Top 10: The Best Manual Coffee Grinder

While hand cranking a manual coffee grinder may not sound like a convenient solution for your morning coffee, there is a lot to be said about the ritual pervasive across central Europe and Japan. Using a hand crank coffee grinder is a more personal experience that ensures you won’t be grinding any more beans than you’re going to be using.

Manual coffee grinders are also more reliable than electronic varieties, due to much simpler designs and fewer points of failure. Perhaps most importantly, the best manual coffee grinder will provide a more consistent and uniform grind than even the priciest electronic alternatives, at a mere fraction of the cost. Manual coffee grinder reviews indicate that these machines are some of the best available values, capable of the consistency found on the most expensive electronic grinders.

Before the advent of the Western world’s obsession with speed and convenience, a manual burr grinder was the default method for grinding coffee beans. This is a testament to the reliability of the method, which is still preferred by a sizable subculture of coffee connoisseurs.

There are many such manual coffee grinders available for sale, some encased in plastic, some in wood and others yet in glass. Some of these manual coffee grinders use stainless steel burrs to crush your beans, while others opt for the precision and longevity of ceramic. But what is the best hand coffee grinder? In this list, we have compiled the best candidates, based on all the manual coffee grinder reviews available.

The Best Manual Coffee Grinder of 2016

Based on features, convenience, performance, excellent build quality and great value for your money, we present you:
The Best Manual Grinder of 2016
(Tip: Check the orange buttons for full detailed coffee grinder reviews and 1-on-1 comparisons)

Winner:

Porlex
JP-30

Porlex JP-30

The Porlex JP-30 is great for anyone looking to become a grinding pro. The device is simple enough for those who are just starting on their grinding adventures yet advanced enough for the home barista. It's easy to take along as well.

Runner-up:

ROK Grinder

ROK Grinder

The ROK Coffee Grinder is the new kid on the block, but we had to include it due to its extraordinary looks and excellent grinder qualities. This isn't your regular manual coffee grinder, however the design allows for effortless manual grinding. 

Noteworthy:

Zassenhaus Santiago

Zassenhaus Santiago

If you want a manual grinder but find the Porlex a bit too dull and the ROK a bit too excessive, Zassenhaus might have what you need. Vintage looks combined with almost life-time durability makes it more than worth its money.

1. Porlex JP-30 Stainless Steel Coffee Grinder

The Porlex JP-30 is a tiny device with a lot more grinding power than one might expect. The easy-to-clean ceramic conical burrs provide a very consistent grind. Although the device has only a limited number of grind settings (between coarse and fine), the settings produce an even grind that is perfect for brewing different types of coffee. It has an attractive price as well, making it the best hand coffee grinder overall.

Espresso lovers can rejoice that the Porlex-JP 30 is built for small amounts of coffee grinding at a time, perfect for dumping right into a portafilter and brewing up your favorite shots. The stainless steel grinder holds 30 ounces of whole beans at a time. While it will take only 60-90 seconds to grind out the whole amount, a strong arm and persistence get easily get that grind time down by a few seconds. Nevertheless, the biggest complaint with this device is the amount of arm strength needed to do this consistently, which is somewhat a result of the design of the crank. This is, however, a complaint applicable to almost any hand crank coffee grinder.

That said, the Porlex JP-30 enjoys high favorability ratings. Customers point to the great quality in the design, all of which comes in at a fairly reasonable price. The Porlex JP-30 is made in Japan, a country known for the meticulousness of its product builds. Expect the Porlex JP-30 to last you a good, long while.

2. ROK Coffee Grinder

We got a new #2 in this "Best Manual Coffee Grinder list!

Initially launched through IndieGogo, the ROK Coffee Grinder overcomes one of the main issues with manual grinding, while still allowing for full control. Granted, this isn't a typical hand crank coffee grinder like the rest and it does take a bit of space on your countertop, but it is a beauty.

