Do you want to have great coffee, no matter where you are? Well, duh! Luckily you’re in the right place as we are going to break down the best manual coffee grinder options for life at home or on the road.
We split our time between home and living out of backpacks, so having a top-quality hand coffee grinder is essential for us. By freshly grinding your coffee and getting good size consistency, you’ll get the most out of those awesome beans you buy.
Not only are handheld coffee grinders portable (perfect for traveling, camping, and backpacking) but, when picked well, they also offer the precision of a high-quality electric grinder. Just without the eye-watering price tag.
So, let’s dive right in:
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Quick Summary: Top Hand Coffee Grinders
Well, ground coffee starts to lose “freshness” about 15 minutes after grinding. This is when all the oils from within the beans start to decay or evaporate causing the grounds to lose flavor and aroma.
So, pre-ground coffee will never taste as good as fresh ground coffee beans – even from a poor-quality grinder.
As they say, ‘money makes the world go round’. So this is always going to be your biggest constraint.
If you’re a coffee fanatic on a limited budget, then manual is the way to go. Generally speaking, you can get a grinder with far better consistency, range, and precision for the same price if you choose manual over electric coffee grinding.
This is particularly true at the cheaper end of the spectrum. There is so much variation in the quality of cheap electric grinders ($100 or less) that they’re rarely worth the price tag.
Do you want to be able to make great coffee anywhere? Or are you looking to up your home coffee-making game?
Electric grinders take up a lot more room and they need access to a power outlet. So, not only do you need to have enough counter space but if you plan on moving around a lot, they’re not really workable.
A manual grinder offers a more compact and lightweight solution that can be used anywhere your coffee beans are. So, for traveling, they are a much better option.
Using a manual grinder requires physical force. Not a huge amount, but enough that some people will not be able to grip the grinder and handle hard enough. Or they may struggle to generate enough force to turn the handle. This is particularly true at fine grind sizes and, if this applies to you, means that an electric grinder will be your only option.
Manual grinders require you to weigh out your beans and crank the handle each time. This takes much longer and is less convenient than simply pushing a button on an electric one. If you’re short on time, an electric grinder can get the job done in a few seconds whereas a manual grinder will take over a minute.
If you’re looking to dial in espresso in a serious way, nothing beats an electric stepless grinder. Almost universally, manual grinders are adjusted in set increments. So, even if the difference between each step is less than 10 microns, that’s still bigger than on a stepless electric grinder.
The grind consistency can also be better when using an electric grinder. This is usually through the use of higher-quality burrs and greater gear stabilization. But extra quality means extra cost.
1. 1Zpresso J Max – Overall Best Manual Coffee Grinder
- Great design
- Incredible grind range
- 8.8 microns per click
- Fast grinding
- Ergonomic handle
- Great value
- Easy to use
- Slow at very fine settings
- Needs a stable surface to grind on
- Expensive compared to other manual grinders
A serious step up on the already very impressive JX-Pro, the J-Max boasts an incredible 8.8 microns per click and a functional range of around 350 clicks. This makes it a great all-rounder, covering everything from Turkish coffee up to French press and cold brew. The 48mm stainless steel burrs have been coated in titanium for extra longevity and the grounds container now simply pops off the magnets connecting it to the bottom.
We love the new dark grey color and it comes with a nice carry case to make transporting your grinder easier. It’s still fairly bulky, but it’s easily the best manual coffee grinder you can buy. It’s our grinder of choice at home.
This is an incredible piece of grinding engineering. It works flawlessly across an incredible range of grind sizes, allowing you to brew whichever way you want. You have to weigh out your beans, as you do with all grinders, but the actual performance is as good as you’ll get from $400 electric grinders.
So while it is $150-200, it is also better than grinders that are double that. It will last the best part of a decade and will move with you as you change your brewing style. We wouldn’t be without ours – worth every cent.
2. JavaPresse Manual – Best Budget Hand Grinder
- Amazing value for money
- Versatile and durable thanks to the small, stainless steel design
- Dual plate ceramic burr design creates decent particle size distribution
- Excellent customer service from JavaPresse
- Slow for fine grinds
- Detachable hand crank can slip off during grinding
- Not the easiest to clean
- Not feasible to grind large volumes of coffee at a time
If you’re looking for a top-quality budget option, the JavaPresse manual coffee grinder is the one. It blows many of its competitors out of the water especially considering the wallet-friendly price. Armed with this manual grinder, you will skyrocket your coffee from good to great.
