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Oct 15, 2012 02:23 PM


So, tell me about your peppermill and why you love it.
Such a simple thing, yet so essential.
Just broke my ceramic-bodied mill (which was lovely!) while grinding pepper for a salad dressing (my hands must have been slick with walnut oil).
Is there anything fabulous out there that the Chowhounds recommend?
I prefer a largish hand-grind model. Something at home in the kitchen that can also be passed at the casual table.


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  1. Well, beside the famous and expensive Peugeot, Vic Firth and Magum Unicorn were routinely mentioned:

    1 Reply
    1. re: Chemicalkinetics

      Yeah, love my Vic Firth, hate my Atlas.

    2. I don't love my peppermill. But my OXO works fine. It is a two handed mill, unfortunately, but the I can set the grind I want.

      1 Reply
      1. re: sueatmo

        Oh yes OXO pepper mills also get frequently recommended


        I inherited this one about 10 years ago, it has to be at least 20 years old now and looks exactly like the brand new ones, aparently they haven't changed a thing. I can tell it's easy load the peppercorns, and works flawlessly and feels as if though it will last another 50 years. I had no clue this thing was such an expensive high quality piece until I happened upon it on amazon.

        11 Replies
        1. re: Rick

          Hi, Rick:

          I have had that Atlas, too, for about 20 years, and I expect I'll never buy another. I like the ergonomics of holding it in one hand and turning the crank with he other over a Rubirossa-style mill. Buffed out, I think it is quite beautiful. It took me 15 years to discover how to adjust the grind, though

          If you measure once, you can count the number of crank turns for teaspoons and tablespoons. Saves a step.


          1. re: kaleokahu

            Hi K,

            What's your experience with respect to the the alleged lack of variability in the coarseness of the grind? I don't use a fine powder grind in cooking (maybe I should start) but like grittiness.

            cheers JH from W Australia

            1. re: jhamiltonwa

              Hi, JH:

              There's a bolt head at the bottom of the mill that turns in and out to adjust the coarseness of the grind. Is that what you mean? I've only adjusted it once (I like the grittiness, too), but it seemed very easy to do.


              1. re: kaleokahu

                Thanks, yes you understood me correctly. I was concerned about users comments about the Atlas making only a fine grind and being able to adjest to a course enough grind..

            2. re: kaleokahu

              I never realized it because it's the only pepper mill I've used in my kitchen, but the crank is great. I made a huge batch of cabbage and noodles and put in a lot of pepper, definitely easier to grind a large amount of pepper with the crank rather than the traditional round knob at the top that you have to keep flicking with your wrist.

              1. re: kaleokahu

                The ergonomics angle intrigues me. I have two pepper mills, one old no name and a Perfex. The Perfex is very hard to adjust and harder still to use. The radius of the crank is too narrow to give much leverage, and the knob is a pathetic little tab. The no name is easier in all respects, but I would like a second truly useable mill for the table. Do you experience either of those issues with the Atlas? My arthritic fingers want something easy to turn, the cook in me wants something that does exactly what it is supposed to do, and my soul likes things that are beautiful and timeless.

                1. re: tim irvine

                  Hi, Tim: "Do you experience either of those issues with the Atlas?"

                  Hard to adjust? Not at all. The only caveat being that adjustment is made by threading a bolthead into and out of the base. Very easy with a small wrench or socket, not realistic for fingers. I have one grind I like, I set it for that, and leave it there; if you would be constantly adjusting your grind, maybe it's not the best.

                  Hard to use? Just the opposite. You basically *palm* the body in one hand, and the vertical knob at the end of the crank turns freely, so all you need to do is very lightly keep contact with the knob. There is no need for pinch strength--the *lateral* force exerted comes from arm movement alone. The ergonomics are such that fingers aren't really involved. If you handle one in a store, you'll see exactly what I mean.

                  Hope this helps.


                  1. re: kaleokahu

                    I am on the lookout. Many thanks or, as they say in Seattle, aloha.

