All coffee aficionados know that if you really want to step up your coffee game, you absolutely need a good grinder. It’s one of the fundamental tools for producing a better cup of coffee — fresher beans, fresher brew, and fresher experience.
The Baratza Virtuoso has a clean functional design that should fit stylistically in most kitchens. Whether you want a fine ground for espresso or a more coarse ground coffee for a French press, the Virtuoso has a different setting for each and a range of 40 middle settings for grinding that will do anything in-between.
The Breville Smart Grinder Pro is a direct competitor to the Baratza Virtuoso for price and features but does have a few different details to mention. The design of the unit is a little flashier. The Smart Grinder has a few more buttons on the front and a digital display to inform you of the grinding setting and the time allowed for the grind.
Picking a grinder can be tricky, though, if you’re sure what to look for or unsure what will fit your daily needs. If you want to graduate to a bigger grinder with higher capabilities, it’s important to do the necessary research before paying for something that might not meet all of your needs or paying too much for features you don’t use.
When comparing the Breville Smart Grinder vs. Baratza Virtuoso, there are a lot of similarities, but also some key differences that may make your choice between the two, not an easy one. In this article, I am going to compare two popular grinders, the Baratza Virtuoso and the Breville Smart Grinder to clear up any uncertainty about choosing the right grinder.
|Specifications||Breville Smart Grinder||Baratza Virtuoso|
|Weight||6.4 pounds||7.05 Pounds|
|Dimensions||8.5 x 6 x 15.5 inches||6.69 x 6.69 x 12.6 inches|
|Material||Stainless Steel||Stainless Steel|
|Grinding Speed||1.5g per second||2g per second|
|Warranty||1-year Warranty||1-year Warranty|
Breville Smart Grinder Pro
It can be easy to go with a name you know and Breville often makes it easy to feel confident in your purchase. The Breville Smart Grinder Pro is no different.
It all begins with where you put the beans—the hopper on the Smart Grinder Pro can hold up to 18 ounces, which is a behemoth container compared to others on this list. The fact that it can hold a standard 12 oz bag of beans (plus) is a huge benefit in my book.
Next, the “Precision Electronic Timer” on the front lets you input the particulars. The time is adjustable in 0.2-second increments and you have 60 different grind sizes to choose from. It also gives you an easy-to-understand amount display, simply asking you to input how many shots of espresso or cups of coffee you’re making.
Press start and the 165-watt motor sets the stainless steel conical burr grinders to work.
Designed to reduce heat damage to the bean and preserve essential oils, the Breville Smart Grinder Pro is a great companion to any coffee lover’s kitchen— or even outside of it. While this model is a bit heftier than the ones we’d usually recommend for taking with you, the hopper has a convenient locking system specifically for hassle-free transportation.
The Breville Smart Grinder Pro is a “jack of all trades but master of none” kind of grinder.
It’s an attractive and compact device for people who want to dabble with espresso without paying the high price normally associated with this type of coffee brewing.
The Breville coffee grinder has 40mm stainless steel conical burrs that offer good grind consistency that goes fine enough for espresso.
Ease Of Use
This Breville coffee grinder has a digital interface, which is a nice addition and definitely not something that is common with grinders at this price point. Every setting is distinct and quantized instead of being on a continuum, which makes for easy switching between settings.
In contrast to the plastic grinds container on the Baratza Virtuoso, the Breville Smart Grinder Pro has a grinds catcher that comes with an airtight lid. This is perfect if you like to grind your beans in batches to be used in coarser brewing methods throughout the day as it keeps your coffee fresh for great taste.
The Baratza Virtuoso comes in a classic, brushed, black finish. This is a great choice for a minimalist kitchen but doesn’t give much room for matching your machine to your decor or choosing something a little more in line with your other appliances.
Baratza Virtuoso Grinder
The Baratza Virtuoso Grinder is a conical burr grinder that features hardened alloy steel burrs run by a DC motor. The Virtuoso+ also comes with a built-in digital timer and backlit bin for a modern, versatile touch.
Baratza has been making coffee grinders since 1999 from its location in Bellevue, WA. Developing grinders both for home and commercial use, Baratza has earned several awards from the Specialty Coffee Association, including Best New Product for three separate machines.
Starting with the hopper, the Virtuoso+ can hold 8 ounces of coffee beans. While not the largest container, it’s enough that you won’t have to refill it every day. It offers 40 different grind settings from fine to coarse and the digital timer can be set to within a tenth of a second so no matter how you’re brewing, you’ll have just what you need.
Baratza also makes commercial grinders, which work on average, everyday users benefit in this instance. While many household appliances are designed to be tossed rather than fixed, Baratza takes a commercial mindset to this home appliance.
The Baratza comes with a 1-year warranty, helpful customer service, a troubleshooting guide, and instructions on maintaining and repairing your Virtuoso+ throughout the years.
