The Best Manual Coffee Grinder (hand grinders)
As a coffee lover, you know that grinding your coffee beans just before you brew your coffee is the only way you’ll capture the coffee’s full flavor and aroma in your brews. Big electric grinders work well at home, but when you’re on the go, you need something more portable; you need a manual coffee grinder (aka, a coffee mill). We’re going to help you pick the perfect manual grinder for you.
Although these hand grinders seem simple enough, they must be well-engineered if they’re to produce the precise and consistent grind you need. Other considerations include construction materials, size, function, and warranty. Read on to learn more.
We are a community of passionate coffee hobbyists who research, test and educate around issues relevant to the home barista market.
As a community we strive to simplify the mis-information in the home brewing market so that you can make better informed decisions about buying and brewing amazing quality coffee (without having to train as a professional barista).
Over the years, a team of coffee loving content creators and industry professionals have come together with the sole intention of ‘cutting through the noise’ and educating the home barista market on brewing better coffee without having to go through expensive and time consuming professional training.
Let’s take a look at the good, the bad, and the downright ugly.
What Should You Consider When Looking for the Best Manual Coffee Grinder?
Don’t skip the temptation to spend a little time and money investing in a better than average hand grinder. You can’t underestimate the importance of the grinding process:
The coffee grinder is a supremely important link in the chain that extends from the coffee cherry to an exquisite espresso
So now it’s time to understand what separates a good grinder from a bad one. Don’t ignore the following when shopping around:
Size (or lack thereof)
If you want to grind on the go, you’ll want to consider buying something that incorporates a sleek, cylindrical shape that makes it easy to store and easy to grip.
Less is more when it comes to portability, however, if you’re not concerned with traveling with your hand grinder, something nice and vintage-looking may suit you more.
We talk about portable coffee grinders as being small and compact. This means there’s a limited amount of beans you can crank in one go.
It’s important to be realistic – you want a coffee grinder that has the right capacity for you. If you’re looking to cater coffee for more than 2-3 people, expect to get a good arm workout during the grinding process.
Quality of Material – Will It Last?
We are talking about the burrs here as they go through the most stress. You have 2 options, steel or ceramic, both with its good and bad points (1). Consider stainless steel burrs if you are traveling as they are durable and easy to clean. Ceramic burrs are fine if you plan to keep your grinder at home.
Invest in a grinder that has a good quality burr – this is ultimately what your grind consistency depends on.
Number of Grind Settings
How many settings does your coffee grinder have and how easy is it to change between them? It’s no good to have something that ‘just grinds’, you’ll need something that grinds to different tastes to make the best coffee. You’ll also want a grinder with functional applications that will produce the same results no matter where you are grinding.
Precision and consistency are key. A s**tty quality hand grinder will not grind consistently, leaving your brew over or under-extracted.
Having said that, no grinder (manual or electric grinders), is absolutely perfect – although, a good quality electric can produce better results. If you want to perfect your grind, you want to consider a coffee sifter. A system of tiered sieves that creates uniformity – which ultimately will enhance your brew.
- For Turkish coffee, you’ll need a super fine grind so look at these special Turkish grinders.
- If you want an electric burr grinder – see the best-rated ones here.
- Grab our free coffee grind chart to help you achieve the right grounds.
- To take your coffee grinding game to the next level you’ll need a secret weapon: the KRUVE.
Longevity – are the parts replaceable?
Electric grinders come with warranties but manual grinders often don’t. You don’t want to buy something you use a couple of times before it stops producing consistent results or even breaks down!
Well-made products will often offer long-term or lifetime warranty as their products are manufactured with precision and expertise. It’s important to note – how often and how well you clean your coffee grinder (2) will significantly impact both the longevity of your burr and quality of your coffee.
Having a good grinder will allow you more precision over the grind of your coffee beans – meaning you can have the same great coffee despite the weather, time of day, or if your beans are a few days older.
Now that you know what to look for in a grinder, download this coffee grind chart to use your grinder to its fullest potential.
