Manual Vs. Electric Coffee Grinder (Read This Before Buying)

Last Updated on November 17, 2021 by John Moretti

Coffee grinders are as important, if not more important, than brewing methods. Without properly ground coffee for your preferred brewing method, the coffee will simply not be as good as it could be. When buying a grinder, there are generally two types to choose from – manual and electric grinders. Which grinder is best, and how do they compare?

Manual coffee grinders are cheaper and generally more precise than electric grinds, but they require much more effort to grind beans. Electric grinders are convenient and significantly quicker than manual grinders but often lack the power to achieve very fine grinds. Manual is better on a budget.

The grinder that you use determines the type of coffee that you will be able to make, which will determine the brewing methods that you can use to make coffee. This makes the grinder that you use one of the sot important tools for making coffee. Let’s compare manual and electric coffee grinders to determine which is best for you.

Manual Coffee Grinders

manual coffee grinder

Manual coffee grinders are generally less popular than electric coffee grinders and are often overlooked by people buying their first grinder. However, this is a mistake as manual coffee grinders are often more effective than electric grinders.

This type of grinder is often overlooked because of the work that is required to grind coffee properly. Manual grinders must be operated by hand, and grinding coffee in this way can be challenging and can take a long time.

However, manual coffee grinders can be excellent grinders! These devices are not as convenient as electric grinders, but the lack of electronics and significant mechanical parts such as motors means that these grinders can be cheap.

When a coffee grinder lacks all of the expensive parts that are required by electric grinders, more focus can be placed on the actual grinding mechanism of the grinder. This means that many manual coffee grinders are equipped with very good quality grinding mechanisms, such as flat steel burrs, making them very effective and versatile tools.

Manual coffee grinders come in various forms; some have blades for grinding, others have burs for grinding, some are smaller or larger than others, and they are made from various materials.

Sizes vary in manual grinders, as well as design, building materials, and price ranges, but the fact that these grinders lack expensive components, they are typically much less expensive than electric grinders and often do a better grinding job for the same amount of money.

Manual grinders are a very good choice for a first grinder, especially one that has a set of metal burr grinders, as these will be able to grind fine enough even for making espresso or Turkish coffee.

Electric Coffee Grinders 

electric coffee grinder

Electric coffee grinders are usually the first grinders that most people look at when looking for a good grinder to buy. This is usually because electric coffee grinders are much more convenient, easier to use, and significantly faster at grinding beans when compared to manual coffee grinders.

However, not all electric coffee grinders are worth the money. Most affordable or cheap electric grinders are not actually very good at grinding coffee, especially if you are using a brewing method that requires ground coffee, such as espresso very finely.

Very cheap electric grinders are often built with blades for grinding the coffee, which is largely ineffective for grinding coffee finely. 

The best electric grinder has flat, metal burrs for grinding the coffee. This type of grinding mechanism can be found on inexpensive electric grinders, but there is still one problem: power.

Most cheap electric grinders do not have sufficient power to effectively grind coffee beans to a size that is suitable for fine brewing processes such as espresso. The motors are just not strong enough to crush the beans down to such a small size.

This means that the most affordable electric coffee grinders are best used for percolation or immersion brewing methods such as pour-over or French press

This is not a bad thing if you enjoy that type of coffee, but espresso drinkers may not find a suitable electric grinder suitable for their coffee preferences. 

However, if you have a bigger budget, more expensive electric grinders are excellent for grinding all types of coffee. The more you spend on your grinder, the better, more effective, and more versatile the grinder will be.

Expensive, high-quality electric grinders can grind effectively for every coffee brewing method, all the way from cold brew to Turkish coffee.

How Do Manual And Electric Coffee Grinders Compare?

The two main types of coffee grinders on the market today are manual coffee grinders and electric coffee grinders. Both types of grinders can be very effective for grinding coffee beans to your desired grind size, but how do they compare?

Manual coffee grinders are typically far less expensive than electric grinders, which means that you get more for your money when buying a manual coffee grinder. 

While manual grinders are better valued for money, they are far more challenging to use. These grinders are hand-operated, which means you have to grind the beans under your own strength, and that means that grinding can take a long while.

Electric coffee grinders are much more convenient and significantly quicker at grinding coffee beans, but they are typically less value for money, especially on the cheaper end of the spectrum.

Spending more money on an electric grinder typically means that you get more from the grinder. Be sure to find a grinder with a strong motor and a set of metal grinding burrs if you want to get the most out of your grinder.

Electric grinders are for coffee drinkers with bigger budgets. Cheaper grinders are best for grinding coffee for manual brewing methods, but more expensive grinders can grind very fine.


Manual grinders can be used to grind to almost any grind size, especially if they are equipped with flat metal burrs. Cheaper manual grinders are far more effective than cheaper electric grinders.

Electric grinders are expensive and may not be able to grind as fine as you would prefer, so be careful when choosing which electric grinder is best for your brewing style.

At the end of it, both types of grinder are effective for grinding coffee, but the type of grinder that you buy should be dependent on the size of your budget and the type of coffee brewing method that you prefer use.