So your eyes have been opened to life beyond Starbucks… you’re ready to make great coffee at home, you’re scouring the blogs, and they all say the same thing: the grind of your coffee will affect the final flavor as much (if not more), than any other factor!
But where to begin? Can’t you just run to Wal-Mart or Target and grab one off the shelf? You could, but please don’t. Before we get into the top grinders of the year, let’s take a quick look at the two main types of grinders, and why one of them is gonna up your game.
The Grinder To Avoid
Most big-box retail stores only carry electric blade coffee grinders, and honestly, you want to run the other way. There are two advantages of this type of grinder, price and ease. You can get a standard blade grinder for as little as ten bucks, and while price and ease are legitimate advantages, blade grinders also shortcuts that will affect the flavor of your drink.
The greatest disadvantage of blade grinders is their inconsistency. With a cutting blade, it’s impossible to achieve an even grind, even if you’re only making one cup of coffee at a time. So let’s move on to the type of grinder that will make you a champion brewer.
The Grinder to Buy
You want to be a true coffee connoisseur? Buy a burr grinder. Unlike a blade grinder (which cuts your beans), a burr grinder smashes your beans to a specific size. This allows your grind to come out even and to your specifications. This is important because different brewing methods call for different grind sizes.
While this can be overwhelming, we’ve got you covered. Check out our article on the different brewing methods here: How To Make the Perfect Cup of Coffee at Home. And you can find out how fine to grind your beans here: How Fine Should I Grind?
While burr grinders are far superior to blade grinders, they can also be far more expensive (but they don’t have to be… keep reading). A good electric burr grinder can be a great tool, but they can also cost a couple hundred dollars. If cost isn’t an issue, we recommend the Baratza Encore Conical Burr Coffee Grinder.
But for the rest of us, a manual burr grinder is the best option. You get the precision of a burr grinder, but with a cost that’s a bit more comparable to a blade grinder. Sure, you have to do the grinding yourself, but it’s totally worth it. So let’s get to the seven best options for a manual burr grinder. We graded the grinders on price, ease of use, and look.
#1 (Best Overall): Hario Skerton Pro
It doesn’t get much better than the Hario Skerton Pro. It’s durable, classy, and has infinite grind settings. It can hold 100g of coffee, and for the price, there’s absolutely nothing better. In tests, it consistently outperforms other grinders in the areas of consistency, durability, and ease of use. For the price, the biggest disadvantage is that there are no markings to help indicate the coarseness of the grind.SEE LATEST PRICE
#2 (Most Consistent Grind): Handground Precision
When it comes to a burr grinder, consistency is the name of the game. If consistency wasn’t so important, then you could just head down to Target and grab a $10 blade grinder. The Handground Precision lives up to its name, with 15 different grind settings that are clearly marked for easy use. While it is a little larger than some of the grinders on this list, the Precision will look super classy on your kitchen counter.
#3 (Best Under $25): JavaPresse Manual Grinder
While there are certainly better options on this list, there are no other options priced as appealing as this one. When we ordered it, we expected it to fall apart after a few grinds, but here we are over a year later, and it’s still grinding great. It’s not the most attractive grinder here, and it’s consistency leaves a little to be desired, but again, that price…SEE LATEST PRICE
#4 (Best Design): 1ZPresso Manual Bur
If you’re looking to impress with the look of your burr grinder, look no further. This mini portable grinder boasts a stainless steel body with a custom wood hand grip. While it only holds 25g of beans (a standard manual burr grinder can handle 100g) and has a relatively high price tag, it’s easy to use, can grind a great espresso grind, and again, it just looks so freaking cool.SEE LATEST PRICE
#5 (Best Portable Grinder): Porlex Mini
Do you need a great grinder on the go? Then look no further. The Porlex Mini is a great companion for your next road trip, camp site, or for your carry-on. Being so small, it only has a bean capacity of 20g, but it’s so well built and grinds so evenly that it feels like a full-size grinder.SEE LATEST PRICE
#6 (Fanciest Grinder): Zassenhaus “Santiago” Mahogany Beech Wood Manual Coffee Mill
So you’re going for that rustic, classy look on your kitchen counter, and you don’t want to ruin the vibe with a tacky stainless steel or clear glass coffee grinder. The Santiago is made from beautiful mahogany beech wood, and is truly a work of art. While some report that the grind mechanism isn’t as well-built as some others on this list, the German company offers a 25-year warranty on all internal parts.
#7 (Best Non-Manual Grinder at a Manual Price): Baratza Encore Conical Burr Coffee Grinder
So we know that this is kind of cheating, but for those of you who really want the quality of a burr grinder, but don’t want to take the time to manually grind the beans, Baratza makes a great entry-level grinder that is sure to please. While most of its counterparts cost at least twice as much as the Encore, this machine consistently ranks up there with some of the best electric burr grinders out there.SEE LATEST PRICE