Last Updated: 01-09-2020

10 Best Manual Coffee Grinders 2020

When it comes to grinding coffee, you have three options.

You can buy some pre-ground coffee and face issues such as lack of freshness and difficulty in getting the grind size right, or you can buy a grinder, whether it be electric burr/blade or a manual coffee grinder.

We have also reviewed electric coffee grinders if you want to compare the two

If you have an espresso machine or manual method of coffee maker such as a pour-over or a cafetiere, you will need to grind your beans before you prepare the coffee.

While most people will opt for an electric grinder which is easier to use, gives more consistent results and often holds more coffee, manual grinders have their pros. Lower prices, increased portability and sleeker designs make them popular amongst home baristas.

Here are our picks of the best manual coffee grinders on the market, whatever your need.

Our Top Picks

Image Product Details
Hario Mini Mill Plus
  • Capacity: 24g
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Hario MSCS-2DTB Skerton
  • Capacity: 30g
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Porlex Mini II
  • Capacity: 24g
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The Best Manual Coffee Grinders

1.
Hario Mini Mill Plus

Specifications

  • Capacity: 24g

Nice and easy to hold, with a large handle which is simple to turn, this grinder is brilliant.

The handle ensures quick, consistent grinding and the ceramic burrs also help with keeping all of the grounds regular. They’re adjustable and don’t transfer heat which burns the beans.

Because it is quite thin, it is really easy to hold which is essential when your other arm has to turn the handle. The entire grinder casing is plastic, which doesn’t only keep it safe from cracking and damage but also keeps it lightweight.

An easy to read measuring window shows you how much coffee has been made, and also allows you to check on the progress of the grinding without taking it all apart to look.

Reasons to Buy

  • Easy visibility on progress
  • Slim and easy to hold

Reasons to Avoid

  • Taller design can make it harder to hold for some

2.
Rhino Compact Hand Grinder

Specifications

  • Capacity: 42g

This is the best travel coffee grinder we found – if this is what you are after.

Or, it can simply be for home use but take up little space in your kitchen cupboards in between uses. It is a hand grinder, so compact and there is no need for power supplies.

You get an AeroPress adapter with it, so it is perfect if you are going camping and want something to go along with your coffee maker, as well as a carry bag to keep it safe in your bag and dust-free in storage. It can be used for other kinds of brewing methods too though, such as pour-over or mugs.

Coffee tastes better when the beans are freshly ground, and this grinder also allows you to carry around the beans – which will be much tidier than carrying the grounds.

Reasons to Buy

  • Portable
  • Grinds directly into an Aeropress
  • Comes with carry bag

Reasons to Avoid

  • You will need a bit of arm muscle

3.
Hario MSCS-2DTB Skerton

Specifications

  • Capacity: 30g

One of the best selling grinders around full stop, never mind just manual grinders.

This is a new and improved version of the original, featuring a steadier burr with the addition of a new stabilizer plate. The ceramic mill gives you a consistent grind which is much easier to cope with than blades, and it is small, lightweight and portable so great for smaller kitchens, or frequent travellers.

The reservoir at the base features a twist lock, so you can store the grounds safely until used. Great if you’re feeling strong and want to grind ahead, or just want to grind the maximum amount in preparation for some tomorrow as well.

Reasons to Buy

  • Great for finer grinds
  • Fits enough for 203 cups

Reasons to Avoid

  • Not great at coarse grinds

4.
Henry Charles Manual Coffee Grinder

Specifications

  • Capacity: 40g

Good for a host of grinds, from Espresso, French Press and AeroPress to Percolator, Cafetiere, Moka Pot, Drip Coffee, Cold Brew and Turkish, this grinder is stylish and features a really generous handle for ease.

The built-in adjustable grind leveller is what makes it so flexible. Just twist it, and you will be able to experiment a little bit with the right level for your tastes and machine. It comes with a travel bag and is lightweight for carrying.

Finally, it uses high-quality ceramic burrs, which won’t wear away with frequent use and it can just be washed with soap and water.

