The Brilliant Cut Grinder, released by Grinders for Life in late 2018, brings a touch of fresh novelty to an otherwise very similar looking herb grinder landscape. Aside from its fresh aesthetic appeal the Brilliant Cut also features a unique threadless latching system and three interchangeable grind plates.While limited to just one size option and a single three-chamber configuration with no kief separator the Brilliant Cut instead offers variety through a selection of 10 vibrant colors and its three different grind plate options.
I’ve been using the Brilliant Cut Grinder almost exclusively for the past six months in preparation for this review. The overall results have been positive and I’m going to continue using the Brilliant Cut Grinder as my primary day-to-day grinder sidelining the Jumbo Santa Cruz Shredder that I had been using for years up to now.
When evaluating grinders here are some general points to keep in mind:
- Teeth – The shape, layout and quantity of teeth in the top and center plate. The design of the teeth with have the biggest impact on the quality of the grind. The difference being mashed up herb compared to evenly sliced herb. Some manufacturers claim their special designs can further fluff herb up after it has been ground, this increases surface area available on the herb which makes for a more efficient vaporizing experience.
- Grinding Chamber Post – The center post that typically holds the magnet in the top grinding chamber. My personal preference is that the post be on the bottom grinding plate and not in the lid. My experience with posts in the lid is if you’re not careful loading it you’re more likely to squash herb down into an area in the center that does not grind.
- Size and Shape – This one is probably the most obvious point. Not every medium sized grinder is the same size and shape. This is a very subjective category, there is no perfect size.
- Plates and Chambers – There is a variety to choose from. Two-piece grinders with no herb storage chamber. Three piece grinders with a storage chamber for ground herb. Or even four piece grinders with a storage chamber for herb that has a fine screen on the bottom to sift out kief into the much smaller fourth chamber.
- Fit and Finish – How well all the parts fit together and how well everything continues to operate once covered in resin from ground plant.
- Material – The makeup of the alloy that the grinder is made from. This isn’t a huge point of concern for most high end grinders since they’re made from fairly durable aluminum. Grinders you can get dirt cheap at the gas station on the other hand are usually made of a more brittle aluminum alloy and I have seen their teeth break clean off.
The Brilliant Cut scores high grades across the board in these categories.
- Teeth – The Brilliant Cut Grinder has two sets of teeth. The wider set is located on the inside of the lid, the Fine Plate and the Medium Plate. The narrow set of teeth is located on the Coarse Plate.
- Grinding Chamber Post – Heads and tails above the rest. Not only is the post located in the bottom part of the grinding chamber, my personal preference, but a special cutting surface on the post is designed to help break up chunks of herb stuck in the middle and distribute the herb outwards towards the teeth to be ground up.
- Size and Shape – The Brilliant Cut Grinder comes in any size you want as long as it’s medium =)
- Plates and Chamber – Similar to size and shape, the Brilliant Cut Grinder comes in only one configuration.
- Fit and Finish – Only good things to say here about the Brilliant Cut too. The clearance between the top plate and the grind plate is perfect, there is a bit of side to side movement to allow for some resin buildup without completely seizing the spinning.
Before I received the Brilliant Cut my go-to grinder was the 4” diameter Jumbo Santa Cruz Shredder. Moving from a Jumbo sized grinder to the smaller medium-ish size of the Brilliant Cut is noticeable change and I expected the transition to be a bigger hindrance than it turned out to be.
Looking back on the initial transition to using the Brilliant Cut Grinder, one thing that sticks out is that my wife stopped asking me to periodically unstick the grinder when the threads got gunked up and were twisted too tightly together while grinding. I can’t say that this is a problem exclusive to jumbo sized grinders but it seems to be worst on the largest grinders. This example illustrates how convenient moving to a fully threadless grinder has been for my household.
After a short period of acclimating to a new grinder in a new size I started testing out the different grinder plate sizes as well as different load capacities. Not surprisingly I settled on the medium grind plate as my plate of choice and found that it had no problem grinding any herbs I threw at it. I’d like to stipulate here that I’m pretty meticulous about removing most stems from my herbs before grinding them up.
Having used the Brilliant Cut Grinder as my primary grinder for a bit over half a year now and have put the entire grinder through one very thorough cleaning. I have since moved from the medium plate as my default grinding plate to the coarse plate to keep maintenance as infrequent as possible.
Fine, Medium, or Coarse?
This really comes down to personal preference and which vaporizer you’re planning on using the ground herbs with. I started with the medium plate being my default plate of choice for a few months. I used the fine plate sparingly with vaporizers that preferred a finer grind. After my first deep cleaning I switched to the coarse plate as my default plate. The coarse plate seems to stay cleaner and the grind is very compatible with the vaporizers I’ve been using lately (Volcano, Mighty, Crafty).
Grinder Teeth Examples
It’s not just a gimmick, the threadless design of the Brilliant Cut Grinder is well thought out and well assembled. The magnets are strong enough to provide a reliable seal when the grinder is closed but still open effortlessly for easy access. I can open and close the Brilliant Cut Grinder with just one hand.
Cleaning is simple. All parts can be soaked in Isopropyl alcohol. When soaking the top of the grinder make sure to remove the low friction ring which can be damaged by alcohol. I was able to get the grinder looking brand new with a 24 hours soak and practically no scrubbing.
I will say that after six month of heavy use the Brilliant Cut Grinder looked very dirty and it was holding on to quite a bit of mashed down herb in between the teeth as illustrated in the pictures below.
- Try to minimize operating the grinder upside down. It may seem tempting to get an extra fine grind by holding the grinder upside down but the trade off is getting your grinder exponentially more dirty. This tip is not exclusive to the Brilliant Cut Grinder and applies to most grinders.
Since the Brilliant Cut Grinder relies on a magnetic latching system that has two pieces of metal come in direct contact with each other there will be some wear to the metal around it that may wear some colors down. I specify some colors because I’ve heard that some colors of the Brilliant Cut Grinder are more resilient than others and show less wear. I don’t know if this is because of a difference in composition or if the colors are from different batches. This is best illustrated in the image below around the center post. The wear has had no impact on function.
If you’re in the market for a new grinder the Brilliant Cut Grinder is worth buying. It’s priced on the higher end of the premium grinder market but offers a selection of grind plates to customize the experience. If you’re only going to get one grind plate for your Brilliant CutI’d suggest picking up the medium plate, you’ll get a finer overall grind and will require a once every 3 – 6 month cleaning cycle, otherwise I’d recommend the coarse plate. I use the fine plate on an as-needed basis and would only consider that as my only grind plate if I only had one vaporizer and that vape required a very fine grind.