Why Trust Us? We have a small team, but we personally thoroughly vet every product we recommend to help you find the best kitchen tools. We use these tools ourselves and stand behind them.
Whether you’re an everyday cook, or the kind to only eat at home once a week, having a decent salt and pepper grinder set is a must.
It’s one of the most important parts of any kitchen arsenal, if not the most important – since we season nearly everything we eat with salt and pepper. If you’re shopping for a modern salt/pepper grinder, you’re going to be spoiled for choice.
They come in seemingly endless shapes and sizes, with too many mechanisms to count. Some are electric, while others remain manual, and it can be really hard to tell which is better or which will work best in your kitchen setup.
The most important thing when selecting a grinder is finding one with good construction quality so that it will last for many years without needing replacement parts or servicing too frequently.
Additionally, if you plan on using your grinder for multiple ingredients such as salt, pepper, spices or herbs then look for one with interchangeable parts so that you can easily switch between them without having to purchase additional pieces.
As such, we’ve rounded up the 7 best salt and pepper grinders, from big to small, electronic to manual, and simple to complex. We’ve reviewed each one below and chosen our ultimate favorite from each category.
We’ve even drawn up a handy comparison table to help you easily see why each one stands out. Just looking for reviews? Jump down to our full reviews.
Our Top Picks
Best Salt & Pepper Mills
Don’t have time to read the whole article? We think the all-around best choice is the…
How to Choose the Best Salt & Pepper Grinders
It’s hard to choose the best salt and pepper grinder set – they’ve all got their own little gimmicks and features that make them special, and it can be hard to find one that’s going to do everything you need it to without sacrificing one cool feature that you’ve seen in another.
We’ve put together a small guide here on how to pick the best salt and pepper grinders for your kitchen for everyday use. To do this, we evaluated all of the top reviewed salt and pepper grinders on Amazon, Walmart, and top kitchen review sites.
We took all of the criteria below into consideration, put them through their paces and made some decisions about how well they worked and how much we enjoyed using them.
Let’s look at the top five things we looked for when determining the best salt and pepper mills, and why.
Electronic vs Manual Grinders
Let’s start with the most important: Do you want an electronic grinder or a manual grinder? There are plenty of each type to choose from. There are some pros and cons of each.
Electric salt and pepper mills:
- Pros: Electric is simple to use and does all the work for you
- Cons: They require batteries (and lots of them – often four AA batteries); they break more often than manual grinders.
Here are two of our favorite electric salt and pepper mills:
Manual salt and pepper mills:
- Pros: Cheaper than electric with more grind settings. Less likely to breakdown; won’t run out of batteries
- Cons: Harder to use, can lead to hand fatigue
If you’re a purist or an artisan, you would probably prefer something a bit more classic like a twist or hand-cranked grinder. If you’re using the salt and pepper grinders a lot, an electric one might be for you to avoid manually cranking a lot.
Here are two of our favorite manual salt and pepper mills:
Type of Grinder
Knowing how the grinders work helps you understand the type of grinders that are necessary to actually grind properly. In all our testing, we found hands down that ceramic grinders are the best.
Grinders work by using a combination of gravity and a sturdy internal grinder. The best grinders are made of either ceramic or high-carbon steel, because they’re strong and will not flake into the food. For salt grinders, ceramic is best because it’s sharp, durable, and corrosion-resistant.
Do you want separate salt and pepper grinders, or a two-in-one? There are lots of cool two-in-one mechanisms out there – our favorite being the kind that lets you twist in one direction for salt, and the other direction for pepper.
This isn’t an essential feature, but pretty neat nonetheless, and if you’re living somewhere with not a lot of kitchen space, you might enjoy the benefits of one of these.
Here’s one that we liked, but ultimately we didn’t choose it as one of our top picks.
