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Hand Grinder Buying Guide

Hand Grinder Buying Guide

Sep 16th 2022 Written by Ryan Felbinger

Making commercial-quality coffee and espresso at home has never been easier or more accessible, thanks in part to the continued advancement of manually operated grinders. Pared-down to the most essential components, manual grinders, or ‘hand grinders,’ embody the very best of their more expensive electric counterparts, leaving only what’s necessary to grind highly consistent coffee grounds without breaking the bank.

Creating an early morning coffee routine we look forward to every evening begins with an intention to integrate tools that enhance our enjoyment and simplify our process. This guide is designed to help you parse the pros and cons of each hand grinder categorically, highlighting which models function best for filter coffee, espresso and travel. In addition, each hand grinder will be ranked on features and price on a 1-10 scale, providing perspective on value for the money.

Hand Grinders for Filter Coffee

Although not all hand grinders are capable of the precision and ultra-fine grinding required for espresso, all hand grinders can be used for a variety of filter coffee methods, and this makes it more difficult to make a wrong choice. That being said, it’s important to choose a grinder that accommodates your typical brew volume, lifestyle, build preference, and also one that you’re proud to display on the bar.

Comandante MK4

black comandante

The Comandante is the perfect choice for:

  • Discerning home enthusiasts who brew pour over or immersion
Comandante meters

Features:

  • Stepped adjustment for easy setting replication
  • High-Nitrogen Martensitic conical burrs
  • Stainless steel body, axle, and crank
  • 40-45 gram capacity
  • Includes both glass and polymer grounds catch cups

Considerations:

  • Widely considered to offer the best grind quality overall
  • Available in multiple colors
  • Slow grind speed, but easier to crank than some hand grinders
  • Body is wide in diameter making grip slightly awkward for those with small hands
  • Includes some plastic parts
  • Made in Germany

Mazzer Omega

Mazzer Omega

The Omega is the perfect choice for:

  • Those who want state-of-the-art tech, the highest quality materials and highly precise adjustment
Omega meters

Features:

  • Full metal body construction with carbon fiber handle for exceptional build quality
  • Micro-stepped adjustment provides 0.033mm changes to grind size for fantastic adjustability
  • External grind adjustment requires no disassembly to change grind size. Unique to only a couple grinders on this list.
  • True zero calibration allows the grinder's finest setting to always read '0' on the reference dial.
  • 42 gram capacity

Considerations:

  • Handle magnetizes to the side of the body, and the handle pommel can be stored on the top of the grinder for relatively compact storage
  • The most expensive hand grinder in our catalog
  • Includes no lid, which means some beans can fly out the top on occasion
  • Can be disassembled and cleaned without tools
  • Made in Italy

Kinu M47 (Phoenix, Simplicity, Classic)

Kinu M47 Classic

The Kinu M47 is the perfect choice for:

  • Those who want top notch build quality, stepless adjustment, and the versatility to grind for brew and espresso.
Kinu M47 meters

Features:

  • Stepless adjustment for infinite grind settings
  • Heavy steel construction
  • Ceramic coated burrs for sharper edges and finer grinds
  • Each reference line is equivalent to about 0.01mm grind size change
  • Available in 3 models with varying degrees of material quality. Performance is the same across all 3 models. See our Kinu model comparison near the end of this guide.

Considerations:

  • Simple grind size adjustment on top of grinder
  • For optimal quality for pour over, you must purchase and install the Kinu pour over burr separately
  • Toolless disassembly makes cleaning a breeze. Easiest grinder to completely disassemble by hand
  • Allows for incredibly minute grind size changes
  • 30-35g capacity
  • Includes some plastic parts
  • Made in Romania

1Zpresso K-Pro

K-Pro

The K-Pro is the perfect choice for:

  • Those seeking fantastic grind quality for pour over or immersion methods at a great price
K-Pro meters

Features:

  • Heavy metal construction
  • Micro-stepped adjustment is equal to approximately 0.022mm grind size change per click
  • External grind adjustment allows for grind size changes with no disassembly. Unique to only a couple grinders on this list
  • Includes carrying case and cleaning supplies, like a brush and air blower to clear away grounds
  • Large 48mm burr set grinds extremely quick
  • 35-40g capacity

