So you’ve slopped used espresso grounds across your kitchen for the last time and are ready to invest in a knock box. Wise choice!
Now don’t make the mistake of buying something too flimsy for a good knocking. Or too big for your space.
Instead, check out this espresso knock box review. We’ve got 7 great picks! One of them is sure to be the best espresso knock box for your home espresso bar.
At A Glance (quick links to Amazon):
The 7 Best Espresso Knock Boxes in 2020
|Breville BCB100 Barista Style Knock Box|
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|Breville BES001XL Knock Box Mini|
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|JOEFREX Drawer Base|
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|HOMEE Espresso Knock Box|
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|Osaka Knock Box|
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If you’re an avid home espresso maker, experts agree that a knock box is a vital tool in your toolkit:
A knock box is a must have accessory for any machine that uses a portafilter to brew. They make clean-up a breeze and let you get back to your espresso faster.
So, here are seven espresso knock boxes, covering all shapes and styles. One is guaranteed to be perfect for you.
It’s no surprise that Breville, maker of high-quality espresso machines and grinders, delivers our favorite coffee knock box of the year. The BCB100 Barista Style is well named; even professional baristas love this product.
IT’S THE BIGGEST ON OUR LIST.
So you’ll save time not having to empty and clean it frequently, especially if you enjoy multiple espressos a day.
Its size also makes it the best at catching any splatter, suitable for the aggressive knockers out there.
On the other hand, it might feel a bit overbearing in a tiny kitchen.
It’s exterior is die-cast metal, with the same attractive brushed finish found on Breville espresso machines. If you already own a Breville coffee machine, this knock box makes a perfect aesthetic partner. The base is fitted with a non-slip polymer ring.
The interior is plastic, with the bar integrated into the inner vessel. So while the knock bar can’t be removed separately, the entire inside comes out for easy washing in the dishwasher.
If you love the look and build quality of the BCB100 but don’t need a large capacity, the Breville Mini is for you. Its compact size makes it easy to stow away in a drawer or keep stashed under the grouphead of your espresso machine.
According to Breville, the Mini is for “aggressive use.” (So, don’t KNOCK IT OFF)
A sturdy knock bar and heavy stainless steel tub give this box full marks for build quality.
If you like to take your frustrations out on your knock bar, you’ll find this very satisfying (1).
It has an attractive and durable stainless exterior with a plastic interior. The bar is removable, making it rinse out, but the Knock Box Mini isn’t dishwasher safe (2). A rubber grip on the bottom keeps it firm on your countertop, even when you’re aggressively smacking the bejesus out of it.
The Grindenstein is the most popular plastic knock box on the market.
It doesn’t have quite the same heft or longevity as metal, but the plastic keeps it light, easy to handle, and inexpensive.
It has a sleek, modern look available in 3 colors: black, red, and silver. Not coincidentally, these are popular colors for many amazing models of espresso machines.
So why did we award a plastic knock box most durable? We did it because of Dreamfarm’s patented shock-absorbing removable knock bar with a stainless steel core and Santoprene rubber coating. The company has declared it “truly impossible to break,” and we’ve yet to find anyone to dispute that.
Like the Breville Mini, this compact knock box slots neatly under your espresso machine’s grouphead for storage. But unlike the Mini, the ABS plastic Grindenstein is dishwasher safe. If you want a little more capacity, it’s available in a larger model (4.9” diameter x 5.3” tall) for a small upcharge.
Gardeners will love that every Grindenstein comes with a booklet detailing how to use a knock box for fertilizing your garden (3).
A knock box drawer like this premium one from JOEFREX is a great way to have a high-capacity knock box without cluttering your counter. This stainless steel item sits perfectly under your espresso machine or grinder. So all it adds is about 4.5 inches of height.
The other perk of a drawer-style box is it’s TIDY. You won’t need to see or smell your used coffee grounds on your counter.
Knock box drawers are a big step up in price than the simple bins we’ve talked about so far. So they’re usually marketed to commercial users. However, if you have the budget, they’re an excellent choice for the keen home espresso enthusiast.
The JOEFREX drawer frame is stainless steel, and the removable bar is silicone-coated aluminum for a pleasant, quiet knocking experience. The bottom is equipped with rubber feet, so the drawer won’t slide around or scratch up your counter.
HOMEE’s knock box is a simple and inexpensive design, both appealing features to the average at-home coffee drinker. You can remove the knock bar to empty the waste quickly. Plus, the bar is made from dishwasher-safe ABS plastic, so cleaning is a piece of cake.
Its compact size is perfect for stowing on your espresso machine’s drip tray, even if you have a small lever machine. A rubber gasket on the base means it stays firmly affixed to your counter. And if you do slide it around, it won’t leave scratch marks.
The knock bar is sturdy rubber, firm enough to take a beating but soft enough to keep quiet about it. If you want to smack it around, you can upgrade to a rubber-coated metal rod for a few bucks.
NOTE: We found the cheaper option met our needs, but the metal version has a cute coffee bean pattern in the rubber that might strike your fancy.
Open bottom knock boxes (aka knock box chutes) are typically reserved for commercial settings, but there’s no reason they won’t work in a home. A hole is cut in a counter or bar top, and the knock box is fit snugly in it.
A bin below catches the discarded pucks.
