Last updated on January 20th, 2024

How To Choose The Best Manual Coffee Grinder: 2024 Guide

One of the best ways to up your coffee game at home is grinding coffee right before you brew. And a manual coffee grinder allows you to get professional-quality grinds without spending a fortune. But with so many products out there (and poor-quality knock-off brands,) you probably need some help finding the best manual coffee grinder, including which ones best fit particular brewing methods.

finding the best coffee manual grinder

If you are new to brewing specialty coffee at home, you can read more about why expensive coffee grinders are generally worth it. However, if you already know the basics, keep reading to learn all about the best options for hand coffee grinders.

**Best of Brewing is supported by our readers, and we sometimes earn a commission through the affiliate links on our website.**

Coffee Grinding 101

If you are catching the bug for specialty coffee, you can read or bookmark this ultimate guide to grinding coffee beans for the geeky details and science. But in short, you grind coffee so that water can extract (aka dissolve) those delicious compounds inside the coffee bean.

And, you should grind coffee at home right before brewing because of freshness: pre-ground coffee goes bad and loses its flavor quickly. Grinding at home also gives you the flexibility to alter grind size depending on your brewing method. It also helps you dial in each new coffee bean you buy.

**Click to skip directly down to my top recommendation!**

What Is a Burr Manual Coffee Grinder?

Burr grinders crush coffee beans between two revolving sharp surfaces called burrs. The material is usually ceramic or steel, and the design of the burrs can vary. But the basic idea is precisely controlling the space between the burrs to change the grind size. And sharp burrs with a quality design create a consistent grind size, which is how you get an even extraction (aka delicious coffee!)

An electric grinder uses a motor to spin the burrs, but manual coffee grinders have a hand crank. The main advantage of a hand coffee grinder is that you can get professional-level grind quality at a much cheaper price than electric models. Many of the grinders in this roundup are better than the budget electric models you’ll find around the internet! And the portability of these small grinders comes in handy for traveling and camping.

Best Coffee Manual Grinder at a Glance

If you are considering a coffee manual grinder, check out this overview of the products I reviewed and what made them stand out:

Overall Best Hand Coffee Grinder: Hario Skerton Pro

Best Overall Hand Grinder


  • Ceramic conical burrs
  • Grind adjustment nut (plenty of sizes)
  • 60-gram hopper capacity (enough for Chemex)
  • Improved update on the original Skerton design
  • Heat-proof glass bowl & non-slip cover

While this handheld coffee grinder might not be the most expensive or best quality, the combination of grind consistency, flexibility, and affordable price earned it the best overall choice for most people. Considering Hario is a reputable name in the specialty coffee industry, you do not have to worry about the poor quality that many of the cheaper knock-off brands have.

The construction is durable and stable, and this updated version of their classic Skerton is more dialed in. Another standout feature is that it holds 100 grams, perfect for brewing multiple cups with one grinding session!

7 Best Coffee Manual Grinders: Detailed Review

With this overview of handheld grinders in mind, let’s examine the details of each product, how they’re unique, and how they stack up against each other.

Hario Skerton Pro Hand Grinder

Hario "Skerton Pro" Ceramic Overall Best Manual Coffee Grinder, Black

Hario has been a reliable company in the specialty coffee world since the 1950s, and their V60 coffee dripper is hugely popular. And their Hario “Skerton Pro” Hand Grinder is on par with the high-quality products they are known for. In designing this grinder, the focus was clearly on ease of use and consistent grind size.

The Skerton has been in Hario’s lineup for years—it was actually my very first grinder back in 2012! But this model, the Pro, is their updated version. It has a stabilization feature to help with consistency, and the grind size is even more consistent than the previous model. Plus, with a 100-gram heat-proof glass bowl to catch your grinds, you can grind large amounts at once.


  • Large capacity
  • Easy and accurate grind adjustment
  • Reputable specialty coffee brand
  • Stabilization features


  • Glass bowl not ideal for traveling/camping


In thinking about specialty coffee quality, it’s hard to go wrong in choosing a Hario product. This portable coffee grinder is fantastic for home use and traveling, but the glass bowl means you should be extra careful not to break it!

