13 Best Manual Hand Coffee Grinders. Kev’s 2024 UK Reviews

If you love freshly brewed coffee, and you want to brew the best coffee you can at home, you need either a manual coffee grinder or an electric burr coffee grinder. This isn’t an optional piece of equipment for the home Barista, it’s just as essential as the coffee brewer or machine itself.

I’d even go so far as to say that, if you’re not going to grind your own coffee beans, there’s little point in trying to brew speciality coffee at home. This is definitely true with Espresso, in my humble opinion.

There’s just no way you can get decent results with Espresso with pre-ground coffee unless you’re incredibly lucky and the pre-ground coffee you buy happens to be ground to the perfect grind for your machine, and there’s a slim chance of that.

Manual Coffee Grinders - Photo of 5 of the best manual grinders.
Photo Credit Prima-Coffee.com

Yes, some domestic espresso machines come with pressured portafilters, which are designed to make it easier to use pre-ground coffee, but still – regardless of how you’re brewing your coffee, you’re going to get the best overall experience by grinding your coffee beans freshly.

Also, it’s important to understand that pressurized portafilters are shipped with entry-level espresso machines simply because they’re so much easier to use. They’re not necessarily going to provide the best-tasting espresso. 

I tested this in the video below (before I was introduced to something called a shaver) with the exact same coffee, one bag of whole beans and another bag of the exact same coffee beans pre-ground (both from Blue Coffee Box), and as you’ll see if you watch the video, I could tell the difference.

Anyway, if you’re reading this, you’re probably trying to decide which is the best manual coffee grinder for you, you’re probably not planning on using pre-ground coffee.

While we’re talking about taste, it’s important to also point out that the quality and the freshness of the coffee beans really matters. It amazes me when I hear from people who have spent large sums of money replacing equipment to try to get better coffee but haven’t thought to just buy better quality, more freshly roasted coffee beans.

Why Manual Coffee Grinders?

I don’t use manual coffee grinders much these days, purely because I suffer from RSI in both wrists. Typing, playing drums, playing guitar, and making rude gestures at other motorists on the way to the studio, all take their toll.

But if you don’t suffer from problems with your wrists, there are a few reasons that a manual hand coffee grinder may be perfect for you.


Manual coffee grinders start at around £10-20. Electric coffee grinders start quite a bit higher than this. 

By the way, if you see that there are electric coffee grinders for a similar price, or maybe £20-£30, these are not coffee grinders. 

These things have blades. Blades don’t grind, they chop, slice, and obliterate. This isn’t what we want to do to coffee beans if we want nice tasting coffee.

For more on electric burr grinders:

Best Electric Coffee Grinders Review


Good luck trying to take an electric grinder hiking ;-).

Another reason for having a manual grinder is that they’re obviously a lot more portable than powered grinders, and you can grind anywhere, with no electricity required, which makes them the obvious choice for grinding coffee off-grid.

For camping trips, hiking, cycling, fishing, days out on the beach, and so on, all you need is a manual grinder and a source of hot water, and you have the luxury of being able to freshly brew lovely coffee via an equally portable brewer, such as Aeropress, and Nanopresso, etc.

For another portable brewer see my review of the Wacaco Picopresso:

Shot Quality. 

As well as more bang for your buck in terms of the quality you can get at the same price point for hand coffee grinders vs powered grinders, there are many home Baristas who consider electric grinders to be a case of compromising quality for convenience. 

This is partially down to the level of quality you can get with manual vs electric, i.e. you’re not investing in a motor and other components, you’re investing 100% in the mechanics of the grinder, meaning you should be getting better burrs and other mechanical components.

It’s also partly down to grinding speed and the coffee beans not being heated by excessive grinding speed, which is something that the more expensive electric grinders have features to combat, such as being geared down.

Best coffee beans for espresso

Noise, or lack of. 

If you’re an early riser, or I should say, if you’re an earlier riser than the people you live with – grinding with an electric burr grinder first thing in the morning might not make you very popular. Grinding coffee with a hand coffee grinder is a much quieter affair, and is unlikely to wake anyone up. 

