The Santa Cruz Shredder is one of the most popular grinders on the market, does it deserve that title?
If a grinder grinds, and a grinder that doesn’t grind isn’t a grinder, what do you call a grinder that does more than just grind exceptionally well? You call it the Santa Cruz Shredder!
Does it grind or does it shred?! Semantics!
While you can achieve the same general end result as you would with the Santa Cruz Shredder with an acrylic grinder, a generic 4-piece aluminum grinder, or even a pair of scissors, the herb ground with the Santa Cruz Shredder will perform better every time. Why do I make these outlandish claims? Because this is how I feel when I use my Santa Cruz Shredder.
When it comes to vaporizing, grind is very important. The ideal grind will be very fine, but not fine enough to go through most vaporizer’s screens. The ideal grind will have as much possible exposed surface area on the herb as possible. This means that a grinder that can create a fine grind, but leaves the remaining ground up bits of herb in small densely compacted pieces is taking two steps forward, and one step back. For years this quality of grind been the norm for me and many of my sessions involved stirring the herb chamber after two or three draws to help loosen the now much drier herb and expose more surface area. After having spent some time with the Santa Cruz Shredder, I can say that the unique “tooth” design not only grinds the herb without mashing the herb, but also fluffs it up. This fluffing component is what I believe creates a more efficient result when the herb is vaporized.
The Santa Cruz Shredder small 4-piece grinder feels good in the hand and is a pleasure to use. All aluminum parts come in an anodized finish which hardens the aluminum making it more resilient against scratches, tooth damage, and thread damage. The small 4-piece grinder (pictured) features three separate chambers. The top and center chambers are connected by a series of openings that allow herb that has been ground down to a small size to fall through. The center chamber is connected to the bottom chamber via an extra-fine stainless steel mesh screen which allows the smallest pollen particles to fall through which are extremely potent and can be saved for future use.
The entire assembly comes together via a combination of magnets (joins pieces one and two) and a unique thread pattern (joins pieces two, three, and four). The magnet does a fantastic job of keeping the lid secured to the grinder while still allowing it to turn freely in either direction. The threaded connection that allows the rest of the grinder to securely screw together makes a solid connection right away every time which Santa Cruz Shredder attributes to the quality of the threading. This proprietary threading pattern prevents the threads from grinding against each other while trying to catch a connection, this in turn lowers wear on the threads as well as any risk of damaging the threads by cross-threading. I’ve had issues in the past with cross-threading grinders, the result is usually burrs in the threads which will can make it difficult or impossible to screw or unscrew the parts once the threads have been damaged.
The top and bottom pieces of the Santa Cruz Shredder have ridged pattern around the rim for added grip when grinding a particularly stubborn or full load. While many grinders may offer a textured surface on the top (sometimes bottom) pieces of the grinder, I’ve found that most textures alone aren’t substantial enough to assist with the necessary grip when the grinder gets stuck. In my experience, the added grip from the ridges makes a big difference when the Santa Cruz Shredder gets caught on a stem and you opt to grind through it rather than remove it.
Santa Cruz Shredder makes grinders in a variety of sizes, colors, and compositions (2-piece and 4-piece). The combinations are numerous. The grinder pictures is the Small 4-Piece Black Glossy Finish and measures 2-1/8″ in diameter. Worth noting is that size naming conventions are not standardized across manufacturers, so a small grinder from one manufacturer could be the same size as a medium grinder from another. The small Santa Cruz Shredder sized grinders (at least the 4-piece that I’ve tested) is the perfect size for personal use. I would equate personal use to include grinding for sessions of up to a few people. The next size up (Large) is an increase of 5/8″ to the diameter, while the next size down (Mini) is a decrease of 1/2″ to the diameter. The Mini I would recommend for a travel 4-piece grinder, but the small seems to be the perfect fit as a personal use at-home grinder.
Santa Cruz Shredder Grinder Sizing Chart:
- Mini – 1⅝” Diameter
- Small – 2⅛” Diameter
- Large – 2¾” Diameter
- Jumbo (2-Piece Only) – 4″ Diameter
The Santa Cruz Shredder comes with a small triangular plastic pick to help loosen any stuck herbs in the top chamber, or to help scoop herbs up from the center chamber. I keep my pick in the center chamber of my grinder for storage, that way I don’t run the risk of losing it.
A good grinder should be a standard part of every vaporizer enthusiasts kit. Many people (myself included) started with an inexpensive grinder that may use pyramid shaped teeth, or a copied diamond pattern found on other higher end grinders. Those grinders will only ever be “good enough” because they were designed with profit margin in mind rather than product quality. The folks over at Santa Cruz Shredder designed a grinder with the intention of raising the bar on what the end user should expect from a grinder, and in my opinion, have succeeded. This doesn’t mean that there aren’t still improvements that can be made to the entire grinding process, there have still been times I’ve had to use a pick or brush to push herbs out of nooks that the teeth weren’t able to reach in the top chamber. The Santa Cruz Shredder While priced higher than your run of the mill generic brand grinders, the Small 4-Piece Santa Cruz Shredder (which may be consider medium by other manufacturers standards) is priced competitively or even below the cost of other high-end grinders.