1Zpresso K-Ultra Hand Coffee Grinder

1Zpresso K-Ultra Manual Coffee Grinder Iron Gray with Carrying Case, Assembly Consistency Grind Stainless Steel Conical Burr, Foldable Handle, Numerical External Adjustable Setting, All-Round Grinder

The 1Zpresso K-Ultra Hand Coffee Grinder is a premium grinder that will feel comfortable, grind fast, and produce remarkably consistent coffee grinds. The dual-bearing system makes the hand crank smooth and effortless, and the handle has a super comfortable ergonomic design. And the 48mm stainless steel burrs are on par with the kind you would find in premium electric models.

In terms of grind adjustment, you have more precise control over grind size than any other model in this lineup. There are over 100 clicks, each adjusting the size by 20 microns (a micron is one thousand times smaller than a millimeter!) And with its 45-gram capacity, you can brew everything from a small AeroPress to a giant Chemex. The only downside is that such an advanced grinder can have a steeper learning curve.


  • 48mm Stainless Steel K Burrs
  • Robust stainless steel construction
  • Huge grind size adjustment range
  • Comfortable/ergonomic design
  • 35-45-gram capacity
  • Magnetic catch cup


  • Expensive


Besides its steep price tag, it is hard to say anything negative about this 1Zpresso K-Ultra coffee manual grinder. If you’re willing to pay a premium price—see more about why expensive coffee grinders might be worth it—I highly recommend this product. It even holds up against some of the best electric grinders out there.

JavaPresse Manual Coffee Grinder

JavaPresse Manual Stainless Steel Durable Hand Coffee Grinder - 18 Adjustable Settings

This JavaPresse Manual Grinder is one of the most durable hand grinders I reviewed, making it perfect for portability. The stainless steel materials mean you can travel with it and do outdoor activities like camping without worry. Durability also means you can count on this grinder lasting many years without an issue.

The ceramic burrs produce a reasonably consistent grind—not as much as the more expensive grinders here but still high-quality. And, you can adjust the grind size with an adjustable grind setting (18 total.) However, a common issue is that the grinding mechanism is not the easiest to figure out and use consistently.


  • Durable stainless steel material
  • The ceramic burrs create a consistent grind.
  • The removable hand crank is perfect for traveling


  • Smaller capacity
  • Grind adjustments can be tricky


While this grinder is not a top-of-the-line product, I included it because of its popularity and durability. If you want something that can survive a few bruises to bring camping and traveling, this product is probably it.

Hario Mini Slim Plus Hand Coffee Grinder

Hario Ceramic Coffee Mill - 'Mini-Slim Plus' Manual Coffee Grinder 24g Coffee Capacity

This Hario Ceramic Coffee Mill is a fantastic choice as a budget-friendly hand grinder for a few reasons. Most notable is that it comes from this reputable company. Compared to the cheapest brands you will find online, this product is so much better and only the slightest bit more expensive. Buying the cheapest grinders is not worth it when you can spend a few more dollars and get far superior quality!

Plus, I have used this grinder countless times back in the day in hotel rooms and Airbnb places and still got fantastic results. The ceramic burrs make the grinding slower and more effortful, and there are not a ton of grind size adjustment settings. I found it works best with the AeroPress, but a pour-over can still work—you might get some clogging due to the fines.


  • Affordable
  • Fantastic for beginners and as coffee gifts
  • Ceramic conical burrs
  • Lightweight and compact—perfect for traveling!


  • Slow/effortful grinding
  • Limited grind size adjustment
  • Small capacity


Since I did not want to include the knock-off brands in this lineup, I think this Hario Mini-Slim Plus is the most budget-friendly option that still gives decent results. You might outgrow it one day, but it works for beginners or occasional traveling.

TIMEMORE Chestnut C3 PRO Manual Burr Grinder

TIMEMORE Chestnut C3 PRO Small Manual Coffee Grinder, Stainless Steel Conical Burr Coffee Grinder, with Foldable Handle - Black

The TIMEMORE Chestnut C3 PRO is the company’s 2022 upgraded version of the C2, which you’ll read about next. Besides some aesthetical changes, the main update is the upgraded S2C steel burrs, which are particularly durable, ensure a consistent grind size, and make grinding effortless and extra fast.

Other notable features include the strong aluminum alloy body and the anti-slip material that gives you an extra comfortable grip—trust me, I’ve had hand grinders slip out of my hands when trying to grind fast! Lastly, the grind adjustment is a step-less knob, meaning you can more easily dial in proper extraction. There are even labels showing the right tightness for various brewing methods.