Reasons to Buy

  • With travel pouch
  • Compact size

Reasons to Avoid

  • Grinding arm can be a bit wobbly

5.
Porlex Mini II

Specifications

  • Capacity: 24g

This is one of the pricier manual coffee grinders around, but if you are already dreading the arm actions involved in grinding the coffee beans down, this little device helps you out.

Compared to the Porlex I which was already advanced, this grinder can produce roughly 1.3x more coffee with the same number of rotations. Porlex has also redesigned the adjustment nut so that it stands up proud and tall on its own, without you having to hold it steady, which again makes it easier to use.

If you will be using it on your travels, the handle comes off and can be stored in the little rubber belt around the device. It is a Japanese device, which is the home of manual coffee, so will make coffee suitable for pour-overs too.

Reasons to Buy

  • Handle comes off for easier carrying

Reasons to Avoid

  • Price

6.
Cooko Manual Coffee Grinder

Specifications

  • Power: Manual
  • Capacity: 100g
  • Burr Material: Ceramic
  • Shape: Flat

Small and lightweight, this grinder would be the perfect addition to any camping trip or day out for anyone who simply can’t let being away from home keep them from their coffee fix. You could even take it to work with you or keep it in your caravan as an affordable, practical grinder which doesn’t require power.

The glass bottle feels strong enough to suffer from a slight bit of wear and tear, and there is also a silicone lid for this part if you want to pre-grind the coffee ready for when you need it next. The cap is a high standard, so no moisture or air will get into the jar.

It is labour-intensive, so not for those who are always in a rush or hate putting effort into their cup of coffee. But for the price, the quality of the coffee grains at the end is decent. The granules aren’t all uniform, which is usually something a burr grinder avoids, but your coffee machine will hopefully not see this as an issue.

The uneven results come from there being no bearings in the burr, which usually stops them both swinging from side to side. It isn’t the end of the world, as a bit of patience and time can make this less of a problem. Trial and error will sort it all out.

The low price also means that if you want to see what all the fuss is about with grinding your own beans, it is achievable on a budget.

Reasons to Buy

  • Handle is easy to hold
  • Ceramic grinder for the price

Reasons to Avoid

  • Uncomfortable to grip to hold it still

7.
Groenenberg Manual Coffee Grinder

Specifications

  • Capacity: 45g

With adjustable ceramic burrs, this grinder can make coffee for a myriad of machines, including espresso or french press grounds.

Because it is stainless steel, it should last for years, and won’t be easily damaged through transportation or storage.

When you’re done, the whole thing can be disassembled so you can clean it fully. This includes the ceramic burrs and all of the stainless steel parts. You get a free travel bag with the purchase which keeps it safe and ready for on-the-go use.

Reasons to Buy

  • Tall and slim
  • Easy to clean

Reasons to Avoid

  • Plastic lining inside

8.
Hario Coffee Mill Column Grinder

Specifications

  • Capacity: 30g

For those who want a classic look.

This wooden grinder is antique and vintage in style, ideal if you have a rather oldy-worldy setup or if it would simply look great in your kitchen.

There is a fine coarseness adjuster, and all of the grounds go straight into the chamber in the mill where they can be collected or stored for a few days.

Reasons to Buy

  • Vintage look

Reasons to Avoid

  • Can’t see the grounds

9.
Meelio Manual Coffee Grinder

Specifications

  • Capacity: 42g

This grinder has four adjustable grinding levels from fine to coarse, so while it may not be the most adaptable on the market, there is a good chance it will be just fine for your machine.

It has a nice large lid so it is simple to put the coffee beans in, and the clear base allows you to view how the grinding is coming along. Because the burr is ceramic, no heat will be added to the beans as they grind.

You actually get two bases, which are glass. You can choose the size based on how much you are grinding, and then also use them to store excess grounds in. When you’re done, the whole thing comes apart so you can clean every bit. 

Our downside is the fact it is made from glass, so may end up not lasting very long depending on how you use it.

