HOME > Chowhound > Cookware >
What's your latest food project? Share your adventure

Help! A Peppermill that will last more than a month

Epicurean May 17, 2007 12:01 PM

I have been buying fairly high dollar peppermills and the max i can get is 2-3months before the grinder is stripped....I know to only grind in one direction and i regularly clean the mechanism....
Any recs on brands or other advice?

  1. cayjohan May 20, 2007 08:07 PM

    My trusty pepper mill is 20 years old. No problems at all, and we are a (ridiculous) pepper-loving crew. The one I have is from William Bounds Ltd http://www.wmboundsltd.com/.

    Not too pricey, three different grinds possible, and some manageable enough for the table, size-wise. I have never had to do anything but shake it out every once in a while. For what it's worth, check it out. I know another poster has had problems with Bounds, but we have had none (mine is ash wood and steel)- could it be that the manufacture method or outsource has changed?

    1 Reply
    1. re: cayjohan
      Mawrter May 21, 2007 06:46 AM

      I'm happy to hear that yours is made better. I like the fact that they are (were?) made in the USA, and my William Bounds nutmeg grinder works fine. My broken pepper grinder is definitel ynot 20 years old, though, so if there's a change in quality with materials or assembly, it's not an improvement.

    2. t
      toddster63 May 20, 2007 04:53 PM

      I've tried the disposable peppermill's from Trader Joes and from Costco, and they work great, however changing the grind size isn't as easy as with a proper peppermill.

      I've lived with the Magnum Pro for a week now, and I must admit I do like it. The amount of peppercorns it can hold is staggering, and as others have posted, the amount of ground pepper it can produce with a single crank is far and above what any other peppermill I have ever seen can make. A friend loves his romantic and aged Perfex peppermill, but even he admits it takes 10 times more grinding work for it to produce the same amount of ground pepper as the Magnum does with only a few cranks. It's easy to see why this line is so popular with waiters and restaurants.

      1 Reply
      1. re: toddster63
        NickM May 20, 2007 05:57 PM

        I had a Perfex for a number of years, and liked it; over time, however, I found that it would not maintain the same grind level, and eventually, it actually fell apart. Then I got a Magnum, and have had great results for a good decade since: it faithfully maintains a consistent grind level, grinds a prodigious amount quickly, and is a joy to fill.

      2. l
        Louisa Chu May 20, 2007 11:28 AM

        I'm really curious about these short-lived brands too. For proven durability and performance my votes go for the Unicorn Keytop and Peugeot Hostellerie mills. http://www.chow.com/stories/10482

        A mill should involve nothing more than filling and turning (yes, in one direction - I didn't know so many people ever even thought you should do otherwise - another good reason not to trust everything you see chefs do on TV ;).

        There's really no need to clean the interior. How are you cleaning it?

        1. Kitchen Queen May 20, 2007 10:32 AM

          Go to Trader Joe's - Hoping there's one near you. They sell, loaded, a peppermill, salt grinder and a lemon pepper. Once your out, toss and get another. They have also these days the same for cheese. Loaded and in the cheese case. If however, your wanting a perm. one for fancy peppercorns, well then, can't help ya.

          1 Reply
          1. re: Kitchen Queen
            Mawrter May 21, 2007 06:43 AM

            They have that same arrangement with a cheese grater, sold with right with the parmesan cheese attached. I've tried to refill the grinders with more peppercorns, but it doesn't work. Products intended for the landfill make me crazy.

          2. ballulah May 18, 2007 10:00 PM

            The one in my house was given to my mother by my grandmother before I was born. It's going strong at least 35 years later, and I've never found one to match it. It's not pretty, but man oh man does it work. And it delivers the perfect grind, not too coarse, not too fine.

            1. PurpleTeeth May 18, 2007 02:35 PM

              I have to say we are really happy with our Perfex. We had the same problem before we got this one and have now had it for 8 years!

              1 Reply
              1. re: PurpleTeeth
                cowgirlinthesand May 18, 2007 06:50 PM

                Another enthusiastic vote for Peugeot! When I was in college my favorite wedding present to give was a big wooden Peugeot.
                My mother "borrowed" mine about 15 years ago. We replaced it immediately. :)

              2. chef chicklet May 18, 2007 11:40 AM

                I have Kuhn Rikon, was supposed to have a different ceramic grinding part. Bought it a year and half ago, it is not working....:( I loved it, comes in pretty colors, and can adjust the grind. The one for salt is still going strong, but the pepper one who knows?

