Over the years I have enjoyed using various grain mills (also known as wheat grinders) to grind different types of wheat berries into a fine or coarse flour. I have learned that some grain mills (grinders) are better in different circumstances depending on the type of flour wanted or other desired outcomes. I will help you know exactly which kind of wheat mill will work best for you in your individual circumstance.
What is a Grain Mill (or Flour Grinder)?
A grain mill (or Flour grinder) is a grinder that can be used to grind wheat, oats, barley, corn, and other cereals into a fine powder or flour to use in baking and cooking.
According to Wikipedia “A gristmill (also: grist mill, corn mill, flour mill, feed mill, or feedmill) grinds cereal grain into flour and middlings. The term can refer to either the grinding mechanism or the building that holds it. Grist is grain that has been separated from its chaff in preparation for grinding.”
A grain mill uses a few different mechanisms to grind or crush the grain into a wide range of textured flours. These mechanisms make it so that the mill can output fine or coarse flour, meal texture, cereal grind, or cracked grain.
5 Reasons Why You Need a Grain Mill (Flour Grinder)
- Freshly ground flour has a much better flavor and produces better breads and pastries after baking than store bought flour.
- Buying specilty flours can be very expensive so having your own grain mill and a variety of grains to grind will save you a good amount of money, especially over time.
- Fresh home ground flour has a much higher nutritional value. Store-bought flours use additives and bleaching to preserve the shelf life which strip out many of the nutrients in the flour.
- Grinding or milling your own flour for baking will provide you with a strong feeling of peace, confidence, self relience, prepardenss, and overall satisfaction.
- Adding diversity and enjoyment to your diet by grinding a wide veriety of wheat, grains, and more. You won’t be limited by the available flours that are for sale at Walmart or your local grocery store. You will have the power to decide what kind of flour you want in addition to how fine or coarse you want it for your baking.
Is it Cheaper to Grind Your Own Wheat?
Grinding your own wheat is cheaper than buying specialty flours for baking. The cost of a good electric grain mill will range between two and four hundred dollars but un-ground whole wheat/grains are mostly always cheaper than already ground whole wheat flour, especially specialty flours. Buying a good grain mill and wheat berries to grind your own flour will save you money over time as long as you use it.
What to Look for When Buying the Best Grain Mill (Ginder) for You
When looking to buy a grain mill you should consider the power source (manual or electric), type of milling mechanism, cost, ease of use, and nutritional value.
5 things everyone should consider when looking for the right grain mill include:
- Power source (manual or electric) – Does an automatic (electric) or manual grain mill make the most sense for you? If you prioritize being able to grind wheat without electricity then a manual mill is right for you. If you prioritize a machine that is automatic and easier to use than an electric may be right for you. Maybe you’ll want one of both.
- Type of Mill/Grinder mechanism – If all you want to do is grind/mill common wheat into flour that you can bake with then an impact electric mill will work great for you (or a hand crank burr mill could work fine). However, if you want to produce your own cracked wheat, ultra fine flour, or cereal grind then a burr mill will likely fit your needs better.
- Cost – Electric Burr Mills often cost more than electric Impact Mills but offer more milling options and produce a higher quality flour. Likely the cheapest option will be a manual hand crank mill but your arm will likely tire quickly from cranking. Quality and convenience will increase the cost so it really depends on what you value most.
- Nutritional value – Burr Mills (manual or electric) operate at a lower temperature therefore protect the nutritional integrity of the grain/wheat better than impact grinders.
- Ease of use & useability – Find a mill or grinder that is simple to use. If it is a hand crank make sure that it is simple to feed the hopper and convenient to crank. If it is electric make sure it can be plugged in and turned on easily, it should have an adjustable coarseness setting, and stores conveniently where you want.
Types of Grain Mills/Wheat Grinders
Two main types of mechanisms or burrs used in grain mills include:
- Impact Grain Mills
- Burr Grain Mills
1. Impact Grain Mills
Also known as “micronizers”. Probably the more popular type of grain mill because they are electric, easy to use, and quick. Impact mills feature a milling chamber with concentric rings of stainless steel fins. The fins, which never touch each other, spin at tens of thousands of revolutions per minute and burst grain kernels into small pieces as they’re impacted.
Features of Impact Grain Mills include:
- High speed performance
- Moderate cost
- Above-average sound level
- Impact mills/grinders are electric-only
- Can produce flour in a range that is adjustable from coarse to a very fine flour
- Can mill/grind dry grains and beans
- Cannot grind into a cereal texture, coarse cracked grain, or wet materials
Impact mills have become very popular since their introduction about thirty years ago. The market leaders in this category are the NutriMill Classic and the WonderMill.
While impact mills technically have steel burrs, generally they aren’t known as “steel burr mills”, a name that refers to slower-turning mills that crush grain between rotating steel plates or cones (described below.)