Being so budget-friendly, it doesn’t perform well across the full range of grind sizes for espresso to French press. But the JavaPresse does excel at the coarser settings. Plus, it is insanely cheap for the quality of the grind and the build.
If you’re looking to make espresso on the go, then this isn’t the one for you. Although it can certainly handle fine grinds, it just isn’t enough to knock your socks off.
But, if you prefer one of the many coffee brewing styles that call for coarser ground coffee (like French press or cold brew) then you won’t find anything as good as this for as great a price.
Don’t get us wrong, there are some small flaws. But finding them is really nitpicking as to what makes the best hand coffee grinder.
So, if you’re just starting out or looking to upgrade from pre-ground coffee, the JavaPresse manual burr grinder makes a great choice.
For the traveling coffee enthusiast on a budget, JavaPresse’s best manual burr coffee grinder is a must-buy.
3. 1Zpresso JX Pro – Best Manual Grinder for Espresso
- Sleek design
- Ergonomic grip and handle for easy use
- Good grounds size consistency
- 40 stepped adjustments
- Quick and quiet
- Superb value for money
- Not the smallest or lightest hand grinder out there
- Doesn’t have the same precision as high-end electric grinders
- Not ideal if you have small hands
Unsurprisingly the 1Zpresso JX-Pro is also near the top of our list of the best manual coffee grinders.
Yes, it is quite expensive. But, in this case, it’s definitely true that you get what you pay for. And what you’re paying for is incredible craftmanship, serious 48mm stainless steel conical burrs, and 40 stepped adjustments to bring real precision to your grind.
If you plan to use your coffee grinder whilst traveling, the JX Pro is a little on the big side. So, unless you’re willing to forgo clean socks, it’s not great for anyone tight on space.
However, it does outperform some electric coffee grinders that are considerably more expensive. Which is the only endorsement that really matters when it comes to this grinder.
If you’re thinking the J-Max is a bit expensive and beyond what you need, the JX-Pro brings you the same incredible build quality and results for a little less money. As long as you’re willing to lose a bit of range and precision.
The 1Zpresso JX Pro is aimed at espresso lovers. It’s calibrated to work best at the finer grind settings and the 12.5 micron difference between clicks is superb for dialing in your espresso shots.
If you’re looking for a hand grinder to complete your espresso setup, then this is it.
4. Porlex Mini Stainless Steel Coffee Grinder
- Great grind consistency at all sizes
- Very compact – fits inside an AeroPress
- High quality ceramic conical burrs
- Very quick grinder
- Robust stainless steel body
- Small and lightweight
- Ceramic burrs can chip
- Small capacity
- Struggles with fine grinds for espresso
Porlex has created a superb grinder for anyone looking to grind fresh coffee on the move. If you’re looking for a traveling hand coffee grinder, the Porlex Mini is the ideal backpacking or camping solution thanks to its small size.
In fact, it’s even small enough to fit inside an AeroPress coffee maker for easy transport and less mess during grinding. Plus, the high-quality ceramic burrs and sturdy stainless steel body mean it will stand up to life on the road.
If you’re a frequent traveler, you don’t need us to tell you that finding good quality coffee on the road can be a nightmare. But, having this little dynamo with you wherever you go is an absolute dream for any coffee lover.
The spring system keeps the conical burrs remarkably steady during grinding. And, whilst it isn’t ideal for the espresso nut, you can get lovely coffee grounds for all other coffee brewing methods with this grinder.
Plus, it’s cheap enough to allow you to have the Porlex Mini stainless steel coffee grinder purely for traveling if you want a different option for your kitchen.
With a limited capacity of only 20g of coffee beans, the Porlex Mini is really good for 1 or 2 cups at a time. But you don’t buy a grinder with “mini” in the name because you’re looking to grind enough coffee for your squad.
