Having the best manual coffee grinder is one of the most, if not THE most important component when it comes to creating the perfect cup of coffee.
Make the wrong choice and you could end up with something that is flimsy, breaks easily or even worse, provides you with uneven grounds.
The best manual coffee grinder on the other hand should be well built, provide you with perfectly even grounds and ultimately should be easy to use.
We’ve tried and tested some of the most popular manual coffee grinders on the market and rated them according to their price, grind quality, ease of use and build quality. We’ve included a selection of the ones we thought were the best according to different categories. Read on to find out which manual coffee grinders made our list.
Best Manual Coffee Grinder Overall: Porlex
When taking into account all aspects of what makes a great manual coffee grinder, we chose the Porlex as the best overall. The result of the finest coffee grinder Japanese manufacturing has to offer, the Porlex is a high quality burr grinder that consistently creates uniform grounds.
Coming in at a shade under £60, the Porlex is certainly value for money. For those looking for a budget option, this might be on the upper limit but for the quality, the Porlex is probably underpriced if anything.
Made from high quality stainless steel, the Porlex is sturdy and strong. All the components fit snuggly together which eliminates the worry of the grinder accidentally moving around during grinding. Overall, the build quality is exceptional, especially at this price point.
Porlex’s hopper can accommodate roughly 40g of coffee which means that you would comfortably be able to grind enough to brew in 500ml+ batches. The handle is simple and comfortable to use and in general, grinding for a 500ml brew takes around a couple of minutes. No complaints here with the usability.
The grind quality is where we were really impressed. The Porlex has ceramic burrs that are easily adjustable and thus can accommodate a variety of grind sizes. When testing at different grind sizes, we noticed that the Porlex consistently produced a uniform grind. This is important because ground coffee consisting of different size grounds can result in unwanted bitterness or sourness.
Runner Up: Hario Manual Coffee Grinder
Our runner up for the best manual coffee grinder is Hario. This well built grinder is designed and made in Japan and is a revised version of their previous best selling grinder. Having tried both grinders, we can tell that all the previous problems associated with Hario have mostly been improved upon but doesn’t do quite enough to edge out Porlex on this occasion.
If the Hario beats the Porlex on anything, it’s most definitely the price. Coming in the £35 – £45 range, it’s a lot more affordable and can be considered as a premium budget choice. For overall value for money, Hario might just be the best on this list.
Unlike the previous model, the Hario MSCS-2DTB (try to remember that one after a few drinks) has swapped out the plastic collector for glass, adding to the overall professional feel of the grinder. All the components slot together perfectly and despite being made predominantly from plastic, it’s a very strong piece of kit.
Hario’s hopper can hold a whopping 100g of coffee (not that you would ever need so much space) but this does give peace of mind that you can essentially create a large as batch as you’d need in one go. The only issue we had with the Hario was that the hopper has a sort of bowl shape. Whilst this makes it easier to funnel the beans, grinding can take a little longer.
The main issue customers reported with the previous iteration of the Hario hand grinder was that the grinds weren’t uniform. Hario took that feedback and have since created a steadier burr with the addition of a new stabiliser plate. Since this update, the grind quality is high and tends to be uniform with most grind sizes.
Highly Rated Option: Timemore
The Timemore, whilst being one of the more expensive hand grinders on our list is loved by customers so we thought we’d give it a try. The grinder presents itself as being fashionable and has a high quality feel and this is justified with a balance of great functionality yet affordable price.
The Timemore will set you back a few quid (around £80) but the features, functionality and quality of the build fully justifies the price. Whilst some other grinders offer great value for money, this grinder is very much a case of you get what you pay for.
The grinder is made up from durable plastic and a stylish aluminium casing. The components also secure tightly into place giving the impression of something that has been manufactured with a high degree of precision.
Usability is a bit of a mixed bag. The one major downside is that its capacity is only 25g of coffee beans. This is fine if you’re only grinding for 1-2 (3 at a stretch) people, but you’ll have issues if brewing for more. If that’s not an issue for you, you’ll be delighted to know that the Timemore (as its name suggests) grinds in literal seconds. The grid pattern housing also makes gripping the grinder that much easier.