Considerations

  • Large burr set makes for fast, but more strenuous grinding
  • Fantastic ergonomics
  • Highly uniform grind makes for exceptionally sweet and balanced coffee
  • Made in China

Knock Aergrind

Knock Aergrind

The Aergrind is the perfect choice for:

  • Those looking for a quality travel or single cup hand grinder for home brew or espresso.
Aergrind meters

Features:

  • Known for its ability to fit inside of an Aeropress plunger for compact travel storage
  • Stepless grind adjustment
  • Titanium nitride coated burrs for sharp edges and longevity
  • Extremely compact size ideal for single cup brewing
  • Full metal construction with wood accents
  • 20-25g capacity

Considerations

  • Small 38mm burr set takes more time to grind for espresso and pour over, but requires less effort
  • Requires no disassembly to adjust grind size
  • Requires tools to disassemble
  • Does require disassembly to add beans to the hopper, and the process of removing and replacing the lid and handle is a bit finicky
  • Made in the UK

Knock Feldgrind

Knock Feldgrind

The Feldgrind is the perfect choice for:

  • Those brewing 1-2 cups of brew or espresso at home
Feldgrind meters

Features

  • Titanium nitride coated burrs for sharp edges and longevity
  • Vintage watch style adjustment wheel
  • Stepless grind adjustment
  • Full metal construction with wood accents
  • 35-40g capacity

Considerations

  • Small 38mm burr set takes more time to grind for espresso and pour over, but requires less effort
  • Requires some disassembly to adjust grind size
  • Long handle gives optimum leverage for comfortable grinding experience
  • Made in the UK
  • Requires tools to disassemble

Timemore C2 Max

C2 Max

The C2 Max is the perfect choice for:

  • Those brewing 1-2 cups at home and want to spend less than $100
C2 Max meters

Features

  • Stepped adjustment for easy setting replication
  • Constructed of some plastic where other grinders use steel or aluminum, drastically cutting down costs
  • Very lightweight
  • 30 gram capacity

Considerations

  • Overall the best value for the money. Offers grind quality equivalent to that of grinders more than 3x the price
  • Requires some disassembly to adjust grind size
  • Requires tools to disassemble
  • Made in China

Timemore Plus Series

Aeropress Go

The Timemore Plus Series is the perfect choice for:

  • Travel, or for 1-2 cup brewing or espresso at home
Plus Series meters

Features

Considerations

  • Aggressively cut burr set grinds beans quickly
  • Nearly full metal construction
  • Made in China
  • Exceptional value for the money

Orphan Espresso LIDO Basic

LIDO Basic

The LIDO Basic is the perfect choice for:

  • Those brewing full pots of coffee
LIDO Basic meters

Features

  • Very large hopper, burrs and grounds catch; perfect for grinding large batches 50-100g
  • Simple, external stepless grind adjustment with set screw
  • Aluminum, steel and medical grade tritan plastic construction
  • Folding handle for slimmer travel profile
  • 70g hopper capacity

Considerations

  • Very large grinder, twice the size of even the second largest in our catalog
  • Size and weight makes the grinder a bit wobbly in your hand as you grind
  • Best hand grinder in our catalog for brewing large batches
  • Large 48mm burr set makes for fast but strenuous grinding
  • Made in Taiwan

Orphan Espresso Apex

Orphan Espresso Apex

The Apex is the perfect choice for:

  • Those who are serious about grind quality and willing to put in work to crank the ghost burrs
Apex meters

Features

  • Ghost burrs for extremely unique grind shape and impressive consistency, unparalleled by any hand grinder
  • Countertop design with holes for bolting to counter or cutting board (recommended)
  • Stepped adjustment with 20 grind size options
  • 60 gram capacity

Considerations

  • Extremely difficult to operate. Requires a lot of strength and patience.
  • Very slow grounds output
  • Very large size
  • Made in Taiwan

