Breville Smart Grinder Pro vs Baratza Virtuoso+

Coffee brewed with uneven grounds is what often makes a cup of Joe taste terrible. 

Some flavors are muted, the wrong ones become enhanced, and all in all, it’s hard to make out exactly what’s going on. That’s why you need to invest in a decent burr coffee grinder. I’d go as far as to say every cup of coffee you drink depends on it if you enjoy a fresh brew!

Two of the most common coffee grinders for sale today are the Breville Smart Grinder Pro vs. Baratza Virtuoso+. In this post, we review both of these head to head to figure out which is the better pick given your needs.

The Perfect All Rounder
Baratza Virtuoso+
$249.00 ($0.86 / oz)

Grind Type: Auto - 40 settings (550 RPM)

Burr Type: 40mm Stainless steel conical

Whole Bean Capacity: 8oz

Outer Material: Plastic

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Great For Espresso
Breville The Smart Grinder Pro Coffee Bean Grinder, Brushed Stainless Steel
$195.47

An excellent entry level grinder which works well for any grind size. Perfect if you enjoy espresso as much as a pour over!

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Breville vs Baratza

Breville was founded almost 80 years ago in Sydney, Australia. Since then, they’ve been delivering quality kitchen products to homes from over 70 countries around the world. Their secret to success? They always innovate according to what their customers want.

Whether you need a coffee grinder, food processor, or waffle maker, Breville’s got you covered. These guys know how to make kitchen life easy, and they’ve been doing exactly that for generations now.

Then, we have Baratza, the more recent entrant to the coffee space. The company was founded just over 20 years ago in Seattle, Washington. The term “baratza” translates to “a place where locals gather to drink coffee” in Arabic and Swahili.

Here we are, more than two decades later, and they’ve achieved exactly that. It’s not uncommon to see Baratza coffee grinders sitting in home kitchens or small cafes. In fact, many professional baristas have claimed that the grinder they own at home is a Baratza!

You’ll find some of the best coffee grinders available in the catalogs of Breville and Baratza. Now, let’s go ahead and compare two of these coffee giants’ best options: the Baratza Virtuoso+ vs. Breville Smart Grinder Pro.

Breville Smart Grinder Pro

The Breville Smart Grinder is a programmable conical burr grinder. It has 60 different grind settings, which allow you to adjust your grind size for any kind of brew. It has a feature that allows you to choose between doses in “cups” or “shots”, so you only have to prepare exactly what you need. No wasted beans, and no stale extra coffee.

Great For Espresso
Breville The Smart Grinder Pro Coffee Bean Grinder, Brushed Stainless Steel
$195.47

An excellent entry level grinder which works well for any grind size. Perfect if you enjoy espresso as much as a pour over!

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We earn a commission if you click this link and make a purchase at no additional cost to you. 10/24/2020 10:41 pm UTC

PROS (+)

  • User-friendly LCD display
  • High quality burrs
  • 60 grind settings
  • Compatible with portafilters

CONS (-)

  • Loud
  • Slightly underpowered motor

The Breville also has a portafilter cradle that lets you grind directly to a portafilter. So if you have an espresso machine at home, it lets you prepare your espresso much more accurately and quickly. All that, without creating a mess.

For a super detailed look check out our Breville Smart Grinder Pro Review.

Baratza Virtuoso+

The Virtuoso+ is also a programmable conical burr grinder, with 40 individual grind settings. Its digital screen makes it easy to adjust and replicate the dose you want for your cups (or shots) of coffee. It doesn’t have a portafilter cradle like the Breville, but it does have other redeeming features.

The Perfect All Rounder
Baratza Virtuoso+
$249.00 ($0.86 / oz)

Grind Type: Auto - 40 settings (550 RPM)

Burr Type: 40mm Stainless steel conical

Whole Bean Capacity: 8oz

Outer Material: Plastic

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We earn a commission if you click this link and make a purchase at no additional cost to you. 10/24/2020 09:47 pm UTC

PROS (+)

  • Precision grinding
  • User-friendly
  • Powerful motor
  • Sleek design

CONS (-)

  • Not compatible with portafilters
  • Creates a bit of a mess

The Baratza Virtuoso+ can grind your coffee fast and in style, letting you observe the process through its backlit grounds bin. For this reason, it’s not uncommon to find one in a tiny coffee shop, or even baristas’ own homes. So if the pros are buying it, does that mean you should be too?

Breville Smart Grinder Pro vs. Baratza Virtuoso+

Now let’s put these two coffee grinders head-to-head, mano-a-mano

Let’s find out which features of the Baratza Virtuoso vs. Breville Smart Grinder make either one the best coffee grinder for you.

Overall Quality

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. One difference I did notice, is in their motors.

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.

Winner: Baratza Virtuoso+

Not only does the Baratza Virtuoso+ look better than the Breville Smart Grinder, but it tends to last much longer too. Old burrs are just so much easier to replace than a broken motor!

Burr Size

Both the Breville Smart Grinder Pro and the Baratza Virtuoso+ are conical burr grinders. The burrs inside the grinder grind against each other until the particles are your desired size. And when they’re finally small enough, the particles fall into the grounds bin, ready for brewing.

Both the Breville Smart Grinder and the Baratza Virtuoso use 40-mm stainless steel conical burrs. In terms of performance, they’re both excellent, and the results are difficult to tell apart, to say the least.

Winner: Tie!

Because these equally sized burrs yield very similar results. But more on that later.

Grind Speed

ust because these two grinders have the same burr size doesn’t mean they have the same grind speed.

