Do you enjoy fresh coffee? If so, you may have considered buying a manual coffee grinder to brew cafe quality coffee and espresso.
Using fresh grinds is imperative to flavor, a manual coffee grinder is a great, low-cost way to instantly improve your coffee experience.
We set out to find the 5 Best Manual Coffee Grinders for anyone looking to make the switch. To determine the winners, we looked at several categories including value, quality, and durability then aggregated each category into an overall score. Each coffee grinder has been extensively researched and tested.
- 1 Why Should I Use a Manual Coffee Grinder?
- 2 Burr Grinders
- 3 How Do I Use a Manual Grinder?
- 4 Top 5 Best Manual Coffee Grinder: What Should I Look For
- 5 Buying Guide
- 6 Verdict
Why Should I Use a Manual Coffee Grinder?
The most important step in the coffee brewing process is the grind. If you’re serious about your coffee you probably already know that freshly ground beans are much more flavorful than packaged grinds.
If you’re looking to improve your home coffee experience, a coffee grinder should be on the top of your shopping list. Additionally, you’re going to want to adjust the grind size for maximum control of the brew.
Why the size of the grind is important to the brewing process is a book in and of itself so, to summarize, using courser grinds will get you weaker coffee and finer grinds stronger, assuming all other factors are equal.
To get the grinding control you desire, you’re going to need a burr grinder. Electric coffee grinders often use a blade design, where a straight blade spins like a propeller and chops up the beans.
While this design is inexpensive, you won’t get uniform grinds and you have little control over the resulting grind coarseness. It’s hard to get the right size grind to suit your taste with a coffee grinder that uses a blade mechanism to grind.
- Also Read: Keurig K55 vs. K250 Comparison
A burr coffee grinder takes a different approach to the grind. They use two abraded surfaces, the “burrs”, that come together like cogs on a gear and crushes beans into a uniform coarseness. By adjusting the burrs, you can modify the grind to get the coarseness you desire.
If you want to indulge your inner-connoisseur and enjoy sophisticated coffees, you’ll have to get the grind right. To get uniform grinds suitable for even the most discerning palettes you’ll need a burr grinder.
How Do I Use a Manual Grinder?
Manual coffee grinders consist of three main parts.
- The top part is called a reservoir or hopper. This is the part that holds the coffee beans waiting to be ground.
- The middle part it the actual grinding mechanism, which is made up of varying types of burr assemblies mentioned previously.
- Coffee beans enter from the reservoir and are crushed by the burr grinders and the resulting grinds are passed through to the detachable receptacle for the grinds. This whole process is powered by the user, usually via a crank or handle that needs to be rotated to power the grinder.
Manually grinding your coffee can take a little bit of effort, especially if you’re brewing a pot for a few friends, but the taste of freshly ground coffee makes the effort worthwhile, and you’ll be paying a fraction of what you’d pay for an electric burr grinder.
Top 5 Best Manual Coffee Grinder: What Should I Look For
Okay, so you’ve decided to start on your journey of coffee indulgence. You want to upgrade your coffee grinder.
You want to upgrade your coffee grinder. First, don’t get overwhelmed. Electric burr grinders can cost thousands of dollars and there are even manual models that go for over $1,200.
However, there’s no need to get intimidated by those lofty prices. There are quality manual grinders available from brands like Hario and Porlex have great manual options available that can fit in most budgets.
To start you on your shopping journey we’ve taken the 5 Best Manual Coffee Grinders and laid them out here. Reviewing these five models will give you a better understanding of the market, models, and available features you’ll encounter while shopping, so you’ll have the background to go deal hunting.
Here are our Top 5 Manual Coffee Grinders of 2018.
|Hario “Skerton”||Porlex JP-30||JavaPresse||HandGround Precision||Porlex Mini|
|Body Type||Glass||S.Steel||S.Steel||Glass||Static-Free Steel|
|Reservoir||100 Grams||30 Grams||40 Grams||100 Grams||20 Grams|
|Weight||1.25 lbs||11.2 oz||9.4 oz||1.74 lbs||8 oz|
Hario Ceramic Coffee Mill “Skerton”
The Hario Ceramic Coffee Mill “Skerton” an excellent entry-level model for anyone looking to purchase a burr grinder. This compact and portable grinder is perfect for traveling, but it can also be your grinding workhorse at home. Its sturdy construction features a slip-proof rubber base and heat-resistant glass.
Hario is a premium brand and one of the biggest names in the coffee grinder industry. The Japenese brand is known for consistency and quality across most of their products.
