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An essential accessory for any consumer of dry herbal blends, a grinder is an ideal way to prepare herbs to be ingested. Whether you prefer to vape, smoke, or even eat your herbal blends, you will need to take a step to break the herbs down from their crude form to a more manageable and consistent state. While this theoretically could be done with your fingers, teeth, or even the classic “scissor in a shot glass” method, nothing beats the ease of use or the convenience of a dedicated herbal grinder.
Grinders themselves can come in a wide array of prices with various features and construction materials. While some of these decisions will come down to preference, there are some features that premium grinders offer that cannot be matched by budget entries. The most glaring deficiency of cheaper grinders is their construction materials. Generally, these types of grinders will be made from plastic, acrylic, low-quality wood, or low-quality metals which may oxidize or degrade over time. Upgrading to a grinder that features high-quality metal construction is an obvious improvement in both form and function.
Metal grinders are preferred by connoisseurs for their durability and performance. The obvious unbreakable qualities of aluminum grinders or other high-quality metal herb grinders offer peace of mind for the consumer. Metal grinders tend to offer more consistent performance than their cheaper counterparts. An aluminum herb grinder will hold a sharp edge much more readily than an acrylic grinder, this will help to break down even your densest and stickiest of herbal materials. Metal herb grinders are also more readily cleaned, which will lead to better performance and more consistent usage for years to come.
VaporNation carries a cornucopia of metal grinders, which offers the consumer the greatest amount of control in their decision. While our selection of grinders varies from mild to wild, some even rolling your herbal materials for you, we’ve provided some information below to help with the decision. When buying a metal herb grinder, whether it’s your first or tenth, it’s important to consider the particulars of your usage as well as the features you require to enhance your herbal experience.
Herb grinding has been a part of cooking, eastern medicinal practices and recreational enjoyment for centuries. While the mechanism of action has remained largely unchanged, the technology continues to evolve. The modern metal herb grinder benefits from enhanced research and development and precision CNC machining to create grinders that can grind your herb finer and more efficiently.
The act of grinding simply envelops applying friction and an abrasive surface to the chosen herbal materials, to break them down into smaller, more usable pieces. Herb grinding can be seen in many forms, from the primitive mortar and pestle, to the cheese grater-like grinder card, all the way to the refined metal grinder. Metal grinders utilize burrs or teeth which have been designed to maximize shredding power in a small a space. This creates the maximum surface area for your herbal materials by using the eviscerating power of the teeth within.
The basic steps of how to use an herb grinder are remarkably similar, regardless of what kind of grinder you chose to use.
Remove the lid of your grinder
Add your herbal materials
Replace the lid of the grinder
Rotate the lid and body of the grinder in opposing directions
Repeat step 4 until your herb has reached your desired consistency
This process will hold true for metal grinders both 2 and 4-piece, acrylic grinders and most any other manual grinder you will come across.
Though they may feature the same construction material, there are some differences among metal herb grinders which set them apart. Each offers its own set of unique advantages and perhaps disadvantages for some users. Ultimately, the way you choose to ingest your herbs, the amount of herb you consume, and the desired consistency or desire for pollen collection will help you determine which grinder is best for you.
Two-piece grinders are a classic design for modern manual grinders and manage to properly grind your herb while keeping design and operation as simple as possible. As the name implies, the metal 2-piece herb grinder is comprised of two pieces of sturdy metal or aluminum. The main components of a two piece grinder are the body and the lid.
Depending on the depth of the body, the two halves of a two-piece metal herb grinder may be nearly identical in size. Regardless of the size of the compartments, however, all 2-piece metal grinders operate the same way. Simply rotate the halves of the grinder in opposing directions to grind your herb. The size and consistency of your herbs are entirely under your control.
The benefits of the 2-piece grinder will appeal to those who roll, as well as those who like to have the most control over the size and consistency of their ground herbal materials. The simplicity of the design also makes for a more compact grinder which may be preferred by those who would like to take their grinder with them on the go.
The main disadvantage of the two-piece metal herb grinder would be the inability to collect pollen. This won’t be a concern for users who roll, smoke or vape and are content to smoke their pollen with each use instead of saving it. Pollen catches simply allow the user to store pollen for a longer period of time, which gives the consumer the opportunity to create presses, extracts, or other infusions with the more potent pollen. One is not necessarily better than the other, it just depends on your priorities.
Four piece grinders are the most specialized herb grinders and seen by many as the pinnacle of premium metal grinders. The four-piece grinder does allow for more compartmentalized operation, better long-term storage and the ability to collect pollen. Four piece herb grinders are almost always made from metal or aluminum and feature four main components to their construction.
The construction of the 4-piece metal grinder is essentially a two piece grinder with two added compartments. There is a storage compartment, which the ground herbal material will fall to after it has reached the designated size. The storage compartment features space between the grinding element and a sieve or metal screen on the bottom. Space allows for your ground herb to be stored, while the sieve will allow the fine pollens to be collected from your herbal blend into the fourth piece of the grinder. The final part is the pollen collection tray, which will hold your pollens until they are ready for use.
The main advantages for the four-piece metal herb grinder are the robust construction, greater storage abilities and the collection of pollen. These attributes will especially benefit those who tend to grind a larger amount of herb, as they will be able to collect a larger amount of pollen to be used later.
The disadvantages of a 4-piece grinder can come in the greater complexity of its parts. If the four-piece grinder is not properly maintained, elements may become likely to fuse together with sticky resins and residues from your plant matter.
Herb grinders are essential to a consistent and efficient smoking experience. Most herbal blends are not intended to smoke in their raw form. After the curing process, the herbal materials will still be too dense to burn or vaporize effectively. They need to be broken down to be consumed.
Breaking down your herbal materials will increase the surface area, more surface area will mean more of your herbs are being utilized to create your desired effects. By increasing the surface area, you ensure that the heat reaches all points of the herb in an even manner. This prevents your herb from being wasted.
Grinding is also an important part of vaporization. With more and more vaporizers, especially the best vaporizers, being based around convection heating, airflow is essential. Convection heating works by heating the air around your herbs, as this air is heated and drawn over your herbs, they are vaporized. By grinding your herbs, you ensure maximal airflow, which will aid in the vaporization of your herbs.
While grinders are sturdy pieces of equipment that have been built to last, they will still require maintenance from time to time. It is advised to wipe down the blades of your grinder with a nylon brush after every use. This will cut down on the amount of plant material clinging to the most important part of your grinder --the blades. Keeping the blades free of debris will keep them sharp and grinding your herb with peak efficiency.
Even with regular brushing, your grinder may continue to accumulate some sticky by-products. The best way to deal with this is to use a q-tip soaked in isopropyl alcohol. Simply wipe down the affected areas with the q-tip. If using a four-piece metal herb grinder, you will want to pay particular attention to the threads that hold the various compartments together. If care is not taken of the threads, they may fuse together with resinous material. Once you have removed the residue, simply rinse the grinder with clean water and dry it thoroughly before use.
They say a stitch in time saves nine, and keeping your grinder clean will keep it grinding fine. We’d be inclined to agree. A little care and maintenance can go a long way towards preserving the utility and optimal performance of your investment.