If you are in a hurry and just want to find out which is the best manual coffee grinder, I’d recommend the 1Zpresso JX as the best one.
Finding the best coffee manual grinders can be challenging nowadays. Back in the day, the Kinu M47 and the Commandante C40 MK3 were the undisputed champions of manual coffee grinders, and the Hario Slim was the only affordable option.
Things are different now, and you can get the best hand grinder for half of the price of traditional brands. But specs can be confusing, and coffee gear has become so specialized that you can get pricey equipment you don’t need.
To help you make an informed decision, we’ve put together this guide to the best coffee manual grinders available on the market. We’ve also included a buyer’s guide to help you understand what factors to consider when choosing a grinder.
So, whether you’re a coffee geek or a beginner, read on to find the best coffee manual grinder for your needs.
The 8 Best Coffee Manual Grinders of 2022
- 1Zpresso JX – Our top pick
- TIMEMORE Chestnut X – Best splurge
- 1Zpresso J-Max – Best manual grinder for espresso
- Kinu M47 Classic
- Commandante C40 MK3
- Normcore V2 hand coffee grinder – Best hand grinder for travel and camping
- TIMEMORE C2 – Best manual grinder under 100$
- Hario Slim – Best budget grinder for beginners
Benefits of Grinding Your Coffee
When you purchase coffee beans, they are typically sealed in an airtight container to keep them fresh. Once the seal is broken, the clock starts ticking, and the beans begin to lose their aroma and taste. That’s why it’s important to grind your own coffee beans as close to the time you plan on brewing as possible.
In addition to a richer and more intense aroma, grinding your coffee gives you control over the grind’s coarseness. This is important because different brewing methods require different levels of fineness or coarseness. For instance, a coarse grind is best for cold brew, while you need a very fine grind for espresso.
Finally, the grinding experience (with a good grinder) is exquisite. The fragrance of freshly ground coffee is delightful. You waste less coffee and get most of coffee’s health-promoting benefits.
Should you get a manual grinder?
If you’re considering getting a manual grinder only for the price, I recommend you to think again. Some are cheaper than electric grinders, but low-quality hand grinders can be extremely slow and unreliable.
A manual grinder is an excellent option if you travel frequently or want to enjoy fresh-ground coffee on hikes or camping trips. The main benefit of a manual grinder is portability. Additionally, hand grinders are a good option if you have an unreliable electricity supply. No matter what, you’ll still be able to grind and brew a delicious cup of coffee.
Another good reason to get a manual grinder is to complement your coffee setup. As you may know, it’s easier and more affordable to get separated grinders for pour-over and espresso. If you already have a grinder for espresso and want to improve your setup, you don’t need to break the bank. You can get a dedicated pour-over grinder from our list, and it’ll save you a lot of space compared to electric grinders.
We recommend the 1Zpresso J-Max for espresso because the manufacturer made several decisions about design and construction with espresso in mind. Nonetheless, if you’re on a budget, the 1Zpresso JX has proven to be more than apt for the task. And, if you’re looking for an espresso grinder, the 1Zpresso JX and the J-Max are excellent options.
Technically speaking, manual grinders have a meaningful advantage over electric grinders in retention, cleaning, and maintenance. Hand grinders retain a minimal amount of grounds, and they’re easy to clean compared with electric burr grinders.
So, if you’re looking for a hand grinder for portability, to be hurricane-proof, or take your setup to another level, we have something for you on our list.
Things to consider before buying a coffee grinder
When looking for a manual coffee grinder, there are a few things you’ll want to keep in mind. Find below our recommendations to pick your coffee grinder without any hassle or doubt.
Manual Coffee Grinder vs. Automatic
There is nothing like adjusting the setting and pressing a button for grinding at home. I am that lazy. What can I say!
But you aren’t necessarily like me. So, to decide between a manual coffee grinder and an electric one, the most important things to consider are convenience, noise, speed, and quality.
Manual coffee grinders are silent like ninjas when compared with regular electric grinders. Affordable electric burr grinders are particularly noisy, and some models like the Baratza 270 are incredibly loud.
Another thing to bear in mind is portability. Nothing can beat a hand grinder portability-wise.