The 40 grinds settings is a completely respectable range, especially if you are primarily working with manual and drip
The Virtuoso+ has a professional feel to it despite being a mid-level machine thanks to its weight and metal components.
The Virtuoso was first introduced in 2005, but recently received a much-needed update with the Virtuoso+. After much user feedback, we have updated the timer switch for a digital display, so now the 40-second digital timer allows you to set a repeatable dose.
Ease Of Use
The great thing about the Baratza is that it will be as simple or as complex as you decide to make it. If you don’t want to tinker with the machine, you can use it on its basic 450 rpm speed with the 40 grind settings. It’ll work just fine.
On a surface-level assessment, the Virtuoso+ gives you the sleek, stylish look that you should expect at this price point. The metal top and base give it the feel of a high-quality machine.
Burr & Motor Design
The Virtuoso + carries over the 40 mm hardened steel burrs from the previous model. But we aren’t complaining as the precise, made-in-European burr set is one of the finest in the market.
Inside this grinder is a high-torque DC motor coupled with a gear-reduction system that ensures that the conical burrs rotate at a steady speed of 550 RPM.
Hopper & Grounds Bin
The bean hopper is made from food-grade transparent plastic and has an 8-oz capacity. It’s the LED-backlit grounds bin.
The Main Differences
The Baratza Virtuoso shares plenty of common features with the Breville Smart Grinder, but the two have some obvious differences worth considering.
Breville Smart Grinder Design
The Breville Smart Grinder is a bit more eye-catching, with a light-up screen and multiple knobs on the front. There is more of a definition on each separate part, where the bean hopper, grinder, and collector all have their own shape.
Baratza Virtuoso Design
The most apparent difference can be seen upon looking at the two, as they each have their own unique style. The Baratza Vario appears very modest, with just a visible button and the settings knob on the side, and a black body with a sleek metal top and base. All of the parts are seamlessly together, and the grinder itself appears as a single unit.
Breville Smart Grinder
The Breville is a higher price point but feels like a professional grinder. Its stainless steel conical burrs ground consistent particle sizes. It was also the only grinder with a high-quality grounded plug that coiled conveniently underneath the grinder.
Baratza is a popular brand with coffee professionals for longevity and great customer service. But even the coffee professionals consulted for this review agreed the dramatic difference in price-point made it hard to choose this established brand over the Bodum.
Breville Smart Grinder
The Breville Smart Grinder Pro has a heavy plastic body with a brushed stainless steel finish. It uses stainless steel conical burrs, with 60 different grind settings.
It also has a user-friendly LCD display that lets you control the exact number of shots or cups you want to prepare easily.
The Baratza Virtuoso+ also uses stainless steel conical burrs, but with only 40 grind settings. However, it has a much more modern and aesthetic design.
The sculpted metal top and base give this grinder a certain elegance that makes it belong on any countertop it’s placed on. And, like the Breville, it has a digital timer display that lets you adjust your dose.
As you can see, the Breville Smart Grinder and the Baratza Virtuoso+ appear to be more alike than they are different.
Breville Smart Grinder
A number of Breville Smart Grinder Pro users observed that the motor was the first to give out quickly. Now, there are ways to mitigate this problem. You can use the grinder in short bursts of 10 seconds instead of leaving it running for long periods.
But take note: this option is for people who take care of their coffee equipment.
Meanwhile, the Baratza Virtuoso+ is a different story. Baratza takes pride in creating products that last the test of time, boasting the use of high-quality parts in their coffee grinders. The more common part that needs replacing is its burrs, which can get dull after years of continued use.
Which would I choose between the Baratza and the Breville?
If I stick to my original search for features and value, I think the leader between these two options would be the Breville Smart Grinder Pro.
The Breville unit has a few more features like the timer function that allows me to choose the time instead of just a push button or 60-second option. It is also a little cheaper than the Baratza unit based on the suggested retail price.
Both do have great reviews online for consistent grind quality, so the biggest difference may just be in the visual design appeal to the buyer. The Breville with the dials and digital display exude technology a little more than the Breville with its simple elegance and classic design style.
The choice is yours.
To Sum Up
At first glance, these two grinders seem to be fairly well matched. Both offer a modern contemporary look and the precision of a burr grinder mechanism.
If you’re looking for a fun splash of color, the Breville is the machine for you. However, the Breville is more than just eye-candy. In direct comparison to the Baratza Virtuoso, it simply offers more high-tech features as standard.
The larger hopper means that its edges are ahead in terms of convenience and its IQ technology automatically adjusts the quantity depending on the grind you’ve chosen, and allows for subsequent smaller adjustments depending on personal taste, machine, and type of bean.
Although the Baratza Virtuoso can offer these functionalities with the Esatto add-on and the hopper extender, the hefty price tag is a serious deterrent.