- Fully adjustable grind settings
- See-through acrylic containers
- Each end of the tool has a ceramic burr mill for grinding
Size & Shape
Some of us prefer the style of large, wooden classic pepper and salt grinders, while others prefer something smaller and more manageable, especially in a salt grinder. Since this all really boils down to personal preference, you’ll have to decide what you like best.
My preference is for slim, easy to hold shapes that are comfortable to hold and twist, have good grip so they won’t slip out of my hand, and hold enough salt or pepper that I don’t have to refill them very often.
Even if you’re not a professional chef with an eye for perfection, you’re going to want to be able to adjust the coarseness of the salt and pepper coming out of your grinders from time to time.
Sometimes you want larger pieces of pepper that make a bold statement, while other times you want a fine grind that you can’t see or taste as well. That’s why it’s important to look for a grinder set that allows you to change the coarseness level. I’ve found that 3 levels is pretty adequate. Any more than that leads to not being able to really tell the difference.
Our 8 Favorite Salt & Pepper Grinders
We’ve done a round up of our 8 top picks for salt and pepper grinders. We’ve added a little list of pros and cons to each, so you can easily see the benefits and shortfalls of each one, as well as a few pointers about any interesting features, or notes about the set that stand out.
OXO Good Grips Salt and Pepper Grinder
★ Best Manual Salt and Pepper Grinder
The OXO Salt and Pepper Grinder set is a great example of a simple, useful modern grinder. It’s not over the top in terms of frill or design, but has some really handy and useful features, as well as a great price point. They use a ceramic grinding mechanism, which is a must as far as we’re concerned, and come in three metallic shades.
With the OXO Grinders, the salt and pepper come out from the top of the grinder, in an effort to cut down on spill and mess. Just below the lip where the seasoning comes out, there’s an adjustment ring that can be slid back and forth to adjust the coarseness of the grind (so you can have some extra coarse salt for your next margarita).
To grind it, you flip it upside-down and use the soft non-slip grips on the bottom of the grinders. Even with a wet hand, the grip is easy to twist, due to the grooves.
If you’re looking to make cooking easier, these will certainly help. After five years of constant use, these OXO Good Grips grinders are still working like a machine. I’ve never had a single problem with them. Oxo also has a tall, slim design for this salt and pepper grinder that I really like. You can check them out here.
- Rubber grip cranks that are comfortable to hold and easy to grip, even with wet hands
- Best used with black peppercorns and coarse sea salt
- Grinders stay sharp for a very long time
- Grinder lays flat upside down to refill
PROS: Non-corrosive ceramic grinders; grinds from the top to keep counters clean; 5-level coarseness adjustment
CONS: Very little variance in coarseness settings
HOME EC Premium Stainless Steel Salt and Pepper Grinder Set
★ Best Affordable Salt & Pepper Mills for Everyday Use
- Easily adjustable ceramic grinder
- Manual grinding, so no batteries necessary
- Non-corrosive grinder, comes with lids to keep the spices fresh
- High quality, food-grade stainless steel and glass
- Easily refillable with a funnel included
PROS: It’s easy to use and refill, lightweight, and they look nice
CONS: Some reviewers had problems with the grinders on course salt and peppercorns, saying they would get stuck and not grind. The stainless steel lids don’t fit well and come off easily.
MÄNNKITCHEN Salt & Pepper Cannon
MÄNNKITCHEN reinvented the pepper mill with one of their top selling products “The Pepper Cannon.” The Pepper Cannon has 10 times the output of other top-rated grinders on the market and we’ve tested this personally. I can say 100% that the claim is accurate.
Just one grind gives enough pepper your steak. If you’re seasoning a grill full of steaks, you’d need just a few grinds. Their website claims you need 7 grinds instead of 70 to season your steak, but that’s understatement. The steak would be drowning in pepper after 7 grinds. You truly only need 1 or 2.
