There’s no doubt of how important a coffee grinder is for the quality of your brew. Grinding your beans right before you brew your coffee gives you the most flavorful and aromatic coffee.
Most conical burr grinders are designed to stay on your kitchen’s countertop or coffee corner. They’re medium to large in size, and they’re electric, so you can’t use them outside.
What if you want to brew a fresh cup of coffee when you’re on a trip or in an outdoors setting? That’s when a portable handheld coffee grind comes in handy. These travel-friendly grinders are not meant to grind a large amount of coffee, but about enough for one to two cups at a time. They’re manual, so no electric outlet needed. And some are battery-operated.
What To Look For in a Portable Coffee Grinder?
Capacity: you’ll want to make sure that the hopper capacity of the grinder is enough for you. You do not want to grind your coffee in a number of batches to get the right amount, especially with a manual grinder, as it gets really tiring.
Grind Settings: Make sure that the grinder you are picking has the proper grind setting for your coffee brewing method. The more grind settings, the more versatile methods you’ll be able to use. However, if you only use a single method of brewing, then you don’t need a grinder that has a lot of grind settings. Just make sure it has the grind setting you need.
Material: With a manual grinder, you really get what you pay for. There are two materials to check for: the material of burrs and the material of the body.
Burrs will be either steel or ceramic. Steel burrs are sharper but ceramic burrs are more durable, although on the downside, they do produce more dust.
Overall, you want a grinder that gives you a comfortable grip, a non-slip one would be best, and a strong handle that will not easily break.
Best Manual Portable Coffee Grinders
Best Budget-Friendly Portable Grinder
- [ Built-in Adjustable Grind Selector ] Equipped with over 18 click settings ensures you have 100% precision & control over the coarseness of your coffee beans making for the perfect grind to start your day.
- [ Convenient & Easy to Use ] Removable hand crank mechanism consistently eliminates over 90% of the noise that electric grinders produce. No batteries, power, or long plastic cords needed to operate your portable compact manual grinder.
- [ Grind Fresh Coffee, Everyday! ] JavaPresse Manual Coffee Grinder only dispenses your desired fresh coffee bean experience - feel the coffee beans grind as you mill them the manual way! Smell the fresh aroma of your daily coffee as you brew them on your espresso machine. Ground, brew, and enjoy!
- [ Coffee is in our DNA ] Each JavaPresse manual grinder is designed to liberate and empower you to transform your favorite whole bean coffee ritual into an extraordinary daily experience.
- [ Patented Ceramic Combo Burrs ]- Our Signature Burr Grinder blades are designed and tested through three professional grade inspections to last 5x's longer than stainless steel blades.
This is one of the most popular picks for a handheld manual coffee grinder because it combines great quality with great entry-level price.
It features ceramic conical burr grinders with 18 adjustable settings. It has stainless steel body with a clear window to show you the level of coffee ground inside it. The hopper holds about 38 grams of coffee, enough for 2 cup so of coffee.
The parts of the grinders (the crank handle, the hopper and the burrs) come apart easily so they can be stored in your traveling bag without taking up any space. It is easily cleaned the same way, too. How often should you clean it? It is recommended that you clean it every time you switch coffee roasts to get rid of any residue for the previous roast and it wouldn’t affect the taste of the current one.
Best Capacity Portable Grinder
- New and improved with stronger grind shaft and burr stabilization plate, enabling more uniform grind.
- Ceramic conical burrs ensure a precise, uniform grind.
- Nonslip rubber base keeps the Mill in place during grinding.
- Ergonomically designed crank handle detaches for compact storage and easy travel.
- Stepped grind adjustment mechanism is easy to use and change
Hario is a leading Japanese brand for specialty coffee equipment and they’ve been so since 1921. So buying something from Hario means you’re buying from a well trusted brand in the industry.
Hario’s Skerton Coffee grinder looks a lot like traditional coffee mills from back when. It has ceramic conical burrs that can produce about any grind setting that you want, all you have to do is manually adjust the burrs. Getting those grind settings right though is a bit complicated for beginners and can take some practice.
One of the nice features in the Skerton grinder is the jar which includes an airtight lid and can hold up to 100 grams of coffee ground. It can be used a coffee storage for later use.
Overall, the Skerton model from Hario is known to provide great and consistent coffee grounds, especially on the fine to medium settings. If you’re grinding coarse, it can become less consistent.
Best Built (Quality) Handheld Grinder
- ☕BEST SALE GRINDER - Looking for quality but budget grinder? 1Zpresso JX grinder worth it!! Durable 48mm conical burr makes greater grinding efficiency. Internal fixing between the burr and central shaft, impressive consistency grind.
- ☕BALANCE YOUR COFFEE - Over 40 clicks range of grind settings, ideal for your filters coffee, get your freshly ground coffee with full-bodied flavor. Also, if you would like to drink espresso occasionally, there are 20 clicks range for espresso. Grinding coffee no longer has to equate to hassle, having a fun time!
- ☕ EASY TO CLEAN - By dismantling pieces without tools, proper allows the best grinding results and the best taste in the cup. With assemble properly, you don't even need to recalibrate again. Bonus free cleaning brush included.
- ☕ PRODUCT GUARANTEES - The burr was calibrated and fixed in place by the 1Zpresso team, ensure no wobbly parts or burrs that come loose as time goes on. Estimated grind approx 300KG by general use. Includes a one-year limited warranty, you will definitely get 100% customer support.
- ☕COFFEE IS LIFE - With users vision, we are working on the products what are you actually need! Chose a 1Zpresso product to stay with you.
This model isn’t exactly a budget-friendly pick, it comes with a hefty price (only in comparison to the models mentioned above). However, it offers fantastic quality and a wide range of grind settings.
The 1ZPresso JX features stainless steel burrs with numerical adjustable settings so it’s easier to read and know which setting you are using. You can choose from 40 clicks range, and if you’re an espresso fan, this one will give you 20 click range for espresso. Capacity is 35g.
The body of the grinder has a brushed aluminum finish with some stainless steel parts. You’ll see a wooden knob on the crank that contrasts nicely with metal finish and the silicone grip, giving it a very elegant design.
This model from JX is recommended if you’re going to be grinding for espresso as well as pour over or filtered coffee. If you’re mainly doing pour-over, it’s recommended you go for the Q2 model. Although on the downside, the Q2 has less capacity of 20 grams only.
Are Hand (Manual) Coffee Grinders Any Good?
Like any other product you can buy, manual coffee grinders come in all shapes and sizes as well as different quality. Generally speaking though, is using a hand grinders a good thing?
Manual grinders can provide great consistent coffee grinds if picked wisely. Just make sure you pick a reputable brand that has high quality parts that won’t depreciate with frequent use.
The best part about manual grinds is that they’re portable. If you ever need to make your coffee on the go, it’s your best option. However, do manual grinders make a good choice for at-home use?
From personal experience, I used a manual grinder for a short while before I opted for an electric grinder (the Baratza Encore, which I use on daily basis). I had a Hario handheld grinder, it provided a great grind – no complains there. However, I found the task to be quite tiring to do several times per day. Also, changing the grind settings was a little confusing for me since there are no numeral dials on it. I still keep my handheld grinder to use on the go, but it’s not my main grinder.
That said, I would recommend you keep in mind that, if you brew coffee several times per day or switch between brewing methods frequently, a handheld grinder can get tiring. But if you’re up for the challenge, it’s a great and cost-effective device that will provide you with excellent results.