So, you’re in the market for a manual burr grinder? Great choice! The right pick can produce a more consistent grind than budget electric grinders and have you sipping on the perfect cup of coffee.
Below, we’ll discuss how the best manual coffee grinder will change your coffee game, alongside a list of choices for your specific needs.
But first, if you’re in a hurry, here’s our top pick:
Alternative Manual Grinders At A Glance
With a wooden exterior made from a single piece of wood. This picks aesthetically pleasing while delivering great results for manual brewing.
Features to Consider in Hand Coffee Grinders
There are so many grinders on the market. How do you know where to begin?
Of course, you want it to be easy to use and easy to clean, but outside of that, it can be a minefield to figure out the best companion for your coffee maker.
Below are some factors you can consider before making your next (in my opinion, GREAT) coffee investment: a hand-operated grinder.
One of the biggest reasons to invest in a hand grinder is portability. Great for on the go but still a grinder which works well enough f or home too. You can grab and use it quickly any time you decide you want to make a dreamy cup of coffee.
If you’re always grinding coffee beans on the go, the best hand coffee grinder for you is a compact one. Some have collapsible components. Others come with travel bags. If you like having access to good coffee wherever you go, electric grinders are out, and crank coffee grinders are in!
Remember to choose specs all the way to the length of the handle and the type of burrs. Some crank grinders can have stainless steel burrs, while others have a ceramic conical burr. This is important, as we’ll touch on shortly.
I wasn’t sure if I wanted to call this next consideration “capacity” or “patience level”.
This is because you can technically grind to your heart’s content if you have a manual crank grinder. But at the same time, you have to consider how sensible it is for your workflow.
If you’re a coffee lover grinding for yourself (1-2 cups of coffee per brew), then you’re alright, and it makes sense to invest in one of the best manual grinders available.
But if you usually brew for 10-12 people at a time, perhaps an electric grinder would be an option for you to consider. That or you charge the people you brew for a labor rate. In any case, grinder capacity can range from 20 grams to 100 grams on the high end, depending on the brand and model you’re looking at.
In life and in coffee, you can’t have it all. The same holds for your manual crank grinder.
You can imagine that compact sizes come with compact burrs. You won’t have a wide range of grind settings to choose from because the burrs themselves aren’t the usual commercial size!
With this factor, it’s best to know what type of coffee you prepare most often. If you know this, you can focus on that and plan your purchases around it. From roast types to brew equipment.
Manual grinders are optimized for specific grind ranges. Some can do fine to medium fine, while others work well with medium to medium-coarse. A single hand grinder will never be a perfect all rounder when it comes to the grind. Do enough research to determine if the crank grinder you’re considering performs best for the brew method/s you intend to use it for.
Note that the finer you grind, the longer it takes. So if espresso is your thing at home, it’s one of the few common brew methods that aren’t ideal for even the best crank grinder. Unless of course, you have a lot of patience. With great patience comes the perfectly ground coffee full of flavor!
What you want to watch out for is how the grinder can deliver on its claim. What use is claiming to have 100 grind settings when the dial is so soft that you end up grinding inconsistently.
When it comes to great coffee, always remember that quality trumps everything. Promises (like flavor notes) are useless if you can’t extract them yourself.
Alright, so most manual grinders are a fraction of the cost of automatic ones. The most premium crank grinder will set you back as far as an entry-level automatic grinder.
However, one option is also many times faster than the other. Be sure to choose which fits your needs best!
Consider the fact that hand coffee grinders are conical burr grinders. They do well with heat transfer and produces ground coffee with a more even grind size than blade grinders.
Within the options for a manual grinder, you’ll find different sizes and build qualities. Remember that you will get what you pay for. The burr made from ceramic, steel body, and long handle all add value and therefore hike up costs, so it’s up to you to choose what to prioritize if your budget is limited.
If you tend to have a clumsiness problem, perhaps it’s best to get a stainless steel grinder instead of a glass one. If you enjoy watching the grounds cascade down, then glass bottoms are better for you than steel. Analyze and adapt to what works for you!
As a coffee professional, aside from taste, there are aspects of brewing that I also enjoy. I like watching grounds fall into my container, my espresso to cascade from regular spouts, and my milk pitchers to have measurement grooves inside. We all have our preferences, so I can’t stress enough how crucial this is as you build your home-coffee corner.
However, if you’re looking to spend less for high quality in exchange for a bit more effort when you brew, manual grinders could be an excellent option for you.