The burrs of the Breville Smart Grinder operate at 450 RPM, while those of the Baratza Virtuoso+ do so at 550 RPM. The result? A faster grind for the Virtuoso+. And while it might seem that a faster RPM would generate more heat in the chamber, that actually doesn’t necessarily translate every time.

The coffee passes through the grinder more quickly in a higher RPM grinder, so it doesn’t have as much time to absorb as much heat as in a low RPM grinder. This is also good for the motor; it will generate less heat, as it will work for a shorter amount of time.

Winner: Baratza Virtuoso+

The higher RPM of the Baratza Virtuoso+ results in a faster grind. It grinds at a speed of around 2 grams per second, compared to around 1.5 grams per second for the Breville Smart Grinder Pro.

Bonus: the Baratza’s faster grind speed may also be contributing to the health of its motor!

Grind Settings

In all brewing methods, especially espresso, grind size can play a huge role in the extraction of your coffee. A smaller grind size will lead to a greater total surface area, and therefore more extraction.

And even minuscule adjustments in grind size can lead to noticeable differences in the flavor profile of a single shot of espresso. Having plenty of grind settings to choose from gives you more precision when it comes to the grind size and resulting flavor of your coffee beans.

The Breville Smart Grinder Pro has 60 different grind settings, which is 50% more than the 40 grind settings of the Baratza Virtuoso+.

Winner: Breville Smart Grinder Pro

The Breville Smart Grinder gives you room to be as precise as you want when it comes to how much of your coffee you would like to extract. This is one of the reasons why it’s the perfect grinder to own if you have your own espresso machine at home!

Grind Range

The grind range is the range between the smallest and largest particle size your grinder is capable of achieving. This is measured in microns or a millionth of a meter.

The Baratza Virtuoso+ has a grind range of 200 to 1,200 microns, while the Breville Smart Grinder’s range is undisclosed (although it’s around the same). To get a better comparison between the two, though, I looked at grind consistency instead. This is because the size of your grind doesn’t quite matter as much as its evenness.

Coffee review measured how much of samples from each grinder were within the “optimal range” (within 200 microns of current grind setting) or outside of it (coarser by more than 200 microns, or finer by more than 200 microns).

The results show that the Breville Smart Grinder Pro is more accurate than the Baratza Virtuoso+ when it comes to grinding coffee beans. Around 7% more grounds were coarser than the optimal range for the Baratza Virtuoso+, vs. the Breville Smart Grinder.

Winner: Breville Smart Grinder Pro

While grind range is important, the key to a delicious, perfectly balanced cup of coffee is grind consistency. And even though the margin isn’t too wide, the Breville Smart Grinder wins out in this category.

Extra Useful Features

Both the Breville Smart Grinder and the Baratza Virtuoso have precision digital timers for grinding. This means you can get a consistent dose of grounds in every cup of coffee, without letting any beans go to waste.

The Smart Grinder vs. Virtuoso+ main difference is that the Smart Grinder lets you program a dose for both “shots” and “cups”, depending on which brewing method you want to use. With the Virtuoso+, you’ll have to adjust your dose whenever you switch up your brewing method.

One of the features the Smart Grinder has that the Virtuoso+ doesn’t is its portafilter cradle. This makes the Breville especially useful for those with an espresso machine at home, whereas using the Baratza Virtuoso+ may end up becoming a messy affair.

Winner: Breville Smart Grinder Pro

The two grinders have similar capabilities, but the biggest difference-maker is the Smart Grinder’s portafilter cradle. This makes it a far better option than the Virtuoso+ for people looking to make use of their espresso machine.

Pricing

Both machines are very affordable with respect to their quality, and both have incredibly useful features for making coffee. But in terms of price, the Baratza Virtuoso+ is slightly more expensive than the Smart Grinder Pro.

However…

Winner: Baratza Virtuoso+

That’s right. I’m still going with the Baratza here despite it being more expensive. Because factoring in the iffy motor of the Breville and the longevity you get out of the Baratza (my family has had a Baratza grinder since my college days), the Virtuoso+ can come out cheaper in the long run.

That’s if you include any repairs you might need to pay for in the long run.

The Final Verdict

If you were tallying the wins, you’d notice that the Virtuoso+ vs. Smart Grinder Pro each won 3 categories while being tied for Burr Size.

The Baratza Virtuoso+ won the Overall Quality, Grind Speed, and Pricing categories, while the Breville Smart Grinder Pro won Grind Settings, Grind Range, and Extra Useful Features.

I didn’t make you come all this way just to give you a tied end result, though.

The overall winner is… the Baratza Virtuoso+

The Perfect All Rounder
Baratza Virtuoso+
$249.00 ($0.86 / oz)

Grind Type: Auto - 40 settings (550 RPM)

Burr Type: 40mm Stainless steel conical

Whole Bean Capacity: 8oz

Outer Material: Plastic

SEE NOW ON AMAZON Learn More
We earn a commission if you click this link and make a purchase at no additional cost to you. 10/24/2020 09:47 pm UTC

The Baratza may not have the extra features that the Breville has. But considering that the two have similar price points, I think its durability is much more of a bargain.

Besides, the Breville’s features are far more useful if you have your own espresso machine at home. Its affordability and compatibility with espresso machines are hard to come by at its price point. This makes the Breville the perfect starter grinder for brewers looking to practice their espresso skills!

Quino Papa

Quino Papa

Coffee Lover

Everything I first learned about coffee, I picked up working as a barista for my older brother. Now, I seek to expand my knowledge on my own as a coffee enthusiast who believes his best brews are still ahead of him.