Being the home barista in the group, many of my friends have asked me how to pick a coffee grinder they can use at home and outdoors.
You’re probably asking the same thing, that’s why you’re here 🙂
In this article, I’ll discuss with you my answer to that very question, as well as list my top picks for the best manual burr grinders in 2023, which are superior to electric and blade grinders, especially when it comes to portability.
So grab your favorite mug and let’s get started.
Top-Rated Manual Burr Coffee Grinders of 2023
So why choose a manual burr grinder for your coffee beans in the first place?
- First off, a manual coffee grinder is the better choice if you want portability and more control over grinding your beans.
- Secondly, burr grinders yield a more precise and consistent grind size on top of their longer-lasting sharpness when compared to blades.
Plus, I think you’ll come to appreciate the ritual of grinding your own coffee beans, a sort of intimate connection with the coffee brewing process. Except if you need to prepare 4 espressos, that’s way too tiring with a manual grinder 😉
Below is an overview of the best manual coffee grinders with burrs in the market today:
|Model||Burr||Coffee Capacity||Grind settings||Weight||Dimensions||Color|
|1.||1Zpresso J-Max (Editor’s Choice)||48mm titanium-coated||40g||9 numbers / 90 clicks per rotation||762g||19 x 6 x 20 cm||Iron Gray, Silver|
|2.||1Zpresso JX-Pro (2nd Pick)||48mm stainless steel||35g||10 numbers / 40 clicks per rotation||778g||19 x 6.3 x18 cm||Silver|
|3.||COMANDANTE Nitro Blade C40 MK4||Stainless steel Nitro Blade burr||40g||35 grind settings||600g||16 x 6 cm||9 options|
|4.||Timemore Slim Plus||38mm stainless steel||25g||25 clicks||440g||16 x 4.2 cm||Black|
|5.||1Zpresso Q2 (Great value)||38mm stainless steel||20g||30 clicks||425g||14.5 x16 x 4.6 cm||Silver|
|6.||Timemore C2 Max (Best budget grinder)||38mm stainless steel||30g||23 adjustment steps||540g||18 x 5 x 15 cm||Black, White|
1. 1Zpresso J-Max (Editor’s Choice)
The 1Zpresso J-Max boasts a wide grind adjustment with 9 numbers / 90 clicks per rotation that shifts by 8.8 microns, so when it comes to precision of grind size, this grinder really aces that category. It’s a great companion for dialing in your espresso, even though it takes a while to grind espresso beans with any manual grinder.
How big is a micron? It is one-thousandth of a millimeter. Human hair is about 70 microns wide, so setting your grind size in 8.8 micron increments is just unbelievable.
It can hold about 40 grams of coffee, more than enough especially if you’re going solo considering its portability. On that note, I really love how portable and space-saving this grinder is with its foldable handle if you get the S model. This is my go-to grinder at home and when I’m out on vacation or on a hike (it also comes with a travel case) because I can produce a really precise grind without the mess.
While grinding light roasts is a breeze, I find that moving the hand crank for medium and dark roasts is a bit harder and the knob can be uncomfortable after multiple grinds in a row.
But overall, with the exceptional range of its grind settings and a price that doesn’t break the bank, the 1Zpresso J-Max really stands out as a very competitive manual burr grinder in the market.
1zpresso J-Max Product Specifications:
- Burr: 48mm titanium-coated burr
- Color: Iron Gray, Silver
- Weight: 762g
- Dimensions: 19 x 6 x 20 cm
- Grounds Capacity: 35~40g
- Materials: Wood, polycarbonate, silicone, stainless steel, and aluminum alloy
2. 1Zpresso JX-Pro
The 1Zpresso JX-Pro also offers plenty of room to get your grind size right, with 10 numbers / 40 clicks per rotation shifting by 12.5 microns. It uses a stainless steel 48mm conical burr that is stable and durable, further ensuring the consistency of your grind.
It can hold up to 35 grams of coffee which is still a good amount to cover at least 2 cups.
Similar to the J-Max, the S model of the JX-Pro has a foldable handle for portability and saving space. It’s a bit heavier, but it’s not a dealbreaker for me. Over time though, the silicone sleeve tends to get loose and would often slip so you might want to watch out for that.
Still, when it comes to precision in grind size, the 1Zpresso JX-Pro is a great choice that can save you a few bucks compared to the J-Max.
