9 Best Coffee Grinders for French Press (2023 Reviews)
Want to know the easiest way to make your French press coffee even better? Invest in a great burr grinder, and prepare to be blown away by just how flavorful your morning brew can be!
Because French press is a forgiving brewing technique, you don’t even need to break the bank buying a top-of-the-line grinder – no matter what that pushy salesman might tell you. There are plenty of affordable and even-more-affordable options perfect for the job, and we’ve picked the top nine.
At A Glance:
- OUR TOP PICK: Breville Smart Grinder Pro
- BEST HAND GRINDER: Javapresse Manual
- GREAT VALUE: Bodum Bistro
The 9 Best Coffee Grinders for French Press in 2023
The best coffee grinder for French press needs to produce consistent grounds at the coarser end of the grind spectrum. And I would argue that it should do this for a reasonable price since French Press is such an inexpensive brewing method (1).
Fortunately, a good coffee grinder for the French press is easier to come across than one for more finicky brewing methods like espresso. Explains James Hoffmann, one of the world’s foremost coffee experts; the French press is a forgiving brewing method (2).
The French press is one of the most tolerant ways to make coffee. A long infusion time makes it easy to get a good extraction.
This means there are plenty of affordable French press coffee grinders on the market. Just stay away from blade grinders! Below are nine french press coffee grinder reviews for all coffee lovers.
1. Breville Smart Grinder Pro – Best Overall
Breville is well-known for making easy-to-use appliances that deliver professional-caliber results. The Breville Smart Grinder is our pick for the best coffee grinder for the French press, and it’s one of our favorite burr grinders overall. Let’s dig into why.
The 40 mm conical steel burrs are pretty standard, but where this coffee grinder stands out is its impressive user interface and programmability. True to its name, this is a “smart” grinder. Use the large LCD screen to select a grind setting and program a dose – either number of cups, espresso shots, or a set time, precise to 0.2 seconds.
The Smart Grinder has 60 grind settings, suitable for all brew methods, from cold brew to espresso. For that reason, it comes with both a ground catch bin and a portafilter holding fork.
It performs best in the medium-to-coarse grind range, perfect for French press and filter coffee.
The Smart Grinder has a classy look with a brushed stainless finish like all Breville appliances. It has the largest hopper capacity of any coffee grinder on this list, which, when coupled with its hands-free operation, makes it suitable for grinding a lot of coffee beans at once.
2. Baratza Encore – Runner Up
Now owned by Breville (3), Baratza is one of few brands specializing in high-end home coffee grinders and has won awards from the Specialty Coffee Association (4). While their more expensive grinders are likely overkill for a simple French press brew, the entry-level Baratza Encore is perfect. It still benefits from the brand’s considerable expertise but comes with a much more manageable price tag.
The Encore takes the Runner-Up spot because it has fewer grind settings, a less advanced interface, and a smaller bean hopper than the Breville Smart Grinder Pro. That said, it is equally capable of producing consistent grounds for French press with its 40 mm conical steel burr set, and it’s less expensive.
Available in black or white, the Encore has an attractive design that reveals it as a Baratza coffee grinder, with smooth curves and a small footprint. In place of an LCD screen, it offers a simple button operation that makes it very easy to use. It has both an on/off toggle for continuous grinding and a manual button for pulsed grinding.
3. Javapresse Manual – Best Manual Grinder for French Press
The Javapresse Manual coffee grinder is among the most popular hand grinders for many reasons. First, there’s its durable stainless steel construction; this coffee grinder can take a beating and keep on grinding. Then there’s its 1.4 oz hopper capacity, which is small compared to an electric burr grinder but very ample for a hand coffee grinder. Add in its affordable price tag, and you have a tough coffee grinder to beat.
The Javapresse uses conical ceramic burrs with a patented dual coating, lasting years without dulling. It has 18 distinct grind settings – impressive for such an affordable hand coffee grinder. It might not be enough to dial in an espresso, but it’s perfect for the French press.
