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Hario Skerton - Kurt Schryver's Review
Posted: May 23, 2010, 4:43am
review rating: 9.0
feedback: (2) comments | read | write
Hario Skerton Hand Grinder
Where to Buy
Arrow Prima Coffee Equipment
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Arrow Espresso Parts
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More About This Product
Arrow The Hario Skerton has 9 Reviews
Arrow The Hario Skerton has been rated 8.02 overall by our member reviewers
Arrow This product has been in our review database since November 23, 2009.
Arrow Hario Skerton reviews have been viewed 77,211 times (updated hourly).

Quality Reviews
These are some of the best-written reviews for this product, as judged by our members.
Name Ranking
Kurt Schryver 9.00
Samuel Szobody 8.00
Scott Greene 8.00
James H 6.67
Gary Hillard 5.00

Previous Review  
Ratings and Stats Overall Rating: 9.4
Manufacturer: Hario Quality: 9
Average Price: $36.00 Usability: 10
Price Paid: $35.50 Cost vs. Value 10
Where Bought: Prima-Coffee Aesthetics 9
Owned for: 1 month Overall 9
Writer's Expertise: I live coffee Would Buy Again: Yes
Similar Items Owned:
Bottom Line: Fantastic value, the best hand grinder you can buy for the money!
Positive Product Points

Easy to assemble, adjust and use.  Consistent grind size at finer adjustments.  Compact size, easy to clean.

Negative Product Points

Chards can fly out of the hopper, not consistent at coarser grinds without modification.  No adjustment markings for repeatable settings.

Detailed Commentary

For someone on a budget who cannot afford even the cheapest electric grinder, this is the way to go.  Instructions are in Japanese, but assembly and adjustment is intuitive and simple.  The adjustment is 'stepped', held firm by a two tined washer that slips over the adjustment screw.  One step equals .009 in.  There is a small plastic washer that fits between the adjustment screw and the hopper, so be careful not to lose this when taking the grinder apart.  This washer measures .030 in. and can be replaced by a slightly thicker (.035 in.) one to achieve a half step adjustment.
This grinder will choke a machine at the finer settings, so it's very capable of espresso or turkish grind and is extremely consistent.  Due to the lack of adjustment markings, can be difficult to switch between fine and coarse grinds without needing to dial it back in.  Take notes on the number of 'steps' from tight to help with repeating your adjustments.  Clumping is not a problem.  You get fluffy, even grounds with 70 to 100 turns for about 17 grams of coffee at a fine grind setting.  At coarser settings for french press or drip, the grind size becomes inconsistent, due to the excessive play between the hopper and the shaft of the moving burr.  Modifications are possible to eliminate this problem.  
The catch container is glass, with a large profile, so if you have small hands, holding the base while turning could be difficult.  The hopper is plastic, with no cover, so chards can fly out when grinding.  This can be remedied by modifying a small butter lid to use as a cover.  The grinder comes with a screw on lid for storing beans on a trip, and has an inset for holding the hopper while dosing.  The catch bin fits a 53mm or larger portafilter basket perfectly for no mess dosing directly from the catch bin.  I have found no need for applying distribution techniques when dosing this way.  Just dose, tamp and go.  
Cleaning is extremely easy, all parts are dishwasher safe.   There is no grind retention and little to no static.  If any grinds hang up on the burrs, just a light tap will shake them free.  The conical burrs are ceramic, very durable and also easy to clean and maintain.

Buying Experience

I ordered the grinder and received it in two days, in near perfect condition.  (The box was soaked, but it was raining and the mailman just put it on my porch instead of inside the door).  No problem with packing or condition of any of the parts.  I would buy from Prima again, and plan to, soon.  I sent an email commenting on my satisfaction with both their fast shipping and the quality of the grinder, and they responded within one day.  Obviously they take customer satisfaction quite seriously.

Three Month Followup
  1. Adjustability:  I have made several different thicknesses of washers, and use them to dial in the grind size beyond that of a half step adjustment.  This has in effect, made this grinder stepless.
  2.  Modifications:  There is a design flaw in this grinder that allows the threads of the burr mounting shaft to grate against the plastic mounting plate during use, which over time will wear down the hole and eventually ruin the grinder.  I cemented a one inch nylon bushing under the mounting plate which eliminated the problem and made the grinder much more stable.
  3.  Repeatability:  Repeating the grind settings after disassembly for cleaning remains an issue, somewhat solved by measuring the height of the mounting shaft above the adjustment cog and replacing the cog to exactly that height.  without a set of calipers you would have a rough time getting back to your original setting.

In summary, if you're handy with tools and relatively geeky about measuring and such, the shortcomings of this grinder won't be an issue.  It continues to deliver consistantly even grounds for espresso and is wearing well after the bushing modification.  Without it, the mounting mechanism would be destroyed within a year, but the burrs would still be as sharp as when new.  This grinder isn't for everyone, but even with it's flaws I continue to rate it highly.

One Year Followup

I have now modded the burr adjustment to fully stepless with a nylok nut replacing the adjustment cog.  Grind is extremely stable, no noticeable wear on the mounting surface.  Addition of a spring and bushing on the shaft of the moving burr has eliminated any vertical slop.  Settings are easily repeated by measuring the height of the shaft above the nylok nut and setting back to the same  height.  Very little dial in is necessary.  With the design flaws eliminated, this grinder is a very versatile functional tool.  No wear at all on the burrs, this should last for years!

Previous Review  
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review rating: 9.0
Posted: May 23, 2010, 4:43am
feedback: (2) comments | read | write
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