The Best Grain Mills (Review) in 2019
Making a recipe from scratch is one of the most satisfying (and delicious) household tasks. If you can mill your own flour it’s even better! There are many benefits to milling your own grains including cost and retention of nutrients. Grain milling may be an ancient activity practiced by humans for thousands of years but modern technology has made it a lot quicker, quieter and cleaner. Now it’s a lot more fun!
When you invest in your own home grain mill, you will produce nutritionally superior flour that tastes better. They can be powered by hand or by electricity and can contain stone or metal burrs (plates for grinding). To help you decide which would be the best grain mill for your kitchen, here is our useful guide.
The Best Grain Mill
This electric grain mill grinder is powerful enough for professional use yet simple enough for anyone to use at home. The mill comprises a micronizing milling chamber with strong stainless steel fins. The operation is quiet and thanks to an easy-clean cyclo-canister, the filtration tube will collect all of the dust and leaves you with no mess to clear away.
It has a fast 1,250-watt motor which gives a high capacity and is reliable. It is very well-built and sturdy and works quickly – it can produce 100 pounds of flour in just an hour.
You can also use it for grinding wheat, corn and rice and even for brewing. Your safety is assured as it complies with the UL standards. It can keep going for 10 hours with no overheating issues and maintains the quality and nutrient value of your grains.
Fast 1,250-watt motor
Produces 100 pounds of flour an hour
Can keep going for 10 hours with no overheating issues
Strong stainless steel fins
A multi-purpose kitchen grain mill that can be used for bread as well as baby food, pasta and dips. It can easily grind all sorts of grains including hard and soft wheat, dehulled oats, rice, barley and quinoa. It can also cope easily with dry beans, lentils, popcorn, split peas and soybeans to name just a few.
The mill incorporates improved texture control technology and it is fitted with stronger stainless steel milling heads. You won’t be bothered by its noisy operation because it has a sound/air chamber which cuts the noise output in half.
Thanks to the motor cooling design the 10 amp, 1-3/4 hp motor will last for longer than many other models. It also keeps the grains cool (typically around 118°) which maintains the nutrient content. You can select a fine, medium or coarse grind (a range of adjustment of 400%) and will get an output of five cups a minute. It comes with a grain hopper to increase the capacity and an air filter.
Stainless steel milling heads
Improved texture control technology
Fine, medium or coarse grind
Output of five cups a minute
Here we have a highly functional and classically elegant mill in Beechwood. It has a powerful 360-Watt motor which will grind up to nine ounces of flour every minute. It has a spacious hopper made from solid wood which can hold two pounds of grain. It’s easy to get at the burrs for cleaning and because it has a sealed lid, the dust is minimal. It also seals in the noise!
It can be used for all sorts of dry grains and not just hard and soft wheat. You can also use it for dehulled oats, barley and rye.
However, it can also be used to grind your own spices and to grind lentils and dry kidney beans. You will not be able to use it for herbs, flaxseeds or popcorn though.
This is a stone burr mill with a case made from solid native beechwood with corners that are finger-jointed. The corundum/ceramic burrs are very precisely fitted so you can select the texture that you want to grind which can be very fine flour all the way up to coarse or just cracked meal. You select the coarseness of the grind by rotating the hopper to your desired texture-setting scale.
360 Watt motor
Elegant beechwood case
You need no power source to operate this efficient hand crank grain mill. You will be able to produce around 1.25 cups of flour in a minute and all the nutrients will be retained. It is BPA free and good for the environment. It’s crafted from aircraft aluminum coated with a durable epoxy resin which makes it both durable and lightweight. It is also easy to clean and mounts securely to a table.
This home flour mill features a useful feed system with stainless steel burrs that can be used with dry, hard, soft or oily grains so you can even use it for flaxseeds and coffee beans. It can be used to crack grains but will also produce flour that is fine enough for pastry.
Hand operated and highly efficient
Crafted from aircraft aluminum
Will grind oily seeds
Fixes securely to the table
This versatile grain mill can be powered using a removable hand crank with a wooden handle or using a 90-Watt low torque and low heat motor which is sold separately. It comes with a strong clamp to mount it securely to any surface that is between half an inch and two inches thick.
The hopper will hold as much as four and a half cups of grain and it is the perfect choice for baking in small batches by grinding wheat to make flour but it will also grind rice and barley.
There is a dial at the front which allows you to adjust the coarseness of the grind from simply cracking grains to producing fine flour for bread making.
Removable hand crank
Motor can be purchased separately
Coarseness of grind can be adjusted
Clamps securely to a kitchen surface
This durable grain mill is powered by a 1000-Watt 10 amp electric direct drive motor and is able to grind as much as 24 cups of whole-grain flour in less than eight minutes. It has various speed settings as well as an on-off switch. Below the grinding mechanism there is a 60-ounce container made from transparent plastic.