The 8 Best Manual Coffee Grinders
Instead of the old ‘trial and error’ method of buying something online and finding out for yourself whether it’s great (or it sucks), we’ve done the hard yards for you and reviewed a bunch of the best hand grinders on the market.
For everything else, the grinders below are perfect (you may want to learn how to grind coffee first!)
||1Zpresso Q2 Manual Coffee Grinder||
||Zassenhaus Santiago Coffee Mill Grinder||
||Porlex Mini Stainless Steel Grinder||
||Hario Ceramic Coffee Mill Skerton||
||Akirakoki Manual Coffee Bean Grinder||
||Timemore Chestnut G1||
||Javapresse Manual Coffee Grinder||
Here they are:
And below you’ll see more details about the grinders listed in the table above. We’ve done full reviews of each to, so be sure to click through and learn more about any of the options that you are considering.
The 1Zpresso Q2 is the smallest of the 1ZPresso grinders. As well as the reduced size, the 1zpresso also comes with a lower price tag too. Fortunately, however, there have been no sacrifices made to build quality or materials, meaning the Q2 is very much a premium product in a tiny, travel-friendly package.
The premium materials used to make this grinder very easy to use for small batches of coffee. The Q2 would be perfect to take camping or to leave at the office, so you don’t have to concede on freshness while working.
The only real problem the 1Zpresso Q2 presents is the small 20g capacity, which could be lower depending on the types of bean you’re using. You’ll get enough for one brew here, but you’ll have to grind more than once if you’re making coffee for more than one other person at a time.
All-in-all, however, the 1Zpresso Q2’s looks, build quality, ease of use, and price-to-quality ratio make it our Top Pick manual coffee grinder.
- Built with premium materials
- Small and light
- Easy to grind
- Excellent value
- Small capacity may frustrate some users
2. Zassenhaus Santiago Coffee Mill Grinder – Best for Turkish Coffee
The Zassenhaus is a great buy for the coffee lover who wants a small manual grinder that is as beautiful as it is functional.
Vintage grinder that can also grind for Turkish coffee
- Hopper capacity: 40g (2-3 coffees per grind)
- Weight: 952g
- Dimensions: 5.5″ x 3.5″ x 7.8″
- Burr material: High-grade carbon steel conical burr
The expertly crafted Zassenhaus coffee grinder has a beautiful mahogany finish and regarded as one of the finest on the market due to its conical burr, 25-year warranty, and high-quality grind capabilities.
It has other color options too – including a stunning beechwood, and black beechwood finish. It’s smaller than your typical electrical burr-grinder, however it’s a little larger and bulkier than other hand grinders. For its added size comes added style – especially the beautiful mahogany veneer.
Its grind function produces consistent results and has a HUGE number of grind settings due to its grind size dial – meaning you can grind for every brew method, even Turkish and espresso. It’s perfect for espresso. With a guaranteed 25 year warranty, you know that you’re purchasing a high-performance grinder.
- 25 year no break warranty (on the grind mechanism)
- World class materials
- Conical burrs protect the integrity of ground coffee beans
- Slightly heavy, making portability a challenge
- Grind setting dial has no numbers so achieving the same results is tough
3. Porlex Mini Stainless Steel Grinder – Best For Traveling Light
Made is Osaka, Japan; this coffee grinder is perfect for minimalists and travellers who need something tiny to take with them.
For travelers and minimalists
- Hopper capacity: 20g (1-2 coffees per grind)
- Weight: 226g
- Dimensions: 6” x 2.3” x 1.8”
- Burr material: Ceramic Conical Burr
- Number of grind settings: 13
Travelling coffee drinkers don’t stop raving about the Porlex Portable Coffee Mill that is designed to grind accurately and quickly and is great for those who are travelling or constantly on the go.
What makes this product a great travel companion? For one, the portable easy-to-grip cylindrical shape makes it easy to hike, bike, pack in a suitcase or stash in the car. It fits perfectly into the Aeropress making the convenience of packing easy, plus it weighs in at only 10.4 ounces.
