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  1. I have to sing the praises of the Unicorn Magnum

    http://www.unicornmills.com .

    Best pepper mill I've ever used. Not crazy about the Darth Vader look but it works very well.

    16 Replies
    1. re: scubadoo97

      2nd...We've had ours for years (the salt grinder, too) and scuba is right: best ever!

      1. re: fauchon

        3nd, have had mine for about three years and love it. The best and only one that I would ever buy!

        1. re: Mother of four

          I too am a HUGE fan of the Unicorn Magnum...I have 3 (two pepper mills and one sald mill)...they are GREAT...lots of output, easy to load, hold a lot of pepper/salt and very easy to clean...you won't regret getting one of these!

          1. re: Mother of four

            4th! I have two of these and love them.

          1. re: scubadoo97

            Which model of unicorn magnum do you like best? I need a salt and pepper. The bottom fell out of my Oxo for the last time!

            1. re: wincountrygirl

              Out of curiosoty, how old was your Oxo? We have one that has a button on the side of the grinder mechanism. If you push the button, the top comes off for refilling. The problem is, sometimes it comes apart when grinding. We relegated ours to grinding cumin. I figured that since we don't grind cumin all that often, statistically anyway, the chances of the thing coming apart while using it are a great deal smaller.

              1. re: John E.

                That is the wonder of Magnum mills—your never ever hear of any problems with them as you do with OXO or most other grinders...!

                I know they aren't real lookers folks, but they work so well and for so long...!

                1. re: toddster63

                  The only problem with the grinder coming apart I have had is with an older Oxo. I have many peppermills, but none of them are Magnum. The only one I paid retail for was the German one from Penzey's that was purchased years ago. My favorite peppermill is a Vic Firth. The grinding mechanism has a design so it never slips, 'set it and forget it' as it were. The Williams Bounds peppermills are good as well. We use a $6 Ikea spice grinder at the stove.

                  1. re: John E.

                    I like the Vic Firth too... Now, if they only made a model that held even 1/4 cup of corns, that would be so much better! Too much refilling for us, though I do like the nonslip mechanism (but I have heard of them failing)...

                    1. re: toddster63

                      We keep the Vic Firth on the table and it doesn't need refilling too often. The Ikea by the stove (We also have a Kuhn Rikon spice grinder with a large capacity) holds a lot of peppercorns and the bulk of the seasoning is done while cooking. I like pepper and I like the peppermills so I have gad to restrain myself from adding too much pepper.

                      1. re: John E.

                        I love my VF, but have the same complaint about refilling. It's a love/hate equation, though, because the speed with which it grinds a good quantity for cooking makes it great for that, but also requires it to be refilled incredibly often if you cook a lot and love fresh ground pepper.

                        I wish it held more, too.

                2. re: John E.

                  I've had several - none with the button. This one is about a year old. This morning - just after I swept the floor and cleaned the counter top, the bottom fell out of the salt grinder. I'm done!

                3. re: wincountrygirl

                  I use and like the big tall "Darth Vader" Magnum (9"?). It holds more peppercorns, and I am still filling it up every 4 weeks (and it costs over $6 to fill it up at a time!) We like our pepper around here! However I don't like that the taller model does NOT come with a tray/lower cap like the shorter model does, but I bought a cheap ceramic ramekin at the kitchen store that works great for capturing loose pepper, or when I need to grind a lot for measuring for a recipe.

                  If you need a grinder for salt too, one of the white ones is perfect. I don't grind salt as Diamond Kosher is just perfect for me in my bamboo salt box (and I tried freshly ground sea salt, and found no greater taste difference from pre-ground salt—quite the opposite of pepper...!)

                4. I have an oneida Xuper-mill That I am very excited about, it's mill partis made of industrial ceramic, the same they make knives out of. IT grinds so will and I bought it really cheap at a discount place. I am espcially impressed with how well it does fine grinds.

                  3 Replies
                  1. re: Quine

                    Hey! I have one that I use to grind Allspice. I love it and want more of them. Do you know of a source? The Kitchen Collection store where I bought it doesn't carry it now. I have looked online with no result. Please let me know?

                    1. re: Ray_704

                      I so totally love mine as well. I bought it as a cheapo!!!! Find. i would buy extras!!!!! One for pepper one for salt and one for spices..OK 2 or more for spices. This is an awesome grinder!

                      1. re: Ray_704

                        Are you looking for Magnum peppermills? Try Amazon.com if so...


                    2. the wife and I recently got a Unicorn as well...we're big fans!

                      1. Penzeys previously sold Zassenhaus pepper mills in their catalog. http://www.imexenterprises.com/z-prod...

                        3 Replies
                        1. re: Kelli2006

                          I've heard good things about Zassenhaus coffee grinders, and bad things about their pepper grinders

                          that's anecdotal information, for what it's worth

                          1. re: joshlane4

                            I use a Zassenhaus Turkish style hand mill for pepper. It's great, but costs around $70 (I bought mine for grinding coffee but later bought an electric grinder because I got tired of cranking for 3 minutes to make two cups of coffee). Normally I wouldn't go to the expense myself, but if you want to make an impression at the table and get an excellent grind, it's the top of the line.

                            I also have an old Peugot. It's been sitting in a drawer for several years. Poor control of grind, very inefficient (too much cranking for too little result).

                            1. re: joshlane4

                              <<that's anecdotal information, for what it's worth>>

                              I'll pass it on.

                          2. Do yourself a favor; get a Unicorn.

                            1. Peugeot. Best pepper and salt mills we've ever owned.

                              16 Replies
                                  1. re: sfumato

                                    Just out of curiosity, how old are your Peugeot's? I was given one as a gift about a year ago, and it was not very good.
                                    Have you ever tried any pepper mill with a ceramic mechanism?

                                    1. re: josephnl

                                      josephnl --
                                      The distinct difference that I noticed right away when I first used the Oliver Hemming Spice Boy with a ceramic mechanism is its smoothness while grinding and its even results.
                                      Normally, with all my other pepper mills, I give up before I ever have enough ground pepper. With this ceramic grinder, the production is quite abundant and it is effortless to grind. I also like the adjustment setting; the setting holds and there is a perceivable difference in the various grinds.

                                      1. re: liu

                                        I totally agree. Unless there was a particular stylistic reason to select a specific pepper mill which was only available with a steel grinding mechanism, I would only buy one with a ceramic mechanism...the Unicorn Magnum being perhaps the only exception.

                                        1. re: josephnl

                                          josephnl, now that you have the Kuhn-Rikon and the Oliver Hemming, both with ceramic mechanisms, do you still like the Unicorn Magnum?

                                          Of the three, I have only the Oliver Hemming, and I do like it a lot. I might consider one or both of the others mentioned here if they are superior. Is the Unicorn Magnum even "better" than the Kuhn-Rikon?

                                          One pepper mill is quite suficient, unless something other than the Oliver Hemming has something special about it.

                                          1. re: liu

                                            You are quite right, one set of mills is quite sufficient for anyone. I have had the Kuhn-Rikon mills for ages, and love them. They are very informal looking, and I keep them in the kitchen and by the stove at all times. I wanted something a bit nicer, and therefore bought the Oliver Hemmings which I am delighted with. They are very attractive on the dining table. So now I use the K-R only in the kitchen.

                                            No, the Unicorn is not better than either of the others. I had one, which I gave to a friend when I bought the K-R's. I still often visit the friend and the Unicorn still works like a charm. It's a bit industrial looking, but sure is a great pepper mill. It is no better than either the O.H. or the K-R.

                                            1. re: josephnl

                                              Thanks, josephnl!

                                              I'm still thinking all three...hmmmmmmm.

                                              1. re: liu

                                                Let us know what you decide, and how you like it. The Unicorn Magnum I referred to above is the standard model...not the Unicorn Magnum Plus with which I have no experience.

                                      1. re: hal2010

                                        I'll bet you don't have a reasonably new Peugeot.

                                        1. re: josephnl

                                          No, it's about 15 years old. Never had any problems with it. Are the new models inferior?

                                          1. re: hal2010

                                            As my post elsewhere in this thread says, I used to be a huge fan of Peugeot mills, but recently have myself noted they have seriously slipped, are no longer very good. Others have reported similarly. Nowadays, I love the ceramic mills the best.

