The Best Manual Coffee Grinder (Hand Grinders)

If you are a lover of amazing tasting coffee, you are probably picky about your grinds (you should be).

When you find yourself on the go and in need of your own grinds, look no further than a portable coffee grinder for your everyday coffee needs. Hopefully, you'll get one that’s easy to use and leaves you with a precise and consistent grind.

This article will ensure that you choose the best hand coffee grinder and not waste your money and time on 90% of the junk out there. Manual coffee grinders (aka coffee mills) are not all created equal; material, size, function and warranty are just a few factors that should be considered when buying a grinder.

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?

“The coffee grinder is a supremely important link in the chain that extends from the coffee cherry to an exquisite espresso!” - Ben Bicknell, Five Senses Coffee

Ok, not it’s time to understand what separates a good grinder from a bad one. Don't ignore the following:

Size (or lack thereof)

2 types of grinder

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 travelling with your hand grinder, something nice and vintage looking may suit you more.

Capacity

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.

coffee per cup

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). Grinders can come in all kinds of materials, but consider stainless steel or ceramic as the best possible option as it is durable, easy to clean and looks great on the countertop next to your coffee machine.

an illustration of the best manual hand coffee grinder materials

Tying in with point #1 - if you plan to travel with yours, avoid ceramic and stick to stainless steel (or hardened plastic). 

It is almost impossible to avoid plastic completely, but you may want to consider investing 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 the 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.

Related articles:

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!

Manual Coffee Grinders

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.

The 8 Best Manual Coffee Grinders (in our opinion)...

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.

“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.” - Perfect Daily Grind

For everything else, the grinders below are perfect (you may want to learn how to grind coffee first!)

Here they are:

IMAGEPRODUCTDESCRIPTION
hg-table__imageHandground Precision Coffee Grinder
  • Best suited for: Home Use - most brew methods
  • Pro: Produces consistent grinds
  • Con: Price $$
CHECK PRICE →
hg-table__imageZassenhaus Santiago Mahogany Coffee Mill Grinder
  • Best suited for: Vintage lovers who want to grind for turkish coffee
  • Pro: Made of quality, durable materials
  • Con: Heavier construction means it's less portable
CHECK PRICE →
hg-table__imagePorlex Mini Stainless Steel Coffee Grinder
  • Best suited for: Travellers and minimalists
  • Pro: Portable, lightweight design
  • Con: Small hopper capacity
CHECK PRICE →
hg-table__imageHario Ceramic Coffee Mill Skerton
  • Best suited for: Home use for the family
  • Pro: Large hopper capacity
  • Con: Requires more elbow work to grind
CHECK PRICE →
hg-table__imageComandante C40 MK3 Hand Grinder
  • Best suited for: Those who want the best of the best
  • Pro: Compact with a great range of grind settings
  • Con: More expensive than other competitors
CHECK PRICE →
hg-table__imageOrphan Espresso Lido 3 Manual Hand Grinder
  • Best suited for: Travellers who want the best of the best
  • Pro: Large hopper capacity greater for those larger brews
  • Con: Adjusting grind settings takes time
CHECK PRICE →
hg-table__imageROK Coffee Grinder
  • Best suited for: Home Baristas and true coffee hipsters
  • Pro: Ergonomically designed with a faster grind
  • Con: Bulky and larger size means less portability
CHECK PRICE →
hg-table__imageJavapresse Manual Coffee Grinder
  • Best suited for: Travellers who want a great, cheap alternative
  • Pro: Lightweight and affordable
  • Con: Grind adjustments take some getting used to
CHECK PRICE →
HandGround Coffee Grinder

Quick facts:

  • Great allrounder for most brew methods (especially for french press coffee)
  • Hopper capacity: 100g (4+ coffees per grind)
  • Weight: 789g
  • Dimensions: 6” x 4” x 8.5”
  • Burr material: Aluminum ceramic burr
  • Number of grind settings: 15

I have a good feeling that the creators of the HandGround hand grinder have scratched their own itch when they launched this via Kickstarter (3). I was frustrated with the available hand grinders on the market up until I used this.

