Until fairly recently, searching for the best manual coffee grinder wouldn't have turned up much worth discussing. In fact, you'd have been faced with a bunch of mills that looked like they belonged in your Grandma's spice cupboard.
Until fairly recently, searching for the best manual coffee grinder wouldn’t have turned up much worth discussing. In fact, you’d have been faced with a bunch of mills that looked like they belonged in your Grandma’s spice cupboard.
Well, I’m happy to report that things have changed for the better. These days, the market is saturated with high-quality hand coffee grinders. And thanks to all that competition, it’s possible to find premium models at truly reasonable prices.
With that in mind, I’ve put together a guide to the best manual coffee grinders out there. As an added bonus, I’ll walk you through the main things to consider before buying. There’s a lot to cover, so let’s get right to it!
Table of Contents
- Why Choose a Hand Coffee Grinder?
- What to Look forPriceMaterialsCapacityGrind ConsistencyVersatility
- 8 Best Manual Coffee Grinders1Zpresso JX Manual Coffee GrinderComandante C40 MK3 Nitro BladePorlex MiniKinu M47 SimplicityJavaPresse Manual Coffee GrinderHario Skerton ProTimemore Chestnut G1Zassenhaus Santiago Manual Coffee Mill
- Comparison Chart
- Decision Time
Best Manual Coffee Grinder at a Glance
Here’s a sneak peek at the best manual coffee grinders I’ll be reviewing today:
Why Choose a Hand Coffee Grinder?
Here’s a question: how are classical music and coffee preparation similar? Well, just as you can’t get sweet sounds from an antique Stradivarius without investing in a good bow, trying to make tasty coffee without a decent grinder is next to impossible.
So, if you’ve bought a fancy pants drip coffee maker and were hoping to get by with your old blade grinder, you’ll be disappointed. Still, investing in a good electric burr coffee grinder can involve a serious financial outlay. And that goes double for a grinder that’ll complement your boutique home espresso machine.
That’s where a hand coffee grinder comes in. As I already mentioned, manual grinders have come a long way in recent years. In fact, there are models that absolutely kill it when it comes to espresso. And the best part? You’ll pay a fraction of what you would for a high-end electric espresso grinder.
Of course, you’ll be putting in all the work to actually grind the beans. Still, you might be surprised by how easy-to-operate and efficient some manual grinders can be. Additionally, grinding coffee by hand produces minimal heat, so your coffee is going to taste a lot sweeter and cleaner.
In my opinion, the cherry on top is the fact that hand grinders are so portable. That means I never have to suffer through terrible hotel coffee when I’m traveling. Believe me, owning a manual coffee grinder can change your life!
What to Look for in a Hand Coffee Grinder
As I mentioned earlier, there’s an almost overwhelming amount of manual coffee grinders to choose from. Seeing as I don’t actually want you to feel overwhelmed, let’s take a look at a few things to consider as you’re looking for the best manual coffee grinder.
As with any purchase, it’s tempting to get carried away and spend more than you should. Believe me when I tell you I had to put my credit card well out of reach as I was researching this guide!
Fortunately, it’s easy to find a good hand grinder at a very reasonable price. I’m talking well under $100. At that price point you can expect a grinder that’ll produce surprisingly consistent results for manual brew methods.
Of course, it’s also easy to find drool-worthy models suitable for espresso-level grinding that cost much more. With that said, you can find a hand grinder for around $300 that’ll compete with an eye-wateringly expensive commercial electric grinder.
It should come as no surprise that the quality of a grinder’s materials increases with price. However, many more affordable manual grinders feature solid, durable construction. Essentially, you’ll want a device that’ll last for years, so it might be worth investing in a more well-made grinder.
Another aspect worth considering is the burr material. Obviously, high-quality engineered stainless steel is preferable, seeing as it’ll stand the test of time. However, there’s a lot to be said for ceramic burrs, which often stay sharp for the duration.
Depending on how much coffee you’ll want to grind at a time, the grinder’s capacity is worth considering. A larger manual grinder will usually allow you to grind enough coffee for your needs. With that said, if you’re looking for a compact travel grinder, expect to sacrifice capacity in favor of portability.