High-quality hand grinders are more precise, durable, and faster than electric grinders. Price-wise, there is little difference here. Whether manual or automatic, good grinders are between 70 and 200 dollars, with really excellent ones above 300 dollars.
Brewing methods and devices
Having a grinder compatible with your favorite brewing method is essential. It should produce a medium to coarse grind for pour-over coffee. Likewise, you need one capable of producing a fine grind for espresso.
On the other hand, the best espresso grinder on our list is the 1Zpresso J-Max. However, premium options like the Kinu M47, the Commandante C40 MK3, and the TIMEMORE Chestnut X can deliver fantastic results, albeit for a higher price.
Materials and design
Plastic bodies aren’t any good in the coffee grinders’ world 😉. The best hand grinders have wooden, metallic, and even glass parts -yes, I am looking at you, Commandante C40.
Of course, high-quality materials boost price tags. You’ll find that a few plastic parts are okay to save a couple of hundred dollars.
On the other hand, design is a huge deal, functionality and aesthetic-wise. If you’re going to hold this grinder and get your coffee grounds with it two to three times per day, it has to be pleasant to look at. I can’t say it enough: looks matter.
Talking from personal experience, I bought a mediocre grinder without overthinking about it. Eventually, I just hated that poor thing. It was slow, imprecise, and worst of all, ugly.
Finally, the burr set construction is critical. Stainless steel burrs are the best, and some recent innovations include titanium and other coatings. Still, the interior of the grinder is essential too, and burrs alone aren’t enough. Some new brands are sourcing decent burrs but build flimsy bodies, plastic axis, and burr supports that produce poor results.
Like most things in life, it’s very different to get a grinder for a solo coffee drinker than for a group. And capacity is vital for that.
Most of my personal recipes use 10 to 20 g of coffee beans per person. So, if you’re grinding for two, I can’t recommend anything below the 30-35 g capacity of the 1Zpresso JX.
Still, capacity and portability rarely come together. So, if you’re looking for something light and portable, you’ll usually need to compromise on the container’s capacity.
Dialing an espresso is different from adjusting grind settings for a French press. Both have other requirements, and a dedicated espresso grinder can be too slow and troublesome to adapt for pour-over coffee.
The best grinders will have a wide range of settings that can be adjusted quickly. Additionally, some premium models have micro-adjustments. This is particularly useful for those who want to experiment with their recipes and find the perfect combination of grind size and brewing time.
The weight and dimensions of your grinder are crucial when trekking or on any occasion that you’re carrying the whole weight.
Traveling with a hand grinder is rarely an issue because most are safe to take with you or even inside your luggage. Just remember to check with your airline about luggage rules to be sure how to pack your grinder correctly.
In my experience, I have taken grinders in my hand luggage and checked bags without any trouble.
Thinking about portability, we chose the Normcore V2 as the best portable hand grinder despite being considerably heavier than the Hario Slim. The Normcore V2 grinder has a superior burr set, construction, and overall quality. Weight matters, but it isn’t everything, right? 😉.
Price is the main reason we chose the 1Zpresso JX over legendary grinders like the Kinu M47 and the Commandante C40 MK3.
The value you get for the money is essential, and 1Zpresso and TIMEMORE have mastered the art of offering high-quality products for a competitive price.
Cleaning and maintenance
Most hand grinders are easy to clean and maintain, but even here, we can find some better products than most.
A few grinders include a cleaning kit, which is a plus. Additionally, the best hand grinders are easy to disassemble and reassemble without losing precision after repeated cleaning and maintenance.
1Zpresso JX: Best Manual grinder
The 1Zpresso JX has a premium look and feel. It has an elegant design and top-notch details. It’s easy to use and gets good results with a wide range of coffee brewing methods.
If this grinder sounds like a good option, but you aren’t sure yet, check our full 1Zpresso JX review.
- Premium look and feel, with elegant design and top-notch details
- Good capacity: 30-35 g
- Fast and easy to use
- Good results with a wide range of brewing devices
- Solid construction with an aluminum alloy body, stainless steel burrs, and wooden knob
- Extremely durable burrs tested to grind 100-200 kg before replacing them
- Precise and fast grinding mechanics produce evenly-sized coffee grounds
- Heavy and bulky for travel (it weighs about 700 g, and it’s 6 inches tall)
TIMEMORE Chestnut X Manual Coffee Grinder: Best Splurge
The TIMEMORE Chestnut X is worth the triple that its C2 sibling, and it isn’t hard to find out why.
