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Breville Smart Grinder vs Baratza Virtuoso (2021): Comparing Coffee Grinders

Comparable not only in price but also in performance, the Breville Smart Grinder and Baratza Virtuoso are two coffee grinders that plenty of caffeine lovers boil their choices down to. If you’re one of them, then you’re on the right track.

Basically, the Breville Smart Grinder has more features designed for newbie grinders. The Baratza Virtuoso is made for those who know their stuff already, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it isn’t accessible to beginners. At that, we compare the two to help you pick which one can make the better grind for that perfect cup of joe.

Breville Smart Grinder vs Baratza Virtuoso Comparison Chart

ModelBreville Smart GrinderBaratza Virtuoso
 Breville Smart GrinderBaratza Virtuoso - Conical Burr Coffee Grinder
PriceCheck PriceCheck Price
LCD DisplayYesNo
BurrConical, 40mm stainless steelConical, 40mm steel M2
Grind Settings2540
Hopper Capacity450g227g
Dimensions (W x H x D)6″ x 15.5″ x 8.2″4.7″ x 13.7″ x 6.2″
Weight 5.2 lbs8 lbs
Warranty1 year limited1 year limited

Design and Build

Because of its control layout and LCD display, the Breville Smart Grinder is easier to use.

Breville Smart Grinder vs Baratza Virtuoso Design and Build
The Baratza Virtuoso’s (in photo) pulse button in action and a closer look at the timer knob.

At first glance, the Breville Smart Grinder looks more modern. It has an LCD display sitting front and center, but it’s not just for aesthetics (more on that in a bit). In contrast, the Baratza Virtuoso is sleeker, and for want of a better word, it’s best described as elegant.

Now the Smart Grinder has a bunch of dials and buttons, all of which are pretty straightforward. To be exact, they consist of the grind setting knob and Adjust Amount dial, as well as the start and cancel button and Amount button to choose how many cups you’re making. On the other hand, the Virtuoso keeps things simpler with only a pulse button on the front and a 60-second timer knob on the side.

Both coffee grinders also have a 40mm conical burr. The main difference is the Smart Grinder’s is made from stainless steel, while the Virtuoso’s is M2 steel.

In terms of size, the Smart Grinder is slightly larger, taking up a bit more space. Surprisingly, it’s lighter than the Virtuoso. Whether that’s good or bad is up to preference, but if nothing else, having more heft makes the Virtuoso feel sturdier.

Features and Performance

The Baratza Virtuoso isn’t as “smart” as the Breville Smart Grinder, but it does have more grind settings.

Breville Smart Grinder vs Baratza Virtuoso Features and Performance
The Breville Smart Grinder (in photo) with a portafilter.

Both machines make consistent grinds, allowing you to get the right uniformity for the French press, espresso, and more.

As noted, the Breville Smart Grinder is more beginner-friendly, owing in big part to the aforementioned LCD display. This helps visualize the whole process and make it more intuitive, showing you how coarse or fine your setting is and for what type of brewing method it’s for. Also, it can tell you how weak or strong your coffee will be and for how many cups. In other words, it takes a lot of guesswork out of the picture.

One noticeable advantage the Baratza Virtuoso has over the Smart Grinder is it has up to 40 grind settings as opposed to 25. Besides having more options, that also means it can grind coffee beans more coarsely or finely.

Regarding their hoppers, the Smart Grinder can hold up to 450g and the Virtuoso up to 227g. In the latter’s defense, Baratza sells a hopper extender that can increase its capacity by 255g. Speaking of accessories, there’s also a portaholder for hands-free grinding and easier cleanup when using a portafilter for espressos, but again, it’s sold separately. In the Smart Grinder’s case, it comes with a cleaning brush for the conical burr and two cradles for portafilters that measure 50-54mm or 58mm.

Other Considerations

The Breville Smart Grinder and Baratza Virtuoso may be outdated but not useless.

Breville Smart Grinder vs Baratza Virtuoso Other Considerations
The Breville Smart Grinder Pro (left) and the Baratza Virtuoso Plus (right).

It’s hard to go wrong with either the Breville Smart Grinder or the Baratza Virtuoso, but it’s worth knowing that there are newer iterations of these coffee grinders: the Smart Grinder Pro and Virtuoso Plus, respectively.

Without getting too much into the details, the Smart Grinder Pro builds on its predecessor with 60 grind settings and a Precision Electronic Timer that lets you set grind time in 0.2 second increments. Meanwhile, the Virtuoso Plus does away with the previous model’s pulse button and knob timer on the side in favor of an LCD display alongside a manual timer on the front.

Just because there are newer versions doesn’t automatically mean the older grinders don’t have any value anymore. After all, the Virtuoso has a pulse button that comes in handy at times, and it’s cheaper too. However, it might be better to nab the Smart Grinder Pro rather than the Smart Grinder, unless you can find the latter for cheap.

Click here to see how the Breville Smart Grinder Pro compares to the Baratza Encore.

Verdict

You can get a lot more out of the Baratza Virtuoso if you know what you’re doing.

To preface, these are both high-quality coffee grinders, and they can deliver where it counts. While the Breville Smart Grinder is better suited for beginners, thanks to its LCD display and clearly labeled controls, the Baratza Virtuoso is just a tad better overall. Arguably, it has the better build quality and design, and on top of that, it has more grind settings and a pulse button, which is a nice touch. Sure, it’s relatively harder to use here, but it doesn’t take much to learn the ropes.

FAQs

📌 Is the Baratza Virtuoso worth it?

Yes, the Baratza Virtuoso features 40 grind settings that produce excellent consistency, as well as a pulse button and 60-second timer knob. It’s also quite a looker and durable, and it’s compact enough to find a spot for it just about anywhere.

📌 Is the Breville Smart Grinder worth it?

Yes, the Breville Smart Grinder has plenty of features that cater to beginners. For one thing, it has an LCD display with an easy-to-understand interface and straightforward controls.

📌 What is the best coffee grinder on the market?

Some of the most popular picks include the Breville Smart Grinder Pro and Baratza Virtuoso Plus. That’s because these coffee grinders can make consistent grinds and have top-notch build quality.

📌 Is a burr grinder really worth it?

Yes, burr grinders can make consistent grinds, which are essential to brewing top-quality, great-tasting coffee.

Last update on 2021-07-19 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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Vincent Lanaria

Senior Editor, researcher and writer passionate about running, cooking, and how technology mixes with the two.