There’s just no getting around it, using an uneven grind will result in either under- or over-extracted coffee. That’s why you should aim to buy a grinder that’ll provide a uniform grind size for your preferred brew method.
Unsurprisingly, the more expensive the grinder, the more likely it will be to perform well in this area. Still, that’s not to say that more affordable options can’t deliver. Oh, and check out my coffee grind size chart if you want to go deeper into the subject.
Another important factor to consider is how you’ll actually be using the grinder. For example, it’s fairly easy to find an affordable grinder that’ll produce consistent results for drip coffee and pour over.
However, if you like to drink espresso in the morning, followed by French press in the afternoon, you’ll need more grind adjustment settings. Plus, you’ll need a grinder that grinds with precision at either end of the spectrum.
Finally, you may want to consider a grinder with stepless adjustments for espresso preparation. That way you’ll be able to make micro-adjustments without relying on pre-set levels.
The 8 Best Manual Coffee Grinders
Now that you’ve got a clearer idea of what to look for in a hand grinder, let’s get down to business! I’ve gathered eight wonderful models, and I’m fairly confident you’re about to find the best manual coffee grinder for your needs.
1Zpresso JX Manual Coffee Grinder
- Great value for money
- Superb grind consistency
- High-quality build
- Works quickly
- Rather large
Based in Taiwan, 1Zpresso has been making a lot of noise in the specialty coffee industry over the past few years. The manufacturer has been dominating the manual coffee grinder sector by producing a range of fantastic options. Plus, there’s a definite focus on build quality and precision, as well as affordable prices.
Take the 1Zpresso JX Manual Coffee Grinder for example. Costing just $139.00, this awesome grinder offers ridiculously good value for money.
Not only is the JX grinder really solidly built and easy to use, it offers incredible grind consistency. That’s all down to the 48 millimeter stainless steel burrs with 120 grind settings. Thanks to their larger size, the burrs work really quickly. Still, the stepped adjustments with 25 microns between each setting means this grinder might not be the best for espresso.
With that said, the 1Zpresso JX is ideal for a range of manual brewing methods, including Chemex, French press and AeroPress. Ultimately, it was a no-brainer decision to name the 1Zpresso JX “Best Overall” manual coffee grinder.
Related: 1Zpresso J-Max Review 2023
Comandante C40 MK3 Nitro Blade
- Very high quality
- Beautiful design
- Super consistent
- Ideal for all brew methods
- Very expensive
If you’ve read my coffee grinder guide 2023, you’ll already know how much I love the Comandante C40 MK3 Nitro Blade. In fact, it’s hard for me to convey just how much joy I get from this thing. At the end of the day, my coffee always seems to taste better when I’ve used this hand grinder.
With that said, quality like this comes at a price; you’ll have to shell out $N/A for this manual coffee grinder. Still, it’s worth every penny in my opinion.
For starters, this is just about the most beautiful coffee grinder you could hope for. And it’s available in a variety of different colors. Far from being just a pretty face, the Comandante features 39 millimeter Nitro Blade burrs. These are incredibly strong and sharp, ensuring high levels of precision across the grind spectrum.
The only downside is that the grind adjustment mechanism is stepped, with 35 total settings. So, if you’re using this grinder for espresso, I’d recommend the Red Clix Mod which doubles the grind settings.
See Also: Comandante Grinder Review 2023
- Ideal for travel
- Durable construction
- Limited capacity
- Can struggle for consistency
I’m a huge fan of the Porlex Mini, and there was never any question about naming it the best manual coffee grinder for travel. This compact wonder has accompanied me on many a camping trip, and has never failed.
For starters, the Porlex Mini’s rugged stainless steel construction means I can just toss the thing in my backpack and go. What’s more, its removable cranking arm fits neatly in the hollow of an AeroPress. How cool is that!
In terms of performance, the Porlex’s ceramic burrs provide a consistent grind for AeroPress and drip. However, this might not be the best option for French press lovers. The Porlex Mini will definitely struggle for consistency at the coarser end of the spectrum.
Another thing to bear in mind is that the manufacturer isn’t lying when it says “Mini!” Seeing as the Porlex Mini has such a limited capacity, you might get frustrated if you want to prepare coffee for friends.
