If you care about coffee then you need to care about coffee grinders. End of story. We have a maxim at The Coffee Folk that the flavor of your coffee will never exceed the quality of your grinder. To get superb coffee, a high-quality coffee grinder is non-negotiable.
The good news is that the current landscape offers an exciting opportunity to invest in a manual coffee grinder. Gone are the days when options were limited; recent years have seen a surge in premium hand grinders able to contend with some of the best electric grinders. As of 2023, the market is brimming with choices, leaving no room for excuses when it comes to settling for a subpar manual coffee grinder.
We have compiled a list of the best manual coffee grinders to help you find a grinder that will make your coffee taste better, and your brewing experience more enjoyable. So read on to find out which hand grinder is best for you.
1Zpresso J- The Best Manual Hand Grinder
The 1Zpresso J is a standout manual hand grinder known for its stylish design and exceptional performance. It features impressive grind consistency, a fast grinding speed, and large 48mm steel burrs. These, combined with its superb price-to-quality ratio, make it our top recommendation for a manual coffee grinder.
Why Should You Buy A Manual Coffee Grinder?
Coffee grinders are widely recognized as a key component of what makes or breaks excellent coffee. A coffee grinder is the single most important piece of coffee equipment you can own. A quality burr grinder (whether conical or flat burr) is the necessary starting point for both manual brewing and espresso.
Once you have chosen to invest in a quality burr grinder, the next important question to ask is whether to opt for an electric grinder or a manual coffee grinder. While we love our electric grinder and use ours every day for espresso, we think that there are some pretty weighty reasons to consider buying a manual coffee grinder.
Perhaps the most compelling reason to invest in a hand grinder is the exceptional value it offers. Because there are so few parts to a hand grinder, the bulk of your money goes directly towards the quality and make of the burrs. This means hand coffee grinders can deliver far better grind quality at a fraction of the cost when compared to an electric grinder. Some premium hand grinders can rival the performance of automatic burr grinders that cost between $500 and $600—an impressive feat! This affordability makes investing in a manual coffee grinder a great choice for individuals who want to enjoy freshly ground coffee without a significant investment.
Portability And Durability
One of the great things about manual coffee grinders is that they tend to be (with one or two significant exceptions!) far smaller and more durable than electric grinders. Compact, lightweight, and requiring no electricity, these grinders are great for travel. There is 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 coffee 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 can 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!). Hand grinding stands as a testament to the enduring charm of manual coffee preparation.
So overall, we believe that a manual coffee 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.
The Best Manual Coffee Grinders
Below is our list of the best manual coffee grinders of 2023. This list includes a wide range of manual 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 C2 Max Coffee Grinder
Best Budget Hand Grinder
If you are on the hunt for the best budget hand grinder, the Timemore C2 Max is our top pick. It only gets this label because of the build quality, not the grind quality, which is well above other grinders at this price point. 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 Max is one of the reasons why. This sleek grinder offers premium grind quality at an entry-level price.
The Timemore C2 Max 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 and plastic stabilizers inside. However, the burrs and hand crank are made of stainless steel.
Inside, the Timemore C2 Max is packed with 38mm conical steel burrs, with dual-bearing stabilization. These burrs are sharp and aggressive, making quick work of your coffee beans. And they not only offer fast grinding speeds. The burrs also produce a consistent grind, particularly at the medium to coarse settings. In terms of settings, the C2 Max has a stepped grind adjustment wheel 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.
Overall the Timemore C2 Max 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.
Normcore Grinder v2
This Normcore grinder v2 presents excellent value for money, priced under $100, and it’s more than just an attractive price point. Boasting a sleek, modern design with a matte black finish, it combines aesthetics with functionality. A silicone band not only aids in grip during grinding but also serves as a convenient handle holder for travel. 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 coffee 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. These grinders are twice the price of the Normcore and offer 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 adjustments to dial in accurately. Rather, this grinder 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. 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 manual coffee 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 burr 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 servings 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 adjustments 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.
The KINGrinder K6 is an impressive hand grinder, with a lot of appealing features. It is well-built with an anodized aluminum body, a silicone band for grip, and a thread-on catch cup. Interestingly, the grinder has been designed to work with either a drill or as a manual hand grinder.
The KINGrinder K6 is loaded with 48mm heptagonal burrs with identical geometry to the 1Zpresso K Plus burrs. But before you hit the buy now button, be aware that these two grinders do not produce the same cup profiles. The 1Zpresso K Plus does a better job at grinding and producing cleaner cups. This is, however, still an attractive feature given the price.
The burrs are attached to the shaft and held in place with dual bearings for stability while grinding. The handle turns easily and the large burrs help the grinder chew through beans quickly.
But perhaps the most remarkable feature of the KINGrinder is the exterior grind adjustment system, which is not commonly seen at this price point. The adjustment system has 60 settings per rotation and a total of 180+ grind adjustments, catering to everything from French Press to Espresso. Each click adjusts the burrs by 16 microns. The grind size is clearly marked making it easy to switch between brew methods. The only quirk with the grind adjustment is that the burrs don’t zero at the marked setting. While this doesn’t affect the grinding, it just means the grinder can’t be calibrated.
All-in-all the KINGrinder K6 is an excellent buy if you can look past the few design quirks. With large burrs that perform well at a range of settings and a simple adjustment system, it is one of the best budget manual grinders around.
