In an effort to introduce a family member to good coffee, I decided to buy her her own grinder (so I can send over whole beans instead of grinding them for her only to have them sit in her cupboard for a week... sigh.) Anyway, based on limited budget, I figured I would see if I could find an inexpensive burr grinder - and I found the Melitta on eBay. I'll preface everything by saying it was $20 new in box, including shipping!
On the plus side... it was cheap! Cheaper even than the blade grinder units I'd run across. It is also reasonably well documented, compact and rather attractive (if you are not put off by plastic appliances.)
Of course, I had to play with it a bit before setting it up for her to use. I've put a few pounds of beans through it now, and I can say it works plenty well enough for use with filter machines; reasonably well for french press... and barely adequate for the so-called 'espresso' from the lower-end Krups unit I tested it with. I wasn't expecting much in this regard - which was a good thing; as at the two finest settings, I was seeing a lot of coarser grounds mixed in with very fine ones. (I have seen at least one post describing how to tweak this unit to produce a finer grind... if I was going to continue to use this unit, I'd give that a shot!) Clumping in the chute was also a problem at the finer settings. At the mid-range and coarser settings, the results were consistent. I would say the coarsest setting is still not as coarse as I'd want for press coffee, but going back to the price argument, it is probably adequate for most home use.
I also noticed that with larger beans, the feed of beans from the hopper would sometimes hang up (about every other time with one particular blend). I could usually get the flow to restart by tapping the side of the hopper, although a couple of times I had to manually turn the timer knob to the "Off" position and shake the unit to get beans moving again. With smaller beans (peaberries and such) this was a complete non-issue.
Having used a few other grinders with a flat chute and plastic construction, I was expecting static to be a problem; and sure enough, it was. However, at least so far, the static "mess" is confined to the removable grounds container... with a bit of care, most of the grounds can make it from the container to the filter without a huge mess. I was pleased to see that very few grinds escaped the container - I was expecting the worst. A removable plastic lid fit tightly and seems like it should minimize this problem - just be careful when opening that lid!
Cleaning out the unit is another issue. At least the grinder is light enough that you can hold it in one hand and use a small brush and toothpicks, etc. to clean out the chute. It's a tedious task, but I don't hold this against a $20 grinder the way I do against a $200 grinder, though.
Overall, it is a much better first grinder than the blade units, especially for 'trying out' a lower-end steam espresso machine. It's not going to replace my commercial grinder or even my home Gaggia, but for someone who doesn't want to spend that kind of money, it sure beats having to buy pre-ground beans.