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 The Manual Coffee Grinder by JavaPresse Coffee Company is equipped with over 18 manual grind settings to ensure you have 100% precision & control over the coarseness of your grind; great for all coffee brewing methods for that perfect cup of freshly ground coffee to start your day.
- Convenient, Portable & Easy to Use Convenient hand crank mechanism eliminates over 90% of the noise that an electric coffee bean grinder would produce; unlike electric burr grinders for coffee beans, JavaPresse hand coffee grinder requires no batteries, power, or long plastic cords to operate allowing you to enjoy fresh ground coffee beans at home or on the go; perfect for your next camping, hiking, or backpacking trip.
- A Freshly Ground Cup of Coffee to Start Your Day JavaPresse Manual Coffee Grinders are equipped with a professional grade ceramic conical burr to heighten flavors of the most exquisite coffees in the world; providing an incredibly consistent grind for a variety of brews while making as little noise as possible; smell the fresh aroma of freshly ground coffee as you brew them on your espresso machine, Aeropress, French Press or Pour Over Coffee Maker. Ground, Brew, and Enjoy!
- Quality Tested and Built to Last Crafted with the same essence as traditional Japanese cookware, our patented ceramic coffee grinder burr is tested through three quality inspections to last 5x's longer than comparable stainless steel coffee burrs; combined with an impeccable stainless steel frame and convenient size, this coffee burr grinder is at the pinnacle of travel gadgets.
- Enhance your morning experience with the JavaPresse Manual Coffee Grinder Features a built-in adjustable grind selector with 18 adjustable grind settings to craft your perfect cup; this manual burr grinder is built with a patented dual plated ceramic burr assembly that's great for all coffee brewing methods; comes with a manufacturer warranty & 100% money back guarantee.
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
- Skerton Plus: A favorite amongst coffee newcomers and professionals alike. Its compact size makes it the perfect grinder both travel and home. This grinder can make a full range of grind sizes, whatever your preference
- New and Improved: An update to the original Skerton-- The Skerton Plus features a stronger grind shaft and burr stabilization plate, enabling a more precise and uniform grind
- Perfect Grind: Ceramic conical burrs ensure a precise, uniform grind-- Our burrs transfer less heat and shave coffee beans versus cracking them like blade grinders. Ergonomically designed crank handle detaches for compact storage and easy travel
- Japanese Design: Designed by Hario in Japan to provide coffee lovers with easy access to freshly ground coffee. The Skerton Plus was designed to be portable, and easy to use even while traveling or on the go
- Product Details: 100g coffee grounds capacity; W172×D93×H231mm; Heatproof glass bowl is made in Japan; Mill, hopper lid, non-slip cover, lid are made in China
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 100-200KG 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.