                2 Replies
                1. re: chef chicklet
                  jccooks May 18, 2007 01:43 PM

                  I also recommend Peugeot. They are fantastic quality. If you are able, you might want to test before you buy (sur la table or some such store), as certain models seem to be skewed to a more coarse or find grind.
                  I do remember hearing before that pick peppercorns are bad for grinders. I think they are soft and gum up the works.

                  1. re: jccooks
                    Gelato_in_Roma May 18, 2007 01:59 PM

                    I love my Peugeot grinder as well. After trying many different types (thank god for WS return poilicy) I finally found one I love. It allows me to change te courseness of the grind.

                2. p
                  Pumpkinseed May 18, 2007 11:31 AM

                  At some point in the mid-80's, a saleslady talked me into buying a Peppermate pepper mill for what seemed to be the scandalous price of $25.00. When I expressed my sticker shock, she assured me that I wouldn't be sorry and that it was a terrific pepper grinder that would last me twenty years at least. So far, the saleslady's been right on all counts.

                  It holds a good amount of pepper, the grind is adjustable, you can either grind directly onto food or accumulate and measure ground pepper in the clear "catcher" underneath, and it's been a sturdy, reliable little machine competently doing its job well into what is now its third decade.

                  I just checked it out on the web and I see prices ranging from about $35.00 to $40.00. If the quality hasn't changed, I'd say it's still a good investment.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: Pumpkinseed
                    cyberroo May 23, 2007 03:36 PM

                    I have one of these as well - bought from the Barefoot Contessa website before they were widely available because I liked the way it looked like it worked, and I'm very happy with it. The only problem we've had is that I have a bad habit of leaving it in front of the oven vent and the plastic has gotten a bit damaged from the heat. Still works great, though.

                  2. Zeldog May 18, 2007 11:05 AM

                    For the past 3 years I've been using an incredibly ugly but perfectly functional IKEA peppermill. The bottom is clear, the top is blue, and it reminds me a little of a miniature lava lamp. But it holds a lot of pepper, is easy to grip (being rather short and stout) and you can easily adjust the fineness of the grind. I forget what I paid for it, but probably no more than $10.

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: Zeldog
                      inuksuk May 18, 2007 11:40 AM

                      Ikea used to sell the same grinder in wood which looks a sight better. Mine is over six years old and has worked great for all that time. It works much better than my Peugeot which cost 6 times as much. It's been a couple years since I've been in an Ikea however so I can't promise anyone they still sell any grinders, wood or plastic, with the same mechanism.

                      1. re: inuksuk
                        jackie de May 20, 2007 08:23 AM

                        I bought a peppermill from Ikea about 1 year ago. It's black plastic, holds lots of pepper, is easy to use and works really well. I only use it for cooking, it doesn't go on my table, so the fact that it isn't pretty doesn't bother me. I prob only paid $8-10 for it. Works as well, if not better than any of the much more expensive mills I"ve had over the past 40 years.

                    2. s
                      Scary Bill May 18, 2007 10:56 AM

                      Peugeots come with a lifetime mechanism warranty. Sounds like you could use one!

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: Scary Bill
                        chokeartichoke May 18, 2007 11:08 AM

                        I love my Peugeot. It adjust well, holds up, and I've had it for a couple of years. They start at $15 or so, and the fancy ones get real pricey, but it's all the same mechanism.

                      2. fershore May 18, 2007 08:27 AM

                        I went through pepper mills like that too until I bought the Magnum. Easy to refill and I love the little dish it sits in. I learned that I must do a back-and-forth wrist action rather than going in one direction. It wasn't hard to change my habit.

                        2 Replies
                        1. re: fershore
                          Epicurean May 18, 2007 10:32 AM

                          REally?? back and forth? is that for the wrist ?...i was told going back and forth was bad for the grind mechanism...

                          1. re: Epicurean
                            fershore May 20, 2007 10:26 AM

                            I noticed that's what the chefs do on TV, not that that makes it the right way to go necessarily. It could have been the inferior mills that I was using before, but I found that the constant turning in one direction would mess up the mechanism and the grind would become too fine. I was constantly adjusting them. Not so with the Magnum.

                        2. s
                          soupkitten May 17, 2007 07:43 PM

                          i have a trudeau copper one-- went thru a bunch of mills which physically broke (wood, plexiglass, fake parts) before the grinder did, but i am happy with this one, which has sustained a fair amt of physical abuse (dropped on concrete floors, 3 housemovings) and has lasted 4 years for us (quite heavy use).

