There are a lot of amazing espresso grinders available under the $1000 mark, which has made the decision-making process much more difficult than it was one or two years ago. Some of our most popular comparisons are between the Macap M4D, Eureka Atom, Baratza Forte AP, Compak E5, Profitec T64 and the Eureka Zenith 65E. These grinders range from $829 to $999 and make cafe performance fit under most cabinets. But how do they compare?
Because these grinders are built for light to heavy-duty commercial settings, use flat burrs to create a similarly fast and fluffy grind, there shouldn't be a significant durability or taste difference between them. The Zenith 65E High Speed will grind 20 grams in around 5 seconds, E5 and Atom will grind 20 grams in around 6-7 seconds, the T64 between 7-8, the M4D in 8-9, and don't judge the Forte's 10-12 second grind time until we've elaborated on this model below. Most have portafilter holders, and all have the ability to program grind time down to tenths of a second to minimize waste and spillage.
The Macap M4D offers fantastic build quality and solid performance in a beautiful little package. The clean and understated metal body, and the super precise worm drive adjustment have made this one of our most popular grinders in recent years. The 58mm burr and 250 watt motor mean the M4D will be a bit slower which can create more clumping, but it's easy to pull consistent shots at home or in a small business.
The Atom stands out because of sound (it's our quietest model), more svelte and streamlined design, super clean grind dispersion, and one-handed adjustment. The Atom can also be adjusted between course grinds like pour over or drip, and then back to espresso with minimal waste. This is our first grinder that can excel at pour over without sacrificing espresso performance. Another big plus for all Eureka grinders is their ease of cleaning which does not change the grind setting.
The E5 has a more attractive display and interface (subjective, of course), more traditional commercial feel, slightly shorter height (16.5" vs 17.25") and it takes about one second less to grind than the Atom (but it is noticeably louder). Also, it doesn't have the Atom's easy flexibility for different brew methods, but it is uniquely simple to fine tune for espresso.
The Baratza's commercial grinder specs might look unimpressive compared to these other models, but this design has years of blind comparison data putting it on par with all the big name commercial flat burrs. The reason this super compact 14-inch body is capable of such big performance is that it's been engineered to preserve flavor. Because it has a more vertical grind path, it doesn't need as much motor power for the coffee to feed through, and this means a clump-free grind with less friction and heat (the ceramic burrs are also designed to minimize friction). The other benefit of this vertical grind path is the least grind retention in this class of grinders and the best single dosing performance. The Forte also uses an extremely precise stepped adjustment, which some people find more intuitive than having infinite control. Set it to the factory recommended setting of 2K, set the grind timer for 10 seconds (or weigh 18 grams of coffee), and you should be close to pulling proper shots. Another cool feature is that this grinder can convert grind weight into time.
The Profitec T64 was the first of our super powerful compact grinders. With a 450 watt motor and a 64mm burr, this is faster and more powerful than many commercial models. This grinder stands out by the clean stainless styling and quality details (it matches particularly well with the Profitec and ECM machines). Even though the body is only 11 inches tall, all the touch points feel premium. The stainless steel buttons which activate the grinder and the worm drive adjustment in the back are both chunky and inspire confidence. The removable side panels are also a bonus for serviceability as well as our first option of walnut panels.
While all these grinders are capable of bringing out cafe flavors, the Eureka Zenith 65E is the flat burr model which can keep up with the busiest shops. It's significantly faster with the new "high-speed burr" upgrade, dispensing 20 grams of coffee in as little as 5.5 seconds. Fans of commercial feel like Vitamix blenders will love the coffee shop feel of the Zenith. Zenith also has unique refinements like an adjustable dispensing chute (to aim the coffee where you want in the portafilter), barista light (which helps to see when the portafilter is full), and the previously mentioned "Eureka clean-ability". It has the biggest presence in this class because for ventilation and managing heat from that fantastic 510-watt motor.
The Clive team has an even mix of preferences between these models. If you've gotten this far then congratulations! All these options are capable of fantastic espresso and milk drinks. Let us know if you have additional questions or need help finding the best fit for you.