The design allows for the finest grinds (up to Turkish) without requiring too much pressure on the handle. Because this is basically a big chunk of steel and aluminium you can be sure this thing will last quite a few years. 

It does produce some excessive grinds when operated, along with a bit of static cling. It's also more expensive than almost any other manual burr grinder, but you're paying for design here as well. In our ROK Coffee Grinder review we'll dive a bit more into it, but it certainly it something quite unique.

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3. Zassenhaus Santiago Coffee Mill Grinder - Mahogony - 156MA

The Zassenhaus Santiago is a mid-range hand grinder with fantastic high-end performance. It is one of the best looking manual burr grinders available, and definitely the most elegant on this list. Its mahogany hardwood finish is beautiful to behold, and its, concave curved walls contour to your inner thighs for easy holding.

This is not the cheapest Zassenhaus grinder, but it is also far from being the most expensive. Using essentially the same mechanism found on the 151, the 156MA produces excellent grind uniformity on all burr distances.

There are two that issues keep this manual burr coffee grinder from being number one. The first is price, which is significantly higher than the superior Porlex hand mill. The second is form; while the 156MA is more comfortable than the cuboid 151, it is not as ergonomic as the Kyocera or Hario grinders.
Even at a higher price tag, this German crafted hand mill is a fantastic value, and should be considered by anyone looking to invest in a manual hand grinder. In terms of aesthetics, it is easily the best manual burr grinder available.

4. Hario MSS-1B Mini Coffee Mill Slim Grinder

The Hario Slim is based on the same foundational mechanics as the Skerton, but features an even sleeker, more compact form. It is also the cheapest manual burr coffee grinder on the list, making it a fantastic value. Like the Skerton, the Slim produces grind uniformity similar to mid-range electronic grinders. Its grinds container also includes quantity markings, making it easier to discern how much ground coffee you need.

Because this hand burr grinder uses the same mechanics as the Skerton, it too suffers from wobbling burrs. On coarser grinds like French press, the seesawing burrs struggle to maintain the same consistency they handily produce on finer grinds.Given that the Hario Slim costs about as much as an entry-level blade grinder, and still manages to produce a much more uniform grind than electronic grinders 10 times its price, its issues are easily forgiven. If

Given that the Hario Slim costs about as much as an entry-level blade grinder, and still manages to produce a much more uniform grind than electronic grinders 10 times its price, its issues are easily forgiven. If price is your main purchasing factor, Hario Slim can be considered the best hand coffee grinder of the bunch.

5. Zassenhaus Beech Wood Closed-Hopper Coffee Mill - Model 151BU

The Zassenhaus 151BU is a beautiful, antique styled hand coffee grinder. It boasts excellent build quality, great performance, and an elegant aesthetics. Although it uses stainless steel burrs, it performs notably better than Hario’s line of grinders. This is because its sturdy construction prevents any significant burr wobbling, keeping your grinds uniform throughout its coarseness range.

The 151BU’s price and form keep it from ranking higher on the list. You can get an entry-level electronic burr grinder for cheaper, and a mid-level for slightly more. On the topic of its form, this hand burr grinder has an unwieldy cuboid form, making it the least ergonomic on this list.

Price and form considered, however, the Zassenhaus 151BU hand coffee grinder is still a great value, and especially worthwhile if you value performance and elegant aesthetics.

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Espresso Beans vs Coffee Beans

Zassenhaus

Zassenhaus makes the crème de la crème of manual coffee grinders. These grinders will probably last a life-time.

Espresso Beans vs Coffee Beans

Hario

Hario is a Japanese maker of high-quality manual coffee grinders, offering a number of more than decent grinders.

Espresso Beans vs Coffee Beans

Kyocera

Also from Japan, Kyocera produces a limited number of hand crank coffee grinders, which are a bit hard to get.

6. Hario Skerton Ceramic Coffee Mill

Perhaps the most popular hand burr grinder in North America, the Hario Skerton is also one of the second cheapest hand crank coffee grinder on the list. The Skerton is one of the most economical, high-performance grinders available, and it produces a grind consistency and uniformity akin to a medium-range electronic burr grinder. It is small, sturdy, and easy to hold.