Orphan Espresso Fixie

Orphan Espresso Fixie

The Fixie is the perfect choice for:

  • Backpackers seeking ultra-lightweight gear, or those who brew the same way every day and never change grind size.
Fixie meters

Features

  • Highly unique grind size adjustment, utilizing shims for 3 factory preset grind sizes
  • Carbon fiber construction is ultra lightweight, coming in at 330g (0.7lbs)
  • 40g capacity
  • Large 47mm burrs for fast grinding

Considerations

  • Only 3 available primary grind settings, but includes 4 paper-thin teflon shims to add in addition for small changes to grind
  • Features a unique side hatch for loading beans. The top of the grinder is closed making it a little finicky to load coffee.
  • Made in Taiwan

Hario Skerton Plus

Skerton Plus

The Skerton Plus is the perfect choice for:

  • Beginners seeking a low-commitment burr grinder that can grind large batches
Skerton Plus meters

Features

  • Constructed of plastic, glass and some metal parts
  • Ceramic burrs
  • Stepless grind adjustment
  • 75g capacity

Considerations

  • Low cost comes at compromise of grind quality, but still offering a definitive upgrade as compared to blade grinders
  • Requires extensive disassembly for grind size changes
  • Made in China

Hario Skerton Pro

Skerton Pro

The Skerton Pro is the perfect choice for:

  • Beginners seeking a low-commitment burr grinder that can grind large batches
Skerton Pro meters

Features

  • Constructed of plastic, glass and some metal parts
  • Ceramic burrs
  • Stepped grind adjustment with click wheel
  • Solid, fixed metal handle
  • 75g capacity

Considerations

  • Best value under $80 for high capacity
  • Low cost comes at compromise of grind quality, but still offering a definitive upgrade as compared to blade grinders
  • Requires some minor disassembly for grind size changes, comparable to Comandante
  • Made in China

Hario Mini Slim Plus

Mini Slim Plus

The Mini Slim Plus is the perfect choice for:

  • Beginners seeking a low-commitment burr grinder for 1-2 cups of brewed coffee
Mini Slim Plus meters

Features

  • Constructed of plastic with some metal parts
  • Ceramic burrs
  • Stepped grind adjustment with click wheel
  • Slim profile
  • 40-45g capacity

Considerations

  • Best value under $80 for single cup grinder
  • Low cost comes at compromise of grind quality, but still offering a definitive upgrade as compared to blade grinders
  • Requires some minor disassembly for grind size changes, comparable to Comandante
  • Made in China

Option-O REMI (Conventional Burrs)

Option-O Remi (Conventional Burrs)

The REMI is the perfect choice for:

  • Those who value style and grind quality alike, or who want the flexibility of a hand grinder that accepts different burr sets to be optimized for espresso or brew
REMI meters

Features

  • Uni-body made from a single piece of CNC aluminum
  • Stepless grind adjustment
  • Magnetic grounds catch
  • Interchangeable burrs for filter or espresso
  • Titanium coated burrs
  • 35g capacity

Considerations

  • One of the most beautiful and sought after hand grinders on the market
  • Soft aluminum body is susceptible to dents and scratches. Not ideal for travel.
  • Stepless adjustment can be slightly difficult to turn with fingers
  • Made in China
  • Conventional burr set is great for filter, contemporary burr set great for espresso

Hand Grinders for Espresso

When it comes to espresso, the right set of burrs and a proper grind adjustment mechanism make all the difference. Unlike coffee burrs, espresso-focused burrs need to be able to grind extremely fine to help create enough back pressure for espresso extraction. In addition, dialing in the perfect espresso shot requires making adjustments to grind size on a micro scale, or else the ‘sweet spot’ may fall between two grind settings, where one is too coarse and fast flowing, and one is too fine and slow flowing. These hand grinders feature mechanics optimized for espresso and provide fantastic results akin to electric grinders more than 3x the price.

