Any coffee nerd will know that they key to the perfect cup of coffee is the grind. The way those delicious beans are pulverized can mean the difference between a delicious cup of coffee, and something that tastes like gas station coffee. Basically, if your grounds are all different sizes and smell kind of bland, you probably need a new grinder. You want a grinder that will produce consistent, aromatic grounds.
There are a ton of fancy, automatic grinders out there, but they can get super expensive and tend to take up quite a bit of space. Hand grinders, on the other hand, are smaller, less expensive options if you don’t mind cranking a little arm for a few minutes each morning.
Some people even say that hand grinders can produce a better grind than a $ electric one. This is partly because electric grinders produce heat between the blades, which takes away from the flavor of the coffee bean. Plus, you can travel with them for the perfect cup of coffee on the road!
Here some of the best hand coffee grinders if you’re looking to make the transition into being a budget-conscious coffee connoisseur.
How We Chose the Best
It is widely accepted that the best coffee grinders are burr grinders. If it’s a conical burr grinder, you’ll be in even better shape.
A burr grinder literally crushes and grinds the beans with two oscillating, serrated plates, as opposed to a blade grinder, which merely slices the beans haphazardly and leaves you with an inconsistent grind. Pretty much any barista will recommend a burr grinder. They’re an industry standard, especially in specialty coffee shops.
So, we kept our eyes peeled for hand grinders that use conical burr grinders to ensure that you get the best flavor extraction and consistency in your grind. And, because different brewing methods require different grind coarseness, we tried to find hand grinders that had multiple or adjustable grind settings. We took an in-depth look at all of the features for these grinders, as well as customer reviews. Since you are going to be sitting and cranking that arm for a while, we also assessed these on their efficiency and ease of use.
At the very least, we can assure you that these hand grinders will elevate your coffee to a whole new level in terms of flavor, oil extraction and richness, as hand grinders are known to do.
Handground Precision Coffee Grinder
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JavaPresse Manual Coffee Grinder
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ROK Aluminum Coffee Grinder
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Hario Skerton Ceramic Coffee Mill
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Zassenhaus Santiago Coffee Mill
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Top 5 Hand Coffee Grinders
Here are the grinders we consider to be some of the best on the market. And if you don’t have time to read this closely, don’t worry. We’ve given each one an overall rating out of five stars in case you need a quick overview.
Drawing inspiration from the focus ring on a camera lens, the Precision Grinder from Handground makes it so finding the perfect grind is as simple as a twist.
We picked this machine as our number one because of its ability to easily produce a seriously amazing grind consistency. It has 15 different coarseness settings so you can prep your beans for brew using an Aeropress, pour over, French press – you name it. This is all possible thanks to a 40 mm conical ceramic burr mill that is fine tuned to balance the speed at which it grinds with the torque required to turn the handle.
That’s another great aspect of this grinder: it’s super easy to crank. A lot of hand grinders put the handle on the top and though this works okay, it can get a bit awkward. Handground, however, has placed the handle on the side with this model for a more natural movement. Although this grinder is a lot bigger than other hand grinders (making it perhaps not the best travel companion), its size allows for more leverage thereby speeding up the whole process.
The Handground Precision Grinder can hold up to 100 grams of coffee, and it has an extra wide opening to make it easy to load up. It also has a rubber grip on the bottom so it doesn’t slide around while you grind.
And to knock it out of the park, this grinder costs around $ or less depending on where you shop.
2. JavaPresse Manual Coffee Grinder
Dang, this grinder is cheap.
We don’t mean cheap in a bad way. As you’ll see, this manual coffee grinder from JavaPresse is seriously inexpensive at $. It doesn’t sacrifice quality, however.
This grinder also uses a professional grade ceramic conical burr with over 15 different settings for adjusting your grind. It preserves the flavors of your coffee while being durable, efficient and quiet. However be prepared to read the manual for this one. Otherwise, you won’t be able to easily figure out the system of clicks used to indicate the grind setting.
It’s also very popular among campers, hikers and other outdoorsy folk. It’s lightweight and compact, making it great for carrying in a backpack on your trek into the wilderness. However because it is so small, it can only hold about 40 grams of coffee. However, this should still make you at least two cups of coffee. It’s also not the fastest grinder, but you can’t expect hyper speed from a hand grinder.
The JavaPresse manual grinder also has a sleek, stainless steel body that adds to its durability. This is a simple, utilitarian hand grinder that will pulverize your coffee beans to perfection.
3. ROK Aluminum Coffee Grinder
If you are looking for a hand grinder that you can pack in your suitcase, then you might want to skip over this one.