The Skerton’s main issue is burr wobbling, which is more apparent on coarser grinds like French press. Force applied to the Skerton’s handle causes its burrs to seesaw, which impacts the uniformity of its produced grinds. While this issue is minor, it keeps the Skerton from being the best hand coffee grinder.

Even with the wobbling burrs, the Skerton produces a better grind than much more expensive electronic grinders. At a mere $30, it’s hard not to recommend this device.

Note: This is the same product as the Kyocera CM-50CF, only marketed under the Kyocera flag.

7. Hario Ceramic Coffee Mill Acrylic Box

Hario’s Acrylic Box manual burr grinder is one of the most convenient and affordable hand mills on the market. Its simplistic rectangular shape gives it several advantages in convenience, including ease of cleaning, storing, and tabletop grinding. Its ceramic burrs produce a great uniformity in grinds, akin to much more expensive mid-range burr grinders.

Its main issues arise from its subpar build quality, which is notably worse than any Zassenhaus or Kyocera-branded grinders. Its cheaper acrylic frame is flimsier than wood, glass, or even the other forms of plastic found on other hand crank coffee grinders. It also suffers from wobbling burrs, an issue that plagues most Hario branded grinders on the market. This causes a decrease in grinds uniformity on the coarsest settings of the device.

Although Hario’s Acrylic Box is not the best manual coffee grinder on the market, its convenience and low price point make it a serious contender in this list.

What about the other 3 manual coffee grinders in this Top 10?

Okay, you got us. There are only 7 manual coffee grinders in this list. Why? Well, there are certainly more manual coffee grinders on the market, but they are just not good enough for this list. After all, it is a list for the best manual coffee grinders. There’s no need in filling all 10 spots if number #8 / #9 / #10 aren’t worth your time. We keep a close eye on each new product coming out, like the ROK Coffee Grinder which made it right away to #2. 

A good hand crank coffee grinder isn't easily made, but lots of companies are trying, which is why we wanted to keep a few spots open just to be sure. So keep an eye on this list, as these are interesting times to be looking for a new manual grinder.

Our Best Pick: Porlex JP-30

Porlex JP-30 Stainless Steel Coffee Grinder
List Price: $50.99
Price: $50.99
Price Disclaimer
  • Please review the Zassenhaus 41064 (Panama). I am looking to replace my KYOCERA CM-45CF hand mill. Which has been a great little grinder sof several years. However it is falling appart from being dropped on the kitchen floor a few too many times 🙁

    • Hi,

      we are looking into reviewing specific products in the near future, so I will put this on the list. Did you find a good alternative on this manual grinder list though?

      Thanks!
      Jacco, Chief Grinder

  • Kitt

    I’m unable to find the Kyocera grinder you have ranked here; however they seem to have another one on their site. It’s called the Kyocera Slim Adjustable Coffee Mill. Do you happen to have any knowledge on its performance in relation to the previously ranked Kyocera mill?

    • Hi Kitt,

      sorry for the delay in reply. Too bad the Kyocera CM-45CF seems to be sold out, but we found a good replacement for now (The Porlex JP-30 Stainless Steel Coffee Grinder). We’ll keep an eye on the Kyocera, but expect a more detailed review of the Porlex as well in the near future.

      Thanks!
      Jacco, Chief Grinder

  • Paul

    Seems like the Kyocera CM-50CF is the replacement for the 45. About $35 at Amazon.

    • Hi,

      unfortunately, it is not a real replacement for the CM-45CF, it is actually the same model as the Hario Skerton (#5 on this list). This is why the CM-50CF isn’t on the list itself, but I have clarified this in the listing information. It is in fact a different grinder than the excellent CM-45CF, as your can read in article on Kyocera grinders. Basically due to usage of different materials you can’t really compare them. I would advise you to have a look at the current #1, the Porlex JP-30.

