We know what you’re thinking: why are you reading about the best hand coffee grinder when there’s an abundance of electric grinders on the market? What is this, the 1800s?
While drinking high-quality coffee has become trendier in recent years, some of the basic tenets for making a good brew haven’t changed. One of the factors that make for a great cup of coffee is the grind.
While a blade-style coffee grinder chops up your roasted beans into a material that’s suitable for a drip coffeemaker, it’s not consistent enough to be used in any other coffeemaker.
Whether you use a French press, espresso maker or something in between, you’ll get better, more reliable flavor when you grind the beans using a burr-style grinder.
Handground Precision Grinder
The hand coffee grinders in this article all use burrs to grind the coffee beans. They also have several other benefits. Manual coffee grinders are portable. You can bring them with you when you go camping, stay at a hotel or work late nights at the office. They also tend to be more affordable than their electric counterparts. They allow you to get a comprehensive barista experience even if you don’t want to spring for a more expensive electric grinder.
In this article you will find the best hand coffee grinder for 2017, along with its pros & cons. You will also find an alternative, along with a comprehensive report of how it differs from the #1. We have also included a more pricier alternative, to show you what you can get if you raise your budget.
Best Choice for Hand Coffee Grinder
Best Alternative Hand Coffee Grinder
Best Budget Hand Coffee Grinder
The goal of each of the reviews on Let's Grind Some Coffee is to do an insane amount of research, so you don't have to anymore. We work with a number of talented and experienced writers, who know what they're talking about. Each writer is responsible for conducting his/her own research, so there's no miscommunication possible. When doing this article we only owned the Handground Precision Grinder. For conducting this article we used other product reviews, customers comments, and instruction videos and manuals.
Sometimes we've had the products in our hands to test it directly, but in most cases, we rely on other espresso machine reviews, product manuals, comment sections, Youtube videos, forum discussion and so on. This way you don't only get our opinion, but a collective opinion of experts all around the globe.
By combining all of our findings in our reviews, each article should serve as your definite resource to base your decisions on. As the research can get quite extensive, our individual product reviews tend to be very long and detailed. However, when making a "Best Pick" article like this one we try to be as comprehensive as possible. We will break down the pros and cons of each product as clearly as possible, so you know what you're buying. If you want to learn more about a product you can read its longer and more detailed review.
We base our "Best Choice" on a couple of points, including:
The feature set, build quality/durability and output quality. After we rate each finding, we have a look at its price. We want you to be able to afford the product you're interested. It's easy to get a maximum score with a product costing $5,000+. While this ultimately may be the best product you can get, its price tag will prevent most people from being able to afford it. Therefore, the price of a product is an important consideration before declaring a product the best.
For each category, we list the following options:
- What is the overall best product, based on price vs. quality?
- What is the best product under $XX (where we use a relevant budget)?
- What is the best product is money is not an issue?
This way we think we can satisfy anyone looking for a product, as well as being able to show what you can get for each different price range. After all, it's up to you whether you think a better product is worth its money, we just make sure you know what you're getting.
Don't hesitate to leave any feedback or questions in the comment section. We're more than happy to help. We're always open to adding relevant information to the article if there's an omission or if something is unclear, just let us know.
We’ve done the dirty work and reviewed the best hand crank coffee grinders so that you don’t have to drink thousands of cups of coffee to figure it out yourself. Although that might not be the worst thing in the world, it might get expensive, to say the least.
We definitely have a favourite best manual coffee grinder. However, we know that everyone doesn’t have the same tastes. We’ll let you know what we consider to be the best alternative to our overall favourite. We also detail the best budget alternatives in our manual coffee grinder reviews.
Go ahead, grab a cup of coffee and settle down to read about the best hand coffee grinders of 2017.
If you like to experiment with different types of coffee, this grinder may be ideal for you. The Handground Precision Coffee Grinder is an excellent all-around grinder. It’s the one we personally use because it’s so versatile. You can read our full review here.
The grind is so consistent that you won’t have floaters in your French press brew. You can see the uniformity with your naked eye. The ceramic burrs stay cool as you grind.
Metal burrs, which are used on some other grinders, can get hot and deliver a burnt taste to your coffee. Manual grinders typically reduce this problem, however, since they can only be as powerful as their motor—you.
In fact, Handground reports that many electric grinders have false burrs in them. Although the companies refer to them as burrs, they hack up the coffee beans much like a blade would.
Many manual grinders have a horizontal handle on top. These can be challenging to operate. If they’re not narrow enough to grip with your hand, it can be hard to keep them stable while cranking.
The Handground Precision Coffee Grinder’s handle is on the side. This allows you to push down on the unit from the top with one hand as you crank it with the other, creating more stability.
Some users have said that they still don’t feel like this grinder is completely stable while cranking. However, most people say that the handle turns easily without much force, and the unit has minimal wobble. You probably need more patience than strength when operating this hand crank coffee grinder.
To Burr or not to Burr?
Burr grinders are far superior to blade grinders, as they allow for a more consistent grind. Two burr are rotated against each other to grind the coffee, with different grind setting to get the grind as fine or coarse as you need.
To Burr or not to Burr?
Pros & Cons
If you want to know more about this hand grinder, check out our Handground Coffee Grinder Review.
The name Zassenhaus is synonymous with quality in the coffee world. This German-made stainless steel manual coffee mill is reliable and produces a consistent grind.
As mentioned in the Handground Precision Coffee Grinder review, hand crank coffee grinders with the handle positioned on top can be difficult to operate if they’re overly broad. The Zassenhaus is slim and fits neatly in the palm of your hand.