                                            1. re: josephnl

                                              I agree with you, josephnl; I, too, love the ceramic mechanism. Over the few years of use, I have noted no decreased production of ground pepper with my Oliver Hemming Spice Boy ceramic mill. There is no slippage in the grinding and no inconsistency in the results.

                                              1. re: liu

                                                As mentioned somewhere else, we have a wooden OHSB peppermill. My question is, don't you find it a little wierd looking?

                                    2. Since I travel to Europe on business quite frequently, I have become aware of the fact that at least in Germany and Switzerland, most of the better peppermills have ceramic grinding mechanisms. I have bought a few, and am absolutely sold on the ceramic mills. They are now available here, but it does require a bit of looking, but certainly you can track them down by googling. The German mills that I am most familiar with are made by WMF, and the Swiss mills that I personally prefer a bit over the WMF are the "vase grinders" made by Kuhn-Rikon. Once you have used a ceramic mill, I doubt that you will go back to a metal mill. They are easily adjusted, and grind perfectly. (If you order a Kuhn-Rikon online, be aware of the fact that they make seasoning grinders which look identical to the pepper grinders...but they are different, and you do not want the seasoning grinder to use with pepper!)

                                      That said, I have had a Unicorn Magnum for many years, and it works very well and although I prefer the ceramic mills, I cannot fault the Magnum for its quality and dependability. (I keep a Unicorn minimill in the car for those times when I am forced to eat at some joint that only has pepper shakers. The minimills are great!)

                                      On the other hand...and I hope I don't ruffle anyone's feathers (please forgive me, sfumato)...I think that the recently made Peugeuts are junk. They do not work reliably, and do not hold their settings well. I know that some will disagree, however that has been my experience with two at home, at with multiple Peugeut's in restaurants. They used to be great, but no more.

                                      6 Replies
                                      1. re: josephnl

                                        Even the old Peugeuts aren't so great over time - we have one that is probably about 25 years old with a rotary handle/crank mechanism that turns the grinder (as opposed to the more common twisting top mechanism). We stopped using it some time ago because dark powder began appearing right beneath the handle where it joined the top. The dark powder was quite annoying because it got all over my hands, and I assumed it was tiny, microscopic metal shavings - did not want.

                                        So heed the advice of the posters who recommend ceramic mills.

                                        1. re: josephnl

                                          No worries! Multiple opinions are good things. :) Our Peugeots were purchased in France over three years ago, so I don't know if that makes a difference- I should look that up to see if they are all manufactured in the same place.

                                          The settings on ours hold just fine through weeks and weeks of cooking, but they are also easy to reset when you refill them, so I usually play around until I get the grind I want (which I'm always changing anyway). I wonder why the ones you've handled are so loose- that's no good. I do love how I can get my salt and pepper ground really fine or really coarse with them.

                                          Like all kitchen equipment, I think pepper mills are a very personal choice! :)

                                          1. re: sfumato

                                            It may be that the Peugeut's purchased in France are better...I don't know, but as I said, my luck with them has not been good. I do like the Unicorn Magnum and Minimills, but my favorites are still those with a ceramic grinding mechanism.

                                            If you have any need for an extra mill for cooking, you might consider getting a Kuhn-Rikon. They're moderately priced at $30, and work really well. See: http://www.chefsresource.com/kuhn-rik...

                                            1. re: josephnl

                                              The Peugeot that I have is their new "select-a-grind" system, where the bottom piece of the mill rotates to select your grind. Sounds like a great idea, except that it adds a good amount of plastic to the mill (read: cheap!) and it seems to get in the way of pepper flow -- I tried to use mine for a kitchen mill and it was terrible! I would grind for 30 or so seconds and half the time it would be putting out pepper, half the time it wouldn't be; now it sits on my table. I picked up a Magnum and I love it! My only regret is that I wish I had gotten the larger size, the first few times I used it I accidentally twisted the part that opens up the mill for filling -- it's hard to see individual peppercorns in Beluga lentils :) someone got a surprise that dinner.

                                          2. re: josephnl

                                            I have the Kuhn Rikon grinders.. they work great and I like how when you set them down it is grinder side up.. no spillage on the counter.

                                            1. re: grnidkjun

                                              Agree completely that the grinder side up is a definite plus...especially when you set the mill down on a white tablecloth!

                                          3. I really like my Vic Firth pepper mill. It has a locking mechanism so the grind doesn't change while you're using it.

                                            1. these days i use a thai granite mortar and pestle. good for any amount of pepper from small to large, 4-5 seconds gives a nice coarse grind.. a few seconds more and it is as fine as fine can be

                                              1. I recently purchased Spice Boy, a "spice" mill designed by Oliver Hemming. Quite affordable and very efficient indeed! The design allows one to easily pour the pepper in without any mess. I definitely enjoy it.

                                                1 Reply
                                                1. re: alixium

                                                  Ah, don't Google "spice boy" with out saying "Hemming."

                                                2. Unicorn Magnum.. I've used one, and given several as gifts, and I haven't heard a single bad thing (except they aren't the prettiest thing.. if you want some fancy wood one to sit on the table and impress guests with the burled grain, the Unicorn isn't for you... if you want well ground pepper and lots of it, then it is..

                                                  1 Reply
                                                  1. re: grant.cook

                                                    My husband pooh-poohed the Unicorn Magnum when I bought it -- it's plastic, and it won't win any beauty prizes, but a year later, he wouldn't trade it for the world. The output is amazing, and with it's large container for peppercorns, you're not constantly filling it up. It's the best one we've ever had.

                                                  2. The Ikea is hard to beat -- $6.99 and the grinder is ceramic. I use two, one for coarse sea salt and one for pepper. Love 'em. Also they have extra matching jars w/ lids that fit the grinding head.

                                                    5 Replies
                                                    1. re: puzzler

                                                      Amazon has a Peugeot Salt and Pepper Mill set in yellow for $26 right now. I bought them and have enjoyed them so far, although I've only had them for a few weeks. I've also never tried the Unicorn Magnum or Kuhn Rikon, so I may not have an adequate basis for comparison... Still, pretty cheap for a set of two.


                                                      1. re: puzzler

                                                        Yeah, I like mine from Ikea just fine for all the reasons you stated. I didn't bother posting about it because I didn't think it fit "awesome." You sure aren't going to impress anyone with your $7 pepper mill. Unless they just like things that are inexpensive and do what they're supposed to very well.

                                                        1. re: puzzler

                                                          I have not seen the Ikea grinders, but if they uses ceramic grinders, they are probably hard to beat, especially for the price!

                                                          1. re: josephnl

                                                            Agreed, ceramic is THE way to go. Ain't pricy, ain't gonna be a display piece, it wil be your best grinder

                                                          2. re: puzzler

                                                            The Ikea is a good basic grinder, better than the disposable ones you buy when you get pepper in the grocery store, but I find the grind uneven and a bit "large" (and not very adjustable).. but if presentation isn't that much of an issue, its good. I keep one near the stove for dumping pepper into things as they cook..

                                                          3. Vic Firth Pepper Mill...OMG..I have been using his fab drumsticks for over 25 years and I had no frigging idea he made Pepper Mills!
                                                            I have a Peugeot pepper mill that I got in Paris and love it but I'm going out this weekend and finding me my Vic..
                                                            The guy is an incredible percussionist..

                                                            1. Unicorn is the best, no contest!!!

                                                              1. I'm OBSESSED with finding the ultimate pepper mill and, hands down, the best on the market today is the Unicorn Magnum 9". And that's after trying/buying dozens. It doesn't look pretty but function over form when it comes to grinding pepper!

                                                                2 Replies
                                                                1. re: act1966

                                                                  Amen! The longer we have our's, the happier we are!

                                                                  1. re: act1966

                                                                    Ya know I just went to google those and as I hit enter I realized I SO hope I don't get condom results. I mean ya gotta laugh at that name.

                                                                  2. I totally agree about the Magnum peppermills. I've used a lot, and the Magnums really excel at day to day usage. They aren't as pretty or romantic as many others, but the output and peppercorn storage will amaze you.

                                                                    I will never use any other mill. I'm currently staying with my brother and using his wooden mill, and YIKES! I have to grind and grind and grind all day to get any pepper...! My Magnum takes just one or two grinds...!
                                                                    The only weak point of the Magnum is that it does not excel at a fine, fine grind (many peppermills don't).

