Best Manual Coffee Grinder in 2023 (Hand Grinder Buying Guide)
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.
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At A Glance:
The 9 Best Manual Coffee Grinders
Instead of buying something online and finding out for yourself whether it’s great, Homegrounds has done the hard work for you. The team has reviewed a bunch of the best hand grinders on the market.
Although these hand coffee 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.
|Orphan Espresso Fixie||
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|1Zpresso Q2 Manual Coffee Grinder||
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|Zassenhaus Santiago Coffee Mill Grinder||
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|Porlex Mini Stainless Steel Grinder||
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|Hario Skerton Pro Ceramic Coffee Mill||
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|Akirakoki Manual Coffee Bean Grinder||
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|Timemore Chestnut G1||
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|Orphan Espresso Lido E-T||
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|JavaPresse Manual Coffee Grinder||
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For everything else, the grinders below are perfect (you may want to learn how to grind coffee first!)
Boutique brand Orphan Espresso has been impressing coffee nerds with their manual grinders since 2011 when they released the original Lido. Each new grinder since then has been a refinement that offers new features and benefits.
With the Fixie, OE has taken the powerful and durable hardened steel burrs used in the Lido 3 but made a grinder even better for travel. Using a mix of aircraft aluminum, carbon fiber, and steel parts, the weight has been stripped down to just 11.5 oz.
The biggest innovation comes in the way that the grind is adjusted. Orphan brand knows that when you’re traveling, you’re likely to only take one kind of coffee maker with you. So the grinder comes with three “fixie” discs, that allow you to set the grinder to a fine, medium, or coarse setting. Micro adjustments are then possible with the use of additional Teflon shims.
The idea is that you set the grinder to match the brew method you’re traveling with, and lock it into place. The unique side-loading hopper means that none of your settings are disturbed when you fill up the grinder.
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.
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.
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 8 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.
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.
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.
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.
It shares a a lot of similarities with the Timemore Slim Plus. 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.
While it’s not as cheap as the Chestnut C2 and its upgrade, the Chestnut C3, the G1’s price is justifiable. Afterall, 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 to French Press. Although specialty coffee lovers may find it difficult to perfectly dial in without micro adjustments.
If the first coffee of the day just has to be an espresso, even when you’re on the road, then this grinder was designed for you. It’s another one of Orphan grinder’s refinements on their original Lido, this time with a focus on grind settings.
The Lido E-T uses a 48-mm hardened steel burrs and micrometric stepless adjustment system – slightly bigger than that of the Lido 3 – and it has more range at the finer end of the scale. This makes it ideal for espresso lovers, but don’t worry, it can take on larger grind sizes too. Although it has been designed with travel in mind, the Lido E-T isn’t exactly light or small. Clocking in at more than 2 pounds, it’s more something you’d pack in your RV or suitcase rather than carry in your backpack when hiking.
The upside to this is that both the bean hopper and catch jar are larger than most. Holding 70g of beans and 100g of ground coffee, it means you can brew for a crowd, or grind enough at once to get you through the day.
Compact, affordable, and slender. The JavaPresse Manual 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.
Why should you use a manual coffee grinder?
A manual coffee grinder is an alternative to an electric grinder for creating freshly ground beans. So, if you’re travelling a lot, going out camping or, simply, you’re a super-eco-friendly person, you should get yourself a hand coffee grinder.
There are many benefits to using manual coffee grinders compared to electric coffee grinders:
- They don’t require electricity to operate
- They don’t produce heat
- They’re more portable
- They’re quieter
- They are much cheaper
- You grind just the amount you need (possible single-dosing)
How to use manual coffee grinders?
You use a manual coffee grinder by filling up the bean hopper and turning the hand crank. As you turn the handle, the beans are crushed between the burrs, and the fresh coffee grounds fall into the ground chamber at the bottom. You can adjust the burrs to produce different grind consistencies. You usually do this by a dial underneath the burrs or on the top of the grinder.
As the name suggests, you do the grinding by hand. So, hand grinding does take more time and effort than with an electric grinder.
Things to Consider When buying the Hand coffee Grinder
Resist the temptation to save money by buying a below-average hand grinder. Experts like Ben Bicknell of Five Senses Coffee know that 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
Now it’s time to understand what separates a good grinder from a bad one. Don’t ignore the following when shopping around.
Size and Weight (Or Lack Thereof)
One reason many people invest in a hand coffee grinder is its portability. If you want to grind on the go, consider buying something with a cylindrical shape, small size, and low weight – all of which make it easy to pack and grip.
A removable or fold-away crank handle is another key feature of a portable grinder.
There is no reason not to opt for a larger and more robust model if you plan to use your coffee grinder primarily at home, however. Removing size and weight as important factors gives you far more coffee grinder options.
We talk about portable coffee grinders as being small and compact. This means the hoppers have low capacities, and there’s a limited amount of beans you can crank in one go.
