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A hand coffee grinder is where most people start their coffee grinding journey. But how much can you expect to pay for one and how much should you spend to get what you need? Let’s find out.
Hand coffee grinders can cost anywhere from $25 to $300+. There are large differences in the build quality, grind uniformity, speed and design. For $30-$50 it’s possible to buy a good entry level grinder while a good mid-range hand grinder costs around $100.
Let’s dive a little deeper into the numbers and differences below.
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How Much Does a Hand Coffee Grinder Cost?
Here is a list of prices of the most popular hand coffee grinders on the market. These are current prices. Of course prices can always change so just take this as an indication.
Hand Coffee Grinder Price List
|C40 MK4 Nitro Blade||330|
|101 Twin Burr||259|
Hand grinders can range in price from about $25 to over $300. There is a wide range of prices and corresponding differences in quality. The average price of a hand grinder is $185 but it’s certainly possible to buy a good one for less than that.
This list takes handheld manual grinders into account. There are some manual grinders that are placed on or attached to the table. That’s quite a different type of grinder for a different customer. Those can go up to a whopping $1000!
What Can You Expect For Your Money?
Since there is such a wide price range of hand grinders, let’s break them up into brackets and see what you can expect for your money. There are some trends we can see although there are always exceptions of course.
This is the entry level for coffee grinders. You might be able to find something even cheaper but don’t waste your time and money on those. The Hario Skerton (Amazon) or Javapresse grinders are great ways to get started grinding your own coffee and you’ll get a marked improvement over brewing with pre-ground coffee and they’re good enough to last a while. You get ceramic conical burrs which work well but produce a little less uniform grounds than stainless steel ones.
These hand grinders will also be adjustable and can grind decent coffee for pour over, French press and similar methods. While +-$40 isn’t nothing, in the world of coffee grinders it’s not much and these grinders do have their issues. They don’t grind very consistently and the grind size adjustments are a little harder to get to. They don’t grind as smoothly or quickly as the more expensive models either.
In this price range you can find good grinders with higher build quality, more consistent grinds and better feel than in the entry-level. Some of the grinders have stainless steel burrs in this price range although not all of them do.
For many people this is a sweet spot for a still affordable grinder but significantly better than the entry level ones. Especially the Timemore C2 (Amazon) and the 1Zpresso Q2 (Amazon) are great value for money. These grinders are great for all brewing methods except espresso. While they can do espresso size, the adjustability is not quite precise enough to really be able to dial in your grind for espresso. For pour over they are good. The adjustability is often more precise than the entry level grinders which helps really get to the right size.
These grinders grind quite uniformly and work smoother than entry level ones. They also grind faster and require a little less effort to grind the same amount of coffee. All in all, a good upgrade from the entry level. On top of that you get a better build quality and often a nicer looking grinder that feels better in your hands and looks better in the kitchen.
If you want to start off with something good but not excessively expensive, the grinders in this range are a good option. Many people are perfectly happy using these grinders for a very long time and unless it’s really your hobby/obsession, you can buy the abovementioned TimeMore C2 or 1zPresso Q2 and brew great coffee.
This is a bit of a weird price range that’s between the mid-range and high-end. All the grinders here have stainless steel burrs and the build quality is good. The uniformity of the grind is good on all the grinders in this price range where it could be a bit hit or miss in the lower range.
You get great build quality with nice materials and most of the grinders in this range are suitable for grinding espresso and are capable of being adjusted in fine increments. This is a good price range for the more budget conscious enthusiast and people that really want to hand grind their coffee for an espresso machine. The finer you want to grind, the longer and more effort it takes so most people tend to choose an electric grinder for espresso. However, an electric grinder that’s good for espresso and has similar quality will start at about $300 which is a lot more.
So this price range is for people who want to brew espresso or really good pour over coffee. They can do both in most cases.
The Aergrind is a great choice in this range but can be a bit difficult to get. The 1Zpresso JX-PRO(Amazon) is easy to get and a really good grinder for both pour over and espresso.
