Manual vs Electric Coffee Grinder: Which is Best for You?

Whether you’re a home barista or an espresso enthusiast, you know that grinding your beans fresh is key for a delicious cup of joe.

If you’re a coffee connoisseur, then you know a grinder is a must-have for that perfect pour. It will make all the difference between a good and an outstanding cup. But what type of grinder should you choose? Manual or electric?

While most people would rush to an electric grinder, a decent manual might offer some benefits that an electric grinder can’t. So, before you make your choice, let’s look at manual vs electric coffee grinders to decide which one is best for you.

Overview of Manual and Electric Coffee Grinders

Let’s look over the manual and electric grinder to understand them well before comparing them.

Manual Coffee Grinder

Manual Coffee Grinder
Manual Coffee Grinder

A manual coffee grinder is a small device that looks like a pepper mill. It has an adjustable knob on the side, allowing you to choose how coarse or fine your grounds should be.

Using a manual grinder is simple: fill the hopper, turn the handle, and watch the coffee fall into your container. How fine or coarse your grounds are determined by how many turns you need. You can customize it.

Manual coffee grinders are usually made of stainless steel or ceramic, making them durable and easy to clean. Other grinders are smaller than most kitchen appliances, so they won’t take up much counter space. They are also highly portable, allowing you to take them wherever you go.

Prices range from $20-$100 depending on the quality and features of the grinder.

Electric Coffee Grinder

Electric coffee grinder
Electric coffee grinder

Have you ever seen these noisy coffee grinders in your local cafe and wondered what they were? Well, they are electric coffee grinders! Electric coffee grinders are a great way to get freshly ground coffee beans for the perfect cup of joe.

Unlike manual coffee grinders, electric coffee grinders use electricity to power the grinding process. They come in various sizes and prices, ranging from small countertop models to larger commercial-grade machines.

Most electric coffee grinders fit on kitchen counters like blenders or food processors. Basic models cost $50, but advanced models with more amenities cost several hundred dollars.

Electric coffee grinders use stainless steel burrs that rotate at high speeds to quickly and evenly grind your beans into small pieces.

All you need is to press some buttons to set it. The settings on the grinder allow you to adjust the coarseness or fineness of the grounds. You can customize your cup just how you like it.

A Table Comparing Manual Vs Electric Coffee Grinders

Here is a table comparing manual and electric coffee grinders head-to-head before going to the in-depth comparison of them.

FeatureManual Coffee GrinderElectric Coffee Grinder
Cleaning & MaintenanceEasier to clean & maintainMore parts to take apart and clean
Noise LevelQuieterLouder
CapabilitiesSlow & requires elbow greaseQuick & efficient
DurabilityMost durableMay break down over time
CostGenerally cheaperMore expensive
ConvenienceTakes longer to get a job doneQuick & efficient
Grinding SettingsOne control knobDigital controls offer more settings
Space RequirementsSmall & portableMay be large & bulky

Comparing Manual and Electric Coffee Grinders in-Depth

Let’s break it down further to look at each of the comparison factors highlighted in the table above.

Cleaning & Maintenance Requirements

Manual coffee grinders are generally easier to clean and maintain than electric grinders [1]. Manual grinders have fewer parts and require less effort to disassemble, rinse, and reassemble.

Coffee oil can stick to the mill and you can remove it by immersing the mill in a weak, neutral detergent, and then thoroughly rinsing it.  Let it dry completely. The glass portion is dishwasher safe and can be treated with bleach if it becomes dirty. on Manual Coffee Grinder Cleaning

On the other hand, electric grinders have more parts that need to be taken apart and cleaned separately. And considering they have electrical parts, cleaning gets even more complicated.

Burrs of Baratza Encore Grinder
Burr of an electric grinder
Burr of a Manual Coffee Grinder
Burr of a Manual coffee grinder

Differences In Noise Levels

Electric coffee grinders are quite noisy. There are some that are louder than others, but they produce a higher level of noise than manual grinders.

The loud sound of electric coffee grinders often originates from their motorized burrs. There is also the motor that they use to power them.

Manual grinders are quieter because they rely on human power instead of electricity.


Electric coffee grinders are typically more powerful than manual ones. They use a motorized burr to quickly and efficiently grind beans into the grounds.

Manual coffee grinders require more effort from the user to achieve the same results as an electric grinder, which they might not be able to do as quickly.


Manual coffee grinders are mostly more durable than electric ones due to their simpler design and fewer moving parts [2].

