If you are serious about brewing up the best tasting coffee at home, you really should move away from buying pre-ground coffee and transition into the realm of grinding your own fresh beans. When you first discover your passion for coffee investing in a good quality coffee grinder is often the last thing on your mind due to the fear that such a purchase will break the bank.
Sure, it’s true that there are some super expensive grinders out there, but thankfully there are also some great budget options too. These coffee grinders are less costly since they’re operated with pure elbow grease and not electric, I’m talking about manual coffee grinders that won’t break the bank.
Yes, it’s true, some of the best coffee grinders, in my opinion, are the manual variety and two of the most popular manual grinders are the Hario Skerton and the Hario Mini.
I get a lot of requests for extra information by email or via our Facebook page about the Hario Skerton and Mini Mill.
Questions like: Which is better? How are these grinder different? Which Grinder Do You Recommend?
So here’s everything I know about the Hario Skerton vs. the Mini, hopefully, after reading this, you’ll be able to choose the right grinder for your needs.
Skerton vs. Mini Size Comparison
Funnily enough, both the Mini and the Skerton are about the same height, so you would naturally think that the smaller of the two would be the Mini, but no they both stand at approximately 18cm (just over 6in). The Skerton, however, is much wider at just over 7cm (about 3in) whereas the Hario Mini measures a slim 5cm (about 2in).
The biggest difference between the two grinders is the coffee grinding capacity. The Hario Skerton can easily hold 60g of ground coffee beans and to be honest; you could even stretch that to 75g at a push when using the screw on lid. The Hario Mini, on the other hand, will hold about half that amount, with 30g filling the bottom container.
The difference in size will most definitely be a deciding factor regarding which grinder you choose. The Mini Mill is perfect for those of you drink alone; you can grind up enough coffee for your AeroPress or V60. But if you often find yourself brewing coffee for 2 or more the Skerton is going to be the obvious choice.
When it comes to the functionality of both of these manual grinders, they do operate in almost the same way. However, the subtle difference in functionality between the two really boils down to how you adjust the coffee grind setting.
With the Skerton you adjust the grind setting by removing the top bolt, then the handle and then you remove the lock and turn the dial either left or right to select your desired grind.
The Hario Mini Mill, on the other hand, is far easier, adjusting the grind is as simple as turning a dial underneath the bean hopper. I also find that setting the grind size on the Mini to be much more efficient versus the Skerton.
The Mini Mill clicks when you turn the dial either left or right giving you a clear indication that you have moved into a different setting. The Skerton has no clicking sound, and you have to do a lot of guesswork until you have found the sweet spot!
The crank arm on the Skerton is far better than the Mini; the Skerton uses a bolt to hold the handle in place whereas the Mini is held in place with pure luck. In fact, I have lost count how many times I forget the handle isn’t held in place on the Mini and it goes flying across the kitchen.
Both grinders come with a lid that fits on top of the bean hopper to stop the beans flying out while you grind. The Skerton has a rubber-like material vs. the Mini which is made from a hard clear plastic. A feature found on the Skerton that is lacking on the Mini is the rubber base that aids with grip while you grind.
Both of these grinders are going to require a bit of elbow grease, but there really isn’t any clear winner when it comes to speed. Both the Mini and the Skerton can grind 30 to 60 grams of coffee in under 5 minutes, and this is obliviously dependent on how fast you grind.
Do You Prefer Plastic Or Glass?
Hario is known for their quality glassware, in fact, Hario actually translates to “king of glass.” So it’s strange that they opted to make one of their coffee grinders from plastic. The Hario Mini Mill is constructed out of plastic whereas the Skerton has a glass collection jar with a plastic bean hopper.
Is this a disadvantage for the Mini Mill? As far as I’m concerned NO. The Mini is far less likely to break into a thousand pieces if accidentally dropped. Plastic is also a lot lighter than glass making the Mini the clear winner when traveling or when you’re making up a coffee travel kit.
The Skerton being made from glass does look a lot nicer sat on your kitchen counter, and the glass collection chamber also doubles up as a storage jar if you use the supplied screw-on lid.
Grind Quality Comparison
Fine-tuning your grind setting is going to be far easier using the Mini Mill. As I mentioned briefly above the dial on the Mini gives you a clear sounding click every time you enter into a different setting. The Skerton just has a wheel that spins so adjusting to the same grind you used last time is guesswork at the best of times.
So it doesn’t take a genius to see that adjusting the Mini is a lot easier, by taking note of the number of clicks you can set your preferred grind whether you need extra coarseness or finer setting. Also, the clicking sound allows you to easily reproduce the same kind of grind, over and over again.
Once you have your preferred grind setting on either of these Hario grinders, there really isn’t much difference in the actual quality of the ground coffee. Both the Mini and the Skerton use the same ceramic burr grinding mechanism, so the coffee is ground up in the exact same way.
Both grinders do struggle at a more coarse setting, and you’ll find that the grind isn’t as uniform in size as you would like, but down in the finer setting is where both of these Hario grinders excel. But, all is not lost. If you are noticing that your coffee grounds are a little inconsistent and uneven make sure you take a look at my Hario Mini Mill mod – it makes a huge difference and you only need a piece of Duct tape!
Hario Skerton Or The Mini Mill, Which Grinder Wins?
As far as I’m concerned they are both winners! The Mini and the Skerton are great hand grinders and will serve any coffee lover on a budget well. Both offer the favored Burr grinding mechanism and perform well.
I guess it really boils down to personal preference, but here are a few helping tips to help you choose.
Do you typically grind enough coffee for one?
Do you like to grind coffee when you travel?
Are you clumsy and drop things a lot?
If you answered YES to the above, I recommend you choose the Hario Mini Mill.
Hopefully, this will help to shed some light on the pros and cons of the Hario Skerton and the Mini Mill so that you can make the best choice for grinding coffee on a budget at home, ion the office or on your travels!
To be honest, both grinders are pretty cheap so if you can’t decide why not buy both?
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