Fresh coffee means fresh beans that have been freshly ground. While electric coffee grinders may be faster, they can also be very loud and hard to transport. On the other hand, manual or hand-crank coffee grinders are quiet, portable, and travel-friendly.
We have found the top manual coffee grinders to review for you. We have judged these products on material quality, ease of use, durability, grind size options, price, portability, and overall quality of performance.
Javapresse Manual Coffee Grinder With Adjustable Setting
- Ceramic burr grinder
- 18 grind settings
- Stainless steel housing
- Removable hand crank
Our runner-up is the popular Javapresse Manual Coffee Grinder. This has a similar aesthetic and materials to the Wheroamoz model, with stainless steel housing and a ceramic burr grinder. This is great as ceramic is durable, and burr grinders create an even grind as opposed to blade grinders (which are often inconsistent).
There are 18 grind settings, from very coarse for cold brew, to extremely fine for Turkish coffee. This is ideal for coffee lovers who enjoy a range of different brew methods. Thankfully, the unit is easily disassembled for cleaning, which is very simple and requires no more than a rinse with soapy water and time to thoroughly dry.
The Javapresse hand crank is removable, so you can take it off and tuck it into a storage pouch for compact and discreet transport. You could easily take this with you to work, camping, or traveling. Some people have reported that it can be a little difficult to grip, as the body is made of smooth, stainless steel and can twist as you grind.
The price is fantastic considering the excellent quality. You could even buy one for a friend, or one for the office and one for home.
✔ Can achieve all grind sizes
✔ Easy to break down and pack away
✔ Durable materials
✔ Decent yield
✘ Hard to get a good grip when grinding
✘ Can be hard to reassemble evenly
✘ Takes a long time to grind a decent yield
Shanik Stainless Steel Manual Coffee Grinder
- Ceramic burr
- Silicone grip and lid
- Stainless steel housing, knob, and handle
- Velvet storage bag
Next up is the Shanik stainless steel manual coffee grinder. This is just as affordable as the top two on the list, and certainly as high quality. The stainless steel housing, handle and handle knob are durable and long-lasting, as is the ceramic burr.
One of the best features is the silicone grip which wraps around the unit. This makes it easy to get a sturdy, slip-free grip as you grind your coffee, making the process faster and easier overall. What’s more, the silicone grip has a slot in which the removable handle is stored when the unit is not in use. The included velvet storage bag holds everything in one tidy package, great for traveling and storage.
There is a simple knob that adjusts the grind size from coarse to fine, with enough options to take you from cold brew (coarse grind) to espresso (fine grind). A few people have reported that the grind can be a little uneven at times, and it could be due to the burr becoming misaligned after reassembly. Another excellent feature is the silicone lid which sits on top of the ground coffee cup, (the bottom of the machine where the grinds gather) to keep the coffee fresh.
✔ Easy to get a sturdy grip
✔ Keeps ground coffee fresh
✔ Adjustable grind size
✔ Easy to clean
✘ Uneven grind
✘ Plastic pieces prone to breaking
✘ Not ideal for very coarse grind
Hario Skerton Pro Ceramic Coffee Mill
- Dishwasher-safe parts (holding chamber and silicone parts)
- Ceramic burr
- Silicone grip covers
- Transparent glass holding chamber
The fourth on our list is the Hario Skerton Pro Ceramic Coffee Mill, a new and improved version of a previous model. In terms of price, this is a few steps up from the previous three models.
However, it offers user-friendly features that make the grinding experience smoother. For example, a silicone grip over the top half of the unit allows you to get a slip-proof handle on the grinder for fast and effective grinding.
What’s more, the shape itself is similar to an hourglass as opposed to the straight column shape of other models. This is great as it contours to the hand for a fast process. The bottom of the model is also covered in silicone, keeping it stable and in place if you’re grinding coffee on a hard surface.
Like the other top manual coffee grinders, the burr is ceramic, which we know is the most durable and long-wearing material. The burr features a stabilizer that is meant to keep the grind size consistent when aiming for a coarse grind. While this does help marginally, customers have reported that the coarse grind size is still inconsistent. However, it is a great option for finer grinds for espresso and Turkish coffee.
Like many manual coffee grinders, the process is not exactly speedy, and it can take a little while to get a full container of coffee grinds. However, this is the nature of manual coffee grinders, and if you’re prepared for a longer process than an electric model, it shouldn’t be a problem.