Reasons to Buy

  • Comes with two containers
  • Easy to adjust grind level

Reasons to Avoid

  • Glass could be dangerous

10.
Hario Medium Glass Hand Coffee Grinder

Specifications

  • Power: Manual
  • Capacity: N/A
  • Burr Material: Ceramic
  • Shape: Flat

One of the most popular hand grinders on the market over the past few years, thanks to its ergonomic, timeless design and adjustable grind size.

With the ability to grind your beans into a fine powder for espressos, and leave them a bit coarser for iced coffees, this is a product which can cater to any tastes or coffee varieties.

It is also very reliable; the ceramic burrs will last longer than stainless steel versions, and they’re seen as being a lot more consistent too.

Adjusting the settings for the coarseness of the grind isn’t obvious at first, but if you take the grinding handle off you, will see a little screw/washer. The further you turn it right, the tighter the mechanism will get and the finer the coffee will be.

Essentially, it is a product for anyone who wants the effectiveness and consistency of a burr grinder but doesn’t want to fork out for an electrical device. On the downside, it is more expensive than the majority of other manual options on the market. We understand that you pay for quality, but there are versions which aren’t far off for less than half the price.

But the simplistic nature means not much can go wrong with the mill, and all the individual parts seem quality so it should last for years to come.

Reasons to Buy

  • Glass feels strong

Reasons to Avoid

  • Occasionally clogs up with beans

Bean-to-Cup Coffee Machine Buying Guide

Capacity

Manual coffee grinders are small and compact, so there is a limit on how much coffee you can grind in one go. For this reason, they are best if you are only making coffee for 2-3 people.

Holding between 20 and 40g is, therefore, a good marker. This is 2-4 cups of coffee.

Do be aware that the more grounds you grind at one time, the harder it will be. So even if you’re making enough for four people, you still may want to limit how much you grind at one time to 12g (enough for one cup).

Materials

The majority of manual grinders are either made from plastic or stainless steel.

This gives them strength without the risk of breaking if you store or transport it, like what would happen with glass. They are also easy to clean.

Also, note the material of the burr. It should be ceramic, which is the most effective and also won’t cause the beans to heat up when being ground. Most will be of high quality as standard.

Grind Settings

Does your french press use the same grind as your espresso machine? Quick answer – it shouldn’t.

French press should be coarse or medium, and espresso fine. 

You may just have one machine, but you still want to ensure the grinder gets the grounds to the right size. A grinder with a lot of choices when it comes to settings is ideal, as you can get it right for the machine and then alter it slightly based on taste.

At the very least, check your chosen grinder can grind as fine or coarse as you need it to.

FAQs

Why choose a manual coffee grinder?

The main reason people will choose a manual grinder over an electric one is that you get more for a lower price point.

Say you have £30 to spend. With an electric coffee bean grinder, that will get you a blade grinder which will probably be pretty average but certainly won’t give you uniform grounds. But with a manual machine, this could actually get you a decent ceramic burr grinder with the ability to get higher quality results.

But, another popular reason is that it is eco-friendly. It doesn’t use electricity, and will likely last a lot longer than the electric options.

  • Lower price – you can often find a manual grinder for well under £50, but decent electric burr grinders will be over £100 usually. A cheap electric grinder will often be a blade grinder, and manual options work better than these
  • Portability – they are smaller, so can be taken on trips or even just stored away easier
  • Noise – they’re quieter, too. Good for early risers in busy homes
  • Size – many are much smaller than their electric counterparts, so perfect for smaller kitchens or if you want to store it away as you only have speciality coffee every so often
  • Quality – this is a view which divides people, but some baristas say that because you’re not also buying the electricals, motor and other pieces of an electric machine, you should get a better quality burr with a manual grinder

Are manual coffee grinders burr or blade?

Manual grinders will always be burr grinders, as you wouldn’t be able to put enough pressure behind blades by hand,

However, the shape can differ. Most will be conical, but you can also get flat designs.

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