Herb grinders are one of the best ways to ensure you get an even smoke or vape every time you use dry herbs. Grinding dry herbs with a grinder produces material that is light and fluffy without pulverizing it to a fine powder, even if your dry herbs are already too dry. A typical herb grinder consists of four main parts.
The top piece is the cap that contains teeth on the inside and is used to rotate. The bottom half also contains teeth and is fitted with holes so that ground material can fall through. The third piece is the chamber that holds the ground material, which usually has a screen on the bottom. This leads to that last piece which holds onto fine particulate matter that falls through the screen.
This is known as kief or concentrated dry herb material. As you can see, using a grinder serves more than just one purpose. Add to this a crank on the top of a dry herb grinder, and you have a perfect tool for medical patients suffering from arthritis or other debilitating issues that require assistance for grinding.
Since grinders usually leave dry herb material the same consistency every time you use them, it is normal to find that they may act differently when you smoke them versus vaping them. Grinding your material leaves it crumbly and fluffy, depending on the consistency of your dry herbs.
Material that is too dry will grind up more finely. This will make it much more suitable for a pipe that contains a screen, since vapes usually do not have this type of fine filtration. There is no worry of having material come out too dense after going through a grinder, and so using material that has been properly cured is perfect for a vape.
Without a grinder, gauging the right consistency with material that is too moist or too dry can be tricky, and your smoke or vape sessions could suffer as a result, delivering hits that are not ideal. Therefore, using a grinder for both smoking and vaping is practical. Sometimes, you have no grinder on hand. In this case, what do you do?
Even though grinders are affordable and easy to find, sometimes you get caught slipping and forget to bring one along. A small pair of shears can go a long way to get you out of a pinch when you have no grinder on hand. The truth is that it is very uncommon to carry scissors in your pocket, so coming across someone who has them is unlikely.
Still, this is the next best thing if you have no grinder and want some consistency in your material. If you have dry herbs that are too moist or dense, this will be the best way. Using your bare hands is another option, though you will only want to do this if the material is moist or sticky. Grinding by hand with bone dry herbs will only pulverize your material.
Mortar and pestles are even more rare to find, though the next best option if you have nothing else is to use a Ziplock bag. This is especially useful if your material is very dry. Simply pop in a nugget in the corner of the bag and gently squeeze and crush up your material. This will keep it all in the bag and ensure you have better control over grinding it.
Plastic grinders are perfect if you are on a budget and want something as a backup. They are not ideal for daily use, however, since the teeth are prone to breakage after heavy use over time. Dense material can get caught up in the plastic teeth and lead to overturning and breakage. Metal such as aluminum and titanium mitigate these issues altogether. The problem is that they are also more expensive.
You get what you pay for, and it would be a sound investment since they will last you a lifetime with the proper care and maintenance. After a while you will want to clean out your grinders the same way you would with a pipe, using alcohol. Plastic and metal have no difference in this regard, other than the plastic getting weaker after drying out with a solvent over time.
Titanium is much stronger than aluminum and will not dent easily from a fall. Aluminum is much lighter and is better suited for those who suffer from arthritis and other ailments that might restrict their mobility. The only real difference you will find between any of these grinders is their price point. As the old saying goes: “You get what you pay for.”
Herb grinders really are a necessity if you plan on having consistency every time you smoke or vape. Whether your material is dense, dry, or moist, you will have better luck getting it properly chopped up and crumbled to accommodate your pipe or dry herb vape. Even if you do not have a grinder, you will want to match what a grinder can do to your material before using it.
Scissors are uncommon, and a mortar and pestle less so, though most people have small plastic sandwich bags laying around and these can be more than adequate if you have nothing else on hand to grind up your herbs. The problem is that this method will only work with material that is drier.
No matter what you end up choosing to grind up your herbs, always make sure that you achieve a level of consistency by meticulously handling your material instead of crushing it all up in one go.