The Skerton is a full-sized model and, while you could travel with it, it’s a little larger than the grinders designed to be portable. However, for its added size you get better stability and capacity so it’s a great choice for the main grinder in your home.
- Ceramic Burrs
The featured ceramic burrs don’t absorb heat from friction which can cause burrs to wear out. Ceramic is stronger, more durable, and longer lasting than traditional steel blades. When comparable steel burrs are worn out, the Hario Ceramic Burrs will still be grinding coffee beans like the day you bought it.
This is a simple machine that you can count on to get the job done, day in and day out. It has a 100-gram capacity and the crank handle detaches for easy storage. Bring it with you when you travel and enjoy finely ground, craft quality coffee anywhere you can brew it.
- Large Capacity
- Ceramic Burrs
- Slip-Proof Base
- 100 Gram Reservoir
- Heat Resistant Glass
- Glass Can Break
- Inconsistent Coarse Grinds
The Porlex JP30 is Porlex’s answer to the Hario Slim Mill. It is designed to be portable, with a slim profile that can pack easily into a backpack or small duffel. Its stainless steel construction gives it the durability to withstand the bumps and thumps of traveling.
You don’t have to worry about it breaking, this is a well-crafted grinder that is built to last. This manual grinder has a nice smooth turning action and the handle is held securely in place during grinding. Plus, the handle comes off and can be easily stowed inside for easy storage and transport.
This is a great grinder for the road, the office, or the job site. You can count on it to withstand just about anything you can throw at it. Just keep it closed off to dust and dirt when you’re not using it and clean it out every few uses and this grinder will work in just about any environment.
- Spring Loaded
A spring pushes down the beans and holds them in place while you are griding. This prevents loose beans from floating around and not finding their way into the burrs, but, with the beans being held in place by the spring-loaded cap, the Porlex JP30 grinds beans efficiently and uniformly.
- High Quality
This is a high-quality grinder with a stainless steel body that can last a lifetime. The steel case can withstand a barrage of dings and dents and still protect its internal components. Ceramic burrs give it enhanced durability and grinding ability, and the size of the grind can be easily adjusted by turning a small wheel at the base of the grinding assembly.
- Stainless-Steel Construction
- Spring Loaded Cap
- Long Grind Time
JavaPresse Manual Grinder
This is another small manual grinder, similar to the Porlex JP30, but with a few small differences. This manual grinder from JavaPresse is a value item and a real bargain for the price. It has all the basic features you would expect from a quality hand grinder at a lower price than most of its competitors.
A great option for anyone new to coffee crafting or someone looking for a reliable secondary grinder for traveling. Expect this modestly priced grinder to stand up to its higher priced competition in more ways than one. A stainless steel case and streamlined design make it great for travel or any other time you want to indulge in some freshly ground coffee outside the comfort of your home.
It has ceramic burrs that will last longer than conventional steel burrs and give you consistent grinds at any of its 18 different settings.
This is a full feature grinder that can handle all of your basic coffee grinding needs available for under $25 dollars online. If you’re curious about freshly ground coffee and are looking for an inexpensive entry into the market before considering a more advanced, and expensive, model than the JavaPresse Manual Grinder should be on your short list.
- Conical Burrs
The grinding mechanism on this model uses conical ceramic burrs that are constructed with Japanese craftsmanship. The design has passed inspections for professional grade materials and has been found to last up to five times longer than traditional steel blades. The conical design produces a consistent grind and you can control the coarseness by turning a small wheel at the base of the burrs so adjusting your grind convenient and easy.
- Grind Compartment Window
- Japanese Craftsmanship
- Conical Burrs
- 18 Click Settings
- Burrs Can Wobble
- Small Capacity
HandGround Precision Grinder
HandGround delivers an eye-catching, high-quality manual coffee grinder with the Precision Grinder.
This high-quality grinder includes all the top of the line features. Its sturdy construction gives it a solid base for grinding, and it’s triple-axle burr assembly virtually eliminates the “wobble” that causes burr grinders to produce inconsistent grinds. The handle is on the side, so you can put a hand on top to steady the grinder and increase stability. Plus, the extra-wide hopper lets you hold up to 100 grams of beans in the reservoir.
This is a great machine and, from an engineering perspective, has one of the most advanced grinding mechanisms on our list.
The designers had the right idea when they designed to put the grinding handle on the side. Being able to hold the grinder down from the top gives it an even steadier base, further minimizing wobble for even more consistent grinds. It’s a little bigger than some of the other grinders on this list, but this is an excellent grinder and is more than capable of serving as the primary grinder you use in your kitchen.
