Oct 14, 2023

This Vibrating Cannabis Grinder Could Be A Total Game Changer

This handy motorized grinder just may become a favorite part of your pre-smoke ritual.

The best things in life vibrate—video game controllers, massage chairs in the mall, maybe even your girlfriend's bedside table when you grab the wrong remote control. But should your grinder join the list of motorized-and-therefore-improved personal accessories?

After a year of testing the Tectonic9, I think so. But whether you’ll love it as much as I do depends on a couple of polarizing user priorities that we need to discuss.

Before we get into the weeds of this weed grinder though, there are a few important things to understand, like how it works.

The Tectonic9 grinder ($42) is a grinder designed to make distributing weed much easier, and for the most part it does exactly that.

After manually grinding your cannabis (that part isn't motorized yet), the ground flower falls into a storage space, which leads to a pouring spout that you can open and close like a dam.

Fresh weed tends to stick rather than gravity feed, but thanks to the Tectonic9's vibrating motor, there's just the right amount of bass running through this thing to jostle grounds through the tunnel and into whatever device you’re filling—with great accuracy.

Tectonic9 works as well as you’d expect it to across the board. You get small, even grinds from the teeth, and the pouring spout gives you better control over the stream of weed as it's being dispensed.

The Tectonic9 is a great improvement to your packing experience, whether you’re refilling a bowl, distributing material for a joint or trying to fill capsules for something like the Mighty Plus vaporizer.

Both the vibration function and light make it a little easier to dose carefully. After a year of using a Tectonic9, I’ve been able to essentially abandon my rolling tray for something the size of a coaster, because there's just not that much mess. A smaller footprint, less wasted weed and shorter cleanup times are huge benefits.

Tectonic9 keeps you from needing to use your fingers or a tool to disperse your weed, but sometimes you’ll need to use them anyway. It's just much less of a messy process, and if there's one thing this vibrating grinder does, it's cut down on messes.

By creating an automated and directable "flow" of grinds, Tectonic9 cuts down on spillage, overflow, and the splash damage of user error like no manual grinder has.

And if you’re someone with mobility issues or wrist problems, it's a game changer. A swiss-army-style folding pour spout can narrow the stream even further, though I don't always find it necessary.

There's also a sturdiness factor that deserves praise. My Cali Crusher continues to be undefeated in the clogging category, but the screens in that grinder tend to warp easily (and even break), and Tectonic9 has zero parts that I would consider "delicate."

The battery power, quite frankly, is insane. I would say that I use this device every other day on average, usually in small bursts of 10-20 seconds. In the year I’ve had it, I’ve had to charge it exactly once.

There's just a crazy amount of charge stored in this thing. While my favorite flower vape needs a charge at least once per day of usage, I wasn't even sure where the charging port was on Tectonic9, because it was so completely unimportant to my usage.

Unfortunately, some of its shortcomings, when stacked against other (boring) grinders, may leave you indifferent to the upgrade for now.

As much as the high praise I’ve offered sounds like a sales pitch, there are a few things about this grinder that might put you off to it, including one very polarizing absence: a kief catcher.

Within the Tectonic9, the battery and pouring spout take up the onboard space that would otherwise go to the kief catcher, and as a result, keef has nowhere else to go.

Most of the time, it will mix in with your normal grinds, but sometimes it can settle into a corner of the feeding chamber and come out in a clump later.

This didn't really happen enough to affect my experience, but if you’re thinking about your keef capture and usage, it might be a dealbreaker from the start.

Reviewers elsewhere have noted that the teeth and joints of this grinder can get gunked up quickly. I’ve had to brush my Tectonic9 clean with a disposable toothbrush a couple of times, but I haven't found it to be especially prone to gunking—at least not when compared with the average grinder.

I do tend to smoke things a little drier, though, and both of the gunking incidents occurred with a fresh supply, but if you’re someone considering this for mobility issues, know it does occasionally take some wrist strength (and rarely a bit of elbow grease) to wiggle through a stem or a clog.

Tectonic9 really reduces the hassle of getting from flower to flow… once you get the hang of it. And that's sort of the overall issue I have with this device—some things are a little more difficult than they needed to be.

You’ll end up shaking Tectonic9 regularly to de-clump the weed inside if you don't want to open the inner chamber—it's something you’ll get used to doing quickly. Just don't forget to close the pour spout first, you’re going to have a really bad time.

That brings me to a nitpick about the viewing window. The front window design should be 360 degrees in my opinion. While the window works, it's a bit narrow, and you’ll find yourself shaking it to see how much is really inside.

But all of this speaks to first-gen production, and my hope is that the folks at parent company Cloudious9 are working on an update with a kief chamber and an all-transparent midsection.

What I’m getting at here is that Tectonic9 is not a perfect device. As with any motorized tool there's an increased number of things that can go wrong when compared with a manual tool—that's just statistics at work.

You’ll be irritated when you finally have to charge it because that inconvenience isn't something you’ll expect. You’ll become frustrated when it spills because it's so unusual for it to spill at all.

But at the point when the battery runs out or the gears gunk up, you’re going to have the option to stick it in a drawer and get out the old manual model, and that's when you’ll realize you love it. You’ll roll your eyes, find the charging cable and go do a load of laundry, then try again.

It makes packing multiple cartridges, joints, or bowls so much easier that it skips novelty and jumps straight to necessity. I have had a number of complaints about my smartphones over the years, but I never once considered relying on payphones.

If you’re not kief obsessed, this grinder is likely going to be a fun (and occasionally frustrating) addition to your prep time. But if you love your current grinder, don't tempt yourself with another love—you might fall harder than you expect. $59.99.

Clay Whittaker is Maxim contributor covering lifestyle, whiskey, cannabis and travel. His work has also appeared in Men's Journal, Cigar Aficionado, Playboy, Esquire, Forbes, and Town and Country. Check out his other work here, and follow him on Instagram for more.