The Micronetic milling chamber itself is made from stainless-steel and is self-cleaning. You don’t have to worry about overheating the 1.8 peak horsepower motor on this motor flour mill machine which comes with a six year limited warranty.
1000 Watt 10 amp electric direct drive motor
60-ounce capacity container to catch the flour
Micronetic milling chamber
Various speed settings
A great eco-friendly choice for those worried about the environment. With this grain mill, you’ll have nutritious whole grain flour whenever you want it but it won’t cost the earth. The mill is housed in a renewable bamboo wood housing.
This wheat mill is powered by an efficient 450-Watt motor and you can adjust the coarseness of the grind from cracked grains to fine flour for baking. It features corundum millstones, which can be removed for cleaning and a spacious hopper.
Renewable bamboo wood housing
This classically designed hand-powered grain mill brings a bit of timeless elegance into your kitchen. It is made right here in the US from aircraft aluminum but is covered in powder coating approved by the FDA for use on surfaces in contact with human food. It features double sealed ball bearings which are industrial grade for superb strength and durability.
This flour grinder also has a cast iron V-Groove flywheel as well as grinding plates made from high carbon stainless steel. You are able to adjust the coarseness of the grain from cracking the grain only to fine ground.
Hand-powered grain mill
Made from aircraft aluminum
Cast iron V-Groove flywheel
This very strong and durable manual grain grinder is made from cast iron with a tin double-coat and uses white iron for the grinding disks. This reduces resistance and avoids corrosion. The clamp is supplied with rubber pads to protect your kitchen surfaces and provide stability. It’s just what you need for making your own flour, for home brewing and for grinding coffee beans.
You can even use it for cheese and vegetables. There is a screw on the home flour mill that allows you to adjust the coarseness of the grind.
Strong manual grinder
Made from cast iron
Screw to adjust coarseness
This is not a grain grinder itself but is all you need to convert the manual mill into an electrically powered device. It comprises a wooden baseboard which is one inch thick and a motor with pulley and belt. It also comes with a belt guard and several other pieces of hardware.
The motor works with a 120V power supply only and operates at around 60 rpm so there will be no danger of your flour getting too hot.
Conversion kit for a manual mill
Wooden base board
Works with a 120V power supply
Best Grain Mill Buying Guide & FAQ
What to Consider When Buying a Grain Mill
Once you have decided to invest in your own grain mill, there are a few things that you should look out for.
There are three basic methods of grinding which are stone burrs, stainless steel burrs and micronizers. They each have their advantages and disadvantages and can be used with different types of grains. Your choice will depend on what type of grain you want to use your mill for.
- Power type
A grain mill can be manual or electric. Electric models use around 1000 Watts of power and are very fast. A manual grain mill is harder work but more environmentally-friendly and has fewer parts that can go wrong. Some mills can use both.
Look carefully at the specification to find out what comes with the mill. Do you get a spare set of burrs? You may also get spare screws or tools. When you buy an electric version, you usually get a canister to collect the ground four. If this is sealed, it prevents you creating a dust cloud of flour when you are milling. This is an important consideration as it cuts down on cleaning time! Hand mills don’t usually have a collecting container because they mill more slowly and don’t produce so much dust.
- Case material
Manufacturers have to balance durability with weight and aesthetics. Traditional models are made from cast iron and may have a powder coating finish. More modern designs can be made from aluminum or wood.
- Ease of assembly
In general, the hand-operated mills will need more assembly. At the very least, they will need to be clamped to a countertop or table. Also, some models are supplied with screws and other various parts that have to be put together. If you don’t like having to put things together, an electric model that comes ready to use out of the box may be best for you. Before you buy a model that needs to be attached to a surface, make sure that you have a suitable surface. Often, they need to be between half an inch and to inches thick.
Where will you keep the mill when it is not in use? Will it come apart to fit in a small cupboard? These are important considerations if you have only limited storage space in your kitchen.
- Noise levels
Hand mills make little noise but electrically powered mills are a different matter. In general, micronizers make the most noise because of the way they work. You will often see the noise levels indicated by the manufacturer and this is an important consideration if the noise could disturb or annoy members of your family or neighbors.
- Speed of milling
This is usually given as the number of cups that the mill can grind in a minute. The electric mills are generally faster. Electric mills that have more powerful motors can grind faster but this can generate a lot of heat. When flour gets hot, the nutrients are destroyed which can remove the benefits of home milling in the first place.
What do you want to use your mill for? If you want to grind oily seeds, you cannot use one with a stone burr mechanism. Always read the manufacturer’s instructions so that you do not ruin your new mill.
