Manual vs Electric Coffee Grinders: Which is Right for You?

Last Updated: by: Amanda T

Manual vs Electric Coffee Grinders - Which is Right for You

When it comes to making a perfect cup of coffee, size matters. If you’re after a fresh, flavorful cup of joe, it’s critical to buy whole beans and grind them at home. By doing this, you not only have fresh grounds, but you can grind them to the size that your preferred brewing method requires.

Not all grinds are created equal. When making espresso, you’ll want a fine grind. Most pour-overs call for a medium to medium-fine grind. Drip coffee calls for medium to medium-coarse, and French press requires a coarse grind.
By purchasing whole bean coffee and grinding it yourself, you have control over the size of the grind to make sure you have the perfect cup every time, regardless of your brewing method.

There’s a lot to consider when choosing between an electric or manual coffee grinder. Convenience, ease of use, price, and accuracy are some factors that will play into your decision. Then there’s the style.

The three most popular styles of grinders are manual burr, electric burr, and a blade grinder. Due to their low price point, size, and convenience, blade grinders are the most popular. However, they may not be the best choice for you.

The different types:

Manual Burr Grinders

Manual burr grinders are consistent. Consistently-sized grounds will dissolve at the same rate, resulting in a smooth brew. If the grounds are inconsistent, some will be over-extracted and others under-extracted, causing sour and bitter tones.

If you’re looking for a small and portable coffee grinder, this may be a good choice for you. Since these don’t require electricity, they may be the best choice for a coffee drinker on the move.
However, they do need more than the touch of a button. If you’re consistently brewing coffee for many people, the manual method can be a laborious task.

manual burr

Image credit: Mateusz Dach, Pixnio

  • Consistency of grind
  • Simple mechanics
  • Affordable
  • Portable
  • Durable
  • Doesn’t need electricity
  • Easy to clean
  • Requires some muscle
  • Not ideal for grinding large amounts
  • Takes time
  • Doesn’t allow for micro-adjustments

Our favorite manual grinder:

JavaPresse Manual Coffee Grinder with Adjustable...
6,408 Reviews
JavaPresse Manual Coffee Grinder with Adjustable...
  • Built-in adjustable grind selector with over 18 click settings ensures you have 100%...
  • Convenient removeable hand crank mechanism consistently eliminates over 90% of the noise...
  • Our patent-pending ceramic combo burrs are design tested through three professional grade...

Electric Burr Grinders

Electric burr grinders are also known for their consistency, but this convenience comes with a price tag. Prepare to dish out a bit more for one of these than you would with a manual burr grinder.
They’re also bulky and need electricity, which makes them less than ideal if you plan to take your grinder on the road with you.

The nice thing about the electric burr grinder is that it can grind a lot of coffee in a small amount of time and with minimal effort. If you intend to serve fresh coffee to many people every day, this may be your best choice.

  • Consistency of grind
  • Convenient
  • Variety of grind settings
  • Loud
  • Expensive
  • Needs electricity
  • Bulky
  • Difficult to clean

Our favorite electric grinder:

Coffee Grinder Electric AICOK Nut & Spice Grinder...
269 Reviews
Coffee Grinder Electric AICOK Nut & Spice Grinder...
  • Portable & Detachable Design: The container is portable and detachable design. Made with...
  • Powerful Grind and Large Capacity: 200W DC motor insure you can grind coffee beans,...
  • Safety Protection: There is an safety lock that the coffee grinder only can work when you...

Electric Blade Grinders

This method of grinding is the least recommended among coffee homebrewers. Chopping tends to result in inconsistent coffee grounds, which can have a negative impact on the taste of the final brew.

electric blade

Image credit: Hustvedt, Wikimedia

  • Convenient
  • Affordable
  • Inconsistent grind


If you want freshly ground coffee, but don’t want to break the bank, a manual grinder may be the best option. This is a better choice than purchasing a low-end electric blade grinder, which will produce inconsistent grinds and not last as long. Manual grinders are durable and consistent, and will likely outlast most electric grinders. If you have $100 or less to spend, go with the manual. You’ll end up with a higher-quality grinder.

An electric burr grinder may be best for you if you’re able to make the investment, and if convenience is important to you. If you plan to grind large amounts of coffee, an electric burr grinder could also save you a lot of time and labor.

Some of our other articles about grinders: