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Best Manual Espresso Grinder Reviews 2018

Are you the type of person for whom a “good” cup of coffee just isn’t enough?

Have you been yearning to branch out and explore the full range of bold flavors coffee beans can provide?

If you answered "yes" to any of these questions, then you’re going to love this roundup review. We’ve scoured the internet to find the best manual espresso grinder on the market today... and we found it!

We’ll go into detail about our top pick and the other finalists in the sections that follow. But before we do that, let’s start by taking a top-level view of all of them, to give you an at-a-glance comparison of what each has to offer.

OUR PICK

HONORABLE MENTION


OVERALL BEST Best Manual Espresso Grinder

Espresso Machine Under 600 Dollars

Last update: December 8, 2018 2:39 am

Last update: December 8, 2018 2:39 am

Last update: December 8, 2018 2:39 am

-1% The Hario Skerton
$39.50 $40.00
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Last update: December 8, 2018 2:39 am

Last update: December 8, 2018 2:39 am

AMAZON RATING

4.1/5

3.8/5

4.2/5

4.2/5

4.5/5

PRICE

$$$$

$$$

$$$$$

$

$$

MATERIALS

STYLE

Stained hardwood (variety of finishes), with chrome accents

Offered in Dark Beechwood, or a natural finish

Glass, and stainless steel

Ceramic and glass

Stainless steel

DIMENSIONS

5.1” x 5.1” x 8.8”

6.2” x 6.2” x 9”

5.8” x 3.1” x 8.7”

16” x 11” x 13”

1.9” x 7.6” x 1.9”

WEIGHT

2 pounds

2 pounds

1.3 pounds

1.2 pounds

11.4 pounds

As you can see, this represents a relatively diverse collection and not all of these grinders will appeal to everyone. Even so, and even if you don’t agree with our top pick, you’re sure to find something you love on this list. Ready to learn more?  Let’s go!

Our Top Pick – The Best Manual Coffee Machine for Home: The Peugeot 19401765

There’s so much to like about our top pick that it’s hard to know where to begin.  For starters, it’s made in France and features classic, Old World styling which makes it as much of a work of art as a functional appliance designed for home use.

Second, given the fact that it’s constructed using a time-tested, well-proven design, it’s pure simplicity to use, and third, Peugeot is the only company we’ve found that offers a lifetime warranty on the grinding mechanism and a five-year warranty on the exterior of the machine.

An Image of Peugeot Brand Logo for Best Manual Espresso Grinder
An Image of Peugeot 19401765 Espresso Machine for Best Manual Burr Grinder for Espresso

These units are built out of solid walnut and feature chrome accents, and you can order yours in a variety of color options, so you guarantee a good match, whatever your home kitchen décor.

As to the grinding mechanism, it’s a conical burr design, built with stainless steel.

This is the point in the review where we’d normally say something about our preference leaning toward ceramic burrs, because of the heat problem that stainless steel grinders sometimes have, but the reality is that since this is a manual knee grinder, and you control the speed, there’s no heat issue to worry about. 

Heat buildup can occur in electric grinders with stainless steel burrs, but there’s almost no way you can turn the crank fast enough for it to be an issue here.

If you’re looking for the best manual burr grinder for espresso and other specialty coffee drinks, you’ve found it.  You’ll pay a premium for it, but this is definitely a case of getting what you pay for!

Note:  While it’s true that most of the grinders on this list could be used for other purposes, this is the only one where the manufacturer specifically recommends it for grinding pepper, so if you’re just a casual coffee drinker, you’re not buying a machine with only one use – you can use it to grind pepper, and a variety of other spices as well!

In Second Place - The Zassenhaus Brasilia

This is our pick for the best manual grinder for espresso offered by Zassenhaus ((insert link to the Zassenhaus brand review)), and places second here, in the best overall rankings.

It’s functionally quite similar to our top pick, the Peugeot, but it won’t cost you quite as much money.

Also made of hardwood and crafted in Europe, the key differences between our top pick and this one are that this one isn’t offered in as many different color varieties, and the grinding mechanism is “only” guaranteed for twenty-five years, rather than a lifetime.

Having said that, a twenty-five-year guarantee is heads and shoulders more than most of the Brasilia’s competitors offer, and there are few people who would take issue with that “limitation.”  The bottom line is that this is an utterly exquisite model, and if you’re looking for a world-class design, but don’t want to pay top dollar, it’s an excellent choice.

An Image of Zassenhaus Brasilia Manual Espresso Grinder for Best Manual Grinder for Espresso

In Third Place - The Handground Precision Grinder

An Image of Handground Precision Grinder for Best Manual Burr Grinder for Espresso

This is the most expensive grinder on our list of finalists, and its hefty price tag is the main reason it didn’t rank more highly on the list.

It’s a stylish and attractive machine, although much more modern looking than the two we’ve talked about thus far.  The main thing that distinguishes this model from the others on our list is the fact that it features fifteen predefined grind settings (there’s a half-step in between each of the enumerated settings, which can also be used).

This is interesting because most hand grinders are “stepless” meaning that they don’t have predefined settings, allowing for maximum flexibility and experimentation.