5. Kalita Coffee Mill KH-3 Retro One – Best Retro Design
- Great retro design with wood and iron
- Easy to adjust grind settings
- Accessible burrs make it easy to clean
- Good grounds consistency at finer settings
- Great value for money
- Iron can rust if not cleaned properly
- No lid on the hopper means beans can “jump” out during grinding
- Not very consistent at coarser grind settings
How something looks is important. Performance-wise, you could find the best coffee grinder in the world but if it looks dreadful, no one will buy it.
The Kalita Coffee Mill KH-3 Retro One is more than just looks though, it performs great too:
Kalita has a range of excellent budget hand coffee grinders. And, with the KH-3 Retro One, you get a grinder that performs particularly well for AeroPress or pour over style coffees. Plus, it can grind fine enough for espresso.
Sure, you’ve got to want the retro aesthetic. But the iron and wood materials feel great and have a sense of style not often seen in non-automatic coffee grinders.
If you’re looking for a coffee grinder that’s both beautiful and functional, the Kalita coffee mill KH-3 Retro One certainly ticks both of those boxes. And all for not much more than a questionable quality blade grinder would cost.
That said, there are a couple of issues to be aware of:
Having a clean coffee grinder is essential to avoid stale and fresh grinds from mixing. But, when cleaning the KH-3 Retro One, you need to make sure it’s completely dry afterward otherwise the iron will rust. And secondly, if you grind too quickly, whole coffee beans can end up going everywhere.
But, overall, it’s a good budget option that no one will look at and think “that looks cheap”.
6. Hario Skerton Pro Ceramic Coffee Mill
- Good grind consistency at all settings
- User-friendly: easy to use, adjust, and clean
- Slow grinding which prevents loss of flavor or aroma
- Can grind fine enough for espresso
- Large enough capacity for a few cups
- Slow grinding speed so a time-consuming process
- Glass container makes it unsuitable for travel
- Cheaper hand grinders are available
The Skerton Pro is the third generation of the Skerton manual coffee grinders from Hario. And they have improved the design with each iteration to better solve the everyday pain points coffee makers experience.
This model benefits from improved stabilization of the burrs which greatly improves grind consistency across all grind sizes. Additionally, they have changed the grounds bin to a universal thread so, if it breaks, you can quickly and easily replace it with a mason jar.
It isn’t the cheapest hand grinder available, but it’s not the most expensive either. And, for the price point, it performs very well offering a nice, simple option for those new to manual coffee grinding.
Compared to other manual grinders currently on the market, the Hario ceramic coffee mill is a little slower and a little more expensive.
But it’s a smart little coffee grinder that looks good and does a pretty good job. So, these things are by no means deal-breakers.
The glass grounds bin is not as suited to the rough and tumble of traveling as a stainless steel coffee grounds jar. But this can easily be protected. Or, if you’re just taking it to work each day, it will hold up fine.
7. Timemore Chestnut C2 Manual Coffee Grinder
- Incredibly fast grinder
- Very smooth grinding mechanism
- Excellent consistency at coarser settings
- Easy to grip during grinding
- Great value for money
- Isn’t suited to espresso grinding
- Sounds a bit cheap and clunky
- No numbers on the adjustment dial
Timemore is a relatively new Chinese company looking to make budget products with a premium feel. And the Chestnut C2 certainly looks premium with its textured aluminum body. Then there’s the speed of grinding and performance at the coarser grind settings which absolutely feel premium.
It doesn’t, however, have the precision needed to be a good espresso grinder. But for those using other brewing methods, it’s a great budget option that looks great and is small and light enough to fit into your bag. If you use an AeroPress, pour over, or French press, you will not be disappointed with this budget grinding option.
It’s fairly light – weighing around 1lb. And, whilst it’s not the smallest, it is certainly portable enough for those who want a grinder they can chuck in their bag when they go away.
But, it’s not without limitations:
Changing grind settings involves some guesswork. It also sounds a bit cheap while grinding and it isn’t able to grind finely and consistently enough for espresso drinkers.
But if you’re looking at the budget grinder market, then the Timemore Chestnut C2 Manual coffee grinder is absolutely worth stretching your budget for.
