Updated 4/1/2018 with Hario Mini-Slim Plus
The best manual coffee grinder is the one that is the most convenient the use, has the best grind quality, last a lifetime (or at least quite a few years), and comes at an affordable price. Luckily, we found a few that match these requirements.
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.
Check it out: We made a new list: Best Hand Coffee Grinder of 2017.
Based on features, convenience, performance, excellent build quality and great value for your money, we present you:
The Best Manual Grinder of 2018
(Tip: Look for full reviews below each grinder for more details!)
Handground Precision Grinder
We have a new #1 for the best manual coffee grinder position, the Handground Precision Coffee Grinder. We recently got the chance to test it out ourselves, and we were more than pleased with the results. It produces anything from fine espresso grind to coarse French Press grind, with a high consistency. It also works much easier than most manual grinders on this list, due to its selecting dial. Its larger size allows for grinding up to 100 grams of beans in one run, more than enough for many cups of coffee. Initiated as a Kickstarter project, this grinder has been made with the input of 1000's of users, which is clearly noticeable when you start using it. A more detailed review is coming soon.
The Porlex JP-30 is great for anyone looking to become a grinding pro. It is a cheap device, capable of producing fine, consistent grind. It's easy to take along as well. But, it does come with some issues. It's a bit difficult to maintain the grind settings, as the settings nut may come loose. Also, the crank has a tendency to come loose in the longer run as well. This device might require some tweaks to keep it working. Now that we have a better alternative in place, it was time to move it to #2.
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.
When the people behind Handground reached out to us to promote their grinder, we were originally a bit skeptical. You can see the discussion in the comment section of this article below. There are many manual coffee grinders found on Amazon, and most of them are simply not worth you time or money.
So we agreed to have Handground sent over a grinder for us to test. And boy, was it worth it! It is a large (100 gram bean hopper), but very convenient grinder. It produces anything from fine espresso grind to coarse French press grind, and I was especially pleased with the consistency of the grind. The espresso grind allowed me to brew a delicious espresso, perhaps even better than my $200+ electric burr grinder. The coarse setting was perfect for French press as well, with hardly any residue sipping through the filter of my French press.
I also noticed no wubbling in the crank, nor any troubles in maintaining the right grind settings (which are the two main drawbacks for the Porlex JP-30 at #2). It has a grind selector ring with 15 different settings, which works very easy and it doesn't require any fumbling with a nut like most manual grinders.
We recently did a very extensive review, check it out:
Handground Coffee Grinder Review
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 one of the best hand coffee grinders 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. The crank also may come loose or gets wobbly in the long run, it's just not as properly designed as the rest of the 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.
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.
If you're into manual coffee grinding but want your grinding to have a more vintage look, you're going to love this list.
Turkish coffee grinders are purpose-built for making the finest Turkish coffee grinders, which is quite a treat.
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.
Hario Ceramic Coffee Mill "Mini-Slim"
Hario Ceramic Coffee Mill "Mini-Slim Plus"
The Hario Mini-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 price is your main purchasing factor, Hario Slim can be considered the best hand coffee grinder of the bunch.
In 2018, Hario released an updated version of the Mini-Slim called the Hario Mini-Slim Plus. For an extra $5, you get a reinforced hexagonal design that prevents slippage of the handle and an increased capacity of 30g, compared to 24g of the older model.
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.
Zassenhaus makes the crème de la crème of manual coffee grinders. These grinders will probably last a life-time.
Hario is a Japanese maker of high-quality manual coffee grinders, offering a number of more than decent grinders.
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.
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.
Okay, you got us. There are only 9 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 #10 isn’t worth your time. We keep a close eye on each new product coming out, like the Handground Precision Coffee Grinder which is the new #1.
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.