Made by the same Japanese company that manufactures the famous V60 brewer, the Hario Skerton is one of the most recognizable and popular hand grinders out there. Thanks to a quality build and an attractive price tag, the Skerton has long been touted as a solid entry-level grinder that won’t break the bank.
For all the upside, however, the biggest knock against the Skerton was always that it was never really a great grinder. Well, it seems that Hario heard the naysayers loud and clear, as they recently introduced the Skerton Pro. The Skerton Pro offers the same functionality as its predecessor along with some promised improvements.
So, if you’re thinking of investing in a hand grinder, let’s take a closer look at the Skerton and what kind of upgrades you can expect from the Skerton Pro.
Why Hand Grinders?
The great thing about getting into coffee as a hobby is that there is so much gear to experiment with! The problem though is that coffee gear can be expensive, especially when you aren’t even sure if you like it enough to justify that kind of investment.
Considering a quality burr grinder costs upwards of $100 at the minimum, hand grinders are a great alternative. Because they don’t use electricity or come with any fancy screens or buttons, hand grinders often come with a lower price tag. In addition to being more affordable, hand grinders offer additional benefits, such as being more portable, as well as being easier to clean and store.
Now this is all assuming that you don’t mind a little extra work.
Build and Design
The body of the Skerton and Skerton Pro are largely the same, except for a few updates. They both feature a plastic hopper and burr combination unit where beans are added. The plastic top unit screws onto a glass jar to catch your grinds. The jar holds about 100g of ground coffee, double of what most of its competitors can do. This is usually way more than enough, but you might find it helpful if you brew large batches of cold brew. And If you’re worried about the presence of glass in this equation, just remember that Hario means “King of Glass,” in Japanese, so this grinder is built to last. And for me it has. I bought my first Skerton back in 2013. I was a university student on a budget and only recently graduated from my Keurig coffee maker. 6 years later, it’s still going strong.
One thing that makes the Skerton such a massive upgrade to most grinders at this price point is its high quality conical ceramic burrs. The ceramic means that they’re just as durable as steel burrs but won’t heat up the way that steel burrs might — saving your coffee from unnecessary temperature changes.
Upgrades: Original vs. Pro
The Skerton Pro offers a few major upgrades in the design. The first is a more sturdy handle. The cast metal handle is thicker and sits on a hex lock, eliminating the need to remove the handle to adjust the grind (more on that later).
On the Skerton Pro, a curved plastic lid has replaced the silicone hopper cover, making for a more premium feel as it snaps into place.
Inside, the Skerton Pro features a stepped adjustment for the burrs that clicks in between settings. This is a crucial upgrade from the previous model, which required removing the handle, rotating the adjustment cog, and playing a bit of a guessing game to select a grind size.
The upgrades aren’t purely for aesthetics or ease of use. They offer a major upgrade in performance. Inside the Skerton Pro, there’s now a spring used to stabilize the burrs and reduce any wobbling during coarser grinds — a very common problem with the previous models.
As far as grind size goes, the Hario Skerton can do it all. It tackles any grind size with relative ease, especially when you upgrade to the Pro model.
As far as consistency goes, the Skerton is a solid option for daily use. I’ve used it to grind for Aeropress, French press, Clever, cold brew — you name it. The grind consistency isn’t always perfect and you will get the occasional fines, but it’s far from anything that will ruin your brew.
The Skerton performs best on fine to medium grinds. However, as previously mentioned, the Hario Skerton has historically had issues with wobbling burrs when grinding on a coarser setting for things like French presses or cold brew. Thankfully, this is no longer the case. The new design of the Pro means less wobble and a lot more consistency in coarser grinds.
With a hand grinder, you’re often trading electricity and convenience for affordability. This means that you’ll be putting in a little bit of extra work for your coffee.
The Hario Skerton is one of the fastest hand grinders I’ve come across. When grinding 19g for my Aeropress, I clocked in at just over a minute on the Pro. Considering I’m already OK with spending the extra time to brew my coffee manually, this is perfectly acceptable for me. Plus, it gets me moving in the morning whether I like it or not.
The Bottom Line
The Hario Skerton is an excellent combination of design, quality, and affordability. Whether you’re a coffee pro or new to the game, the Skerton is a great option for being able to make quality coffee at home (and on the go). Overall, while both models are highly recommended, I’d advise spending the extra money on the Skerton Pro. Especially if being able to grind coarse is important to you.