If you care about coffee then you need to care about grinders. End of story. We have an axiom at The Coffee Folk that the flavor of your coffee will never exceed the quality of your grinder
In short, an average coffee grinder leads to an average coffee. To get superb coffee one of the vital components is a high-quality coffee grinder.
And the good news is that it is an exciting time to be investing in a manual coffee grinder. A few years ago the pickings were slim. But all of that has changed in the last number of years. Due to a number of highly successful Kickstarter campaigns, there is now an oversaturated market when it comes to premium hand grinders.
There is no excuse in 2023 for settling for a sub-par manual coffee grinder. Price-to-quality ratios have never been better for hand grinders than they are now.
A quality burr grinder will grind your coffee beans uniformly, and so aid a balanced extraction. And that is why we have written this article on the best manual coffee grinders; to help you find a hand grinder that will help make your coffee taste better, and your brewing experience more enjoyable.
Why Should You Buy A Manual coffee Grinder?
Coffee grinders are widely recognized as a key component of what makes or breaks excellent coffee. In fact, a coffee grinder is the single most important piece of coffee equipment you can own. A quality burr grinder (whether conical or flat plate) is the necessary starting point for both soft brews and espresso.
Once you have made the choice to invest in a quality burr grinder, the next important question to answer is whether to opt for an electric grinder or a manual coffee grinder. While we love electric grinders and use ours every day for espresso, we think that there are some pretty weighty reasons to consider buying a hand grinder.
Perhaps the greatest advantage of manual coffee grinders is that you get far more bang for your buck. Even the cheapest manual grinders on this list will outperform the vast majority of electric grinders under $150! Similarly, a $200 hand grinder will likely be able to compete with a $500-$600 automatic burr grinder which is pretty amazing! Because there are so few parts to a hand grinder, almost all your money is going towards the quality and make of the burrs.
One of the great things about manual grinders is that they tend to be (with one or two significant exceptions!) far smaller and more durable than electric grinders. This makes them great for travel. In fact, there is now even a range of hand grinders so small that they fit inside an Aeropress!
Also, because there are no electronics and so few moving parts in a manual grinder, a premium one lasts for years. Especially if you invest in one of the more high-end manual grinders, it is really only the burrs themselves that will wear out over time!
So manual grinders allow you to take your coffee passion not simply to your kitchen at home but on that coffee break at work, business trip, or holiday.
While it is contended (as just about everything in our world), many coffee lovers claim that a hand grinder is able to produce some of the best coffee in the world. Part of the reason for this is that (unless you are secretly Captain America!) there is no way that you can manually grind beans fast enough to produce heat. And when it comes to grinding coffee beans, heat is one of the grand enemies that can significantly alter taste.
Finally, there is a hard-to-define primal satisfaction in grinding your own beans by hand. If we are honest with ourselves, coffee means more to most of us than simply the taste; it is a hobby, a passion, an art, a ritual.
It is about that deep satisfaction of extracting a delicious, balanced brew from your coffee beans. There is something intimate and personal about grinding coffee beans by the sweat of your brow (although admittedly the romantic ideal of this may fade significantly when you are five minutes into grinding that espresso!).
So overall, we believe that a hand grinder is well worth your consideration both as an affordable entry into grinding your own beans and as a high-quality investment that may give your brewing that edge you are looking for.
Pros and Cons of Manual Coffee Grinders
The Best Manual Coffee Grinders
Below is our list of the best manual coffee grinders of 2023. This list includes a wide range of grinders from budget entry-level models all the way up to premium hand grinders. The grinders have been listed in order of price so you can find the best option within your budget.
Timemore Chestnut C2 Hand Grinder
The Timemore Chestnut C2 is an excellent budget hand grinder. Timemore is a relatively new company in the coffee scene, but they are quickly gaining notoriety in the specialty coffee industry. And the Timemore C2 is one of the reasons why. This sleek grinder offers premium grind quality at an entry-level price.
The Timemore C2 is packed with 38mm conical steel burrs. These burrs are sharp and aggressive, making quick work of your coffee beans. And they not only offer a fast grinding speed. The burrs also produce an excellent grind consistency particularly at the medium to coarse settings. In terms of grind settings, the C2 has a stepped grind adjustment system that offers 36 different grind sizes. These settings offer a full grind range, catering to anything from Moka pot to French press and everything in between. So this grinder is well suited to manual brewing methods.