Unless you drop your manual coffee grinder on your bare foot and scream very rude words at the top of your lungs. I’ve never done that, I did once wake up with my hand over my face though, screamed, and pushed it away with the other hand… 😉

I’m starting with the budget manual coffee grinders

There will be some folk reading this, more serious home baristas, who have no interest in the very cheapest manual coffee grinders.

If this includes you, just scroll down a bit and you’ll get to the premium home barista manual burr coffee grinders. 

A quick note about cost. 

Just keep in mind that when you spend more on a manual coffee grinder, you’re usually paying for better coffee, quicker coffee, and a more enjoyable experience. 

If you want a cheap manual coffee grinder for occasional use and mainly for coarse grinding for cafetiere for example, no problem. 

Best home espresso machines review

The first grinder in this post will probably be fine for you if this is the case, and this is probably why it’s the best selling manual coffee grinder on Amazon, as so many people just want a cheap grinder for occasional use. 

If you’re wanting to grind finer though, and especially if you want to grind for espresso or even finer for Turkish then you may want to consider investing a bit more, especially if you’re going to be using this grinder regularly.

If it’s only occasional use, and particularly if you’re grinding fairly coarse, going for a cheaper grinder might make more sense. 

Why should you grind your own coffee? Watch this:



Manual Coffee Grinder with Adjustable Coarseness 


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This is one of the best selling manual coffee grinders on Amazon UK, and it’s easy to see why.

I have no idea how they’ve managed to make a burr grinder this cheap, but they have, and it sells like hotcakes. That’s a really weird saying. Why would you want to buy a hot cake? Anyway, I digress.

Size & Weight:

8.64  x 18 cm. 530g

Beans Capacity:

Approx 50g and the glass jar will hold approx 100g of ground coffee.



My Observations

There have been a couple of sellers selling a slightly different version of this, I’m not sure if it’s the exact same grinder, but whatever the case, it’s clearly an “echo” of the famous Hario Skerton plus, which I’ll talk about shortly – but given the reviews, it does seem to be a good copy, sorry, I mean “echo” ;-).

If you’re grinding for Cafetiere, drip, or even Aeropress since these days people are tending to grind quite a bit coarser for Aeropress, a grinder like this should be fine. 

If you’re wanting to grind much finer, for example for espresso, I can tell you from experience that unless you start messing around with hacks/mods, you won’t be able to get fine enough or dial in precisely enough, with a grinder like this.

To be honest, I don’t know how they can possibly make this grinder so cheap, but they do, so if you were looking for a very low cost grinder, this may be for you.

It’s also worth pointing out here that my friends at Shop Coffee in Cambridge, sell a similar manual grinder, for this and others, see:

Manual Coffee Grinders at Shop Coffee


 Stainless Steel Manual Coffee Grinder 

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This is a very inexpensive manual hand coffee grinder. It’s very popular, as you can see by the huge number of Amazon reviews and answered questions.

Size & Weight:

17.5 x 4.8cm. 281.23 Grams

Beans Capacity:




My Observations

This is a very cheap manual grinder, and while it has masses of reviews, many of them very positive as you can see by the high overall score, I think you do need to be realistic with your expectations if you’re buying a grinder at this kind of price point.

It’s unlikely you’re going to get a manual grinder of this design much cheaper than this, and for the money, I think it’s fine, but just keep in mind that with a small manual grinder like this with small burrs, it will take longer to grind your coffee.  

Also, keep in mind that the finer you’re grinding, the longer it’ll take, so if you’re going to be using a manual grinder to grind coffee as finely as is possible, you may be spending quite a bit of time grinding, especially with one of the cheapest manual grinders like this, with smaller burrs.

If you’re grinding more coarse for things like AeroPress, filter, or cafetiere, then you may be OK – but if you’re considering manually grinding for espresso, keep in mind that a little grinder like this is likely to take upwards of 3-5 minutes to grind enough for a double shot, depending on dose and how fine you need to grind for your machine and the particular bean.

If I were you, I’d consider just investing a bit more cash into a grinder and going for one of the other grinders you’ll find in this post, which starts at only £7 more than this one. 

If you’re looking for a portable grinder, and you’re not looking at spending any more than the region of £20-£30 (and there really are benefits to be had by sinking a bit more cash into a manual grinder by the way, you’re not just paying for style or branding) my personal recommendation would be the Hario Mini Mill Slim Plus, which you’ll find a bit further down this post.