There’s a hidden downside to this though, and that is simply that when you take the machine apart for periodic cleaning, you’ve got to do a bit of guesswork to get the grind setting back to where you had it.

The Handground Precision takes all the guesswork out of the equation, at the price of some of the flexibility.  Even so, fifteen different grind settings are enough to cater to a wide range of flavor preferences, and as such, you won’t feel trapped by the inherent limitations of the company’s design decision.

One of the main reasons we’ve called various super automatic machines out for their built-in grinders is the fact that on those machines, the industry average is just six different predefined settings, and in our view, that’s just not enough.

This then gives you the best of both worlds, but as with our top pick, it’s something you’ll pay a premium for.

One final thing to note here is that the grinding mechanism on this unit is a conical burr design, cast in ceramic, which makes everything about this model exceptional.

In Fourth Place - The Hario Skerton

One of the best budget-priced grinders on the market today, the Hario Skerton is all ceramic, and does an amazing job, producing a highly consistent grind no matter what settings you use, at a fraction of the price of the other models on our list.

An Image of Hario Skerton Manual Espresso Grinder for Best Manual Espresso Grinder

The company describes this as a portable unit, ideal to take with you on the road, but a quick look at the unit’s dimensions reveal that this is just not the case.  While it is lightweight, which matters in terms of portability, it’s just too big to drop in an overnight bag and carry with you when you’re traveling.

That said, if you’re looking for a solid, reliable grinder, and you don’t have a lot of money to spend, then it’s hard to argue with the Skerton. It offers exceptional value for the money.

Honorable Mention - The Porlex JP-30

Rounding out our list of finalists, we’d be remiss if we didn’t include the Japanese-made Porlex JP-30.  Unlike the Skerton, its light weight and slim profile make it super portable, making it the ideal travel grinder (the handle is removable, making it even more convenient for the on-the-go coffee connoisseur).

An Image of  Porlex JP-30 Manual Espresso Grinder for Best Manual Coffee Machine for Home

Don’t let its small size fool you though.  This stainless-steel wonder comes packing a high-quality conical ceramic burr grinding mechanism that delivers top-notch results, every time you use it.

Whether your preferences run toward a coarse grind or powdered, the Porlex JP-30 can deliver the goods, wherever in the world you happen to be, and although it costs a bit more than the Hario Skerton, it’s also not a model that will break the bank, which makes it an excellent choice for travelers.

Why Go With a Manual Grinder, Anyway?

At this point, having seen and read about all our top picks, you might be left with the question “why?”

After all, there are plenty of great standalone electric grinders on the market, so why would you want to bother grinding your beans by hand?​​​​

An Image of Peugeot 19401765 Natural Finish for Best Manual Espresso Grinder

At this point, having seen and read about all our top picks, you might be left with the question “why?”

After all, there are plenty of great standalone electric grinders on the market, so why would you want to bother grinding your beans by hand?

It’s a fair question, and the answer is more complex than you might realize.

From a practical perspective, there’s cost to consider.  You can get a better, higher quality hand grinder for the same money than you can an electric model.  Not to mention, hand grinders, having no electrical components, have fewer things to break, making them more reliable on the whole.

Hand in hand with this, if the power goes out, your electric coffee grinder is going to be little more than a fancy paperweight, and you won’t be able to get your fix until the lights are back on.  That won’t even slow you down if you’ve got a hand grinder though!

Finally, though, the biggest reason for some, and perhaps many drinkers is that making their favorite coffee drinks is almost ceremonial.  If you introduce too much automation into the process, you destroy the beauty of the process, and that’s super important to a lot of people.

Hand grinders help slow the process down, and many people find the process of cracking those beans by hand to be relaxing and an enjoyable part of the drink making process. 

Given how hectic our lives are these days, in this “always on,” 24/7 world, is it any wonder that a growing number of people are embracing a bit of Old World ceremony?  Try it yourself and see!  You’ll be pleasantly surprised at how enjoyable the process can be!

Best Manual Espresso Grinder Conclusion

We stand by the Peugeot as our top pick in the category of overall best manual espresso grinder, but we understand that everyone’s tastes and preferences are different.  Because of that, our top pick might not align with yours.  With that in mind, here are some reasons you might find yourself gravitating to some of our other finalists:

  • The Zassenhaus Brasilia is a great choice if you really want the Peugeot, but can’t quite afford it.  It’s “only” got a 25-year warranty, as compared to the Peugeot’s lifetime offering, but most people don’t find that problematic!
  • Get the Handground if you’re looking for convenience.  Every other grinder we list here is “stepless,” which means it doesn’t have a fixed number of predefined grind settings.  What distinguishes the Handground model is the fact that it provides a generous number of settings.  If it only had 5-6, we wouldn’t recommend it, but fifteen is more than enough to cater to most people’s flavor preferences.
  • Buy the Hario Skerton if you’re looking for a great budget option.  Note that although the product description says this is a great travel model, it’s’ fairly sizeable, and we don’t find it to be especially portable, but your mileage may vary.
  • Finally, if you’re looking for the ultimate in portability, this would be our recommendation.  Small, slender, and ultra-lightweight, it’s a great option for the on the go coffee aficionado!

So which model is the best fit for you, your family, and your lifestyle?

Sources & Resources

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