1zpresso JX-Pro Product Specifications:
- Burr: Stainless steel 48mm conical burr
- Color: Silver
- Weight: 778g
- Dimensions: 19 x 6.3 x18cm
- Grounds Capacity: 30~35g
- Materials: Wood, polycarbonate, silicone, stainless steel, and aluminum alloy
3. Comandante Nitro Blade C40 MK4
The Comandante C40 Nitro Blade MK4 produces outstandingly consistent grind quality with 35 grind settings and the brand’s trademarked Nitro Blade burr set, which is wear-resistant and offers sharpness that can really stand the test of time.
Even with its highly portable weight of 600g, the grinder can carry up to 40 grams of coffee beans, making it a compact companion when you’re brewing coffee outdoors. It’s also pretty easy to maintain, as cleaning the grinder does not affect your grind settings.
As for the price, this is quite an expensive tool, but since it’s lightweight with generous coffee capacity and tough burrs that retain their utmost sharpness, I’m confident to claim that the Comandante C40 Nitro Blade MK4 offers great value for your money. But being more expensive than the 1zpressi J-Max, and not really offering more, it can’t get my top pick.
COMANDANTE Nitro Blade C40 MK4 Product Specifications:
- Burr: Stainless steel Nitro Blade burr
- Color: 9 color options
- Weight: 600g
- Dimensions: 16 x 6 cm
- Grounds Capacity: 40 g
- Materials: Wood, stainless steel
4. Timemore Slim Plus
The “slim” in the Timemore Slim Plus name really represents this light and compact hand coffee grinder. With its small size and 440g weight, this grinder is definitely a convenient outdoor grinder and a space-saver at home. In fact, you can remove the handle and it fits right into your AeroPress plunger.
With over 25 clicks to fine-tune your coffee, Slim Plus also has a dual-bearing central axis positioning which delivers stability to add to its comfortable grip and durability. There are problems with finer grinds for espresso though, and the manual warns that going under 7 clicks can affect the burr sharpness.
Overall, the fact that a grinder can be compressed to this device is already impressive to me. Additionally, its sturdy build, ergonomic design, and reasonable price range make the Timemore Slim Plus a worthy choice among the many manual burr grinders out there.
Timemore Slim Plus Product Specifications:
- Burr: Stainless steel 38mm conical burr
- Color: Black
- Weight: 435 g
- Dimensions: 16 x 4.2 cm
- Grounds Capacity: 25 g
- Materials: Aluminum alloy, stainless steel, black walnut
5. 1Zpresso Q2 (Great value)
The 1Zpresso Q2 is an affordable grinder that has a double-bearing shaft and 30 clicks, allowing you enough room to get your grind size right especially for pour-over coffee.
Its size is also on the compact side, with a 425g weight and a small size that can also fit the plunger of your AeroPress coffee maker. In this size, this hand grinder can hold up to 20g of coffee which is already a good amount if you’re brewing solo.
Plus, this grinder comes with a quick-disassembly feature for easier cleaning, and the S model, again, has a space-saving handle.
What makes this grinder a really good option is that it provides great control for your grind size and ease of cleaning even with its inexpensive price.
1Zpresso Q2 Product Specifications:
- Burr: 38mm stainless steel burr
- Color: Silver
- Weight: 425 g
- Dimensions: 14.5 x16 x 4.6 cm
- Grounds Capacity: 15~20g
- Materials: 420 Stainless steel, 304 stainless steel, aluminum alloy, and wood
6. Timemore C2 Max (Best Budget Grinder)
The Timemore C2 Max is my top pick for a manual burr grinder that brings the best value for money to coffee lovers on a budget. The C3 has come out as the successor of this grinder, but I still like the C2 better since it is cheaper, and grinds faster.
Even with its price, this grinder doesn’t compromise. It sports 38mm conical stainless steel burrs and dual-bearing stabilization, allowing for a stable and wide range of grinds with its 23 adjustment steps. This is great for methods like French Press or Cold Brew.
It’s a bit bigger and heavier compared to other grinders so it’s not as portable as I would like, but it has a pretty generous capacity of 30 g of coffee per grind and the checkered finish gives me a better grip.
