Updated: September 20, 2021 by Owen Richardson
Manual coffee grinders have been highly underrated in the past few decades, but they’ve been making a comeback! To those who appreciate the ritual of coffee as well as the quality of the brew itself, they’re the holy grail. Plus, many manual coffee grinders can give you as consistent a batch of grounds as electric grinders–and for a much lower price.
We’ve rounded up all the best manual coffee grinders on the market today. In this guide, we’ll walk you through all our favorites, and help you get a sense of why we love these little hand-crank gems!
Here’s a peek at our top three, to get you started!
Why Go Manual With Your Grinding?
First off, let’s start with the pragmatic: manual coffee grinders are inexpensive! Even the nicest cost only a fraction of a premium electric model. So, if you’re trying to achieve high-quality brews on a budget, they’re a very practical choice.
Second, all manual coffee grinders use burrs instead of blades. They’ll automatically give you more consistent, even grounds than the electric blade grinders that are sold for around the same price range. They can compete with the best electric burr grinders in terms of the brewing results you can achieve by using them. The nicest ceramic-burr manual models cost a pittance compared to an electrified model with ceramic burrs.
Thirdly, as with manual versions of anything, hand-crank coffee grinders are simple. They don’t have any electric parts to malfunction on you, and there’s no risk that the motor will burn out. They’re very easy to troubleshoot, and they can last for decades, not just years.
On a similar note, while appliances come in and out of fashion (think about all those white gadgets in the 20th century, as opposed to the stainless steel obsession today), manual coffee grinders will often become heirlooms. They’re timeless pieces that you can pass on and treasure in your family.
Lastly, as long as you’re only making coffee for one to three people, they’re really not that much work to use. These grinders have gotten a lot more ergonomic over the years. They’re not nearly as hard to use as older models! You can usually have all your coffee ground in two minutes or so.
There are certainly some duds out there, though. Be sure to avoid them by checking out our detailed recommendations below!
Best Manual Coffee Grinder Reviews
- JavaPresse Manual Coffee Grinder
- Hario Skerton Ceramic Coffee Mill (100g)
- Handground Precision Coffee Grinder: Manual Ceramic Burr Mill
- Peugeot Antique Coffee Mill, 8-1/4″ x 5″ x 5″
The JavaPresse looks a lot like the countless generic manual grinders on the market. It’s by far the best of these inexpensive metal cylinder models, though. Other companies have made shockingly poor grinders that look the same, but are made of shoddy materials with poor workmanship to say the least.
While the JavaPresse may not be the most sophisticated or premium grinder on the market, it’s an excellent little implement for those on a tight budget.
- It’s extremely budget-friendly. It’s actually cheaper than nearly all electric grinders, even crappy blade models!
- This is also one of the least expensive options on the market with ceramic burrs inside. Ceramic burrs last longer than stainless steel or other metal materials. They’re also less prone to heat buildup and other issues.
- The burrs have a conical design that uses dual plates to achieve a reliable, consistent grind. One stays in place while the other spins.
- The rest of the JavaPresse is stainless steel, aside from the plastic handle. Many other inexpensive, Chinese-made models are made from cheap, crappy metal coated to look like stainless steel. They’re often the farthest thing from food-safe. The JavaPresse is exactly what it says it is.
- You can adjust the grind, with 18 settings to choose from. That’s a lot more versatility than you get from other inexpensive models. Each setting clicks in place, so you don’t have to guess whether things are lined up properly or not.
- With so many options, this is one of the cheapest models that you can use to grind for practically any kind of brewing.
- It’s good for about 1-2 cups at a time, and takes about 2-5 minutes to use (depending on the user–we’d hazard a guess that most people should be done in around 2 minutes).
- While it might not be the fastest manual grinder out there, it’s very easy to turn. The JavaPresse is very popular for older folks and those with wrist issues, which just goes to show that it’s painless to use.
- The stainless steel body has a clear window so you can see when the grounds compartment is getting full.
- It’s very compact. The JavaPresse is an excellent travel companion, or a grinder for living spaces where you’ll need to pack away your grinder in a drawer. The hand crank is removable for easy packing and storage, so it all stores neatly in a cylinder. This one also comes with a carrying bag in the box.