But, if you want a high-end, modern manual coffee grinder that sits elegantly atop your kitchen counter, then you’ve found your match.
The ROK Aluminum Coffee Grinder was made possible by Indiegogo crowd funders and is a great accompaniment to the ROK Espresso Maker. Made with die cast aluminum and engineering grade components, the machine will give you the perfect grind over the course of many years.
The machine is very ergonomic and requires minimal effort compared to other hand grinders. In fact, it requires half the number of revolutions of standard manual coffee grinders. It uses a set of 48 mm hardened steel conical burrs with a double bearing drive shaft and Acetal plastic gears that durable, lightweight and low friction.
The grinder’s wheel can also be tweaked to give you your ideal level of coarseness for your preferred brew method. You can also convert the ROK grinder between stepped and stepless grinding by adding or removing a couple of washers from the drive shaft.
Expect to pay a pretty penny for this manual grinder (it costs around $$). But if you’re looking to invest in a more or less permanent hand coffee grinder for your home, the ROK grinder is a perfect choice.
4. Hario Skerton Ceramic Coffee Mill
If you walk into a third-wave coffee shop, chances are you’ll see this hand grinder on its merchandise shelves.
Hario is a Japanese brand known for its heatproof glass, coffee and tea equipment, and other kitchen and cooking equipment. The company’s coffee equipment is widely used in coffee shops. Peek over the counter, and you will probably see a barista brewing coffee with a Hario V60 pourover and Hario Buono kettle.
Basically, Hario knows its stuff.
It may look primitive, but its looks are deceiving. This ceramic burr hand grinder is insanely affordable without sacrificing grind quality, thanks to some hardworking stabilizing plates. It’s known for producing a terrific grind in terms of consistency and flavor extraction, and can produce varying levels of coarseness. The only downside is that it lacks indicators for the coarseness. It takes a bit of trial and error, but you basically have to turn the screw and keep track of where you’re at in terms of the level.
Nevertheless, users have said that it’s super easy to operate and a lot sturdier than it looks (again with the deception!). This baby is also very compact and easy to transport and store. It will likely last you many years to come, so you’ll have a long-term solution for your coffee grinding needs.
You can get it on Amazon right now for around $.
5. Zassenhaus Santiago Coffee Mill
This German-made hand coffee grinder is seriously old school – in a cool way.
Zassenhaus believes in creating timeless, elegant instruments with technical precision and sturdiness. It’s regarded as one of the finest on the market. Zassenhaus has been around since 1867 and is the epitome of spice and coffee mills.
The Santiago mill uses a conical burr grinder made with high-grade hardened carbon steel. It will give you a consistent and uniform grind every time and can grind beans for anything as fine as the Turkish brew method, to as coarse as the French Press. You simply turn the dial located below the crank arm. The company also offers a 25-year warranty on the grinding mechanism so expect to own this coffee mill for a very long time.
The downside of this hand grinder is the size element. It measures 5.5 by 3.5 by 7.8 inches, which may not seem all that large. However, it takes up a decent amount of space and is a bit cumbersome. You certainly won’t be bringing this on any camping trips. It comes in mahogany, beech, and black beech finishes, as well as with gold-plated accents for a variety of old world looks. Think of it more as a decorative and functional addition to your kitchen.
Though this hand grinder is of excellent quality and very durable, you are in part paying for the elegance of the design. The Santiago mill is available on Amazon for around $$, which is just as much as some electric burr grinders.
We all know that we can walk into any grocery store and pick up a bag of pre-ground coffee beans. Bottom line, these grounds will get you a cup of coffee.
However, if you want to treat yourself to an excellently brewed, flavorful cup of coffee every single day, then you better plan on grinding your own coffee beans. Like we mentioned above, a hand grinder is going to get you the most flavorful, consistent grind at (mostly) reasonable prices. They’re great for the “coffee snob” who can’t afford to throw down $$ for an electric grinder.
That being said, if you want your coffee ground up quickly, then a hand grinder is not the best option for you. Buying a hand grinder also means buying into the ritual of brewing a cup of coffee. In other words, if you’re the type of person who is usually running late in the morning, do yourself a favor and buy an electric burr grinder.
However, if you are an early bird, you should absolutely consider investing in a hand mill. And it won’t even be that big of an investment! As you saw, these hand grinders can be crazy inexpensive. So if you are moving forward with the hand grinder route, you should take the following into consideration:
Once you figure out your answers to those questions, you’ll narrow down your search significantly. From there, you can find a hand coffee grinder that fits both your requirements and your budget. If that means you choose one from this list, then we are happy to have helped you out.
But even if you choose a hand grinder not on this list, you will be well on your way to full-blown coffee nerd status!