The rapid pace of innovation in the coffee space makes finding the perfect grinder a quest in itself. Each year, a deluge of new brands and models floods the market, each promising to revolutionize the coffee grinding space.
From advanced burr sets that offer unparalleled grind consistency to smart technology that allows for precise adjustments, the options are endless.
Our guide to the best manual coffee grinders is designed to help navigate through this complex landscape. We’ve bought all the most popular and highest rated hand crank grinders on the market and put them to the test.
Below you’ll find the results of our in depth testing to see what hand grinders are still good in 2023 and which ones are past their sell by date.
Our Top Rated Manual Coffee Grinder Picks
We tested more than 40 of the best manual coffee grinders over the course of several months. This includes older models, new releases and the highest rated products we could find online. Here’s the results of our tests:
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|Comandante C40 MK4||
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|1Zpresso Jx Pro||
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|Timemore Chesnut C3 Max Hand Grinder||
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|Hario Skerton Pro||
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- Precision grind adjustment with 50 divisions per revolution
- 47mm steel burrs for optimal grind consistency
- Fantastic at espresso and filter coffee
- Titanium-coated burrs
- 8.8 micron click adjustments for exact dialing in of espresso
- Oustanding performance and value for money
- High-nitrogen steel burrs for exceptional durability
- Premium look, feel and performance
- Makes delicious coffee with lots of clarity and sweetness
- External dial for quick, user-friendly grind adjustments
- 48mm K-Burr design maximizes speed and efficiency
- Capable all-rounder that makes great espresso and pour overs
- Large 70g hopper capacity
- Manufactured in America
- Very good for dialing in espresso
- Lightweight and compact, ideal for travel with Aeropress compatibility
- 38mm conical stainless steel burrs for consistent grinding
- Excellent entry level grinder for filter coffee
- Super fast grind speed at about 1g per second
- Highly portable at 780 grams, ideal for travel and outdoor use
- Exceptional value with top-tier performance across grind sizes
- High quality build and construction
- Larger 30g capacity
- Affordable without compromising on grind consistency
- Large hopper capacity for batch grinding
- Non-slip rubber base for stable grinding
- Good choice of entry level coffee grinders
How We Test And Rate Hand Grinders
Our evaluation process is both rigorous and methodical, designed to put each manual coffee grinder through its paces in a real-world coffee brewing environment. Here’s a closer look at the specific criteria we use to test and rate each manual coffee grinder:
Build Quality, Parts, and Construction
We meticulously examine each grinder’s build quality. From the robustness of the burrs to the sturdiness of the body and handle, every component is evaluated. We even disassemble the grinder to inspect the internal parts, gauging their quality and how they contribute to the grinder’s overall durability.
Workflow and User Experience
Ease of use is paramount. We evaluate the intuitiveness of grind adjustments, handle ergonomics, and overall workflow. We also consider the ease of cleaning and maintenance.
We test the grinder’s versatility across brew methods. Can it produce a fine enough grind for a balanced espresso and a coarse enough grind for French press? We measure grind sizes in microns and note the range of settings available.
Consistency is king. We sift the grounds using a Kruve sifter to measure particle size distribution. We also test the grinder at different settings to see if it maintains consistency across the board or if it is best suited to one particular style of coffee.
An inconsistent grind will lead to uneven extraction, resulting in a weak espresso or muddy, bitter pour-over (2).
We time how long it takes to grind a set amount of coffee beans. We’re looking for a balance between speed and manual effort. The grinder should be efficient without requiring excessive force.
Taste of Coffee
The ultimate test. We brew coffee using the grounds from each grinder and evaluate the cup. We’re looking for clarity, body, and a range of flavors that make a well-rounded cup. We use various brew methods to ensure the grinder performs well universally.
By considering these factors, we aim to give you a comprehensive understanding of each grinder’s performance, helping you make an informed decision.
Why We Rank These As The Best Hand Crank Coffee Grinders in 2023
We’ve been blown away by the Kinu M47, and it’s not just hype. When we dial in our grind settings, the 50 divisions per revolution give us an unparalleled level of control. This is especially crucial for us when we’re fine-tuning our espresso shots. The 47mm steel burrs are a masterpiece in engineering, delivering a grind consistency that we’ve found to be game-changing for all brew methods, from espresso to French press.
In terms of build quality, we can’t help but admire the Kinu M47 grinder. It’s not just robust; it’s a joy to use. The ergonomic design fits comfortably in our hands, making even long grinding sessions surprisingly effortless. We’ve found that the steel construction not only adds years to its lifespan but also provides a satisfying heft that makes the grinding action incredibly smooth. This is a grinder we know we’ll be using for years, and it feels like a worthy investment every time we handle it.