The Timemore C2 has a modern design, but it does have a cheaper build than some of the other grinders on this list. To keep the price down, Timemore has opted to use some plastic components in the build. So the C2 has a plastic lid and crank pommel, plastic adjustment knob and plastic stabilizers inside. However the burrs and hand crank are made of stainless steel. Overall the C2 is an excellent entry-level manual grinder that well and truly blows its competitors (the Hario Skerton and Porlex mini) out of the water. To learn more check out our Timemore C2 Review.
Hario Skerton Pro
The Hario Skerton Pro is really an iconic hand grinder. It has been around for years now and was a very popular model early on in the specialty coffee movement.
The Skerton “Pro” is Hario’s renovation of the classic Skerton with a bunch of significant improvements. The improvements include a new burr design with far more stability, a new grind setting system, and a slightly different look. And these improvements have rather remarkably taken the Skerton from what many felt was a sub-par grinder, to a quality grinder that is easy to use, produces a uniform grind, and is now well thought of.
The Hario Skerton Pro is a relatively large grinder, which has a 100g capacity and is made of a mix of plastic, glass, and rubber. This means that while it can be used for travel it is better suited to a kitchen setting (although a nice hack is that you can actually attach a mason jar instead of the glass grind container if you do choose to travel with it). The grind setting is adjusted by turning a small ring that clicks for every adjustment. This is the same system used with the Hario Slim for those acquainted with that model.
The Hario Skerton Pro is a very affordable hand grinder and not bad quality. However, it is a bit dated now, and can’t really compare to the other grinders on this list when it comes to grind quality. This is largely due to it having ceramic burrs, as opposed to the sharp steel burrs most other grinders boast. Despite this, if you are after a cheap hand grinder or one with a larger capacity, the Hario grinder does still have a place.
The Porlex Mini is well-established as a popular travel grinder. This is due to how lightweight and small it is. The handle is removable, which allows it to fit inside an Aeropress. Another great thing about this hand coffee grinder is that being made from a mix of plastic and stainless steel, it is sturdy enough to bring with you on that hiking or camping trip.
Like many of the less expensive manual grinders, the grind consistency can work well for pour-over and Aeropress but will really struggle with either French Press or Espresso. The Porlex Mini has 13-click grind settings which are easy to navigate and remember. Also, like the Hario grinder, it has ceramic burrs which aren’t as popular.
It is worth noting that the trade-off for the portable size of this grinder is that it can only grind 20g of beans at a time. So fine for one cup, but if you are wanting to brew for your friends as well then get ready to do some serious work! The Porlex Mini is good if you are looking for a compact grinder for travel. For more information check out our comprehensive review of the Porlex Mini.
Normcore Grinder v2
Best Budget Hand Grinder
If you are on the hunt for the best budget hand grinder, the Normcore grinder v2 is our top pick. This wee beauty offers superb value for money coming in at under $100- and it’s not just a pretty price.
The Normcore grinder has a sleek, modern design with a matte black finish. A silicone band helps with grip when grinding and doubles as a handle holder when traveling. The grinder has a unibody design, cut from a single block of aluminum alloy. The centralized shaft is composed of steel and has dual ball bearings for smooth, stable grinding.
The Normcore grinder has a small capacity of 25 grams, but that is part of the appeal. This hand grinder has been built with travel in mind, it is compact enough to fit in an Aeropress, and comes with a complimentary travel case, brush and air blower.
The Normcore is packed with 38mm conical burrs. These are available in stainless steel or titanium which extends the lifespan. The burr geometry is very similar to the Helor 101 titanium burrs and Option O Remi burrs. Both these grinders are twice the price of the Normcore, and offer very similar grind quality. The Normcore v2 has a stepped grind adjustment system with 24 clicks per rotation. While it is capable of grinding for espresso, there are not really enough grind settings to dial in accurately. Rather, this grinder really shines with pour over and manual brewing methods.