Here’s where the fun starts. Or ends, depending on your budget. These grinders are expensive but you do get quite a lot for your money. Of course you have to really like grinding coffee by hand to spend this amount of money to go for a hand grinder because for $250 you can also get a decent electric one. However, with a hand grinder, you get a better quality grinder for your money but you have to do the work yourself.
These grinders often look great and are just very well built. They can often do everything you want them to from very fine adjustments for espresso to French press. What you’re really paying for is the uniformity of the grounds. All the pieces will be very close in size which results in better tasting coffee. The burrs in these grinders are very good and are basically the best handgrinders you can find. Examples of excellent hand grinders are the Comandante C40 and the Kinu M47.
The Comandante C40 is the favorite choice of many of the winners of the world barista championships so that should tell you something. It tells you this is the territory of the very serious coffee enthusiast. People who like good results and also want that hands on hand grinding experience.
Where the grinders in the $100 to $175 range feel like very good versions of the cheaper ones, these are a bit more special. The designs are often eye-catching and having one of these makes a statement.
How Much Should You Spend On a Hand Coffee Grinder?
What you can expect and the amount you should spend are two very different questions. You want to get the best value for your money but also not spend more than you have to. Where is the right balance?
Where the sweet spot is, is different for everyone. There are a few things to take into account:
- What’s your budget? If there is a question on how much you should spend, the budget is always the most important component. Of course you can often get something better by spending more but you only have a limited amount of money and at some point you’ll run into diminishing returns. Above you can roughly see what your price options are and what to expect.
- What kind of coffee do you want to brew? This is a more important question than you might think. For most brewing methods like drip, pour over, French press, etc, you don’t have to spend top dollar. Of course you can always do that but it’s not strictly necessary. However, for brewing espresso, a high(er)-end grinder is pretty much a necessity. Espresso is pretty picky and you can see larger differences in taste with very small adjustments. So for making good espresso, you want a grinder that has a lot of adjustability in the fine range and grinds very consistently. Those do cost more money.
- Is this a new hobby or longer lasting? Are you new to brewing coffee at home or at least new to grinding your own coffee? If so, start with something cheaper. We all try different hobbies that we give up after a while and coffee is no different. However, don’t start with the cheapest Ebay special you can find either. Whether it’s a hobby or you just want to improve your morning brew, grinding should be somewhat enjoyable. Spending a little more than $15 does help and will get you better coffee.
- Do you already have a grinder? Of course if you already have a grinder, you’re probably looking to upgrade. There’s no point in buying something of similar quality unless that other grinder does something very specific your current one doesn’t. Is this a sustained hobby and you’re ready for something really nice? Shopping in the upper price ranges is going to get you a nice upgrade and something that will increase the quality of your brew.
For beginners and people that just want to try grinding their own beans, buying a grinder in the lowe price ranges makes sense. I started with a Hario Skerton and it was a massive upgrade over pre-ground coffee. It also got me to enjoy the process of making coffee and exploring further. Now having tried more expensive grinders, those are better however, the step from pre-ground to freshly ground is hard to beat. The Skerton is a great entry-level grinder that does a good job for the starting home barista. It has some flaws but all the grinders at this price point do.
For people that already have a grinder (probably an entry level one), you can step up one range but why not spend a little bit extra and get something really nice. If you already have a grinder, you probably know if you want something better and let’s face it, most people do after a while. So stepping up two price ranges is a good idea. Of course there is a point of diminishing returns. While you can get something nicer for $300 than for $150, the difference is not as big as between $30 and $80. But if you know that this is something you’ll keep doing for a long time and have the money, buy the best you can get.
If you want to brew espresso, you’ll need a good grinder, whether you’re a beginner or not. There is no real way around this. Making espresso is very sensitive to a good grinder and starting with a $40 one is just not going to work. You’ll need a grinder that costs $100+ and will get the best results with grinders $150+. This might seem like a lot of money and it is, but an espresso machine is expensive too so spending a little bit more to get the best out of your machine is worth it. A cheap grinder will just cause you frustration in this situation.
- Beginners and first time home grinders: Spend about $30-$50 on your first grinder
- People that want to upgrade from their entry-level grinders: Spend $90+ on a grinder to make sure you get a decent increase in quality.
- For brewing espresso: Spend at least $100, $150+ for the best results.