2. Burr Grain Mills
The burrs are two plates, one on top of the other. One is fixed at the bottom, and the other rotates as the wheat berries are crushed and ground into flour in between the 2 plates.
The original burr mills used stone burr mechanisms to grind wheat berries but modern burr mill grinders can be made from:
- cast iron
Features of Stone Burr Grain Mills include:
- Quieter than impact grain mills
- Turn at slow RPMs
- Sizes vary from small to large
- Can produce a full range of texture flours including: very fine flour, coarser flour, meal texture, cereal grind, and even cracked grain
- Cool-grinding to avoid exceeding 112 F (45 C) to protect the integrity of the flour
- Both electric and hand crank stone burr mills are available
- Electric and hand crank stone burr grain mills generally cost more than impact mills/grinders
Features to Consider When Buying the Best Grain Mill for You
Differences between Burr and Impact mills/grinders
Here is a side-by-side comparison of burr and impact grinders to help you make a better decision as to which type of mill will better fit your needs.
|Impact Grain Mills||Steel, Stone, & Cast Iron Burr Grain Mills|
|Cost Less||Cost More|
|Only Electric mills/grinders are available||Manual and/or electric mills/grinders available|
|Cannot Grind oily/wet grains||Steel Burr – CAN grind oily wet grains|
Stone & Cast Iron Burr – CANNOT grind oily wet grains
|Can produce fine-textured flour||Can produce ultra fine-textured flour & cracked grain|
|Mill gets warm and produces flour that has a temperature warm to the touch||Mill stays cool and produces flour that has a temperature cool to the touch|
|More Noisy||Less Noisy|
Is a Grain Mill Worth it For You?
A Grain Mill is worth the cost for anyone who is interested in producing a higher than store-bought quality flour for baking, wants to have better-tasting breads, pastries, and grains, and desires to store grains for longer as to increase their own self-reliance. Honestly, I believe that a flour grinder is worth it for anyone who enjoys baking because freshly ground flour has a much higher nutritional value and tastes much better.
Worth it if:
- Interested in baking quality breads, pastries, and more
- You want to have complete control over the quality of the flour that you use in your baking/cooking
- Interested in using a variety of flours with a higher nutritional value than store bought flours
- Interested in better tasting flours
- You want to save money on quality flour
- Interested in storing food long term (wheat berries and other grains store much longer than flour)
- You have the space to store a Grain Mill and wheats/grains in you pantry, storage room, closets or other areas.
Not worth it if:
- You don’t plan to use regularly
- You don’t bake or cook with flour
- You don’t have space to store a mill and grains in your kitchen, pantry, or other storage
Best Grain Mills or Flour Grinders for Any Circumstance
Best Grain Mill for the average user (produce fine flour for baking)
Wondermill Electric Grinder
Impact | 1250-watt | 100 pounds of grain per hour
- Electric and grinds quicker than competitors
- 3 knob settings to adjust coarseness; super fine for pastries, fine for breads, or rougher texture.
- Hopper capacity of 8 cups
- Up to 10 hours of grinding without overheating so it won’t damage the nutritional integrity of you flour
- BPA Free
- Cannot grind oily wet grains
- Doesn’t produce as ultra fine-textured flour or as good of cracked grain as stone burr mills can
Best Grain Mill for Advanced Bakers
NutriMill Harvest Stone Grain Mill
Stone Burr | 450-watt | 3 Cup Hopper Capacity | Mills Cracked Cereal to Ultra-Fine Pastry Flour
- Control knob for coarseness or fineness of the flour
- Will mill/grind anything from an ultra fine flour for pastries, to fine flour for breads, to cracked coarse grains/wheats.
- Hard low heat absorbing mill stones keep it cool when grinding so it does not damage the nutritional value of the grains/flours being ground.
- It Mills/grinds all types of grains/wheats, beans, lentils, corn, and more
- Cannot grind oily wet grains
- Can’t Mill flour as quickly as the Wondermill Electric Grinder
Best Manual Hand Crank Grain Mill
WonderMill Hand Grain Mill Junior Deluxe
Stainless Steel Milling Burrs | 4 Cup Hopper Capacity | Mills dry and oily grains
- Can Grind both dry and oily grains
- It can grind grains into a fine flour, crack grains, and also can make masa and nut butter
- Hopper holds a quart of grain or beans
- Stainless steel milling burrs give you more versatility to grind oily or wet grains and legumes such as nuts and seeds
- It also has a brush to clean the grinder after grinding wet grains
- For a hand crank grinder it is easy to use and produces a cup of flour with little effort
- Ideal for emegencies when you don’t have power
- Manuel hand crank can be tiresome because it requires manuel labor
- Pricy for a manuel grain mill
Budget Manual Hand Crank Grain Mill
Victoria Manual High Hopper Grain Grinder
This hand crank grain grinder will grind wheat into flour for baking and most other grindable items but in this case, you get what you pay for and this is a true budget grinder.