Ultimately, this hand grinder is ideal for solo travelers or adventure-bound couples, and only costs $57.40.
See Also: Porlex Mini Review 2023
Kinu M47 Simplicity
- Ideal for espresso
- Rugged and durable
- Easy to use
- Stepless grind adjustment
- Large and heavy
- Substantial investment
If you imagined that a high-end espresso setup would involve dropping big bucks on a grinder, think again. As it happens, the Kinu M47 Simplicity is the best manual coffee grinder for espresso for good reason. In fact, you’ll have a hard time finding any coffee grinder that offers such precision and grind consistency.
Sure, the Kinu M47 Simplicity is still quite expensive, but its $318.50 is a fraction of what you’d spend on most electric espresso grinders.
Thanks to its rugged stainless steel design, the M47 Simplicity feels bomb-proof. That said, there are some plastic parts.
What really sets this hand grinder apart is its stepless grind adjustment system, with clearly marked settings. Each setting moves the 47 millimeter stainless steel burrs by the tiniest of fractions, which is why the M47 Simplicity is so effective for espresso.
With that said, you’re free to use this manual coffee grinder for any brew method – it’ll produce exceptional results every time.
Interestingly, there’s no bean chamber involved. Rather, you feed beans into the top funnel. However, that shouldn’t take much getting used to. Although I’m a huge fan of this grinder, it’s probably not the best option for travel, given its large size.
JavaPresse Manual Coffee Grinder
- Affordable price tag
- Quiet in operation
- Easy to change grind settings
- Quite slow
- Limited grind levels
There are tons of cheap hand coffee grinders out there, but not many that can really deliver. Enter the JavaPresse Manual Coffee Grinder, which is surprisingly effective, given its $37.59 price tag.
Don’t get me wrong, the JavaPresse is far from perfect. For starters, the cranking arm is prone to coming loose during grinding. Plus, you only have around 15 grind settings to choose from. However, if all you need is a simple device for drip or pour-over, the JavaPresse is just the ticket.
I actually really like this grinder’s stainless steel design, and its clickable grind adjustment dial is easy to use. Plus, the JavaPresse has around a 40 gram capacity, which isn’t bad at all. However, you will get a work out if you’re grinding larger amounts – the JavaPresse is notoriously slow.
With all that said, one of the best things about the JavaPresse is its quietness during operation. Those ceramic burrs are super effective at keeping noise levels to a minimum, so early risers won’t have to worry about waking the whole house!
See Also: JavaPresse Manual Coffee Grinder Review 2023
Hario Skerton Pro
- Great value
- Easy to clean
- Works well for pour-over
- Rather large
- Not great for coarse grinds
The original Hario Skerton is a budget-friendly hand grinder that’s been around for years. Still, it definitely has issues, which is why I definitely recommend going with the Hario Skerton Pro instead. Anyway, at just $49.50, this grinder won’t exactly break the bank.
The Skerton Pro includes a bunch of upgrades, including improved burrs, a better grind adjustment system and a more ergonomic design. What’s really great about this manual grinder is its size – the bulbous grounds collection jar holds up to 100 grams.
However, compared to other grinders on this list the Skerton Pro is rather difficult to keep hold of while you’re grinding. What’s more, the ceramic burrs don’t do a great job for really fine or coarse grinds. That said, if you’re looking for a budget hand grinder that’s ideal for automatic drip or pour-over coffee makers, the Hario Skerton Pro will really deliver.
Related: Hario Skerton Plus Review 2023
Timemore Chestnut G1
- Gorgeous design
- Lightweight and portable
- Easy to use
- Great value
- No micro-adjustments
Take a look at the Timemore Chestnut G1 and you won’t be surprised to hear it’s won a Red Dot design award. If there’s a more attractive hand grinder out there I’ve yet to find it. Seriously, the aluminum and wood construction, along with its sleek, elegant silhouette really gets me going!
As if that weren’t enough, the Timemore Chestnut G1 offers quality grinding for a variety of brew methods. Form and function collide beautifully here – the Chestnut G1 fits perfectly in the hand, and super sharp stainless steel burrs make short work of grinding.
