For those taking coffee is a hobby, they will tell you one thing: You need a better grinder before going for a coffee maker. While others will argue about that all day long, there are some facts behind such a statement.
What I will say is that if you enjoy grinding your coffee beans and brewing the results, you need the best hand coffee grinder within your kitchen’s vicinity. That’s the best reason I can come up with if you need a manual grinder instead of the automated ones that come with added costs.
So, if you fit the description above, how about reading this review and see what the market has to offer? By the time you finish, one of the products will be a sure bet.
If you can’t wait, here is a quick comparison of the products.
Best Hand Coffee Grinder Reviews
1. JavaPresse Manual Grinder
At the top is the JavaPresse Manual Grinder that I have personally used to grind beans for my French Press and espresso brewing too. It’s a small and portable machine that can do a lot despite the size.
First, by going manual, it means you don’t have to plug anything to power it up. It uses a hand crank at the top that sits on the covering lid. The main body works with the bottom chamber to direct the grounds down as you grind. As you work on it, the glass window at the bottom will show the amount of grounds ready for brewing.
Now, to achieve the fine grinds for the espresso cup, you have to use the lowest number setting on the adjusting knob. Increasing the coarseness requires moving the knob to the left, and when you get to 13 clicks, it means you will have coarse grinds onwards. The finest coffee needs you to stay between one and three clicks.
How JavaPresse Grinds
By adjusting the grinding size, JavaPresse can be used to grind for the pour over, percolator and the pods too among other ways used to brew the coffee. Since you are doing it by hand, there is minimal noise generated by the unit. From the manufacturer, it reduces the noise by 90% when compared to the electric substitutes.
Transforming the beans into powder is enabled by the ceramic conical burrs which are more durable than the steel types. The designers have also upgraded the burrs by substituting the previous plastic that sits on them with nylon. In case yours breaks, they will either refund you the total amount spent or give you a new JavaPresse. After grinding, you get ½ a cup of grounds.
At under $100, it is also one of the best cheap grinders you will ever find. For the flaws, it’s something that you will experience with every hand grinder you get – inconsistent grinds. However, if you take your time to grind at a moderate speed, the results are almost the same as what you get from the electrics.
- At under $100, it is affordable
- Small and compact which makes it easy to carry
- Suitable for different brewing methods
- Uses ceramic conical burrs which are excellent in grinding
- You are bound to get inconsistent grinds
- You require more grinding time if you need more coffee cups
2. Hario Skerton Ceramic Coffee Mill
Apart from appearing as another best, Hario Skerton is also a cheap hand grinder under $100 that will get your beans ready for brewing. Although it’s larger than the JavaPresse above, it’s still portable if you need to grind while outdoors.
The design involves an arm at the top for the grinding which goes all the way down. You also get a plastic hopper while the body contains thick glass. The bottom is rubberized to enhance the grip as you grind with a metallic Hario metallic symbol.
Just like the above grinder, Hario also uses ceramic conical burrs for the grind. It is effortless to operate, and it takes less than a minute to prepare coffee for the pour over. You, however, don’t get consistency, which is something you should already expect from the manual mechanism.
Grinding and Dealing With the Fake
It requires a slow-to-moderate speed for proper grinding, and you also need to learn how to adjust the coarseness since it doesn’t come with any indicator. You have to play around with the screw at the top (which also loosens as you grind) and check the level to know if that is what you want.
Grinding needs you to hold it using the other hand, and the Skerton takes care of the steady grip by having a somewhat rough texture on the plasticized parts. The glass also has some lines on it to increase the steadiness if that’s where you want to hold.
One of the issues that Hario customers face is receiving a fake product. If yours came with an unlabeled brown box, has no lines on the glass and no metal ring at the bottom, then you were duped. Also, if the grinder has a white plastic lining, it’s also fake. The real one has a grey lining.
- It’s small to carry and also very affordable
- Easy to use and clean
- Compact and durable enough to go for years
- Has no coarse indicators
- Some customers have received fake items, so it’s advisable to check
3. Khaw-Fee HG1B
If you still need more hand grinders before making a decision, here is the Khaw-Fee HG1B that resembles the Hario Skerton above. They are similar by just looking at them, but the Khaw-Fee has some unique features that distinguish it from the previous item.
The design consists of a hand crank at the top with a rubber hopper at the top to prevent the beans from spilling out. The bottom is glass which has more lines than what Hario possesses. The base is silicone made to protect the glass and also offer steadiness as you grind.