                          1. r
                            ricepad May 17, 2007 03:00 PM

                            I use a small coffee grinder I bought on eBay for about $10-12. Pretty robust burrs, and it'll grind up as much as I need in a snap.

                            1. scubadoo97 May 17, 2007 02:38 PM

                              Wow that's a pretty short life on a grinder. I have a cheapy acrylic one that I've used for years. Metal burrs for sure. Are you grinding other things in there besides pepper?

                              1. g
                                Grubbjunkie May 17, 2007 02:22 PM

                                Make sure you are getting one with all metal grinding components. There are some fancy/expensive mills that despite price still have plastic parts.

                                I've had a Vic Firth mill for more than 10 years, it is simple and perfect.

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: Grubbjunkie
                                  Mawrter May 19, 2007 04:31 PM

                                  <<Make sure you are getting one with all metal grinding components. There are some fancy/expensive mills that despite price still have plastic parts.>>

                                  William Bounds comes to mind. My dh bought me one of those, and somehow managed not to notice that the "chrome" part was really just plastic with shiny metallic finish on it. Since it was plastic, it was oddly light in the hand, and felt "wrong." Needless to say, it broke early on and without regret.

                                  We have a Peugeot now, and although it developed a crack in less than a year (!) it's still a million times better than the Bounds.

                                2. z
                                  zin1953 May 17, 2007 01:20 PM

                                  At the risk of possibly sounding pedestrian, I've had a Peugeot for years that has, and continues to, work great.

                                  8 Replies
                                  1. re: zin1953
                                    gargantua May 17, 2007 01:32 PM

                                    I have had three of the Perfex for many many years with zero malfunctions. However if I had it do do over I would try the Rosles, they look nicer and they seem to be equally well made. Both are available at Sur La Table

                                    1. re: zin1953
                                      Candy May 17, 2007 02:31 PM

                                      I have had 2 Peugeots, one for black pepper in black lacquer and one in white for white pepper for about 17 years. They just keep grinding away. I have also had since Christmas a Trudeau. It requires 6 batteries and works just by invertning it over the food. It does work well, at this time I have no clue about longevity but i am going through a lot of pepper.

                                      1. re: zin1953
                                        galleygirl May 18, 2007 06:56 AM

                                        I have a kind of old-fashioned looking wooden Peugeout that I borrowed fro a neighbor about 17 years ago...Oops!

                                        1. re: zin1953
                                          jfood May 18, 2007 02:12 PM

                                          Add jfood to Peugeot. Have a 12-14" for over 25 years and the only damage to the unit is from my wedding ring scaping some of the finish off.

                                          1. re: jfood
                                            galleygirl May 18, 2007 06:40 PM

                                            Mine, er, my neighbors', is teeny, only about 6 or 7 inches....It's a shame she moved....

                                          2. re: zin1953
                                            linengirl May 20, 2007 07:35 AM

                                            I second the Peugeot recommendation. I inherited my parents' smallest Peugeot when I went away to grad school, and I still have it. And they got married... well, I think they celebrated their 50th not too long ago. And both are heavy duty cooks...

                                            1. re: zin1953
                                              tiomano May 20, 2007 11:59 AM

                                              I have had my Peugeot for over 30 years and it still grinds like the day I bought it. And I use it almost daily.

                                              1. re: zin1953
                                                litchick May 20, 2007 09:10 PM

                                                I simply LOVE my two peugeot fidji grinders (one for pepper, one for salt) -- realible and durable. (see pic)

                                                (Not a fan of penzey's zassenhaus grinder, which someone else mentioned. I found the crank-style grinding action on it to be uncomfortable.)

                                              2. c
                                                chefboyardee May 17, 2007 01:17 PM

                                                I am so with you on this one. Hated and broke all of my mills before getting the one sold by Penzy spices. Its a little old fashioned looking, but it has lasted over 2 years. Before this, I blew through a grinder every few monthls like you. I have been very happy with this grinder.


                                                1. Lyndalh May 17, 2007 12:56 PM

                                                  I've had one of these for going on 8 years now,.. I love it. I got mine at Sur La Table but I'm sure you can find them at many other places as well

                                                  1 Reply
                                                  1. re: Lyndalh
                                                    Eric in NJ May 17, 2007 01:21 PM

                                                    I've had the same brass grinder for 6 years and it works great! I got mine for about $30 though I would be hard pressed to py $70.

                                                  2. Joe Blowe May 17, 2007 12:48 PM

                                                    What brands have you had so far, and have you tried a Magnum yet?


                                                    Show Hidden Posts