That was our top criteria for selecting the best pepper mill.
The Cole and Mason Gourmet Pepper Mill scored way above the other models we tested in all categories and is our top pick.
Pepper Mill Comparison
Cole & Mason
Pepper Mill Buying Guide
What is a Pepper Mill?
Pepper Mills are made from a large variety of materials including glass, acrylic, wood and metal. The most popular material for pepper mills, even now, is wood with stainless steel mechanisms. Acrylic is also a popular choice. With so many choices available style wish, deciding on ONE type may feel like a real challenge. There are some ways that you can make this process much faster and easier so you are not struggling to make a decision. We will go over them below.
There are several things that you can ask yourself before you purchase a pepper mill. It may not seem like a major decision, but if you want to buy something that will last over the years and that will do what it is intended to do, you will want to take note of these tips and information so you can research properly.
- How much pepper is enough?- If pepper is one of the most often used spices on your table and in your recipes you want to look for a pepper mill that grinds pepper quickly. Peppercorns lose their potency after a period of time so you don’t want to get a large capacity pepper mill if you will not be using a lot of pepper.
- Easy to Clean – The common wooden pepper mills are not easy to clean due to the fact that they are made of wood. Since wood is porous, it easily absorbs oils and liquids. Plastic and stainless steel is much easier to clean but if you desire the sleek and elegant look that the wooden pepper mills provide you can get one for table use and get a plastic or steel one for cooking.
- Do you want easy grind settings? – Trying to figure out what size grind you will get can be frustrating. Many pepper mills have preset grind sizes that you can set the pepper mill on with a simple turn of the bottom of the mill. If you want to ensure consistency in grind size, consider looking for a pepper mill that offers these preset grind settings.
- Do you want a special design? – If design matters to you there are a multitude of designs that you can choose from for your table. Traditional pepper mills in the past have been made of wood and have quite a bit of weight to them. They usually have a round decorative finial on top that twists to grind the pepper. Modern style pepper mills can be made from a variety of materials and are in shapes of all kinds as well. For the design conscious cook, there are plenty of choices available that they can sort through.
- Easy Operation – Electric pepper mills are probably the easiest to use and just involve pressing a button. These are battery operated and can be rechargeable batteries as well if you don’t want to spend a lot on buying batteries often.
- Versatile Pepper Mills? – Do you want a pepper mill that is strictly for pepper only or one that you can also use salt and other spices in it? Depending on the pepper mill, some have mechanisms that can handle salt and these will be designated. Any metal mechanism pepper mills will not be able to grind salt without getting damaged.
There are many different features that you may want to look for when it comes to purchasing a good quality pepper mill. These features are typically found in the higher end models and will ensure that you are happy with the performance, look, and longevity of the pepper mill you purchase.
- Fast grinding – You want to find a pepper mill that does not take a bunch of twists to produce enough pepper for your food. The more efficient it is and the fewer twists it takes to grind the pepper the better. Manual pepper mills tend to produce better results than electric.
- Easy to hold Design – If the pepper mill is always sliding out of your hand it is not going to be very enjoyable to use. Look for a good, ergonomic design that isn’t ridiculously heavy like some models can be. Some have non-slip grips that are very helpful when it comes to hanging onto the pepper mill.
- Easy to Operate – Twisting the pepper mill should not be a difficult proposition. Sometimes though, you may have a condition such as carpal tunnel or arthritis that may prevent you from being able to twist the grinder. If you have one of these conditions, an electric grinder will be a much better choice.
- Easy to fill – Look for easy to fill pepper mills that do not have tiny little openings that guarantee you’ll drop little peppercorns all over the floor. Larger openings are much easier to deal with and fill with peppercorns.
- Durable and sturdy grinding mechanism – Look for grinding mechanisms that are made from stainless steel or ceramic. Steel is the most durable and long lasting and many modern pepper mills are now using stainless steel mechanisms.
- Consistent Grind Sizes – Some models of pepper mills will have preset settings and those are the ones you should look for. Most have ranges that go from powdery pepper to very coarse and you can shift the type of grind you use according to what the person likes.
Care and Maintenance
There are several things that you can do to ensure that your pepper mill stays in great working order for a long time to come. Following these care and maintenance tips will keep your pepper mill looking and performing as good as new.
- You should not grind salt or other spices in your pepper mill. Salt can damage the grinding mechanism and also corrodes untreated metal. You will have less clogging in the pepper mill if you stick to just pepper.
- Colored peppercorns have more moisture in them due to the fact that they have been treated. If you want to use colored peppercorns you will need to mix them with black ones to keep your pepper mill running properly.
- If you notice that the pepper mill is very hard to turn or grind, loosen the screw that is located on top of the grinder. (If your model has one) you will gradually re-tighten this screw as you grind up the peppercorns. This will help loosen any peppercorns that may be stuck.
- Pepper mills are fairly easy to clean. Most of them only need to be wiped off on the outside with a damp cloth. When it comes to cleaning the inside of the mill, check with the manufacturer to get the proper process. Never put them in the dishwasher. This could mess up the mechanism and cause the pepper mill to stop working properly.
- To get peppercorns into the mill easily get a small mouthed bottle or a very small funnel and you won’t have any trouble at all.
- If you notice that you are not using the pepper mill very much it might be a good idea to change out the peppercorns every few months, especially if you are going to be having a dinner party or other kind of fancy meal. Since peppercorns lose their potency and flavor after a time of not being used, you don’t want to have a dinner party with old peppercorns.
Whether it’s wood, stainless steel or acrylic; manual or electric, pepper mills are very useful pieces of kitchen equipment. Freshly ground pepper is a wonderful spice to add to many foods and pepper mills add a touch of class to your table that a regular pepper shaker doesn’t match.
The information provided in this buyer’s guide and top rated pepper mill reviews are guaranteed to make it much easier for you to sort through the available choices of pepper mills on the market today and decide on the pepper mill that works for your needs.
Everyone’s needs and preferences are going to be a little different, especially when it comes to design preferences, but with the right tools, you’ll be ready to make an informed decision and get the pepper mill tht you will love using and will have for years to come.