Just because you are on the go, doesn’t mean that you should have to sacrifice your coffee-drinking experience.
For many people, traveling means heading out to places where there isn’t power, so a manual coffee grinder is a must. However, travelers aren’t the only ones that enjoy the effort of a manual coffee grinder. Some coffee enthusiasts swear that manual grinders are better because they produce less heat.
Whatever your reason, finding a manual coffee grinder can be a challenge. Picking the best manual coffee grinder for you from hundreds if not thousands of options can be daunting.
So, to help you with this task, we offer up a helpful buying guide and five great manual coffee grinders to help you find the best manual coffee grinder for your needs.
How to Choose a Manual Coffee Grinder
Picking a good manual coffee grinder doesn’t have to be a difficult process if you know what to look for. If you’ve never shopped for a coffee grinder, there are some product features that are really important to get a quality product.
Below, we give you some of the product features that we think are best when it comes to selecting the best manual coffee grinder.
Blade vs. Burr
Coffee grinders come with two different chopping mechanisms; burrs and blades. Generally, burrs are preferred by coffee enthusiasts because they provide a better quality grind and more consistently sized grounds. Blade grinders are fine, and for some people work well.
You will, however, struggle to find a manual coffee grinder that uses blades. Most manual grinders use burrs. In order to get blades to work efficiently there needs to be a lot of speed behind the blades for them to work well, and that generally requires some sort of power source.
While there is a range of capacities for manual coffee grinders, they generally don’t have the same capacity size as your countertop version. When considering capacity, you’ll need to think about where you are using your manual coffee grinder.
If you’re taking out in the woods on a backpacking trip, you’re going to want to make just enough grounds for a single cup of coffee. On the other hand, if you want the joy of hand grinding your beans at home, you can certainly look for a manual grinder that has a larger capacity.
You’re not going to find too many large-size manual coffee grinders. For the most part, all manual grinders are super portable. They really are great for travel and fitting into small spaces.
Manual grinders also tend to be constructed of pretty durable materials, so they are able to handle being shoved in your suitcase or tucked into your backpack.
The other great thing about manual grinders is that because there are no electric parts, you don’t have to be tied to a power source. This lack of electric parts also means that if you are cleaning and maintaining your manual coffee grinder properly, it should last you for many years.
Some of the higher-end manual grinders have burrs that are better than you’ll find in most countertop electric grinders.
If you are looking for a grinder that gives you a wide range of grind sizes, you’ll be disappointed with manual grinders. This isn’t to say that they aren’t able to adjust to a variety of sizes.
With your manual grinder, you might have 10 grind size options whereas your countertop version gives you 30 plus options.
Most portable grinders do a good job of making fine to coarse grinds. This should be enough versatility to allow you to enjoy your favorite type of coffee just about anywhere you go.
Price is the biggest surprise with manual coffee grinders. Because most manual coffee grinders use good quality burrs and lack the electronics, you can expect to get the same result from an inexpensive manual grinder that you get from a mid-priced electric grinder.
The value of manual grinders is that when cared for properly they can last for years. The anticipated lifespan of most electric grinders (even the most expensive) is maybe two years. So, for a smaller price, you get a similar grind result, from a product that will last longer.
This makes a manual grinder a great value if you’re willing to do the work.
Ease of Cleaning
The simplicity of the manual coffee grinder tends to make it easier to take apart for cleaning. However, that isn’t always the case. You may not know the challenges of cleaning a manual coffee grinder until the first time you try to clean it.
A couple of things to look for on product descriptions include parts that are dishwasher safe and accessories like brushes or other tools that help you get inside the grinder so that you can properly clean all of the moving parts.
Quick Overview: Our Top Picks for Manual Coffee Grinder
|Manual Coffee Grinder by JavaPresse||VIEW ON AMAZONSee Customer Reviews|
|Hario "Skerton Pro" Ceramic Manual Coffee Grinder||VIEW ON AMAZONSee Customer Reviews|
|TIMEMORE Chestnut C2 Manual Coffee Grinder||VIEW ON AMAZONSee Customer Reviews|
|1Zpresso JX S Manual Coffee Grinder||VIEW ON AMAZONSee Customer Reviews|
|Manual Coffee Grinder VEVOK CHEF||VIEW ON AMAZONSee Customer Reviews|
Our Top 5 Best Manual Coffee Grinders
Now that you know how to pick a manual coffee grinder, it’s time for us to give you some of our picks for the best manual coffee grinders.
