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One of the key components to an excellent cup of coffee is properly grinding your coffee beans. Uniform grounds yield a much more flavorful cup of java. To achieve the perfect grind, a high-quality coffee grinder is imperative. Though electric grinders are ideal for home use, it’s good to have a manual coffee grinder as a backup when you don’t have access to your home grinder or need something portable.
However, not all manual coffee grinders are created equal, so it’s important to look for a hand grinder that’s well-designed, precise, and consistent for your brew method.
Here are the best manual coffee grinders.
Best Overall: Hario Skerton Plus Ceramic Coffee Mill
This manual coffee grinder is praised for its sturdy construction and ease of use. It's shaped like an hourglass with the mill on top and a glass jar on the bottom to catch the grounds. The hopper holds up to 50 grams of coffee beans and the jar holds 100 grams of coffee grounds. Despite this grinder’s large capacity, it's rather compact in size, measuring just 4 x 8 inches. The base can also be used as a storage container for grounds by attaching the lid to the jar.
This grinder has a non-slip rubber base, which helps to keep the mill in place while turning the crank. It also features a ceramic conical burr, which is preferable over a blade grinder because it doesn’t produce the heat that can have a negative effect on your coffee’s essential oils. The entire unit can be broken down to make it easier to store and clean, which allows users to get into those hard-to-reach areas of a grinder. Every so often, it should be washed with a mild detergent by hand or placed in the dishwasher.
Best Versatile: Akirakoki Manual Coffee Bean Grinder
This hand grinder stuns with its solid wood body and iron accents. It's available in white wood, black wood, and brown wood. The burr is made of premium cast iron, a material that won't produce heat, odor, or rust. The whole thing measures 2.8 x 7.2 inches, the hopper has a capacity of 35 grams, and the bottom container holds 55 grams. It excels in producing both fine and coarse grinds for making different types of coffee brews.
One of the best features is the ergonomically designed crank that provides adequate leverage for a smooth, silent, and easy grind. Reviewers rave about the quiet and almost soothing crank. In terms of maintenance, this model is a little more difficult to clean compared to steel grinders. Ideally, you should keep it dry and use a small brush to sweep inside the machine and around the burr, and shake out any remaining coffee grounds after each use.
Best Value: VEVOK CHEF Manual Coffee Grinder
In terms of value, this hand grinder is one of a kind. It retails for a fairly low price, yet it offers an unparalleled uniform grind. The burr is made of stainless steel with six precise adjustments for various grind sizes and can hold up to 48 grams of coffee beans in the glass container and 20 grams in the hopper. This grinder works well for fine and coarse grinds—a quality that’s not easy to come by, even for electric grinders.
A dry brush should be used to clean the area that houses the burr and beans. For more thorough cleaning, you can use water to rinse the hopper, but it’s important to dry it out quickly after.
Best for Espresso: Zassenhaus Santiago Manual Coffee Mill
The Zassenhaus Santiago Coffee Mill appeals to a certain aesthetic with its retro design. This grinder is shaped more like a box rather than a cylinder and has a small drawer in the front that opens to retrieve the coffee grounds. The crank and hopper are located at the top of the grinder, and the lid at the top slides open for adding coffee beans.
This grinder is made of beechwood and is available in a black stain or a natural finish. It’s not as portable as other hand grinders due to its unique shape and larger size (4.7 x 4.9 x 7.8 inches). The bean container has a max capacity of 30 grams.
What’s great about this grinder is that it has the ability to produce a very fine grind for making Turkish coffee or espresso. Reviewers agree that it produces an even grind and works wonderfully for making fine grounds, likely due to its conical burr made of high-grade steel. It must be hand-washed only.
Best for Travel: Porlex Mini Stainless Steel Coffee Grinder
This manual coffee grinder is one of the best portable options. Although it has a small capacity of just 20 grams, it measures just 2.2 x 5.1 inches, making it the perfect travel companion.
This coffee grinder is constructed mainly of stainless steel and comes with a ceramic conical burr. It also has a rubber grip, which keeps the grinder in place as you crank it. To adjust the grind size, there's a nut at the top of the grinder, which can be turned left or right. It also has a long steel handle that makes the grinding process quick and easy. Reviewers especially love using this grinder in conjunction with the AeroPress, as this manual grinder fits perfectly inside the brewing instrument.
To keep this tool in top shape, it’s best to wash it by hand about every two weeks. It’s easy to do because the unit disassembles, allowing you to get into those hard-to-reach areas with a small brush.
For a sturdy and attractive manual coffee grinder that holds up to 50 grams of beans and 100 grams of grounds, consider our top pick: the Hario Skerton Plus Ceramic Coffee Mill (view at Amazon). For an ideal on-the-go instrument, we recommend the Porlex Mini Stainless Steel Coffee Grinder (view at Amazon).
Why Trust The Spruce Eats?
Cheyenne Elwell uses manual coffee grinders, some of which are on this list, as she regularly brews specialty coffee at home. She also owns a coffee blog in which she writes about coffee brewing tips, coffee hacks, and new coffee products, making her an expert in this category.