Another thing we really like about the salt and pepper cannon is the ability to change the size of the grind. Other mills can only grind pepper in the 12-28 mesh size range. The Pepper Cannon can grind from 8 to 60+. I like really big pepper pieces, so I’ve set it on the highest setting. You can easily change it to be a very fine dusting, if that’s what you prefer.
This product sold out 5 times in the first 12 months. It ships to over 70 countries, and has garnered over 2,000 5-star reviews. Well deserved, in my opinion. The only drawback is the price, which is $199 (free shipping). As they say on their website, “A Ferrari is expensive compared to a Volkswagen.” It’s worth it.
COLE & MASON Gourmet Precision Derwent Salt and Pepper Grinder
Class and style come at a price. Everyone knows that. But the price for this Cole & Mason set is well worth it. These grinders are made from clear acrylic, with a stainless steel finish.
Instead of having a vague coarseness adjustment, it’s got six preset levels for pepper, and three for salt so you can set it to give you exactly the grain size you want. Instead of a simple ceramic grinding mechanism, it’s got a diamond sharpened ceramic grinding mechanism for the salt and a carbon steel for pepper – a level above other grinders.
These two features alone make these some of the best grinders available. They won’t let you down. For anyone who has gone through multiple grinders looking for the one quality set, you know what I’m saying. These would make a great ‘just bought my first house’ kind of gift.
They have a lifetime mechanism guarantee, incredible build quality, and are perfect for the gourmand who’s more focused on ‘the aromatic oils being released by the pepper’ than just the salt and pepper itself.
- Standard Size
- Diamond-sharpened ceramic grinders
- Mechanism guarantee
PROS: Various grinding settings; one-step refill; classic look
CONS: Mechanism could use some fine-tuning, more expensive than other models
Gravity Automated Salt and Pepper Grinder by Chew Fun
If you’re looking for something a little bit futuristic and a little bit nifty, try this Gravity Grinder by Chew Fun. Complete with a ceramic grinding mechanism, stainless steel body, adjustable coarseness and easy refill mechanisms; what really sets this grinder apart is the gravity activation.
Simply upend the grinders over your food, and watch as the gravity sensor activates, turning on the blue LED light and starting to grind.
We can’t say for sure that this is a huge improvement over a push-button activated grinder, but we can say that the gravity activation is a very cool way around it. To boot, they look very sleek.
- Battery Powered
- LED Illuminator
- Quite a sizeable chamber
PROS: Gravity activated; LED illuminator; standard height
CONS: Pepper sometimes comes out too coarse, despite settings. Electronic mechanism is not 100% reliable.
Grind Gourmet Salt & Pepper Grinder
The Grind Gourmet Thumb Push Button set is our top pick for one-handed salt and pepper grinders. We all know, as foodies, that you need as many free hands as possible when preparing a delicate or complex meal.
A one-handed salt/pepper grinder can really help when you’re stirring, kneading or have your attention elsewhere. These push-button grinders make it as easy as taking a pinch of salt, as you simply press the button repeatedly until you’ve got your desired seasoning.
They come with a mess-free stand, and have a rubber accented handle for easy grip. They’re simple to refill, and are made to last thanks to their solid stainless steel construction. The only drawback of these is that it can be quite difficult to grind a lot of salt or pepper with just your thumb. You may find that for larger amounts, it’s best not to use these.
- Core is solid steel, not plastic
- Mess-free stand
- Easy to refill
- No-questions-asked customer service policy
PROS: Even, fine grinding, they look very nice and sleek.
CONS: Can be difficult to push down. not able to adjust grind size, can take a very long time to grind a lot of salt or pepper.
Latent Epicure Battery-Operated Grinders
★ Best Electronic Salt and Pepper Grinder
They’re simple, but efficient, and they come with a mess-free stand to keep your kitchen counters free of debri. We find them to be a quality, sturdy set. If you’re looking for a smaller set to keep clutter to a minimum, they’re an inch shorter than the Russell Hobbs (which stands at 9”).