1Zpresso J Grinder
Best Manual Grinder
The 1Zpresso J 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 1Zpresso J out-grinds all other grinders in this price range and offers the most affordable way to get into specialty coffee.
The 1Zpresso J 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 stainless steel burrs. The J 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 J 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 burr grinder is ideal for manual brewing styles but is capable of grinding fine enough for espresso.
There really is a lot to love about the 1Zpresso J 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 J.
1Zpresso J Max
The 1Zpresso J Max is another hand grinder from 1zpresso designed specifically for espresso. So if you are after an affordable entry point into grinding for espresso, the J-max is it. The J-Max is well-built, with an ergonomic design and a longer handle making it easier to spin. The grinder has several premium features including an anti-static burr cap to minimize static and coffee retention. A magnetic catch cup that is easy to attach and detach, improving workflow. Finally, the J Max comes with a travel case, cleaning brush, and air blower.
Inside, the J-Max is loaded with 48mm titanium-coated burrs. The titanium coating helps extend the lifespan of the burr, an important feature if you are constantly grinding fine for espresso. The burrs have a slightly updated geometry from the J grinder to make them more espresso-focused, excelling at grinding for traditional dark roast espresso.
Another key feature setting the J Max apart is its external grind adjustment system, mirroring the system used in the K-series grinders. This system features a numbered ring at the top of the grinder, offering nine reference points and 90 clicks per rotation. Each click adjusts the burr by a minute 8.8 microns, providing exceptional precision for dialing in espresso. While this system offers a vast range of grind adjustments (around 400), the trade-off is that it is difficult to switch between grind settings for different brew methods, as it requires several rotations of the dial. This means that while the J-Max offers a full range of grind adjustments, it is primarily for espresso.
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 still 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 the speed of grinding and the capacity to grind larger amounts. See our comprehensive review of the Lido 3 Manual Grinder for more details.
1Zpresso K Ultra
Best Multi-Purpose Manual Grinder
The 1zpresso K Ultra 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, magnetic catch cup, smooth bearings, and a large burr set, making it a delight to grind with. But being one of the more premium manual grinders in their line it has a few unique characteristics.
Perhaps the best feature of the 1Zpresso K Ultra is the external adjustment dial. The dial has 10 marked numbers on it and 100 clicks per rotation, with each click moving the burr by 20 microns. This means that all the grind sizes are within a single rotation, making it simple to switch between brew methods.
The K Ultra 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 also capable of grinding for espresso, excelling at modern espresso made with light to medium roasts. The K Ultra has a finer adjustment system than the other 1Zpresso K grinders allowing you to dial in more precisely.
Overall, the K Ultra 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 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 traditional 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 coffee 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 want 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.
What To Look for in a Hand Coffee Grinder
The range and diversity of hand coffee grinders on the market in 2023 is frankly incredible. As we mentioned earlier, there is currently an oversaturated market which is bad for producers but great for consumers.
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 a coffee grinder with your name on it.
So when it comes to manual coffee grinders there are a few key things to look for:
Burr Quality/ Grind Consistency
It will come as no surprise that the most important consideration in choosing a manual coffee grinder is the uniformity and consistency of the grind. Poor grind consistency will quickly hijack and kamikaze the flavor of your coffee.
So the aim of the game is always for the most consistent grind. And the grind consistency is largely driven by the quality of the burrs employed. The better the burrs the better the flavor of the coffee. A few years ago, it was common to find ceramic burrs in hand grinders, with the Hario Skerton Pro being the prime example. Now most of the best hand grinders have steel burrs. Stainless steel is sharper, more durable, and produces more a consistent grind.
The size of the burrs utilized also goes on to govern the grinding speed. For example, in our list, the 47mm or 48mm burrs will grind far quicker than their 38mm counterparts. So basically, you should aim to get the best burrs possible within your budget.
There are basically two different price brackets for the manual coffee grinders. These reflect both the grind size consistency 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.
Pro-Tip: Don’t be tempted to get a cheap knock-off model. The grinders on this list have been tested and proven to perform well. They all have steel burrs, dual (or more) bearings, and grind quickly.
Grind Settings And Grind Adjustment System
You will also want to consider how many grind settings you need. This is largely determined by whether you intend to grind for espresso or just for manual brewing methods. Any of the grinders on this list will be more than fine for drip coffee. However, many of them won’t offer the precise grind settings required for dialing in espresso.
It is also worth considering whether you will be constantly changing between brewing 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 plan to dial in your grinder for say espresso and then leave it there a stepless (with unlimited grind settings) will work better.
There are a range of grind adjustment systems available. The classic option is the stepped internal adjustment system. This system is common in entry-level grinders, although the premium Comandante c40 also has this system. While it works well, it is not as convenient as other systems, requiring you to take the grinder apart and count clicks to adjust the grind size. An external grind adjustment system is easier to access and adjust the grind size.
Capacity of the Grinder
Another factor to take into consideration is how much coffee you will want to grind at a time. Larger grinders tend to have a greater capacity while smaller and more portable grinders have a smaller capacity (obviously!). So it is worth thinking through how much coffee you will need to grind at a time and find a grinder that will meet your needs.
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 past the 1Zpresso J 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.