Of course, the Javapresse offers advantages common to all manual grinders. It’s quiet, compact, and doesn’t require electricity so that you can take it anywhere. Plus, it comes with a bit of morning arm workout built right in! Just don’t forget to switch up your grinding arm.
4. Capresso Infinity – Best Conical Burr Grinder
The Capresso Infinity is a very popular entry-level electric burr coffee grinder. I’ve owned two in my coffee journey, and I’ve recommended them to friends and family. This coffee grinder is affordable, reliable, easy to use, and a huge step up from a blade coffee grinder.
The Infinity uses commercial-grade conical steel burrs with a precision cutting design that yields uniform distribution. The gear reduction motor cleverly grinds at a slower RPM than most, which results in a quieter grind, less static build-up, and a more aromatic brew.
It has 16 grind settings, from fine Turkish coffee to coarse grind for cold brew. From experience, I wouldn’t recommend it for an espresso coffee grinder; 16 settings isn’t enough to dial in a shot. But it’s perfect for the French press, offering a consistent grind in the mid-range settings.
It’s a nicely designed coffee grinder, available in black or silver, with an 8.8 oz hopper and 4 oz grounds catch bin. As much as I’d like to see a metal housing or a lid for the coffee grounds catch bin, these upgrades would inevitably lead up the price, and the affordability of the Infinity is a big part of its charm.
5. Rancilio Rocky Doserless – Best All-Around Coffee Grinder
The Rancilio Rocky is the most expensive grinder on this list, and it’s arguably the best. So why isn’t it the top pick? Well, if you only want the best coffee grinder for French press coffee, the Rocky is a waste of money; it’s more than you need.
However, if you are looking for an all-around grinder – something for your French press AND your espresso machine – then the Rancilio Rocky is a great value. The 50 mm flat steel burrs produce a beautifully consistent grind across a wide range of grind settings. Though it was developed for espresso, it has 40 stepped grind settings, making it easy to switch from fine to coarse.
The Rocky has a simple user interface, with just an on/off switch and a button for grinding. And adjusting the grind settings is straightforward; turn the collar clockwise or counterclockwise.
An Italian brand known for both grinders and premium espresso machines, Rancilio has been around for a long time. They’ve had many years to refine the Rocky to perfection. It offers a considerable step up in build quality from the lower-priced coffee grinders on this list, with a metal body and commercial-grade components that are built to endure.
6. Bodum Bistro – Great Value
Burr shape: Conical
- Burr size: 35 mm
- Burr material: Steel
- Hopper capacity: 7.75 oz.
- No. grind settings: 12
Bodum is known for fun and approachable designs, with comfortable silicone grips and cheery colors. The friendly Bodum Bistro coffee grinder is no exception, available in black, white, silver, copper, red, and lime green.
The Bistro has the perfect combination of quality, functionality, and low cost to make it an easy choice for a great value grinder. It’s inexpensive but not cheap if you know what I mean. It has slightly smaller 35 mm stainless steel conical burrs and slightly fewer grind settings than pricier options. But these will have little impact when grinding for French press coffee.
The Bodum Bistro is very easy to use. Twist the hopper to set the grind size, then push the button to start grinding. You can even program a timer to ensure you grind the same amount every time.
Another nice feature of the Bodum Bistro is its grounds’ catch bin. Made from static-free borosilicate glass and featuring a silicone band for easy gripping, colored to match the grinder body, it’s a step up from the Capresso Infinity.
7. Eureka Mignon Crono – Best Flat Burr Coffee Grinder
Eureka specializes in expensive prosumer grinders, so it might surprise you to learn they make an affordable model perfect for the French press. The Eureka Mignon Crono strips away a lot of the flash and programmability of the more expensive Mignon models but keeps the build quality and stylish design that distinguishes the Italian brand.
The Mignon Crono has a 50 mm set of flat steel burrs, yielding uniform grounds. Moreover, it’s the only grinder on this list with a step-less grind adjustment, providing infinite grind settings. It’s the same patented grind adjust system found on the more expensive models. The Crono is also equipped with Eureka’s Anti-Clump and Electrostaticity (ACE) system, which guarantees fluffy and static-free grounds.
