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Our Top Choice...
Fresh spices and herbs make your meals more flavorful. Using fresh spices and herbs is an easy way to take your favorite meals and make them even better. For many home chefs the first and easiest way to make a more flavorful meal is to use fresh ground pepper.
Fresh ground pepper makes simple soups a little spicy, and a well seasoned, pepper crusted steak is always a fan favorite. Sure, you could use one of those pre-filled, store bought pepper mills, but if you really want to make fresh ground pepper a staple in your kitchen, you’ll want to invest in a good pepper mill.
We’ve taken the time to test and review many of the pepper mills on the market today. We’ve created this list of the 7 best from our research. Plenty of pepper mills do an adequate job of grinding pepper, but these seven really do a good job of grinding fine to coarse pepper.
We also have provided you with the list of features that we think are most important to consider when you’re shopping for a pepper mill, and the features that we took into account when reviewing.
Our favorite pepper mill is the COLE & MASON Capstan 12.5’ Wood pepper mill. It is easy to use, easy to fill, and does a great job of grinding fine to coarse pepper.
Our Best Choice: COLE & MASON Capstan 12.5’ Wood Pepper Grinder
This is one of the most attractive pepper mills you can buy, and it is reasonably priced. We think it looks great in any kitchen décor.
Here are the best pepper mills you can buy:
- Best Overall - COLE & MASON Capstan Wood Pepper Grinder
- Runner Up - Le Creuset MG600-17 Pepper Mill
- Best Budget - OXO 1140700 Good Grips Pepper Grinder
- Best Wooden - Peugeot Paris u'Select Pepper Mill
- Best Combo Set - Cole & Mason Derwent Gourmet Precision Copper Salt and Pepper Mill Set
- Best Value - Trudeau Seville Pepper Mill
- Best Electric - Latent Epicure Battery Operated Salt and Pepper Grinder Set
For the complete product list, please continue reading...
7 Best Pepper Grinders (2020 Reviews)
1. Best Overall - COLE & MASON Capstan Wood Pepper Grinder
If you are looking for a great, traditional pepper mill that looks attractive on your counter, but is also very efficient at grinding pepper, then you’ll want to consider our pick for the best pepper mill, the Cole and Mason Capstan wood pepper mill.
This is a traditionally styled pepper mill. It features a steel grinding mechanism for the pepper mill. The hardened steel makes quick work of peppercorns, and the adjustable coarseness allows you to vary the grind for your specific recipes.
Coarseness adjustment is simple, just turn the nut on the top. The tighter the nut is adjusted, the finer the grind. Remove the nut all together and the top is removed to fill the grinder. One of the things we like about this pepper mill is that it has a larger capacity than many other pepper mills.
There are pros and cons to this larger capacity, if you are using pepper as a staple in your kitchen, the larger capacity reduces the frequency that you have to fill your pepper mill.
However, if you aren’t using it much, you may find that the peppercorns dry out, and lose their flavor. A smaller capacity mill may be better if you don’t use pepper often.
In our research of user reviews, we did notice that some people had issues with the finish of the wood peeling after only a short time. We did not notice this issue, but it is something to look for.
Finally, if you want a matching salt mill, Cole and Mason does make a coordinating salt mill. Do not put salt in the pepper mill, it will damage the grinding mechanism.
Our favorite pepper mill, the Cole and Mason 12.5 inch pepper mill is a great product for the price. It’s easy to use, looks great on your counter, and adjusts for a variety of grinds. It’s a clear winner in our mind for the best pepper mill.
The length at 12.5’
Easy adjustment of grind settings
Refilling is easy
Limited lifetime warranty
Large for some small hands
2. Runner Up - Le Creuset MG600-17 Pepper Mill
If you’re looking for something a bit flashier for your kitchen, then our runner up, gives you great grinding capability in a flashy package.
The Le Cruset 8” pepper mill is a great mill for the price. With a capacity of almost ¼ cup of peppercorns, you won’t have to constantly fill this pepper mill. The capacity is so great however that your peppercorns go dry before you can use them. The ceramic grinder mechanism is exceptionally durable, and is capable of grinding both pepper and salt.