Electric coffee grinders can break down over time due to wear and tear on their motorized components. However, it all comes down to their build quality and the level of maintenance provided during usage.

VSSL portable manual coffee grinder
VSSL portable manual coffee grinder


When it comes to their pricing, electric coffee grinders are more expensive than manual grinders. You could say they make the work easier, saving time and preventing you from burning your elbow grease.

They’re simply constructed, relatively inexpensive, and give you fine-grained control over the output you get. on Manual Coffee Grinders

The construction of electric coffee grinders is also way complex, and some of the items used require high precision. But remember, some antique manual coffee grinders can also be quite expensive – they might cost as much as an electric one.


Manual coffee grinders take longer to get a job done, while electric ones can do it in a few seconds with just the press of a button.

Electric grinders can grind a handful of coffee beans in seconds, which can speed up your morning a bit. They’re also particularly handy for when you need to brew a big batch of coffee.

Garrett Oden,

What’s more, they offer a better way to grind coffee when you have guests in your home. It might take over ten minutes to grind enough coffee for two people, but an electric grinder can grind coffee for a dozen in two minutes [3].

Grinding Settings

Grinding settings allows you to control how fine or coarse the grounds should be. Electric coffee grinders typically offer more settings than manual ones because of their digital controls.

Baratza Encore Grind Settings
Baratza Encore has 40 Grind Settings

Manual grinders usually have one control knob to adjust burr settings to the desired fineness.

Space Requirements

Here the manual grinders are the winner. They are quite small, almost the size of a portable personal blender or a large cup of coffee, making them easy to store.

Electric grinders are larger, depending on the motor’s size, the burrs they have inside, and the grain capacity they offer. Some are quite huge to the size of a microwave or even bigger.

However, some battery-operated blade electric grinders are almost as big as manual grinders. They don’t grind as precisely as manual or huge electric grinders.

Here is a video showing all the different types of coffee grinders that can help you understand the differences more:

Which One is the Best for You? Tips for Choosing the Right Grinder

The choice between a manual or electric coffee grinder ultimately depends on your personal preferences and needs. Here are some tips to help you choose the right one:


If you are on a tight budget, manual grinders are the more economical option. It’s quite true if you need the quality of a great cup of joe, an electric grinder can give you.

Portable VSSL coffee grinder
Portable VSSL coffee grinder

Speed & Convenience

If you are looking for a quick solution to grind your coffee, an electric grinder is the way to go. It’s most appreciated when you need a commercial quantity or a lot of coffee grounds when you have guests to serve.

But remember, that will come with the cost of having to spend more time cleaning and maintaining the device.


Manual grinders are more portable and easier to carry around if you are always on the go. It’s something you would appreciate when you go off the grid. Again, a portable battery-operated electric grinder could also be considered an option.


If you have limited space in your kitchen, a small electric grinder comes in handy. But if your storage space is small enough to fit a blender and a grinder and you live alone, a manual grinder is a decent option.

Electric Grinder Requires Space & Not Portable
Electric Grinder Requires Space & Not Portable

Grind Quality

If you want more control over the grind size, an electric grinder is better with its digital controls and more grinding settings. But remember that manual grinders can also give you the same quality; it might take more time to set and get the right grind size.


Manual vs electric coffee grinders has a way of existing in the same market even when technology keeps advancing in a world of automation. Manual coffee grinders offer a personal touch with more control over grind size and portability, while electric grinders are better for speed and convenience.

In the end, the choice between a manual or electric coffee grinder is up to you. Do your research, compare your options, and choose the one that best fits your needs. With a perfect device in your hands, you are ready to make great coffee anytime you need it.

Coffee Gears that I Use Daily

Baratza Encore Conical Burr Coffee Grinder

This is my favorite grinder when I’m at home to start my day with the perfect cup. It delivers excellent grind consistency & offers versatile settings. The price is also reasonable. I recommend this grinder to all my fellow coffee enthusiasts. Check it out on Amazon now.

VSSL JAVA Manual Hand Coffee Grinder

I travel a lot, but can’t take Baratza with me. So, I carry this fantastic manual hand coffee grinder made by VSSL. It’s compact and lightweight, and its crank handle comes with a convenient carabiner feature, making it the perfect on-the-go companion for me. Get yours on Amazon today.

Coffee Scale

I rely on my trusty digital scale to measure the exact amount of coffee grounds and water for the perfect flavor and strength. Whether I’m at home or on the go, this scale is a must-have. Available on Amazon, get your hands on one and elevate your coffee game to the next level.


Sujit Modak

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