Want to know which coffee is best for your cafetiere, have a read of this post:

Best coffee of cafetiere reviewHow to store coffee correctly

Hario Skerton Plus

Hario Skerton Plus.Hario Skerton Plus.

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This is probably one of the most famous hand coffee grinders, it’s been around a long time and is generally well regarded among the speciality coffee community, as a great manual coffee grinder for the money.

I have this grinder, it was my first ever coffee grinder.

I still have it, and it still works absolutely fine even though I abused it by attaching a cordless drill to the top of it to turn it into an electric grinder, as I was getting fed up with grinding coffee beans manually ;-).

Size & Weight:

40.6 x 27.9 x 33 cm


Beans Capacity:

Around 50g (but the glass jar will fit around 100g of ground coffee)



My Observations

With this grinder, these observations are from use combined with research, as I actually have this hand grinder, this was the first manual coffee grinder I ever bought.

The first thing to say is that I think it’s very well built and high quality for the low cost, and it grinds well for the money.

I used this for a range of different brew processes before I got my Sage Smart Grinder Pro, including for Espresso – OK I wasn’t able to perfectly dial in, but it was fine as a starting point.

The instructions were in Japanese, and there were no English instructions, which I remember finding a bit odd, but I don’t tend to RTFM anyway, a quick look on YouTube provided me with all the info required. 

As it comes, out of the box, Skerton is great for a fairly wide range of grind sizes, but if you’re really into your cafetiere brewing you may want to look at the modifications you can make to this grinder to allow you to achieve a more consistent grind size at a coarser setting, such as the blue horse upgrade kit

The grind size adjustments are big, it’s not great for fine-tuning. As I said, I did initially use this for espresso, but I couldn’t really dial in – in my opinion, you’ll be OK with this grinder if you’re using pressurized baskets, if you’re using traditional baskets, though, you’d be better off with a grinder which will go finer and which has the ability to more finely tune the grind size.

There’s a mod you can do for this, though, which is to swap out the adjustment cog for an m8 nut in order to make it stepless. 

There are no points of reference either when it comes to grind settings, but you can mod this too by simply drawing a line on the shaft and the adjustment cog.

Also, you could cut a marker down the nut at the zero position, if you mod it for stepless, and put a series of numbers around the shaft, to give you some points of reference when it comes to grinding again after taking it apart to clean or dialing in for a different brew method.

The glass grinds pot is great, and really sturdy, it’s unlikely you’ll break it even by dropping it, and it comes with a lid too so it doubles as coffee storage. 

By the way, the drill mod is really straightforward if you want to use the Skerton as an electric grinder on the budget of a manual grinder, see the video below, but I wouldn’t recommend you use the high-speed setting he does in the video. 

I used this hack mainly to save my wrists, as I’m prone to RSI with both of my wrists. I didn’t go mad on the speed like this guy does in the video, because I’d be concerned it would wreck the burrs and also produce a poor grind, as this grinder isn’t made to grind this quickly.

I’d actually recommend leaving the handle on when modding it with the drill mod so you can keep an eye on how fast you’re going.

On the whole, I think the Hario Skerton is probably one of the best low cost manual grinders, but you’ll probably want to mod it if you’re using it for espresso, especially if you want to use it with standard baskets. 

I think with a bit of time watching good old YouTube & a bit of tinkering, the Hario Skerton is a great manual grinder for the cash, and is capable of far more than it was probably initially designed for.


Hario Mini Mill Slim Plus

Hario Mini Mill Slim Plus.Hario Mini Mill Slim Plus.

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Another grinder from Japanese coffee equipment manufacturer Hario, the Mini Mill Slim Plus is a popular pairing with Aeropress, due to its more compact stature and lighter weight than its larger sibling the Hario Skerton. 

Size & Weight:

40.6 x 27.9 x 33 cm. 567g

Beans Capacity:




My Observations

This grinder is similar to its bigger sibling the Hario Skerton, but a bit smaller and lighter.

It does appear to have one main advantage over the Skerton, though, as well as portability, which is the ease of adjusting grind size, and the ease of getting back to a particular grind. So if you’re wanting to brew for various brew methods, this might be a good choice for you.

