Dry herb vaporizers and herb grinders go hand in hand. To fully maximize any device’s potential, the oven needs to be filled with well-ground herb. A grinder breaks down your herb, effectively increasing its surface area-allowing for even vaporization. Without the added trouble of having to stir the bowl, every 3 draws or so.
Released in 2011, The Santa Cruz Shredder (visit store) has long been a popular grinder among users- and for good reason. Other than being the only medical grinder in the world -the Santa Cruz Shredder (or SCS) are constructed with anodized aluminum and feature a hefty number of features in such a small package. With its proprietary square-tooth design, the SCS’s teeth cut in both directions and aim to deliver well on Santa Cruz’s promise of herb that’s “FLUFFED TO PERFECTION“
The aluminum Santa Cruz Shredder is available in 4 sizes: mini (1⅝ in.), small (2⅛ in), and large (2¾ in). You can also opt between 2pc, 3pc, and 4pc versions or a jumbo (4 in) 2pc grinder. While the aluminum ones are definitely the more premium option- Santa Cruz also makes a more affordable Shredder out of biodegradable hemp plastic.
Design and Build Quality
The Santa Cruz Shredder is probably one of the most thoroughly engineered among the grinders in the market. Each detail of its design is well-executed and considered- even the parts that users may sometimes neglect. As mentioned earlier, the SCS is a medical-grade grinder, cleaned in the same way surgical instruments are cleaned.
The 4-piece grinder features three separate chambers. The top and center are connected through the openings that allow the ground herb to pass through. The center chamber is connected to the bottom chamber through a precision screen. The bottom chamber unusually deeper compared to other grinders, and that makes it much easier to scoop up your herb or keep your herb from flying off when you’re outdoors.
All the lids of the SCS are sealed tightly and are secured by earth magnets coated with a nickel-copper-nickel coating for more reliable closure. To make the grinder more ergonomic, Santa Cruz applied what they call a “knurled” grip. This grip pattern is more pronounced than any other grinder’s but it secures the grinder to your hand and fingers. Making it easier to twist, regardless of how much and how dense the herb inside is.
The proprietary tooth design on the SCS is a result of studying various grinds and grinders. Santa Cruz saw the issues with the conventional sharp teeth: eventual breakage and loose aluminum flakes in your herb. The square teeth of the SCS are not only designed to be strong, they’re also guaranteed to never dull and release aluminum. The teeth cut multiple ways to make sure that only the best ground herb would fall through the holes
Performance and Ease of Use
All of that design detail was made to complement the Santa Cruz Shredder’s performance. The grinding action requires minimal effort thanks to the friction rings that ensure a smooth grind each time. The ground herb was consistently sized, definitely fluffy, and great for vaping.
More often than not, lower-priced grinders have the problem with bits of herb sticking to the sides of the grinder, and not falling into the holes as they should be. This isn’t a problem with the SCS since the holes are precision cut to ensure that all the right sized herb falls in and there’s a small bevel on the lid that scrapes off what gets stuck to the grinder walls.
One small detail that’s usually overlooked is the threads, which can often be misaligned, over-tightened, or wear out. The proprietary threading pattern keeps the threads from grinding onto each other – causing damage and making it harder to screw or unscrew. The anodization of the aluminum also keeps the threads from “galling” or falling off.
The Santa Cruz Shredder can cost anywhere from $55 to $150, depending on the size and number of pieces. So it’s definitely not cheap- but if you’re looking for the one grinder you’ll use forever, this is definitely worth checking out. The Hemp Plastic version is reasonably priced at $12-$23, making it a great test purchase before getting the real thing.
The SCS does the job and does it well, the only downside being its lack of a non-stick coating. Meaning it’ll have to be cleaned every once in a while. If you’re looking for a grinder that doesn’t require any maintenance, check out the SLX (review) Since the resulting grind on the SCS is quite fluffy and allows for more airflow – it’s best for convection/hybrid type dry herb vaporizers like the Crafty+ (Review) | Mighty+ (Review).