Are Hand Coffee Grinders Better Than Electric Grinders?

Published: // Updated: August 24, 2023
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Once you have decided to invest in a coffee grinder, the first big decision is whether to buy a hand coffee grinder or an electric grinder.

So which is better? Are hand coffee grinders better than electric coffee grinders?

Here we take a look ways in which coffee hand grinders are better so you can decide if a manual coffee grinder is the right coffee accessory for you.

small hand coffee grinder next to automatic coffee grinder on bench top.

Hand Coffee Grinders Are More Affordable

If you have ever looked at top of the range electric coffee grinders, you will know how shocking the prices can be – I’m talking anywhere from $400 to $4000!

Compare that to expensive manual coffee grinders which top out around the $500 mark.

And you don’t need to spend anywhere near that to get a good quality manual grinder.

In fact if your budget is less than $200 you should opt for a hand crank grinder as you will get a far better quality manual vs electric grinder at this price point.

In terms of affordability, manual grinders win hands down.

Manual Grinders Are More Portable

One of the top reasons why hand coffee grinders are better than electric grinders is because they are portable and lightweight.

This means you can use your hand grinder at home, take it down to your holiday house for the weekend, pack it with your camping gear or even throw it in your backpack.

If you want to enjoy fresh coffee when you travel, a manual coffee grinder is the only way to go.

Manual Coffee Grinders Don’t Take Up Space

Another way in which manual coffee grinders are better than electric grinders is the tiny amount of space they take up.

Manual coffee grinders are super compact and can be stored on a shelf, in a cupboard or drawer, out of the way until needed.

On the other hand, an electric coffee grinder needs a dedicated space on your bench top. And some grinders are not only wide but tall too!

If space is short in your kitchen, a hand coffee grinder is a much better option.

Hand Grinders Are Quieter

If you live in a small apartment or the kitchen is located close to the bedrooms, the last thing you want to do is wake everyone up with the sound of you grinding your coffee each morning.

Most electric coffee grinders are pretty noisy. Whereas hand grinders are whisper quiet.

So if you don’t enjoy the high pitched sound of coffee grinding, manual grinders are a better choice!

Large electric coffee grinder next to espresso machine

Coffee Hand Grinders Are Great For Many Brew Styles

The best manual coffee grinders have good quality burr sets and can produce a consistent grind size with few fines.

In fact for lovers of plunger coffee, pour over, cold brew and filter coffee, quality manual coffee grinders produce equally good grinds as those produced by electric coffee grinders.

Where they do tend to struggle is with espresso grinds. So if you only drink espresso you will need to invest in a top quality manual grinder, or look at an electric grinder.

Handheld Coffee Grinders Don’t Need Electricity

Unlike automatic coffee grinders that need electricity to run (contributing more to your electricity bill and general energy use), hand held coffee grinders use good old manual arm energy.

Plus handheld grinders have no electric parts inside to and have a simpler, more durable construction.

Should I Get Manual Or Automatic Coffee Grinder?

A manual coffee grinder is a great option for all the reasons we list above. They are:

  • Affordable
  • Portable
  • Space saving
  • Quiet
  • Good for manual brewing
  • Electricity free

But there are also circumstances when an electric coffee grinder is a better choice, such as:

  • If you make espresso every day
  • You need a large amount of grinds each day
  • When speed is important
  • You need a grinder for a café or office

Are Hand Coffee Grinders Better Than Electric Grinders?

So there you have it – 6 ways in which hand coffee grinders are better than electric grinders and examples of when an electric grinder is a better choice.

If you are looking for a hand grinder, hop over to our guide on the best manual coffee grinder here.

On the other hand, if you think an electric coffee grinder is the way to go, we review all the best coffee grinders here.

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Rachel Rodda

Founder of Coffeewise, Rachel is a passionate coffee drinker, Specialty Coffee Association member and former barista who loves to research and share practical tips on brewing great coffee at home. Read more about me here.

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