The HandGround is simple to use and delivers consistency on par with a great electric burr coffee grinder.

It’s as simple as set, load, grind. Throw your beans into the hopper, set your grind setting and turn the handle which surprisingly, does NOT feel like you are doing an arm workout, as with other hand grinders.

You’ve got 15 grind settings, meaning you can brew for almost any brewing method all the way from cold brew (requiring coarser grinds) to espresso (fine).

The main thing is that you can actually choose a setting and use it again and again - something you can't do with other hand grinders on the market.

PROS

  • Ability to choose a setting for each brew method
  • Beautifully designed - superb quality
  • Large hopper - no annoying refilling mid grind
  • Easy to grind - grinds through beans like a hot knife through butter

CONS

  • Slightly larger than some grinders, therefore it’s less portable
  • A little more expensive than some of the other options on this list
BEST SUITED FOR: Anyone who realizes the importance of consistent grinds when brewing great coffee. This is the best hand grinder on the market in terms of quality and performance - hands down.

Zassenhaus Santiago Coffee Grinder

Quick facts:

  • 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.

PROS

  • 25 year no break warranty (on the grind mechanism)
  • World class materials - if you like coffee, you'll love mahogany, right??
  • Conical burrs protect the integrity of ground coffee beans

CONS

  • Slightly heavier than other grinders meaning its less portable
  • Expensive
  • Grind setting dial has no numbers so achieving the same results is tough
BEST SUITED FOR: The Zassenhaus is a great buy for the coffee lover who wants a small manual grinder that is as beautiful as it is functional.

Porlex

Quick facts:

  • 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 with perfect accuracy 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!

PROS

  • Easy to use with versatile features - achieve the perfect grind for most brew type
  • Portable design perfect for the coffee enthusiast on the go (or camping coffee fanatics)

CONS

  • Simple features not designed for complex use
  • Small capacity - best suited for 1-2 coffees per grind
BEST SUITED FOR: This is a coffee grinder perfect for those who want to take their coffee with them on travels or when exploring the great outdoors.

Hario Skerton Coffee Grinder

Quick facts:

  • 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 small, 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.

PROS

  • Slip-free rubber base makes for an easy grind
  • Easy to clean
  • Easy to disassemble

CONS

  • Requires elbow grease to grind
  • Not the lightest on the market
  • Glass base means it’s more fragile in transport
BEST SUITED FOR: Those who love large amounts of coffee on their stress free camping holidays.

Quick facts:

  • Best quality grinder on this list (but a high price point)
  • Hopper capacity: 40g (2-3 coffees per grind)
  • Weight: 740g
  • Dimensions: 6.3” x 2.4”
  • Burr material: High-Alloyed, High-Nitrogen Stainless Steel Conical Burr

Handcrafted in Germany, this incredibly good looking manual coffee grinder is the ultimate mix of sexy engineering with incredible functionality.

Top quality materials make this grinder tough and more resistant to wear and tear. Double axle bearings and a stainless steel burr mean your grinds will be more consistent.

The C40 MK3 has a stepped grind adjustment which is basically a plastic knob that allows you to control the grind size in ‘clicks’. This dial means you can repeat the setting in a quick and painless way. With a great range of grind settings, Turkish coffee has now become a possibility!

PROS

  • Beautifully designed with high quality burr
  • Easy grind adjustments
  • Great variety of grind sizes (including Turkish)
  • Transparent grounds container
  • It has an ultra lightweight design when compared to some of the other grinders on the market.

CONS

  • Expensive
BEST SUITED FOR: Those travelling coffee connoisseurs and coffee enthusiasts who don’t mind spending a bit more bang for their buck.