                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                    1. re: toddster63

                                                                      Another nod to te Unicorn Magnum. Prodigious output, relatively easy to fill (a small funnel helps) and easy to clean. I have managed to get a pretty fine grind out of it: far better than, say the Perfex. I have had only limited expereince with the Peugeots, but would agree with those who say the manual grinder takes forever to produce grinds.

                                                                    2. I 've had my Peugeot electric grinder for years - 14 at least. I'm addicted to it, considering I have joint issues. It's been cranky, at times, but still works like a charm.

                                                                      We beat it, and it still keeps on grinding. We have a replacement light, but still haven't had to use it. This grinder cost about $60. when my son bought it for me.

                                                                      Grind on.

                                                                      1 Reply
                                                                      1. re: breadchick

                                                                        I personally have had very poor results with the Peugeot grinding mechanisms in the manual grinders. It's the Magnum Unicorn or the Kuhn-Rikon or WMF ceramic mills for me!

                                                                      2. I just use a cheap, small mortar and pestle...costs next to nothing at an asian supermarket, has no mechanics to wear out and you can have the pepper as coarse or as fine as you want it.

                                                                        I have a really big heavy one that is used for everything, but the pepper one has only ever pepper in it.

                                                                        1. Someone up in the thread mentioned the Oliver Hemming spice boy, and I must second that recommendation. These grinders might be a bit hard to find on the internet, but worth it. I own both a Unicorn Magnum and an Oliver Hemming, and I now use the Hemming almost exclusively. It looks great, is really easy to refill, and grinds very well. It might slightly lose out on grinding speed to the magnum, but the difference won't matter to even the above-average home cook.

                                                                          In the end they are both great grinders, but if you think the unicorn is ugly and want something that performs and looks good, take a look at the Oliver Hemming.

                                                                          Good luck.

                                                                          4 Replies
                                                                          1. re: smkit

                                                                            Does the Oliver Hemming have a metal or a ceramic grinding mechanism?

                                                                              1. re: josephnl

                                                                                FYI, I just did a comparison of the Oliver Hemming and Unicorn grinders downstairs in my kitchen.

                                                                                Unicorn Magnum Plus Peppermill vs. Oliver Hemming Spice Mill

                                                                                + Unicorn Magnum Plus load capacity is huge (almost a cup up to the filling hole). Hemming had only about 3/8 cup.
                                                                                + While the loading hole on the Unicorn is large, I wouldn't call it easy to fill. I usually snip the corner off a zip bag and control the pour that way. Sometimes in a pinch I would do the funnel thing with my hand, and it usually led to peppercorns dropping all over.The Hemming though is incredibly easy to fill with its mortar-like top, and it is probably the best I have come across period in terms of refilling. That mostly makes up for the smaller storage capacity as it is so easy to refill.
                                                                                + At medium to coarse grinds, the Unicorn has stunning production. 20 turns produced 1 3/8 tsp versus a little under 1 1/8 for the Hemming.
                                                                                + At fine grinds the the difference was negligible, and the Hemming actually allows for a finer grind than the Unicorn when both are set to the finest setting.
                                                                                + The Unicorn is messier than the Hemming. At coarse grinds it leaks out a fair amount of pepper. In the past if I needed just a little bit of pepper I would vigorously shake the Unicorn and enough would usually fall out on its own. The Magunum plus doesn't come with a matching tray to catch the stray grinds, but other Unicorn models do, so you have to improvise if you want to catch those valuable grinds with the bigger model.
                                                                                + The turning of the Hemming mechanism is smoother and quieter than the Unicorn, but the Unicorn is more satisfying with its grind-and-crunch experience, though at coarse grinds the Unicorn can sieze up once in a while if too many corns get in the grind mechanism.
                                                                                + In terms of looks and design, the Hemming is much better IMHO. It won a red dot design award, comes in multiple colors, the acrylic has a better feel than the Unicorn's ABS plastic, and the incorporation of the mortar at the top for filling is really unique. I think form and function came together well on this product.
                                                                                + For versatility, the Hemming has a ceramic grinding mechanism so it can also handle salt as well as spices smaller than a coffee bean. It is actually called a spice mill, but I haven't really tested it with spices though. The Unicorn has a steel mechanism so salt will corrode it, but they have other products for salt.
                                                                                + Just a note. With my first Unicorn, the loading hole used to come open way too easily and this led to spilled corns a few times. The ring on the new one I have seems tighter, but I will see if it becomes looser over time as the other one did.

                                                                                All in all, they are both good performers, but I still use my Hemming more than the Unicorn these days. If you need a lot of pepper fast, then the Unicorn is great, but if you can sacrifice on speed a little and want a very good performer with unique design, then the Oliver Hemming grinder is a good choice.

                                                                                Btw, I found my Hemming on eBay for under $20.

                                                                                Happy grinding. Now I have to go clean up the enormous amount of pepper downstairs.


                                                                                1. re: smkit

                                                                                  Terrific report, smkit!

                                                                            1. I've been doing some research on this and the reviews and info I've found seem to place the Atlas and the Perfex about equally. Anyone here who's had experience with both? Anyone care to comment on the Atlas?

                                                                              9 Replies
                                                                              1. re: mdzehnder

                                                                                Know nothing about the Atlas, but there are many pepper grinders that are better than the Perfexl I personally think the Perfex are among the poorest pepper grinders around. My personal favorites are those with a ceramic grinding mechanism such as those made by WMF, Kuhn Rikon and I recently learned about the Oliver Hemming which looks great. The Unicorn Magnum is my favorite among those with a metal grinding mechanism.

                                                                                1. re: mdzehnder

                                                                                  I've never used the Atlas, but I went through Zassenhaus and Perfex before settling on the Unicorn Magnum, which I like far far better than the previous two.

                                                                                  1. re: mdzehnder

                                                                                    mdzehnder: I gifted my wife a 8" brass Atlas 20 years ago, and it continues to work flawlessly. Polished, it's also quite beautiful, IIDSSM. I find that the crank is ergonomic. It produces 1t of pepper in 20 revolutions, which I find more than sufficient.

                                                                                    Chef'sDepot calls the Atlases "the highest quality we've tested" (they also sell Zassenhaus).


                                                                                    1. re: kaleokahu

                                                                                      Thanks for the recommendation. I ended up purchasing an oliver hemming based on several recommendations on here (and based on the fact that it was not as expensive as some of the others) and its stopped working after about 2 months or so, so I'm already on the lookout for something else. Perhaps I'll try an Atlas next.

                                                                                      1. re: mdzehnder

                                                                                        I've used my Oliver Hemming twice daily for a few years, and it still works perfectly. Nevertheless, I still prefer my Kuhn Rikon ceramic "vase grinders".

                                                                                        1. re: mdzehnder

                                                                                          mdzehnder, I am so sorry to hear that your Oliver Hemming pepper grinder did not give you a lifetime of ground pepper. I use mine several times a day and after a couple of years, it is still as good as its first day.

                                                                                          Still, I am seduced by others. If my space were unlimited, I think I'd like to purchase one of each brand...to REALLY KNOW which is impressive!

                                                                                          1. re: liu

                                                                                            I have 2 pepper mills from Peugeot. A black lacquer finish for black pepper and a white lacquer finish for white pepper. Both are at least 30 years old. They just keep grinding away with no problems, kind of like the Energizer Bunny.

                                                                                            1. re: Candy

                                                                                              The old Peugeuts were indeed wonderful. I have personally received two as gifts in the past 10-15 years, and both went to Goodwill...they ground very poorly. Now my choices would be the Unicorn Magnum, or my personal favorites, those with ceramic mechanisms made by Kuhn Rikon, Oliver Hemming, or WMF. I have had all three for some time and they work perfectly. A friend I sometimes cook with has the Unicorn Magnum, and it's likewise a terrific grinder.

                                                                                        2. re: kaleokahu

                                                                                          I got one of these recently and it's awesome. They still seem to make these like they used to. All metal (in nice looking bronze or copper) and not subject to breaking after a year like so many of the plastic ones. Puts out a steady stream of evenly ground pepper with very little effort. Not cheap but you only have to buy it once.

