To achieve a pure taste, grinding whole peppercorns or flakes of salt can really give your dishes that incredible flavour that will make your tastebuds explode. Freshly ground salt and pepper has a stronger taste as the flavour hasn’t lost its potency unlike ready packaged ones which barely have any taste left.
You end up having to use a lot of it (dangerous for your health) and even then, it just barely touches your tongue. Here are our 10 best salt and pepper grinders reviewed for 2017.
The Difference Between Grinders and Mills
Mills and grinders are essentially the same thing but both terms can be used, there is no right or wrong to which is the correct term. Both of them uses the process of grinding or crushing salt and pepper through a manual machine or an electric salt and pepper grinder. They can also be used for herbs and spices.
One thing to note is that salt and pepper mills uses different grinding mechanisms to each other. Salt mills are made with materials that are highly resistant to corrosion and rust caused by salt and they crush dry flakes of salt rather than actually grinding it.
Pepper grinders are designed with steel and a hardened mechanism to prevent bits of metal from scraping off during the process. These are harder than salt mills as peppercorns are quite hard themselves so the grinder needs to be tough enough to crush without getting damaged. The grinding mechanism has grooves which the peppercorns fall into so it’s ready for grinding.
Do Not Use Salt in Pepper Mills
If you want to keep your salt and pepper grinders at their best, don’t be tempted to grind salt in a pepper mill as this will damage and corrode the metal inside. As stated above, salt and pepper mills grind differently to each other.
Peppercorns should not be used in salt grinders either as the metal and mechanism used isn’t strong enough to crush the peppercorns which will end up damaging the grinder.
Our 10 Best Salt and Pepper Grinders Reviewed
10. Morphy Richards Accents
- Battery Operated – Gives you perfectly grinded salt and pepper without the effort.
- Push Button Operation allows you to easily control how much seasoning you want.
- LED Light for more accurate seasoning.
- 5 Years Guarantee
The Morphy Richards Accents Electric Salt and Pepper Grinder Set allows you to quickly grind and crush salt flakes and peppercorns into fine grinds without any twisting efforts thanks to its battery powered function. At the push of a button, you can control how much seasoning you need – hold on for more, let go to stop.
There’s also a handy LED light that comes on at the same time so you can see how much you’ve grinded into your dish.
Its stylish and sleek design comes in a range of colours including red, purple and copper to suit many kitchen designs. Finished in a brushed stainless steel construction, each one feels solid despite its light weight.
There’s a window near the bottom of each mill which shows you how much salt or peppercorns are left. You’ll notice there are also 2 arrows pointed towards each other here which is the guide to open the mill for refilling and where the batteries are stored.
You can probably fill about a week’s worth of salt and pepper if you regularly use this for each meal everyday. It’s quite small but the blame is on the amount of space the battery compartment takes up. However, for the price, it’s one of the best electric salt and pepper grinder sets that’s affordable with a decent design and well made without any unsightly wires to hold you back.
9. Cole & Mason Precision 505 Acrylic
- Precision Mechanism – Each mill is spring loaded so there’s a gap between the inner and outer mechanism to give a more regular grind which will give more flavour with less turns.
- Simple to Use Adjustable Grind Selector allows you to choose from a finely ground or coarse texture.
- Refillable – Easy to refill by unscrewing the knob on top of the lid which will open up the mill.
- Lifetime Guarantee
Featuring a classic design, the Cole & Mason Precision 505 Acrylic Salt & Pepper Mill Set uses a spring-loaded diamond-cut ceramic mechanism for the salt mill and a machine-cut, hardened carbon steel mechanism for the pepper mill. With the precision mechanism, it doesn’t crush the peppercorns, instead it strips it to coax its natural oils out for a tastier flavour release.
You can choose to grind fine flakes with a twist of the knob on top of the lid clockwise or for a more coarser texture, twist anticlockwise. It’s quite simple to use as the knob is textured to enable you to grasp it easily and it’s not tightly screwed on either. The large size of this set means there’s plenty of room to fill up over a month’s worth of salt and peppercorns. With its transparent design, you can see when it will need to be refilled.