The mini mill has spring loaded burrs, which gives it a slight edge over the Skerton, especially at more coarse grind settings. The Hario Skerton Pro has spring loaded burrs too and looks cool, but it’s a few quid more.

Remember, though, no grinder will fix the error of using poor quality coffee beans – and now here’s another totally shameless plug for my own coffee :-).


Tiamo Hand Grinder Slim

Tiamo Hand Grinder Slim.Tiamo Hand Grinder Slim.

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Size & Weight:

Approx 18 × 7.5 × 11 cm. 350g.

Beans Capacity:

25g grinding capacity, 60g capacity in the storage container.



My Observations:

Clearly a similar-looking manual grinder to the Hario Mini Mill Plus, above, but at a considerably lower price, I’d be interested in this little grinder if I were looking for a manual grinder on a budget.

Generally speaking, I think you get what you pay for. The Mini Mill Plus is about a tenner more, but it does weigh quite a bit more which does give the impression that the build quality is likely to be more robust with the Hario.

If you’re on a very tight budget, though, or if you don’t want to spend much on a manual grinder as you’re only going to be using it for a few days on a trip for example, and you don’t know when you’ll be using it again, then I can understand the idea of spending as little as you can. Personally, I’ve got into the habit over the years of not buying the cheapest option, regardless of what it is that I’m buying. 

If I’m looking for a particular product, and I can see there are well-established brands that have paid a fortune to develop that brand, and buying the branded product means paying a higher price as I’m also paying for their advertising costs, I’ll look at less expensive brands too – but I’ve come to realize over the years that sometimes saving a few quid doesn’t always make sense and that the old saying “buy right or buy twice” is actually really good advice.

This is also why I like buying from Amazon though, if I do buy something and quickly realize I’ve made a blunder, it’s so easy to return it and correct that mistake!


Normcore Hand Coffee Grinder

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Size & Weight:

17 x 5 cm. 450 Grams

Beans Capacity:



Stainless steel 38mm burrs

My Observations:

This is actually a really nice looking hand grinder, and it’s one of a few relatively low-cost hand grinders (more to come below) which appear to be based on (at least when it comes to looks) the very popular (and not so inexpensive…) Comandante hand grinders. 

It has 38mm steel burrs, the same size burrs as you’ll get in the likes of the Sage Smart Grinder Pro, and the same size as some other popular hand grinders including the Made by Knock Aergrind, and just 1mm smaller than the burrs found in the Comandante grinders.

I really like the look of the wooden knob, that’s probably more comfortable than using some of the hand grinders with small plastic knobs. 

I also really like the look of the little travel case this grinder neatly slots into. For the cost, this isn’t a bad shout at all in my humble opinion.

If you like this kind of Comandante style design of hand grinder, holster your debit card for now, as there are a couple more for just a few quid extra a bit further on in this best hand grinders post that has, even more, going for them, for not all that much more cash.


Timemore Chestnut C2 Manual Coffee Grinder

Timemore Chestnut C2 Manual Coffee Grinder.Timemore Chestnut C2 Manual Coffee Grinder.

Click here to see other available colours

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Size & Weight:

16 x 5.2 cm. 430  Grams


Stainless steel 38mm burrs

Beans Capacity:


My Observations

This is another one of the relatively low cost coffee grinders which appear to be based on the Comandante, at least in design, but this one has a very good reputation, particularly for being a fast manual grinder, for low cost manual grinder.

38mm steel burrs again, 5g more single grind capacity than the Normcore.

The manufacturer claims that they’ve minimised fines and improved grind uniformity with burr blades (or teeth) in 55-58HRC hardness in 5-axis CNC machining. Also, they’ve made grinding easier  & smoother with the bearings fitted.

I’ve got this grinder, I think it’s a heck of a lot of grinder for the money, and it’s the grinder I’d usually recommend for someone wanting to spend as little as possible but who wants to grind for espresso. There are 38mm manual burr grinders that I think are overall better quality, including the Made by Knock Aergrind, below, but if you’re looking in the under £100 area, I think the C2 is difficult to beat.


Porlex Mini II Hand Grinder

Porlex Mini II Hand Grinder.Porlex Mini II Hand Grinder.