8. Kona Manual Coffee Grinder
- Amazing value for money
- Good for fine grind sizes
- Easy to use
- The handle is removable
- Glass grounds chamber – see how much you’ve ground
- Compact size
- Plastic top is not durable
- Coarse grinding is very uneven
When it comes to value for money, the Kona Manual coffee grinder is a hard worker:
Don’t get us wrong, it is far from perfect. But, compared to the cost of a lot of other coffee grinders, you can’t turn your nose up at something that’s around $20 and works pretty well.
Where this manual grinder performs particularly well is between medium-coarse pour over settings and the finer settings. And, if you’ve been using a blade grinder or pre-ground coffee, you will notice a big step up in quality.
It is compact, simple to use, and easy to keep steady whilst grinding. The glass chamber allows you to gauge how much you’ve ground. So, there is a lot going for the Kona Manual.
If you use a coffee maker requiring precision then you’ll need to shell out a lot more. But if you’re just looking to upgrade to freshly ground coffee over pre-ground bags, the Kona Manual does a decent job. Plus, it’s a great price if you don’t want to splash the cash on a grinder.
Having an insanely low price means you can expect slightly flimsy plastic parts which aren’t built to last a lifetime. However, the ceramic conical burrs are of high quality so it’s good where it matters most.
Still not convinced that fresh ground coffee is better than pre-ground? Buy a Kona Manual and try it out. Then, once you’re a convert, you can think about a more expensive coffee grinder.
9. Handground Precision Coffee Grinder
- Good build quality
- Aesthetically pleasing design
- Simple to set grind size without disassembling
- Ergonomic design is comfortable and easy to use
- Grinds fairly quickly without any extra force necessary
- Particle size distribution is more consistent than other hand grinders in this price range
- Heavy-duty, long-lasting ceramic burr
- Quite a tall manual coffee grinder
- Fairly expensive if you are just starting your coffee journey
- Grind consistency begins to waver at the coarser end of the spectrum
- Fragile if dropped
The Handground Precision coffee grinder has been crafted with ease of use in mind:
The side-mounted handle is much nicer to turn than many other manual coffee grinder options. And the grind settings adjuster is a lot simpler to use too. Plus, the glass upper and lower chambers look good and make it easier to judge when you have enough coffee grounds.
But all this focus on ease of use has meant some compromises for the coffee geek:
There is a relatively small range of grind sizes on the Handground Precision. And the coarser grinds aren’t overly consistent which isn’t great if you’re a French press coffee lover. But it also doesn’t sit in the premium price range and it does a very solid job for the price.
Not only does the Handground Precision coffee grinder look smart, but it is also very comfortable to use thanks to the wide, rubber-coated base. The ease of use and smooth burrs make it very quick to grind enough coffee beans too. However, it isn’t the smallest or most portable hand grinder out there.
Overall, this is a solid manual grinder that will do a nice job and can be cleaned up easily. It’s better suited for use at home as, unfortunately, is a little bulky and fragile for traveling. But the extra bulk means more capacity – 100g which is over three times more coffee beans than the 1Zpresso JX Pro.
10. Akirakoki Manual Coffee Bean Grinder
- Made from one piece of wood so it won’t crack
- 85g hopper capacity
- Looks great
- Cast iron burrs don’t heat up, preserving flavor of grounds
- Good value
- Heavy despite the small size
- Slow to grind
- Grinding is quite hard work
- Not super precise
Are you looking for a compact travel grinder that gives you a vintage look and functionality?
If yes, then the Akirkoki Manual Grinder is for you with its wooden body – made from a single piece of wood – and cast iron burr. The cast iron won’t rust and it reduces heat during grinding, giving it an edge over the fragile ceramic burrs by ensuring your coffee grinder lasts a long time.
All that wood and iron means this coffee grinder is considerably heavier than those using ceramic burrs. But you probably won’t even notice, unless you’re constantly near the weight limit on airlines.
When it comes to espresso, the Akirakoki gives with one hand and takes away with the other: It can grind fine enough for espresso but you can’t “dial in” a shot. So, it’s not really the best option for espresso lovers.
But if you are a lover of coarser ground brewing methods like French press or cold brew, it will work just fine. For AeroPress or pour over coffee, it is also a good match. And, with this grinder in hand, you’ll be the envy of all your traveling buddies thanks to the sleek aesthetic.