                                                                                        1. re: Quine

                                                                                          Absolutely agree. Once you use a ceramic mill you will not return to a metal mill. They are easily adjustable, always grind evenly, and you never turn the knob and have nothing come out...a common occurrence with most metal mills (except perhaps the Unicorn Magnum),

                                                                                          1. re: josephnl

                                                                                            Turn the knob and nothing comes out - huh? I have a Peugeot grinder (wood body, metal mechanism) that's worked perfectly for me on a daily basis for about 30 years now and I have NEVER turned the knob and had nothing come out - unless, of course, I forgot to refill it. I have no idea what you're talking about.

                                                                                            1. re: BobB

                                                                                              I too have a very old Peugeot grinder that works very well, albeit not nearly as well as the ceramic mills. Unfortunately, the newer Peugeots do not seem to work nearly as well. I have a favorite local restaurant that has a Peugeot on every table...and although they are always filled, half of the time you turn the top and nothing comes out, regardless of the adjustment of the control screw. I had exactly the same problem with a Peugeot that I received as a gift about 2 years ago! Sorry, but that has been my experience, and therefore I would not recommend anyone consider buying a new Peugeot grinder. The Unicorn Magnum is an excellent metal mechanism peppermill, but still I prefer the ceramics which in my hands provide a more consistent grind.

                                                                                              1. re: josephnl

                                                                                                I have heard elsewhere that the newer Peugeots aren't as good as the old ones, but didn't realize they were so bad that sometimes nothing comes out at all. That's so sad, in their day they were the best. Maybe I should get an insurance rider on my vintage one. ;-)

                                                                                        2. I love electric mills. I bought one at Crate and Barrel for $50 a few years ago. I know it takes 20 seconds to grind a teaspoon of pepper, so I can grind away with one hand and still do other keeping-food-from-burning tasks with my free hand. Very convenient.

                                                                                          1. After sorting through all the posts here about pepper grinders, I was very curious and excited to try the Spice Boy by Oliver Hemming with the ceramic grinder.

                                                                                            I scoured the internet for a place to order this item. Finally, I found Dream Icons in the United Kingdom. Megan there was extremely attentive and helpful; we emailed back and forth several times and she was always available to answer my questions.

                                                                                            If anyone wishes to order one of these spice mills with a ceramic grinder, I highly recommend:


                                                                                            I ordered just a couple of days ago and it arrived today. I love it! The funnel at the top makes for very easy loading; I just dumped a small jar of peppercorns into it and that was it. Unlike all of our other many pepper mills, the grinding is very even and bountiful! This piece is a joy to have...and it works really well! I thank everyone here who recommended it!

                                                                                            42 Replies
                                                                                            1. re: liu

                                                                                              We love our ceramic mills from Kuhn-Rikon, but must admit that the Oliver Hemming's are definitely more attractive stylistically. We love the ceramic mills in the K-R as well as those in the WMF mills. Does anyonone know if the Oliver Hemming's have the same ceramic milling mechanism...or one that works as well. We are falling in love with the look of the Oliver Hemmings, but need to know if they grind pepper and salt as well as the others!!

                                                                                              1. re: josephnl

                                                                                                The Oliver Hemming uses the CrushGrind mechanism from Ideas Denmark. I have never used the Kuhn-Rikon and can't look at the mechanism itself, but the company's website does list Kuhn-Rikon as one of the companies that uses its mechanism.

                                                                                                Here is the link.


                                                                                              2. re: liu

                                                                                                Yes, it can be a bit difficult to find the Oliver Hemming in the US. Unica Home used to carry them, but at time of writing this, the site no longer offers them.

                                                                                                I got really lucky and bought mine for under $20 on eBay brand new. It is always good to check there too.

                                                                                                And btw, there is a wood version of the larger spice mill too that is very nice looking. I am not talking about the smaller spice boy, but the regular sized one with the mortar on top. I first saw it at the Building Museum in Washington, DC and it was really nice. This one is even harder to find than the acrylic ones.

                                                                                                Here is a picture from Amzon uk for an image.


                                                                                                1. re: smkit

                                                                                                  I found my Oliver Hemming Spice Boy ceramic mechanism mill at Dream Icons in the UK.
                                                                                                  I was extremely pleased with their service, and mine was delivered from the UK to Southern California in just a few days:


                                                                                                  1. re: liu

                                                                                                    Just took your advice and purchased two Oliver Hemming Spice Boys (one for salt, the other pepper) from Dream Icons. They are a great company to deal with. I can't believe that they can afford to Fedex internationally for $20! I ordered them online late Monday night(Tuesday in England), and they were delivered to me in southern CA on Thursday!!

                                                                                                    I am very happy with the mills, especially their sleek modern look. They grind beautifully, but somehow not quite as well as my Kuhn-Rikon which has a similar (but not identical) ceramic mechanism. If only the Oliver Hemming stood upside down like the K-R (with the grinding mechanism on top) so that pepper dust didn't get on the table, they would be the best ever.

                                                                                                    Thanks for the referral to Dream Icons. They have other stuff on their website that looks great!

                                                                                                    1. re: josephnl

                                                                                                      josephnl, I am so glad that your experience with Dream Icons was as good as mine. I, too, was amazed by their extraordinary service and prompt Superman delivery! I have had a few back-and-forth friendly email chats with Megan there (owner) and she is delightful! It feels good to associate with such nice people. And I agree, josephnl, that some of their other products are quite nice.

                                                                                                      Thanks, too, for posting about your Kuhn-Rikon mill...I might have to order one of those next!

                                                                                                      1. re: josephnl

                                                                                                        Little late in inquiring but has anyone used the Oliver Hemming Spice Boy for spices only and what was the result. I see where pepper and salt seems to be the choice of using it for in this thread. Little concerned about ordering from Dream Icons. Love to hear from someone at the exact ordering method from out of the U.S. so I will not make any mistakes.

                                                                                                        1. re: Tinker

                                                                                                          Hi, Tinker!
                                                                                                          Although I can't help you with your inquiry about using the Oliver Hemming Spice Boy for spices other than pepper, I will tell you that since I posted my rave review here for this pepper grinder, I am even more in love with it than I was just a few months ago!

                                                                                                          I have purchased other pepper grinders and still, this one remains the best! It grinds a large quantity with little effort. I also love the coarse grind that it consistently holds; there is no slipping into other grinds as some pepper mills do.

                                                                                                          My suggestion is to contact online the very nice people at Dream Icons. They will direct you through the process and advise you about your use of other spices in this mill. It might take a few back-and-forth emails, but I do trust that they will assist you. Address your inquiries to Megan.

                                                                                                          1. re: liu

                                                                                                            I purchased one about 2 months ago for my wife and its already quit working. Can't figure out why--I've dismantled it as far as I possibly can and reassembled, everything seems to be put together correctly and doing what its supposed to do, but simply nothing comes out when you turn it. Quite disappointing.

                                                                                                            1. re: mdzehnder

                                                                                                              Hi, mdzehnder!

                                                                                                              I am completely baffled by your problem with your Oliver Hemming. Also, I am so sorry for your problems; it looks like you did your homework...only to be disappointed.

                                                                                                              Very infrequently, I will twist our Oliver Hemming pepper mill and nothing will happen. It seems as though the peppercorns needs to "download" into the grinder -- nothing magical here, just a simple mechanical process. If I shake it, it then begins to grind properly. Before you wave your white flag, please try to engage the pepper into the ceramic grinder with a very gentle shake and see if that works.

                                                                                                              Then, I would urge you to solicit the assistance of the kind people at Dream Icons. Of course, if you did not purchase your mill there, then ask for help wherever you bought your grinder. I trust that this is a very good pepper mill and should not malfunction as you are describing. Please don't give up too quickly! It is my hope that you can enjoy this mill as much as I am enjoying it!

                                                                                                              1. re: liu

                                                                                                                My two OH mills work perfectly every time. I love them!

                                                                                                                1. re: liu

                                                                                                                  We've had the exact same issue w/ our earlier model Hemming ceramic pepper grinder--it seemed to just stop feeding pepper into the mechanism. You could open up the adjustment wide to the point of half-chunks of peppercorns coming out, but totally unuseable as a grinder. We did not get a bag of super-large tellicherry pepper either... very mystifying and disappointing. It looks great, but works not!

