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Nov 17, 2011 06:24 AM

Pepper Mills: your picks and pans

(Not exactly cookware, but seemed closer to me than gen'l topics...)

We're looking for a pepper mill that really does grind to a different coarseness when adjusted!

Let's pool our collective wisdom and compile a list of good choices and ones to avoid...

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  1. I always buy Old Thompson--they are highly adjustable and release a lot of pepper if you want a lot. I do and I cannot stand mills that take forever to rain pepper over my dish.

    Besides their adjustability and volume, the other great thing is the wonderful service from the company itself.

    A couple of years ago, my mill finally broke. I emailed them asking how to fix it. They said send a picture and they'd replace it with one like it--and they did just that.

    I often find them at Homegoods, Marshalls etc. for a good prce. They make good gifts when you know someone needs one.

    My two (+) cents.

    1 Reply
    1. re: SeaSide Tomato

      I was a huge fan of Olde Thompson for years. I'd send them a letter about why the old one failed, they were great- they never demanded photos, never demanded that I return the broken one, and they quickly sent me a new grinder- filled, mind you!- every time. Around the fourth or fifth (cheerful) replacement, I bought a stainless steel pepper mill that is just now showing signs of wear (not grinding the pepper fine enough), and it's been more than ten years. The OT grinders would last 2-3 years at most. If ou're up to the paperwork, Olde Thompson is a great company. Otherwise, look for the pricier grinders with industrial innards.

      1. Unicorn Magnum is my go-to-mill.. not the prettiest thing, but it works well..

        8 Replies
        1. re: grant.cook

          I recently bought the Magnum, and while plastic is not usually my thing, this is one great peppermill. The grind is consistent with no losening of a screw, ANC it showers a ton of pepper. It also hols a lot, and you have to refill it very infrequently.

          1. re: roxlet

            And it's easy easy easy to refill when you do finally need to. I got a Magnum a couple of years ago based on a recommendation here. I wanted a mill to stay by the stove, with my salt dish, and wanted something plastic or metal (easiy to clean thoroughly after handling with "cooking hands"). I'm impressed with the volume it produces with relatively little effort when a real quantity is needed, and the consistency of the grind. If it would go down to a slightly finer grind I'd be even more pleased, but it's adequate for my needs.

            Also, the little underplate is a wonderful touch, and I wonder why more table peppermills don't come with those.

            One of the most successful kitchen purchases ever; belated thanks to the recommenders.

            1. re: roxlet

              Does the Magnum leave little bits of pepper all over the counter? That's been my problem with all the peppermills I have ever had.

              1. re: shoes

                Don't most peppermills do that (leave bits of ground pepper)? Your best bet will be those of inverted pepper mills, where the opening is placed on the top at rest, for examples:




                1. re: shoes

                  @shoes: No, it doesn't. It leaves them in the little fitted "coaster" that it comes with (what I was referring to in the post as an 'underplate').

                2. re: roxlet

                  Anyone know where they sell the Unicorn Magnum in Westchester? I only see them on line. Thanks!

                3. re: grant.cook

                  Add me to the Unicorn Magnum fans. My other mills have been no-names or Peugeot (which were also not bad), but the Unicorn Magnum adjusts better, grinds faster, loads easier. Only downside is that the black plastic makes it look more like Darth Vader than like a classy kitchen tool.

                  1. re: grant.cook

                    The very best peppermill I have ever had, would'nt have any other.

                      1. re: blue room

                        I like it to, except I am getting tired of cleaning up the pepper/salt that's all over my counter when the bottom falls out!

                        1. re: wincountrygirl

                          Do you have the newer Oxo Pepper Mill pictured in the link or do you have the older version with the button on the side to push to release the top to refill the peppercorns that is useless because it comes apart at the most inopportune times? I seems like you own the older one as do I.

                          1. re: John E.

                            No, there is no button. Call me a glutton for punishment but I do like these mills. I recently bought a new one and the bottom screws in a bit better - we'll see!!

                            1. re: wincountrygirl

                              Ikea sells a similar spice grinder that works great and never comes apart for only $6.


                        2. re: blue room

                          I bought this a few weeks ago and I like it. So far the bottom hasn't fallen out. You can regulate the grind from fine to coarse, with several choices in between. It was easy to refill. And it wasn't horribly expensive.

                          1. re: blue room

                            It does, when the bottom is not falling out and spilling salt or pepper all everywhere!