There are several reasons we recommend this over the other generic cylinder grinders in this price range: build materials, functionality, and quality control. Beyond the cylinder itself, we think JavaPresse is a more ethical purchase than other budget options.
It’s made by a family-owned company which makes charitable donations to Make-A-Wish for every purchase. It’s also FDA-approved, and the company puts genuine effort into improving the design and resolving issues.
The JavaPresse is covered by a 100% satisfaction/money-back guarantee which lasts an entire year. The company also has a reputation for excellent customer service. The original JavaPresse had a weak plastic part, and the company replaced all the older models with updated ones featuring nylon components for free. They’ve continually worked to address user comments, which isn’t true of the other budget makers.
The JavaPresse comes with lots of instructional materials so that you can learn to grind manually. That’s yet another reason we think it makes an excellent choice for newcomers!
- It’s very small. This isn’t a great choice for grinding more than two cups-worth of coffee at a time.
- As we’ve said, the JavaPresse looks very generic. It’s definitely not the most beautiful piece on the market, so if you’re looking for something less utilitarian, you should plan to spend more money.
- The adjustment detents aren’t as solid as more expensive models. On the whole, this doesn’t produce as consistent grounds, either. This is a cheap, simple grinder which will get the job done for newcomers and casual users. We don’t recommend it for passionate aficionados.
- It’s not ideal for espresso. If you want to do super fine grounds, it’s going to take forever.
While it’s better than the competition in its price bracket, it’s not the most durable thing in the world. The JavaPresse is our only pick that’s made in China, from a mix of plastic, nylon, and metal materials. The plastic knob on its handle comes off fairly easily. Overall, it doesn’t feel nearly as rugged as our other picks, which come from high-end coffee gear makers.
The Hario Skerton is an excellent grinder for only slightly more than the JavaPresse. We like it because it’s portable, versatile, and as consistent a grinder as most models costing twice the price! It’s made in Japan, and has better build quality and consistency than the JavaPresse.
We think it’s well-worth the extra money if you’re someone who drinks espresso as well as coffee. This one’s also the best choice for grinding several cups of coffee at once, since you can screw it onto a mason jar!
The grinding chamber twists onto the grounds compartment, for easy assembly and disassembly. Inside the grinding chamber are conical ceramic burrs, similar to those on the JavaPresse. The Hario’s burrs are made more precisely, though, making them more consistent in terms of performance. That’s Japanese vs. Chinese build quality for you!
The Hario’s a sturdier little grinder than the JavaPresse, even though it’s close to the same price. Aside from the burrs, lids and the grinding chamber walls, it’s all metal and glass. The grinding chamber is all-metal, and the grounds compartment is essentially a squat little glass jar. There are no weak, breakable parts anywhere on the design.
- Like the JavaPresse, it’s compact and perfect for traveling! The Hario Skerton Plus fits easily in travel bags, especially if you separate the top and bottom halves of the device.
- With a 100g grinding capacity, it holds a bit more than the JavaPresse at a given time. This is about as large a compartment as you get on a manual grinder.
- It comes with a lid for the grounds compartment, so you can store your fresh-ground coffee for later in the day or overnight. It’s especially convenient to be able to keep the little grounds container topped up as you travel!
- The grind chamber comes with a lid as well, to keep things from getting into the mechanism while you’re not using the device.
- The simple two-piece design is user-friendly and straightforward. There’s a good reason that so many generic knock-off models copy the Hario’s design! There’s a top grinding unit, and a bottom compartment for the grounds.
- A very noticeable difference is that the Hario’s handle is much more stable.
- One very convenient feature that’s not advertised: the grinding unit will fasten onto standard mason jars! So, if you want to grind larger amounts, it’s easy to do! It also makes finding a replacement for a broken glass grounds compartment very simple.
- Grinding into a larger container isn’t so impractical, either, since it’s slightly faster than the JavaPresse. Like the JavaPresse, the Hario’s mechanism turns very easily, so you shouldn’t have any ergonomic complaints.
