Whether you’re prepping for the end of the world, or just a really bad storm, it’s a good idea to have a manual, hand-operated grinder or grain mill. In most survival scenarios, the power grid is down, and even if you have a generator, you’ll still want to conserve your power as much as possible.
Grain is both cheaper than flour, and you can store it for longer. Depending on how you store it, whole grains can last several years in a cool, dry location like a bomb shelter. Wheat flour, on the other hand, only lasts between six and twelve months under the best circumstances.
Now that we've convinced you to get a hand-powered wheat grinder, here are our picks for the best wheat grinders and hand grain mills for emergency survival.
Back to Basics Hand Grain Mill
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Victorio Hand Operated Grain Mill
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Victorio Deluxe Grain Mill
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Wondermill Junior Deluxe Hand Grain Mill
Family Grain Mill with Motor Base and Free Hand Base
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Country Living Hand Grain Mill
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DIAMANT D.525 Hand Mill
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How We Chose Our Ratings
To make our initial list of above-average manual grain mills, we checked with preppers all over the internet to find out which models they prefer to use. Then, we compared the mills against each other and separated them out based on pricing.
We split our list up into three categories: budget, mid-range, and high-end models. Within each one, we compared the wheat grinders against each other again to determine the grade we’d give them. Each of these wheat grinders could receive top ratings when compared to all the other manual mills on the market, but our ratings are specifically comparing them against other top models.
The Best Wheat Grinders and Hand Grain Mills for Emergency Survival
Budget: Back to Basics Hand Grain Mill
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The Back to Basics hand grain mill is a compact, lightweight hand grinder with stainless-steel grinding burrs. It can adjust from coarse to fine grinding, depending on what you’re making. The built-in clamp allows it to easily mount on a table or counter-top, with rubber pads to protect against scratches. The grain hopper can hold up to 2 ¼ cups of whole grain.
This inexpensive little wheat grinder is versatile and user-friendly. If you’re a beginner and you’re not sure exactly what kind of grains you’ll be milling, the Back to Basics grain mill will give you a lot of options. It comes with a two-year warranty, but you should always test your survival equipment to make sure it works before you have an emergency.
At $, the Back to Basics hand grain mill is the most inexpensive grinder on our list. Many customers reported that their arms got tired very quickly while using it, though that could be said of any manual grinder. Some customers say they've been using the mill every day for years without any issues, so despite its low price, it's built to last.
Overall, we think this is a great little beginner-level hand grain mill that can fit into almost any prepper’s budget. We rated it 4.5 out of 5 stars.
Budget: Victorio Hand Operated Grain Mill
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Victorio is a big name in budget-friendly manual kitchen tools. Their VKP1012 hand operated grain mill is a durable and compact grinder that can handle rice, oats, wheat, quinoa, barley, and other hard, dry grains. Its stainless steel grinding burrs are self-aligning and precision machined to ensure you get smooth and even grains.
Victorio’s hand mill can adjust from coarse to fine, depending on what you’re making. The compact design makes it easy to store the grinder in a cabinet or drawer when you're not using it. A spacious hopper can hold up to two cups of grain at a time, and you can mount the whole thing to a countertop up to two inches thick.
With a price of only $, the Victorio hand mill is another budget-friendly model that’s easy to use and hard to screw up. It’s very popular with customers, with some claiming that it can grind wheat into flour the same consistency as the store-bought stuff. Several customers said that some of the bolts sheared off or wouldn’t stay tight, so keep an eye on that if you choose this model.
For the price, this is a good little hand grinder that is backed by a popular name in manual kitchen appliances. We gave it 4.7 out of 5 stars.
Budget: Victorio Deluxe Grain Mill
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Victorio’s second entry on our list is the deluxe model, VKP1024. It comes with all the same features as the VKP1012, but with a larger hopper and an optional motor. You can tell just by looking at it that you can use it for more serious grinding than the normal version.
The Victorio Deluxe features a 4 ½ cup hopper, a mounting clamp, and an adjustable dial to choose how coarse you want to grind your grain. The mill itself is , though you can buy it with the motor for $. A motor is a fantastic option if you're planning to use the grinder on a regular basis, versus just storing it away for emergency situations.
The Victorio Deluxe hand operated grain mill is one of the highest-rated models on Amazon, and we chose to give it 4.9 out of 5 stars.
Mid-Range: Wondermill Junior Deluxe Hand Grain Mill
The Wondermill Junior Deluxe hand grain mill is sort of the entry-level choice for people looking to move up from a budget mill to something more efficient. It's very popular in the prepping community because of how durable, fast, and easy it is to use.
The Junior Deluxe can handle both dry and oily grains, something the budget models can’t do. It has stainless steel burrs for oilier grains like cocoa beans, and stone burrs to grind wheat and corn more efficiently. According to the product description on Amazon, this grinder can process 1.25 cups of flour in a single minute, which is much faster than the cheaper models.