Benefits of Milling Flour at Home
If you have never owned a wheat grinder for use at home, you may be wondering why you should bother investing in one. There are actually many benefits that they bring with them. Don’t forget that many of them can be used for grinding legumes or spices and some can be used for coffee too. This makes them a very versatile kitchen appliance. They don’t even have to be electrically operated; you can get manually operated mills too. Here is a list of the main benefits that they bring.
It is often cheaper to buy whole grains and grind them yourself than buy a ready-milled product.
You will find that whole grains can be stored for longer than the refined alternatives. However, this is not true for whole grain flours.
You will get higher levels of nutrition from freshly ground flour. It retains all parts of the kernel including the germ, bran and endosperm so you get all the nutrients.
It has been shown that if you allow some kernels to sprout before you mill them, you get a product that is even more nutritious.
Once you have tasted the sweet, vibrant flavor of products made with freshly ground flour, you won’t want to go back to the refined alternatives.
You can never be totally sure what has been added to store-bought food products. When you mill your own flour you will know exactly what is in it. This can be especially important if you have allergies.
- Self-sufficiency and satisfaction
If you are keen to introduce a self-sufficient lifestyle then a grain mill is a must. It also gives you great satisfaction if you have milled the grain for baking your own bread!
Different Types of Power Sources
A lot of force is needed to grind grains and so some sort of power source will be needed to move the burrs across the grains. This can be provided in two ways.
- Manual power source
These have a crank that fits onto the mill (which often has a wooden handle) and as you turn the crank, the burrs rotate across each other and grind the grains. Manually operated grain mills have several advantages. They do not use electricity and this makes them the environmentally friendly option. You will be reducing your carbon footprint by using these. Also, if you live in an area that suffers frequent power cuts, it is a good idea to not be too reliant on electrical appliances. Your arms also get a good work out so it will save you a trip to the gym! Because you are not using any electricity, they are obviously cheaper to run and often cost less to buy as well. There is very little that can wrong with them because there is no motor or electrical components that can fail and could be expensive to replace. You can use them for oily grains, nuts and seeds so that makes them highly versatile. They also have a classic and nostalgic aesthetic that enhances any kitchen.
On the downside, you will need to find a solid surface to mount the manual grain mill to and be prepared to spend more time milling because it is not as fast as an electric model. If you have a large quantity to mill, it can get very tiring so you may need someone to help you! This type of grain mill is also quite heavy and they can seem a bit cumbersome.
- Electric power source
These are mills that you plug into the power supply in your home. They have electric motors that turn the burrs - the motors come in various sizes. The main advantage of this type of wheat grinder is that they are very quick to set up. You don’t need to clamp them to anything, you just plug them in and they are ready to go. They are also very fast! The manufacturer will often specify how many cups of grain they can grind in a minute. You can also adjust how fine you want the grind to be. Many have up to 20 possible settings. They are great for prolonged milling sessions because the motor does all the hard work!
One disadvantage is that they are certainly noisier than the manually operated mills. They do sound a little like a vacuum cleaner although manufacturers of modern mills have gone to great efforts to make them quieter. They are more expensive to run because they use electricity and this makes them less environmentally friendly. You also cannot use them for oily products as they get sticky!
Some mills can use a combination of these two power sources. They are fundamentally a manually operated mill but you can buy an external motor to fit on them.
Different Kinds of Mechanisms
A grain mill that you use at home can have several different types of mechanism inside it. Here are the main three types.
- Stone burr mechanism
Stone is the traditional material for grinding grains but these days natural stone is rarely used. Instead, a synthetic stone-like material is used to make the burrs which gives a more precise and uniform grind and which is more efficient. They also last longer. The ceramic-corundum burr design is a typical example. Modern stone burr grain mills are durable, they don’t overheat and don’t deposit grit from the stones into your flour! They are available in various sizes and there is a variety of output speeds. This type of mill is not too noisy and is adjustable so you can get a course or a fine grind. You can also get a meal texture, a cereal grind or just a cracked grain.
If you choose a flour mill with a stone burr mechanism, you can use it for all types of dry grain, for beans and for small amounts of dried spices. However, you cannot use them for wet or oily substances. You can buy stone burr mills that are electric and hand powered.
- Steel burr mechanism
In a steel burr grain mill, the stone burrs are replaced with stainless steel burrs. Often high carbon stainless steel is used for strength and durability and in the more expensive models this is precision cast. Because steel burr mills turn relatively slowly, they are also quiet to operate. They usually have a wide range of adjustability that ranges from simply cracking the grain to fine flour. However, they are seldom able to produce the very fine flour that some recipes demand. There are grain mills that combine both stone and steel burrs.