The basic and traditional design of this manual salt and pepper set will look great on any dining table making it ideal for everyday use. Although its constructed from acrylic, it feels quite strong and durable. Unlike standard salt and pepper mills, both give a more precise grind to maximise the flavour with less twists of the grinder. It works quicker and will certainly last a lot longer than a cheap set would.
8. Andrew James Stainless Steel Electronic
- Adjustable Blade – Choose to grind your seasoning finely or coarsely.
- One Touch Operation – Simple to use for quick seasoning by pushing down to grind and release to stop.
- Hygienic Cover keeps the base clean for easy and hygienic storage.
- 2 Year Warranty
With its modern and stylish design, the Andrew James Stainless Steel Electronic Salt & Pepper Grinder Set is battery operated for quick and simple use. With the button on top of the grinder, it enables easy use by pressing to grind and releasing to stop. To give you control over how much seasoning you want, the LED light comes on during use which is ideal if you’re seasoning dark coloured food or if you’re having dinner by candlelight.
The blade can be adjusted for finely powdered salt and pepper or for coarse flakes to give a stronger burst of flavour. Conveniently, there’s a cover for the base to keep bits of seasoning from falling out when it’s not in use as well as protecting it from dirty surfaces.
This mill set is quite tall and bulky but it can hold a couple of weeks’ worth of seasoning and it can be easily refilled by twisting it open. It grinds quite well although bits will get stuck in the mechanism from time to time but with a good shake, it will loosen up. Probably not something that will last you a decade but should at least outlast the 2 year warranty period and do its job well.
7. Russell Hobbs Stainless Steel 23460-56
- Durable – The grinding mechanism is made of ceramic which is stronger.
- Adjustable Grinding Blade for a fine or coarse ground texture.
- Base Light turns on during use so you can see how much you’re sprinkling.
- 2 Year Guarantee
The Russell Hobbs Stainless Steel 23460-56 battery operated salt and pepper grinder set is made with a built-in ceramic grinding system that can be adjusted to finely or coarsely grind to your culinary needs.
Using just 4 AA batteries to operate, it makes quick work of seasoning your dishes without the turning motions required. It works with the one button operation on top which functions the same way as other battery operated grinders.
With its concave body shape, this makes it easy for you to hold the grinder with one hand and you can reach the button on top with your thumb without strain.
There’s a clear acrylic window near the bottom that shows how much seasoning is left and it can be opened with a small twist here for refilling. To prevent stray bits of seasoning from littering your table, each one has a lid to cover up the base when it’s not in use. They stand pretty well with it on too.
Its sleek appearance with the brushed stainless steel finish gives this grinder set a professional and contemporary look. It grinds really quickly and smoothly too as nothing gets clogged up within the grinding system. It’s a little bit pricier than other battery operated grinders but with this one, you’re paying for a bit more durability so it should last you a longer time.
6. Cole & Mason Beech Precision Grind Capstan
- Vintage Style – Designed with a wooden and classic look that will suit any kitchen or table.
- Precision Grinding System gives a smoother grinding flow to deliver more seasoning with each turn.
- Easy to Refill – The cap on the base is simple to remove for refill.
- Available in Different Sizes – It comes in a small size at 120 mm, a medium size at 165 mm or large at 200 mm.
- Lifetime Guarantee provided for the Precision grinding mechanism.
Cole & Mason’s Beech Precision Grind Capstan Mill is designed with a traditional style in mind. Made from natural beech wood and a Precision grinding system, it works perfectly to deliver a consistent grind. This means you don’t need to turn the grinder as much to get a lot out from one grind.
As the body of the grinder is quite slim and curved inwards, holding it with one hand is quite comfortable and leaves plenty of room for your other hand to grip and twist. The twist is quite smooth unlike other standard manual grinders so even people with limited dexterity can use this without much of a struggle. The grippable knob on top of the mill can be turned left or right to adjust how you want the ground seasoning to come out.