✔ Easy to get a stable grip
✔ Great for fine grinds
✔ Easy to clean
✘ Not great for coarse grinds
✘ Releases ground coffee very slowly
✘ Uneven grind
Triple Tree Manual Coffee Grinder
- 5.5 oz storage jar with lid
- Ceramic burr
- Large handle knob
- Adjustable grind size
Last but not least, the Triple Tree Manual Coffee Grinder. This is similar to the Hario model above but at a much smaller price point. It has a pepper grinder-style, hourglass shape for easy gripping. It has the all-important ceramic burr for heat-free, even grinding.
The coffee holder is transparent glass, with a generous 5.5 oz capacity (about 2 oz more than the other models). The grinder handle has a generous-sized knob which makes grinding reasonably easy and comfortable. Customers have reported that the grinding process is slow, but this is inevitable for manual grinders in comparison to electric models.
An excellent feature is the 5.5 oz storage glass with a screw-top lid. You can store your fresh beans or any unused grounds to use for your next brew, eliminating wastage and keeping the coffee fresh. If you’re planning on traveling, camping, or making coffee at work, this will certainly come in handy.
✔ Decent capacity for grinds
✔ Easy to store leftover grinds
✔ Great for medium-coarse grinds
✔ Easy to clean and reassemble
✘ Slow grinding process
✘ May be tough for left-handed people
✘ Handle is slightly loose
How to Choose a Manual Coffee Grinder
Figure out your budget
Luckily, most manual coffee grinders are extremely affordable so you don’t have to save or set aside a budget plan.
Consider bean capacity
How much ground coffee do you want to grind in one go? Is it just for you or are you preparing for two or three servings of coffee? Most manual coffee grinders have a small capacity of around 4 tablespoons of coffee, so keep that in mind if you’re looking for bulk amounts of ground coffee at once.
Consider the operation and usage requirements
Figure out what kind of shape you prefer, as it will directly influence the ease of use. For example, a long, straight, stainless steel manual coffee grinder may be more accommodating to larger hands as there is more surface area to grip. On the flip side, a curved, hourglass shape might be easier to grip for smaller hands. Consider silicone covers for slip-free usage if you find your hands get damp.
Consider the method of coffee brewing you prefer, and find a manual coffee grinder which suits the related grind size. For example, if you’re a die-hard espresso drinker, find a model with a great fine grind. If you love French press coffee, find a grinder that produces even and consistent coarse grinds.
How does a manual coffee grinder work?
Quite simply, a manual grinder crushes coffee beans in a grinder (either burr or blade) which is operated by manually turning a handle that turns the burr or blades. The ground coffee falls into the coffee holder below.
The user adds whole coffee beans to the hopper, screws the parts back together, adjusts the grind size, and cranks the handle until enough coffee has been ground for their requirements.
What size grind should I use?
It all depends on your method of brewing coffee. Here’s a simple guide:
- French press: coarse
- Moka pot: fine
- Chemex or drip-style: medium-coarse
- Espresso machine: fine
- Cold brew: very coarse
- Turkish coffee: very fine
How can I make the grinding process faster?
The fact is, a manual coffee grinder takes longer than an electric one, so you can’t expect a speedy result. The speed depends on how fast you crank the handle, and how well the grinder can stand up to fast grinding. Go as fast as you can, comfortably, but be prepared that the process may take a minute or two. Some people find the process to be relaxing and with “old school” charm, and they get the job done as the water boils or the espresso machine heats up.
Why choose a manual coffee grinder over an automatic coffee grinder?
One of the main reasons why people choose a manual coffee grinder is because it is quiet, unlike electric grinders which can be extremely loud.
What’s more, they are portable and do not require any power to work, making them great for traveling and camping.
Coffee fanatics may like to grind their own coffee at work, and a manual grinder allows them to grind away at their desk without disturbing the whole office.
What’s the best material for a manual coffee grinder?
When it comes to the burr itself (the part that grinds the coffee), ceramic is the best material. This is because it doesn’t generate heat during the grinding process as metal-based materials do. Heat during the grinding process can compromise the flavor of the coffee beans.
In terms of the body and holding chamber, stainless steel and glass or industrial-grade plastic are great choices for durability.
How do I maintain and clean my manual coffee grinder?
Always consult the instruction manual for your particular model. However, the general cleaning instructions are:
- Use hot water with mild soap to clean the holding container and inner parts
- Use a small brush or toothbrush to remove excess coffee grinds and residue from the mechanisms before you rinse it out
- Don’t put your manual coffee grinder in the dishwasher unless specified by the manufacturer
- Always leave the parts (especially the inner mechanisms and burr) to dry thoroughly before reassembling the grinder
Who makes the best manual coffee grinders?
There are some excellent brands that make high-quality and very affordable manual coffee grinders. We love Javapresse for sleek, stainless steel models with ceramic burrs. For pepper grinder-style constructions with glass holding jars, Hario and Triple Tree have great options.