Freshly ground coffee makes the best cups of coffee. This is a hill that we are willing to die on. If you grind your beans just before you make your drink, you will get so much more flavour and aroma than if you use pre-ground coffee. And for that you are going to need your own grinder, either an automatic or a manual coffee grinder.
In this article we are going to be focussing on the best manual coffee grinders that are available on the market today. The main advantage these little devices have over their electrical counterparts is that they are portable – you can take them away with you. But do they do as good a job?
It’s certainly more difficult, but it isn’t impossible. The first step is to purchase a manual coffee grinder that you can trust, which is why we have compiled this list for you.
Manual Coffee Grinders – What To Look For
Before we get into our list of the best manual coffee grinders, we thought it would be a good idea to discuss what you should be looking for when you are picking your grinder to help you make the best decision. There are so many different options, you need to know what you are looking for. Some things to consider:
We’ll start with an obvious one – you are going to want a manual coffee grinder that can fit in all of the coffee that you want to use in your drink. It sounds obvious, largely because it is, but think about how you make coffee – do you have a small espresso machine that makes one dose at a time? Then a small manual coffee grinder will be fine.
However, if you make a big jug of filter coffee every morning, then you are going to need to consider what sort of capacity you’ll need. Perhaps you make more coffee at the weekend? Or do you regularly have guests that you like to treat to delicious coffee? Make sure you have a grinder that is big enough to suit your needs.
Range of grind sizes
Do you make the same drink every day? Then a range of sizes may not be that important to you – just make sure whichever grinder you buy can do that one size very well!
For everyone else, make sure that you get a grinder that has very precise grinder settings so that you can switch between a fine grind for drinks like an espresso, a coarse grind for filter coffees and everything in between. Grind size is absolutely crucial to getting the right kind of extraction for your drink, so make sure you get a grinder that you can rely on.
Size of the unit
Is your manual grinder going to take pride of place in your kitchen? Or are you going to want to take it with you on your travels? They come in all shapes and sizes, and made from all kinds of different materials, so choose one that will suit what you need it for.
While we are talking about their appearance, some of them are stunning little contraptions, which many people love to have out on show in their homes. Some of them have a far more compact appearance, which is much more practical if you are going to be moving it from place to place.
It’s a fact of life that some things are built to last, and some things are built to provide us consumers with a ‘cheaper option’. Manual coffee grinders are no different, so it is important to consider how easy they are to maintain, and whether you are able to buy replacement parts, should anything go wrong.
This has hopefully given you a few things to think about as we now embark on our list of the 9 best manual coffee grinders. Here we go:
MLMLANT Manual Coffee Grinder
We’ll kick things off with this stylish offering from MLMLANT – a company that appears to be Chinese in origin, but with a base in New York (their website is difficult to draw any concrete conclusions from!). What we do know, though, is that they produce all kinds of home products, from steam cleaners to dog toys. A manual grinder is just one of hundreds of the products that they offer.
Straight away, I think you can tell why we like this grinder so much – it looks great. A beautifully sleek and stylish stainless steel cylinder – so simple but so effective. It manages to look classy as well as sturdy. It just gives you the impression that this is a grinder that is built to last.
At 17.5cm, it is quite tall without being so tall that travelling with it would never be an option. It won’t take up too much space if you are going to chuck it into the bottom of a bag, and it is built with materials that would be able to withstand a little bit of a crush.
In terms of grinding, there are 18 different ‘click’ settings to alter the size of the grind – working from ‘Pour Over’ to ‘Spice’ grinds. This is a good range, which offers you a lot of control over the taste of your drink.
It’s a burr grinder, which means the coffee beans are crushed between two plates, rather than chopped with blades. This tends to give you a much better, more even, grind, and we found that it worked really well. There was a great consistency to the coffee grounds.
What’s more, you are provided with a cleaning brush to help you keep the grinder in the best possible condition, and you can take it apart to give it a thorough clean.
Finally, the price – this is a really good price for a manual grinder that looks so good and performs so well – add this to your shortlist and try to find one to beat it.
Next up we have something that is a little extra – a magnificent manual coffee grinder from Timemore. This is another Chinese company, but one that exclusively makes coffee related products, and founded by ‘a group of coffee lovers’ in 2012. They are committed to the ‘slow life’, which we have taken to mean the art of taking your time over your coffee to ensure it is perfect. A manual coffee grinder certainly fits into that lifestyle.
Let’s cut to the chase – the major appeal of this grinder is how it looks. It is a stylish looking unit – the tiny indents, the aluminium alloy body and the long, sleek crank handle give this a truly unique look. It would take pride of place on the counter of many kitchens – there would be no need to hide this one away in a cupboard!
The design isn’t just for show, though – there are practical reasons that make using this manual grinder much easier. Take the indents; these provide more grip when you are grinding, so that you can get more purchase on the cylinder. The long crank handle means that you don’t need as much force to turn it. And the aluminium structure means that it is hard wearing – it’s not going to get damaged if you want to take it away with you.
