Investing in a coffee grinder can make a huge difference to your home brew set up. Whether you’re new to the world of speciality coffee, or keenly expanding on your equipment, purchasing a grinder seriously changes your daily ritual for the better.
And while you’ll impress friends and family with your coffee shop worthy set up, a home coffee grinder isn’t just about aesthetic appeal, either. Grinding your coffee as you brew maximises the potential of flavour and aroma in your cup. From road trip ready, to pride of place on your kitchen counter, in this ultimate guide to coffee grinders, we run through the pros and cons of our tried and trusted, much-loved range of grinders.
Here, we consider and compare manual versus electric grinder with key factors that include price, specifications and, of course, their grind abilities, so you can choose the best for your needs and budget.
MANUAL VS. ELECTRIC GRINDERS: WHICH IS BETTER?
As with most things in the world of speciality coffee, brewing equipment is an entirely personal choice, and when it comes to understanding whether a manual grinder or an electric grinder is better for you, it’s all down to preferences.
There’s no end of choice out there when it comes to choosing a grinder—so where to start? The first decision you’ll most likely make, is whether to opt for a manual (also commonly referred to as a hand grinder), or an electric grinder, and there’s a good chance that budget may have something to do – at least in part – with your choices. A decent manual grinder can be found from around £50, and with the right cleaning and care, this piece of kit will last for years; a reliable electric grinder will set you back over £100 but again, so long as you look after it, it should last you for a long time. So, working out your budget is going to be your first deciding factor when it comes to working out whether a hand grinder, or an electric one, is going to be better for you.
Beyond the price points, though, we’ve pinpointed a few key things you might want to consider before browsing online for that new piece of essential brewing equipment.
Brewing and drinking coffee is a ritual; a chance to carve out time for yourself. Sometimes, though, convenience is key. That first cup in the morning before you head out the door; the quick brew when you’ve got five minutes of peace. We love hand grinders for those slower moments, but when time is of the essence, there’s no denying that an electric grinder is going to get you those ground coffee beans, fast—ideal for when you need to dial in and get brewing.
Working with limited countertop space or prefer to keep things tidy and out of sight? Off on a camping adventure? Or looking to recreate a coffee shop experience from the comfort of home? Choosing a grinder that meets your lifestyle needs is key. If space – whether that’s in your van or backpack, or even at home – is small, then a manual grinder is a great choice. Don’t be fooled by size when it comes to quality, either: hand grinders are smart pieces of brewing kit, with every detail carefully considered to optimise grinding, without taking up valuable room. Their portability often means they are easy to disassemble and clean, too—minimal effort, and maximum design efficiency.
If you’re wanting to create a focal point, however, keen for a staple piece of kit in your home, then an electric grinder is worth the consideration. While you need to plug it in before you get going, many electric grinders have been thoughtfully designed, often with neat proportions and sleek aesthetics, so that they don’t look out of place or dominate modest kitchens if you don’t have heaps of space to spare.
If you’re looking to invest in a grinder, whether it’s manual or electric, then you’ll want to consider what type of brew you’ll be making with the rest of your coffee equipment. While both hand grinders and electric grinders have a full range of grind settings, allowing you to grind both coarse and fine, there’s one thing you’ll definitely want to consider: how much effort is involved in finely ground coffee.
A hand grinder is capable of finely ground coffee for espresso (though you might find a more limited range of grind size options), but it’s going to take a lot more time and effort than if grinding with an electric grinder; from mere seconds, through to a good few minutes. When it comes to the consistency of your grind, however, both an electric, and a manual grinder, will serve you just fine. Our main tip: consider the blades in your grinder. With both electric and manual, we’d always recommend burr over blade, as burrs will provide a much more consistent grind—handier for those trickier brew recipes.
From entry level, budget friendly options, through to equipment designed by the top brands in the coffee industry, there’s plenty of choice—so which electric grinder will work best for you? We’ve picked some of our favourite electric grinders. Browse, compare, and get ready to maximise your brew game.
Just shy of £500, there’s no denying that this grinder is an investment piece of kit, but it really does provide substance as well as style if you’re keen to be your own barista. Mahlkonig are renowned for their hand manufactured designs, priding themselves on quality and precision.
The Mahlkonig X54 is the ultimate, all-round grinder, designed for every brewing need, from espresso through to French Press. Thanks to the 54mm steel burrs and a wide range of precise grind settings, you can refine your brewing experience with a grinder loved and respected by the professionals. With a robust hopper (featuring a 500g coffee bean capacity), durable motor, and smart details, including exceptionally quiet grinding (below 70db(A), presets and manual mode, and swappable fronts (enabling you to grind into your portafilter, or into the included stainless steel cup, ready for filter brewing, without any mess), the attention to detail makes the Mahlkonig X54 a brilliant buy for those looking to commit to their long-term brewing aspirations.
A do-it-all experience, designed to elevate your brewing skills to a professional standard.
SAGE SMART GRINDER
With its user-friendly set up, the Sage Smart Grinder Pro lives up to its name. With 60 grind settings, a compact design, and a clear and concise LCD screen, this grinder provides a brilliant, barista-approved experience with minimum fuss. Available in sleek silver or classic black, the Sage Smart Grinder Pro will blend in perfectly with your home set up, while standing out for its smart capabilities. The generous 450g hopper capacity means you’ve got plenty of room for dialling in and making coffee when entertaining friends and family, while the intelligent dosing allows to finely adjust and programme your grind time in 0.2 second increments, so you’ve always got the perfect amount of coffee ground, ready for your brew recipe.
