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There’s no doubt about it—fresh-ground pepper is far superior to pre-ground pepper that’s sold in supermarkets. Pre-ground pepper begins to lose its flavor after grinding, so the can of ground pepper on the shelf is probably already on its way to tasting like spicy sawdust. There are pepper grinders for every need, whether you want to grind fresh pepper at the table or you need large quantities of pepper for kitchen use. Whether you love black pepper, white pepper, or both, there’s a pepper mill—or two or three—that will be perfect for your kitchen. And table. And picnic basket. Some pepper grinders can also be used for grinding salt or other spices, depending on the grind mechanism’s material, but some are designed specifically for pepper. Check the instructions to make sure before you swap the pepper for something else.
01 of 07
Best Overall: OXO Pepper Grinder
While most grinders have their grinding mechanism on the bottom, this one has the grinder on top when it’s not in use, so you won’t be leaving bits of ground pepper behind when you set the grinder down. The coarseness selector is easy to see on the side of the grinder and easy to adjust, so you can grind fine pepper on your salad, then quickly switch to coarsely ground pepper to coat your steak, without fiddling with small knobs.
The clear acrylic body looks modern while it also lets you see how much pepper is left at a glance, so you’ll never run out of pepper mid-recipe or mid-dinner. Filling it is simple, too, since you just turn the grinder over and unscrew the cap while the grinder stands sturdily on its head. You’ll be ready to use this right away since it comes filled with black peppercorns but you can also empty it and refill with salt or whole spices you want to grind fresh.
02 of 07
Best for Coarse Pepper: Peugeot 32470 Stainless Steel Pepper Mill
Not only is this an efficient and adjustable pepper grinder, but it’s also classically pretty with a brushed stainless steel finish that will stand up to kitchen use and still look pretty on our table. No need to baby the finish—the stainless steel will easily stand up to kitchen spills and subsequent cleaning. This mill first cracks, then grinds the peppercorns for the best flavor. You can select one of six settings from fine to coarse, or choose a setting in between those, for precise control of the grind. Peugeot mills are made in France and each mill is tested before it leaves the factory. As a result, you’re likely to find peppercorns or ground pepper in the mill when it arrives, so you can be sure the mechanism will work exactly as it should.
03 of 07
Best for Chefs: Unicorn Magnum Plus Pepper Mill 9" Black
Great for people who love pepper, this mill holds a whopping 1 1/4 cups of peppercorns, so you won’t need to refill too often. Even better, it’s designed to make refilling easy when you need to, so you won’t have to stop and chase spilled peppercorns every time. This mill also grinds quickly, so you can produce pepper for your favorite rubs and spice mixes easily. The grinding size is set with a thumb screw on the bottom of the grinder, and it stays set until you change it, so you won’t accidentally add coarse pepper to a recipe where you prefer fine ground pepper. This grinder is made either in the USA or Italy and has a black plastic finish that’s easy to keep clean.
04 of 07
Best Budget: OXO Good Grips Lewis Pepper Mill
This simple grinder has a budget price, but it’s packed with features that will likely make it your kitchen favorite. It’s simple to fill and holds more pepper than you can imagine, while the clear face on the filler door lets you see how much pepper is left. It’s also simple to open the door and shake out a few peppercorns when you need them whole for a recipe.
The crank is easier to operate when you need a large quantity of pepper than a twist top that can be a little tiring, and top knob is comfortable to hold. The base holds ground pepper for you if you don’t want to grind directly onto the food, and it keeps your counter neat since errant bits of pepper won’t escape from the bottom of the grinder when it’s not in use. This has a ceramic grinding mechanism, so you can use it with any type of peppercorn, or even for grinding coarse salt.Continue to 5 of 7 below.
05 of 07
Best Combo Mill: Cole & Mason Lincoln Duo Salt and Pepper Grinder Combo
This attractive acrylic dual-grinder is ready for your kitchen or table as soon as it arrives since it comes filled with salt and pepper. Simple to use, both sides work the same—just hold the bottom and middle and twist to grind. Then flip it over and hold the bottom and middle and twist again to grind the other spice. A simple adjuster knob lets you switch from coarse to fine grinds on each end. To fill, you simply unscrew the entire grinding mechanism from the body of the grinder so you have a wide opening to pour in the salt or pepper, and since the body of the grinder is clear acrylic, you can see at a glance how much salt or pepper is left.
06 of 07
Best Wooden: Zassenhaus Speyer 5.1-Inch Dark Stained Beech Pepper Mill
Wooden pepper grinders look classic, evoking old-world craftsmanship and high-end steakhouses. This wooden grinder has that vibe and looks like it would be right at home next to the family cuckoo clock since it’s made in Germany from a 100-year-old design. But everything old is new again, and this would look just as comfortable in a modern setting. It’s made from solid beechwood, lathe-turned, and operates with a metal crank. Inside, it has a very modern ceramic grinding mechanism that’s guaranteed for 25 years. This grinder has six positions to adjust the grinding coarseness, so you’ll have just what you need, from fine to coarse. Filling is simple—just unscrew the knob and remove the top.
07 of 07
Best Battery-Operated: Latent Epicure Battery Operated Grinder Set
These grinders have gone high tech, with push-button operation and an LED light that brightens up the view so you can easily see how much salt or pepper you’ve added to your soup or salad. This is a set of two grinders; one for salt and one for pepper. A holder is included, so you’ll always have a neat place to keep the grinders, and to keep any stray grindings off your counters. Coarseness is selected using a knob on the bottom of the grinder, and the spice container twists apart easily for refilling. This operates on batteries; rechargeable batteries are not recommended.