In other words, it’s tiny. You can pop it in your bag to tote to the office or while you’re traveling. That’s convenient. However, if you’re making several cups of coffee at home, the small size may be frustrating. You won’t use this grinder for commercial purposes, that’s for sure.
If you must drink a shot of espresso as soon as you wake up in the morning, however, you won’t wake up the whole house while grinding the beans. The burrs in this grinder are made of steel, which can get hotter than ceramic. However, you won’t likely be grinding with enough power to heat them up.
One of the downsides of this grinder is the plastic collection container. As it fills up, the grounds move against the plastic. This creates static electricity. When you empty the collection cup, the top layer of grounds usually ends up all over your counter.
Some users have found that the collection cup loosens over time. This makes it difficult to keep it connected to the rest of the grinder as you rotate the handle.
While many people say that turning the handle requires little effort, there is one consistent complaint. The thumb knob does not rotate. Therefore, it creates friction against your fingers as you turn the handle. Placing a soft cloth or towel over the knob as you grind can solve this issue, however.
You can produce anything from coarse to fine grounds with the Zassenhaus. However, you may find some inconsistency in the coarser settings. The farther apart the burrs are set, the more uneven the grind may be.
All in all, this is a high-quality, reliable grinder. The only thing keeping this from the top spot is the size. Zassenhaus does make other sizes of manual grinders, which are detailed in our Zassenhaus coffee grinder article.
Pros & Cons
This small grinder is made of stainless steel and looks a lot like the Zassenhaus Panama. The Porlex is made by a Japanese company that is known for its excellent food mills. In our detailed review, we explain why it’s as much a work of art as it is functional.
The Porlex is compact, which makes it convenient for travel. One of our favorite things about this grinder is that the handle can be removed. If you’re stashing it in a suitcase or backpack, this feature makes the grinder even more streamlined. It also reduces the risk of damaging it.
Don’t be afraid to take this grinder camping or boating. Its durable composition will stand up to getting knocked around a little bit.
With a capacity for about 30 g of beans, it’s also a little larger than the Zassenhaus.
The conical burrs are ceramic. They produce a cool grind and won’t rust. They also produce less static and tend to move more smoothly even after a great deal of use.
Twelve grind settings make Turkish coffee to French roast. As with most burr-style grinders, if you desire an extremely coarse grind, you might find some powder in it. The adjustment knob is located at the base of the grinder. To get the right setting, you’ll need to screw the knob in tightly. Then, loosen it as you count the number of clicks.
While most users say that the grinder is easy to adjust, there’s no visual indicator of the grind setting.You’ll need to rotate the dial 1 to 2 clicks for extra-fine Turkish coffee, 3 to 4 clicks for espresso, 5 to 6 clicks for medium-fine Aeropress coffee, 7 to 8 clicks for filtered drip coffee, 9 to 10 clicks for a percolator and 11 to 12 clicks for a French press.
The collection container is made out of aluminum. You won’t be able to see the coffee grounds as they fill it up. However, the metal produces less static electricity than a plastic cup would.That makes it less messy to empty than the Zassenhaus. The metal collection container is less prone to breaking than a plastic or glass container would be. Plus, it fits perfectly in an Aeropress, reducing the risk of mess even further. Even Cult of Mac uses the Porlex in combination with the Aeropress on the road.
Pros & Cons
If you want to know more about this grinder, check out our Porlex grinder review.
If you want the breadth and richness of flavor offered by grinding your own beans but don’t want to invest a lot of money into a grinder, you can still get a decent budget version in the Hario. You get what you pay for, however, and some users still prefer the quality of the Zassenhaus or Porlex. However, the Hario has its own group of fans.
The grinder is almost as small as the two previous compact models. The entire unit is less than 8 inches tall. The compact size fits well on your countertop and is suitable for travel.
Those who wish to stay away from plastic may prefer the glass collection container. However, the glass makes it less durable for travel than the others that we reviewed here.
If your glass container chips or breaks, you can replace it with a Mason jar. The Hario has the same threads as a narrow-mouthed glass Mason jar. This ups its versatility factor and makes us less worried about the breakage aspect. This Reddit thread explains why the Mason jar compatibility makes the Hario perfect for creating cold-brew coffee.
One of the biggest drawbacks is that the burrs are not sufficiently reinforced along the axis. This allows them to wobble just enough to produce an inconsistent grind. There are upgrade kits that you can buy to improve this function. However, do you really want to put more money and time into a budget manual grinder?
Unlike the other products we reviewed, the Hario tends to put out uneven grounds at the medium coarseness settings. If you prefer your coffee very coarse or very fine, you might be pleasantly surprised.
If you don’t know what you’re doing, the instructions might not help. However, you can find videos and tutorials for using the Hario online.
There are no markings that indicate the grind settings. If you tend to just make one type of coffee, that won’t be a problem. However, alternating between different levels of coarseness can be challenging. You’ll have to keep track of how many times you rotate the adjustable screw.
Pros & Cons
There are many reasons to get a manual grinder as opposed to an electric grinder. Maybe you have to prove your commitment to a better cup of coffee before investing more money in a more expensive grinder. Perhaps you don’t have the counter space for anything but a small grinder.
Do you want to be able to make a great cup of coffee on the road? If so, a manual grinder is ideal and requires no electricity. If you don’t want to wake your family up with a sound akin to a jet engine, a manual grinder can help you make a quieter cup of coffee.
All of these grinders offer great quality and value. When it comes to making a decision, it really just might come down to size, durability and intended use. If you have any questions, please let us know in the comments.