A Pepper Grinder That Actually Works

A thoughtfully designed pepper grinder with great pepper grinding performance.
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Preparing a home cooked meal is part of my daily life. It doesn't have to be fancy, and I have complete control over the ingredients that I use. But one thing that has bothered me a lot is all the various crappy pepper grinders I've purchased over the years, both in-store and online at Amazon. I've tried the manual ones and the electronic ones. And salt and freshly ground pepper (not the pre-ground stuff) are two common spices used in most recipes, so I wanted to find a well reviewed pepper grinder.

What I Hated About My Previous Pepper Grinders

Of all the pepper grinders I've owned, there are a couple of themes that tell me it's time to toss out the pepper grinder. Some of these are more trouble than others, but here are my pepper grinder pet peeves.

  1. The whole peppercorns don't grind or extremely slow! This entirely defeats the purpose. They just swirl around inside the container and very little if any comes out grounded.
  2. The shape of the grinder is uncomfortable to hold and use! Some of the pepper grinders I've owned in the past were very uncomfortable when manually grinding. The top section to grind was both smooth metal and sharp edges. This gave it a nice look, but less functional.
  3. Small opening to load more peppercorns! At least loading fresh peppercorns isn't an everyday event, but most of the time, peppercorns end rolling all over the kitchen when it doesn't smoothly load into the grinder.

What I'm Expecting in My Future Pepper Grinder

So after a bit of pepper grinder research, I learned quite a few things that are important in high quality grinders. I also found features I never imagines that make perfect sense!

  1. Effective at grinding peppercorn: It needs to grind peppercorn at decent speed. From my reading, it looks like the larger the grinding element, the more effective it will be at grinding pepper. Therefore, avoid the two-in-one salt and pepper grinders, which are bound to have small grinding elements (likely half the size) compare to dedicated pepper grinders.
  2. Comfortable grinding grips: No more metal and sharp edges. Instead, I prefer a more functional grippy handle that I can easily grab and go in what is sometimes a rushed and busy kitchen.
  3. Can grind various sizes: It's a nice-to-have feature the easily (no tools required) ability to adjust if you want fine or coarse pepper. Some grinders have the ability to make the adjustments on a more permanent state, but I personally prefer having flexibility. 
  4. Easy to reload peppercorns: No more odd cross bars that block the flow of whole peppercorns. Just a wide opening to quickly reload the peppercorn and get me on my way!
  5. Will sit upside down to the cabinet to avoid a mess: This one's not as big an issue because we put the pepper grinder on a small plate, but this would clear up a bit of space in the spice cabinet. This way, the grinder is always facing up, so excess ground pepper doesn't end up all over the cabinet.
  6. Reasonably Price! I'm down for spending money for a fresh pepper grinder, but not an overly absorbent cost.

The Pepper Grinders I've Owned

In no particular order, these are the pepper grinders I've owned in the past and the ones I'm actively trying. I'll likely update this in the future when grinders I've had face issues.

  • OXO Pepper Grinder (view at Amazon): This is my current pepper grinder. I've owned many other OXO kitchen essentials and they've all worked very well! It has heavy duty rubber handles to make gripping the pepper grinder very easy!
  • Cole and Mason Seville Salt and Pepper Combo Mill (view at Amazon): This is the grinder they have at the cafe at work. To be fair, it works fairly well at grinding peppercorn. Because the shape is a square, griping and grinding pepper is very easy.
  • Beyond Flavor Electric Salt & Pepper Grinder (view at Amazon): This one did not work well at all! I figured I'd try electric, so I could have pepper at the press of a button. But if you look at the size of the pepper grinder vs how much fresh peppercorn it holds, it doesn't make sense. It's so tall it doesn't fit well with the rest of my items in my spice cabinet. Ended up returning this unit.

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