Plus, the Timemore is capable of producing extremely uniform grounds, which is what justifies its $145.00 price tag.
Thanks to its stepped adjustment dial, you’ll be able to remember your favorite settings. What’s more, you’ll get uniform results across the grind size spectrum. The only downside is that dialing in for espresso could be tricky seeing as you can’t make micro-adjustments.
Related: Timemore Chestnut C3 Pro Review 2023
Zassenhaus Santiago Manual Coffee Mill
- Distinctive design
- Ideal for Turkish coffee
- High-quality components
- Not portable
- Small capacity
Featuring a distinctive retro design, this beauty will definitely enhance your kitchen. Plus, its durable stainless steel conical burrs are widely regarded to produce a super even grind for Turkish coffee.
The Zassenhaus Santiago is made from European beechwood, and is available in a variety of colors. I love this manual grinder’s boxy shape – the crank arm sits up top and there’s a little grounds drawer at the bottom. Still, unlike other models on this list, the Santiago might not be great for travel.
Costing $109.99, this hand grinder isn’t cheap. However, if you’re determined to rock it old-school, it’ll be worth the investment!
Best Manual Coffee Grinder Comparison Chart
|1Zpresso JX||Comandante C40 MK3 Nitro Blade||Porlex Mini||Kinu M47 Simplicity||JavaPresse Manual Coffee Grinder||Hario Skerton Pro||Timemore Chestnut G1||Zassenhaus Santiago|
|Name||JX Manual Coffee Grinder||C40 MK3 Nitro Blade||Mini Stainless Steel Coffee Grinder||M47 Simplicity||Manual Coffee Grinder||Skerton Pro||Chestnut G1 Manual Coffee Grinder||Santiago Manual Coffee Mill|
|Type||Hand Coffee Grinder||Hand Coffee Grinder||Hand Coffee Grinder||Hand Coffee Grinder||Hand Coffee Grinder||Hand Coffee Grinder||Hand Coffee Grinder||Hand Coffee Grinder|
|Burrs||48mm stainless steel||39mm nitro stainless steel||Ceramic conical||47mm stainless steel||Ceramic conical||Ceramic conical||38mm stainless steel||Stainless steel conical|
|Capacity||30-35 g||40 g||20 g||40-50 g||40 g||100 g||30 g||30 g|
|Grind adjustment levels||30||35||13||Stepless||15||20||24||Stepless|
|Weight||1.4 lb / 650.0 g||1.6 lb / 726.0 g||0.5 lb / 249.0 g||1.65 lb / 748.0 g||0.6 lb / 266.5 g||1.4 lb / 635.0 g||1.2 lb / 544.3 g||1.9 lb / 871.0 g|
|Color options||Silver||American Cherry, Black, Cobalt, Green, Red Sonja||Stainless Steel||Stainless Steel||Stainless Steel||Black||Silver||Black, Dark Brown, Natural|
|Height||7.0 in / 17.8 cm||8.0 in / 20.3 cm||6.0 in / 15.2 cm||10.0 in / 25.5 cm||7.5 in / 19.0 cm||6.5 in / 16.5 cm||6.7 in / 17.0 cm||7.8 in / 19.8 cm|
|Current price on Amazon||$139.00||$N/A||$57.40||$318.50||$37.59||$49.50||$145.00||$139.95|
As we’ve seen, there’s never been a better time to look for the best manual coffee grinder. By now, my hope is that you’ve found a model that’s going to work for your needs.
With that said, don’t overthink it! After all, there are more important things to worry about than which hand grinder to commit to. Like which kind of coffee beans you’re going to try next.
Anyway, seeing as there are so many affordable options out there, what’s to stop you buying more than one?
What’s the best manual coffee grinder in your opinion? Is it on my list? I look forward to your comments!
Best Manual Coffee Grinder FAQs
Seeing as manual coffee grinders produce less heat, many coffee lovers prefer them over electric models.
There are loads of factors that go into choosing a manual coffee grinder, including size, capacity and grind consistency.
Even if you just pick up a budget hand grinder as a backup or travel companion, it’s definitely going to be worth the investment.