  • Durable stainless steel burrs
  • Compact size
  • Durable aluminum alloy body with anti-slip material
  • Step-less grind size adjustment
  • Cleaning brush included


  • The 20-gram capacity might be a limitation


As long as you’re willing to pay a bit more for this upgraded TIMORE hand crank grinder, you will get much more precise control over your grind adjustments and have speedy/effortless grinding. The compact size is perfect for traveling, with the only downside being its 20-gram limitation.

TIMEMORE Chestnut C2 Hand Grinder

TIMEMORE Chestnut C2 Portable Manual Coffee Grinder, Capacity 25g

The TIMEMORE Chestnut C2 has a stainless steel body, making it slightly heavier than the newer model you just read about. But the compact size makes it portable, and do not assume the cheaper price will give you lower grind quality—the primary limitation is grind size flexibility. With its stepped grind adjustment, it is not ideal for dialing in espresso or making fine-tuned adjustments.

But in terms of traveling, you will never have to worry about damaging the durable body. The stainless steel burrs are high-quality, although not as fast at grinding as their newer model. The grind size markings on the adjustment ring might not be accurate, so consider them a general guide. You will have to figure out the best settings over time for your setup.


  • Super lightweight and easy to carry
  • Precision 420 stainless steel burrs
  • Cloth bag and cleaning brush included
  • Durable stainless steel body


  • Stepped grind size adjustment is not great for espresso


If you like the compact look of the TIMEMORE grinders and the grippy grid pattern but cannot justify the price tag of the newest model, this Chestnut C2 model is a fantastic compromise. And, besides a more affordable price, the other upside to this model is its somewhat larger 25-gram capacity.

1Zpresso J-Max S Manual Burr Coffee Grinder

1Zpresso J-Ultra Manual Burr Coffee Grinder For Espresso, Iron Gray, Conical Burr, Foldable Handle, Magnet Catch Cup Capacity 40g

Next is the 1Zpresso J-Max S, another fantastic offering from the folks at 1Zpresso, and much more affordable than their premium grinder. On grinders at this price, I found this to be best for the espresso range of grind size, which could also include AeroPress brewing. This grinder is ideal for espresso because it has over 400 grind settings, each adjusting the size by only 8.8 microns.

You could even grind for Turkish coffee methods with this product. But it is not best suited to coarse grinds. So if you usually use methods like pour-over and French press, this design is probably not ideal.


  • 48mm Coated Burrs
  • 400 grind adjustment settings
  • External grind adjustment
  • 40-gram capacity
  • Magnetic catch cup


  • Not ideal for coarse brewing methods like the French press


There are usually tradeoffs with any product design, and many hand grinders meant for all-around brewing situations have weaknesses, especially in the fine espresso grind sizes. So if you love brewing AeroPress espresso or have an espresso machine at home, definitely consider this product!

Choosing the Best Manual Coffee Grinder: Considerations

Now that you’ve seen the features of these various hand coffee grinders and how they compare, let’s cover in more detail some considerations to keep in mind that will help you find the right one for your needs.

Burr Material for Manual Coffee Grinder: Ceramic vs Steel

The burr material in a hand coffee grinder is usually ceramic or steel, although some designs use titanium and other coatings on the burrs. However, the main divide in the specialty coffee grinding community is between ceramic and steel. They both can produce professional grind quality. In most cases, it is a matter of preference.

A ceramic burr has the advantage of lasting longer, due to it being harder than steel. Ceramic material is usually a cheaper way to get high-quality grinds, like the Hario Ceramic Coffee Mill. And the burrs will stay sharp even after years of use.

High-quality steel burrs can also last years but degrade slowly as the sharp edges wear. I have a Baratza Virtuoso+ at home and replaced the burrs after three years. For hand grinding, I tend to prefer the feel of steel burrs since it grinds faster.

Conical Burr vs Flat

The choice between a flat burr and a conical design is more of a decision when purchasing an electric coffee grinder. Flat burrs tend to produce a more consistent coffee grind but with a smaller range. Conical designs are slightly less consistent but have a wider range of grind sizes.

All of the manual grinders I’ve tried or seen use a conical design, which is more compact and fits in with the vertical design limitation of a portable grinder. But there is one exception I know about, which is the Orphan Espresso Apex Manual Grinder. The quality seems remarkable, but the sideways design and steep price are a bit much.