All this being said, there are a few drawbacks. While the grind quality is excellent, the grinding experience doesn’t compare to the premium grinders on this list. The Normcore grinder offers a limited grinding range. It also isn’t as pleasant to use as the more premium grinders. The handle can easily pull off when grinding and doesn’t feel very sturdy. Despite these, the Normcore v2 does offer superb grind quality for the price and is well worthy of consideration if you are looking for an affordable hand grinder.
Best Travel Grinder
1Zpresso is a Taiwanese-based company that has hit the coffee world by storm in the last few years. If you look through this list of the best manual coffee grinders you will see a large number from 1Zpresso. To put it simply, 1Zpresso is producing excellent quality hand grinders for very affordable prices.
The Q2 is 1Zpresso’s contribution to travel grinders and as you would expect, it packs a punch. Being aimed at travel, it has a slim and compact design, capable of squeezing into an Aeropress plunger. It is made from durable, but lightweight aluminum. Being a portable grinder, it does have a smaller 20-gram capacity, making it ideal for single serves of coffee.
The 1Zpresso Q2 is packed with 38mm stainless steel conical burrs. There are two different burr sets available; either Pentagonal or Heptagonal geometry. The Heptagonal burrs are the more sought-after option, producing superb clarity.
The Q2 utilizes the classic internal grind adjustment system, located under the body. This adjustment system offers 90 different grind settings with each step moving the burr by 25 microns. This grind range means it can comfortably grind for most manual brewing methods but lacks the precision required for espresso. The 1Zpresso Q2 is a superb travel grinder, that is well-built and produces quality grinds.
1Zpresso JX Hand Grinder
Best Hand Grinder
The 1Zpresso JX is one of 1Zpresso’s most popular grinders and our pick for the best manual coffee grinder for 2023. It simply offers unbeatable value for money. The JX out-grinds all other grinders in this price range and offers the most affordable way to get into specialty coffee.
The Jx is a statement piece in and of itself. It is well-built and offers superb grind consistency. Inside it is loaded with an impressive set of 48mm steel burrs. The JX has an internal grind adjustment system, common to grinders at this price point. The stepped adjustment dial offers 30 clicks per rotation and 120 settings in total. Each click moves the burr by 25 microns. The large grind range means it can grind for anything from espresso to French press- although the large steps make it difficult to dial in precisely for espresso.
Another major bonus of the 1Zpresso JX grinder is that it is a very fast grinder due to the size of the burrs. It makes quick work of coffee beans, although this does require a bit of strength, especially at the finer settings. This grinder is ideal for manual brewing styles while being capable of grinding fine enough for espresso.
There really is a lot to love about the 1Zpresso Jx Grinder, which is why we believe that it is at present the best manual coffee grinder in 2023. For more details read our comprehensive review of the 1ZPresso JX.
This point in our list marks a significant shift in terms of price and quality. These next manual grinders easily excel the previous grinders in terms of grind consistency and quality of burrs, and the prices reflect this.
The Lido 3 grinder is a bit of a mammoth grinder weighing over 1kg and standing 13.5 inches tall (ironically it is even advertised as being a grinder for travel!). But what it loses in portability, it more than makes up for in quality and functionality!
This manual grinder can easily grind coffee beans for any brewing style including French press and espresso (although the espresso perfectionist may want to consider the Lido E model which is optimized for this brew style).
In terms of build, it is constructed of highly durable heavy-duty plastic and sports 48mm steel conical burrs. The burrs are made by the well-known brand Etzinger and produce a very uniform grind. The handle rotates smoothly making the Lido 3 fast and easy to grind with.
The weakest point of the grinder is the grind adjustment system. While it offers stepless adjustment, the system is awkward to use and not at all beginner friendly.
Where the Lido 3 has an edge over the other grinders on this list is when it comes to capacity. Its hopper holds a whopping 70 grams making it ideal if you are looking to grind large amounts of coffee beans for Chemex or French press. Overall this grinder is an absolute tank and excels at speed of grinding and the capacity to grind larger amounts. See our comprehensive review of the Lido 3 Grinder for more details
1Zpresso K Max
Best Multi-purpose Hand Grinder
The 1zpresso K Max is the latest grinder to hit the 1zpresso lineup. It is a good all-rounder, excelling at both espresso and filter coffee.