As there’s a mill available for salt or pepper, the top of the knob is marked with a black lettered ‘P’ or ‘S’ to indicate which one is which. A clever place for it as it doesn’t ruin the look of the grinder. Some would consider the price a bit high for just the one mill but this is built to perform to a high quality standard so it will last as is usually the case with all Cole & Mason’s products.
5. Cole & Mason Precision Grind Forest Capstan Dark Wood
- Precision Grind Mechanism – Spring loaded with a carbon steel mechanism to ensure a consistent and smooth grind.
- 4 Different Sizes which ranges from a small 120 mm to a large 405 mm for the pepper mill.
- Adjustable Grind allows you to choose a fine or coarse grind with a twist of the knob.
- Lifetime Guarantee for the Precision grind mechanism
Similar to the previous salt and pepper mill, this Cole & Mason Precision Grind Forest Capstan Dark Wood differs with the sizes available and in colour. It’s constructed from beech wood as well but this one is dark stained to give it a classic and traditional design.
The available sizes for the salt and pepper mills come in 120 mm, 165 mm and 200 mm. For the pepper mill, there are additional sizes of 315 and 405 mm, ideal for large stores of peppercorns for regular usage. With the excellent build quality and flawless grind, these mills are a good value for your money.
4. OXO Good Grips Stainless Steel Lua
- Less Mess – Top grind design where the seasoning is sprinkled from the top for mess-free storage and cleaner base.
- Ceramic Grinder – More durable as it doesn’t corrode or affect the flavour of the seasoning.
- Grind Selector – Choose from 5 different grind texture selections going from powder fine to coarse flakes.
- Ready Filled – The mills come filled and ready for use with seasoning.
The OXO Good Grips Stainless Steel Lua grinders are designed a little differently to the traditional grinders where the seasoning is served from the base. This one serves seasoning from the top so you don’t have bits of seasoning falling out from the base after use and creating a mess on your table. Refilling the mill is done from the bottom which has a twistable cap opening up to reveal a wide opening for easy refilling.
You have a choice of 5 grind settings from a finely ground powder to thick coarse flakes and each grind is fairly smooth without getting clogged up too much.
It’s quite straightforward to select the grind you want which is near the top of the mill. There are 5 dots going from small to big indicating the ground size and the notch on the black band around the cap is twisted to select the one you want.
It’s not the greatest looking mills but they’re simple, functional and made to a high quality with durable materials. The large transparent window shows much seasoning is left and you can see pretty clearly the amount of space you have making it one of the best salt and pepper mills for this. It comes ready filled with salt or pepper as well so you can use it straight away.
3. Bottle Grinder
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- Grinds From the Top to prevent spillage of seasoning so there’s less cleaning up to do.
- Easy to Clean – Can be wiped with a damp cloth and a bit of soap.
- Adjustable Coarseness – Easy to choose the grind you want by twisting the wooden knob on top.
Featuring an unusual yet unique design, the Bottle Grinder Set by Menu has a ceramic grinder within a solid bottle. The seasoning is sprinkled out from the top so you won’t be left with a mess of ground salt or pepper on your tabletop. It can be adjusted to choose how fine or coarse you want the ground seasoning to be which grinds really smoothly.
The slim bottle design makes it easy to hold and the soft touch rubber material used isn’t slippery so you can get a good grip on the bottle. This modern salt and pepper mill set is quite pricey considering it’s not a known brand so most people are probably unsure of the quality. However, as well as having a great design, these operate really well without any spillage or much blockage so it’s safe to say, the quality is pretty decent.
2. Cole & Mason Derwent Gourmet Precision
- Large Storage Capacity that’s enough to fill a month’s worth of salt and pepper.
- Precision Grind Mechanism – The salt mill uses a spring-loaded ceramic mechanism to prevent corrosion and the pepper mill is made with hardened carbon steel mechanism that’s strong enough for peppercorns.
- Pre-set Adjustable Grind Levels – Each mill has a their own pre-set grind levels suitable for the seasoning used.
- Ready Filled – The mills are filled with good quality salt and pepper ready to be used.
- Lifetime Guarantee for the Precision grind mechanism.
