Perhaps my question should be "What is the best type of grinder to use at my desk if I work in a cubicle and use a French Press?".

I have tried finding decibel measurements on Amazon's website, but most of the coffee grinders listed don't specify them.

  • 1
    You might try grinding the beans at home and bringing in freshly ground coffee. If you keep the freshly ground coffee in an airtight container you should be able to do this only once a week without the coffee going stale.
    – PJNoes
    Jun 30, 2015 at 16:39
  • 1
    You considered the noise that would come out from your cubicle. Have you also thought about the aroma that would also come out of it? That's the reason I had to stop brewing at work.
    – J.A.I.L.
    Mar 14, 2016 at 18:09
  • 2
    What kind of monster would say anything against coffee aroma?
    – avocado1
    Nov 2, 2018 at 14:32

7 Answers 7


First, lets ignore blade grinders entirely. Any grinder that doesn't have a motor will be relatively quiet. You'll be at the mercy of the crunching beans, but that's it. Add to this that the more the grinder weighs, or the more "heft" it has to it, the quieter it will typically be due to the additional mass damping any vibration. When adding a motor to the mix, each step between the motor and the burrs adds an opportunity for noise. As such, a direct drive grinder will typically be quieter than anything involving a gearbox.

The pecking order is basically...

Hand Grinder --> Direct Drive Flat Burr --> Direct Drive Conical Burr --> Gear-Reduced Burr

While Decibel ratings are available from most manufacturers, they're difficult to translate into a subjective estimate of "harshness." I deal with these regularly and found that some of my favorite grinders are technically louder than several others, including the Baratza Vario. The difference is that they have a much more mellow drone rather than the gear motor's quieter whine.

  • 2
    Sorry, that was just a typo on my end. Alternatively (and more sarcastically), you could also imagine that I intended to write it as "Blād Grinder." May 4, 2015 at 17:09
  • I have an electric grinder and a hand grinder. The electric is fairly quiet, though you still get a small whirring sound Electric [Manual] (amazon.com/Manual-Grinder-IMAVO-Vintage-Grinders/dp/B06XKKZM7L/…) I could measure the decibals if you want. The bigger difference I find in regards to sound is the length of time. The electric is only 5-10 secs, and the hand is 60+ Oct 1, 2019 at 15:47

WholeLatteLove.com actually provides decibel ratings for many of their coffee grinders such as the Mazzer Mini. Perhaps you could compare some grinders there.


A manual coffee grinder like the "Hario Ceramic Coffee Mill".

  • 1
    Mine is very quiet, and is OK for a cube farm.
    – David I.
    Mar 15, 2016 at 16:35

Based on my experience, a hand grinder is the absolute quietest that you can buy, but it also take a bit of elbow grease. And if you're shopping for an older parent (like I recently did), then those arthritis hands can't handle that manual grinder. Like others, I did my research on places like Quiet Home Lab and Amazon reviews. I also ended up buying the Capresso Infinity for my dad. He seems to enjoy it - and it is quiet compared to his last grinder, so I call that a win!

  • The elbow grease I think is important as if you are knocking around on the desktop either accidentally or trying to keep it still or just by holding it to the table, then that could be louder and more disruptive than a small electric. I still vote, and use the manual hand daily though in a cube farm without concerns. My boss tried it, thinking it was cool, and he was knocking it everywhere and it was the loudest its ever been. He wasn't use to the elbow grease needed Oct 1, 2019 at 15:50

Well even decibel ratings did not prove to be quite best thing to measure, because they also depend on different things, some noises aren't as disturbing as others,... There are hand grinders, which are quiet but the question is - do you really want to grind by hand? So you want to see some grinders which are designed to be quiet. That can be hard to find though. Capresso infinity is calling itself the quietest grinder - at least I read so in this detailed review on coffee grinder world.


Well, sharing my experience about this, i was in need of a coffee grinder and my first requirement was it should be quiet or i will not buy it. After searching it manually on LA market, could not find a good one that is quiet and then decided to give a try to search it online. Came across Quiet Gadgets from google and after reviewing every grinder in the list bought the Bravile BCG 820 and i am quiet happy with it.

  • that site is amazing for the quiet gadgets, very useful for reviews and for products in a cube farm, or an open office environment. The Bravile BCG 820 is what my brother-in-law uses at home and he says its really quiet. Oct 1, 2019 at 15:52
  • The BCG 820 is no longer on that page, seems the list was updated this year.
    – Mast
    Sep 10, 2020 at 15:01

The Comandante Hand grinder or another similar grinder would have to be the best option. The grind on a Comandante is superior to most other hand grinders on the market, though the price is rather high. In the $200 range I believe. It is worth every penny for the discerning coffee snob.

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