The Melitta MEBG8B Coffee Mill Burr Grinder at $20, this is possibly one of the cheapest ways to get ahold of a burr grinder unless I am mistaken. I think it's a good grinder for a beginner like myself (everyone's gotta start somewhere). It is aesthetically pleasing in that you can see the hopper and the receptacle, however, the shiny plastic does make it look a lil cheap. The burr grinder removes for cleaning, and I would advise cleaning often to remove the fine grained powder that builds up in various places that could cause some inconsistencies in the grind. It is easy to use: select the grind setting you want from 1 to 18 (you can fine tune how fine or coarse you want your grind to be), then hit one of the 4, 8, 10, 12 cups buttons to start (these buttons are more guestimates than accurate, just hit them to start), you'll definitely have to hit the stop button. There's no guesswork in how long to grind, when it's done, it's done, and it'll let you know in a screaming noisy way that it's finished. Be sure to hold onto the lid while grinding because I have noticed that occasionally it tends to float. A major annoyance is the fact that the seal between the receptacle and the chute is imperfect so everytime it grinds it spews grounds to the left and to the right, so you gotta clean up each time. The grinds come out great enough. This grinder would be a great introduction for the beginner to burr grinders.
ONE MONTH UPDATE:
I find the grinder to be annoyingly loud and messy. It spews grinds vertically from both sides of the receptacle. The grinds are inconsistent because there is fine powder mixed in with the correct grinds. Although I've found some makeshift solutions listed below in Tips, I've decided it's time to move on to better grinder.
Always fill the hopper with beans, it will reduce the noise somewhat. Get a grinder brush, it's a very useful tool. Twist and take out the upper burr so you can take a grinder brush to it. Then take the grinder brush and clean the lower burr, the chute, and the receptacle. This will help somewhat with the fine powder problem which is caused by grind getting trapped between the burrs on the side. I've been fed up with cleaning all the spewed grinds everytime it grinds, so I've found a ghetto solution which is masking tape. Tape down all four sides of the receptacle. This will create a tighter fit between the chute and the receptacle; and any spewed grinds on the side will fall directly onto masking tape leaving no clean up. In addition, this ghetto solution will dampen noise. If you are grinding at night, the best way to dampen noise is to masking tape all four sides, fold a towel several times over & place the grinder on top of it, and throw a towel over the entire grinder. This will quiet the Melitta considerably. Be sure to keep a hand on top of the lid.
I still think the Melitta is a good cheap burr grinder for a beginner. This burr grinder was a nice intro, and I'm sure that from learning about its negatives, I can truly appreciate my Rocky.