                  2. re: tim irvine

                    Had your problem with the Perfex, so traded it in to WS for a new giant Perfex. For me it is now perfect. Heavy infinite settings and due to size easy to turn, love it.

                2. re: Rick

                  Not sure why the warning isn't shown on Amazon but Sur La Table used to sell it (I assume they stopped due to health concerns) and posts this on the product page:
                  "PROP 65 WARNING: Handling the brass material on this product exposes you to lead, a chemical know to the State of California to cause birth defects and other reproductive harm. Wash hands after use."


                  1. re: Rick

                    The Frugal Gourmet use to push similar brass pepper grinders on his TV show. I believe he called them a Turkish Coffee Grinder.


                  2. After 50 years only two brands have stood the test of time for me.
                    #1 Cole & Mason
                    #2 Peugot
                    I run several mills.We often set the table for 12-16,ergo 2 mills.Add a busy kitchen with much food prep,again 2 mills.Also liking more than one kind of pepper,size and variety don't grind the same or always well as a blend,size,smoothness and density a factor.
                    I have tried many brands over the decades.No brand has met with repeat tries except the two listed above.
                    Where ever,what ever mill you buy,TRY IT OUT FIRST.If you have a set grind etc in mind,will the mill you are looking at deliver it CONSISTENTLY ??? I really hate the hassle of adjusting,re-adjusting the setting mid use.If volume is the goal,pork shoulder etc,I don't use a mill.I resort to a blade coffee grinder or a ? 100 year old Moroccan hand crank spice mill.

                    10 Replies
                    1. re: lcool

                      Cooks Illustrated preferred the Unicorn Magnum for years but in the December 2012 issue they changed their #1 to Cole & Mason.

                        1. re: JoanN

                          Cole & Mason Derwent Gourmet Precision Pepper Mill. I happened to catch the program on PBS this week-end...

                          1. re: Gio

                            It is a wonderful model/gear.Years ago I found it at SLT ,after years of use it took a header to the floor and didn't survive.I liked it above all but one and replaced it immediately.Best high output,uniform fine grind in the house.

                            1. re: Gio

                              Thanks, Gio. Love my Magnum, which I use for black pepper, but looking to replace the Perfex, which I use for white. Will check it out.

                              1. re: JoanN

                                Thanks Icool & JoanN.

                                I'm probably the only person in the world who actually tossed out a Peugeot in frustration when it jammed at a critical moment. It was replaced by a mongrel brand that has served well for 20 or so years. In fact I have 2 of them. It's the ubiquitous wooden kind one sees everywhere. One resides beside the stove, and the other near the prep area. Yes the grind has to be adjusted during use but I overlook that. Now, though, I'd like to replace both and get one for white peppercorns as well.

                                1. re: JoanN

                                  I adore the Magnum too, as does my husband, who resisted at first. Now he is 100% sold, and particularly loves the fact that it holds so many peppercorns.

                            2. re: lcool

                              I just purchased the Cole and Mason Derwent Precision Gourmet Pepper Mill:


                              I know it is now listed on Amazon here for $39.00; a week ago I found it on Amazon for $29.00.

                              Although we just started using it and it has no track record with us, I LOVE it! I love the feel of the grind, the easy adjustment for six various grinds, and the general feel of the mill.

                              I had been using an Oliver Hemming with a ceramic grinder, and I thought that was a superior pepper mill -- until I tried this Cole and Mason mill. It is an extraordinary pepper mill!

                              1. re: liu

                                I bought the magnum years ago based on ATK rating and it works great. One big drawback though is its "roundness" of the handle and base. When cooking my hands are often a bit wet from frequent hand washing and it gets a bit difficult to twist without slipping too much

                                1. re: sbs401

                                  That rarely happens with me. I wonder if I've just gotten into the habit of drying my hands before I use it. Don't think so, though. So hard to know how it is that you do something when you do it entirely by habit, isn't it?

                            3. I don't know if Peugeot pepper mills are still made the same way they used to be. They used to use high tensile steel (the same as used in crankshafts) and would last forever.