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Apr 5, 2005 07:00 PM

Pepper Mill Recommendation Please

  • m

I've had it with my pepper mill and would like suggestions on a replacement (all sorts of price ranges, as long as warranted, are welcome). What I want is one that doesn't take forever to grind a teaspoon's worth of pepper. Thanks.

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  1. I have had 2 Peugeot mills for over 15 years. I keep a black lacquered one for black pepper and a samller white lacquered one for white pepper. I also have a Perfex that does a good job too.

    6 Replies
    1. re: Candy

      I just bought a peugot wine bottle pepper mill on clearance at Sur La Table for $30.00 for a birthday gift for a friend. I am glad they last.

      1. re: Richie
        Marcia M. D'A.

        The Peugeot pepper mills have a lifetime warrenty. I've had one for more than thirty years, and another for fifteen or so, I guess. One more was left in a cabin in Maine some years back.
        I like them because they are idiosyncratic - no two grind just the same.

        1. re: Marcia M. D'A.

          I love my peugeot pepper and salt grinders: elegant, easy to fill, ease of use.

      2. re: Candy

        Ditto on the Peugot. I've had one for about 13 years that works as well as when I bought it. You should be able to find them at fairly reasonable prices, too, if you shop around. (Around I here I can get the 6" plain wood model for about $25, though some places charge quite a bit more.)

        1. re: Candy

          I'm overwhelmed by the different models. Are they the same mechanism, just a different design?

        2. I love, love, love my oxo spice/pepper grinder... I have three of them. it really dumps a lot of pepper out with each grind... so I'd only recommend it if you really like lots of pepper.

          1. Having a regular manual grinder already I'm in the market for an electric grinder that will allow me to have one hand free. I don't like contaminating my cooking gear when handling chicken, pork, etc. I find it very useful for seasoning poultry, meat or fish to have a free hand to flip things.

            It's a toss up between a William Bounds & a Peugeot electric grinder for me. I see that Trudeau has a "rechargeable" grinder, I'm not familiar with that brand so that'll mean more research. I'll have to read a few more reviews & to try them out at Sur La Table. I search & to read reviews from people who have already bought the product to see if there are any glitches.

            As far a manual grinder my sister has a huge gold Turkish style grinder that releases a lot of grinds with each turn that she is quite happy with so you might look into that. Like this one, but not exactly .


            1 Reply
            1. re: pepper
              Jeremy Newel

              Like you, I need to have one hand free, so I got the Wm. Bounds electric. I love it! But if you need a lot of pepper at one go (I don't), you may find it a bit slow. For me, it is perfect. Have neither seen nor tested the Peugeot, though, so I can't make a valid comparison. Have never heard of the other one.

            2. c
              Caitlin McGrath

              I like both my Perfex, which performs well EXCEPT when I want a real coarse grind and is extremely easy to fill (little chute pops open on the side, nothing to unscrew), and my Zassenhaus, which performss well EXCEPT when I want a real fine grind. The Perfex can be found at cookware shops, and is around $60 nowadays. Penzey's sells the Zassenhaus in two sizes.


              17 Replies
              1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                Thanks for posting the average Perfex price. I just saw them at Williams Sonoma for $150! I'm glad I passed it up at that apparently inflated price.

                1. re: twinmommy

                  Know this is not date specific, but PERFEX has two sizes, normal one is 60 or so, and the big one, about 10 inches, costs 150 or so. Thus not inflated price if big one.

                  1. re: Delucacheesemonger

                    I'm sitting here stupefied! I had no idea Perfex mills were that expensive. And now even more so. I just took a look and the 4 incher is selling for $70 to $90. I've had two, one for white and one for black pepper, for probably 40 years now. But there's just no way, even in late 1960 dollars, that I would have paid that for one pepper mill, no less two.

                    I still use the Perfex for white pepper. I agree that adjusting the grind can be problematic. Every couple of years or so I just take it completely apart and give it a good scrubbing and it seems to help. But for black pepper, I've switched to the Unicorn Magnum and never looked back.

                    1. re: JoanN

                      Of the three l have, two, small pepper and small salt,, got at a house sale for $4 each, big one for pepper was a present. But even with their problems, still like them the best. Sure there are better out there, but these are damn near family by now.

                      1. re: JoanN

                        You are right. Perfex grinders are fine for history buffs. They have been around unchanged for ages. Sure they work, but are not in a league with the Unicorn Magnum...or, in my opinion, the even better ceramic mills such as the Kuhn-Rikon vase grinder or the WMF Ceramill's.