                                                                                                                  I detest the looks of the Magnum--but I need a reliable pepper mill.

                                                                                                                  1. re: kingping

                                                                                                                    As I've said, I love my OH grinders. They work perfectly. That said, at the stove I use Kuhn-Rikon vase grinders which are ceramic and true workhorses...work perfectly.

                                                                                                                2. re: mdzehnder

                                                                                                                  I still say that the Unicorn Magnum is the best pepper mill that I have ever had. I have had it for at least five years and have never had a problem with it. It is not beautiful but it sure performs.

                                                                                                                  1. re: Mother of four

                                                                                                                    Maybe so, but its, 1) ugly as sin, and 2) made of plastic. #1 in and of itself isn't a deal breaker, but #2 is, and the two put together definitely are.

                                                                                                                    1. re: mdzehnder

                                                                                                                      Well, it depends on what you are interested in! Beauty or dependability! I'm for the latter!

                                                                                                                      1. re: Mother of four

                                                                                                                        I have to have both, and I can't get past the look and the plastic.

                                                                                                                        1. re: mcf

                                                                                                                          Unfortunately most of the better pepper mills are plastic...the Oliver Hemmings, the Kuhn-Rikon vase grinders, almost all WMF's, and the Unicorn...all of these are great! Perhaps one reason plastic is used so widely is that many want a matching salt mill...and salt and metal frequently do not get on well together.

                                                                                                          2. re: liu

                                                                                                            Hi, Liu: You seem to be the authority on these OH mills. Are the housings ceramic or plastic? I'm trying to de-plasticize AMAP these days.

                                                                                                            1. re: kaleokahu

                                                                                                              Hi, kaleokahu!

                                                                                                              Oh, NO! I'm not "an authority" at all. I was just very driven to find a good pepper mill. I have a shelf full of mediocre ones, but nothing ever seemed to perform as I wanted. For me, that meant a coarse grind that didn't slip into the powder mode, and a lot of pepper without a lot of turns. Pepper adds flavor and bite without calories...

                                                                                                              The grinding mechanism on the Oliver Hemming Spice Boy is ceramic, while the body of the mill is acrylic. Here is the link to the Dream Icon website which describes this mill:


                                                                                                              The top acts as a funnel for an easy fill and the mechanism holds the setting that you might desire.

                                                                                                              1. re: liu

                                                                                                                Hi, Liu: You have the information and the initiative and ability to convey it very well, so that makes you an authority. Thanks.

                                                                                                                1. re: kaleokahu

                                                                                                                  Thank you for your kind words, kaleokahu!
                                                                                                                  I'm just like you, searching for "tools" that work!

                                                                                                                  Which pepper grinders do you have? What is your experience?
                                                                                                                  Are you currently shopping?

                                                                                                                  1. re: liu

                                                                                                                    Like you, I am a huge fan of the ceramic mills. I have 5 which all work like a dream...two Oliver Hemming (salt and pepper for the dining table which I purchased from Dream Icons on your recommendation), two Kuhn-Rikon vase grinders (salt and pepper which I keep by the stove), and a WMF which I keep filled with white peppercorns.

                                                                                                                    The only non-ceramic (steel) mill that I would personally recommend is the Unicorn Magnum. These are excellent mills, but I still prefer the ceramics.

                                                                                                                    1. re: josephnl

                                                                                                                      josephnl, 5 ceramic mills...great!
                                                                                                                      And which of those is the real workhorse? I'm into function over fashion...I like tools that work and exceed my expectations!
                                                                                                                      Which is your preferred? (I understand that it might be difficult to select one because you are using different spices...you might just like your WMF because you like the white pepper that it contains.)

                                                                                                                      1. re: liu

                                                                                                                        If you are interested in a good ceramic pepper grinder that is the epitome of function over fashion, try this one from Ikea. It's the one by the stove at our house.

                                                                                                                        1. re: John E.

                                                                                                                          John E., thank you for the link with the picture. I have passed by this pepper mill a hundred times and was never tempted to purchase it. Now I will!

                                                                                                                    2. re: liu

                                                                                                                      Hi, Liu: As I posted above, I have--and like--an 8" brass Atlas. I also have a couple of old, taller, wooden restaurant Rubirossas, but I'm not sure what brands they are. Both work well, but not as well as the Atlas. I also have some very small salt mills I got for Hawai'ian alaea and black salts. These are awful, so I'm going back to my M&P for that.

                                                                                                                      I'm not currently shopping for another peppermill, although I like to keep up on things.

                                                                                                                      1. re: kaleokahu

                                                                                                                        "I'm not currently shopping for another peppermill..."

                                                                                                                        Well, kaleokahu, surely you have more will power than I do!
                                                                                                                        Whenever someone posts about how much they love their own pepper mill, I want one of those...and those and those!

                                                                                                                        I am very happy with the Oliver Hemming Spice Boy that I have, but I am always curious to find out what "the best" pepper mill might feel like...what it might do that mine doesn't do. Good tools impress me. Sometimes it is about certain features (the size, the grinding mechanism, the filling design) while other times it is about the feel of something. Some kitchen tools just feel better as they do their job. Specifically, I think the ceramic grinding mechanism is quite smooth and distinct from a steel grinder.

                                                                                                                        1. re: liu

                                                                                                                          Hi, Liu: "...more will power..."

                                                                                                                          LOL, not historically. If I'm ever to get that AGA or La Cornue (or Duparquet) range, I have to slow down a little spending to try to improve smaller stuff that already works well for me. If my Atlas fails, I'll have the benefit of your and others advice on the virtues of ceramic grinders. But I have a feeling the Atlas will outlast me.

                                                                                                                          1. re: kaleokahu

                                                                                                                            "...the Atlas will outlast me."

                                                                                                                            You speak such truth, kaleokahu!
                                                                                                                            When I was younger, I wanted my purchases to last "forever." As I get older, I am looking more for products that work well and less for products that will work forever!

                                                                                                                            1. re: liu

                                                                                                                              Hi, Liu: I am blessed then that the Atlas works well for me. There is actually an "Army" model Atlas I covet. It will do coffee as well as pepper, and it has a removable bottom cap that can be ground into, and then used to pinch or dump the grind from.

                                                                                                                              1. re: kaleokahu

                                                                                                                                Wow...that Atlas "Army" grinder does sound pretty versatile.
                                                                                                                                Hmmmm...I wonder if it does laundry and makes dinner, too??

                                                                                                                                If I were going to grind coffee beans, I would want to dedicate a grinder solely for that purpose. It would be difficult to clean out the resultant oils from the coffee beans and use that same mill for peppercorns without cross contamination. Pepper in my coffee might work, but I don't want coffee in my pepper.

                                                                                                                                1. re: liu

                                                                                                                                  Hi, Liu: Those Greeks! Imagine a country so enlightened they issue their soldiers coffee/spice mills for their kits. Maybe they don't mind a little carryover on manoeuver (But I'm with you--I just think it'd be nice to have the little pinchpot, rather than have to grind into and onto everything).

                                                                                                                            2. re: kaleokahu

                                                                                                                              You said the magic word, Aga. If a fellow who "gets" Agas (or La Cornue, for that matter) is happy enough with his Atlas rather than ceramic then they are certainly good enough for me. I have a 6" Peugeot which would be 25 years old, I love it and started giving them as gifts to friends. I even have a little one in my camping box.It too will outlast me. I read with much sadness here that the mighty Peugeot grinders aren't what they were. We read too often of great brands declining, KitchenAid is another. But not Aga at least so far.

                                                                                                                              I would like to find a grinder that can grind a quantity of pepper to enable adding a pinch or so.

                                                                                                                              Other things that appeal about the Atlas is "handmade", "no plastic or acrylic parts" and also it's made in Greece who could use some foreign currency right now.

                                                                                                                              I live in a very warm climate in an apartment, so I'll never justify the real heat storage Aga, but both Aga and La Cornue make little apartment friendly models and I'll definitely be into one of those.

                                                                                                                2. re: liu

                                                                                                                  I am posting just a little more than a year after I purchased our Oliver Hemming Spice Boy pepper grinder from Dream Icons (link in my post above). We have used this pepper mill for more than a year now and we love it!