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The Porlex Mini is a very popular grinder, especially among coffee loving nomads, or just Aeropress owners who like to brew coffee when they’re out & about.

The mini actually fits inside the Aeropress, meaning you can pack it that way, which comes in handy for space saving when you’re out and about with it (although it’s not the only manual grinder with this feature). 

Size & Weight:

15 x 9.2 x 5.4 cm. 310 Grams



Beans Capacity:


My Observations

The Porlex Mini is a really popular grinder among Aeropress users, it’s been around quite some time, and although I’ve never had one, my opinion of these grinders, based purely on reputation, is that they’re well built and long lasting grinders for the price, and that the newer version is made to last longer, being made to avoid an issue which could happen after a while with the original version – rounding off of the handle mount. 


Porlex Tall II Hand Coffee Grinder

Porlex Tall II Hand Coffee Grinder.Porlex Tall II Hand Coffee Grinder.

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The bigger sibling of the Porlex mini II, the tall is capable of grinding 30g in one go vs 20g with the mini.

Size & Weight:

 19.5 x 8.6 x 5.3 cm. 400 Grams

Beans Capacity:




My Observations

There’s not a great deal to say about the Porlex mini vs the Porlex tall, other than the tall is taller 😉 and that it can grind more in one go.

The grind capacity of the mini is 20g vs 30g for the tall. The tall is the same diameter as the mini, so it will still fit in the Aeropress, but it’s 5.5cm taller. 


1Zpresso Q2

1Zpresso Q2.1Zpresso Q2.

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Size & Weight:

13.86cm x 4.6cm. 385g

Beans Capacity:



420-grade stainless steel, 38mm.

My Observations

The Q2, as its bigger brother the JX series that I’ll talk about shortly, is a very smart looking hand grinder! 

With stainless burrs, and an Aluminium alloy body, we’re getting into some good quality materials with this grinder, and again a similar design at least visually to the Comandante.

This grinder has 30 grind adjustments, and a dual bearing shaft, and is designed to be very quickly & simply taken apart for cleaning.

If you’re fairly serious about your coffee, but not quite serious enough to spend over double the cost on the aforementioned Comandante grinder, I do think the Q2 and the JX (coming up shortly) are grinders that you should consider. 


Made by Knock aergrind

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This is another grinder very popular paired with the Aeropress as with the Porlex Mini. 

The aergrind by Knock, invented by Peter Kilpatrick, was launched via a very successful Kickstarter campaign in March 2017 and has had a lot of praise by users.

Knock started off with their hugely popular grinder, Hausgrind, and then brought out a portable hand grinder called the Feldgrind, which is also very popular.

Peter then decided a better, more portable hand grinder was required to pair with Aeropress, and aergrind was born. 

Size & Weight:

13.6cm  x 4.6cm. 330g

Beans Capacity:



38mm titanium nitrided conical burrs

My Observations

I’ve got this grinder (the first version, and the latest version), as I said earlier I don’t use manual grinders much, definitely not because I’m lazy, honest guv, but I’ve struggled with my wrists for years.

I’m a drummer, as I mentioned earlier, and I play guitar (badly), I type a lot, obviously, and I used to do kickboxing too, I think it all got a bit too much for my wrists. They’re not too bad these days but I do have to watch it, I feel the RSI starting to flare up again occasionally. 

So I don’t use manual grinders a lot, but I’ve had the initial version for a couple of years, and I recently bought the latest version too.

They’re made in Scotland, and they’re very well built, using premium components, and the latest version still has the stuff that I think was responsible for this grinder being such a hit, but it has some really nice improvements, the most notable of which is the Italmill titanium coated burrs, they’ve also improved stability by doubling the length of the axle bearing, and they’ve made the crank arm slightly more substantial.

There’s zero plastic on/in the new version, too. There’s a really nice quality walnut crank knob, magnetic snap on lid with an aluminium dial, and the grounds container is screw on.

Made By Knock are also really well regarded when it comes to their support, you don’t have to do much googling to find people saying really nice things about them when it comes to needing to get support & so on. 

I’ve got the updated version in front of me as I’m typing, and I have to say it’s a really nice looking grinder, there’s nothing at all “cheap” about it. I know it’s not a sub £100 grinder, but I think it’s a heck of a lot of grinder for the money. The first version has done a lot of mileage, in my Son’s van.