Le Cruset is known for its French inspired cookware, so adding their pepper mill to your kitchen, you know you’re getting a great product. These mills are not made from wood, so they are easier to clean, resist scratching, and we find that they are a bit more durable than their wood counterparts.
We really like the variety of colors that these pepper mills come in. The bright colors add a splash of fun to your kitchen, while also being highly functional.
Holds 40 grams of peppercorns
Durable lightweight material
Multiple colors to choose from
Limited 10-year warranty
It’s hand wash only
3. Best Budget - OXO 1140700 Good Grips Pepper Grinder
If you’re looking for a good quality pepper mill but don’t want to spend a ton of money, then the OXO Good Grips pepper mill is a great option. Our pick for the best budget grinder the OXO provides high functionality at a reasonable price.
The ceramic grinder makes this mill great for both pepper and salt. It comes prefilled with peppercorns which is nice, but they may not be terribly fresh. The mill easily adjusts to a variety of grind levels, so there’s no guessing about how coarse your pepper will be.
The clear container for this pepper mill is a nice feature. There’s no guessing when you need to refill. We also like that this pepper mill sits upside down, so you don’t have to worry about little piles of salt and pepper on your counter. This is one of the common complaints about traditional pepper mills.
The stainless steel accents of this pepper mill are attractive, and easy to clean. Simply wipe down with a wet towel.
Doesn’t leave mess after use
Ceramic grinders do a great job
Soft, comfortable non slip grip
Easy to refill with a variety of spices
Not good for large peppercorns
Needs to be refilled often
4. Best Wooden - Peugeot Paris u'Select Pepper Mill
If you want the best in pepper mills, and are willing to spend a bit extra for a higher quality wooden pepper mill, then you will love our pick for the best wooden pepper mill.
The Peugeot Paris U-Select pepper mill is a beautiful Beachwood pepper mill. Featuring Peugeot’s U-select system, this pepper mill easily grinds pepper to 6 different coarseness levels. Simply turn the base to select the grind you want. It’s that simple. We like the capacity and the simplicity of this pepper mill.
The two-step steel mechanism in this pepper mill, cracks the peppercorns first and then grinds them, for more aromatic and flavorful pepper.
This pepper mill has a coordinating salt mill, with ceramic mechanism. Do not put salt in this pepper mill, it will damage the grinder.
Produces grinds ranging from very coarse to powdery
Very durable mechanisms
Comes in a variety of sizes
Leaves almost no trace after use
Outer material is not as durable
Not great warranty
5. Best Combo Set - Cole & Mason Derwent Gourmet Precision Copper Salt and Pepper Mill Set
We’ve come back to Cole and Mason for our best pepper and salt mill set. This attractive set featuring a steel grinder pepper mill and ceramic grinder salt mill, make an attractive addition to any kitchen.
This set comes in three finishes, to coordinate with any kitchen. We like the clear canister of these mills, which allow you to know exactly when it’s time to refill.
Unlike our pick for the best pepper mill, this set from Cole and Mason has a grind selection dial that makes picking the right grind for your needs easy. However, the Cole and Mason only comes with three grind settings, compared to other mills on our list. That is a bit of a disappointment.
The variety of grinds
Unique and Modern Style
Durable and dependable
One step easy refill
It’s made in China
6. Best Value - Trudeau Seville Pepper Mill
For less than $20 you can get a good pepper mill. The Tredeau 6” pepper mill is a great option for the home chef that wants fresh pepper, but doesn’t want to spend a ton.
The carbon steel grinder makes quick work of peppercorns. This mill comes prefilled with peppercorns, so it’s ready to use, right out of the box. This pepper mill is a traditional pepper mill, with the grind adjustment made by tightening the nut on the top. We did find that when using, the nut seemed to loosen, so we did have to do a bit of readjusting, if we needed a lot of pepper.
Tredeau does say that their mill can be used for salt, however with the steel mechanism, we recommend that you avoid putting salt in this mill. Unfortunately, Tredeau doesn’t make a matching salt mill.