But where the Kinu M47 really wins us over is in the cup. We’ve noticed a significant difference in the clarity, body, and flavor of our coffee. Whether we’re pulling an espresso shot that reveals intricate tasting notes or brewing a French press that captures the full-bodied richness of the beans, this grinder delivers.
This stellar performance does come with a more expensive price tag, but the Kinu M47 is worth every cent. In a sea of choices, the Kinu M47 stands out as our top rated hand grinder.
We’ve been thoroughly impressed with the 1Zpresso J-Max, particularly for its prowess in espresso grinding. The nearly stepless adjustment system, offering 8.8 microns per click, allows us to dial in our espresso shots with surgical precision. The 48mm titanium-coated burrs are a marvel, delivering a grind consistency that has elevated our espresso game. When we’re chasing those elusive tasting notes, this grinder gives us the control we crave.
The build quality of the J-Max is nothing short of premium. We love the tactile experience it offers; the rubbery texture on the handle and the sandblasted, gunmetal finish make every grind session feel like an event. It’s compact yet substantial, fitting comfortably in our hands without feeling cumbersome. The 35-40g capacity is more than sufficient for our daily brewing needs, and it’s a feature we’ve come to appreciate, especially when we’re serving espresso to friends and family.
But what seals the deal for us is the grinder’s performance in the cup. The J-Max’s fine-tuning capabilities have allowed us to explore a wide range of coffees, each with its own set of complex flavor profiles, clarity, and sweetness.
Whether we’re grinding for a rich and robust espresso or a complex and nuanced Turkish coffee, the J-Max delivers every time. It’s not just a grinder; for us, it’s an essential tool in our coffee-making arsenal.
The Comandante C40 Mk4 has been a revelation for our pour-over game, and it’s not just talk. The 39mm high-alloy, high-nitrogen steel burrs are a feat of engineering that deliver a grind consistency we’ve found to be transformative for pour-over brewing.
Each click adjusts the grind size by approximately 30 microns, giving us the control we need to extract all the nuanced flavors and aromas from our beans.
In terms of build quality, the C40 Mk4 hand grinder is a masterpiece. The German engineering shines through every component, from the stainless steel body to the oakwood pommel. The grinder is not just sturdy; it’s a pleasure to use. Weighing 150 grams less than its predecessor, the Mk3, it offers a more comfortable grinding experience without sacrificing durability. The new engine frame minimizes bean retention and fines, making our workflow smoother. This is a grinder that feels like it’s built to last a lifetime, and every time we use it, we’re reminded of its exceptional quality.
The quality of the C40 Mk4 also stands out in the cup. The clarity, body, and complexity of our pour-over brews have reached new heights. Whether we’re brewing a light Ethiopian Yirgacheffe that bursts with floral notes or a full-bodied Colombian that showcases rich, chocolatey undertones, this grinder delivers. The uniform particle size ensures optimal extraction, resulting in a cup that’s balanced yet complex, with a clarity that lets each tasting note shine.
The 1Zpresso K-Ultra is a revelation in hand grinding, and it’s our top pick for an all-rounder. The grinder’s 48mm heptagonal stainless steel burrs are nothing short of engineering brilliance, delivering a grind consistency that’s equally adept at handling fine espresso grinds and coarser settings for pour-over and French press. The external adjustment mechanism offers 100 clicks per rotation, each corresponding to a 20-micron change, allowing us to dial in our brews with unparalleled precision. This level of control is a game-changer, especially when we’re switching between different brew methods.
When it comes to build quality, the K-Ultra is a masterclass in design and craftsmanship. The blend of wood, polycarbonate, silicone, stainless steel, and aluminum alloy results in a grinder that’s both aesthetically pleasing and robust. The foldable handle and 700-gram weight make it a travel-friendly option without sacrificing grind efficiency. The magnetic 40g catch cup, non-slip rubber grip, cleaning brush, and travel case are thoughtful additions that enhance the overall user experience.
The best part about the K-Ultra is the coffee it brews. Whether we’re making espresso or AeroPress, a V60 or cold brew this grinder delivers consistently. The clarity and complexity we achieved in our extensive testing was remarkable regardless of whether we were grinding fine or coarse. As a jack of all trades grinder, the K-Ultra is superb.