Comandante MK4 w/ Redclix Adjustment

Red CLix

The Comandante MK4 w/ Redclix Adjustment is the perfect choice for:

  • Discerning home enthusiasts who make espresso and brewed coffee at home.
Comandante Red Clix meters

Features

  • With addition of Redclix adjustment, the stepped adjustment range of the Comandante is doubled
  • Stepped adjustment for easy setting replication
  • High-Nitrogen Martensitic Conical Burrs
  • Stainless Steel Body, Axle, and Crank
  • 40-45 gram capacity
  • Includes both glass and polymer grounds catch cups

Considerations

  • Widely considered to offer the best grind quality overall
  • Available in multiple colors
  • Handle does not fold in or store easily
  • Body is wide in diameter making grip slightly awkward for those with small hands
  • Includes some plastic parts
  • Made in Germany

Mazzer Omega

Mazzer Omega

The Omega is the perfect choice for:

  • Those who want state-of-the-art tech, the highest quality materials and highly precise adjustment
Omega meters

Features

  • Full metal body construction with carbon fiber handle for exceptional build quality
  • Micro-stepped adjustment provides 0.033mm changes to grind size, perfect for espresso
  • External grind adjustment requires no disassembly to change the grind size. Unique to only a couple grinders on this list.
  • True zero calibration allows the grinder's finest setting to always read '0' on the reference dial.
  • 42 gram capacity

Considerations

  • Handle magnetizes to the side of the body, and the handle pommel can be stored on the top of the grinder for relatively compact storage
  • The most expensive hand grinder in our catalog
  • Includes no lid, which means some beans can fly out the top on occasion
  • Can be disassembled and cleaned without tools
  • Made in Italy

Kinu M47 (Phoenix, Simplicity, Classic)

Kinu M47

The Kinu is the perfect choice for:

  • Those who want top notch build quality, stepless adjustment, and the versatility to grind for brew and espresso.
Kinu M47 meters

Features

  • Stepless adjustment for infinite grind settings
  • Each reference line is equivalent to about 0.01mm grind size change
  • Heavy steel construction
  • Ceramic coated burrs for sharper edges and finer grinds
  • Available in 3 models with varying degrees of material quality. Performance is the same across all 3 models. See our Kinu model comparison near the end of this guide.

Considerations

  • Simple grind size adjustment on top of grinder
  • Comes standard with espresso focused burrs
  • Toolless disassembly makes cleaning a breeze. Easiest grinder to completely disassemble by hand.
  • Allows for incredibly minute grind size changes
  • 30-35g capacity
  • Includes some plastic parts
  • Made in Romania

Knock Aergrind

Aergrind

The Aergrind is the perfect choice for:

  • Those looking for a quality travel or single cup hand grinder for home brew or espresso.
Aergrind meters

Features

  • Known for its ability to fit inside of an Aeropress plunger for compact travel storage
  • Stepless grind adjustment
  • Titanium nitride coated burrs for sharp edges and longevity
  • Extremely compact size ideal for single cup brewing
  • Full metal construction with wood accents
  • 20-25g capacity

Considerations

  • Small burr set takes more time to grind for espresso and pour over, but requires less effort
  • Requires no disassembly to adjust grind size
  • Does require disassembly to add beans to the hopper, and the process of removing and replacing the lid and handle is a bit finicky
  • Made in the UK

Knock Feldgrind

Knock Feldgrind

The Feldgrind is the perfect choice for:

  • Those brewing 1-2 cups of brew or espresso at home
Feldgrind meters

Features

  • Titanium nitride coated burrs for sharp edges and longevity
  • Requires some disassembly to adjust grind size
  • Long handle gives optimum leverage for comfortable grinding experience
  • Full metal construction with wood accents
  • 35-40g capacity

Considerations

  • Small 38mm burr set takes more time to grind for espresso and pour over, but requires less effort
  • Requires some disassembly to adjust grind size
  • Long handle gives optimum leverage for comfortable grinding experience
  • Made in the UK
  • Requires tools to disassemble

Timemore Plus Series

Timemore Slim Plus

The Timemore Plus Series is the perfect choice for:

  • Travel, or for 1-2 cup brewing or espresso at home.
Timemore Plus meters

Features

Considerations

  • Aggressively cut burr set grinds beans quickly
  • Nearly full metal construction
  • Made in China
  • Exceptional value for the money