For me, the Timemore C2 Max strikes the right balance for price and quality in the affordable range of manual grinders. And even with its budget-friendly pricing, this grinder still feels premium, and the performance doesn’t compromise either.
Timemore C2 Max Product Specifications:
- Burr: 38mm conical stainless steel burrs
- Color: Black, White
- Weight: 544g
- Dimensions: 18 x 5 x 15 cm
- Grounds Capacity: 30g
- Materials: Stainless plastic, PCTG plastic
Features to Consider When Buying a Manual Grinder
Using the right grinder can make all the difference when it comes to brewing quality coffee at home or outdoors. There may be certain benefits to electric grinders and blade grinders, but I believe that manual burr grinders are the gold standard.
I’ll never forget the day I brought my manual burr grinder to a family camping trip in the mountains of Budapest. My uncle, a die-hard instant coffee fan, rolled his eyes at my “fancy” coffee prep method and gear (I usually take my Aeropress go while traveling, so no big deal). But when he tasted the coffee I brewed – freshly ground and perfectly balanced – his instant coffee pack was soon forgotten. It wasn’t a fair fight 🙂 Obviously the difference in flavor was not comparable to his “method”, and by the end of the trip, he was asking me for recommendations for his first manual grinder.
Here are factors you need to consider when choosing a manual burr grinder:
- Price – I always recommend a more expensive grinder because it can yield more consistent grinds and better performance in the long run. When you consider that you will be using it for years, it may be worth that extra $50.
- Grind size settings – The ability to adjust the grind size is crucial if you’re aiming for the best flavor in your cup of coffee. You’ll have greater flexibility when experimenting with various brew techniques if you seek for a grinder with more adjustment settings.
- Build quality – I advise you to opt for models constructed of sturdy materials like stainless steel or aluminum.
- Steel vs ceramic burrs – Each has its pros and cons. Steel burrs tend to be more durable, while ceramic burrs generate less heat during grinding which can preserve the flavors of your beans. I recommend steel burrs though.
- Burr size and shape– Larger burrs are generally superior to smaller ones. With its larger surface area, these burrs can finish grinding faster with less static on your grounds.
The shape also plays a huge role, with flat burrs offering more consistent grinds but they’re pricier, noisier, and produce more heat that can interfere with your coffee grounds. Conical burrs are more affordable, quieter, and cooler but require more mastery to achieve consistency.
- Portability and size – If you plan on taking your grinder on the go or need one that won’t take up much space on your counter, portability and size should be a factor in your purchasing decision.
- Capacity – How much coffee do you typically brew at once? Make sure to choose a grinder with an appropriate capacity for your needs to avoid constant refilling.
- Grinding speed – Grinding speed is determined by internal bearings within the mechanism of the grinder. Higher-end models tend to have better dual ball bearings which allow for faster and smoother grinding. I think this is an absolute must if you’re going to invest in a manual grinder, it just makes grinding so much faster and easier than grinders that don’t have this. You’ll quickly start to loathe the effort and time it takes to grind coffee on cheaper grinders, trust me. All of the grinders on this list have fast bearings.
By considering these features, you’ll be able to find a manual burr grinder that suits your specific needs and helps you achieve delicious cups of coffee every time.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Here are the answers to some common questions regarding manual burr grinders:
Depending on the model and how fine you want your grounds to be, the grinding time will vary greatly. It can take 20 seconds to 2 minutes for a manual burr grinder to ground enough coffee for one.
Yes, manual burr grinders can create fine grounds for espresso. In order to properly modify the grind size, look for models with multiple settings. Also, know that grinding to a fine consistency takes a while, and is not that easy on a manual grinder. So if you mostly drink espresso, I would choose an electric grinder instead.
To keep your manual burr grinder in good condition, make sure to clean it regularly by removing any leftover grounds and wiping down the parts with a cloth or brush. Avoid using water unless necessary as moisture can damage the internal components. It’s also important to maintain proper alignment between the burrs – many manufacturers provide instructions on how to do this correctly.
And that’s my comprehensive guide to the best manual burr grinders of 2023. Remember that your choice depends on your needs and budget, so be sure to consider factors such as the price, adjustment settings, build quality, portability, and coffee capacity.
With these tools in hand, you’ll be able to brew delicious cups of joe wherever life takes you. So grab one of these trusty companions today and elevate your barista skills, because after all is said and done, life’s too short for bad coffee.