To make the best out of the beans, Khaw-Fee uses Ceramic conical burrs, which is more recommendable than the steel types. The difference in this grinder is that the burrs are protected using stainless steel as opposed to nylon and plastic parts. That makes it more durable than most of the hand grinders you will meet.
Easy To Use with A Lifetime Warranty
Depending on your brewing method, the HG1B model allows you to adjust the coarseness via the built-in adjustable grind selector. That will enable you to use the pods and pour overs too based on how you want the final grounds. After grinding, you get something closer to a full cup of ground coffee.
Since you are hand cranking here, that means less noise, especially if you don’t want to wake anyone in the morning. After usage, the manufacturer advises you to clean the unit, which is easy since the parts are removable. Furthermore, the glass is machine washable, but it’s better if you use your hands and soap.
Grinding for espresso leaves a lot of oily residues which calls for frequent cleaning if that’s what you make every time. That’s one of the issues you have to deal with if you need finer coffee. The best part about buying Khaw-Fee is that you gain a lifetime warranty. If your coffee bean miller seems unlikable for different reasons, you will surely get your money back.
- The burr grinder has a stainless steel protection
- Built-in adjustable grind selector
- Easy to remove the parts and clean
- You need to clean it more often if you grind for the espresso
4. Norpro Coffee Grinder
Do you want a grinder that takes you back in the day? Then check out the Norpro Manual Grinder and see what it can do. Before I reveal the specs, you need to know that it’s suited for those who only want a few cups of coffee – 1-2 cups. The best part is that it brings out all the flavor your coffee beans have so you will always get the best results even out of lower quality beans.
The vintage design is a spectacle in the kitchen, and it will fit in small spaces. However, unlike the already reviewed grinders, you cannot carry this one around. I actually discourage you from doing it. The bean hopper holds more than what the drawer can take when full so it’s better if you don’t fill the top part.
When adjusting the coarse, there are no indicators for the burr grinder. You have to take off the top nut first, then the crank before turning the dial. On the other hand, at a moderate speed, you will be amazed by how well it can grind. I wouldn’t say it’s suitable for making espresso grounds, but if you are using the French Press or pour over, the final output will suit you.
As you grind, the beans are bound to escape so again, do not fill it since the drawer cannot hold much. The wooden body also contributes to flavor retaining, but it is lightweight. Some customers have wished for some harder wood. That is why you cannot move it around often or grind fast. It also requires fewer cleaning times if you want the wood to last longer.
Overall, the Norpro is a vintage model that will capture the coffee flavors with moderate use. Apart from the few learning curves, especially when adjusting the coarseness, it will take you through the day by giving you a decent cup of coffee from the grounds.
- At less than $20, it’s one of the most affordable hand grinders
- The vintage design gives your kitchen a lavish look
- Delivers richer flavor from the beans
- The wood appears lightweight
- The receiving drawer is smaller than what the hopper provides
5. Porlex Mini Grinder
Lastly, here is the Porlex Mini Grinder for those who need something durable while they are outdoors. It’s shorter than similar models with a more extended arm and a considerably large knob at the top.
The body is stainless steel with plastic parts only at the middle and the handle. It’s small enough to fit in the Aero Press, and that makes fit for traveling. The ceramic conical burrs will do the grinding for you, and you can adjust the coarseness by using the clicks on the burr wheel as a guideline. There are 13 settings to explore here.
Durable But Small
One of the things that you have to bear with is the amount of grounds that Porlex can hold. It can only take 20 grams, which are enough for almost two cups if you like it stronger. For dark roasted coffee, it will take close to a minute to grind for the French Press and over 90 seconds to make the espresso grade.
With a stainless steel body, you are guaranteed that will be with you until you need a bigger grinder. It’s also small and cylindrical, which makes it easy to pack. To give you an easy time while grinding, the manufacturer in Japan makes sure the body is static free before you receive the package.
As we conclude, there are complaints about customers receiving faulty products when they order the Porlex Mini. Some of them are either already used or functioning poorly, not to mention coming with broken parts and receiving older models. To counter this, please make sure you get it from authorized sellers, which is the Porlex Company.
- Small enough to make it a traveling companion
- Easy to use and clean
- Stainless steel body makes it durable
- Holds fewer grounds
- You may receive a faulty product from unauthorized sellers
- Quite expensive given the size
While hand coffee grinders are known to be inconsistent, they give you better results when used with moderation. Before giving you this review, some of the featured mills were tested before making it to this review since I have owned some of them.
If you like a grinder that makes less noise and delivers enough grinds for a few cups of coffee, then consider one of the items reviewed above. While I advocate for the JavaPresse, take your time and see which one suits your coffee brewing needs.