The smallest manual grinders have a capacity of around 20 g, which is enough for about one coffee or a double shot of espresso. If you regularly brew for two or more people, these pint-size grinders will slow down the process. And you can expect a good arm workout during grinding – which could be a pro or a con depending on your perspective.
Quality of Material – Will It Last?
The material of the grinder body and the material of the burrs inside both impact the longevity of your coffee grinder.
The body material is particularly important if you plan to travel with your coffee grinder or take it on camping trips. Look for a model made with stainless steel or aluminum that can withstand a bump or two without breaking, for example, the made-for-the-outdoors VSSL coffee grinder. Similarly, avoid glass grounds’ catch containers if you plan to toss your grinder in a backpack.
The burrs are the component of the grinder that endure the most stress; after all, they’re doing all the work. You have two common options, steel or ceramic, each with good and bad points (1). In rare cases, you may also see cast iron burrs, which are typically chosen for their durability and low price.
Ceramic burrs are harder than stainless steel and last about twice as long. They also tend to be less expensive. Stainless steel burrs are sharper than ceramic initially, though they wear faster. Stainless steel is less brittle than ceramic, so steel burrs are less prone to damage – a key consideration if you travel with your grinder.
Burr quality is the ultimate factor in determining grind consistency. So no matter the material, invest in a grinder that has good-quality burrs.
Number of Grind Settings
The number of grind settings your coffee grinder has dictates its suitability for different brewing methods. Our free coffee grind chart can help you determine the grind size you need for your favorite brewer.
For espresso, it is important to be able to dial in the grind size with great precision, so the more grind settings, the better. Many espresso-focused grinders have stepless adjustments, which are essentially infinite grind size settings. Of course, it is equally important that the grind be consistent at all settings. For filter coffee, you can get away with fewer grind size options, but you’ll still need consistency through the medium range of the grind spectrum.
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.
Don’t forget to consider the ease with which you can switch between grind settings. Many hand grinders use a system of clicks to adjust grind size, which can be tiresome or confusing if you plan on going back and forth between filter and espresso.
One hack to ensure grind consistency, even if your grinder isn’t quite up to par, is to invest in a coffee sifter like the KRUVE. This system of tiered sieves creates uniformity, which ultimately will enhance your brew.
- For Turkish-style coffee, you’ll need a super fine grind, so look at these special Turkish grinders.
- For French press coffee, you need one of the best grinders for French Press grind size.
- If you want an electric burr grinder, see the best-rated ones here.
- If you’re a true coffee aficionado, and your budget allows it, you might want to try out some of the prosumer grinders.
- Or, if you know your coffee game and are a fan of the Eureka brand, check out their grinders.
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 often offer long-term or lifetime warranties as their products are manufactured with precision and expertise. That’s why we recommended reputable brands when putting together this list.
It’s worth spending a little more upfront in exchange for long-term reliability and satisfaction.
You can also check with the manufacturer of a grinder about buying replacement parts. Many will sell individual grounds’ catch containers, burrs, or crank handles. Because accidents happen, and it’s nice to be able to fix your grinder rather than buying a whole new one. It’s important to note that how often and how well you clean your coffee grinder will significantly impact both the longevity of its burrs and the quality of your coffee (2).
While the above are all good options…but….we can’t go past the Orphan Espresso Fixie! This is the best manual 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 grind setting options and its travel-friendly size make it our number one manual hand grinder pick.
Now, go and try the grinder you picked, to brew coffee of your favorite style.
This article was last updated on January 20, 2023.
You can make all coffees with manual coffee grinders, but different brewing methods require a different coarseness of grind.
1. Espresso – espresso requires a grinder that can produce a fine grind, as well as offer a good range of micro adjustments for the consistency.
2. Pour over – most manual grinders are great for pour-over coffee and will produce the medium grind needed for the brew method.
3. French press – many manual grinder can produce the coarse grind for French press, but you will need to check it for consistency. Alternatively, buy one of the grinders suited for cold brew.
4. Cold brew – cold brew requires an extra coarse grind, which not many grinders will be able to produce consistently.
5. Turkish – the fine powder required for this coffee requires a specialized grinder–one that is usually used only for this coffee drink.
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. You can also consider the Arco coffee grinder by Goat Story if you want a 2-in-1 electric manual grinder.
Yes, grinding your own coffee preserves its full flavor and aroma. If you are a coffee enthusiast who 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.
You should clean your manual coffee grinder every 1-2 weeks, depending on how often you use it. For a deep clean you will need to disassemble the grinder, wash the larger parts in soapy water, and clean the teeth of the burr carefully with a q-tip or brush.
You can grind spices in your coffee grinder, but we don’t recommend it. The main problem is that even with careful cleaning, the smell and taste from the spices can transfer to your coffee. And vice versa. Additionally, burr grinders may not produce the fine powder that is usually needed when grinding spices.
- 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