I will loudly and proudly admit it any time the question pops up. I love manual coffee grinders! They are an excellent, cost-effective way of getting the most out of your specialty coffee.
Not only do they provide awesome grind quality for the price, but they are simple to use and easy to maintain. Making a tasty cup of coffee with a manual grinder is easy as pie.
Here, we’re going to check out one of the classic, iconic manual grinders in this Hario Skerton Pro grinder review. We’ll look at its features and see why it might make a good addition to your coffee setup.
Hario Skerton Pro Review
The Japanese company Hario is no stranger to the coffee game. For years, the classic Hario V60 pour-over cone has been a staple in coffee shops worldwide. Their coffee gear, from Hario brewers to kettles, has been seen on competition stages globally. The company is known for producing quality manual brewing gear.
It may come as no surprise that Hario also produces a couple of nice grinders too.
The Hario Skerton Pro is an entry-level, manual coffee grinder made for specialty coffee consumers. This baby has no motor, nor does it contain any electronics. It is entirely manual.
Your arm is the motor and your brain the electronics!
The Skerton Pro is the model up from the classic Hario icon, the original Skerton. With the same ceramic burr set and grind capacity, the biggest difference between the original Hario Skerton and the Pro model is the massive boost in build quality.
The Hario Skerton Pro looks and feels like a premium grinder when compared to the previous version. Solid plastics, a beefier crank handle, and durable burrs, which will lead to improved grind consistency. Not to mention the fact it can grind upto 100 grams of coffee at a time!
The Good and the Bad
While the Skerton Pro might not be able to keep up with the high-end manual options available today, it does house a few key features that keep it relevant in the market.
- Grinds double the capacity of most other hand grinders
- Durable materials and quality design
- Unparalleled ease of use
- Offers a large number of grind settings
- The Hario Skerton’s large capacity does make it slightly less portable
- The grind consistency on the Skerton Pro is not as good as some of the more premium options
Who the Hario Skerton is for
Let’s review who this grinder might be for.
A hand grinder is generally designed to fill two primary needs.
The first is to provide evenly ground coffee in an inexpensive package. When I say inexpensive, I mean relative to the cost of an electric burr grinder that produces equal grinds. Because a manual grinder features none of the expensive stuff that electric burr grinders do, it can offer the same grind quality at a far lower price point.
This can make the Skerton Pro excellent for anyone who wants to get the most out of their coffee at home without spending a ton of money doing so.
The second key feature of a manual grinder is its portability. Backcountry camping, to the office— hell, even in your car. A manual coffee grinder can go anywhere and everywhere. Freshly ground coffee on a mountain top? Yes, please.
Build Quality & Design
The previous version of the Hario Skerton received a major overhaul in build quality with the new Skerton Pro model.
With rigid, more durable plastics and a heat-proof glass grounds collection container, the grinder feels more premium than its predecessor.
Hario added a non-slip silicone grip, which makes the grinder easier to hold while turning the handle. They also added a non-slip stabilizer mat— a silicone layer that hugs the base for stable table-top grinding.
The Hario Skerton Pro offers a set of ceramic conical burrs that can be adjusted by a dial underneath the burrs. This is a huge improvement over the previous model of Skerton.
With the grind adjustment dial housed on the bottom, rather than the top, the burrs stay in place and don’t move around too much while grinding. It also makes the way you adjust the grind leagues easier.
The grinds collection chamber on the new Skerton Pro is made of the same high-quality glass that Hario is famous for. This glass is actually very similar to a mason jar. So similar, in fact, that you can swap it out with any other mason jar of the same size!
This is a cool option to have. If you find the existing glass chamber too heavy or big, pick up a plastic mason jar of a smaller size, and you’ve just lightened the Skerton substantially!
Another major improvement has come in the form of the crank handle, which is now constructed of thicker metal and is easily detachable. This makes grinding smoother than on the previous Skerton and makes loading coffee much easier and faster.
Nonetheless, its also bigger than most hand grinders. This con is also a pro. A bigger capacity means you can grind more coffee at a time but at the expense of portabiility.
Grind Range & Rating
I’ve found in my review that the Skerton is designed as a grinder for manual brew methods. Pour-overs, AeroPress, French press, cold brew, the Clever Dripper— things like that.
What it is not designed for is espresso. In fact, grinding for espresso with pretty much any hand crank grinder will be a mission and a half. Can you still achieve a fine grind for espresso? Sure, you can. But it will be a long and laborious task.
Testing has shown that this Hario grinder produces a consistent grind at medium settings. Perfect for a Hario V60 or a Kalita Wave. Grinding at a medium-coarse setting for a French press also won’t be an issue. But if you like your French press grinds super coarse, you might run into some unevenness at these coarser grind settings.