Manual Coffee Grinder vs Electric

If you’re deciding between a coffee manual grinder vs an electric model, the primary thing to stay away from is the blade designs. A blade grinder may seem like an affordable way to grind fresh coffee, but a burr grinder is so much better. Blade grinders produce inconsistent coffee grounds, leading to uneven extraction and overall bad-tasting coffee. The budget option in this article, the Hario Coffee Mill, will give you way higher quality than any blade grinder at around the same price.

But deciding between an electric burr grinder and a manual design is more complicated. Generally, you can get better grind quality at lower prices with manual models, which is why they are fantastic options for a new coffee lover looking to affordably upgrade their setup. But I have a more general guide to the best overall grinders, which include tons of electric burr models.

Portability: Small Coffee Grinder vs Large

The size of your hand coffee grinder can be a factor, depending on how you plan to brew and how much traveling you plan to make. The best portable coffee grinder will be small, lightweight, and durable enough to live in suitcases and checked bags. The small coffee grinders in this category include the TIMEMORE Chestnut C2 and the Hario Mini-Slim.

Look for designs where the handle either comes off or folds, making it easier to pack away. Large hand-crank grinders like the 1Zpresso K-Ultra or Hario “Skerton Pro” have more torque and ease of grinding, but they are harder to travel with.

Avoid a Knockoff Hand Crank Coffee Grinders

If you search the interest for manual grinders, you’ll find many models at significantly cheaper prices than what I listed here. I recommend avoiding those knockoff brands. Even though they appear to have the same design, high-quality coffee grinding is all about the details inside.

The intricate design and material of the burrs and crank system produce professional-level grinds. I chose the Hario Coffee Mill as my budget option as it still has a thoughtful design while also being affordable.

With grinders, you definitely get what you pay for!

How To Use a Manual Coffee Grinder: Tips & Tricks

The fine coffee grind size you use for espresso is completely different than the coarse grind you need for French press or cold brew. And, the only way to have this flexibility and have fresh coffee is to grind at home just before brewing.

So in this section, I’ll give a few pointers for using your portable grinder, including dialing in your brews for various methods. I’ll also give a few tips on how to keep it clean.

How To Adjust

Since these hand grinders are conical designs, they use a twisting mechanism to adjust the grind. Tightening the screw will make a smaller size and loosening it a larger one. As you read earlier, the best grinders have intricate designs that change the distance between the burrs by microns, allowing you to control extraction precisely.

You can read this coffee grinding guide to learn about the general size categories for each brewing method. But once you’re in the ballpark of proper grind size, use your tastebuds to make the fine adjustments.

If you taste bitter and drying flavors, the coffee is over-extracted, and you should loosen the adjustment screw with a click or two. And if there are sour flavors, you likely under-extracted the coffee and should tighten a bit.

Cleaning Your Hand Crank Coffee Grinder

Coffee oils and residue build up over time, and cleaning your grinder regularly is critical. Many of these hand grinders come with a cleaning brush, which is a nice touch. Another bonus is easy disassembly–look for designs that are simple to put back together.

Make sure you read the manual to find out which pieces you can clean with soap and water and which ones you should use a soft brush on. Regularly cleaning your grinder will make it last longer and keep your coffee tasting fresh and delicious!

Manual Coffee Grinders: FAQ

Before leaving, scan some of these common questions people have about purchasing the right coffee manual grinder for them.

How long do hand grinders last?

A well-designed hand grinder can last several years if it has quality materials and construction, along with proper use. Expect knock-off brands to break easily and their burrs to wear down with use.

Can you grind coffee manually?

If you use a well-designed manual coffee grinder with a hand crank burr system, you can grind coffee by hand and get professional-level grind consistency.

Is a manual coffee grinder better?

Using a manual coffee grinder is not necessarily better than using the top electric models. But, compared to budget electric grinders, hand grinders have a much higher quality for the same price.

Best Hand Coffee Grinder: Final Thoughts

Whether you are a coffee enthusiast trying to find the best portable grinder for traveling or a beginner wanting a more affordable entry-level product at home, I hope this guide helps you narrow down your choices.

Compared to expensive electric coffee grinders, the best hand grinder provides fantastic grind consistency at a much more affordable price!

Show 2 Comments


Comments are closed