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Manual vs Automatic Coffee Grinder: 8 Factors Compared

As you decide which is the best type of coffee grinder for you, you’ll discover that some are automatic and others are manual coffee grinders. Which is best: manual vs automatic coffee grinder? Here are eight factors to consider.

Automatic coffee grinders are common because they are fast and easy. Manual coffee grinders, in contrast, are a great choice for small servings, camping, and avoiding loud noises.

manual vs automatic coffee grinder

Manual vs Automatic Coffee Grinder

What is a manual coffee grinder?

A manual coffee grinder works without electricity. You grind the beans by turning a crank (handle) which feeds the coffee beans between two burrs (disks or plates) where they are ground. This is also called a hand coffee grinder.

You can adjust the distance between the burrs to change the grind size, but this may mean partially disassembling the grinder.

They are often smaller than electric burr grinders and many are easily portable.

The following video will show how a manual coffee grinder works.

Here’s how to choose between burr grinder vs blade grinder.

Automatic vs Manual Coffee Grinders

Manual coffee grinders and automatic burr coffee grinders both have burrs, so which is better? Well, that depends on you, how much coffee you drink, what the experience means to you, and possibly how your family functions.

Let’s just take a look at the differences (considering the burrs are of equal quality):

Automatic Coffee Grinders: 8 Things to Know

  1. are easy to use
  2. can grind a lot of coffee pretty quickly
  3. can be loud
  4. can be tricky to clean
  5. more parts mean more points of failure potentially needing repair
  6. use electricity which costs money
  7. are not very portable
  8. have a largely hands-off operation

Manual Coffee Grinders: 8 Things to Know

  1. are easy to use but require some effort to turn the crank to grind the beans
  2. can only grind as quickly as you can turn the crank
  3. are quiet
  4. are pretty easy to clean
  5. few parts mean fewer points of fail
  6. don’t use any electricity – free to operate
  7. are portable
  8. have a hands-on operation

Here are our picks for the best coffee grinders – including automatic and manual grinders.

The Best Coffee Grinder For You?

  • Automatic Coffee Grinder: If you are a couple or have a large family (who all drink coffee) and you like to grind enough beans for a couple of days at a time – an automatic coffee grinder might be right for you. As long as you don’t need to grind those beans when the rest of the fam is still in bed.
  • Manual Coffee Grinder: But if you’re single (or you’re a couple) OR if you just prefer the experience of hand grinding your own beans early every morning to get the freshest cup possible – a manual might be the way to go.

Just think, you could surprise your sweetheart every morning with a delicious cup of fresh ground, freshly brewed coffee without waking them up with a noisy grinder.

And because it’s portable, that tradition could continue while you’re camping.

Manual coffee grinders can struggle when it comes to coarse grind settings, they tend to wobble which can create inconstant grind size when the burrs are farther apart. Some have added stability which makes them a better choice so you might want to keep an eye out for that.

best coffee mill

Don’t have a grinder? Here’s how to grind coffee without a grinder.

Your Turn

How do you prefer to grind your coffee? Manual or automatic? Have a question? Join me below!