The Lido 3 is a testament to American ingenuity, crafted by Orphan Espresso, a company known for its innovative approach to coffee gear. While it may lack the sleek aesthetics of its competitors, it compensates with a robust build quality that’s distinctly American.
The grinder’s size, larger than most modern hand grinders, isn’t just for show; it contributes to its durability and long lifespan. The heft of the grinder, combined with its ergonomic design, makes the grinding process feel more like a ritual than a chore. It’s a piece of machinery that feels built to last, and in a market flooded with disposable gadgets, that’s a refreshing change.
While the Lido 3 won’t win any beauty contests, it holds its own when it comes to performance. It delivers a cup that’s rich in flavor and complexity and is versatile enough to grind for both espresso and filter coffee. It’s definitely not the best grinder on the list, but it’s a solid all rounder.
And for those looking to support American businesses without compromising on quality, the Lido 3 is a compelling option.
The 1Zpresso Q2 is a really good option for frequent travelers, campers and backpackers. Its lightweight and compact design, weighing just 405 grams, makes it the ideal travel companion.
It’s not just the portability that impresses us; the build quality is top-notch. The brushed aluminum alloy exterior combined with a faux-wood grip zone gives it a premium feel, defying its budget-friendly price tag.
But what makes the Q2 grinder a standout is its value proposition. It delivers a level of grind consistency that rivals many electric grinders, all without breaking the bank.
The dual bearing system ensures stable and consistent particle sizes across a range of settings. While it may take a bit of elbow grease to achieve a fine espresso grind, the flavor payoff is well worth the effort.
For those who prioritize portability and are working within a budget, the 1Zpresso Q2 is an unbeatable choice.
1Zpresso grinders are some of the best manual grinders in the world. The 1Zpresso JX-Pro is a speed demon, grinding at a rate of 1g per second, which is much faster than the majority of the best coffee grinders that are handheld.
This is largely thanks to its large 48mm steel conical burrs, which not only ensure a consistent grind but also make quick work of any bean type. The grinder’s robust construction, combining aluminum alloy and anti-slip rubber, adds to its efficiency, allowing for a firm grip and smooth operation.
The 35-gram capacity is generous enough for most brewing needs, and the easy disassembly makes cleaning a breeze. This is the grinder you want when every second counts, whether you’re rushing to work or just eager to taste that next cup.
But it’s not just the speed that makes the JX-Pro our top pick in this category; it’s the versatility. This grinder is a jack-of-all-trades, capable of producing anything from a fine Turkish grind to a coarse French press grind. While the JX-Pro excels in all areas, it shines brightest when you’re against the clock.
8. Timemore Chestnut C3 Max – Best Hand Grinder Under $100
Size: Body: 7.01 H x 2.09 W inches / Handle length 6.34/4.33 inches (extended/folded)
- Weight: 1.39 lbs (630g)
- Burr Type and Size: 38mm S2C660 stainless steel
- Grinder Capacity: 30-35g
- Materials: Aluminum alloy and stainless steel
The Timemore C3 Max, the successor to the ever popular C2 is a game-changer for those wanting to get into specialty coffee without breaking the bank.
Timemore Chestnut C2 was the best in its class for speed, ease of grinding, and portability.Wirecutter
Priced under $100, this grinder offers a compelling blend of quality and affordability. With its 38mm S2C stainless steel burrs, it delivers a consistent grind that rivals many higher-priced models. The aluminum and stainless steel construction ensures durability, while the unique anti-slip textured surface offers a secure grip during grinding.
The C3 Max can hold up to 25 grams of coffee, making it ideal for single or double servings. Its grind adjustment mechanism is user-friendly, featuring a steel dial indicator that allows for a reasonable level of granularity. While it may not offer the fine-tuning required for perfect espresso shots, it excels in the medium to medium-coarse range, making it a versatile choice for various brewing methods like pour-over, Aeropress, and French press.
In terms of speed, the C3 Max may not be the fastest grinder on the block, but it gets the job done efficiently. The anatomically shaped handle mounted on ball bearings ensures a smooth grinding experience, even if it takes a few extra rotations.
If you’re stepping into the world of specialty coffee for the first time and want a reliable, budget-friendly grinder, the Timemore C3 Max is an excellent starting point. It offers remarkable value for money, making it our top pick for those looking to buy one of the best manual coffee grinders for under $100.
The Hario Skerton Pro Coffee Mill is the quintessential entry-level grinder for coffee enthusiasts on a budget. Priced under $50, it’s a significant step up from blade grinders and even outperforms some cheap electric options. With its 48mm ceramic conical burrs, the Skerton Pro offers decent grind consistency, especially for medium to medium-coarse settings.