Design-wise, it looks more elegant, is more comfortable to use, and it’s more portable than the TIMEMORE C2, and most of its high-end competitors too.
In terms of performance, it features unique burrs in high-carbon stainless steel for more durability and precision.
- Stylish and functional design
- Most portable in this price range
- 30-35 g capacity
- Unique burr set with high-quality, durable construction
- Fast and smooth performance
- Precise with good versatility for different grind sizes from fine to coarse
- Relatively low capacity in this price range
- Heavy! It’s a close contender to the Kinu M47 Classic
For more details, check our TIMEMORE Chestnut X review.
1Zpresso J-Max: Best hand grinder for espresso
The 1Zpresso J-Max is a sleek and elegant manual coffee grinder built with espresso in mind. It’s designed to be compact and easy to transport, but it still has a good capacity of 35-40 g.
This grinder includes a hard case and a cleaning kit that makes it easy to keep the grinder in top condition. The only downside is the price, which can be steep for some budgets. However, if you’re looking for the best of the best, the 1Zpresso J-Max should definitely be on your list.
- Sleek design with premium case and maintenance kit for better portability
- Espresso focused, with an especially designed burr set and grind size adjustments
- Elegant design, look and feel
- Outstanding performance and speed
- Good capacity: 35-40 g
- Includes a hard case and cleaning kit
- The price can be too steep
Kinu M47 Classic
The M47 Classic is, without a doubt, Kinu’s best product. It’s a stunning grinder built with convenience, durability, and performance in mind.
The body is high-quality stainless steel. It feels great and looks fantastic on any countertop. The premium construction extends to the interior, where you’ll find world-class burrs treated for higher performance and longevity.
Even if you’ve never used a manual grinder before, the M47 is easy to operate. The anti-rotational knob requires little effort to turn, and the grounds container is easy to attach to the grinder.
- Premium design and construction
- Comfortable grip and smooth grinding
- Superior capacity: 40-45 g
- Excellent grind size distribution across coarse, medium, and fine grounds
- Outstanding versatility
- Top-notch burr set treated for higher performance and durability
- The anti-rotational knob is easy to use and requires little effort
- Includes a hard case for travel
- The heaviest grinder on our list, it weighs almost 1.2 kg
- It doubles and triples the price of many decent alternatives
- Size-wise, it’s challenging to handle with small hands or any weakening condition (arthritis, carpal tunnel syndrome, etc.)
Normcore Coffee manual grinder V2: Best hand grinder for travel and camping
The Normcore V2 Hand Grinder is a top-quality coffee grinder perfect for those who want an easy-to-use and portable grinder. It has a sleek design with a premium finish, and it comes with a hard case and cleaning kit.
It has adjustable, stepped grind settings to get repeatable and reliable results.
The Normcore V2 has a good capacity of 25 g.
The only downside is consistency, which seems to be an issue compared with high-end grinders on our list.
However, if you’re looking for a good-quality and portable grinder, the Normcore V2 Hand Grinder is above any cheaper manual grinder with ceramic burrs.
- Light and compact
- Silicone sleeve and removable lid for better portability
- Stepped adjustment with a good performance and versatility
- Fast and versatile
- Excellent price for the value
- Premium finish with wooden and metallic parts
- Hard case and cleaning kit included
- Comfortable and easy to use
- It has a limited capacity of 25 g
- Some users complain about grinding consistency and static electricity
For more details, you can read our Normcore grinder V2 review.
Comandante C40 Mk4 Nitro Blade
For quite some time, the Comandante was THE BEST hand grinder. I know that many of my readers will throw things around when they find my verdict here.
Here is the thing. The Comandante C40 Mk4 is an excellent grinder. Still, it doubles and triples the price of almost every single competitor on this list. Furthermore, while researching its performance, I consistently found that the 1Zpresso JX can perform as well as the Comandante C40 Mk4, or even better, for many different brewing methods.