There are no right or wrong preferences in coffee. You are the drinker, so you will always decide what you like and don’t like, from your beans to equipment.
Replacement parts and Warranty
As with any serious, long term investment, you want to make sure that you’re set up long term for hand grinding.
One of the overlooked aspects of choosing equipment is the after-sales quality of service. You will be working with many small moving parts. How easy will it be to replace for you to continue grinding your coffee?
Remember that you will still be working with considerably fewer moving parts than an automatic machine. So in terms of maintenance, you will be hard-pressed to convince yourself how much easier manual is to maintain over anything automatic.
The 9 Best Manual Coffee Grinders 2021
Now that you have an idea of some factors to consider when choosing a manual coffee grinder, here is a quick list of what I feel are some of the best ones in the market today.
Remember that your grind’s quality has a significant effect on your coffee and that a grinder is more important than a brewing machine. In fact, the grinder is, in my opinion, only behind water and the freshness of your beans in terms of importance for an amazing cuppa joe.
Take the time to see which ones have features that suit your coffee needs, make a shortlist of your own, do some additional research, and brew!
This baby is hands-down the best hand coffee grinder when it comes down to brewing on the go without compromising on flavor and it’s certainly the best travel friendly grinder.
- Stainless steel burrs
- Great build quality
- Wide grind setting range
- Travel friendly size
- Small 20g capacity
It FEELS like it was designed for a specific type of person in mind because it’s smooth in the right ways (easy to clean, a very quiet coffee grinder) and is just easy to use in general.
While this pick isn’t the best for a cup of Turkish coffee, if you’re looking for consistent medium grinds in a highly portable grinder, the Q2 is perfect.
It has 60 grind options, which are more than the usual requirement for hand grinders. As a manual grinder, it’s also durable enough and the right size for being travel friendly, fitting into an AeroPress!
If you can get past how weird the name reads, this is quietly one of the best hand grinders in the coffee realm and the perfect travel companion! If it fits your specs and how you make your coffee, this could be a great pick up for you.
Check out our 1ZPresso Q2 review to learn more about this pick.
Alright, the second 1ZPresso grinder back to back might look strange, but finding a decent manual grinder for espresso can be a challenge. Grinding so fine means you ideally need large and super sharp burrs that output even grinds. Here, the JX Pro delivers!
- Huge 48mm stainless steel conical burr
- Great for espresso and filter brews
- Heavy duty build
- Great overall value
- Larger than average
The JX Pro is our top pick when it comes to finding a hand crank grinder for espresso. Its incremental 12.5 micron grind adjustments and 48mm burrs help you dial in your perfect shot on repeat.
The JX Pro is the flagship all bells and whistles grinder from 1ZPresso. It’s well-fitting If you’re looking for something which can handle all grind sizes pretty well. Although, the JX pro delivers most towards the finer to medium settings.
While a fine grind will take some serious hand power, I’ve been able to grind 19g in around 37 seconds with the JX Pro. Which all things considered, is pretty epic!
Yes, it’s not the cheapest, but when comparing this burr grinder to other brands around the same price point, it’s easy to see just how good value this grinder is. The build, grind adjustment ease, consistency of grind size, and durability makes this well worth the investment for espresso lovers.
I especially like the fact it can go as fine as I’d need for Turkish coffee and back up to a consistent medium grind for my V60. Winner!
Overall, if you’re a fan of both espresso and filter coffee, the JX Pro is your best bet by a long shot. It delivers on flavor and, importantly, flavor which you can replicate time and time again. Nonetheless, this thing is pretty heavy, clocking in at 800g, and isn’t the most portable choice for coffee drinkers on the go.
Check out our 1ZPresso JX Series review to learn more about this pick.
The Porlex Mini is my own personal intro to manual coffee grinders. It was my first-hand grinder!
- Great entry option
- Fine to medium-coarse grind settings
- Concerns over the durability of the handle
- Limited capacity (20g)
I’ve used the Porlex Mini for grinding espresso to french press grind sizes.
In between them, I have been able to experiment with the effect of the variety of grind settings on pour-over flavors, and I have to say it helped me learn at a rapid pace when I was a beginner in the coffee world.
While I wouldn’t label this option as the best grinder for coffee compared to the top-tiered ones, it was certainly serviceable.
Its ceramic burrs are locked in a compact stainless steel body. Perfect for starting out with manual options. Especially if you’re looking for a travel companion cheaper than the Q2 to ensure your brewing the freshest cups on the go!
When it comes down to durability, this ceramic burr grinder would be at the top of the list (if you use and maintain it properly) too.
