9 Best Manual Coffee Grinders in 2023
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 flavour 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 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.
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Let’s take a look at the good, the bad, and the downright ugly.
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 coffee grinders on the market.
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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 C2||
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|VSSL Java Manual Hand Coffee Grinder||
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|KINU M47 Simplicity||
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For everything else, the grinders below are perfect (you may want to learn how to grind coffee first!)
The 1Zpresso brand is a relatively new one on the scene, but one that’s already established as the go-to for manual grinders. They started with just a couple of models in 2017, but are constantly adding to the line-up and now cater to pretty much any grinding need you might have.
If you’re finding the options overwhelming, you can’t go wrong with the 1Zpresso JX. It’s one of the brand’s mid-range options with a great balance of capability and price, making it great value for money.
A 1Zpresso grinder is a well-made, high-quality tool that you’ll want in your coffee arsenal.
The 40 grind settings make this a great all-purpose grinder, especially if you’re switching between manual brewing methods. It provides exception consistency even on finer settings, but if you’re only brewing espresso, you might want to look at the JX Pro for better micro-adjustments.
The icing on the cake is the grind speed. At around 1 g per second (or a full hopper in just over 30 seconds) this is one of the fastest hand grinders on the market.
Espresso is the most demanding brew method when it comes to grind size, so shopping for a good espresso grinder needs a little more thought (and money). If you’re prepared to make the investment, then the Comandante C40 should be at the top of your list.
The centrepiece is Comandante’s Nitro Blade design. The burrs are made from nitrogen-hardened stainless steel for incredible edge retention. This not only means a more consistent grind but also a faster grinding experience as the sharp burrs cut through the coffee beans with ease. The burrs are mounted on unique double-axle bearings designed to prevent any wobble and further improve consistency.
This build quality is carried through in the rest of the grinder. The German-made Comandante C40 is made from solid stainless steel, with a carved oak handle and the option of a wood veneer finish. Yes, it’s expensive, but the consistency, longevity and ease of use makes it worth the money.
Just like espresso, Turkish coffee requires a very particular grind size. Most manual and even electric grinders are calibrated to either espresso or manual brewing methods, and won’t produce the fine powder you need.
While there are some good Turkish coffee grinders on the market, Home Grouds recommends the Zassenhaus Brasilia. It might not have the ornate design of the traditional metal grinders, but it makes up for it with a high-quality build. With the stepless grinding you’ll get fine and fluffy coffee grounds ready for your ibrik.
German brand Zassenhaus is known for these vintage-style grinders, and the Brasilia sits around the middle of the range. It’s made from durable beechwood, with the option of natural, dark, mahogany or black finishes. The grinding mechanism is made from high-strength carbon steel, which is backed by an impressive 25-year warranty.
The one thing to note is these box-style grinders can be a little awkward to use compared to other hand grinders. They’re known as “lap grinders” and are actually designed to be used while sitting down with the grinder between your knees.
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 225 g.
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 travellers 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.
Getting a good balance between price and affordability in a grinder is difficult, but Timemore has nailed it with the Chesnut C2. The brand has some higher-end grinders like the Timemore Slim Plus hand coffee grinder, but this entry-level option offers the same build quality at a price that’s perfect who wants a serious grinder on a budget.
The body is made from lightweight aluminium for a total weight of 430g – so this is another excellent option for travelling. The crosshatch texture on the exterior is designed to improve grip, but we just think it looks pretty cool.
The grinding system itself is impressive for the price tag. The 38 mm size is fairly standard for hand grinders, but these ones are faster than most, getting through enough beans for a pour over in just over 30 seconds. It’s not precise enough to e a good espresso grinder, but the 36 settings will give you plenty of scope for experimenting with manual brewing methods.
Where Timemore saves money on this grinder is by using some plastic parts on the inside, such as the stabilisers. While this might put some people off, it’s nothing to worry about, and actually makes the grinder even more lightweight. Read Home Grounds’ detailed Timemore C2 grinder review to learn more. We also reviewed its upgrade, the C3, here.
One of the reasons people opt for manual grinders over electric ones is that they’re portable. But that doesn’t mean that every manual grinder is suitable for the rigours of life on the road. If you want to elevate your camp coffee experience, then you need a grinder built for the task.
Just from the look of it, you can tell that the VSSL Java is designed with adventurers in mind. When not in use, the Clip and Flip crank folds in to create a carrying handle that can be clipped to your backpack. The outer is aluminium to keep the weight down, but it’s stainless steel where it counts. It features an impressive 50 stepped settings, with radial ball bearings that improve consistency and the grinding experience.
The biggest downside to this grinder is the small hopper capacity, which only holds enough for a single cup. But if it’s just you and an Aeropress on the road, this might not be so much of an issue.
Consistency and capability is one of the key things we look for in a coffee grinder. But if this is a purchase you’re going to use on a daily basis for years to come, it’s worth considering what kind of experience you’re going to have with it.
The Kinu M47 has a carefully thought out design that makes it a pleasure to use, as well as being a top-notch grinder. The long handle provides extra leverage for grinding light roasted or dense beans. On the grinder body, there’s a thumb stop that prevents slipping as you grind.
In a contrast to many other hand grinders, the settings are easily accessible from the top. This means you can adjust on the fly without taking the grinder apart.
The Simplicity is a slimmed-down version of the brand’s flagship Kinu M47. The use of some plastic parts means that it both lighter and cheaper, but the grinding mechanism is exactly the same.
What is a manual coffee grinder?
A manual coffee grinder is an alternative to an electric grinder for creating freshly ground coffee beans. Manual grinders consist of a beans hopper for whole beans, conical burrs, and a bottom chamber for collecting the coffee grounds. The burrs are operated by a hand crank.
There are many benefits to using manual coffee grinders compared to electric coffee grinders. They don’t require electricity to operate, they’re more portable, they’re quieter, and they can be better value for money.
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 freshly ground coffee falls 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.
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 travelling 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 travelling 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 bad-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.
While the above are all good options, we can’t go past the 1Zpresso JX.
This is the best hand coffee grinder because it offers a great balance between price and quality, making it a great allrounder. It’s fast, it’s versatile, and it’s incredibly consistent.
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 brewing 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.
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 Turkish coffee requires a specialized grinder–one that is usually used only for Turkish coffee.
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 flavour 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 their freshness and flavour 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