The wood and cast iron design is unusual. But it adds a wow factor compared to the plastic and metal of most manual coffee grinders out there. However, it’ll take a bit of patience and muscle power to get your coffee in the morning, especially at finer grind settings.
But if those things aren’t a problem for you, this is a solid grinder at an excellent price that will make quality coffee.
11. Orphan Espresso Lido 3
- Huge bean hopper – 70g capacity
- Very solidly built
- Stepless adjustment for precision grinding
- Can grind from fine Turkish coffee to coarse French press
- 48mm stainless steel burrs
- Unweildly to use
- Adjusting the grinder is awkward
- Quite expensive compared to the competition
Orphan Espresso is an American, family-run company run by Doug and Barb Garrott. They make spare parts for many espresso machines plus their own line of manual coffee grinders including the Lido 3 which launched in 2015. At the time, it was the best manual grinder available although things have moved on since then and it now lags behind the pack a little.
To make their grinders, they use superb stainless steel burrs made in Switzerland and have produced many of the best manual coffee grinders for use at home with great range and consistency. So, the Lido 3 is an impressive beast in terms of grind range and the consistency it produces.
And beast is the operative word as this is a big grinder, weighing in at 2.2lbs. So, not exactly a portable coffee grinder despite being the smallest of the Lido coffee grinders. The body is too wide and the handle too short which makes it awkward to use.
This is a good option for you if:
- You’re looking for something that can grind anything from fine Turkish coffee to the coarseness for French press
- You’re happy to fiddle with stepless adjustments although the adjustments are awkward and you will need to mark the outside somehow to remember where you last set it
Whilst this is undoubtedly a great performer, there are new coffee grinders that have improved over the Lido 3 in other areas.
12. Zassenhaus “Brasilia” Dark Beech Wood Manual Grinder
- Great vintage design
- Easily adjusted burrs
- Good grind consistency at all sizes
- High build quality
- Slow to grind
- Small grounds drawer
- Adjusting settings takes some trial and error
Zassenhaus cater to a very specific audience of people: those who like old-fashioned styled products.
The full Zassenaus coffee grinder range looks and feels very 19th Century – in a good way. But they are also superbly made and well thought out. The eye-catching designs conceal the high-grade stainless steel burr inside.
We find their Brasilia model to be the best compromise of looks, price, and functionality. As most Zassenhaus grinders are very similar on the inside, it’s more about how they look as to which one you prefer. For example, the Zassenhaus Santiago coffee mill grinder is slightly sleeker whilst the La Paz model looks like it stepped out of a science lab.
They all have a small grounds drawer and are quite slow to grind. So it’s not the one for anyone grinding a reasonable volume of coffee or if you need speed.
Instead, they are designed to be a permanent fixture on your countertop or old-school coffee setup – and a significant upgrade to pre-ground coffee. Although not precise enough for the coffee enthusiast.
Being very stable makes grind consistency easier to achieve. And, whilst it will take some playing around with the settings to get the grind size you’re after, it won’t take long to perfect.
However, if you are looking for a more relaxed coffee affair and love the aesthetic, then this is definitely one to consider.
13. Soulhand All In One Manual Grinder
- Very easy to use
- Looks great
- Fantastic value for money
- Easy to clean
- Brilliant pour-over coffee anywhere
- Slow to grind
- Not the easiest to adjust
- Hard to stabilize with small hands
- Only works for pour-over
This is a little bit from left field in terms of a manual coffee grinder as it is a combined grinder and pour-over coffee maker. But we love the product so much that we had to include it.
Soulhand makes some very beautiful pour-over kettles, coffee accessories, and manual grinders ranging in price from budget to truly staggering. We were given the Soulhand all-in-one manual coffee grinder to try and were shocked by how much we enjoyed using it.
It’s quite chunky with a faux leather feel to the outside and has quite a few plastic components. It also comes with a nice travel case with a handle to protect your grinder while you’re on the road although the handle seems a little redundant.