The solid stainless steel body build makes the Porlex easy to clean and virtually indestructible. The adjustable grinder produces accurate grinds for fine, coarse or grinds in between – and has a neat little dial that will ensure you remember that perfect grind you just produced. It has 13 settings, each defined by a ‘click’ on the burr wheel.
Find the right grind for your brewer, remember the number, and you’re good to make the perfect cup of coffee on the go.
- Easy to use with versatile features
- Portable design perfect for the coffee enthusiast on the go
- Simple features not designed for complex use
- Small capacity (1-2 coffees per grind)
4. Hario Skerton Pro Ceramic Coffee Mill – Best Value For Money
Best it you are grinding for 3+ coffee’s at once, either at home or while camping.
For home use when grinding coffee for multiple brews at once
- Hopper capacity: 100g (4+ coffees per grind)
- Weight: 566g
- Dimensions: 16” x 11” x 13”
- Burr Material: Ceramic Conical Burr
Ticking all the boxes the Hario Skerton pro is a lightweight grinder that has a slip-free rubber base, large storage capacity, ceramic burr for extra grind precision and an ergonomic design.
Super easy to disassemble and reassemble with a hopper that can attach to a mason jar or other storage containers. It’s another great manual coffee mill for those on the go, who also like grinding in advance (Let’s be honest, there’s always time for another coffee!).
Easy to use, easy to clean – this grinder will manually blend your coffee beans without sacrificing the taste. It’s designed for those who want a product that will carry through conditions with ease.
- Slip-free rubber base makes for an easy grind
- Easy to clean
- Easy to disassemble
- Requires elbow grease to grind
- Not the lightest on the market
- Glass base means it’s more fragile in transport
5. Akirakoki Manual Coffee Bean Grinder – Best For Design And Desirability
The Akirakoki’s all wood design looks fantastic, and the Cast Iron burr will ensure consistent grinds.
Solid wood design will never crack
- Hopper capacity: 85g (3-4 coffees per grind)
- Weight: 610g
- Dimensions: 7.2” x 2.8” x 2.8”
- Burr: Cast Iron
The Akirakoki is a budget-friendly manual grinder that delivers on both design and functionality. The solid wood body comes from a single piece of wood, meaning it will never crack. Unusually, the Akiraroki has a Cast Iron burr, which means it will never rust and will produce less heat than other materials.
The full package here combines to create a reliable travel grinder that looks fantastic. Pulling this grinder out of your backpack will attract attention every time you start brewing with other travelers around. It’s a good job then that the Akirkoki has an 85g grind capacity, meaning you’ll be able to grind enough coffee for up to three friends at once.
- Beautiful solid wood design
- Cast Iron burr reduces heat
- Budget-friendly price
- Grinding takes time and effort
Like most Timemore products, the Chestnut G1 grinder is a perfect blend of form and function. In fact, its stunning combination of metal and wood saw it win a coveted Red Dot Design Award in 2017.
Most of the body is made from an aluminum alloy, which makes this a great light grinder for travel or camping. At the same time, durability is guaranteed by the stainless steel crank arm, driveshaft, and burrs. The overall rounded-square shape is comfortable in the hands while grinding, and the black walnut on the exterior and pommel gives it a classy appeal.
Of course, the most important thing is the ability to create uniform ground coffee, and the Chestnut G1 does this beautifully. It relies on two ball bearings to keep the grinding mechanism stable, and the sharp 38 mm conical steel burrs are aggressively designed for easy grinding. It’s also available with more durable titanium burrs for a small upcharge.
The Chestnut relies on a stepped adjustment, so it’s easy to remember your favorite grind size. And the grind range is substantial enough for any brewing method, from Turkish coffee to French Press. Although specialty coffee lovers may find it difficult to perfectly dial in without micro adjustments.
- Stepped adjustment
- Great design
- Not for specialty coffee lovers
Best for home use for manual brewing enthusiasts; especially if you brew 2+ coffee’s each time
Professional grade grinder with ultra-durable construction
- Hopper capacity: 40 – 45 g
- Weight: 1.63 lbs
- Dimensions: 6.3” x 2.4” x 2.4”
- Burr: Patented High-Alloyed High-Nitrogen Stainless Steel
The Comandante C40 is a prime example of a professional level grinder hiding in a small and affordable package. When it comes to grinders, it’s all about the burrs, and this grinder has an exceptional burr set.