Overall, If you’re new to manual grinding and want something durable while being easy to use on the go, this travel grinder is a decent option for you to consider. Just note that if you’re looking to brew super fine e.g Turkish coffee or espresso, this isn’t going to cut it, and its ceramic burrs aren’t going to deliver a grind rivaling stainless steel alternatives.
Again what stands out to me with this option is the design. It’s more modern than the usual plain steel picks. It has all the claims of the above coffee grinders, but with completely different build materials.
- Great build quality
- Materials have a nice feel to them
- Beautifully designed
- Nice size
- Parts are hard to replace
- Setting for the grind can be hard to find as it has an indefinite dial
The conical burrs are made of space aluminum and baby-safe resin materials. While it claims to grind from espresso to cold brew, like most hand grinders, I trust its consistency most for those who make hand brews until a medium-coarse grind.
When it comes to manual coffee grinders, the Timemore C is one of the better-looking, modern picks for me on this list, but there are some better picks out there strictly in terms of performance.
One thing to note with this choice is to question how easy you’ll come up with parts as it breaks down over time?
It’s a broad question when equipment such as this is made with unique technology or materials. But, on the flip side, the manufacturer appears to be relatively engaged with customer queries and resolving issues online.
5. Hario Skerton Pro – Ceramic Crank Grinder
Hario is one of the most widely-recognized brands in specialty coffee. Most of their tools are optimized for home use, but some are used in coffee shops all over the world!
- Recognized brand
- Geat for one cup at a time
- Simple to reassemble and clean
- Plastic parts can break down fast
- Consistency is hard when grinding for multiple cups
As an old Japanese company, you can trust that, at the very least, their stuff is engineered for precision and quality, all at an affordable price.
The Hario Skerton Pro is a solid pick as a home hand grinder. Enclosed are ceramic conical burrs which work well for the price point and you can expect consistency from your ground coffee towards the medium setting(s).
It’s an upgraded version of the Hario Skerton, retaining the shape with a few performance upgrades. The longer handle makes it easy to use, but like most manual coffee grinders, it is also easy to clean.
All in all, the Skerton Pro is a reliable pick for home use that produces consistent coffee grounds at a medium grind while being one of the most financially accessible grinders.
The best feature of this grinder is the capacity! At 48 grams per load, it can produce a lot of ground coffee all while being portable.
- Good grinds
- Affordable replacement parts
- Visually appealing
- Wide range of grind capabilities (with troubleshooting)
- Not the most easily accessible option
- Replacement parts can be difficult to find
As mentioned earlier, size plays a huge role when it comes to the best coffee grinder for you. 48 grams is big enough to service a drip machine and definitely more than enough for the usual serving sizes of people who brew alone.
It uses steel conical burrs to grind your coffee beans. Consistency is pretty decent with this coffee mill, even for larger grinds, and it feels pretty good in-hand while you go about your coffee routine.
It has a neutral design, has an adequate capacity, and reliable build materials. Perhaps the only additional consideration here is the bigger size, and how it can fit in fewer bag pockets than a 20 gram sized hand grinder.
For its size, though, and what it can do for grind consistency, this is one of the better picks if you make multiple cups in one go.
Wooden exterior and cast iron burr make this one super interesting. The Akirakoki is for those looking for something with a premium design that will still deliver when it comes to grinding your favorite coffee beans.
With a wooden exterior made from a single piece of wood. This picks aesthetically pleasing while delivering great results for manual brewing.
- Nice aesthetics
- Premium build quality
- Budget friendly
- Hard to adjust the grind
- Challenge to grind finely
This one looks like a fancy piece of coffee gear. You’d never guess that it’s one of the most affordable options on this list!
The cast iron burrs claim to address heat production that denser ceramic burrs produce as well. When I tried this grinder on my usual coffee at home, it felt like it generated a lot less heat because of the wood finish.
I felt less of the heat from my palm initially, and as far as your grounds are concerned, they came out aromatic even as I tried to grind faster than I usually do.
When it comes to the grind, I would say that this is best for pour-over and french press. It’s a pretty standard screw adjustment set-up. What I loved, though, was its ease of use! There was less grit, and it felt more comfortable to operate than some of the options I’ve tried.
Overall, this is the pick for coffee drinkers who like the wooden finish and the budget friendly price point. Certainly not something for Turkish coffee for espresso!
The Handground Precision coffee grinder looks more like a coffee mill, but it’s actually the product of a consumer-funded project.
