Back in 2015, a premium hand grinder was a rarer occurrence than it is today. There was a huge gap in the market with not much more than the Porlex and Hario hand grinders we all know and love.
A gap that manual coffee grinder manufacturer, Handground, sought to fill. The Handground precision coffee grinder promised a better and easier way of grinding coffee.
Fast forward to today with an updated version of their original grinder just released— did the Handground precision coffee grinder do a good job? Let’s check it out and do an in-depth grinder review!
Handground Coffee Grinder Review 2021
- Large 100 gram coffee bean capacity.
- Easy to use on a bench and easy to adjust the grind size.
- Wide opening for spill-free bean loading.
- Ceramic burrs instead of steel.
- Quite large and heavy for a manual coffee grinder.
The Handground precision coffee grinder was conceived way back in February of 2015 as a Kickstarter campaign. The project was fully funded in the first day, raising nearly ten times more dough than their goal. Why did a seemingly simple hand grinder kill it on Kickstarter the way it did, being funded in just 18 hours?
Its popularity was primarily thanks to the Handground’s unique side-mounted handle, allowing for, as Handground puts it, a more ergonomic and natural grinding motion. This unique handle, combined with a 40mm ceramic burr set, meant that this hand crank manual grinder had the edge over the other ceramic options of the time.
In the latest release of their product, the team has made a number of performance upgrades to the coffee grinder. In swapping the triple axle’s bushings to stainless steel, rather than brass as it was previously, the moving parts experience less friction while grinding. This makes the grinder more comfortable to use, and decreases wear on these critical parts.
Build Quality & Design
The Handground manual coffee grinder seems to have been very thought out. From the wide top opening that allows up to 100 grams of coffee beans, the handle on the side, to the triple axle design for easy cranking.
And while many of the design choices are great for specific scenarios, they are much less useful for others.
For example, the way the grinder is designed to be used— with the grinder on the bench, one hand on top while the other is happily grinding away.
If you find yourself wanting to grind coffee with no flat surface in sight, you’ll have to hold the grinder with your hand. But holding the grinder with your hand might not be an option for those with small hands, as this grinder is pretty wide.
A lot of the time when talking about a coffee grinder— hand grinders in particular, we find some of the positives are also negatives when it comes to portability. A 100 gram capacity is great when you are grinding coffee at home. But that same 100 gram capacity is decidedly less great when bringing the grinder on a backpacking trip.
This grinder is not only bigger than most other hand grinding options but is also heavier, weighing in at almost 790 grams, or 1.75 pounds. Not the best for traveling.
Did you ever see that episode of The Simpsons where Homer finds out he has a long lost brother who owns a car company? And that brother, for better or for worse let’s homer design a car? A car by the people, for the people? The Handground grinder reminds me a little of that car.
In moving the crank arm from the top of the grinder, it has lost any chance of coming across as sleek. The widened flat top, though useful for loading coffee beans, isn’t aesthetically pleasing (to me).
It comes in three different colors: white, black, and nickel. The nickel costs $20 more.
Grind Size Range & Grind Consistency Review
Like most manual burr grinders, the Handground grinder is designed for filter coffee brewing. It aims for a fairly even particle size distribution at medium grind settings.
It’s 40mm conical alumina ceramic burrs produce a reasonably even grind for brew methods ranging from AeroPress to French press coffee.
There are 8 main grind settings, with half steps in-between each, for a total of 15 grind sizes. This is plenty for covering most manual brew methods, including pour-over, French press, and AeroPress. If you want a hand coffee grinder for an espresso grind setting, best go with a hand grinder with more grind size options like the Lido 3.
When it comes to particle size distribution, the Handground grinder does contain a few features that help it stand out among the pack. For example, the axle is mounted on metal bushings for added stability. This helps reduce burr wobble, leading to a more consistent grind.
The Handground produces a similar grind as other conical ceramic burr mill options in this price range. Fairly even at a medium setting, without too many fines or boulders.
The body of the Handground is constructed of plastic, while the grounds collection jar is made of borosilicate glass.
This combination of materials leaves it sitting somewhere in the middle of the pack in terms of durability. While borosilicate glass is known for being super sturdy, the body of the grinder is plastic. The plastic used in the body doesn’t feel incredibly durable, nor does it feel too flimsy.
While I wouldn’t hesitate packing it in my luggage for an international flight, I wouldn’t expect it to survive being dropped over a hard floor. But to be fair, there aren’t many grinder options that would survive a fall like that unscathed.
Handground back their grinder with a full one year warranty.
Ease Of Use
Ease of use is really where the Handground shines above its competition. The way it is designed to grind— on the countertop, does make it easier to turn the crank arm while grinding beans. The anti-slip rubber pad on the bottom provides it with ample grip, making holding it down on the counter super easy.
Many find the Handground far easier to use than other, traditional handheld manual coffee grinders.
Grinding 21 grams of beans in the Handground takes about 1 minute and 20 seconds. This is about the standard in this price range. Though other grinders might be able to grind faster than the Handground, it doesn’t mean that the coffee grinding is any easier.
When it comes time for cleaning, and trust me, the time does eventually come, the Handground makes it easy for you. Simply loosen the inner burr and slide it out. Now you have access to the inside of the grinding chamber and the outer burr. Give everything a good cleaning with a brush, and you’re good to go— no tools necessary.
The price of the Handground is sub a hundred bucks.
That’s for the black and white models of the grinder. The nickel colorway goes for approx $20 more. It is super not cheap by any stretch.
When we compare the Handground to other grinders in the sub $100 category, how does it fair? With competition like the Timemore C2 and the Heihox, both of which contain stainless steel burrs and a near-full metal design, is the Handground value for money? No. No it is not. Check out our list of wallet friendly grinders for our favorite Sub $100 picks if you’re looking for something more value for money.
The Handground could more closely be compared to the Hario Skerton. With a similar plastic and glass construction, ceramic burrs, and 100g capacity, both the two grinders are fairly similar on paper. The thing is, the Skerton can be had for around half the price of the Handground. So it’s still not looking like a great deal.
I’d say the best reason to buy this over the higher quality, all-metal options, or over the Skerton, would be for the handle’s unique position. If you are really keen on that handle and find that grinding position far more comfortable, the Handground may be great for you. But you can certainly get better grind quality elsewhere for a similar price.
Don’t Buy the Handground If…
You want a travel grinder
Coffee enthusiasts looking for a travel coffee grinder should probably look elsewhere. It’s not that the Handground grinder isn’t portable– it certainly is. It’s just not as portable as many of the other manual grinders on the market.
You want the best grind consistency available
Though the Handground has a number of features that might help it stand out against cheaper manual coffee grinders, it can’t touch the grind consistency of most grinders with steel burrs. If grind consistency is your holy grail, with particle size distribution being the key, best go with a more solid, steel burr grinder.
You want a grinder that feels premium to use
If you’re a sucker for build quality, you may be disappointed with the Handground. It’s plastic body doesn’t necessarily scream high quality. To be fair, one could say the same for the Hario hand grinders, and they’d be right. But for this price point, just shy of $100, i’d expect more.
The Final Verdict
The Handground team has worked some unique and interesting product designs into their Handground manual hand grinder.
The improved triple mounted axle, along with the new stainless steel parts will certainly make things smoother and easier while grinding for your pour-over and French press coffees.
If you are a huge fan of side crank hand grinders, you dig its aesthetics, and it offers the grind size options you need; the Handground may perfect for you.
Check it out!