I was frustrated throwing out old flour, or worse, cooking with it and getting sub-par results with lower nutritional value. So I decided to buy the best grain mill for my purposes, and at the end it was the Family Grain Mill. Let me explain the decision making process so you can decide on the Family Grain Mill or another worthy choice.
First, for the most part, all the grain mills are quite good. The grain mills that clearly fall short are the old impact mills, the kitchen aid attachment grain mill, and using a blender to make flour (except maybe oat flour from oat flakes). So just skip buying those. The kitchen aid one will burn out your motor, just don't go there.
The other grain mills that seem quite good are the Country Living Grain Mill, Retsel, and Nutrimill. There are others and certainly people have their personal favorites, but after much searching my decision came down to these based on price and performance.
The grain mill that came in second for me was the Nutrimill Grain Mill. This mill creates flour with an impact blade. I call it blasting the flour. It's fast, lightweight, and somewhat adjustable in terms of coarseness. In the end I didn't buy this mill because once you've milled the flour that's all you get. You can't run the flour through twice for a nice pastry flour. It also requires electricity which might one day be an issue during an earthquake or huge power outage. But really it was the inability to run flour through twice that made the difference to me.
The Retsel Mill-Rite mill came in 3rd in my assessment. I liked the strong build, and the ability to run flour through multiple times at various finely tuned coarseness. But the thing is pretty big and weighs almost 40 lbs. This is the primary problem (in my mind) with most traditional grain mills, they are huge and heavy. If you live on a farm, great! But a smaller house that is space constrained might find a smaller lightweight mill more suitable. You can run it with a crank, but I hear it's really heavy and not practical.
The Country Living Grain Mill is very popular, but people hook up these to a motor they have laying around the house since it's a manual only mill. So I loved the great press they got, but I didn't want baking to be a workout!
So the Family Grain Mill it was. Here's what I've found so far: It's small and light. I can easily stow it when it's not being used. Cleaning is simple. The burrs seem to be doing OK, and there are replacements available. I believe if you wear them out there's even a warranty. I don't think wear will be a problem. The outer part of the mill is kind of a bake-lite plastic. It's pretty sturdy and for most household use seems more than strong enough. The hopper is good sized and easily fits the 1 lb of grain I grind just before baking a loaf of bread.
You can grind a lot of different things in the mill, but watch out a few things are so hard they will void the warranty. I don't think it's ok to grind spices in the mill.
The Family Grain Mill's motor is fairly fast. I bake my bread in a bread machine. I weight and put the grain in at the beginning and start grinding. By the time I've taken out the bread machine, found and measured all the ingredients, put the wet ones into the machine, etc, the mill is done. Then I just drop the flour into the bread machine and put some yeast on top and press start. This whole process takes maybe 15 minutes.
I measured the heat of the flour and it comes out at around 97 degrees F at the end of milling 1lb of flour. Some people are keen about this, so if you are, that's my measurement using a fancy instant read thermometer. I think on balance that's a pretty cool result and other mills may heat your flour more.
It comes with a free hand crank so that might be useful one day, but frankly I haven't tried it. I expect it's pretty easy to crank since the motor doesn't seem to work very hard. I also bought a flaker (which none of the other mills offered) so that in the future I can store groats instead of *very* bulky rolled oats. The result will be somewhat different since the rolled oats you buy in the store are steamed and then rolled, but it should be sufficient for creating oatmeal and granola. The result should also be more nutritious.
Regardless of which mill you choose, I can say pancakes made from fresh flour (I'm using buckwheat and Kamut) are pretty much unbeatable. The picky one doesn't even want to order pancakes out anymore since he's always disappointed.
Bread seems about the same using either fresh or packaged flour. If you are limited to the types of grains you can eat there is some benefit to grinding your own flour and making your own bread. If you're trying to make an economic case for it I'm sad to say the time to pay back is pretty long (around 15 years @ 1 loaf/week). If you go through around 10 loaves per week there's a good case for buying a grain mill. Time for payback using only hard red winter wheat is even harder at around 1/2 the payback rate.
In terms of storage space and reduced waste the economics are somewhat easier. Whole grains are much more compact for storage. They also last indefinitely (Kamut came from Egyptian Tombs and was over 1,000 years old when sprouted and propagated). As I move away from rolled oats to groats for storage a *lot* of space will be saved.
Overall I'm quite happy with the Family Grain Mill. It's a bit expensive, but it should last several decades. It's also nice to know that I'm getting somewhat more nutritious baked goods.