Lido 3 Manual Coffee Grinder

Quick facts:

  • For travellers who want the best of the best
  • Hopper capacity: 70g (4+ coffees per grind)
  • Weight: 1052g
  • Dimensions: 13.5” x 3”
  • Burr material: Swiss-made steel conical Burr

The photos of this grinder do not do it justice. For one of the larger capacity grinders on the market, the Lido 3 grinder is certainly an upgrade from the OE Lido 2. With a Massive 70g capacity, you can brew more than 4+ cups of coffee at a time (Yippee).

Made from aluminium, stainless steel, silicone and BPA-free plastic, the semi transparent casing allows you to see the beans as they fall into the burrs - which means more mesmerizing time looking at your grinding contraption.

With a full grind range, the Lido 3 can be used for any brew method. The only downfall is the process of setting adjustment, which is slightly more complicated and takes some time getting used to.

Although the weight and size of this grinder means it’s not as lightweight and portable as others on the market, you can still fit this one in your travel pack but may require a slight grind between the knees for stability.

PROS

  • Large hopper capacity
  • Construction built of quality materials 

CONS

  • Overcomplicated grind adjustment settings
  • Heavier than most manual grinders
BEST SUITED FOR: Those who enjoy travelling and sharing their love of the great coffee aromas with other coffee enthusiasts.

ROK Coffee Grinder

Quick facts:

  • For lovers of manual brewing
  • Hopper capacity: Grind as you go
  • Weight: 2041g
  • Dimensions: 8.3” x 6.3” x 11”
  • Burr material: Stainless steel conical burr

Although the ROK Coffee Grinder is significantly larger and bulkier than others on the market, it contains a non-slip ring that prevents sliding or wobbling when used; which ergonomically, means it’s better for you and you’ll be able to grind your coffee quicker with a little less elbow grease. Simply attach the base to the table and begin hand grinding. 

Made from die-cast aluminum, this grinder contains a set of 48mm stainless steel containers burrs and has a vertical (as opposed to horizontal) grinding method - which sets it apart from other grinders on the market.

PROS

  • Indefinite hopper capacity
  • Ergonomically designed
  • High quality burr = increased durability

CONS

  • Bulky size means it’s not suitable for travel
  • Grinds not as consistent as other manual grinders
BEST SUITED FOR: Although it’s not so travel-friendly, this good looking design is best suited for the home baristas who want a great addition to their benchtop, who would rather have a coffee date at home, than a coffee date on the go.

Javapresse Manual Coffee Grinder

Quick facts:

  • 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.

PROS

  • Affordable in comparison to other manual grinders on the market
  • Compact and lightweight

CONS

  • Materials of less quality and durability long term
  • Grind settings tricky to workout without the manual
BEST SUITED FOR: Practical money savvy travellers who enjoy a good brew on the go.

THE VERDICT: Which Hand Mill Grinder Do We Prefer?

While the above are all good options...but....we can't go past the HandGround Precision Coffee Grinder!

HandGround 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 fact that turning the crank does NOT feel like a whole body workout is just a bonus - but a nice bonus at that! It's a little bulky for travelling, but unless you are a gung-ho minimalist you'll still be OK travelling with this grinder.

FAQs

What is the best (non-hand) home coffee grinder?

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.

Are manual coffee grinders better than electric?

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.

Is it better to grind your own coffee?

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. 


References

  1. Anderson, K. Steel vs Ceramic burrs and heat generation – the lowdown. Retrieved from https://www.baratza.com/steel-vs-ceramic-burrsand-heat-generation-the-lowdown/
  2. Home Barista. How often to clean grinder? Retrieved from https://www.home-barista.com/grinders/how-often-to-clean-grinder-t39288.html
  3. Precision Coffee Grinder: Better Grind, More Flavor by Handground. Retrieved from https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/handground/precision-coffee-grinder-better-grind-more-flavor
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Alex
 

Alex is the Founder and Editor of Homegrounds.co. He is passionate about brewing amazing coffee at home, and teaching others to do the same.