Orphan Espresso LIDO E-T

LIDO E-T

The LIDO E-T is the perfect choice for:

  • Those brewing large batches of filter coffee, and have a need to also grind for espresso on occasion.
LIDO E-T meters

Features

  • Very large hopper, burrs and grounds catch perfect for grinding large batches 50-100g, or for quickly grinding espresso
  • Finer thread pitch on adjustment than Lido Basic, allowing for more precise changes to grind size.
  • Dual ring external adjustment
  • Aluminum, steel and medical grade tritan plastic construction
  • Folding handle for slimmer travel profile

Considerations

  • Very large grinder, twice the size of even the second largest in our catalog
  • Size and weight makes the grinder a bit wobbly in your hand as you grind
  • Dual ring adjustment not as easy as other adjustment types
  • Made in Taiwan

Option-O Remi (Contemporary burrs)

REMI

The REMI is the perfect choice if you:

  • Those who value style and grind quality alike, or who want the flexibility of a hand grinder that accepts different burrs for espresso
REMI espresso meters

Features

  • Uni-body made from a single piece of CNC aluminum
  • Stepless grind adjustment
  • Magnetic grounds catch
  • Interchangeable burrs for filter or espresso
  • Titanium coated burrs

Considerations

  • One of the most beautiful and sought after hand grinders on the market
  • Soft aluminum body is susceptible to dents and scratches. Not ideal for travel.
  • Stepless adjustment can be slightly difficult to turn with fingers
  • Made in China

Hand Grinders for Travel

On the go but don’t want to settle for less? Some hand grinders are compact enough for efficient travel storage. Pair one of these hand grinders with a simple immersion brewer like an Aeropress or Clever, and you’ll have access to great coffee anywhere you can find hot water.

  • Knock Aergrind

    Knock Aergrind

    Compact, fits inside an Aeropress with the handle removed. Includes silicone band with sleeve for handle storage.

  • Orphan Espresso Fixie

    Fixie

    Lightest grinder by weight, making it great for backpacking or camping


  • Timemore Nano Plus

    Timemore NANO Plus

    Most compact hand grinder. Includes folding handle, magnetically attached pommel, and fits in an Aeropress.


Comparisons

Price

price chart

Capacity

capacity chart

Omega vs J-Max

Mazzer Omega
1zpress J-Max

Similarities:

  • Fast grinding

  • External adjustment ring

  • The 185 brews for 3-4 people

  • Stepped adjustment with audible clicks

  • 40g hopper capacity








Differences:

  • Omega: 33 micron changes per step of adjustment
  • J-Max 8.8 microns changes per step of adjustment

  • Omega: Twist-lock grounds catch
  • J-Max Magnetic grounds catch

  • Omega: 47 conical steel burrs
  • J-Max 48mm conical steel burrs coated in titanium for slightly faster grinding

  • Omega: Tooless disassembly
  • J-Max Requires tools to disassemble




Comandante vs K-Pro

Comandante
1zpress K-Pro

Similarities:

  • Stepped adjustment

  • Moderately espresso capable out of the box

  • Fixed handle with integrated plastic lid














Differences:

  • Comandante: 30 microns changes per step of adjustment, 15 microns with Red Clix adjustment
  • K-Pro: 22 microns per click

  • Comandante: Click wheel adjustment, requires grounds to be removed
  • K-Pro: External adjustment requires no disassembly

  • Comandante: 40-45g capacity
  • K-Pro: 35-40g capacity

  • Comandante: 39mm burr diameter for slower but easier grinding
  • K-Pro: 48mm burr diameter for faster but more difficult grinding




There’s never been a better time to join the manual coffee revolution! More than ever, hand grinders are built to meet and even exceed the quality and functionality of electric espresso grinders, and at a cost that’s more affordable. Take a step further and explore our selection of manual espresso makers, designed to pair perfectly with manual espresso grinders for an unbeatable home coffee experience.

Sep 16th 2022 Ryan Felbinger

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