But the functionality and results can’t be argued with:
The crank fits nicely into the top of the grinder, which doubles as storage for your coffee beans and a pourer for your hot water. The grinder grinds directly into the integrated pour-over funnel with a metal mesh filter which then drips into the insulated cup at the bottom. Even if your pour-over skills are a little rusty, you can still produce an excellent brew.
Having a metal filter works nicely, and means no paper filters to bin each time. It is also easy to clean although you do get a small amount of sediment through.
Being quite chunky it isn’t the easiest to keep stable while grinding, and changing between the limited grind settings isn’t very smooth. Having big hands will help with stabilization – my wife is a small 5’2 and struggled a lot more. But this hand grinder has been designed to do one thing and it does it really well.
If you want to take your coffee maker and grinder to the office, camping, or on a business trip then this offering from Soulhand is absolutely ideal. You just need a hot water source to make a delicious pour-over wherever you are.
Oh, and the price? Under $40?! Fantastic value for money.
First are the acidic notes.
Then comes the fruity rich flavors.
And, finally, the bitter notes at the end.
As the ultimate goal is a well-balanced cup of joe (regardless of the coffee brewing process used), all your coffee grounds need to be the same size to allow for even extraction.
Smaller particles will extract the flavor much more quickly than larger particles. So if your ground coffee is very uneven, you won’t be able to get the best balance of acidity, bitterness and fruity flavors. This will result in, at best, a very average cup of coffee. And, at worst, a truly undrinkable one.
By using even the most basic burr grinder, you will see a huge step up in flavor quality from pre-ground coffee. And your home coffee experience will be transformed for the better.
But if we’ve not convinced you that freshly grinding whole coffee beans will really make that much of a difference, why not buy a budget coffee grinder and see for yourself. We’ve included recommendations to suit all budgets but a great place to start is the JavaPresse manual coffee grinder.
Psst.. Are you looking for a portable grinder for life on the road? If so, our top picks of portable espresso machines would be a match made in heaven.
1Zpresso are a Taiwanese company that specializes in manual grinders. Scrolling through our picks of the top hand grinders, you’ll realize that they’re really good at what we do – and we love them for it.
They have a few different ranges – the Q series, K series, and the J series. While their top grinders like the J-Max and K-Max are great all-rounders, the K and Q series are more for pour over coffee and the J series is more for espresso.
There are no true budget grinders in their range, but they all perform to an exceptional standard. No matter which you choose, you won’t be let down by a 1Zpresso grinder. That’s why we love them and why the J-Max is our go-to grinder of choice.
Hario is a Japanese company that started making heatproof glass back in the 1920s but has since gone on to develop one of the most popular coffee brewers in the world: the Hario V60.
They also offer a range of quality manual grinders and a couple of electric ones too. They have a wide variety of styles, but the quality of the inner workings doesn’t change much. Each of their quality grinders is, unsurprisingly, more tailored to making a perfect V60 pour over coffee.
Timemore is a newish Chinese company that produces high-quality grinders across a wide price range. They also make kettles, scales, and drippers.
The Chestnut range of manual grinders does consistently punch above its price point and looks great too. As long as you like the looks, a Timemore grinder makes a good option if you’re looking to save money on a manual grinder over an electric.
Porlex focuses on the portability of its manual grinders. With the Porlex mini designed to fit inside your AeroPress, it can be a very convenient travel companion. They only have two models, the Mini and the Tall. The Tall model has a larger capacity but that is the only difference.
If saving space is the most important part of your manual grinder needs, then Porlex could be the perfect little grinder for you.
Force Needed to Turn the Handle
All manual coffee grinders require some physical force to use. Although, generally, it isn’t a lot of force. But it does still require you to hold something stable and turn a handle for around a minute or so.
If you have arthritis or any kind of pain or weakness in your arms or shoulders, a hand grinder may be painful and difficult to use. And coffee is definitely not worth that. Especially when there are good alternatives out there.
So, if this sounds like you, we’d recommend an electric coffee grinder instead – even if you have to compromise on quality a bit.
What Style of Coffee are you Brewing?
Many manual coffee grinders perform better at either the finer end or the coarser end of the spectrum.