The Wondermill Junior Deluxe hand grain mill goes for $ on Amazon, which is on the low end for this class of grinder. Customers found it easy to put together and start using, even though it doesn’t seem to come with instructions. A limited lifetime warranty means that even customers with broken or defective grinders were eventually satisfied with their purchase.
The Wondermill Junior Deluxe is a great choice for someone looking to level up from a cheap hand grinder. We think it’s worth 4.5 out of 5 stars.
Mid-Range: Family Grain Mill with Motor Base and Free Hand Base
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The Family Grain Mill wheat grinder is truly versatile, with extra attachments available to turn it into a flaker mill, food processor, or meat grinder. It can also be attached to a KitchenAid or Bosch mixer.
Unlike the other models on our list, the Family Grain Mill comes with the optional motor, which you can use when you have power. This grinder is also the only model on our list that’s made entirely of plastic, though it has stainless steel burrs.
Amazon customers didn’t have a single negative thing to say about the Family Grain Mill. Even when used manually, the grinder works quickly and almost effortlessly. For $, you’re getting a versatile, multi-purpose tool that’s perfect for preppers or survivalists. Our only concern is the plastic body, which seems like it would be less durable than the metal models.
The Family Grain Mill is a convenient and unique little grinder that can serve a variety of functions, so we gave it 4.7 out of 5 stars.
Mid-Range: Country Living Hand Grain Mill
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The Country Living hand grain mill is an American-made tool with a lifetime warranty. It's constructed of aircraft-grade aluminum, with a cast iron flywheel and high carbon steel grinding plates. The Country Living mill is heavy-duty, with an emphasis on heavy. It's not the kind of appliance you can leave sitting out unless you have a huge countertop.
This hand grain mill doesn't come with all the bells and whistles of the other mid-range models; it's simply a serious grain mill for people who need something that will grind a lot of wheat and that will last a lifetime.
At a price of $$, the Country Living hand grain mill isn't for the faint of heart. However, the flour it produces could easily pass for store-bought. According to customers, this grain mill delivers a consistent grind and makes fantastic bread. The crank moves smoothly and easily, allowing you to process a lot of grain in a short time.
If you’re a hardcore prepper looking for something to last through the apocalypse, the Country Living hand grain mill is the perfect option for you. We rated it 4.9 out of 5 stars.
High-End: DIAMANT D.525 Hand Mill
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The DIAMANT hand mill is the model that every serious prepper dreams of buying someday. It’s made of solid cast iron, making it very sturdy as well as very heavy. The v-belt flywheel rotates smoothly and is easy to motorize if you desire to do so.
A long wooden handle means you can use two hands to operate the DIAMANT mill, or you can share the work with another person. It can handle all types of grains, including moist varieties like coffee and cocoa. Large steel grinding discs make short work of whatever you choose to grind in your hand mill.
You’ll definitely get some sticker shock from the DIAMANT hand mill. At $$$, it’s a major investment, but one that should last you for decades. Due to the high price, there aren’t as many customer reviews as the other models, though there are plenty of preppers out there who fantasize about one day being able to afford a DIAMANT grinder.
The DIAMANT D.525 hand mill is the most solid, long-lasting hand grinder on our list, and it can handle a variety of grains. That’s why we chose to rate it 5 out of 5 stars.
Before you decide on a manual wheat grinder, you should ask yourself a few questions. What type of grain do you want to mill, and what are you making with it? If you want your wheat grinder to also act as a coffee or cocoa grinder, you’ll need to look for a model with a stainless steel mill that can handle oily grains.
Another thing to consider is how fine you need your flour to be. Very few manual wheat grinders are capable of milling flour as finely as the store-bought kind. Some of the models on our list have optional motors, or recommendations for attaching a third-party motor, which will allow you to get the best of both worlds.
How often are you going to use your grinder, and how much flour do you need to produce? The small, inexpensive models are going to work a lot slower than the mid- or high-end models, with the average manual mill producing about six cups of flour in 30 minutes.
Whole grains will need to be hulled before you can mill them. If you’re growing your own grain, that’s something you’ll have to do yourself, whereas you can buy pre-hulled grains for added convenience.
Though we primarily focused on wheat grinders for bread flour, you can use manual grain mills for other purposes. With the right kind of hand mill, you can grind freeze-dried fruit for yogurt or smoothies or cocoa beans for chocolate syrup or hot chocolate. You can grow your own herbs and spices in the garden, then use your wheat grinder to turn them into powder.
With a manual grain mill, not only will you be able to store grain for much longer than flour, but you’ll be able to eat healthy, homemade bread even in a power outage. If you’re serious about the prepping lifestyle, a manual wheat grinder and hand grain mill is an investment you shouldn’t overlook.