levels of coffee grinders are…
- Well built coffee grinders tend to be the quietest
- Some coffee grinders have soundproofing materials
- Avoid blade grinders because they’re too loud
- The quietest type of coffee grinder is a manual one
- Extra loudness could be the sign of an issue with your grinder
How to Tell the Noise Level of a Coffee Grinder
Coffee grinders are typically around 80-90 dB (about the same as heavy traffic or a food blender) but they can be quite far out of that bracket in either direction.
You might be able to find the exact volume of a specific coffee grinder online but the chances are, you’ll need to do some extra research to find out.
If you’re unable to find out the loudness for yourself, consider a few other factors. I’ll show you the main things that affect the loudness of a coffee grinder in the next section.
Things to Consider When Buying a Quiet Coffee Grinder
There are some things that really have an impact on the noise output of coffee grinders. Let’s check them out.
#1 Build quality
I’ve found that the factor that affects the noise level of a coffee grinder most (a lot of the time) is the build quality.
If you opt for a cheap grinder it’s probably going to be louder because it’s likely to vibrate more.
That’s not to say all expensive grinders are quiet and all cheap grinders are quiet though, as there are a few other major factors at play.
#2 Building and/or soundproofing materials
The build quality is one thing but what the coffee grinder is actually made out of is often just as important.
If a coffee grinder is made out of cheap plastic then it’s going to vibrate more than if it’s made out of solid metals. The more robust the surface, the more quiet it’s likely to be.
Cheaper materials are also more likely to wear out over time and this is only going to make things louder a few years down the line.
Some coffee grinders actually go one step further and have soundproofing materials.
For example, I’ve seen some grinders with rubber feet that stop them from vibrating against the work surface. This would be a great idea for anyone looking to decrease the volume.
#3 Blade vs burrs
If you want a quiet coffee grinder, you should avoid blades. The way blade grinders work is that two sharp blades spin around really fast and shred the coffee beans.
The speed of this is one thing but they’re also generally cheaper and not sound proofed. You won’t find a quiet blade grinder.
Burrs can be loud too. But it’s inherently easier to produce a quiet burr grinder than a blade one. Stick with these!
#4 Flat vs conical burrs
Flat burrs are usually found on faster grinders and as such, they could well be louder as we’ll find out about in the next section.
That being said, flat burr grinders tend to have a better build quality, which can mean they’re quieter.
The actual shape of the burr will have a negligible impact on the overall sound level.
#5 Grind speed
The faster the speed of the grind, the more loud the grind is going to be. Not only is more power being put through the machine (meaning louder mechanics), but the burrs are going to be attacking the coffee beans with more velocity, which is going to make more noise as well.
A lot of grinders have variable speeds so this might not be a factor when you’re buying one. You could just turn the grind speed down when you’re trying to be quiet.
But don’t neglect the grind speed too much. If you end up with a slow grinder, it might not be well suited to the type of coffee you like to drink. You can read about the significance of grind speed in this article.
#6 Bean hopper capacity
The more coffee in your grinder, the more noise it’s going to make. More beans revolving around the chamber is going to cause more sound. So you could keep the sound down by not loading it all the way up.
There’s not really much point going for a coffee grinder with a large bean hopper if you want to keep the noise down. But then again, you don’t need to avoid one altogether because you don’t have to fill it up.
You could even go one further and opt for a single dose grinder. With these, you’ll only be putting enough coffee for a single dose in at a time. This is to protect the freshness, but these types of grinders typically tend to have the added benefit of being quieter.
#7 Manual vs Electric Coffee Grinders
The easiest way to keep the volume of your coffee grinder down is to ditch an electric grinder altogether and opt for a manual one.
Manual grinders have no power of course, so that brings the noise level down right away. Plus, the grind speed is going to be a lot slower. All you’ll hear is the crunch of the beans!
And you might not even hear that very loud if the manual grinder is well built. Good build quality and grind material will lock the sound in further.
If you want to know about which manual coffee grinder to buy, you can read some of the best ones here.
#8 Check the reviews
One simple way to find out if a coffee grinder is going to be loud or not is simply to look at some reviews online. I’m not saying you’ll find the answer for every grinder but you could well find a review or a messageboard where someone talks about this.
Alternatively, you could just check out my guide to the quietest coffee grinders and take your pick from there.
Is an Issue Causing Loudness in Your Coffee Grinder?
If your coffee grinder is making more noise than you remember it making, this could be the sign of an issue. Let’s take a look at some of the steps you can take to troubleshoot this or to protect yourself against it.
#1 Take a look at the internal parts
Something inside of your coffee machine might be broken, causing extra rattling. That could be the reason for the extra noise.
How to fix this really depends on which type of coffee grinder you have. So I’d start by simply searching for the issue online. Often, somebody else will have had the same issue and you might be able to find a fix in a message board somewhere.
And if you can’t find a fix for it, you could always reach out to the manufacturer customer support team to see if they can help.
To get hold of the customer support team of a coffee grinder manufacturer, just head over to their website. You might find a live chat function, a telephone number, an email address or something else.
#2 Examine the exterior for damage
Another common cause of excess noise is if the case or the seal of the grinder is broken. If there’s a crack anywhere in the exterior then more sound is going to escape. Plus, broken material could be hitting against each other causing even more noise still.
If you do find some exterior damage then I recommend going through the same troubleshooting steps listed in the section above.
#3 Make sure everything is clean and that there’s no mineral buildup
Mineral buildup or loose coffee grounds in your grinder could be causing interior malfunctions and therefore more noise. That’s one of the reasons that keeping your coffee grinder clean is really important.
You should really be wiping your coffee grinder down after every use and then giving it a deep clean once per month, using coffee grinder cleaning tablets.
This will prevent the buildup of minerals from the water and excess coffee grounds causing havoc to the internal mechanisms.
To find out how to clean your coffee grinder then check out this article.
Coffee Grinder Noise Levels FAQ
We’ve been hearing people asking the following questions about coffee grinder noise levels, so here are the answers.
How often will my coffee grinder last?
Your coffee grinder might get louder over time as parts begin to wear down. It could be a good idea to buy a new one at this point.
Typically, a coffee grinder lasts five to eight years if you use it daily. But it could be a lot more or less than this depending on how well you look after it and how high the quality of it is.
What are the best quiet coffee grinders?
It’s funny you should ask, because I’ve written an article on the matter.
The Fellow Opus is the best quiet coffee grinder for me overall in terms of value for money.
But I’ve picked out a few others, and you can read all about them here.
Wrapping Up on Coffee Grinder Noise Levels
The noise of your coffee grinder could be due to the way the grinder works, or it could be the sign of a fault.
If you’re in the market for a new coffee grinder and are worried about waking up the people you live with then be sure to check out any grinders against the criteria I listed in this article (e.g. build quality and materials).
But if you already have a coffee grinder and are worried about the excess noise, check out my troubleshooting steps above.
If you’re ready to get started on your search for a coffee grinder then check out this article to find out everything you need to know about it.