                                                                                                                  Just today I noticed two vertical one-inch cracks in the plastic body of the mill at the base. I contacted Megan at Dream Icons where I purchased the mill in March, 2010. Without any hesitation and no further explanation, she offered to send me a new mill.

                                                                                                                  This is a company who cares about its customers! One never knows if a company will support its customers until something goes awry. Dream Icons showed its true colors today by responding quickly to my email call for help (I heard from them 3 minutes after I emailed them!) and by responding with such kindness and support.

                                                                                                                  Now that I know how good Dream Icons really is, I am anxious to purchase more items from this wonderful company!

                                                                                                                  1. re: liu

                                                                                                                    Wow...I'm impressed. You may recall that I purchased 2 OH mills from Dream Icons about a year ago on your recommendation. They were great in delivering them to me quickly, and I love the mills. Sure hope mine don't crack. Too bad OH doesn't make them of steel, perhaps enameled so they would look the same.

                                                                                                                    1. re: josephnl

                                                                                                                      They used to have some beautiful wooden ones, but I was never able to find them. The only one I saw was in the National Building Museum gift shop in Washington, DC back in 2006.

                                                                                                                      1. re: smkit

                                                                                                                        Is this the wooden OH mill you have seen? It looks nice, but not as nice as the sleek tall plastic ones. Do you know if the wooden mill has a ceramic grinder? I'm total sold on ceramic over steel grinders.

                                                                                                                        1. re: josephnl

                                                                                                                          "I'm total sold on ceramic over steel grinders."

                                                                                                                          I also prefer the ceramic grinding mechanism.

                                                                                                                          josephnl, thanks for responding to my great experience with Dream Icons. I am glad to hear that your experience with them was also good and that you are enjoying your Oliver Hemming mills.

                                                                                                                          1. re: josephnl

                                                                                                                            Actually, I did a search and found one in the UK. The wood ones are tall just like the plastic and have the same crush grind mechanism.

                                                                                                                            Here is the link.

                                                                                                                          2. re: smkit

                                                                                                                            We have a wooden Oliver Hemming Spice Boy ceramic mechanism mill. I found it at a thrift store for $1.99. Once again, my theory that these peppermills are being donated by someone other than those that bought them seems to be spot on.

                                                                                                                        2. re: liu

                                                                                                                          Just a week ago, as I posted here, I discovered a couple of small cracks in the body of my Oliver Hemming Spice Boy pepper grinder. As I also posted, Dream Icons in England -- where I purchased this mill -- offered to send me a replacement mill.

                                                                                                                          It is just a week later and my new replacement Oliver Hemming mill arrived. The packaging was excellent and Dream Icons stood behind their product...with a smile! They even enclosed a friendly note, letting me know how much they value their customers.

                                                                                                                          It is with complete confidence and pleasure that I recommend Dream Icons -- if you are considering the purchase of an Oliver Hemming Spice Boy pepper/salt/spice mill. They are a fine company!

                                                                                                                  2. I love my Pepperguns. I have a white one I use for sea salt and a black one for pepper. I especially love that I can operate it with one hand. Very useful when I'm busy in the kitchen. I've used them for years and have no complaints.

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                                                                                                                    1. Everybody seems to like the unicorn including Cook's Illustrated. I use a peugeot. I went with the peugeot because I could get it in a clear acrylic. I like to be able to identify what is inside. For instance, I could tell which grinder had black peppercorns and which had white peppercorns and some people are starting to go with the rainbow colored peppercorns. You may want to start grinding Salt. Wouldn't it be nice to see inside?

                                                                                                                      Anyway a good pepper grinder will set you back about $30. It should have a stainless steel grinder assembly. Make sure it adjusts down to a really fine grind. A cheap grinder will only grind out uneven coarse grinds.

                                                                                                                      2 Replies
                                                                                                                      1. re: tonka11_99

                                                                                                                        The preference for a "stainless steel assembly" is very much open for debate. You will find many (myself included) who find a ceramic grinding mechanism superior to stainless steel.

                                                                                                                        1. re: josephnl

                                                                                                                          Ceramic grinds OK, but tends to chip or break if dropped.

                                                                                                                      2. I have both a hand crank Peugeot and a Magnum. Yes I am a pepper freak. The one thing I have found with the Peugeot is that it is hard to keep the grind consistent as the setting nut on the grind mechanism loosens up quickly with use. I have never had any issue with the Magnum. I will never part with the Magnum and uses it exclusively now. The Peugeot sits lonely on the shelf as a decoration as it looks nicer than the Magnum.

                                                                                                                        3 Replies
                                                                                                                        1. re: Raymondo

                                                                                                                          I'm glad I'm not the only one who has the issue with the setting nut loosening up on the Peugeot. I thought maybe I got a bad one. It is a drag to have to constantly tighten it.

                                                                                                                          1. re: goodeatsgal

                                                                                                                            If the grind setting loosening is annoying to you and you like a wooden/turned pepper mill, buy a Vic Firth. As indicated in a post somewhere above, they have a locking mechanism so that when the grind is set it doesn't move. We have Vic Firth, Zassenhaus, Peugeot, William Bounds, and Bodum pepper mills and if I had to choose only one it would be the Vic Firth both for it's appearance and performance. We don't have a Unicorn Magnum.

                                                                                                                          2. re: Raymondo

                                                                                                                            Maybe I have no taste, but I think the Magnum looks great with my decor (modern). I gave my 4 Peugeots away to friends.

                                                                                                                          3. I've had the cast aluminum, hand crank Peugeot for years, but it's cranking action is awkward and it's poor at translating effort into results, and, as also noted, doesn't give a consistent grind. I much prefer the traditional turned wood versions like William Bound, although a one-handed grinder might be even handier.

                                                                                                                            1. Though I've owned it for only a few years I am very happy with my OXO pepper-mill.
                                                                                                                              Nearly cylindrical, though ergonomically tapered, the pointier end does the grinding business, the wider end (rubberized, for holdability) has the filling parts. It sits on the counter on the rubber end, which has a big-ol recessed flange so you can quickly and easily twist-out the stopper of the filling-hole (don't lose it, though). A ring between the ends sets the grind - click, click, click - and little ears stick out for finding, grabbing, and turning. All the others, except for the excellent William Bounds, have long since left for the thrift shop.


                                                                                                                              1 Reply
                                                                                                                              1. re: mrnelso

                                                                                                                                So you might be the person that donated most of our pepper mills. Of those I mentioned a couple posts above the only one purchased new was the Zassenhaus which is my second favorite after the Vic Firth.

                                                                                                                              2. I got my husband a Vic Firth grinder and he loves it. They also look very pretty on the table, so I don't mind leaving it out all the time.

                                                                                                                                7 Replies
                                                                                                                                1. re: basketwoman

                                                                                                                                  Another vote for Vic Firth. After getting one for myself, I started giving them as gifts to other pepper lovers. They grind so much pepper per turn, and with 6 locking grind adjustments, that it's not a chore to grind a TBS or more for a recipe. Of course, this means it needs filling much more often than any mill I've had, and no instructions came to tell us how to prevent the failure to operate post filling. The stem must be pulled all the way up and the bottom of the grinder mechanism awkwardly held upward firmly in place while replacing the top and screw nut, or it won't work. Wish they'd print something up about that.

                                                                                                                                  Still, it's not the most expensive mill in our house, just the best ever. Come in great colors, too.

                                                                                                                                  1. re: mcf

                                                                                                                                    Is the Vic Firth Ceramic? I couldn't find anything on their website about the mechanism..

                                                                                                                                    Edit: They look to be steel based on the photos

                                                                                                                                    1. re: LATrapp

                                                                                                                                      Hi, LATrapp.

                                                                                                                                      I just googled "Vic Firth Pepper Mills." As I clicked through the various sites, I found some Vic Firth mills that have stainless steel mechanisms and others that have ceramic mechanisms. Some sites do not specify, so just move on to the next.

                                                                                                                                      I do not own a Vic Firth pepper mill, but I like this very compact one from Bed Bath & Beyond; it is clearly specified that this one has a ceramic mechanism:


                                                                                                                                      1. re: LATrapp

                                                                                                                                        Mine is stainless steel, I believe, and the salt mills are nylon. I've seen some sites claim they are a zinc alloy.