Home baristas looking for a smart price point, fuss-free grinding, and the choice to finesse skills or let the technology make light work of a daily brew.
As the newest grinder from the San Francisco company, we couldn’t wait to get our hands on Fellow’s latest offering. The all-purpose coffee grinder has refined the expected design format, blending aesthetics and function seamlessly. Single dose loading means you only use what you need, taking the space-taking hopper out of the picture, keeping your coffee as fresh as possible, from bean to grind. Despite its minimalist look, the Fellow Opus packs in plenty of features and capabilities. From anti-static technology and a spouted catch to minimise mess and retention, to a quiet, high-torque motor, 64mm professional grade, stainless steel 6-blade burrs, and over 40 precision settings, plus a handy grind guide, this is one grinder that really does cover it all—and at a great price point. From finely ground espresso to coarsely-ground cold brew, the Fellow Opus is a serious game-changer for keen home baristas.
Those who like to mix up their brew routine and explore different recipes.
Whether you’re new to the world of home brewing, or upgrading from a manual grinder, the Wilfa Svart Aroma grinder is a great choice for furthering your equipment without breaking the bank. This reliable, user-friendly machine offers five different settings, so you can grind to brew a range of recipes suitable for AeroPress to Chemex. The handy timer function means you can time your dose, helping you grind the exact amount needed for your daily coffee. The Wilfa Svart Aroma grinder is also available in silver, but with a faster and louder motor; the black grinder offers a DC motor, which, adding just £30 more to the cost of the machine, means minimal heat production during grinding, helping preserve the flavour of your coffee beans.
Those making the transition from manual to electric, keen to level up their home brewing experience.
JOY RESOLVE PORTABLE GRINDER
No cables, no countertop clutter. Whether you have limited home space, like to take your own coffee into the office, or enjoy nothing more than heading out on a road-trip with some great coffee in tow, then the Joy Resolve Portable Grinder is a smart choice. Designed so you can embrace slower moments, without the manual process of grinding slowing you down, this brilliantly designed, portable electric grinder is a game changer. If you love the ritual of brewing but want the ease of an electric grinder to take the hard work out of prepping you beans before brewing, this grinder is going to be a worthy buy.
Battery powered, this grinder has the form of a hand grinder, with the power and ease of a countertop piece of kit, allowing you to make light work of your favourite pour over recipes. With an easy-to-use design, simple mechanism, 36mm burrs, and over 40 grinder settings, this is a brilliant, fuss-free piece of keen brewers who enjoy maximising their time to fully savour their coffee—wherever they are.
Travel lovers who enjoy quality and convenience.
From industry-leading competitions to keen home baristas, manual grinders have a place in a variety of settings, offering the convenience of portability, an appreciation for craft, science, and ritual, and suitability for a range of brewing methods and pockets—from budget to being on the go. There’s no shortage of choice on the market, but we’ve kept things simple, opting for two of our most trusted and reliable choices. So, which is the right one for you? Read on.
COMANDANTE C40 MK4
When it comes to the brands mentioned by brewing enthusiasts and experts alike, Comandante often tops the list for hand grinders they trust and love. Our Senior Barista Trainer and Authorised SCA Trainer, Ryohji Hope, is no stranger to the coffee competition scene, competing in the UK Barista Championships, UK Brewer’s Cup Championship, and numerous AeroPress championships (coming 6th in the WAC, no less); we asked him which grinder he relies on, to make sure his brewing recipes are on perfect form when the pressure is on—and we weren’t surprised by his response. “Comandante’s grind sizes are always consistent,” he told us. “The grind sizes on a Comandante are usually transferrable, too, which is rare for any kind of grinder,” he added.
Yes, at well over £200, the Comandante is an investment, and for some, the idea of spending that much on a manual grinder, is a big turn off. Yet, if you consider coffee brewing to be a serious craft, then this really is a worthy investment. Boasting precision and durability, alongside some seriously good looks, thanks to a sleek stainless steel body, and oak wood handle, the Comandante C40 MK4 offers a robust, hard-working design that’s hard to beat. With 40 settings and precision burrs, you’re guaranteed a uniform grind size for accuracy and competition worthy brew recipes.
Those serious about coffee brewing routine, covering all bases, from aesthetic appeal, to being able to brew brilliantly, without exception, beyond their home.
Delivering aesthetics and performance, its not just the well-placed price point that pleases us with the Timemore C2 grinder. With a modern, minimalist design that’s easy to clean and maintain, the focus of the design is all in its capabilities, making this grinder small and mighty. Stainless steel burrs and 25 grind settings ensures a consistent, precise grind for your brewing needs, plus it’s effortless to assemble and disassemble, meaning you can get straight to enjoying making and drinking your coffee. Whether you’re taking the first step into elevating your coffee equipment and looking to start grinding your own coffee, or you’re after a budget-friendly yet reliable hand grinder, the Timemore C2 is an easy choice.
hose looking to further their knowledge and skills, exploring grinding coffee themselves for the first time, without over-committing on budget.