Comandante uses a proprietary high-nitrogen alloy for the conical burrs in the C40, so they are ultra sharp and durable. You’ll see the difference in the fluffy and uniform grounds. The rest of the grinder, including body, axel, crank, and ball bearings, is all stainless steel. So it’s extremely durable, though a bit on the heavy side. This may not be the best choice for backcountry travel.
With the stepped grind adjustment, it’s easy to keep track of your favorite grind settings if you’re using this grinder for multiple brewing methods. And because of its huge grind range, this is a distinct possibility.
The C40 certainly hasn’t sacrificed form in favor of function; it’s as much a pleasure to look at as it is to use. The body is a classic cylindrical shape and is wrapped in a wood veneer with your choice of six attractive finishes. From cherry to classic black, one is bound to suit your kitchen aesthetic!
- Professional-level grinder
- Extremely durable
- Huge grind range
- A bit heavy
8. JavaPresse Manual Coffee Grinder – Best Value For Money
Best for those looking for something inexpensive and simple to use very occasionally
Hopper capacity: 40g (2-3 coffees per grind)
- Weight: 266g
- Dimensions: 1.8” x 7.5” x 1.8”
- Burr material: Ceramic conical burr
- Number of grind settings: 18
Compact, affordable, and slender. The JavaPresse Manual Coffee Grinder is a small, lightweight grinder perfect for those who aren’t too concerned with style but still need something that is functional and portable.
It consists of a durable stainless steel body with a ceramic conical burr and a detachable hand crank which means it’s great for packing on the go. It features a dual plate system which makes it feel more stable when grinding and produces consistent results.
The JavaPresse has an adjustable knob underneath the burr which means you are using a click system to change your grind settings but be weary – they may take some time getting used to.
It may look simple but don’t be fooled, this grinder has been on the market for some time and we can see why – perfect for those who want fuss-free, functional, affordable quality grinds.
- Affordable in comparison to other manual grinders
- Compact and lightweight
- Materials of lesser quality and durability
- Grind settings can be tricky to workout
- Hard to grind, not the best for daily use
THE VERDICT: Which Hand Mill Grinder Do We Prefer?
While the above are all good options…but….we can’t go past the 1Zpresso Q2 Manual Coffee Grinder!
This is the best hand coffee grinder because it does what it is intended to do better than any of the others – grind coffee beans perfectly with your hand!
The incredible price-to-quality ratio and impressive travel-friendly tiny size combine to make it our number one manual hand grinder pick.
The best home coffee grinder depends on your own preferences at home. If you have the time to consume grinding your own coffee and doesn’t mind a little effort in doing so, affordable hand coffee grinders are suitable for you. Hand coffee grinders are manual grinders which does not break the bank but can produce consistent grinds which on par with electric coffee grinders. Here’s a list to explore.
Manual coffee grinders are better than electric when it comes to simplicity, affordability and portability. Manual or hand coffee grinders are very easy to use. Although it requires more effort from the user, the process of grinding your coffee is very simple and the result thereof, depends on the energy exerted along with the grinder setting.
Yes, grinding your own coffee preserves its full flavor and aroma. If you are a coffee lover and uses pre-ground coffee, you might have noticed the taste difference of freshly ground coffee versus pre-ground coffee that has been kept for several days in the pantry. If you have a coffee grinder, your coffee beans will maintain its freshness and flavor even after a long period of time.
- Anderson, K. Steel vs Ceramic burrs and heat generation – the lowdown. Retrieved from https://baratza.com/steel-vs-ceramic-burrs-and-heat-generation-the-lowdown/
- Home Barista. How often to clean grinder? Retrieved from https://www.home-barista.com/grinders/how-often-to-clean-grinder-t39288.html
- Precision Coffee Grinder: Better Grind, More Flavor by Handground. Retrieved from https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/handground/precision-coffee-grinder-better-grind-more-flavor