                                                                                                                                        1. re: LATrapp

                                                                                                                                          Even though it isn't ceramic, the Vic Firth is my favorite peppermill both in form and function .

                                                                                                                                          1. re: John E.

                                                                                                                                            Mine, too, never had another one come close.

                                                                                                                                            1. re: John E.

                                                                                                                                              After reading this entire thread (and others), the Vic Firth has won me over in terms of looks and story. I've always been happy enough with non-ceramic I guess, so looking forward to ordering up my new set!

                                                                                                                                      2. I love my Trudeau Evolution. It's solid stainless and smooth so easy to keep clean. It's ergonomic and easy to use. The grind can be set from coarse to fine as dust. It's only drawback is that it does not hold a ton of corns.


                                                                                                                                        1 Reply
                                                                                                                                        1. re: LovinSpoonful

                                                                                                                                          That's the only drawback with VF, too. It grinds so much so fast, which is wonderful when you need, say, a TBS, but not so much when you run out quickly. That looks like a very nice mill, too.

                                                                                                                                        2. Mine was made by Banton, which I see is now made by Vic Firth.

                                                                                                                                          I bought it a fit of rage in 1989 after the acrylic salt and pepper mill we'd been given as a wedding present fell apart as I was salting a pot of chili (yay, an entire salt mill full of salt into the chili).

                                                                                                                                          I think I spent $30 for it, and my now-ex was convinced I'd lost my last marble.

                                                                                                                                          22 years later, I still have the Banton pepper mill, have ground tons of pepper through it (daily use for 22 years) and it still works as well as the day I bought it. (It's far more faithful and reliable than my ex ever was!)

                                                                                                                                          1. Question: would anyone happen to know of a good cheap (like $10-20), adjustable, long-lasting, and clear (or has a clear section) mill?

                                                                                                                                            12 Replies
                                                                                                                                            1. re: shezmu

                                                                                                                                              I would highly recommend the Unicorn Keytop which is exactly $20. This holds a lot of pepper, is very well made, but it is not clear. See: http://www.consumersearch.com/pepper-...
                                                                                                                                              If you read my posts above, I very much favor ceramic mills, but my favorite, the Kuhn-Rikon Vase Grinder (which is clear) runs about $30. For 20 bucks, you can't miss with the Unicorn. If you can spend 30 bucks, you will not be disappointed with the K-R.

                                                                                                                                              1. re: josephnl

                                                                                                                                                What I'm trying to do is to have a separate spice mill for every grindable spice that I work with, hence why I'm not up for buying $40 plus dollar mills. ;) I guess I slap some type or something on the mill though. Thanks.

                                                                                                                                              2. re: shezmu

                                                                                                                                                The best cheap pepper mill I know of is this one from Ikea:


                                                                                                                                                This spice mill sits next to our stove next to the copycat Alton Brown salt cellar. There are better pepper grinders out there, but none of them has the value that this one has.

                                                                                                                                                1. re: John E.

                                                                                                                                                  Yes, great grinders and only $6.

                                                                                                                                                  I have 3 of them. Pepper and sea salt on the table and a third for pepper near the range.

                                                                                                                                                  1. re: puzzler

                                                                                                                                                    thank you folks. Nice to know there's some good options out there for the frugal.

                                                                                                                                                    1. re: shezmu

                                                                                                                                                      shezmu--this might be something to conisder.


                                                                                                                                                      It comes with a series of interchangeable inserts that hold different spices. When you want to grind something different you just remove one container and replace it with another. The inserts themselves remain filled at all times so its just a quick swap.

                                                                                                                                                      This is also a ceramic grinder and Kuhn Rikon is excellent quality.

                                                                                                                                                      1. re: mdzehnder

                                                                                                                                                        We also have one of these Kuhn Rikon pepper/spice grinders. They work well however you could buy almost 6 of the Ikea spice mills for the price of one of the Kuhn Rikon spice mills and three separate inserts.

                                                                                                                                                        1. re: John E.

                                                                                                                                                          Highly recommend the KR. Have used them for several years, and love them

                                                                                                                                                  2. re: John E.

                                                                                                                                                    Does the IKEA mill have a ceramic or metal grinder? The last mill I got at IKEA lasted about 3 months before the teeth wore off the plastic grinder - but that was a couple of decades ago so I'm sure the technology has improved.

                                                                                                                                                    If it's durable it looks like a great buy and the matching spice jars are a pretty good deal, too.

                                                                                                                                                    1. re: hal2010

                                                                                                                                                      We've used ours for about 4 years now so I think they have solved the durability problem. How long has Ikea been in the U.S.? Or did you buy yours in Europe?

                                                                                                                                                      1. re: John E.

                                                                                                                                                        The store in Toronto was around when I went to university in the early 80's.

                                                                                                                                                        I think I'll get a couple of the IKEA 365. One exclusively for Saturday morning chai, because cardamom's a pain in the mortar and pestle. Thanks for the recommendation.

                                                                                                                                                    2. re: John E.

                                                                                                                                                      The inexpensive mills from Ikea are indeed ceramic mills and I'd bet they are great. I'd buy one or two and try them out for spices. For salt and pepper which you'll be using much more, I'd buy quality grinders such as the Kuhn-Rikon or the Unicorn.

                                                                                                                                                  3. My husband brought back from Sweden the baddest ass salt & pepper grinders evvva. They are wood and cast iron and Skeppshult is the name on top. The mechanism is so tight and sturdy - flawless really. They put my Pugeout's to shame - shame! Here's a link to someone's blog post about them: http://dtoms.com/2009/02/13/skeppshul...

                                                                                                                                                    I'm not sure where you can buy them though. Sorry. :(

                                                                                                                                                    6 Replies
                                                                                                                                                    1. re: lynnlato

                                                                                                                                                      Where would I find these in the USA? They don't seem to have any USA agents or dealer.

                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Sid Post

                                                                                                                                                        My husband got them for me in Sweden. I don't know, I'm sorry to say. It looks like you can periodically find them on Amazon but they are quite expensive for, you know, grinders. I don't think they are mass-produced. I'm sorry, I'm not much help, but I do love them... a lot.

                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Sid Post

                                                                                                                                                          Here's one offered on Amazon:


                                                                                                                                                          I, too, am extremely intrigued.
                                                                                                                                                          We have tile kitchen counters, however, and I would worry about its dropping on the counter and cracking a tile.

                                                                                                                                                          1. re: liu

                                                                                                                                                            Hmmm... I'm seeing that as another advantage. I could use it as a handy heavy club to bust up frozen food, crush ice, flatten meat, smash garlic....

                                                                                                                                                            Time to plan a trip to europe!

                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Eager6

                                                                                                                                                              a pepper mill that weighs .75 kilos -- that's 1-1/2 pounds!

                                                                                                                                                        2. re: lynnlato

                                                                                                                                                          OMG! Those things are oddly exciting.

                                                                                                                                                          I Just put that on the top of my list of things to do in europe.

                                                                                                                                                          Not kidding.

                                                                                                                                                        3. I haven't read any replies, but I finally have a workhorse of a grinder. It is Unicorn. I love this grinder, it really kicks butt. I plan to give one and some spices as a wedding gift.

                                                                                                                                                          1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Nanzi

                                                                                                                                                            Not pretty to look at but what a great grinder. I use mine daily

                                                                                                                                                          2. Peugeot. Lousy cars, great pepper mills.

                                                                                                                                                            1. My peppermills.com electric grinder. Grinds a fabulous amount of pepper quickly and easily. Been using it for 5 years.

                                                                                                                                                              I also own the Penzey's Zassenhaus and Unicorn Magnum, which I'm unlikely to ever use again.

                                                                                                                                                              1. anyone have a recommendation for the best pepper grinder that requires only one hand to use (currently have one in a cast)? points for attractiveness, too, but function obviously comes first ...

                                                                                                                                                                1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                1. re: foiegras

                                                                                                                                                                  The one I just suggested above ~ peppermills.com. Not a super looker, but easy to use with one hand. Out of stock until sometime in Feb., though.