- It’s made entirely in Japan. That’s why you’ll see far better quality control on this versus Chinese-made alternatives.
- It’s still relatively inexpensive, at less than $50
- The Hario is a standby on the market. It makes a great grinder to accompany pour-over coffee makers like the Hario’s V60. We appreciate that the company keeps making improvements to a classic model, too. The older version had some issues with unstable burrs:
- The newer version has a stabilizing plate for the burr, which solves the wobbliness that plagued some units of the old model!
- With the old model, you couldn’t get perfect consistency on coarse grinds. This one’s much better. Regardless of whether you’re grinding fine or coarse, the Skerton Plus will give you more consistent results than the JavaPresse. It’s simply machined more precisely, and calibrated better from the factory.
- The Hario is noticeably better than the JavaPresse for espresso, and it’s a good all-around manual grinder for anyone who doesn’t want to spend more than $50.
- Beware of knock-offs! These are very popular grinders, and there are all manner of crappy copycat versions on the market. Be sure you’re buying from a reputable, authorized dealer, so you don’t end up with a cheap imitation.
- This one’s slightly trickier to adjust than the JavaPresse. You unlock the pin on the bottom, and then either tighten or loosen, before replacing the lock pin. We think it’s pretty straightforward once you get the hang of it, but it’s less convenient than simple twist adjustments.
- As with the JavaPresse, it’s not the most attractive grinder out there. The plastic grinding chamber walls are definitely less classy than wooden or metal options. Plan to spend more for a prettier piece!
- While this gives you very even, consistent results, it’s not the best performer on the market. The Peugeot edges out the Hario just slightly. Most users won’t notice much of a difference in functionality, though.
- It’s not quite as easy to pack away as the JavaPresse, though it’s by no means bulky. The main difference is that the Hario isn’t a neat cylinder, even if you remove the handle. It’s quite compact when you separate the halves, though.
Where the Hario above is a classic, the Handground is the new kid on the block! It’s one of the most recent additions to the coffee grinder market, and we think it’s rather wonderful. This is a grinder made for coffee lovers by coffee lovers, with lots of smart design tweaks to address traditional downsides of manual grinders.
The original Handground model was funded through Kickstarter. This new version is now available on the mass market. We like it for its ergonomic design, as well as the user-friendly touches throughout.
- Like the Hario Skerton Plus, the Handground has a ceramic and stainless steel grinding system. It uses a large 40mm conical ceramic burr, set on a triple-mounted axle to prevent wobbliness. On the whole, we think it gives very consistent results, slightly edging out the Hario for evenness.
- More than any big improvement in grind quality, though, you buy the Handground for its excellent ergonomics! It’s one of the only grinders on the market to sport a gear drive system . That allows for a side-mounted handle, which is inherently more ergonomic than top-mounted handles.
- The handle gives you lots of leverage for grinding, and puts your wrist at a much less awkward angle than top-mounted handles. The Handground also has a non-slip pad on the bottom of the device.
- Using the improved purchase on the handle, you crank from the side, while holding it down from the top. The rubber pad on the bottom keeps things from moving around as you do so.
- While the grinding mechanism isn’t as knock-out as a Peugeot, it still moves incredibly smoothly. It’s very easy to use, especially given the handle placement.
- The Handground has 15 grind settings to choose from. To change, you just rotate the wraparound collar. It’s numbered from 1-8, with half-steps also set into the detents. This isn’t the only twist-adjust setup on the market by any stretch, but it’s one of the most intuitive and well-designed.
- Overall, one of the things we love about the Handground is that it’s all labeled very clearly. In addition to the adjustment numbering, the the 100g hopper also has volume markings, which each indicate about 10g of beans. The lines are very handy if you don’t always want to be getting your scale out (or if you don’t have one!).
- It’s well-made, especially for something that’s manufactured in China. The Handground has a solid aluminum crank and a wooden knob. The chambers are glass, and fit around an all-metal grinding assembly (aside from ceramic burrs). It’s all very sturdy and the manufacturing is precise.