The Timemore’s burrs are stainless steel, not ceramic. Whilst stainless steel burrs tend to heat up during grinding and affect the flavour of the coffee, it’s not much of a problem with manual grinders so we’re not going to mark it down for that. Their patented point to point adjuster allows you to precisely choose the coarseness for your chosen brewing method and this consistently results in a great cup of coffee.
Best Manual Grinder for Cafetiere Coffee: Driver
Cafetiere coffee requires a grind that is a bit coarser and the Driver allowed us to get the perfect grind, hence its inclusion in this section. If you’re on the go often, cafetiere coffee is one of the most convenient brews and the Driver, especially with the silicone band to keep the arm in check, is great for portability.
At a shade under £40 as of writing, the Driver is one of the cheapest grinders on our list.
The body, handle and knob are all created from high end materials such as wood and stainless steel. All the components fit well and feel secure. Overall, it feels like a high quality manual coffee grinder.
The Driver is great for cafetiere coffee and the stainless steel burrs work well to get that perfect grind size. The grinder contains a base with measurements on – we would find this particularly useful if you were on the go and didn’t have access to scales. It also has a secure silicone lid which means you can pre-grind your beans before you leave.
Whilst this grinder works very well for cafetiere coffee, the stainless steel burrs can go as coarse or as fine as you want. They’re high quality and provide a nice consistency in terms of grind size, ensuring you’re making a good cup of coffee every time.
Best Hand Grinder for Espresso: 1Zpresso
The 1Zpresso presents a viable argument of being the best manual coffee grinder. For quality, we’d give it the edge over Porlex but the price range works against it ever so slightly. When it comes to grinding for espresso coffee however, it’s simply unbeatable (unless you go for more expensive electric grinders, of course).
As mentioned above, it’s rather expensive. Yes, you do get what you pay for but it’s almost a third more expensive than the Porlex whilst perhaps not having quite the quality jump to justify the price.
It’s one of the best stainless steel manual coffee grinders on the market and its build is part of the reason why. It’s quick and easy to assemble, all the parts slot into place seamlessly and the overall design makes it look like a high end product.
In terms of usability, this grinder is top notch. The skid-proof design consisting of a grippy rubber ensures grinding is a smooth process and the wide burr has been designed for efficient grinding. Overall, it’s a very easy experience.
The internal numerical adjustment design gives a degree of precision that others on this list do not. To get the perfect espresso shot, you want to be on the finer side and this grinder caters to that more than any other (just look at their name!)
If You Travel Often: Henry Charles
Whether you travel to the office, go camping or are just in general away from the home often – finding the best travel grinder can ensure you get a good cup of coffee on the go. For us, portability and how easy the grinder is to clean is the most important attributes here. With that in mind, our advice would be to choose the Henry Charles.
The Henry Charles is a shade over £20 and offers very good value for the frequent traveller.
The grinder is made predominantly out of stainless steel and looks the part. I would say that it does seem a little bit fiddly and a little bit loose in places. At this price point, that’s probably to be expected.
I’m not going to lie, the grinding process is pretty slow. The burrs aren’t all that efficient and I’d definitely advise going for something different for home use. For travelling though, it’s worth it. The fact that it’s very easy to clean with removable parts makes it fit for purpose too.
Let’s be clear – at just over £20, you’re not going to get laser accurate grinds. But the grind is at least consistent so if there is any bitterness with the final brew, it’s quite insignificant. For brews such as cafetiere and AeroPress it’s perfect.
Why Choose Manual Over Automatic?
The most obvious reason for investing in a manual coffee grinder is the price. In general, manual coffee grinders are far less expensive than electric but some of the higher end products aren’t severely lacking in quality.
Taking coffee grinder on the go is only really logical if you’re taking a hand grinder. Bulky electric grinders are simply not convenient and of course, you’ll also need somewhere to plug it in. With hand grinders, it’s usually a case of packing it up quickly and putting it in your bag and you’re good to go.
Without the need to use electricity, hand grinders are more eco-friendly than their electric counterparts.
Manual coffee grinders are a good way to introduce yourself to grinding your own coffee beans. There’s nothing quite like the freshness of grinding coffee just before you’re going to use it and a grinder should be a staple in every coffee-lovers’ kitchen.
Want to learn more about different coffees? Feel free to take a look at our recent “best instant coffee” guide!