Comparing the Best Electric Grain Mills/Grinders
Use the below table to compare common electric grain mills that are available for purchase. The below grain mills will link to the product on Amazon for your convenience so that you can check current prices and purchase the grain mill that is best for you. We always appreciate when you use our links because we get a small commission from Amazon when you do and it helps us so we can keep creating useful content.
|Grain Mill||Milling Type||Milling Rate||Manual Option||Watts||Hopper Capacity||Size||HousingMaterial|
|IMPACT MILLS / GRINDERS|
|WonderMill||Impact||24||No||1250W||3 lb 12 oz||W: 16.3″D: 8.5″H: 12″||ABS|
|NutriMill Classic||Impact||17||No||1200W||5 lb||W: 11″D: 13″H: 15″||ABS|
|NutriMill Plus||Impact||n/a||No||1200W||6 lb 6 oz||W: 18″D: 10.5″H: 15″||ABS|
|Royal Lee Mill||Impact||4.7||No||746W||5 lb||W: 9.3″D: 13.8″ H: 17.6″||Cast Aluminum|
|STONE & STEEL BURR GRAIN MILLS / GRINDERS|
|KoMo Classic3||Stone||8-9||No||360W||2 lb 1 oz||W: 7.8″D: 8.5″H: 13.4″||Beech Wood or Walnut|
|KoMo Fidibus 214||Stone||5-6||No||250W||1 lb 15 oz||W: 7.2″D: 8.5″H: 12.6″||Beech Wood|
|Wonder Junior Deluxe||Steel & Stone||Variable||Yes||Manual Crank||1 lb 10 oz||W: 13.5″D: 7″H: 18″||Metal|
|KoMo XL||Stone||10-11||No||600W||2 lb 10 oz||W: 8.2″ D: 6.9″H: 14.8″||Beech Wood|
|KoMo XL Plus||Stone||10-11||No||600W||2 lb 10 oz||W: 8.2″D: 9.6″H: 14.8″||Beech Wood|
|KoMo Mio||Stone||8-9||No||400W||2 lb 11 oz||W: 6.5″D: 6.3″H: 14.5″||Beech Wood & Arboblend®|
|KoMo Fidibus Medium||Stone||8-9||No||360W||1 lb 14 oz||W: 7.25″ D: 8.5″H: 13.2″||Beech Wood|
|KoMo Jumbo||Stone||17-18||No||746W||4 lb 5 oz||W: 11″D: 17.7″ H: 22″||Beech Wood|
|KoMo PK 1||Stone||8-9||No||360W||2 lb 4 oz||W: 9.5″D” 9.7″ H: 16.25″||Beech Wood|
|KoMo FidiFloc Medium||Stone||8-9||No||360W||1 lb 15 oz||W: 10.9″D: 8.25″H: 13.25″||Beech Wood|
|KoMo FidiFloc 21||Stone||5-6||No||250W||1 lb 15 oz||W: 10.9″D: 8.25″H: 13.25″||Beech Wood|
|KoMo Magic||Stone||5-6||No||250W||2 lb 2 oz||W: 7.7″D: 8.5″H: 13.87″||Beech Wood|
|Meadows 8 inch Mill||Stone (granite)||29||No||750W/1500W||7 qts||W: 32″D: 34″H: 57″||Steel|
|Mockmill 200||Stone||7||No||600W||2 lb 7 oz||W: 7.5″D: 8.7″H: 15″||Arboblend®|
|Mockmill 100||Stone||3.5||No||360W||2 lb 7 oz||W: 7.5″D: 8.7″ H: 15″||Arboblend®|
|NutriMill Harvest||Stone||6-7||No||450W||1 lb 5 oz||W: 6.8″D: 8.7″H: 13.5″||Bamboo|
|Family Grain Mill||Steel burr||3||Yes||150W||2 lb 1 oz||W: 5″D: 7.4″H: 16.5″||ABS|
|Country Living Mill||Steel burr||0.82||Yes||288W||1 lb 14 oz||W: 23.5″D: 15.5″H: 15.7″||Alloy|
What can you grind in a grain mill?
The most common items to grind in a grain mill (wheat grinder) are wheat (hard white, hard red, and soft white wheat), corn kernels, rice, barley, and oats. Grinding these items can produce various textures of flours or cereal grind.
Items that you can grind in a grain mill (or wheat grinder) include:
- Hard White Wheat
- Hard Red Wheat
- Soft White Wheat
- Corn kernels (dried)
- Peas (dried)
- Mung beans
- Garbanzo beans
The most common wheat berries that you can buy for milling into flour include:
Hard white wheat – great for baking bread because it contains a higher gluten content. It has a sweeter, lighter flavor than other similar wheat.
Hard red wheat – produces a denser bread.
Soft white wheat – great for pastries and other baked goods that don’t need a strong gluten structure.
What is a wheat grinder called?
A wheat grinder is called a “Grain Mill” because it mills or grinds wheat berries and other grains into flour or cracked wheat.