- Huge 100 grams capacity
- Upgraded V2 has reduced burr friction
- Rubber Base
- Ease of use
- Heavier than competitors
- Pricey for what it is
Handground developed the precision coffee grinder as a Kickstarter project in 2015. More recently, they’ve released an updated version that fixes some of the earlier version issues, including the addition of a stainless steel triple axel.
For a crank grinder, this one’s got a huge capacity at 100 grams of beans. That’s great if you’re using it at home, but unfortunately, if you’re traveling, it means it’s rather bulky. Nonetheless, it’s better than an electric grinder for portability still!
It’ll deal nicely with any grid size you need with 8 grind adjustment settings and its 40mm aluminium ceramic conical burr. It’s rubber base, and axle positioning allows for superior grip and stability when grinding your beans on a bench.
Overall, It’ll be well suited if you enjoy its design and don’t need something explicitly for travel. But, it’s not great value for money when compared to other picks on this list.
The Lido 3 is known for having some of the largest burrs your’ll find in hand grinders – 48mm. This coupled with its 70g grinding capacity, this coffee mill is the perfect pick for those of you brewing for multiple cups.
- Dual bearing axels provide superior grind stability
- Heavy duty build
- Travel case included
- 48mm steel burrs
- Large and heavy
- Not great for espresso
The Lido 3 is heavy duty enough to be considered the tank of manual grinders. With 70g capacity and 48mm burrs made of stainless steel, this hand crank grinder is great for anyone looking for something which can withstand wear and tear.
Check out our complete Lido 3 review to learn more about this choice.
Why Consider Manual Hand Grinders?
In case you have a few favorites from the list of grinders on the market we recommend, and you’re still thinking twice about being on the right track, this next section is for you.
In terms of value for money, you can buy some of the best manual grinders for the same price as entry-level automatic ones.
But remember, the finer you go (e.g Turkish coffee) the harder you’re going to need to work with a non electric grinder!
Hand Grinders Are Cheap
Most of what you pay for with hand grinders are burrs. Regardless of whether you chose 1ZPresso, Orphan Espresso, the JavaPresse manual coffee grinder, Handground, or Porlex – the bulk of your money goes towards the grind itself.
While being easy to use, they need to be of a certain thickness and quality to be able to produce a consistent grind for clean cups of coffee.
Grind sizes should be consistent so that you don’t try to hold a balancing act for uneven grounds. This results in bitter and weird-tasting brews.
It’s the total opposite when it comes to automatic electric grinders where the burrs are secondary. You’ll notice that a higher-end automatic coffee grinder usually boasts faster grinding times. These sound like “18g in 4 seconds”. That’s because you pay for the grinder motor more than the burr!
Nonetheless, the problem for some is that hand grinding requires work. As long as your happy grinding your coffee yourself, the reward is even grinds at a much lower price than via the use of an electric conical burr.
Hand Crank Mills Are Robust
Robust, not Robusta.
Another good reason to explore or switch is longevity. Even cheaper options people rave about, like the Javapresse (although I don’t like it), as its cheap and has a solid exterior.
As someone who works with coffee grinders professionally, I’ve seen motors break down, buttons fall off, and hoppers break.
The situation at home or in non-cafe settings isn’t much different. It just so happens that a manual coffee grinder with fewer moving parts will also naturally last longer than one with so many working parts.
As has been the theme of this article, if you want speed, go for automatic. If you want quality that you’re willing to work for AND longevity, just go for one of the better hand grinder options.
You have little to lose (literally, in terms of price) and everything to gain if you’re a coffee lover.
A Coffee Lover Can Brew Great Cups
For as long as you’re not dealing with the worst of several factors in making coffee all at once, you can always make great coffee using your pick of hand grinders. Of course, you’ll need decent coffee beans too!
I will go head to head with any barista if you give me the best grinder and the worst espresso machine. On the other hand, if you give me a good machine and the worst grinder, I will ask for lots of milk, sugar, and syrups!
Having a good grinder that is easy to use, let’s you take grind consistency off your mind. As you can infer by now, this allows you to focus on other aspects of brewing to be able to get a decent cup of Joe from your coffee beans.
The Final Verdict
When it comes to the best manual coffee grinders, focus on your brewing. Do you need a wide range for grind settings? Do you like good coffee outdoors?
My personal pick is the 1Zpresso Q2 Coffee Grinder. It’s sturdy, consistent, and well-known, so the parts will be fairly easy to replace. The chamber capacity suits my usual brew batches, and the grind range services the methods I use to make coffee.