You’ll find that we offer you some variety in the options. This allows you to pick a grinder that fits your particular coffee style and where you’ll be using your manual coffee grinder.
1. Manual Coffee Grinder by JavaPresse
Our pick for the best manual coffee grinder is from JavaPresse. This compact manual coffee grinder is affordably priced, compact, and made from really durable materials. This coffee grinder is ideal for travel, but would also make a great coffee grinder for a small kitchen or the person that just needs a single cup of coffee.
Inside the JavaPresse you’ll find lightweight and super-durable ceramic conical burrs. These burrs give you a consistent grind and make easy work of your coffee beans.
The grinder can be adjusted for a range of grind sizes. The JavaPresse has 18 unique grind settings, making this one of the most versatile manual grinders you can find.
On the outside, the JavaPresse is made from brushed stainless steel, making it durable enough to handle travel, picnics, tailgating, or even just a normal day in your kitchen.
The grinder holds enough beans and grinds for a couple of cups of coffee. Additionally, the crank handle is removable and is stored in the bean hopper for compact storage.
- Affordably priced at less than $50
- Compact design fits in just about any cabinet, bag or storage bin
- No electric motor means super quiet operation
- 18 different grind size settings.
- Grind quality can be a bit inconsistent
- Takes more time to grind than an electric grinder
- The click system for adjusting grind size is confusing at first
2. Hario “Skerton Pro” Ceramic Manual Coffee Grinder
The Hario Skerton Pro manual coffee grinder is a nice option if you want to grind your own coffee, but don’t really want to invest in an electric coffee grinder for your kitchen. While the compact size of this manual coffee grinder would be ideal for travel, the materials it’s made from aren’t as travel-friendly.
Hario is well-known for its V60 pour-over cone. The Skerton Pro is a great complement to that coffee maker. The Skerton Pro uses high-quality conical ceramic burrs which are long-lasting and durable.
The design of this grinder is quite unique and it looks really cool in your kitchen. The rest of the grinder is a combination of plastic, glass, and rubber gaskets.
The capacity of the Skerton Pro is a bit smaller than other manual grinders. It only holds 100 grams of coffee grinds. This is ideal for a small pour-over or to fill your AeroPress, but if you’re looking for a larger cup of coffee the Hario isn’t a great option.
The grinder of the Skerton Pro does have a nice grind size adjustment. It uses a click adjustment process, so more clicks make a finer grind while fewer clicks make a coarser grind.
One other feature that we like about the Skerton Pro is that you can increase the grind capacity by simply replacing the glass container that comes with the grinder with a mason jar.
The Hario is a bit more expensive than some other manual grinders. However, we think that the quality of construction and the improvements made from the previous version, make the Hario a good value for your kitchen.
- Has one of the most consistent grind results
- Glass jar holds 100 grams of coffee grinds
- Disassembles easily for cleaning or maintenance
- Grinds jar can be swapped with a mason jar for greater capacity
- Rubber base holds the grinder securely in place
- There’s no indicator to tell you what grind setting you’re on.
- Hand crank doesn’t stay on very well
- Ceramic burrs don’t give a good coarse grind from time to time
- The styling is boring
3. TIMEMORE Chestnut C2 Manual Coffee Grinder
The Timemore Chestnut C2 manual coffee grinder is one of the coolest-looking manual grinders on our list. It also fits well into the category of affordable coffee grinders as well. At less than $70, this grinder works exceptionally well and is a perfect kitchen or travel companion.
Inside the Chestnut C2 you’ll find CNC stainless steel conical burrs. These are some of the sharpest coffee grinder burrs we have seen, and they work quite well at grinding your coffee.
The larger 38-millimeter burrs make quick work of your coffee beans, even if you are looking for a fine grind for espresso. This grinder works best with medium to coarse grind settings, making it ideal for a French Press, an AeroPress, or even a small pour-over.