It is a small unit – with a capacity of 20g, which will be enough for two cups of coffee and makes it very handy for travelling with.
What cannot be overstated, though, is the performance of this grinder. It produces fantastic coffee, with easily adjustable grind settings to get the exact sized grain that you require. It’s consistent and quick, and in truth, everything you could ask for from a manual grinder.
The only drawback is the price – it is one of the most expensive coffee grinders on our list today, but if you can afford it, we’re not sure you will find one that is better. We love this grinder.
When we review a product here at Ideal Grind, we always try to tell you a little about the manufacturer – we think that can be important or reassuring for you to know. It’s not always possible, though, as sometimes, there is just very little about a company anywhere on the internet – like a product just appears from out of nowhere.
That’s the case for this Henry Charles manual grinder. A quick look at the rest of their Amazon store (Oliver James) doesn’t tell us much other than they make a lot of battery powered handheld massagers and have a penchant for traditional English names. To be honest, this didn’t inspire much confidence in their coffee grinder.
It just goes to show, though, that you never can be truly sure of something until you have tried it, because this grinder really impressed us.
It looks great – a classic, stainless-steel cylinder with an attractive steel handle. We really liked the little window at the bottom of the unit, through which you can see the coffee so that you know when you have reached the desired size.
The major appeal, though, is that this is designed to make the perfect travelling grinder. All of the main parts are removable, and it comes with a handy travel bag so that you can pop all the parts in and off you go!
It does seem to require a little more effort than some of the grinders that we have looked at, but the results are decent – a uniformed grind size which is what you want. It is also one of the cheaper manual grinders on our list, so this is certainly worth your consideration – wherever it comes from!
Taylor & Smyth
A pleasing little contraption now, from Taylor & Smyth – another company with very little online presence, but as we have just learned, that isn’t necessarily enough to put us off a coffee grinder – the proof of the pudding is in the eating.
The first thing that popped into our head when we saw this grinder was – pepper mill. This wouldn’t look out of place on your dinner table next to your salt, which shouldn’t really surprise us as they are very similar concepts.
It’s one of the smaller grinders that we will look at today, but still has a 70g capacity, so enough to make two or three cups of coffee while still being pretty easy to travel with. The best of both worlds.
It also comes with an airtight glass jar, in which you can store any ground coffee to keep it fresh. This is great if you don’t want to waste too much time measuring out your coffee before you grind it – you can just store any extra coffee in the jar. Our advice would be not to leave it in there for too long though, as even with an airtight lid, you will still lose some freshness over time.
It comes with a two-year warranty as well, which is reassuring, particularly for a grinder at the cheaper end of the scale. You would be forgiven for thinking that this was priced low due to poor quality, but the warranty should give you some reassurance on that front.
This makes a great entry-level manual coffee grinder – it isn’t the best on our list, but it is one of the cheapest. It does a solid job and is versatile enough so that you can use it at home or on your travels. It’s a decent grinder at a great price.
Next up we have a manual coffee grinder from Hario, Japanese heatproof glass specialists that have been making exceptional products for over 100 years, with a particular focus on the hot drink market. These guys know what they are doing, so it is reasonable to expect that their coffee grinders are of a good quality.
What you may not expect, given that introduction, is that this is made from plastic, rather than glass. While they have compromised on their preferred material, they have not compromised on quality – this is a very good manual coffee grinder.
With a capacity of 24g, it is big enough for a couple of cups of coffee, and measuring under 18cm tall, it is also compact enough to make taking it away with you viable. The plastic that it is made from is durable, so there is nothing to worry about from that point of view either.
What we really liked was the hexagonal adapter for the lock, which gives the grinder a reassuringly sturdy feel while you are using it. This is a really well-built coffee grinder which you will be able to rely on over and over again.
If we had a criticism, it would be purely aesthetic. While this is incredibly well built and does an excellent job, it doesn’t look particularly special, compared to some of the other stainless-steel options on this list. It’s built for function, rather than to look nice.
This is around the average you can expect to pay for a manual coffee grinder, so there is nothing to put you off there. If you prioritise function over the look, then this could be the grinder for you – it won’t let you down and will help you make some excellent coffee.
Astor & Kline
Astor & Kline are a peculiar company. Founded in 2020, they seem to only produce a few different coffee related products (including the manual coffee grinder that we have featured on this list) and one other product – a luxury bath pillow. Is that relevant to the grinder? Probably not, but it was odd enough that we felt we needed to mention it here.
Perhaps it is relevant, because they have gone to great lengths to establish this grinder as a luxury product. It is presented in a stylish gift box, and comes with a neat little bag to transport it in. There’s no getting around it – this is a stylish product, one that you would be proud to have out on show (next to your luxury bath pillow).