The K Max features many of the hallmark traits of 1Zpresso grinders; an ergonomic design, smooth bearings and a large burr set, making it a delight to grind with. But being one of the more premium grinders in their line it has a few unique characteristics.
Perhaps the best feature of the 1Zpresso K Max is the external adjustment dial. The dial has 9 marked numbers on it and 90 clicks per rotation, with each click moving the burr by 22 microns. This means that all the grind sizes are within a single rotation, making it simple to switch between brew methods.
The K max has large 48mm conical steel burrs. This is the 1zpresso ‘K Burr’ with heptagonal geometry that works well for a wide range of brewing methods. The burrs are pour-over focused and offer high consistency in the medium-fine to medium-coarse range. They are still capable of grinding for espresso, but the grind adjustment doesn’t offer the precision of some other grinders on this list.
Overall, the K max is a superb grinder if pour-over is your mainstay, but you also want the ability to grind for espresso. With a premium build, fast grinding, magnetic catch cup, and simple adjustment system this is one of the best hand grinders in this price range.
Kinu m47 Simplicity
Best Hand Grinder for espresso
The Kinu M47 grinders are known to be one of the premium hand grinders on the market. The Simplicity is the mid-tier model in the M47 lineup and offers the best value for money.
The Kinu M47 grinders are known for their exceptional build and craftsmanship. Simply put, this grinder is built like a tank. Weighing 965 grams, it’s safe to say, this probably isn’t the best hand grinder for travel. The Simplicity model has a stainless steel body, axle, and 4 ball bearings, grinding easily with little effort. To keep costs down, there is some plastic incorporated into the design. The catch cup is made of ABS plastic and attaches via an O-ring. The bean funnel, thumb stop, and knob are also composed of plastic.
The Kinu m47 has a distinctive design with no lid, but rather a bean funnel on top. While you do get the occasional popcorning of coffee beans while grinding, this isn’t enough to be a concern. The handle locks securely in place with the pin from the adjustment system.
As the name would suggest, the Kinu m47 features 47mm conical steel burrs. These have a black fusion coating which hardens the burr and extends the lifespan. The burrs are precisely aligned, resulting in an evenly distributed grind size. The large size also makes it extremely fast to grind with.
The Kinu m47 has a stepless and precise adjustment system. The grind dial is located at the top of the grinder and is easily adjusted. The dial offers 50 steps per revolution, with each step moving the burr by 0.01mm. The grind adjustment system is one of the reasons this grinder is well loved in the coffee community. It is clearly marked, including the zero point, making it easy to switch between grind sizes and communicate a grind size for a recipe.
The Kinu m47 can grind for all brew methods but really excels at espresso. The grind consistency at the fine settings is superb, producing outstanding cup quality. The espresso produced has a traditional flavor profile with good texture, clarity, and sweetness. The grind adjustment system is simple to use and offers the precision required to dial espresso in.
The Kinu m47 is an outstanding grinder, with the only drawback being the hefty price tag. If you are looking for a manual grinder for espresso you really can’t go past the Kinu m47 Simplicity.
Finally, no list would be complete without the Comandante c40. The Comandante grinder really marks the gold standard of manual coffee grinders in terms of elegance and grind consistency. This German-made grinder paved the way for premium hand grinders and is still one of the best hand grinders around.
The Comandante c40 is a stunning grinder that has a superb build and comes in a range of colors. Inside it has 39mm Nitro Burrs, made of the highest quality steel, so they are tough and resistant to wear. The burrs excel at producing a consistent grind quality across all brew methods from Turkish to Cold Brew and everything in between. The only downside of the burrs is that the small size does mean that it is slower to grind than competitors, especially for espresso.
Surprisingly, the Comandante has a stepped internal grind adjustment system. It offers 12 clicks per rotation of the dial and a total of 35 grind settings. Each click moves the burr by 30 microns. Given the large steps, if you are wanting to grind for espresso you need to invest in the red clix mod, which doubles the number of settings. While having to count clicks isn’t as convenient as some of the other adjustment systems, there is a huge community behind the Comandante sharing grind sizes, recipes, and tips.