Boxed in a nice black cardboard box, the Cole & Mason Derwent Gourmet Precision Salt & Pepper Mill Gift Set provides a nice little background on the company. Each mill can be bought separately as well.
The mills feature a contemporary design with a large acrylic window showing how much storage capacity there is. The top and bottom is encased with a brushed stainless steel finish making it look stylish.
Both mills use the same Precision grind mechanism which we’ve already established how good it is and has a choice of grind levels that’s individual to each mill. The salt mill has 3 adjustable grinds and the pepper mill has 6 and these are indicated on the bottom of the twistable steel collar on each mill. Refilling the mills are simply done by lifting the stainless steel cap on top which doesn’t create any mess.
As you grind, you can feel each part is sturdy so you know it’s built well to a high quality. It’s more than just looks, this is why Cole & Mason have some of the best salt and pepper grinders which is why they do not come cheap. The gift set would make a great present or if it’s for yourself, then you know you’re getting something that will last.
1. OXO Good Grips Contemporary
- Top Grind Design – Seasoning is ground from the top so less mess is created.
- Clear Acrylic Body shows the amount of seasoning you have left.
- Adjustable Grinder that’s easy to use with the rotatable tab to go from fine to coarse.
- Non-slip Grip makes it easy and comfortable to hold when grinding.
- Flat Level Tops allows grinders to rest flat when turned upside down so it provides a stable base for easy refilling.
- Ready to Use – Comes pre-filled with salt and peppercorns.
The OXO Good Grips Contemporary Salt & Pepper Mills are made with a stainless steel design that makes it ideal to go from the kitchen to the dining table. Featuring a large acrylic window, this provides you with a view of when to refill which can easily be done from the wide opening in the base. With the rubber base, this enables you to get a good and comfortable grip whilst grinding.
Because of the top grind design where the seasoning is sprinkled from the top, barely any seasoning residue is left behind on your surfaces.
Each grinder has a black band near the top that can be rotated to adjust the grind level to any of the 5 pre-set levels.
Like most of the best salt and pepper grinders, these ones don’t come cheap but when you feel the weight of these and how smoothly the mechanism grinds, you know it’s made to a high standard of quality. They’re designed for everyone to use whether you’re left or right handed or have limited dexterity.
Buyers Guide – Salt and Pepper Grinders and Mills
This affects how smooth and consistent the grind mechanism works. It can also affect how the flavour of your ground seasoning will taste. Ceramic salt and pepper grinders are considered the best as they don’t weaken the flavour of the seasoning nor does it corrode. The grind mechanism on pepper mills should be quite hard to be able to grind the peppercorns as well.
This uses batteries to electrically grind which creates less mess and gives quicker results without the effort. This is probably something you would want to consider if you plan on keeping your salt and pepper mill on the table as it can be passed around the table quickly for everyone to use.
Does it grind from the top or bottom?
Having a top grind design can create less of a mess for you to clean up as little or no seasoning residue is left behind on countertops. If you’re getting one that grinds from the base, then you might want to consider one with a base lid to hold the residue in.
This provides lighting to illuminate your food so you have more control over how much salt or pepper you want to grind.
Adjustable Blade/Grind Selection
Allows you to choose the thickness and texture of the ground seasoning. You could have a finer grind for sauces or a coarse grind for steaks.
Design and Aesthetics
How a salt and pepper mill is designed can determine how easy it is to use. A wooden body can give a traditional style but it also provides a non-slippery surface making it comfortable to hold and easy to clean. Having a large acrylic window can reveal when it’s time for a refill and a rubber base can make it easier to hold a stainless steel grinder whilst you twist the grinder.
Salt and pepper mills can wear down over time whenever you grind because the mechanism inside is constantly rubbed against each other or the seasoning. You can prevent this with good care and using a drop of oil to keep the mechanism from clogging up. Some of the best salt and pepper mills will provide a lifetime guarantee on its mechanism and there are some that will give a few years.
Watch it in Action
Watch the OXO Good Grips Contemporary salt and pepper grinder in action.
This model is featured at the number one spot on our list of the best salt and pepper grinders. It’s easy to use, has different grind settings and is durable.