- It’s very user-friendly. The top twists off to load beans, so you can pour into the entire chamber. It locks on again with a quarter-twist for a secure grind. The whole thing is easy to clean, too. You turn one nut, and the entire grinding assembly will slide out for cleaning.
- There are several finish options: nickel, white or black plastic.
- One of the nicest parts of buying a product like this, by coffee lovers who wanted to create their ideal grinder, is that there’s a wealth of tips, tricks, and advice on the website and in the booklet. There’s a helpful guides to grind sizes, plus approximate grinding times for each. A helpful online video even teaches you to calibrate your burrs for the most consistent results!
- As with the JavaPresse, the Handground is supported by an excellent customer service team. It’s backed by a company that’s really passionate about their product, and goes the extra mile to help out buyers who run into issues. That’s a key reason that while it’s expensive, we think it’s a sound investment!
- While it looks quite good, the mostly plastic construction on the trim can feel a bit cheap. Even the nickel version isn’t actually metal. That’s disappointing given the price.
- While the Handground is ergonomically better than grinders like the Hario, it doesn’t necessarily translate to vastly better grind consistency. We’d say this one’s got a slight edge, but not a hugely different system. So, you buy this for its user-friendliness and design perks, more than for its improved grinding precision.
- Quality control is generally pretty good for the Handground, but sometimes these have to be calibrated out of the box. It’s straightforward, but slightly annoying for such an expensive device.
- While this is made to be portable, it’s rather large compared to the Hario, and the all-glass body makes it pretty breakable to boot.
Our ultimate recommendation for a manual coffee grinder is the Peugeot Antique Coffee Mill. It’s the best-looking hand grinder we’ve ever seen, and it has legendary French build quality. While this is by far the most expensive of our picks, we think it’s an heirloom-quality grinder that a passionate aficionado will truly love to use.
- It’s a totally unique little design. Where most coffee grinders are cylindrical, the Peugeot has an old-fashioned cube shape that hasn’t changed much since its invention in the 1800’s. The grinding unit is housed in an 8-1/4″ x 5″ x 5″ wooden box, with a removable drawer in the bottom for grounds.
- Where some of our picks, such as the Handground and JavaPresse, are very modern, the Peugeot is as old-fashioned as grinders come. Sometimes, a classic design doesn’t need to be refreshed. That’s the case with this one! While some of the materials have changed over the years, it still uses the same grinding mechanism and basic design that it has for over a century.
- The Peugeot’s housing is constructed in France, by the Peugeot company itself. That’s where the machine is assembled, too! No outsourcing here to cheap Chinese factories here! The grind mechanism is from Italy, where many of the best coffee gadgets are manufactured.
- The housing is PEFC-certified beechwood. It’s light but sturdy, and looks fantastic. It comes in lots of different finish options, from natural stains to solid white and black color schemes. You can find one to fit any classic/rustic aesthetic.
- The burrs and grind mechanism are knife-grade stainless steel. As far as we can tell, the burr is machined from a single piece of metal. It has a conical design to prevent heat buildup, just like our other picks.
- The machining quality on the Peugeot is absolutely outstanding. Everything fits precisely together, and moves smoothly at any setting. If you use premium beans and have high expectations for your home brews, this is well worth the price.
- That’s because such fantastic machining results in uniform grind texture with practically no fines, whether you want to grind for a french press or a $2000 espresso machine. There’s no static, either, so you don’t have to worry about clumping when you’re grinding at the finer end of the spectrum.
- The machine quality also improves the functionality of the Peugeot, making it more enjoyable to use than anything cheaper. While it’s old-fashioned, it’s very satisfying to crank this one. It’s smooth, and cracks right into beans without any catches or hesitation.
- It grinds about a half-cup at once, though you can certainly fill the hopper fuller. It works fast, too–about a minute for two cups in a french press.
- It’s refreshingly balanced! The Peugeot has room for the same amount in the grounds drawer as it does in the beans hopper! That’s assuming you don’t completely fill the hopper to the brim, though.
- You can adjust it to do anything from french press to espresso beans perfectly. When it comes to grinding evenly at any setting, there’s simply no comparison between a Peugeot and our other picks.