So, to make the coffee brewing process smoother and create better-tasting coffee, look for a manual grinder that is more suited to your favorite style of coffee. This is far preferable to one that has settings for brew methods you’re never going to use.
Not sure what grind size you need for your preferred coffee maker? Check out our handy guide.
Where will you use your Manual Coffee Grinder?
Home or travel? That is the question.
Are you looking for a grinder you can chuck in a bag and take with you when you go on holiday? Or maybe you’re a long-term traveler and you need something that won’t take up precious space in your backpack.
On the other hand, you may just want a manual grinder for your kitchen because they’re cheaper, quieter, and (generally) take up less space than electric ones.
The size and weight of grinders varies massively from the compact Porlex Mini stainless steel coffee grinder to the more robust Orphan Lido 3. So work out where you’ll be using it to help you narrow down what you’re looking for.
There are also a lot of in-between models like the 1Zpresso JX Pro. This is the perfect compromise to use predominantly at home, whilst still being possible to take away with you on the occasional trip.
What is your Budget?
Like all things coffee-related, you can pay a lot for a burr coffee grinder and get something really amazing. Or pay not very much and get something that will do an admirable job but isn’t going to change your life.
Are you moving away from pre-ground or instant coffee (shudder) and unsure if a grinder is worth the investment?
Spoiler alert – it is SO worth it. Whole bean coffee retains its flavor much longer than pre-ground coffee for a better tasting cup of joe.
So, if this is you, then look for a good budget option like the Kona or JavaPresse manual grinder. It will still be a huge step up from pre-ground coffee. But you don’t have to break the bank if you later decide it isn’t worth the effort.
Or, are you happy to spend quite a bit of money to really get the most out of your amazing beans? If yes, then you can find a precision hand grinder with consistency across a full range of grind sizes, suitable for lots of brewing methods.
This consideration is fairly straightforward:
Longer handles are easier to turn. But they will take up more room.
And on the flip side, if the handle is too short, you need a lot more force and energy to grind the whole coffee beans. But it will be more compact and portable.
Some grinders, like the 1Zpresso range, have bearings that make grinding a lot smoother and easier. These models tend to be heavier and more expensive but you can really feel the difference compared to ones without.
Ceramic or Stainless Steel Burrs
All hand coffee grinders are conical burr grinders. But, as the most important part of your grinder, what they are made of (ceramic or stainless steel) makes a huge difference to the output:
Ceramic burrs are lighter and don’t generate heat as the beans are ground. This ensures all the flavorful oils from the beans are preserved and make their way into your cup. The downside is they are brittle. So if a stone or hard coffee bean gets into your grinder, they can chip. This causes you to lose size uniformity and can ruin your coffee. So, care is needed to make your manual coffee grinder last as long as possible.
Stainless steel burrs, on the other hand, are heavier and will generate some heat as they are turned. However, in a manual coffee grinder, this is less of an issue than with electric ones. They are more durable than ceramic and can’t chip. So a stainless steel ceramic burr will stand a better chance of survival against a rogue stone.
Speed of Grinding
Manual grinders can go as fast or as slow as you can turn the handle. But some will be much faster or slower than others due to the mechanism and burrs.
If you are looking at grinding a lot of very fine coffee, you could end up turning the handle upwards of 5 minutes if you opt for a slower grinder like the Hario Skerton Pro. The flip side is if you’re only grinding for French press for 1 person each day, then a slower grinder won’t make much difference to you.
Size of Hopper and Grounds Bin
Ask yourself: How many cups of coffee will you be making at a time?
Refilling the hopper and starting again is a real pain, especially if you have to do it multiple times. So, if you’re going to be consistently grinding coffee for several people you don’t want a compact grinder designed for one cup at a time.
After all, it doesn’t matter if it’s the best manual coffee grinder out there if it doesn’t meet your needs.
For us, hands down, it is the 1Zpresso J Max coffee grinder – we wouldn’t be without ours. The quality of the build and the consistency of the grounds make it our top pick to use either at home and on the road. We truly believe that it’s the best hand coffee grinder money can buy.
But having read the reviews of our favorite manual coffee grinders, we hope you will be inspired to find the best one for you. What ‘best’ means is a matter of personal preference: the one that is best for you depends on how you plan to use it.
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