Many steel burr mills are available as hand-powered models (via a crank) or they can be powered by electricity. Some can be powered by both but the motor may need to be purchased separately. The grinding surface has no pores in it so they can be used for wet, oily and fibrous materials including coffee beans. They are long lasting and often the burrs can be replaced when they are worn.
- Impact milling mechanism
You may also see these referred to as micronizers. They tend to be a low-cost option but they give a high speed performance. They use a lot of force so they have to be powered by an electric motor but these are available in different capacities (often indicated in Watts). They comprise of a milling chamber that has concentric rings of fins. These fins never actually touch each other but they spin at a very high speed and crash into the grain kernels which cause them to burst into small pieces.
They are very good at what they do but have a more limited application. So, you will be able to produce various grades of flour (ranging from fine to coarse) but you will not be able to use them to grind a cereal texture or to just crack the grain. They can be used for all sorts of dry grains and beans but cannot be used for oily grains such as sunflower or flaxseed. They are a fairly recent invention compared to stone burrs and have only been available for about three decades but they are very popular with consumers.
Brief History of The Grain Mill
Milling flour is an ancient process and something that our ancestors have been doing for thousands of years. There is evidence that humans began milling flour from grains over 30,000 years ago. It’s amazing to think that the process has changed remarkably little since then!
Historically, two hard, flat and smooth stones were used to grind flour by placing grains in between them and pressing down and moving the stones in a circular manner. It crushed and pulverized the grains to produce a powder that was more digestible and could be used for baking.
Over the centuries, the process of grinding became more refined. The grinding surfaces started to get grooves and bumps in them called “furrows” and “lands.” These acted together to control how the kernels moved through the mill and produced a more even grind. The downside was that the teeth of the burr-stone ground down and small bits ended up in the flour! Thankfully, modern technology prevents this from happening.
Best Grain Mill FAQ:
Q: What is flour mill and how does it work?
A: A flour or grain mill is a device that crushes, grinds or pounds whole grains into small parts or to a powder for use in cooking. The very fine powder that is used for baking bread, cakes etc. is called flour. The mills can have several different types of mechanism. The ones that are used at home typically have stone burrs, steel burrs or impact mills. There is usually a hopper to load the grain in and there may be one to catch the flour. They can be powered by electricity or by hand.
Q: What can I grind?
A: Some flour mills can only be used for dry grains. They will take any of the common cereals that are used to make flour and this includes wheat, barley, kamut, spelt and rye. If you are looking for a gluten-free flour you can use them to grind amaranth, corn, buckwheat, oats and quinoa as well as rice and sorghum.
You can use some flour mills for beans (legumes) such as garbanzos, fava beans, kidney beans, peas and soy. If you buy a mill that can be used for oily grains, you can use it for almonds, chestnuts and pecans as well as coffee and sunflower seeds. Always check the manufacturer’s specifications.
Q: How should I store my grains?
A: When you are storing whole grains, your aim is to maintain the healthy oil content that makes them so much more nutritionally beneficial than refined products. Because they are a natural product, they have more limited storage times. Also, the nutritional content can be severely affected by light, heat and moisture.
Make sure that you buy the freshest grains that you can. They should be packaged securely, sealed tightly and should not be close to their ‘sell by’ date. If you are buying from bulk bins, make sure that the turnover is high to ensure freshness and check that the grains look and smell a little sweet or are odorless. Any sort of musty or oily odor is a bad sign!
Grains should always be stored in containers that are airtight and that have tight-ﬁtting lids. Some useful examples are glass, plastic and aluminum containers but a zip-top plastic bag is also acceptable. This keeps out moisture and air and will stop the grains from absorbing odors and ﬂavors from other foods in the kitchen. Reseal any opened packs and pop them in the refrigerator. Wholegrains can also be successfully frozen in sealed containers.
If you get the storage conditions right, whole intact grains, such as wheat berries and brown rice, will stay fresh for up to six months. They can last for a full 12 months in the freezer. Whole grain flours and meals, however, do not last as long. This is because the protective layer has been broken so oxygen can reach the grain. With correct storage, they will keep for between one and three months or they will last from two six months in the freezer.
Our Top Pick
Our top pick of the best grain mill is an electric device that can be used professionally or domestically. It comprises a micronizing milling chamber that has stainless steel fins. It has a quiet operation and is easy-clean. It creates little dust and leaves you with no mess to clear away.
The 1,250-watt is reliable and the mill is sturdy – it can produce 100 pounds of flour in just an hour. You can also use it for grinding wheat, corn and ice and even for brewing. It can keep going for 10 hours with no overheating issues and maintains the quality and nutrient value of your grains.