One of the top features of these grinders is the fine & coarse adjustment knob that allows you to regulate the size of the grind. Like many of the electric grinders, this set also has an LED illuminator so you can see how much you’re dispensing.
They feature a durable ceramic grinding mechanism that will last longer than typical metal grinders and will deliver a more consistent grain. Did you know that ceramic grinders are preferable when grinding oily and aromatic spices and herbs, like Himalayan sea salt?
- Courseness adjustment knob with two settings
- LED illuminator
- Ceramic grinding mechanism
- Stand and tray included
PROS: The grinding mechanism is sturdy, the design and build is quality
CONS: Stand isn’t very sturdy, louder than other electric grinders
Urban Noon Electric Salt and Pepper Grinder Set
The Urban Noon Electric salt and pepper mills use high quality stainless steel and an improved construction with a ceramic core to ensure smooth and easy grinding. The large button to operate them is right on top and takes only light pressure.
They have a nice, sleek modern look that won’t cheapen the look of your kitchen, if you leave them out on the counter. And they also have a built in light that helps you see how much salt or pepper you’re putting on your food.
For me there are two cons with these grinders that unfortunately seem to be the norm with almost all electric grinders. One is that it requires 4 AA non-rechargeable batteries and they don’t seem to last quite as long as I would hope. Two is that the space for salt and pepper is rather small, so you have to refill them often.
These also have a bottom cap, which keeps stray bits of salt and pepper from littering the counter, but then you also have to put those back on every time, which is a bit inconvenient.
You can change the coarseness of the grind by rotating a knob on the bottom. It goes from fine to coarse in 5 different settings.
- Courseness adjustment knob with five settings
- Built in light
- Ceramic grinding mechanism
- Easy one hand operation
PROS: Built to last with high-quality stainless steel and BPA-free acrylic glass
CONS: Uses a lot of non-rechargeable batteries, compartments are a bit small. Coarseness adjustment doesn’t change the size of the grind much.
Willow & Everett Salt and Pepper Grinder Set
My favorite part about these grinders are how large they are. The glass compartment can hold up to 3/4 cup of salt or pepper, which is quite a bit more than others.
Its very easy to adjust the grinding dial to get three different size outputs and, best of all, the grinding mechanism is extremely smooth and effortless. The grinding mechanism is on top so you can set them upright and not get particles on the countertop.
While these are really good grinders, I still prefer the OXO Good Grips grinder set because the grip is rubberized so you can grasp and turn it easier, even with wet hands. It also comes pre-filled with salt and pepper, while these ones don’t.
- Ceramic grinder that are non-corrosive and won’t absorb flavors
- Includes a stainless steel stand
- Easy to adjust for coarseness
PROS: Large capacity, wide opening for refilling, sturdy design
CONS: Little bit difficult to figure out how to change the coarseness (it’s a knob in the lid). We don’t love the stand they come in – sharp edges and not a full circle to hold them in.
Frequently Asked Questions
What salt & pepper grinders do chef’s use?
Professional chefs often use high-end salt and pepper grinders because they provide superior performance and consistency. These grinders give chefs the ability to freshly grind their ingredients to the exact texture they prefer, making them especially useful for adding flavor to dishes where freshness is important.
For specialized applications where greater precision is required, some chefs also use manual burr grinders which feature two rotating plates or conical surfaces where material is fed between them and ground by friction.
This allows chefs to achieve even more refined results than electric models can provide but requires more effort and experience as it’s a more manual process.
What is the best material for salt and pepper grinders?
Stainless steel pepper mills are designed to allow precise adjustments so that you can achieve a wide range of textures from coarse to fine.
They also feature adjustable mechanisms that allow you to control how much salt or pepper is dispensed with each grind. For maximum convenience, many chefs prefer electric models which offer hands-free grinding capabilities.
There are also ceramic and carbon steel options available on the market today. Ceramic models are often preferred for their rust-proof construction and durability while carbon steel models offer a sharper blade for finer grinding results.
