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Roller Mills vs. Hammer Mills, Which Is Best?

Updated: Mar 1, 2021

If you are considering adding a new grain mill to your farm or feedlot, you are probably asking yourself whether to choose a roller mill or hammer mill. The answer is that neither one is best. It depends on what you're trying to accomplish with your milling operation.

Why Should I Choose a Hammer Mill?

Hammer mills can rapidly break down grain. With mills of roughly the same size, a hammer mill will process grain faster. Hammer mills are also relatively inexpensive, at first. Although regular maintenance is required, it's not very expensive. Hammer mills produce particles of a relatively uniform shape. They are also very good at tearing the fiber in grain.

On the other hand, hammer mills create particles of highly variable size. This includes a high quantity of dust. Hammer mills use significantly more energy in operation than roller mills. Plus, they produce a lot of heat and noise. The heat, combined with the dust, increases the risk of grain mill explosions, and means you must have additional equipment to control that risk. This secondary equipment increases the cost, energy use, and maintenance on hammer mills. Adjusting hammer mills usually means trading out the screens. This requires you to stop operation, possibly let the machine cool, and exchange one screen for another.

Choose a hammer mill if you:

  • Want to break down grain fibers

  • Can utilize variable particles and dust (such as by mixing in additives)

  • Have access to inexpensive energy

  • Don't need to adjust output size very often

In this situation, a hammer mill is a better choice for you.

Why Should I Choose a Roller Mill?

A roller mill can efficiently break down grain for livestock feed. Energy efficiency is especially pronounced in electric grain roller mills. In some situations, roller mills use 85% less energy to process grain than hammer mills. In the most common processing situations, though, the energy savings are likely 30-50%. This helps offset the initially high cost of a roller mill. Roller mills produce particles that are very consistent in size, though they are likely to be elongated rather than round. They produce little dust and operate more quietly than hammer mills.

Disadvantages of roller mills include the fact that they don't tear fiber as much as hammer mills. They also have a high initial cost. And when maintenance is needed, although infrequent, it can be expensive.

Choose a roller mill if you:

  • Want uniform feed you can give directly to livestock

  • Aren't trying to break down grain fibers

  • Want to reduce energy consumption

  • Need to adjust output size without disrupting operations

In these situations, a roller mill is your best option.

And if you need a high-capacity roller mill, Automatic Equipment Manufacturing supplies high-capacity roller mills capable of handling up to 20,000 bushels of grain per hour. A very hard to beat capacity. To learn more about the basics and development of roller mills, check out our long-form article about what roller mills are and why they've taken over the grain production industry.

What's the Best Mill for Your Situation?

Are you still unsure what mill might work best for your situation? Please contact us to talk about your needs. We have nearly 100 years' experience matching people with the right mill for the right job.

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