                        1. re: josephnl

                          Wow! Thank you for your recommendation about the ceramic pepper mills. I have been using the Unicorn Magnum for years. I know that the Unicorn had the top rated grinding mechanism and it has not disappointed me. What has disappointed me, however, is the side twisting refill door. When I'm grinding pepper, I often slip and accidentally open the refill door and pepper spills out all over my kitchen. I know. I know. It's not a deal breaker but it is a nuisance, especially if I have had a bit of wine before dinner. : ) Because of your recommendation I bought the WMF Ceramill Spice Mill Wood & Glass grinder. I have not received it yet but it looks gorgeous in pictures! I also like how you can see the pepper through the glass and that it is stored with the grinding mechanism facing up so pepper doesn't wind up on my counters. We shall see if the ceramic mechanism is better than the Unicorn Magnum's... Stay tuned.

                          Note: I bought the WMF Wood and Glass grinder from This smaller wood and glass version is not yet available on Amazon.

                          1. re: davidhunternyc

                            Mmmm, interested in hearing what you think about the WMF mill...

                            It sounds like you have the old style Magnum with the too-happy-to-open-wide-up door, My first one did that, and I hated it too. The newer design (3 years old?) has fixed this, and in fact the door can now be tricky to open...!

                            My Magnum just snapped into pieces! Thinking about now trying the WMF or should I get another Magnum...? I dunno...!

                            1. re: toddster63

                              Toddster, I will definitely let you know what I think of the WMF. At least in photos, the WMF is better designed and better looking than the Unicorn Magnum. Yes, my Magnum is an older one. I can't believe your new Magnum snapped! Are they using cheaper quality plastic nowadays?

                              1. re: davidhunternyc

                                I would not be surprised if the plastic was cheaper. That mill was only 3 years old, and while we do use it a LOT, that is WAY too short...

                                Hence my attraction to the taller oak wood mill by WMF. I think that one is next!

                                Anyone have any idea how many peppercorms the tall manual WMF mill holds?

                                1. re: davidhunternyc

                                  Yep, let us know about the WMF. If they are reasonable, easy to operate, it is great to run one in among the other treasures and enjoy, ha.

                              2. re: davidhunternyc

                                I'm sure you'll love the WMF mill. The Kuhn-Rikon vase grinders are also great. I use them in the kitchen and the have the advantage that they stand up with the mill on top, so that there's never any pepper dust on your counter or table.

                                1. re: davidhunternyc

                                  O.K. everyone! I just received my WMF Wood & Glass ceramic grinder pepper mill! I was so excited, I just tore it open from its packaging. I immediately filled it up with tellicherry peppercorns and started grinding away. Too make a long story short, I am very disappointed with it... I am so sad.

                                  The grinding mechanism sucks compared to my Unicorn Magnum. Whether the grind is fine or coarse, it takes 5 X the amount of turns to get the same amount of ground pepper as the Unicorn Magnum. From an ergonomic point of view, everything about the WMF is better than the Unicorn.

                                  Another point I would like to point out is that when a recipe calls for "cracked" pepper, the Unicorn excels. At its coarsest setting, the Unicorn, makes great "cracked" pepper. No need to crack whole peppercorns with the back of a knife. The WMF does not have a coarse setting. With the WMF mechanism wide open, at its coarsest setting, the ground pepper is far finer than it should be. I hope WMF goes back to the drawing board and re-engineer its grinder.

                                  I really, really wanted to like the WMF. It is gorgeous. Much better looking than the Unicorn Magnum. It is so easy to load the pepper. The glass container, upside down design, beautiful chrome band, and wood grinding cup is just so elegant. Also, the way the WMF grinds the pepper is effortless. So smooth. The ceramic grinder is such a great idea but the execution of the mechanism leaves me wanting way more. Even Peugeot pepper mills grind more pepper, faster, than the WMF.

                                  In the end, the WMF is a beautiful finishing peppermill. Want some pepper for your side salad? The WMF is beautiful for this but as a peppermill for cooking? Nope. Like I said. I am so sad. I will be returning this peppermill. Still, WMF is on to something.

                                  I beg WMF to rethink this peppermill. Please, get a Unicorn Magnum, match its grinding mechanism dynamics but don't lose the ceramic edge you offer. Also, I know WMF has two different sizes of the wood and glass peppermill. I bought the small size. How about filling this line-up with a medium-sized peppermill?

