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Updated September 2021
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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.

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Buying guide for best salt grinders

Salt is considered the first and foremost kitchen staple, and it has taken up permanent residence in spice cabinets and on dining room tables around the world. Nearly every recipe calls for this nifty little substance that draws out flavor. You can step up your salt game, and experience the freedom of choosing grain size and texture, with a salt grinder.

These handy tools take larger grains or crystals of salt and grind them down. While the flavor of salt doesn’t change with a salt grinder, the adjustments it makes can improve your dining experience. You can enhance a beautifully plated seafood meal with some fancy salt flakes, and sprinkling steaks with rough, grainy salt granules will give them a hearty finish.

As basic as salt grinders are, there is a wealth of options available, both in manual and electric. There are also plenty of different designs and finishes, so choosing which model best suits your culinary needs can be difficult. Luckily, we've compiled all the details you need to take into consideration when shopping for salt grinders.

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If you like the idea of a salt grinder, you may also enjoy a peppercorn grinder. Look for models that come in a set as a matching pair.

Key considerations

Manual vs. electric

Salt grinders are either manually operated or electric. Manual grinders are easy to control when it comes to output, but twisting and turning can be hard on the hands and wrists if you have arthritis. Electric grinders twist and turn at the push of a button. They’re battery-powered, and a few even have a rechargeable battery.

Grain size and texture

If you’re shopping for a salt grinder, then you’re probably interested in experimenting with different grain sizes and textures. Basic manual salt grinders have rudimentary crank functions to adjust grain size up to six sizes. However, it’s sometimes hard to gauge the size without some trial and error or looking at the mouth of the grinder. Other models, both manual and electric, have a more accurate size adjustment feature, also up to six sizes. More advanced salt grinders offer texture selection, so you can choose between flaky, coarse, or varied.


Salt grinders vary in capacity. An average salt grinder holds about half a cup of salt. There are some compact models that hold less than a quarter cup, and large models that hold as much as a cup or more. Because they’re often designed to be ergonomic or decorative, salt grinders can appear much larger than their actual capacity for salt.

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Expert Tip
Keep your salt grinder away from the sink or other wet areas in your kitchen. Moisture could corrupt and rust the internal parts of electric models, or it could attract mold and mildew in wood grinders.



  • Stainless steel: Stainless steel is a popular material for salt grinders, both aesthetically and practically. The versatile finish complements other appliances around the kitchen while being easy to care for and low maintenance. Even salt grinders made with other materials, like wood or plastic, incorporate some stainless steel accents.
  • Wood: Traditional salt grinders are wood models with a rustic look. They come in a variety of woods, including walnut, beech, and maple, and many are stained or painted. Some wood salt grinders are handmade with ornate carvings.
  • Plastic: Salt grinders are also made from food-grade plastic. The best plastic salt grinders are BPA-free and made from other recycled plastics. Models made with predominantly plastic exteriors are often hermetically sealed to provide additional protection from water and moisture. Many salt grinders have plastic components, such as cranks, knobs, and a window that shows the salt level.
  • Ceramic: Some salt grinders have ceramic parts, like the grinding mechanism and the cubicle that holds salt crystals. While they perform well within the grinder, ceramic parts could easily crack or break if dropped.


Illuminated salt grinders have LED lights that turn on when you grind so you can see exactly where salt lands on your food. LED lights are usually blue so you can see the whiteness of the salt in contrast to your kitchen lighting.

Covers or trays

Some salt grinders come with covers, cases, or nesting trays. These are especially common when the mouth of the grinder is located at the bottom. The added coverage of a cover or tray prevents the grinder from being contaminated by food or particles on counter surfaces. Typically, these covers or trays are plastic, which means they can be washed frequently to maintain optimal cleanliness for your salt grinder.

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Expert Tip
If you enjoy making homemade salt scrubs, a salt grinder will give you the perfect grain size for exfoliation.

Salt grinder prices

Salt grinders range in price from $10 to $100. Those between $10 and $30 are typically manual models, though there are some electric grinders in this range.

Between $30 and $60, you’ll find superior wood models and above-average electric grinders. The blades in these models tend to last longer.

The $60 to $100 range is where you’ll see high-end, restaurant-quality salt grinders. They have stronger grinding mechanisms and operate more quietly.


  • Make a test mound. If you’re using your salt grinder for the first time or you haven’t used it in a while, make a little test mound on the counter to check the grain size and texture.
  • Check for batteries. Check whether your electric salt grinder comes with a set of batteries, and make sure to invest in extras so they’re on hand when you’re out of juice. You could also consider investing in rechargeable batteries for even more convenience.
  • Take the grinder apart for regular inspection. Perform regular checks on your salt grinder by taking it apart to see if there is excessive blade wear, a corrupted part, or a jam in the mechanism.
  • Fill your salt grinder over a paper plate. When filling your salt grinder, do so over a paper plate or flexible cutting board. You’ll reduce waste since you can simply put the excess salt back into the grinder or into the original salt container.
  • If you spill salt on the floor, leave it. If you’re adding salt crystals to your grinder and some fall on the floor, refrain from using them. They can pick up dirt and dust and contaminate the salt grinder.
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Expert Tip
For larger dinner parties, pick up a second salt grinder for the table, so your guests aren’t stuck waiting for the grinder to make its rounds.

Other products we considered

We like the simplicity and compact design of the PepperMate Turnkey High-Volume Salt and Gourmet Peppercorn Grinder. This elegant and functional grinder has a basic turnkey mechanism and comes in four colors. A small but effective salt grinder, it will fit in any corner or cupboard of a kitchen.

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Try different salt grain sizes and textures on your food. Many people prefer flaky or large grains for seafood and meat and finely ground grains for vegetables and soups.


Q. Can I grind salt in a peppercorn grinder and vice versa?
Each model is different, and the manufacturer typically specifies whether you’re able to use salt and peppercorns interchangeably in a grinder. There are some reports of salt corrupting the internal parts of pepper grinders, and it seems that certain types of blades get worn down more quickly by salt. As for using peppercorns in salt grinders, it’s not recommended as it’s very difficult to clean tiny pepper particles from the device. Your best bet is probably to buy a salt and pepper grinder set.

Q. What type of salt should I buy for my salt grinder?
It’s mostly preference, though some salt grinders hold up better to larger salt crystals than others. Coarse salts, such as sea salt or Himalayan salt, are recommended since they’re less sensitive to moisture and dry more easily due to their density.

Q. I need to grind a lot of salt at one time. What is the best way to store freshly ground salt?
Salt is non-perishable, and it’s best kept in airtight containers like glass jars. Some people also opt to keep ground salt in wood containers with lids. Though if you’re going this route, make sure the wood bottom doesn’t get wet.

Q. What’s the difference between pink Himalayan salt and regular table salt?
Regular table salt is pure sodium chloride. Pink Himalayan salt includes trace elements of potassium, magnesium, and calcium. It also has mineral impurities like rust, which is what causes its recognizable color. Pink Himalayan salt comes from the Punjab region of Pakistan, and because it’s only found in an isolated area it tends to be more expensive as well.

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