- Superb build quality and durability
- Top-notch burr set and overall mechanic
- Fast, consistent, and reliable
- Outstanding versatility: delivers great grind sizes for pour-over and French press, with decent results at the finer end
- 40-45 g capacity
- Hard to find
TIMEMORE Chestnut C2: Best Manual Grinder under 100$
It has an excellent grip, and it’s lightweight. The stepped grind settings are precise and reliable. The only downside is the limited capacity of 25 g and some plastic elements that reduce its visual impact and durability.
If you’re very interested in this grinder, you can also read our detailed TIMEMORE C2 review.
- Fast and precise
- Lightweight and compact
- High-end adjustable grind settings
- Great value for the price
- Good looking
- Outstanding grip for the checkered model
- It has a limited capacity of 25 g
- Plastic parts
- It has shown some issues with burrs alignment after some use
- The grounds receptacle has had issues
Hario Coffee Mill Slim: Best budget manual grinder for beginners
My first grinder was a Hario Slim, and it’s the only ceramic burr grinder I recommend. It’s light, reliable, and affordable.
Sure, you can find cheaper products there. Still, Hario has a good reputation for the quality of its products. To me, that’s important, and I can’t recommend anything that isn’t reliable just because it’s cheaper.
Bear in mind that the price difference between the Hario and the rest of this list is huge, and that isn’t for free.
The Hario Slim comes with ceramic burrs, which are impossibly slow. Additionally, it’s entirely made in plastic without any stepped adjustments. So, grinding consistency and repeatability are nearly impossible with the Hario Slim.
In Hario Slim’s defense, I can say that its shortcomings are common among most ceramic burr grinders, even several of them that cost a lot more than the Hario.
- Lightweight and portable
- Easy to use
- Comfortable grip
- Extremely slow
- Inconsistent grind size
- No stepped adjustments
The Verdict: The Best Coffee Hand Grinder
There’s no doubt that the 1Zpresso JX is the best coffee manual grinder on our list. It’s reliable, gives more value for the price than any other, is versatile, durable, and looks great.
We have found a lot of positive feedback from users about this grinder, and it’s clear that it’s the best option out there for those looking for a reasonably priced top-notch grinder.
FAQs about the best coffee Hand grinders
What Is The Difference Between A Blade Grinder And A Burr Grinder?
Blade grinders and burr grinders are two of the most common coffee grinders. Blade grinders chop the coffee beans into small pieces with a rotating blade, while burr grinders mill the beans between two grooved burrs. Burr grinders produce a more evenly ground coffee than blade grinders, which leads to better flavor. Additionally, they are typically more expensive than blade grinders, but they still offer a better cup of coffee.
What Grind Size Should I Use?
For a given coffee grind size, the weight of the grounds will vary depending on how much coffee is in the cup. When determining which grind size to use, many factors come into play, including the type of coffee being used, how many people you want to serve at once, and the brewing method.
What grind size should I use for my coffee maker? This is a question that often confuses people. The answer depends on the type of coffee maker you are using. If you are making espresso, Turkish coffee, or coffee using a Moka pot, try using finely ground coffee. Using a drip coffee maker, pour-over, or AeroPress brewer, use a medium grind. French presses, percolators, and cold brew machines are best with coarse-ground beans.
How Long Does It Take To Manually Grind Coffee Beans?
It takes around a minute or two to grind coffee beans manually with a long handle and steel burrs. This is because it takes less energy to grind the beans with a longer handle, and steel burrs are sharper and faster than ceramic burrs.
How Do I Clean A Manual Coffee Grinder?
To clean a manual coffee grinder, you will need to first disassemble the grinder. Next, use a gentle tap to knock out any loose coffee grounds. Rinse the body and the receptacle with warm water, wipe them with a clean microfiber cloth, and allow them to dry completely before reassembling.
To clean the burrs, use a dry toothbrush or bottle brush. A quick warning here: use a brush exclusively for this purpose. Avoid using it for other cleaning tasks.
Make sure all pieces are dry before reassembling the grinder. If not, it could damage the burrs, rust other metallic parts, and reduce its lifespan. Reassembling the grinder in the wrong order can also cause problems, so be careful.
Featured image courtesy of 1Zpresso