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Diamond-sharp grinding mechanism boasts supreme quality. Durable top makes it simple to refill the pepper grinder as needed. Six precise grinding levels provide unprecedented convenience.
Some reports that it may leak at times.
Made from durable, non-corrosive ceramic. Clear, BPA plastic shell is transparent so you are aware when kernel levels are low. Easy to use and refill. Adjustable size for fine or coarsely ground kernels.
The bottom screw plate sometimes misaligns with the threads, then can come off easily and spill contents.
Ratchet handle is ergonomically designed for comfort. Features adjustable coarseness levels. Housing is made of BPA-free materials. Refilling only requires opening the front door and adding peppercorns. Available in 4 colors.
Some buyers find its coarse grind setting is a bit too coarse.
Features an attractive design looks nice on the dining table. Easy to use and fill. Inner grinding mechanism is non-corrosive and designed to last. Made from French beechwood.
Some struggle to get pepper out after some use because it jams or becomes blocked.
Rotating tab ensures you can quickly adjust the grinder's setting from fine to coarse. Clear acrylic body shows you exactly when the grinder needs to be refilled. Grinder can be placed upside-down flat for easy refilling.
Provides a low-volume output of pepper. Peppercorn may get stuck at times.
We recommend these products based on an intensive research process that's designed to cut through the noise and find the top products in this space. Guided by experts, we spend hours looking into the factors that matter, to bring you these selections.
Pepper is one of those culinary staples that few meals can do without, and anyone who has ever had it freshly ground knows that, like coffee, it is miles ahead of the pre-ground version in terms of taste.
A quality pepper grinder will not only improve your food, it will also brighten up your table with its elegant, classic appearance. While you may need to work a little harder for your pepper (or not, if you opt for an electric one), a pepper grinder is one low-cost kitchen fixture that every aspiring chef should own.
When shopping for a pepper grinder, you will quickly find a market flooded with options. Should you buy a manual pepper grinder or an electric one? How many grinding levels do you need, and how much should you pay? This guide will answer these questions and provide insight into other features that you may wish to have in a pepper grinder. We also offer our recommendations for some of the best pepper grinders out there.
The first decision you are going to need to make is whether you want a manual pepper grinder or an electric pepper grinder.
A manual pepper grinder is pretty straightforward: you fill it with peppercorns and start cranking. You provide the muscle; it puts out the pepper.
An electric pepper grinder uses battery power. This is both its strength and its downfall — run out of battery power, and you’re out of pepper, too. Some electric pepper grinders operate via the push of a button. Others automatically start grinding when you flip them over. Some feature a built-in LED light.
If you opt for an electric pepper grinder, be sure that it is designed to securely hold its batteries and that you can change the batteries easily, without having to take the whole device apart.
There are two primary construction areas that you need to consider with pepper grinders: the exterior housing and the interior grinding rotors.
Pepper grinder housing
The outer shell of a pepper grinder can take several forms. Popular housing materials include stainless steel, wood, and acrylic. Stainless steel is rugged and stylish, while wood offers a timeless, classic design. Acrylic is also rugged, and it has the benefit that you can tell at a glance how full the grinder is.
Whichever housing material you choose, it should be resistant to rust and corrosion. The grinder should feel comfortable in your hand, and some form of non-slip grip is helpful for kitchen use. Some pepper grinders feature caps. Others come in an array of color choices so you can choose the one that best fits your décor.
Pepper grinder rotors
A pepper grinder works via a rotor system to grind peppercorns. Your options here are generally carbon steel or ceramic. Both are effective, although ceramic edges out steel in terms of durability and the fact that it can be used with salt, whereas steel can’t. Whichever you choose, the resulting grind should be uniform, and peppercorns should easily go through the grinder without becoming stuck in the rotors.
There are two considerations to be aware of in terms of pepper grinder size. The first is the capacity of the grinder: how much can it hold? If your grinder holds few peppercorns, you may find yourself constantly having to fill it up. But if the reservoir holds too many peppercorns, that could also be a problem. The reason: a pepper grinder that is too tall (say, eight inches tall instead of five inches tall) could cause a space or storage issue, depending on where you plan to keep it.
How easy is it to fill?
If you have to deconstruct the grinder every time you fill it, this could be a problem, particularly if the grinder is a compact one. The grinder should be easy to fill, and the ability to stand on its own when you fill it — as opposed to having to hold it in one hand while you fill it with the other — is preferred.
Is it quiet?
Electric pepper grinders should not be loud. Manual pepper grinders are not exempt from this concern, either. A high-pitched squeak every time you turn the top may be funny the first few times, but it will wear thin fairly quickly.
Does it offer several grinding levels?
Most pepper grinders offer a way to change the grind from fine to coarse. The best pepper grinders feature several distinct levels of grind, giving you full control over the size of your pepper output.
Pepper grinders start around $10 to $15 and can run up to $50 or higher. Electric grinders tend to be more expensive than manual grinders, and you will pay more for one with advanced features, such as an LED light.
While not an expense you will incur often, electric pepper grinders do cost a bit more over the long run in terms of batteries.
Q. Do pepper grinders ship with peppercorns already in them?
A. While some do, this is rare. The majority of pepper grinders require you to supply your own peppercorns, which can be found in nearly every grocery store in the spice aisle. This is an additional expense that you should factor into your purchase, along with the cost of batteries if you are buying an electric grinder.
Q. Will my grinder work for both pepper and salt?
A. It largely depends on the construction of the grinder. If the grinder has steel blades, you should not use it to grind salt, as salt can corrode steel. Grinders with ceramic blades, however, should be fine, so long as there are no other steel components in the grinder. Check your owner’s manual if you are unsure.
Q. Can I wash my pepper grinder in the dishwasher?
A. It is not recommended that you submerge your grinder or run it through a dishwasher, as doing so could damage the inner grinder mechanisms and ruin the outer finish. To clean a grinder, wipe it down on the outside with a damp cloth and on the inside with a dry, soft cloth. If the inside does somehow become exposed to water, allow it to dry completely before refilling it with peppercorns.
Q. What is the best way to free a grinder jam?
A. If a peppercorn or other spice seed becomes trapped in the grinder gears, turn it upside-down and gently tap the bottom. If that doesn’t free it, you should be able to work it free using a soft cloth or toothpick.