If you’re a high volume espresso user and don’t have any qualms about the installation, a knock box chute is probably the most efficient way to dispose of your used pucks, which is why they’re so popular in busy cafes.
If you want to go this route, we love Amazon’s highest-rated open bottom knock box, the Rattlewear 25102. It has heavy-duty stainless steel construction and a welded metal bar designed to hold up in a commercial environment.
Osaka’s little bin-style knock box is as functional as any other on this list but stands out from the crowd thanks to its cool style. If you’ve already sunk a lot of money into your home coffee set-up, keep the aesthetics intact with the Japanese-designed Osaka knock box (4).
Osaka claims to deliver “the perfect balance between aesthetics and performance,” and we think they hit the nail on the head with this knock box. Even the color options are well thought out: red with gold, brown with rose gold, and gray with silver.
Of course, a knock box shouldn’t just be an ornament; it also needs to work. This one is made from a special ABS plastic that prevents bacteria growth and fitted with a non-slip rubber ring on the base. It’s sized to fit under the grouphead of your espresso machine.
For ease of cleaning, the foam-coated steel bar is removable, and the bin is dishwasher safe.
How to Choose the Best Espresso Knock Box
Does the sheer number of knock boxes on the market feel overwhelming? All those shapes, sizes, styles, and prices.
Don’t worry! This buyer’s guide is here to make sure you nail down the perfect knock box for you.
Which Coffee Knock Box Style is For You?
There are three main styles of knock boxes: bins, drawers, and shutes. The bins are most common for home use, while the other two are more often found in commercial settings.
- Bin knock boxes, also called bash bins, are essentially small extra-sturdy trash cans with a knock bar running across the top. They are usually the cheapest option, they’re compact and easy to store, easy to clean, and they come in a variety of colors and designs to match your decor.
- Knock box drawers are drawers with a built-in knock bar designed to fit under your espresso machine or grinder. This saves counter space and keeps your used pucks hidden away, for an overall less cluttered look. The only downside is that they tend to be expensive.
- Knock box chutes are designed to be built into your countertop, making them more popular in commercial settings. But if you make a lot of espresso at home, they’re the most efficient way to dispose of your grounds. They’re also incredibly durable and less expensive than a drawer.
How Much Espresso Do You Make?
Your countertop space and the amount of espresso you make should dictate the size of your knock box.
If you only pull a shot or two a day, choose among smaller knock boxes. They’re less expensive and easier to store and clean. For reference, mini-sized knock boxes with around 4-inch sides can hold about 20 espresso pucks.
If you make a lot of espresso, larger knock boxes will be more efficient because you won’t have to empty and clean them as often. If counter space is no issue, a large capacity bin will fit the bill. However, it might be worth spending a little more money on a drawer or open bottom knock box if you have limited space.
Materials and Maintenance
The most common materials for knock boxes are plastic and metal.
Metal options are heavier, sturdier, and more durable. They’re a great choice if you make a lot of espresso or if you’re aggressive with your knocking. On the other hand, they’re usually more expensive and often not dishwasher safe.
The plastic models are often made of ABS plastic. It’s a relatively inexpensive plastic that’s highly resistant to scratches, cracks, and corrosion, and it’s dishwasher safe. As a thermoplastic, it has the nice benefit of being easily recyclable (5).
A metal bar coated in foam or rubber is an excellent combination of durability and shock absorption.
You want something strong enough to get the puck out but soft enough to do it quietly. If you’re a gentle knocker, you might be able to get away with a plastic or rubber bar.
Adding a knock box to your home coffee set-up is a simple way to spare yourself many mess and grief. This year, we’re big fans of the Breville BCB100 Barista Style Knock Box. It has the capacity and durability to handle whatever you throw at it — or knock into it!
The accessories you need for an espresso machine depend on the machine itself and the quality and types of drinks you plan to make. We recommend a tamper and tamping mat to pack the grounds evenly, knock box, digital scale, frothing pitcher, and microfibre cloths as a good starting kit.
Yes, you can make your own knock box. However, it may not save you any money over buying an inexpensive model. If you enjoy DIY, it’s a relatively straightforward project, and there are lots of tutorials online (6).
A knock box isn’t necessary, but it’s a simple and inexpensive way to make life easier. We could all use more of those! It saves you knocking your coffee grounds directly into the garbage, unsanitary, or into the sink, which can clog your drains.
- Lifestyle Lab. (2020, February 1). Best Espresso Knock Box | Reviews [Video]. YouTube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P9GC1GARHGQ
- Gritzer, D. (2019, October 3). Stop Putting These Things in the Dishwasher. Retrieved from https://www.seriouseats.com/2018/10/how-to-load-a-dishwasher.html
- Hendry, A. (2017, December 28). A Common-Sense Guide to Using Coffee Grounds in the Garden. Retrieved from https://www.growveg.com/guides/a-common-sense-guide-to-using-coffee-grounds-in-the-garden/
- Sakurai, S. (2019). The Seven Japanese Aesthetic Principles. Retrieved from https://sarensakurai.com/japanese-aesthetics/
- Rogers, T. (2015, July 13). Everything You Need to Know About ABS Plastic. Retrieved from https://www.creativemechanisms.com/blog/everything-you-need-to-know-about-abs-plastic
- O.C.D. by Daniel Zrihen. (2018, July28). Coffee knock box [Video]. YouTube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lb6h6sM5FzE