The grinder’s build quality is solid, featuring stainless steel, glass, and ceramic components. Its foldable handle and compact design make it easy to store and transport. The hopper can hold up to 60 grams of coffee beans, which is generous for a grinder at this price point.
Grind adjustment is straightforward, allowing you to switch between different grind sizes with relative ease. While it can technically grind fine enough for espresso, the effort required is substantial. It’s not the grinder you’d want for daily espresso brewing, but it’s more than adequate for methods like pour-over and Aeropress.
In terms of grind consistency, the Skerton Pro does an okay job. It’s not going to give you the precision of a higher-end grinder, but it’s certainly better than blade grinders. For those who are new to specialty coffee, this grinder offers a taste of what freshly ground beans can add to your cup.
If you’re constrained by a $50 budget, the Skerton Pro is the best you can get. However, if you can afford to spend a bit more, upgrading to a grinder like the Timemore C3 will offer a noticeable improvement in grind consistency and overall performance.
How To Choose A Hand Coffee Grinder
Selecting the right hand grinder for your coffee brewing needs involves a multitude of factors. From the grinder’s build and aesthetics to its compatibility with your preferred coffee brewing methods, each aspect plays a role in your decision-making process.
Here’s a breakdown of the key criteria to consider when choosing a hand grinder:
Design And Style
Consider your space and aesthetic preferences. Need a grinder to fit a tight countertop? Want a specific color to match your kitchen decor? Prefer a grinder with no plastic components? These factors can influence your choice.
Type of Coffee
Your brewing methods are pivotal in guiding your choice. If you’re an espresso purist, you’ll need a grinder that excels in producing fine, uniform grinds. On the flip side, if your coffee journey spans pour-over, a drip coffee maker, French press, or other filter coffee methods, you’ll want a grinder with a broad and precise grind range.
For those who enjoy exploring different coffee styles that require varying grind sizes, an all-round grinder is ideal. This type of grinder offers the versatility to grind for all styles, from fine for espresso to coarse for French press, without compromising on consistency or flavor.
Determine your spending limit. Entry-level grinders can offer good value, but if you’re looking for top-tier performance and build, be prepared to invest more. The best budget hand grinders come in under $100 while top end all-rounders can cost hundreds of dollars.
If you’re an adventurer, you’ll want a grinder that’s compact and lightweight for travel. Assess whether portability is a priority or if you are ok with a heavier model or one that is less portable.
Think about your brewing needs. Are you making single espresso shots or grinding for multiple cups of drip coffee? Choose a grinder with a bean hopper that matches your daily requirements.
Stainless Steel vs Ceramic Burrs
The question of stainless steel vs ceramic burr coffee grinders is probably one of the most hotly contested among coffee lovers. Ceramic burrs seem to have a reputation for being better quality, but there are pros and cons for both materials.
Ceramic burrs are incredibly hard and last on average around twice as long as steel burrs before they need to be replaced (3). Ceramic doesn’t retain heat, so your grinder won’t get hot even with a lot of use. Ceramic burrs can be quieter, but this also depends on the shape of the burrs. On the downside, ceramic can be more brittle, especially if you encounter a rogue stone that’s hidden in your coffee beans.
Steel burrs do wear down over time, but they start life much sharper than their ceramic counterparts. In a hand grinder, you’re probably not going to be doing enough grinding to wear them down. Likewise, when it comes to heat. Steel can get hot, which is a problem for the beans, but not at the speed you’ll get with manual burr grinders.
Even if you’ve got a good idea of the specifications you need to make the perfect cup of coffee, there is still a wide range of manual coffee grinders to sort through. With our guide to the best manual coffee grinders on the market, we hope we can make your life a little bit easier.
Notable Brands And Hand Grinders We Left Out
While our top picks cover a broad range of needs and budgets, it’s worth noting that some reputable brands didn’t make the cut due to limited spots on our list.
Kingrinder, for example, is a formidable rival to 1zpresso in the budget hand grinder segment. Other noteworthy brands we left out include Knock, known for their engineering prowess; Goat Story, with their innovative designs; Helor, which combines aesthetics with functionality; Mazzer, a giant in the commercial grinder space; and Etzinger, recognized for their precision engineering.
Each of these brands offers high quality grinders that didn’t quite warrant a spot on our top list, but wouldn’t be out of place if they did.