                                                                                                                                                                2. Pepper Grinders...such a great subject for discussion...and the quest for the perfect one seems relentless!

                                                                                                                                                                  Over the years we have acquired quite a few pepper mills including the Oliver Hemming with a ceramic grinding mechanism, the French Perfex, an acrylic Peugeot and a wooden Peugeot. To date, my favorite is the Cole & Mason Derwent Gourmet Precision Pepper Mill:


                                                                                                                                                                  The grind is always true to the setting. It is nice looking, and the size is not so tall that it gets knocked over on the table; yet it holds a lot of peppercorns so that you do not have to refill it every week.

                                                                                                                                                                  21 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: liu

                                                                                                                                                                    Yeah, the Cole & Mason sounds nice, maybe ideal for some families that occasionally use pepper; but no-way I can consider a "scant 1/2 cup" anywhere near enough corn storage. The grinding adjustment does sound ideal though—I agree with Cook's that the Magnum is hard to adjust for a fine grind. So the holy grail continues—a fine ground capable grinder that endures AND that can hold 1 1/2 cups of corns...!

                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: toddster63

                                                                                                                                                                      toddster63, you might want to consider the Oliver Hemming Spice Boy with a ceramic grinding mechanism:


                                                                                                                                                                      Although it doesn't hold cups and cups of peppercorns, it is so easy to fill...with the top funnel as part of the design. Just pull the center plug and dump the peppercorns into the wide top funnel.

                                                                                                                                                                      I do love this mill. I have had a couple, and one cracked at the bottom on the body. I am still able to use it, though, and it delivers a good quantity of pepper and holds its grind selection.

                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: liu

                                                                                                                                                                        The Spice Boy looks great, and I did the research, sounds like a dyn-O-mite mill, BUT—where can you buy one? (Other than the blue and pink ones on Ebay, yuck colors!) They seem to be gone. No one in the US or UK has them anymore...?

                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: toddster63

                                                                                                                                                                          I bought my OH Spice Boys from Dream Icon in the UK. Their service was terrific, and I love the mills (S&P). I believe they still have them. See: http://www.dreamicons.com/spice-boy-b...

                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: toddster63

                                                                                                                                                                            Hi, toddster63!
                                                                                                                                                                            I bought mine at Dream Icons in the UK:


                                                                                                                                                                            Their customer service was amazingly attentive and helpful. Contact the owner online. Her name is Megan Owen:


                                                                                                                                                                            You can tell her that "liu" says hello. She was very nice to me when one of my OH Spice Boys took on a crack on the body and she replaced it with a smile.

                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: liu

                                                                                                                                                                              liu...it was you who first got me interested in these mills, and I continue to love them. And yes, on your recommendation I bought mine from Dream Icons and they were terrific to deal with. I just looked more closely at the webpage that we both posted, and apparently they are "out of stock". Searching on google, I could really find no good source for them. I'm wondering if they are even still made. Too bad. They look great, and work like a charm.

                                                                                                                                                                              I continue to enjoy the vase grinders made by Kuhn-Rikon. They have a ceramic mechanism much like the OH Spice Boys. I use the KR's by the stove, and the OH's on the table. I suppose if the OH's are not available any longer, I would recommend the not as pretty Kuhn-Rikons which are available.

                                                                                                                                                                              Definitely prefer ceramic mills, although the Unicorn Magnum is very good, and the Cole & Mason Derwent has gotten great reviews.

                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: josephnl

                                                                                                                                                                                Hi, josephnl...and yes, we both have been a little neurotic in our search for "the best!" pepper mill!

                                                                                                                                                                                Good observation that you noticed that Dream Icons is "out of stock" on this mill. I did not catch that. Even more so, then, it is worth directly contacting the owner, Megan Owen. She will be able to offer more information.

                                                                                                                                                                                I continue to use my OH Spice Boy and I have given a few away as gifts. Yes, I agree with you that it is a fine pepper mill. I also very much like my Cole & Mason Derwent...just in case you are considering adding one more to your collection.

                                                                                                                                                                              2. re: liu

                                                                                                                                                                                Unfortunately, per Dream:

                                                                                                                                                                                "Sorry - Currently Out Of Stock."

                                                                                                                                                                                They had only hot pink for a while, but now they are all gone...?

                                                                                                                                                                                Again, looks like a high regarded mill if you can get it...!

                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: toddster63

                                                                                                                                                                                  Thanks for getting back to us on this, toddster63.
                                                                                                                                                                                  Did they say what "out of stock" means? "Out of stock" is better than "discontinued," so I'd keep checking back with them, or ask them to notify you when they become available. They care about their customers enough to do that!

                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: liu

                                                                                                                                                                                    Yeah, Liu, I contacted Megan to see what was going on...

                                                                                                                                                                                    'Cause I found and checked out Oliver Hemming's website and he has coffee pots and clocks and—well, NO peppermills currently listed, so I think he stopped making them...?!

                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: toddster63

                                                                                                                                                                                      toddster63, I contacted Megan as well. When I hear from her, I will be sure to post. Oh, I do hope this item has not been discontinued. At best, we can hope that they are looking into an improvement of the acrylic body material.

                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: liu

                                                                                                                                                                                        I have been in touch with Megan Owens, the owner of Dream Icons, where I purchased my Oliver Hemming Spice Boy pepper grinder. To date, she says that the company has stopped production on this mill; she does not know if they will resume manufacturing this product. If I hear further, surely I will report back.

                                                                                                                                                                                        Megan at Dream Icons sent me a link to a new pepper mill that she now carries and likes:


                                                                                                                                                                                        This one is quite stunning. Amazon carries several of these as well, but there are not enough reports yet to know how well they work. Of course, if any Hounds reading this are familiar with this Menu Bottle Grinder, please let us hear if they are good. I completely trust Dream Icons and the products they carry, so I would not hesitate to order from them. Also, they are such nice folks with great customer service!

                                                                                                                                                                            2. re: liu

                                                                                                                                                                              We have a wood grain Oliver Hemming Spice Boy but we don't use it. My wife thinks it's ugly and I tend to agree with her.

                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: John E.

                                                                                                                                                                                John E,

                                                                                                                                                                                Does your wood grain Spice Boy look like the acrylic Spice boys (pictured below), only in a wood pattern?

                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: toddster63

                                                                                                                                                                                  It's exactly the same, except that it is made of wood and stained so the wood grain still shows.

                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: toddster63

                                                                                                                                                                                    I replied to your above post before scrolling down to see this one. Sure, I might sell it. I'd have to check first, but I don't see why not.

                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: John E.

                                                                                                                                                                                      John, if interested in selling, you can contact me at:

                                                                                                                                                                                      inkysbud -at- gmail.com



                                                                                                                                                                                  2. re: John E.

                                                                                                                                                                                    John E, or does your wood Spice Boy look like the one pictured below...?

                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: toddster63

                                                                                                                                                                                      Nope, it looks like the peppermill in the photos you posted earlier. It has the stopper in the bottom of the bowl. I'm not at home now, but I'll take a photo of it and e-mail it to you later. (I'm in Arizona. My snowbird father ended up in the hospital for the third time in the last four Januarys, with last January being the only winter he was hospital/surgury free in that time. He's going to recover, but I don't know how long I'll be down here. It was
                                                                                                                                                                                      -11° back home today, so I'm in no hurry.)

                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: John E.

                                                                                                                                                                                        -11° is crazy...! I am a California boy, born and raised, and like January temps around what today was—65F-68F—with snow and ice being just charming picturesque things on calendars, haha...

                                                                                                                                                                                        Contact me when you get home...

                                                                                                                                                                            3. Peugeot. Lousy cars, the best pepper grinders. I have had a black and white in piano lacquers, one for black and one for white of course for close to 30 years. No way I'll change

                                                                                                                                                                              3 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Candy

                                                                                                                                                                                Our Peugeot mills have some years on them as well and they continue to work as well as when they were new.

                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Candy

                                                                                                                                                                                  From all reports, the old Peugeots are truly great, but I seem to recall there's not as much love for the new. Which is a shame, because they're beautiful, too.

                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: mcf

                                                                                                                                                                                    I agree, mcf. They have a good hand-feel...the wood is nice.
                                                                                                                                                                                    Still, I slightly prefer my Cole & Mason or even the Spice Boy.

                                                                                                                                                                                    But now that I admitted that, I feel a little sad, so I will bring the Peugeots out from the cupboard and try to give them more action!