My Son is a pro barista, he’s into pourover, and he converted a van into a camper van that he’s been driving about, often into to the sticks, climbing big hills & all sorts, which isn’t my cup of tea (not a fan of heights), but anyway, he loves it, and the first version has ground quite a lot of coffee over the past couple of years, and it still looks brand new.

It’s clearly a very well made manual grinder. It’s fairly quick, it’s one of the nicer manual grinders to use in terms of how it feels in the hand when grinding, and it’s easy to dial in the grind. It’ll go more than fine enough for espresso too, I’ve managed to choke a Sage Bambino Plus with it with traditional baskets, so that’s a very fine grind.

I think if you’re looking for a portable hand grinder for use with the Aeropress (the handle slips off and fits in the rubber sleeve) I think the Aergrind is a great choice for the money, you could save a few quid on a slightly cheaper hand grinder, but I think over the years you’ll probably get way more long term value for money with this very well built grinder than you probably would with a lot of the slightly cheaper options.

Aeropress Review




1Zpresso J

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The 1Zpresso J has replaced the IZpresso JX

Size & Weight:

18.5cm x 5.7cm. 850g

Beans Capacity:



304-Grade Stainless steel, 48mm.

My Observations

This is the smaller of two manual grinders in this range, the J. The JX Pro is below, and that one is worth looking at particularly if you’re looking for a manual grinder for espresso.

With 48mm steel burrs, this is a serious hand grinder. This is the same size burrs as the OE Lido, a very highly regarded and much more expensive manual grinder.

As its slightly smaller brother the Q2, it’s made from decent materials, stainless steel, Aluminium alloy & wooden handle – and with the handle design & the big burrs, this is going to grind coffee quite a bit quicker than a lot of the other manual grinders discussed on this page. 

Just have a read through some of the Amazon reviews, including the one from an engineer who has owned five other manual grinders. This guy rates this as the best manual grinder by far, and refers to effortless and fast grinding. 

Most of the other Amazon reviews are along similar lines, mainly praise for the build quality and for how easy and fast to grind it is. 

If you do a bit of research about this grinder – or don’t bother, as I’ve already done it for you 🙂 – you’ll generally end up with the impression that this is a heck of a lot of manual coffee grinder for the price, given that it’s just over half the price of the Comandante C40. 

Dave Corby’s review of this grinder, below, is well worth a watch. He’s reviewed this one, and the pro version, and if you’re not familiar with Dave Corby, he’s an expert on coffee grinders and espresso machines, manufacturers consult with him when they’re developing stuff, and rely on his expertise to tell them how to make their products work better, so this is a guy whose opinion is worth listening to.


1Zpresso JX-PRO

1Zpresso JX-PRO.1Zpresso JX-PRO.

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Size & Weight:

18cm x 5.7cm. 780g

Beans Capacity:



304-Grade Stainless steel, 48mm.

My Observations

So this is the “pro” version of the JX, above. The Pro is a bit taller, 18cm tall vs 15.8 tall – and the grind adjustment on the Pro is on the top vs the JX with the adjustment underneath.

The main difference, though, is that the pro has double the grind adjustments, meaning that it basically has half step adjustments allowing you to adjust the grind more. 

The JX has grind adjustments at 25 microns per click, while it’s 12.5 per click for the Pro, so this will just allow you to finely tune more when dialing in. If you’re looking for a manual grinder for pourover, for example, you’re possibly not going to be as interested in this finer adjustment.

This is a meaty grinder, as Dave Corbey puts it in his YouTube review. At 780g, you wouldn’t want to drop it on your foot! ;-). 

Best Manual Coffee Grinders in the UK – Conclusion

So there we have it, what I believe to be the best manual coffee grinders right now, from the very cheapest up to some of the best premium or “prosumer” manual coffee grinders.

There are a couple of other grinders that I’d like to include here. 

One of them is the Comandante C40. I make references to this grinder, but I’m not including it at the moment as it seems to be very scarcely available in the UK just now, and the only listing I can find for it on Amazon appears to be a UK seller trying to charge over double the RRP. 

Another is the Orphan Espresso Lido grinders. As with the Comandante, these grinders are very popular among the more serious home baristas.