- The simple adjustment mechanism involves lifting a locking tab at the top of the grind shaft, and swiveling a notched ring. It’s very easy to figure out, and you shouldn’t have any issues making adjustments by yourself.
- You don’t have to clean it! We know, that sounds quite suspicious, doesn’t it? But the fact is that the mechanism doesn’t retain grounds the way so many other manual models do.
- As long as you’re grinding dry beans (as you most certainly should be!), nothing’s going to gunk one of these up. You might want to wipe down the drawer once in awhile, or blow out the innards every now and then, but it doesn’t need to be washed or taken apart.
- The Peugeot is as reliable and durable as manual grinders come! The grind mechanism is covered by a lifetime warranty. The housing is covered for 5 years. The Peugeot’s extra-long warranty coverage and outstanding reliability record are key reasons we think these are well worth the investment!
- Between the longevity of the mechanism and the impeccable aesthetics of the Peugeot, we think this is the ultimate heirloom-quality manual coffee grinder.
- It’s not as ergonomic as other (more modern) options. The top-mounted crank turns easily, but it’s not as ergonomic as the Handground. The wooden bottom can also slide around on a counter top, so you have to use your other hand to hold it in place. Neither is a deal-breaker, but still worth noting.
- It’s not as rugged as all-metal grinders. While we don’t think you’ll have any complaints in the reliability department, this isn’t going to do well with traveling. We also think the awkward shape makes it less than ideal for packing in a bag. This is definitely a stay-at-home grinder.
- The grind settings aren’t marked as clearly as the Handground and some of our other picks. You have to familiarize yourself with the ring on the bottom to know which settings to use. They’re easy enough to navigate once you’ve used the grinder a few times, though.
- If you fill the hopper right to the top, you’ll probably have to empty the drawer twice. That’s true of all our other recommendations, though. Also, if you wiggle the whole grinder from side to side, some grounds can go over the sides of the hopper and make a bit of a mess.
- The instructional materials aren’t the greatest. They’re certainly not as in-depth as the Handground’s. This is such a classic that there are countless instructional videos online, though.
- It’s very expensive. This is one of the priciest manual coffee grinders on the market. We don’t recommend it to anyone who isn’t super passionate about home grinding and brewing.
Here are all the key things you should keep in mind as you shop for your perfect manual coffee grinder:
As with your coffee maker, you want your grinder to be able to stand up to daily use without developing breakages or other issues. So, look for solidly-built grinders with durable construction materials. Avoid plastic as much as possible, especially on the inside of your new grinder. Look for all-metal grinding mechanisms wherever possible! They should be standard above $50.
The more metal, wood, or glass on your manual coffee grinder, the longer you can generally expect it to last. You should expect the burrs in your grinder to be made from either ceramic or stainless steel. Some ultra-cheap models have nylon or aluminum burrs, but you want to steer clear of them. They’re too soft, and they’ll wear out in a hurry. Ceramic burrs do tend to last the longest, but some of the very best grinders still use stainless steel. Wearing out burrs isn’t something most people can expect to do within a decade anyway.
Manual coffee grinders start as cheap as $10, and there may even be some models for less if you look hard enough. We don’t recommend anything under $20, as a general rule. That’s where we’ve found that the ceramic and metal models start. The nicest manual grinders can cost as much as $150.
The more you pay, the sturdier build quality you can expect. You’ll also find that more expensive models tend to be machined with tighter tolerances, meaning that they grind more precisely and more consistently. So, the more you pay, the better taste and texture results you can expect when you actually brew your coffee or espresso.
A good rule of thumb is to pay a proportional amount on your grinder to what you’ve spent on your beans and coffee/espresso maker. If you have premium roasts and brewing equipment, you’ll be letting yourself down by going for a cheap grinder. Likewise, there’s no reason to spend $75+ on a grinder if you’re not an aficionado.
Aside from construction materials, the main factor differentiating inexpensive manual grinders from premium models is precision. The more precise your grinder is in its grinding chamber and burr assembly, the more even the grounds it will produce.