                                  After this experiment, I am sad to say, I will be going back to the Unicorn Magnum... and peppercorns all over my kitchen floor. : (

                                  1. re: davidhunternyc

                                    Great review David, and perfect timing--I was on the verge of buying the tall wooden WMF on Ebay. But after your review, I know I need to pass. That's what ALWAYS drove me nuts about every other pepper mill ever--the grinding, and grinding and grinding, and grinding, and grinding and the grinding and grinding--all to get a little bit of fresh pepper... Uggg! I am over that, and it's what I loved about the Magnum, one good grind and you had enough pepper.

                                    So even though my Magnum was far from the most durable grinder ever, I'll purchase another and give them a second chance. I just can't go back to that endless grinding...!

                                    Thanks again--very, very helpful!

                                    1. re: toddster63

                                      Toddster, you are very welcome! Even after reading your comment, I went back into my kitchen just to see, just to hope that I was wrong. Maybe I missed something? Nope. Like you said, I was confronted with endless grinding and grinding and grinding. So disappointing. How odd, as of 2015, when everyone under the sun has designed the perfect chair (ad nauseam), no one has designed the perfect peppermill? There is still far more room to improve. I hope that WMF, Unicorn, Peugeot and everyone else interested in design and engineering will take this as a challenge to create the perfect peppermill. All the best to you.

                                      Also, please let us know what happens when you order your other Unicorn Magnum. I hope that you'll get a much sturdier version than your last. My gosh, if Unicorn cheapened its plastics (which already does not look good) that would be awful. Unicorn has the best grinding mechanism, bar none, but if they put it in a Dixie Cup, than its worthless.

                                      1. re: toddster63

                                        That would be lousy if they made the plastic cheaper, but I have used my Unicorn Magnum for over 20 years, nearly daily with never a problem. It works as wll today as when I bought it, and I think because it is the taller model, I have never had an issue with the fill ring moving, and letting pepper out (and I have very big hands). I had at least 5 different pepper mills prior to the Unicorn, and I'll never go back to another brand.

                              3. re: Delucacheesemonger

                                Well, wish I had bought one in 2009. The 7 1/2 inch(8inchyou mentioned) costs $199 now and only one place can you find it. So inflation gets us all but it is a beautiful pepper grinder and well made. I can return it as long as store exists and I have the paper work.

                            2. re: Caitlin McGrath

                              I've always found my Perfex to want to grind every way BUT fine, and unless I tighten the adjustment regularly it keeps wandering over to the extra-coarse end of the spectrum. That said, I love it. The side-chute is brilliant, and having a crank to turn means you can do it with greasy/goopy hands, which happens a lot in my kitchen...

                              After chasing all over France trying to find one on its home ground, I broke down and paid $50 to my local cookware store in Nashville. That was in '91.

                            3. Here's a discussion on this topic.

                              I love my Unicorn Magnum pepper mill.


                              5 Replies
                              1. re: valerie

                                Also love my magnum.

                                1. re: valerie

                                  Me, too. I could never get the grind I wanted from the Perfex. The Unicorn Magnum can be easily changed from coarse to fine and you get more pepper out of it with a couple of turns than you do with other mills I've tried. That said, CI did a bit on pepper mills a few years ago and gave the best rating to the William Bound's mills. But I wouldn't give up my Magnum for anything.

                                  1. re: valerie

                                    Agreed. I tried out a lot of mills; some are better, some worse. But this thing holds a massive amount of pepper, is easy to adjust, and kicks out the end product impressively. I got the biggest size, though in retrospect, I think the next smaller version might be easier to wield and would still hold plenty of peppercorn. It's not the prettiest thing, but that's the only drawback.

                                    1. re: valerie

                                      Another vote for the Unicorn Magnum, after going through a Peugeot and William Bounds. It is easy to grind a lot of pepper quickly with the Unicorn. I believe Fine Cooking reviewed peppermills recently and picked this one as the best.

                                      1. re: valerie
                                        JK Grence (the Cosmic Jester)

                                        To respond to a couple of posters, Cook's Illustrated found, like the other magazine, the Magnum pepper mill to be the best, and indeed when you watch their TV show, it's the only pepper mill they use. The other ones that fell into the Recommended category were the East Hampton Industries (or EHI) Peppermate, the OXO Good Grips Grind It Pepper Mill, and the Zyliss Pepper Mill. The smaller Magnum works equally as well as the big one. The William Bounds that somebody mentioned fell into the Not Recommended category.