- Advanced Grinding Mechanism
The Precision Grinder features a center axle that powers the ceramic burr assembly. The axle is mounted in three different places to maximize stability and eliminate wobble. Additionally, each grinder’s axle has a tolerance of only .0004 inches and uses ceramic burrs for enhanced durability and performance. This grinder gives you an extremely consistent grind with little to no variance in grade.
HandGround made this grinder to be very user-friendly. The coarseness of the grind can be easily adjusted by simply turning the selector arrow on the body, almost like a camera’s focusing mechanism.
Additionally, this model has an extra-large bean reservoir of 100 grams so you can load it once and not have to worry about it for a while. The lid seals on with a quarter twist, so the loose beans don’t fly out, and the markings on the reservoir makes it easy to estimate the number of beans without a scale. Each marking represents a 10-gram increment of unground coffee beans.
- Easy to Use
- Triple Axle Burr Assembly
- 100-Gram Capacity
- Side Handle
- Solid Construction
Porlex Mini Stainless Steel Grinder
Yet another admission to the portable stainless steel category, like the Porlex JP30 and JavaPresse grinder from earlier, the Porlex Mini is a great option for travel that can also stand up to daily home use.
It comes in at a similar price point to the JP30. However, the Porlex Mini features a few small design improvements. It has everything you would expect in a quality manual grinder in this category. The grinding handle comes off so you can easily store it for travel, and it has a protective steel case so you don’t have to worry about somehow breaking it.
The grinder can easily fit in your backpack, duffel bag, or glove box. You can have truly fresh coffee anywhere you can find hot water, and it’s designed for travel. The handle is removable, so you can keep everything in one place and organized during your travels so you won’t have to worry about losing pieces or parts.
- Static Free Steel
A steel case is a valuable feature to have on just about anything. Stainless steel is a strong metal that resists rust and can stand up to abuse with little more than dents and dings. The Porlex has given the Mini an edge over traditional steel cased grinders by using a static-free steel case. The grinder won’t carry any type of static charge that may cause an unexpectedly shocking development when you touch your grinder.
- Improved Design
In addition to the static-free steel, the Porlex Mini has an improved grinding shaft from the five-sided shaft found on its predecessor. The new model has a long, thin, four-sided slot that is similar to a flathead screwdriver. The new design gives this model added stability when turning the handle and, resultantly, the consistency of the grinds is improved because of the decreased wobbling of the grinder during the grinding process.
- Static-Free Steel
- Detachable Handle
- Improved Design
- Handle Sometimes Comes Off During Use
Most Portable: Porlex Mini Grinder
Weighing in at only 8 ounces, the Porlex Mini Grinder takes our prize for most portable.
It’s the smallest on the list at only 2.3” in diameter, so it easily fits even in the most overpacked bags and suitcases. Its static-free steel case gives it the durability to withstand the attrition of life on the road and keep on lasting for a long time.
This is the grinder that you can bring anywhere, work, the trail, the slopes, the boat, wherever.
Best for Home: HandGround Precision Burr Grinder
The HandGround precision grinder is the biggest and heaviest on our list, but if you’re looking for a grinder to keep in the kitchen cupboard then its size or heft won’t be a problem. It still weighs under two pounds and it’s one of the best grinders on our list. It has advanced triple-axle engineering and a side-mounted handle for improved stability and grind consistency.
The rubber base and heat-resistant glass construction mean it’s durable enough for in the kitchen and it won’t shatter into dangerous shards if you drop it, and the marked increments on the glass make measuring out beans for grinding easy and convenient.
Best Value: JavaPresse Manual Grinder
If you want to start enjoying freshly ground coffee at home without breaking the bank, then the JavaPresse grinder is exactly what you are looking for.
You get all the premium features you would expect from a premium manual grinder but they come at a fraction of the cost. This grinder not only compares to more expensive ones, but it also competes with them.
It features 18 different click settings and a clear viewing window so you can easily gauge how much grinds there are.
One of the biggest improvements you can make to your coffee drinking experience results comes by using freshly ground beans. However, to get an effective grind that will appeal to your sophisticated palette, you’re going to want to get a burr grinder.
Electric burr grinders can be extremely expensive so, unless you’re willing to shell out a chunk of change for an electric grinder, you’re going to be in the market for a manual grinder. While manually grinding your coffee takes time and is often tedious, it’s obviously much quieter and doesn’t require a lot of strength.
A hand-powered burr grinder is a great product for anyone who is interested in improving their at-home coffee experience. It’s an invaluable accessory and a great gift for any discerning coffee drinker.