Some things to consider when choosing a coffee grinder include grind quality, ease of clean up and brewing method. Coffee grinders come in two general categories: blade grinders and burr grinders.
Blade grinders are the least expensive and easiest to clean. In a blade grinder, a spinning blade grinds the whole beans. The length of time the blades are allowed to spin determines the grind size, with longer grind times result in a smaller grind. Some models require the user to operate the grinder manually until the desired grind is achieved, while other models have settings to choose the preferred grind size. Either way, blade grinders produce an inconsistent grind resulting in less than optimum extraction during brewing.
Higher-end grinders use burr grinder technology. Conical or flat-shaped burrs crush the beans between two ceramic or steel plates. This method allows for very precise control over the size of the grind. It also produces less heat while grinding, which is believed to produce a finer cup of coffee. While producing a better, more consistent grind, burr grinders do require more maintenance and care.
A blade grinder works fine if the goal is simply to enjoy coffee from freshly ground beans with a minimum of hassle. For the true coffee lover though, a burr grinder and its finer, more consistent grind are the way to go.