But I can’t find anyone in the UK with stock, and I don’t want to annoy people by telling them about this great grinder that they can’t get from anywhere. 

If this changes with either or both of the above, I’ll add these grinders to this post in the future.

Before I sign off though, I’ll just answer a few common questions about manual coffee grinders.

How to make coffee taste better

How do you adjust manual coffee grinders?

This will depend on the particular grinder, they’ll all have some form of adjustment, whether that’s just an adjustment nut or wheel & whether there are numbered adjustments will depend on which grinder you’ve got. What you’ll need to do first is find your zero position, in other words, find the point at which the burrs are as close together as they’ll possibly go. If your grinder has markings from fine to coarse, in the form of sized dots or numbers, you’ll know this immediately – if not you’ll just have to do some experimenting to figure out where the zero point is.

The video below shows you how to adjust the Made By Knock aergrind, and this will also show you how to adjust their other manual grinders:

This video will show you how to adjust the 1Z Presso JX & JX Pro


What is the best manual grinder? 

Hopefully, by this point, you’ve got a much better idea of which manual grinder might be the best for you, but best is a subjective thing – there isn’t a “best” as such. 

I actually think that when people are searching for something this way, generically searching for what is the best <whatever>, it shows that they’re probably not at a point where they fully understand exactly what it is they’re looking for. For example, let’s say you’re looking to buy a car – would you search for the best car? I don’t think you would, because you probably know enough about cars and what you want from them to allow you to search for far more specific things.

If you’re searching for the best portable manual coffee grinder for Aeropress for example, that to me says you really know what you’re looking for – and that’s a quite simple question to answer, the made by Knock Aergrind above or the Porlex Mini II are generally regarded as among the best portable hand grinders for Aeropress.

If you’re searching for the best manual coffee grinder for espresso, again this is a much more detailed question so it’s easier to answer. When it comes to espresso what I’d be looking at is the size of the burrs (the larger the burr size means the less time you’ll be grinding for, as finer espresso grinding takes longer), the number of grind settings (to allow you to more finely tune the grind, which is more important for espresso), and I’d be looking for video reviews from people who’re showing the grinder being used for espresso, like the video above showing Dave Corbey pulling a shot he’s really surprised by, with the 1ZPresso JX Pro

If what you’re really after is the best cheap manual coffee grinder, meaning that you’re just looking at the best bang for your buck, then the first few grinders I discuss above may be exactly what you’re after, but I would recommend that you figure out first, exactly what you need from the grinder as well as affordability.

For example, if you’re wanting the cheapest option possible but you’re wanting a super fine grind, fast grinding (so bigger burrs), and fine tuning, you may be expecting too much from a hand grinder at the money you’re looking at spending, so you may need to attack the piggy bank.



How to clean a manual coffee grinder?

In my humble opinion, as long as you don’t use anything wet – like water, which is usually fairly wet… you can’t really go wrong. With some manual grinders, it’s just a case of taking them to their most coarse setting and giving the burrs a brush, although with most you can take them apart easily and give the burrs a really good clean – just make sure you keep a note of how it goes back together and make sure you don’t lose any bits!

I did this with one of my electric coffee grinders, recently – mainly because I’m a complete pillock. I took my Niche Zero apart to clean it, took the burrs out,  and then I tipped it upside down into the compost and slapped it on the backside, to knock as many of the bits out before I continued cleaning it. I forgot I’d done that, and then spent about an hour scratching my head & wondering what had happened to the springs, which were now in the very early stages of biodegrading ;-). Don’t worry, I retrieved them.

The one no-no is water, please don’t dunk your coffee grinder in water or put it in the dishwasher. If you have a Google for your brand or a similar brand, you’ll find loads of videos on YouTube showing you how to disassemble, clean, and reassemble manual coffee grinders, like this one on the Timemore C2:

How long does it take to grind using a manual coffee grinder?

How long is a piece of string? Ha! ;-). The answer to that, by the way, is half its length times two. Joking apart, this will depend, mainly on how much coffee you want to grind, how fine or coarse you want to grind it, and the size of the burrs.