No mess after use
Simple easy to operate
Not as durable as others
Peppercorns that come with are basic
7. Best Electric - Latent Epicure Battery Operated Salt and Pepper Grinder Set
Finally, our pick for the best electric pepper mill is the Latent Epicure battery operated pepper and salt mill set.
This is an attractive stainless steel and acrylic pepper and salt mill set. The ceramic grinder mechanism makes quick work of both peppercorns and rock salt for fresh, aromatic seasoning for your favorite dishes.
We really like the included tray that keeps salt and pepper from piling on your counter. Each mill uses 4-AA batteries, which last a pretty long time, but we would have liked it better if the batteries were rechargeable.
Another cool feature of these mills is the LED lighted bottom that illuminated the food surface so you don’t have to worry about over or under seasoning your foods.
Simple one touch button control
Easy to refill
Complimentary mill tray keeps things tidy
Requires 4 AA batteries (not included)
A good pepper mill is your first step to more flavorful cooking. Whether you like the idea of a traditional, wood mill or you want something a bit more high tech, there is a pepper mill out there, perfect for your kitchen and your cooking style.
After our testing and research, we think that the COLE & MASON Capstan 12.5’ Wood Pepper Grinder pepper mill is an all-around great pepper mill. It’s easy to use, easy to fill, and looks great in any kitchen.
If you want to start improving your cooking game, and are ready to start using fresh herbs and spices for better tasting meals, it’s time you invest in a pepper mill.
How to Choose the Best Pepper Mill
If you are in the market for a new pepper mill, and want to find the perfect one for your kitchen, then we recommend that you take into consideration this list of features.
The seven pepper mills on this list all take into consideration these features, and we think that if you use this list you’ll find a product that you just can’t beat.
When it comes to materials, there are two parts or the pepper mill that you need to consider: the body and the grinder.
- Body – This is the part of the pepper mill that you see. The most common materials for the pepper mill body are wood, stainless steel and plastic, or a combination of these. You really can’t go wrong with a wood pepper mill. Not only are they attractive, but well-made wood pepper mills can last a long time. However, wood can crack if not cared for properly. Stainless steel pepper mills are also very durable and there’s not much you have to worry about when you pick stainless steel. If you’re looking at an electric pepper mill, you’ll want to go with stainless steel. Finally, plastic. Not our favorite material, but does have some benefits especially if you want a pepper mill for your picnic basket or camping gear. Plastic can break easily, but it’s lightweight and inexpensive.
- Grinder – You have two options when it comes to the material for the grinder: steel or ceramic. Both work really well. However, it’s important to note that if you want to invest in a second pepper mill for grinding sea salt, you don’t want to use steel. Ceramic is quite strong and will not break when grinding salt. Steel can break when grinding salt. If you’re only going to grind pepper, a steel blade is generally less expensive, and will do a decent job.
Your options when it comes to mill type are manual and electric. Both are fine, but we think that you’ll find that manual pepper mills are more reliable and do a better job grinding to a variety of grain sizes.
Manual pepper mills are what you probably associate with pepper mills in your mind. They can be operated by twisting or squeezing, though the squeezing options are a lot of work.
Battery or electric powered pepper mills are becoming more popular, but we find that they are hit or miss when it comes to consistently grinding fine pepper. They are great for coarse ground, but it seems to take a lot of work and time to make a decent amount of fine ground pepper with an electric pepper mill
One of the really important things to look for in a pepper mill is how many options you have for coarseness. Most traditional pepper mills allow you to set the grind using the nut on the top. Loosen the nut for coarse ground, tighten for fine ground.
Some pepper mills actually have different grind settings, instead of the nut. We like these, because they tend to be easier to use and are more consistent. Of course these settings are quite common on electric or battery operated pepper mills.
Ease of Use
A couple of things about ease of use. First, pepper mills are generally not difficult to use and clean. Though we think that you might find the electric options a bit more challenging. For us, the real question about simple operation comes down to how easy is the pepper mill to fill. Look for a mill with a nice wide opening for filling. Otherwise, you’ll end up with little peppercorns all over your kitchen, and that’s never a fun mess to clean up!