Legacy Hand Grinders To Avoid
A few years ago, brands like Coffee Gator, Porlex, Zassenhaus, Handground, and JavaPresse were considered the cream of the crop in manual coffee grinders. They were the go-to choices for a reliable grind without breaking the bank.
Unfortunately, lots of websites are still recommending these old models in spite of the fact they are no longer even close to the best hand grinders on the market.
In the fast-paced world of coffee tech, a few years might as well be a lifetime. The advancements we’ve seen recently in burr technology, grind consistency, and user interface have left these once-revered models in the dust.
Today, these grinders shouldn’t even be on your radar. While models like the Hario Mini Mill, the Vevok Chef and the Porlex Mini may still function, they simply can’t compete with the new generation of manual grinders that offer superior grind quality, more precise adjustments, and longer-lasting durability.
If you’re still holding onto one of these older models, it’s time to consider an upgrade. And if you’re new to the manual grinding game, bypass these outdated options altogether. Our guide focuses on the latest and greatest, ensuring you invest in a grinder that meets today’s high standards.
The landscape of coffee grinding has undergone a seismic shift in recent years, evolving from rudimentary devices to engineering marvels. Today’s hand grinders are testaments to technological innovation, offering features and grind quality once exclusive to their electric counterparts.
With advancements in burr design, materials, and precision mechanisms, many of these manual coffee grinders now outperform electric models, not just in consistency but also in the quality of the cup they produce.
The models we’ve reviewed are the epitome of this evolution, each offering a unique blend of form and function that sets a new standard for what a hand grinder can be. While the Kinu M47 is our favorite, any of our top picks will provide a great experience that elevates your coffee brewing to the next level. Happy grinding.
Yes, hand coffee grinders are better than electric grinders in several key aspects. They offer far better performance and value for money, often featuring advanced burr designs and precision mechanisms. Hand grinders are also quieter, more portable, and can be more durable.
A good hand coffee grinder is one that offers a high level of precision and consistency in grind size, features durable and efficient burr designs, and is constructed with quality materials for longevity. Top models like the Kinu M47, 1Zpresso J-Max, and Comandante C40 MK4 exemplify these traits.
Yes, manual grinders are absolutely worth it. High-quality manual grinders offer a level of grind consistency and versatility that can rival or even surpass many electric grinders. They are often more durable, easier to clean, and more portable and offer far better performance for the price.
The best manual coffee grinder not made in China is the Comandante C40 MK4, which is engineered and manufactured in Germany. This grinder is renowned for its high-quality construction and offers exceptional grind consistency and versatility making it ideal for both espresso and filter coffee.
The number of grams of bean you need per cup of coffee depends on your brewing method, serving size, and the particular ratio you choose. The ratio for espresso is between 1:1.5 to 1:2.5, with around 9 g of beans per shot. Pour-over coffee is usually brewed at 1:16-1:18, meaning you’ll need 14 g of beans per 8 oz cup (5).
To choose a good manual coffee grinder, focus on build quality, burr material, grind range, and capacity. Opt for durable materials like stainless steel, high-quality burrs for consistency, a wide range of grind settings, and a capacity that suits your brewing needs.
- French Press coffee to water ratio calculator. (n.d.). Retrieved December 14, 2021, from https://handground.com/french-press-coffee-to-water-ratio-calculator
- Koh, S. (2021, March 06). A Guide to Coffee Grind Size, Consistency, & Flavor. Retrieved from https://perfectdailygrind.com/2017/12/a-guide-to-coffee-grind-size-consistency-flavor/
- Guerrero, X. (2012, September 17). Steel vs Ceramic burrs and heat generation – the lowdown. Retrieved from https://www.baratza.com/steel-vs-ceramic-burrs-and-heat-generation-the-lowdown/
- Fekete, M., Dr. (2020, April 05). Why grinds become coarser when the grinder heats up and its impact on extraction speed. Retrieved from https://www.beanscenemag.com.au/why-grinds-become-coarser-when-the-grinder-heats-up-and-its-impact-on-extraction-speed/
- Coffee Basics: Brewing Ratios – How much water to coffee to use? Retrieved November 14, 2017, from https://counterculturecoffee.com/blog/coffee-basics-brewing-ratios
Coffee expert and industry insider, I’ve dedicated years to mastering the art and science of coffee making. From scrutinizing particle fineness to evaluating burr shapes, I delve into the minutiae that elevate coffee from good to exceptional. Whether it’s a complex pour-over or a robust espresso, my insights cater to those who don’t just drink coffee, but experience it.