Precision is usually proportional to price, so the more you pay, the more consistent your grounds will be. It’s dependent on the machining precision of the metal/ceramic grinding components, as well as stability features to keep the axle and burr steady as you crank.
Many inexpensive models leave a lot of fines in the brew, which end up in your cup and throw off your flavor. The more inconsistent your grounds, the less well-extracted your coffee’s flavor will be. So, if you’re serious about your coffee results and knowledgeable about the flavor profiles of the beans you use, you should make a decent investment in a grinder that will help boost your brews!
Be sure that your new manual coffee grinder can be adjusted to do all the things you want it to! If you make only one kind of coffee, you don’t need to worry too much about adjustability. People who use a couple different brewing methods for their coffee should look for something that grinds at a wide range of textures. Plan to spend ~$50+ if you want to be making espresso as well as coffee. Most models under $50 can’t give you precise, consistent results at finer, espresso-range textures.
Are you planning to take your new manual coffee grinder on the road? If so, look for something with a compact, self-contained design. Models with removable handles tend to be the best for travel.
Finally, make sure your new manual coffee maker will be easy and enjoyable to use!
One of the biggest things that determine how user-friendly a manual coffee grinder will be is ergonomics. So, make sure that your new mill will be comfortable for you to use! Find a handle configuration that works well for you, and choose a manual grinder that’s sized appropriately for your hands. Think about whether you want to use it on a counter, or between your legs. Everybody grinds slightly differently, so find what’s right for you!
Labeling is also key when it comes to user-friendliness. If things are easy to find and to navigate, you’ll have a faster time learning how to use your grinder right off the bat. Likewise, if you’re going to be adjusting the grinder settings on a regular basis, it’s helpful to have a labeled disc or knob, so you know exactly what you’re choosing.
Last but not least, look for simple, straightforward designs that make assembly and disassembly easy. That’s important for cleaning, especially because cheaper models end up having lots of grounds stuck in the chute or grinding mechanism. You’ll need to be able to dislodge them. Most coffee grinders should rinse or wipe clean, but taking the grinding assembly out of the housing tends to make that easier.
The most high-end manual grinders will often work so well that they don’t need to be disassembled or clean with any intensity. If you’re spending under $100, though, it’s an important aspect to consider.
Manual grinders not for you? Check out other grinders here.
Which of our manual coffee grinder recommendations should you buy?
The JavaPresse is the obvious choice for those on a tight budget. It’s about half the price of the Hario, which is our next cheapest pick. While the JavaPresse looks like every other generic cylinder grinder, it’s made with better materials and covered by very solid customer support. You can expect very respectable performance from this one, and it’s great for travel.
Just don’t expect premium-grade consistency or reliability from this one. Aficionados should spend more, or consider this as a secondary/travel grinder.
The Hario Skerton Plus is the least expensive option we recommend to passionate coffee lovers. While the Handground and Peugeot have a slight edge in terms of grind consistency, the vast majority of people won’t notice. The Hario is simple, reliable, and very practical. We especially like the detachable halves and lids for travel. This is as good as most people need, and as much as the average person should be spending.
If you want premium ergonomics or the absolute best grind consistency, though, consider either the Handground or Peugeot.
The Handground is our top recommendation to those who place a premium on user-friendliness and ergonomics. It does grind slightly better than the Hario, but the main thing you’re paying for is a more intuitive design. The Handground couldn’t be easier to adjust, and the whole thing is very well thought-out.
It’s fairly expensive, though, and it’s not the best thing for travel.
The Peugeot is our recommendation for the manual coffee aficionado. You can use this to make outstanding espresso or coffee, without having to worry about any stray fines or uneven pieces. It works like a charm, and is guaranteed to do so for many years. Plus, this one looks fantastic.
We don’t suggest taking it on the road, though. The Peugeot is also a bit funky to use, compared to our more modern picks.
|Model Name||Cost||Burr Type|
|Hario Skerton Plus||$||Ceramic|
|Peugeot Antique||$$||Stainless Steel|
We hope you’ve enjoyed this comprehensive look at the best manual coffee grinders on the market today!
If you like the looks of one of our recommendations, go ahead and click on the links in its review to find out more!