      Happy grinding!
      Jacco, Chief Grinder

  • Etto

    Hello, I have Zassenhaus Brasilia model. It requires really too much muscle power. Eventhough I try to hold the grinder firm it slips. I would like to buy another manual grinder. How are the kyocera or Hario models?

    • Hi,

      The #1 on this list, the Porlex JP-30 is getting good reviews when it comes to handling. It might require a different position to hold it, but it won’t require that much power. The Hario models are fine working examples as well, only the grind quality might differ from time to time.

      Hope this helps!
      Jacco

  • devin

    what about the porlex ground coffee result compare to kyocera cm 45-cf?

  • Elias

    How about the ROK grinder? Pricey for sure, but could you review it?

    • Nice one! I will see if we can do a review on this one, thanks!

  • Matt

    Why does no one seem to review the Lido 2? I think the Lido is at least as good as anything on this list and it’s the same price as the ROK. Why didn’t it make the cut?

    • Jacco

      Hi Matt,

      while it is an excellent grinder, it is also very expensive. It was considered when making the list, but at a price level of $200 is basically too expensive. Other grinders on this list offer roughly same grind consistency at half the price. Also, the Lido 2 isn’t the most convenient grinder to use, nor is it widely available. All these points together combined means it didn’t make the list. However, this is why we opened the comments 🙂
      So for those interested, this is the Amazon link: http://amzn.to/2euvePF (please note it is hard to get though).

      Thanks!
      Jacco
      Chief Grinder

  • Alejandro Moreno S.

    Was the Camano manual ceramic burr coffee grinder considered for comparison? They go for $89.
    http://www.redroostertradingcompany.com/shop/camano-coffee-mill/

    • Jacco

      Hi Alejandro,

      there are many manual grinders around, but not all of them stick out. It didn’t came up in the initial research, so thank you for adding. Cn you share any user experiences with this grinder yourself?
      Thanks,
      Jacco
      Chief Grinder

  • Daniel Vitiello

    Have you looked at including the Handground Precision Coffee Grinder in this list? It’s now the #1 New Release on Amazon for Manual Coffee Grinders http://amzn.to/2gDFcuO

    • Hi Daniel, thank you for mentioning that grinder. We are a bit cautious when adding new grinders to the list since there are many grinders popping up on Amazon, without an actual brand behind them. That doesn’t mean we only list the big brand grinders, but it would be helpful if a grinder has proven itself in the long run. Also, these new grinders tend to have lots of paid reviews which don’t necessarily reflect the real quality. But this is why we keep the comments open, for other coffee lovers like yourself to add new grinders which aren’t on our list, so thank you for adding this one!

      Jacco, Chief Grinder

    • Jacco

      Hi Daniel, thank you for mentioning that grinder. We are a bit cautious when adding new grinders to the list since there are many grinders popping up on Amazon, without an actual brand behind them. That doesn’t mean we only list the big brand grinders, but it would be helpful if a grinder has proven itself in the long run. Also, these new grinders tend to have lots of paid reviews which don’t necessarily reflect the real quality. But this is why we keep the comments open, for other coffee lovers like yourself to add new grinders which aren’t on our list, so thank you for adding this one!

      Jacco, Chief Grinder

      • Daniel Vitiello

        Hey Jacco, that is understandable. We started Handground over two years ago and developed it with the help of thousands of coffee enthusiasts.

        We’ve been transparent through the entire development and manufacturing process in our Kickstarter updates: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/handground/precision-coffee-grinder-better-grind-more-flavor/updates

        and on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/handground/

        I am one of the founders of Handground and was looking for contact information on your site to email you but couldn’t find any. If you are interested in testing out Handground yourself please email me at hello@handground.com

        • Jacco

          Hi Daniel,

          as discussed by mail, I jumped to conclusion too quick, and I will be personally testing the grinder you send me and publish a review on this site to share with my readers. Thanks!

          Jacco, Chief Grinder