Grind adjustment on the C2 is achieved using a stepped grind system that gives you 36 different grind sizes. When it comes to the versatility of grinders on our list, the Timemore is by far the most capable of a range of grind sizes.
From our perspective, the Timemore is a nice entry-level manual grinder. While we like the gridded aluminum body of this grinder, it really doesn’t have the same level of durability as stainless steel. Aluminum is lightweight and can be a great option for travel, but aluminum just doesn’t perform as well as sturdier materials.
- High-quality stainless steel conical burrs
- Nice range of grind sizes
- Easier and faster grinding mechanism
- Reasonable price for the product quality
- Lower-quality body construction (aluminum and plastic parts)
- Only holds 25 grams of grinds
4. 1Zpresso JX S Manual Coffee Grinder
When you compare the 1Zpresso JX to other manual grinders you might be taken aback by the price. However, this is one of the best manual grinders on the market, and when compared to the price of a similarly performing electric grinder the JX is an outstanding value for the price.
One of the first things that you’ll notice about the 1Zpresso JX is the styling of this manual coffee grinder. This grinder is made to make a statement whether you’re using it in your kitchen or for travel. The stainless steel body with rubber grip and the unique crank with wooden handle are a beauty to behold.
However, this grinder isn’t just a great-looking item. Inside the grinder, you’ll find extra large, 48-millimeter stainless steel burrs. These larger-size burrs make quick work of your coffee beans, even if you’re looking for an extra fine grind.
The JX uses a stepped grind adjustment inside the grinder. This is typical for this level of grinder and really gives you a ton of adjustment and variability in grind size. This grinder is able to make extra fine grinds, but it may not be ideal for some espresso machines.
The 1Zpresso JX disassembles far more completely than other manual grinders. The grinder mechanism and burrs completely disassemble for deep cleaning maintenance. The grinder even comes with cleaning tools and detailed instructions on the proper way to disassemble, clean, and reassemble the grinder.
- Best grind consistency of the products we considered
- Large burrs grind faster than other manual grinders
- Exceptional quality construction and materials
- Stylish design
- More expensive than other options
- Larger size is not easy for everyone to handle
- Not as compact as other options, may not be ideal for travel
5. VEVOK CHEF Manual Coffee Grinder
The Vevok Chef manual coffee grinder is completely different in terms of size, quality, and performance from any of the products we’ve offered to this point. This grinder is reasonably priced, but it is one of the easiest to use and gives the most consistent grind results of the products in this list.
Sure, the Vevok Chef is a bit smaller than other options, but it comes with one of the best conical burrs you can find. The CNC steel burr performs smoothly and quickly so you don’t have to work extra hard to get ground coffee.
This ease of use is further improved with a longer hand crank which provides additional force to the burrs for easy, consistent grinding.
The Vevok Chef does only hold 20 grams of grinds, so it really is ideal for a single person or for travel. The compact size makes this grinder perfect for camping, hiking, or backpacking.
The hand crank detaches and stores with the grinder in the handy included storage bag. The Vevok Chef comes in three different stainless steel finishes, so you can select the one that fits your kitchen or style best.
- Affordable price and a good value
- Easier to operate than most other grinders
- Grind sizes are marked so there’s no guesswork
- Extra sharp burrs make grinding fast
- This grinder only has five different grind sizes
- Not as easy to clean, and instructions for disassembly are not great
- Doesn’t do well at fine grinds. Not ideal for espresso
Best Manual Coffee Grinders – Final Thoughts
A good manual coffee grinder allows you to enjoy coffee no matter where you go. Most people select a manual coffee grinder to use when they are traveling or away from home. However, they are also great additions to your home coffee routine.
Our pick for the best manual coffee grinder is attractively styled to fit nicely in your kitchen, but is also compact enough for travel. The JavaPresse manual coffee grinder performs well, is easy to use, and makes a range of grind sizes for a variety of coffee drinks.
If you are considering a manual coffee grinder, and our pick, the JavaPresse isn’t what you’re looking for, we hope our other options and helpful buying guide will lead you to the best manual coffee grinder for your kitchen or travel coffee-making needs.