Adjustment of the grind size is made via a stepped dial at the bottom of the grinder, just underneath the lower burr. While stepped adjustments aren’t great for espresso grinding (they prevent micro-adjustments), they pose no issue to pour-overs and the like.
The addition of a stabilizer within the hopper has drastically reduced the amount that the inner burr can move and press down while grinding. Reducing the movement of the burrs is one of the keys to grind consistency.
When a grinder is made to be portable, you would hope that it’s also durable. And this does seem to be the case with the Skerton Pro.
The materials used in the update are solid, and I wouldn’t hesitate to throw it in my backpack for a camping trip. Hario has done a good job with this grinder durability-wise and has made it great for travel.
While I’m sure you could find a baggage handler to prove me wrong, the grinder would stand up to most normal situations well.
It’s hard plastic shell will do an excellent job of protecting the burrs, and the rubber base and non-slip grip around the body provide a little extra padding.
Hario is well known for their high-quality glass, so I wouldn’t be too concerned about the collection chamber breaking easily.
The only point of concern for me on this grinder is the ceramic burrs. Ceramic burrs tend to crack more easily than steel burrs. To avoid this, be mindful of underdeveloped beans and small stones that may be lurking in your bag of coffee. Even the best roasters will have the occasional pebble!
Ease Of Use
Hand coffee grinders, by nature, are extremely simple and easy to use. Just choose your grind size, add some coffee, whack on the lid, and you’re good to start cranking. While they do take a bit of muscle power, there is nothing complicated about them.
Many of the updates made to the Skerton have made it even easier than it was before!
The grind adjustment dial on the bottom means that you no longer need to take the lid and the handle off to change grind sizes. And the non-slip bottom mat, combined with the non-slip grip, makes finding a comfortable position to grind a lot easier.
Now, there are a couple of different ways you can hold this grinder— the way you choose will largely depend on the size of your hands. You can use one hand to hold the grinder while the other hand turns the handle.
Or, if you have small hands, you can place the grinder on a table or bench, hold it down with one hand, and turn the crank with the other.
Yup, it’ll require some work but it’ll be well worth it when your sipping on your french press or cold brew coffee later on.
Let’s just put this out there— there are better hand coffee grinders than the Hario Skerton Pro. Both in terms of build, and of the grinds it produces, it is by no means the leader of the pack.
But for this price tag, you’d honestly be hard-pressed to find a better deal.
If you were to spend the same amount of money on an electric grinder, you wouldn’t find anything close to either the grind quality or the build that Hario has put into the Skerton Pro.
As I’ve just mentioned, for the price, the Skerton Pro can’t be beaten.
But if you were to increase your budget or were looking for something a little smaller, you have a few different options.
The Hario Mini Mill is the smallest of the grinders Hario makes. It is also an excellent option for a travel grinder on a budget. With a smaller capacity and mostly plastic design, the Mini Mill will keep your carry-on baggage weight in check.
The Porlex Mini is another excellent little hand grinder that is far more portable than the Skerton Pro. It offers similar grind consistency and grind sizes in a much smaller package. Check out how the Porlex Mini stacks up against other burr grinders in our roundup review.
If your budget will allow it, the Timemore C2 hand grinder offers quite a big step up in terms of build and grind consistency. It is almost double the price but still offers excellent bang for your buck, considering how well it grinds. Not only is grinding much easier and faster on the Timemore, it also offers more grind adjustments— useful if you did want to get your espresso on!
Don’t Buy the Skerton Pro If..
Now let’s take a look at who the Hario Skerton Pro is NOT for.
If you want to get up in the morning and make your coffee with no effort, a hand grinder is not for you.
A dose of coffee on the Hario Skerton Pro takes a good couple of minutes to grind. And that’s a couple of minutes of solid cranking. You can roughly double this number for an espresso grind setting. For a grinder like this to work for you, you need to be ok with that.
This grinder is also not ideal for making espresso. It can undoubtedly achieve a fine enough grind setting, but it doesn’t have the number of adjustments that you’d need to dial in your shots properly.
Finally, the Skerton Pro is on the chunky side. If you are looking for a lightweight grinder with ultimate portability in mind, you might want to go for something like the Porlex Mini.
The Final Verdict
Though there may be better options on the market, the Skerton Pro remains the best in its price range. Thanks to its beefy new build, its solid burr set, and its number of grind settings, the Skerton Pro performs as well on the road as it does at home.
If you think the Skerton Pro might be the new coffee love of your life, go ahead and check it out!