The Mignon Crono doses on a timer, programmable from 5-60 seconds, or you can grind manually by pushing a button. This simplicity of operation makes this grinder affordable, but it also makes for an enjoyable user experience.
The attractive Mignon series of grinders are defined by their square footprint and unique square hoppers. The Crono is available in black or white, with a die-cast aluminum body that is much more durable than plastic.
8. Hario Skerton Pro – Best Ceramic Burr Grinder
Japanese company Hario is famous in the coffee industry for its functional, affordable, and attractive designs (5). The beloved V60 pour-over brewer might be their top seller, but the Skerton manual grinders are just as worthy of attention. The new-and-improved Skerton Pro features some nice upgrades from the original Skerton that make it well worth the small jump in price.
Skerton Pro uses ceramic conical burrs, and its 2.1 oz hopper capacity and 3.5 oz grounds’ container capacity are substantial for a manual coffee grinder. Unlike the stainless steel Javapress, Hario Skerton Pro is primarily made from glass and plastic, so you must treat it a bit more gently. The broad silicone base is an excellent addition, allowing it to plant firmly to the counter while you grind.
Hario has made the grinding handle more durable and simpler to connect to the lid with the Pro model. They’ve also upgraded the adjustment mechanism, so it’s easier to find the perfect grind setting. Most importantly, some subtle design changes have strengthened the drive axle and reduced burr wobble. This gives more consistent grounds, especially at the coarser end of the spectrum. In the past, we’ve recommended against the Skerton manual grinder for French Press, but no longer!
9. Porlex Mini – Best Coffee Grinder for Travel
The Porlex Mini is one of the tiniest grinders on the market, with a capacity suitable for just one or two cups. It’s a good home manual grinder if you live alone and only brew a cup at a time, but where it shines is in its portability.
Not only is the Porlex Mini very small and light, but it’s also very sturdy – an equally important feature of a travel grinder. With its stainless steel body, you can easily toss it in a purse or backpack for schlepping around town or taking on a camping trip.
The Porlex Mini isn’t limited by its small size when it comes to grinding quality. It has a reliable grind adjustment system and yields impressively consistent coffee grinds, even when grinding coarse for a French press. The ceramic burrs are very sharp, making grinding fast and easy, and they’re static-free, so you won’t leave behind a chaffe-y mess – great news if you’re using it at the office.
How to Choose the Best Coffee Grinder for French Press
First and foremost, buy a burr grinder, not a blade grinder. After that, the details come down to your budget, taste in coffee, lifestyle, and whether you brew using other methods as well. This buyer’s guide will help you tackle all the variables to choose your best coffee grinder for French press coffee.
Burr shapes and sizes: What does it all mean?
Buying your first real burr grinder can feel very confusing. Does it really matter if you choose conical or flat burrs? Do burr sizes matter as much as some manufacturers want you to think?
In all honesty, if you’re grinding coffee for a French press, especially if it’s not specialty quality coffee beans, the most important thing is simply to get a burr coffee grinder rather than a blade grinder. Yes, the size and shape of the burrs does affect the flavor of your coffee – and I’ll talk about how in a second – but the average coffee drinker probably won’t taste the difference.
Typically, bigger is better when it comes to burr size (6). A bigger burr set grinds faster. Fast grinding doesn’t just get that precious caffeine into your bloodstream faster, but it also generates less heat. By heating coffee beans during grinding, you risk destroying some flavor compounds. That said, grinding for a single French press brew won’t take very long, no matter the size of your burrs.
What about shape? Conical burr grinders are known for producing more fines. Fines are the coffee dust that you’ll often find at the bottom of your cup because the French press’s metal filter does not catch it. Some coffee drinkers enjoy fines because they add body to a coffee, and French press drinkers, in particular, enjoy coffee with a heavy body.
French press coffee is dense and heavy, yet it has its own sort of elegance.