It’s not just about style here though – this does a great job. There are 18 different grind settings for you to choose from, which is more than enough for you to get the optimum size for your drink. It gives a really decent, consistent grind.
You also get a two-year manufacturer replacement warranty, which certainly does give us confidence. It’s a well-built mechanism, though, so we weren’t surprised that Astor & Kline put their money where their mouth is in this regard.
Here’s the kicker – this is one of the cheaper manual coffee grinders that we are featuring on our list today, and therefore you should give it serious consideration. This doesn’t feel like a cheap product, it is well presented and well-built.
Because of the way it is presented, it makes for an excellent gift. The coffee lover in your life will love opening this and get at least two years of use out of it!
One of the more expensive grinders on our list now, with the D6 from Staresso – coffee and tea device specialists that operate all over the world. They make high end products so that you can get the most out of your hot drinks – a philosophy we can fully endorse.
This manual coffee grinder is very much in keeping with their high-end portfolio. It is incredibly well designed in terms of looks and performance.
The coffee bean chamber is made with anodised aluminium, which is incredibly durable, and the indented lines both look great and help with grip when you are using the grinder. Inside the unit is a stainless-steel centre shaft, and a stainless-steel burr grinder with an adjustable coarseness selector.
On top of the unit is the handle with a walnut knob, which is easy and comfortable to use, whilst also looking great. The coffee ground catcher at the base of the unit is easily unscrewed, so that you can get your coffee on the go as soon as the grounds have been ground.
There are 12 different settings, which is a decent amount without being the most that we’ve seen on this list. The performance is truly excellent though – you’ll be impressed with how consistent the grind is – giving you the perfect size every time.
This is a premium manual coffee grinder, and it is priced as such. This is the sort of product that you would only buy if you were really keen on grinding your own coffee manually, but it is a really special unit that is fully worthy of the price tag. If you want a high-quality grinder, put this on your shortlist.
For our penultimate manual coffee grinder, we are going to step things up a notch. Or several notches, really, because this is one of the most premium, indulgent coffee grinders of any kind. Made by ROK, a London-based company “with a passion for coffee, sustainability and mechanics”. You’ll quickly see how those three passions shine through in this product.
First of all, just take a look at it – it is a stunning little machine, and unlike any other grinder that we have looked at on this list. It is crafted from aluminium and a glass composite which gives it a beautiful, shiny finish and more than a touch of elegance. This is not just a pleasing-looking coffee grinder, this could be a centrepiece in your kitchen, an item to display proudly for everyone to see.
Now, let’s talk about the performance. Again, this differs from every other grinder on this list as the handle is positioned vertically, rather than horizontally. You load the beans into the open hopper, and then simply wind around the handle. Due to the position, your face is right above the beans as they are ground, so you get this magnificent hit of fresh coffee smell as you work away – it really is a wonderful user experience.
The grind size can be adjusted with a quick click of the adjustment wheel (2 clicks for very fine, 16 clicks for very coarse, to give you an idea of the range). Once you have clicked the desired number of times, you can get cranking, and your coffee grounds will be ready within a couple of minutes.
This isn’t just a manual coffee grinder – this is a kitchen ornament. This is a display of class and quality for people that want something beautiful and indulgent.
So, we come to the price. I think it is safe to say that this grinder will appeal to a minority of our readers, simply because of the price. It is a huge amount for a manual coffee grinder. But that is sort of the point. This is expensive, but that’s why it is so appealing. It is a fantastic grinder, but it is much more than that. It’s a statement.
We complete our list of the best manual coffee grinders with this offering from Vzaahu – another company with limited online presence. They stock an extensive range of kitchenware on Amazon, from wine glasses to eco-friendly metal straws. This manual coffee grinder is one of their flagship products.
What we love about this is how easy it is to use, and flick between grind settings. While there are only 6 different settings, the smallest amount on our list today, there is a simple dial on the main cylinder with the numbers one-to-six on. All you need to do it rotate the unit to the number you require, and you are good to go. (As a guide, 1-2 for an espresso machine, 2-4 for a pour over and 5-6 for a French press).
From there, you can just rotate the handle and your coffee will be ground in a matter of minutes. The size of the unit, at under 16cm tall, means that it is also great to take away on trips with you – it is robust enough to survive being packed in a bag. It has a 40g capacity as well, which is double the size of some of the others on our list,
On top of the functionality, we also think it looks very nice. It’s sleek and stylish, with an attractive handle. Simple, but effective.
Finally, the price. It’s about average for the grinders that we have looked at today, which we think is bang on. This performs well, looks nice and is priced accurately. There isn’t a lot here to put you off making this your new coffee grinder.
A coffee grinder will always help you to make better coffee, as we clarified back at the start of this article. A manual coffee grinder may seem slightly antiquated in the modern world, but it can form an integral part of a methodical morning routine. As one of our products highlighted – enjoying the slow life.
We have listed above some of the best manual grinders available today – take a look through them and find the one that best suits your needs.