Medically Reviewed by
Jason Crawford

Article Last Updated on January 4, 2023

For all of you first-time cannabis users out there who are thinking about tearing your cannabis into smaller pieces by hand, know that you’re missing a lot by not using a weed grinder. And for all of you long-term users out there who know that using a grinder elevates the smoking experience, this tutorial will remind you of the right way to use a weed grinder. So, gather all your nugs in one place and start reading our tutorial on how to use this nifty tool.

What Are Weed Grinders?

Weed grinders, or dry herb grinders, are small tools which are used to grind cannabis buds in an even consistency. The classic cannabis grinder consists of two halves, a top and a bottom one, and has a cylindrical, round shape. The interior is lined with sharpened teeth that grind the dried cannabis flower into small and even parts.

Weed grinders come in different shapes and sizes, and they’re classified by the number of chambers or the number of the pieces of components. The types of grinders are divided into the following categories:

  • Two-piece grinder (single chamber);
  • Three-piece grinder (two-chamber);
  • Four-piece grinder (three-chamber).

Two-Piece Grinder (Single Chamber)

Single chamber grinders are the simplest weed grinders on the market that only consist of a lid and a bowl. The bud is placed into one of the lids and the grinder is closed with the other lid. To grind the weed, you just twist in opposite directions until you achieve the desired consistency. To release the ground weed and start making your joint, just tap the two lids together over a flat surface and you’re ready to go.

Three-Piece Grinder (Two-Chamber)

Two-chamber grinders are pretty similar to the single chamber grinders, the only difference being the collection chamber that’s used to catch the weed that has been ground up and falls through the middle piece. This is essentially a 2-piece grinder that has an additional chamber connected magnetically to the grinding chamber and collects all the weed you’ve ground up. After your ground herbs are ground to your desired consistency, you simply need to unscrew the collection chamber from the grinder and collect the ground weed.

Four-Piece Grinder (Three-Chamber)

The three-chamber grinder is the most popular weed grinder on the market. If you only want the best when you grind your weed, this is the marijuana grinder for you. This one is pretty similar to the two-chamber grinder and has an additional chamber at the bottom, called a kief catcher, that collects the kief that comes from the trichomes of the cannabis bud. As we’ve mentioned previously, the first chamber contains a mesh screen which collects the weed that’s sifted from the top. You can later use your collected kief to top your joint, or add it to your edibles. To make sure your weed doesn’t fall out during this process, metal grinders are connected via a magnet.

Why Use a Weed Grinder?

If you’re still not convinced that you need a weed grinder, check out the following benefits it brings:

  • Saving money and increasing potency. Ground weed is more potent compared to crushed weed since the final product has consistently sized particles and a larger surface area, so you use less weed to get the same degree of high.
  • It requires less time. Grinding your weed takes half the time than if you were to crush the weed with your hands.
  • Improved smell and taste. The flavors of ground herbs are much more potent compared to crushed herbs.
  • Collecting kief. 4-piece grinders can even collect your kief which can later be used as an additive for joints, blunts, vapes, etc.

How to Use a Weed Grinder?

To break down your weed into smaller pieces, you just need to follow these four steps:

  1. Remove the top lid of the grinder and expose the diamond sharp teeth. With your fingers, break the larger buds apart, and place them in between the blades. Remember not to put any flowers in the center of the grinder where the magnet is located.
  2. Don’t overfill the top chamber. Place the lid on top of the grinder, and turn the top and the bottom part on opposite sides to grind the weed.  
  3. Unscrew the bladed chamber and take a look at the basket chamber. This is where the ground weed’s located.
  4. Remove the additional kief chamber and check how much kief you’ve collected.

Tips on Using a Weed Grinder

To have the best cannabis-grinding experience, you need to remember the following tips:

  • Choose a high-quality herb grinder that’s made of quality materials. That type of grinder is generally made from aluminum or zinc.
  • To grind your weed finely, avoid overcrowding the top chamber. When you overfill the top chamber, you prevent it from grinding evenly.
  • Turn the grinder upside down to grind the herb more finely. Make sure you secure the top cap to prevent your weed from falling out.
  • Grind your weed thoroughly. The better the grind, the better the smoking experience.
  • Remember the kief. Make sure you collect the cannabis trichomes (kief) that are stripped off during the process of grinding. You’ll find them as a buildup on the bottom chamber of the device.

Weed Grinder Substitutes

If your grinder is broken, and you don’t have another one on hand, you may need to use a substitute, and we’ll list you a few below:

  • Cheese grater. A standard kitchen equipment you likely have around your home. Even though it isn’t as efficient as a grinder, it can do the trick when you don’t have a grinder.
  • Coffee grinder or blender. You can use either one to ground up your weed, just make sure that you don’t have any residue left behind from previous uses.
  • Scissors. Instead of a proper herb grinder, you can always use a pair of scissors to cut your buds into smaller pieces.
  • Knife and a chopping board. You can chop your weed into small pieces by simply laying it down on the chopping board and chopping it with your kitchen knife.

Final Thoughts On Using Marijuana Grinders

Out of all the manual models, the 4-piece ones are the most popular as they have an additional chamber where you can store your kief. You can later add it to your joints, blunts, edibles, or even inside your vape pen to increase the potency.

You can also try electric grinders that do the work for you in just a few seconds. They will likely increase the kief build up, and you won’t be left with additional bits stuck between the teeth of the grinder which you’ll have to clean up.

As we’ve mentioned in this article, marijuana grinders come in different shapes and sizes, and you get to decide which one fits your style the most. They give your weed an even burn which maximizes the potency of the cannabinoids, and that’s all you can ask for in a quality weed grinder.

A passionate advocate for the benefits of cannabis. Fraser Horton, who has a background in botany and a strong love of nature, has spent years researching how cannabis affects the body and mind. He established Leaf Nation in 2020, where he has devoted himself to educating people about the legalisation of marijuana and its safe and responsible use. Fraser is committed to highlighting cannabis’ potential for improving wellness and working to dispel the stigma associated with its use.


The information presented on this page is provided as a public service to aid in education and is derived from sources believed to be reliable. Readers are responsible for making their own assessment of the topics discussed here. In no event shall Leaf Nation be held reliable for any injury, loss or damage that could happen if using or abusing drugs.