In contrast, flat burr grinders are known for their consistency. The grounds are more uniform, with fewer fines. Other coffee drinkers prefer this style as it gives a cleaner cup (7). It all comes down to personal taste, which is why we’ve suggested great options for both flat and conical burr grinders for your coffee beans.
Ceramic versus steel burrs
Though steel is now more common as a burr material, there are advantages to both steel and ceramic for burrs (8).
Steel burrs are sharper, so they cut more easily through coffee beans. Steel is also more resistant to unexpected damage, like if a stone gets into the coffee grinder or you accidentally drop it. Most electric grinders have steel burrs because the steel can withstand the high speeds generated by a motor.
However, provided you are careful to protect your coffee grinder from brute force damage, ceramic burrs will last longer because ceramic is a harder material that dulls at a slower rate. Steel has a higher thermal conductivity than ceramic, which means the heat will build up faster in steel burrs (no good), but it will also dissipate faster (good).
Do you want a manual grinder or an electric grinder?
There are excellent reasons to opt for a manual coffee grinder or an electric grinder, depending on your lifestyle. Many coffee lovers have at least one, quickly done since manual grinders are very affordable.
Let’s start with the advantages of a manual coffee grinder for the French press. As already mentioned, they are inexpensive because you’re mostly paying for a burr set, not a motor. The lack of motor is also the second significant advantage: a manual grinder is quiet. Want to prepare that first cuppa joe without waking the whole house? This is the answer.
Hand coffee grinders are fantastic for travel: they’re tiny, light, durable, and don’t require electricity.
Sure, a manual coffee grinder takes a bit of elbow grease to grind the coffee beans, but the coarse grind required for a French press is the easiest to produce.
The main advantage of electric coffee grinders is that the motor works for you. Not everyone can start the day with an arm workout, and not everyone wants to. For the same reason, electric coffee grinders are better for grinding a lot of coffee at once. Along with sparing your arms, they also have larger hoppers and grounds bins.
Don’t overthink the number of settings
If you want to use your coffee grinder for many different brewing methods, especially if one of them is espresso, you want a coffee grinder with many grind size settings. For example, on this list, the Rancilio Rocky, Eureka Mignon, and Breville Smart Grinder are all capable of many brew methods.
However, if you only plan to use your coffee grinder with your French press, don’t get too hung up on the number of settings. French press is a forgiving brew method. As long as you’re getting consistent medium-coarse ground coffee beans, you’re going to make great coffee. You don’t need to dial it in like you would an espresso.
If a rich French press brew is your favorite type of coffee, then you’re in luck because there are plenty of affordable coffee grinders that will meet your needs. This list has nine of them, all recommended by our team of experts.
This year, our top pick is the attractive and user-friendly Breville Smart Grinder Pro. This approachable coffee grinder offers advanced programmability and excellent grind quality, and you can use it for another brewing style in a pinch.
The main reason to use a burr grinder instead of a blade grinder is that it produces far more uniform grounds. A burr grinder grinds coffee beans, whereas blade grinders chop them into various-sized pieces. Coffee grounds that aren’t uniform won’t extract properly, and you’ll be left with a less flavorful brew.
Another reason is that blade grinders tend to generate more heat, and heat will destroy some of the flavor compounds in coffee, again leaving you with a subpar brew.
French press coffee is not bad for you, and its reputation for being less than healthy comes from the fact that the metal filter doesn’t strain out the coffee oils. Those coffee oils produce the wonderfully rich mouthfeel you love about French press coffee, but they can be an issue for anyone with a predisposition to high cholesterol. If you’re worried about your cholesterol levels, consider adding a paper filter to your French press (9).
Yes, you can use pre-ground coffee in your French press, but it is always better to use freshly ground coffee. For one thing, after grinding, coffee quickly goes stale so that fresh ground coffee will be more flavorful. But for the French press, in particular, you want a slightly coarser grind than most pre-ground coffee grinds in the store, so you’ll have better results grinding your own.
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