But where the Comandante really shines is in the coffee it produces. It simply produces some delicious brews. The cups are balanced, complex, and offer high clarity- making the Comandante the perfect grinder for filter coffee and modern espresso. However, as with any high-end coffee grinder, you pay for the quality. The Comandante is one of the most expensive grinders on this list and so is an investment for the coffee lover who will accept nothing less than perfection! See our full review of the Comandante c40 for more details.
This is a great video which reviews the premium manual coffee grinders…
What To Look for in a Hand Coffee Grinder
The range and diversity of coffee grinders on the market in 2023 are frankly incredible. As we mentioned there is currently an oversaturated market which is bad for producers but great for consumers.
In fact, it currently feels like there are almost too many manual coffee grinders coming out to keep track of. And not simply by unknown companies but even by giants in the coffee industry such as Mazzer. So whatever you are looking for in style, size, consistency, and price, there is definitely a coffee grinder with your name on it.
Consistency of the Coffee
It will come as no surprise that the single most important consideration in choosing a manual coffee grinder is the uniformity and consistency of the grind. Inconsistent grind size will always lead to either over-extracted or under-extracted coffee, both of which taste thoroughly unpleasant.
So the aim of the game is always for the most optimal grind consistency. While price will in some ways drive this, the aim should be to get the most consistent grinder possible within your budget. And that is a lot easier now than it was even two to three years ago.
There are basically two different price brackets for the manual coffee grinders which in turn, reflects the consistency of the ground coffee they produce and the overall grinding experience. The first price bracket is around $80-$200 which will get you a surprisingly good grinder that will be more than sufficient for all soft brews as well as entry-level espresso. These days this price can get you a very good grinder that really could even be classified as premium. We would not recommend going cheaper than anything on this list!
The next price bracket is $200+, which will get you a high-end burr coffee grinder that can compete with commercial grinders when it comes to grind quality. These grinders are excellent in every sense of the word and are more than sufficient for any soft brews as well as any form of espresso. At this price point, you can expect and will get a manual grinder that looks elegant and performs with an excellence that will last for years.
You will also want to consider which brewing styles you want your manual grinder to cater to. The cheapest manual coffee grinders deal most easily with the grind sizes needed for pour-over and Aeropress as these sit near the middle of the grind range.
Cheaper grinders, however, will seldom be able to cater to the fineness and consistency of the grind required for espresso or Turkish coffee. Similarly, many manual coffee grinders will struggle to produce an even consistency for French Press as this requires a very coarse yet uniform particle size. If you are trying to figure out grind sizes for different brewing methods see our Guide to Coffee Grinding with Grind Size Chart.
Stepped vs Stepless
It is also worth considering whether you want this grinder to be solely dedicated to one brewing style such as Aeropress or whether you will be constantly changing between styles. If you are looking for a grinder for a range of styles then you will want a stepped grinder (with a preset number of settings) and one that allows you to easily switch between settings. However, if you are planning to dial in your grinder for say pour over and then just leave it there a stepless (with no preset settings but instead often a knob or screw which you tighten to suit your required grind size) might work just as well.
Capacity of the Grinder
Another factor to take into consideration is how much coffee you will be wanting to grind at a time. Larger and less portable grinders tend to have a greater capacity while smaller and more portable grinders have a smaller capacity. So it is worth thinking through how much coffee you will need to grind at a time.
Best Manual Coffee Grinder- The Verdict
So what is the best manual coffee grinder? Well while it depends in part on what you are looking for. If you are looking for the best all-round hand grinder you can’t really go beyond the 1Zpresso JX Grinder. It is well built, has superb grind consistency, impressive grinding speed, and large 48mm steel burrs! And best of all it offers superb value for money.
If you are looking for the best budget manual coffee grinder the Normcore v2 or Timemore C2 are both excellent options. They offer exceptional grind quality at an entry-level price.
Finally, if specialty coffee is your thing and you have the money to pay for quality then you will not regret investing in the 1Zpresso K Max or the Kinu m47.
1 thought on “Best Manual Coffee Grinder 2023”
Great article! I’m in the market for a new coffee grinder and this was very helpful. I’m leaning towards the Porlex mini grinder. Thanks for the reviews and buying guide!