Manual vs Electric Burr Grinder

Should you get a manual burr grinder or an electric burr grinder? The difference is pretty significant, so this is one detail you should take some time on. 

Coffee is enjoyed best when it complements – not contradicts – your unique lifestyle and personality. 

What’s the Difference Between a Manual Burr Grinder and Electric Burr Grinder?

Don’t have time for the full article? Here’s a quick answer to your question:

A manual burr grinder is a coffee grinder that requires hands-on grinding. They usually have predetermined settings and come with a little knob you twist to crush the coffee inside. Manual grinders are useful choices for single homebrewers with extra time on their hands. They’re also a good pick for coffee brewers who like to camp or travel, since they’re designed to be portable.

An electric burr grinder is very hands-off, grinding up your coffee with the press of a button. These are very convenient for large households, busy office spaces, and on-the-go coffee drinkers. That said, single homebrewers find them convenient for their speed and ability to hold large volumes of coffee. 

Do Burr Grinders Really Make a Difference?

The higher price point of the burr grinder can be a turn-off. Why spend more money when you can get a budget-friendly blade grinder that technically does the same thing?

The answer to this question lies in quality. Burr grinders use conical or flat burrs to crush coffee beans: they’re well-known for creating much more consistent particle sizes than their blade cousins. Since coffee extraction relies on water being pulled consistently, the choppy and inconsistent results from a blade grinder often create poor-tasting cups.

If you’re thinking of stepping up your homebrewing game and creating more flavorful cups of coffee, it’s highly recommended you buy a burr grinder. 

Can You Use a Manual Grinder for Espresso?

The answer to this question lies in the kind of espresso you’re talking about. If you’re making Moka pot espresso, manual hand grinders do a great job of creating a medium-fine grind.

If you want to create espresso with a classic espresso machine, it’s best to get an electric grinder. It’s difficult for even the best manual burr grinder to achieve the ultra-fine coffee grind needed for an espresso shot. 

Is it Better to Get a Manual or Electric Coffee Grinder?

A manual burr grinder and electric burr grinder do the same thing: crush your coffee beans into smooth, even coffee grounds. Where they differ is in speed and portability.

The manual coffee grinder requires you to twist a knob to crush coffee beans. Just pick a setting, choose a spot in your kitchen, and grind away. Depending on how much you put into your manual grinder, you can expect to take one or two minutes for a single cup of coffee. It will take three to five minutes to grind enough for two or three cups.

An electric coffee grinder is much faster and requires less interaction from the brewer. Choose a setting, press a button, and sit back as your coffee grinds up. While the speed also depends on how much coffee you put into the hopper, it usually doesn’t take more than fifteen seconds to grind enough for a single cup of coffee.

Single homebrewers who lead a slower-paced lifestyle fare well with a manual burr grinder. This coffee grinder is also well-suited to avid campers and travelers. An electric coffee grinder is a better choice for busy households or office spaces that see constant coffee production.

How Long Do Manual Coffee Grinders Last?

How long your coffee grinder lasts depends heavily on the quality of your purchase and how often you use your equipment. 

Burrs are crafted with either stainless steel or ceramic, both materials that hold up well to the test of time. Daily usage will see a manual burr grinder lasting around four to five years before it starts showing its age. Semi-regular usage will see your manual coffee grinder lasting five to seven years. 

Extending this longevity means cleaning out your equipment regularly and following the manufacturing guidelines. A common mistake beginner homebrewers make is twisting the knob backwards: this can ruin the inner workings of your burr grinder, so be careful!

How Long Do Electric Coffee Grinders Last?

Electric coffee grinders have a pretty good shelf life. Expect to see your electric coffee grinder lasting between seven to ten years with regular usage. 

Electric burr grinders are usually designed with the ability to grind between five hundred to seven hundred pounds of coffee before they need to be replaced. Despite these impressive figures, make sure to maintain your machine properly. Wipe out the hopper periodically and clean out the machine once or twice a month. 

Your purchase will come with a guideline on how to clean your grinder without disassembling it. Dropping your electric grinder will damage its hardware, so handle it carefully. 

Wrap Up

This purchasing decision will be one of the easier ones on your coffee brewing journey. Manual and electric grinders are pretty different in terms of convenience and flexibility.

Still need a little help choosing? Reach out to our live chat or send us a message with your coffee-related questions. We’re happy to help you narrow down your choices and get you closer to the home brewing set-up you’ve always wanted. 

Tony Barlow

Tony Barlow

Majesty Coffee Technical Sales Expert - Meet the Team

Tony Barlow, with over a decade of experience in the coffee industry, is the go-to technical sales expert at Majesty Coffee. He's passionate about helping businesses find the right espresso equipment for their needs.