Both types of materials have been known to add a unique flavor dimension to dishes when used correctly.
What size salt and pepper grinder is best?
Salt and pepper grinders come in a variety of sizes, so it’s important to select one that best meets your needs. That might be large or small, so there’s no one-size-fits-all.
For most home cooks, a small grinder typically ranging from 6 to 9 inches in height is just right for everyday use in the kitchen. These can hold around 1/2 cup of salt or pepper. Smaller will mean you have to fill it more often, and larger might mean the seasoning goes stale before you can use it.
What Kind of Salt and Pepper Should I Use?
This is largely down to opinion – there are hundreds of varieties of salt all around the world, as well as a myriad of ways to prepare pepper for grinding.
How easy they are to find is very location-dependent, and the question of which one is the best can only really be answered in specifics regarding the dish that’s being prepared.
Nonetheless, we’re going to share some of our favorites with you.
Our favorite salt is Pink Himalayan rock salt. It’s some of the healthiest salt available, thanks to the trace minerals found in it which aren’t filtered out – it’s pretty much just impure salt, unrefined, bottled and sold. You don’t get much cleaner than that. It goes well on everything from roasted potatoes to crispy carnitas.
However, if you can find it, Grey Salt or Celtic Sea Salt is a lovely variety – it’s quite moist and thick, and comes hand-raked from Brittany, France. It gets its name from the clay where it’s harvested, which gives it a grey color, and is simply delicious. Our favorite pepper comes from black tellicherry peppercorns.
They’re spicy and aromatic black peppercorns and can be used universally. You may want to try a blend of peppercorns. This is called a rainbow mix and uses black, green, white and pink peppercorns for a more rounded and flavorful profile. This blend can be used with most dishes too.
I’m personally not a fan of white peppercorns because of the slightly hay-like aroma and taste, but it is popular nonetheless.
A white peppercorn is essentially a black peppercorn, only they have their skin removed, which makes them taste a little more subtle, great for light-colored dishes, where the color would mar the look of the dish.
Green peppercorns are under-ripe black peppercorns, and they are often sold in a brine and are slightly chewy. They’re delicious, but not something you’d use in your grinder, unless they’re sold dried.
Very rare, but very tasty, are pink peppercorns. They’re actually a South American berry not related to pepper trees, but have a similar flavor, as well as some fruity flavors and floral smells.
These would be especially interesting to use in a dish where you want a peppery bite, contrasted with some sweet notes, for example on a medium-rich fish or gamey cut of meat. You can use pink pepper in your grinder, but it’s more typical to just put the whole corn in.
You should now be more than ready to make your pick. A quality salt and pepper grinder set is a purchase you’ll be thankful for, for years to come. The very slight addition of ease and smoothness they bring to any kitchen setup is second to none.
If you’re still undecided, we’d recommend the OXO Good Grips Grinder Set, as this set is incredibly reliable – sturdy, efficient and quality-built. It’s a great set that fits in with the look and feel of almost any kitchen, and the grinders are also nice and compact on any table.
Like this post? Save it to your Pinterest board!
Laura is a home cook who loves making new recipes and finding new favorite things to eat, whether at home or abroad. She also runs a popular travel blog and spends a lot of her time traveling for food.
7 thoughts on “7 Best Salt and Pepper Grinders ”
Where are the pepper/salt mills that are pictured at the top (black and white) from?
John, unfortunately those are no longer being sold. The image has been updated to our favorite grinders, from OXO.
Do you a have a combo salt & pepper mill recommendation?
Hi Carole. These grinders usually work a lot better separately, so I don’t really recommend a combo.
Pingback: 15 Tips & Tricks to Make Cooking Easier and Faster | A Food Lover's Kitchen
Pingback: Why are Peugeot pepper mills so good? - Questionsmeter
Pingback: Do you have to grind sea salt? – Neoquestions.org