Grinding coarse for espresso or large batch filter brewing, for example, will take the least amount of time per gram, while grinding fine for espresso will take a lot longer. Dave Corbey shares in his video review of the 1ZPresso JX Pro that it took him about 30 seconds to grind 17 grams for a double shot of espresso. It took me just over a minute to grind 18g using the Made by Knock Aergrind for espresso. How long it’ll take with other grinders will depend on the size of the burrs, how much you’re grinding, and how finely you’re grinding.

How long do manual grinders last for?

Much longer than electric coffee grinders! One of the great things about manual coffee grinders is that they’re very simple, there’s very little in the way of complex parts that may break at any time. With electric grinders, there’s so much more that can go wrong with them, issues with the electrics, issues with the motor, issues with the gearing & so on – and this isn’t the case at all with good old fashioned manual grinders. 

In fact, although I’ve said a couple of times that I don’t tend to use manual grinders – I have loads of them ;-), I actually have a bit of a collection of older manual grinders, they date back to the 1940s, and 50s, and 60s, and most of them still work…

OK, this isn’t to say those hand grinders you buy now are made to last quite this long, but actually, in some cases, I think they’ll possibly last even longer, as a lot of the original manual grinders were made with wooden housings, that tend to be the weakest link, and many of the most popular manual grinders these days are made from metal or hard-wearing plastic.

You may think that all burrs will wear, regardless of whether they’re hand-powered or electric powered, and that’s true, the burrs in manual hand grinders will wear over time – but they’re likely to wear much less than burrs in electric machines, as they’re put under a lot less stress when they’re hand powered. 

The hand power vs electric power is one of the main reasons manual grinders will last so long, not just because it’s easier on the burrs, but it’s easier on everything. When something breaks in an electric grinder, it’s usually because something happens thanks to the power of the motor.

For example, an under roasted bean or a pebble, or a random piece of copper (which caused a bit of a mess in one of my grinders a while back, no idea where that came from!) can jam the burrs, and the power of the motor will force them to keep going, leading to something having to give – often it’s a weak cog that gives, which is actually put in to act similar to a fuse so that this inexpensive part breaks instead of something which would be more costly to replace. 

When you’re manually grinding, if something like this happens, you’re unlikely to have the power to break the grinder, and as you’re always single dosing with manual grinders (obviously they don’t have hoppers) you’re far more likely to notice a foreign object in your hand as you’re loading it into the grinder anyway.

Why do some manual grinders cost so much more than others?

When you’re trying to choose a manual coffee grinder, you may be confused as to how there can be such a massive difference between the cheapest and the most expensive grinders, and the simple answer to that is, that you get what you pay for.

Again, I think this question comes from a bit of a lack of knowledge or understanding of a particular product, and that’s not a put down of any sort.

Let’s use cars again as an analogy. Most of us are fully aware of the fact that there is a huge price range when it comes to cars, so most of us wouldn’t be surprised to find that you can buy a brand new car for under ten grand, or you could buy one for twenty grand, thirty grand, even a couple of hundred grand if you like.

But when it comes to more specialized products, we’re often just not well versed enough with those products to understand why some cost so much more than others. I’ve had a similar thing recently with video and audio equipment for my YouTube studio.

Nearly all of the gear I’ve purchased over the past year or so while doing my best to improve the quality of my videos has given me a similar headache in that there’s usually a massive price range, and I don’t understand enough about that stuff to know why I might want to spend three or four times the cost on one product vs another.

I think we all appreciate that there is a range of choice of materials, and this will impact on the price. You’ll notice that the cheapest grinders above are made with the cheapest materials, so that’s one thing – and when it comes to the main body of the grinder, this doesn’t really impact the performance. What you can’t see or feel, though, is the burrs – and burr quality will make a difference, and these can vary in cost, hugely.

This is the same with electric grinders, some of the more costly electric grinders have burr sets which cost more at wholesale than some of the cheaper electric grinders cost at retail, so this gives an indication as to the huge range available when it comes to burr quality. The better the burrs, the better particle uniformity you’ll get, mainly, and this will lead to better-tasting coffee. 

The size of the burrs is part of it, bigger burrs tend to cost more, although size isn’t everything – I once heard someone say. Bigger burrs means fewer revolutions required, and less time and effort required when manually grinding coffee beans.

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1 Comment
  1. I really like reading through a post that can make men and women think. Also, thank you for allowing me to comment!

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