If you want to elevate your dishes and give them perfectly balanced seasoning, then freshly ground salt flakes and/or whole peppercorns are one of the best ways to do it. Compared to pre-packaged salt and pepper, the fresh counterparts have a stronger flavour that is still potent.
We have all been there, when you’ve tried to judge the right amount of salt and more than you’d prefer falls out into the dish you are preparing it, often ruining it.
Instead of those old and shabby looking salt and pepper mills that we have all had at one point, things have moved on quite a bit nowadays. There is almost actually too many different great salt and pepper mills to choose from.
Do you want an electronic model? Is having access to an adjustable grind size important to you? These are the kind of questions you may find yourself asking if you have already run a search for the best products or intend on doing so.
To help you to avoid having this problem in the future, though, we have put together a guide to the best salt and pepper grinders available right now. As well as the best products, you will also find some helpful hints and tips in the buyer’s guide regarding the features that are most important and other crucial considerations.
Let’s get started.
Best Salt and Pepper Grinders 2020
OXO Good Grips Salt Grinders and Pepper Mils
The first in our guide is this excellent stainless-steel design of salt and pepper mills from American manufacturer OXO. They feature generously sized acrylic-made viewing windows that allow you to keep a close eye on your salt and pepper levels. To help you have a comfortable and firm grip at all times, as the Good Grips name suggests, the base to these grinders is rubberised.
OXO know only too well that not everyone likes the same amount of salt and pepper in their dishes, and indeed that different meals call for different seasoning. With that in mind, the salt and pepper grinders have a black band that sits close to its top that offers you the option to select from 5 different pre-set grind levels.
It is worth noting that these are, as you’d imagine from a brand like OXO, not the cheapest in our guide. However, the smooth operation and how substantial and sturdy they feel in your hand are definite signs of a quality product. What’s more, they have been created with all users in mind, whether you are right or left-handed or have dexterity issues.
Cole & Mason Gourmet Precision Grind Derwent Mills
As the Derwent Gourmet Precision Salt and Pepper Mill Set from Cole & Mason is a gift set it comes in an attractive black cardboard box. You also have the option to buy each of these great mills separately, if you don’t want the set.
They have a modern design and features a big window made from acrylic, a common element for many of these products, that allows you to see how much pepper or salt is left inside. To help stylise it, even more, the grinders in this set have been encased at the top and bottom in aesthetically pleasing brushed stainless-steel.
The thing that sets these mills apart is the Precision grind mechanism devised by Cole & Mason that they both utilise. This is one of the best in the industry and for the pepper mill provides you with the choice of 6 different grind levels and for the salt grinder 3 different grind levels. As well as being easy to use, they are also incredibly easy to refill by just taking the cap off.
When you hold them in your hand you will see just how robust they are. Don’t be fooled into thinking these offer style over substance, as they are more than just great to look at. They are one of the best models available, which affects the price. However, we still think they are a great way to treat yourself or someone you love.
Menu Bottle Grinder
Menu has definitely shown their ingenuity when it comes to the design by thinking outside of the box and avoiding the all-too-common shape and structure of traditional salt and pepper grinders with these eye-catching products. They are built from solid ceramic and resemble old-fashioned milk bottles.
As they do look and feel like bottles, they are much easier to hold than the average grinder and are finished with a soft and comfortable to hold rubber that prevents accidental slips. The one downside we could find with this particular set of mills is that as they are made by a brand that many of you won’t be familiar with, you may not be as confident in the quality.
However, most reviews we have come across seem to suggest that they function very smoothly and do not suffer from blockages too often.
OXO Good Grips Lua Stainless Steel Salt and Pepper Grinders
Next on our list is another great product from OXO, the stainless-steel Lua salt and pepper grinders have a somewhat different design to many of the other options. Rather than releasing the seasoning from the base, it releases it from the top, making it easier to use without causing a scattering of mess from the bottom onto the table, countertop or plate. Refilling is done through the top as well, via the twistable cap that opens up providing access to a generously sized space.
OXO is known for creating kitchen solutions that are user-friendly and these are no exception. Selecting the grind size you desire is easy enough and possibly by twisting the cap so that the notch on the band that runs around the top to the appropriately sized dot.
These are not nearly as sophisticated or as stylish as others in our guide but are very durable, functional and simple. With large see-through viewing windows, you can closely monitor how much is left and whether you need to refill them or not.
Cole & Mason Precision Grind Capstan Dark Stained Beech Salt and Pepper Mills
Another set from Cole & Mason, these are also Precision Grind grinders but have the exclusive Forest Capstan dark beech wood design and colouring. Very traditional and elegant, they are available in a number of different sizes. As is the case with the other Cole & Mason models we’ve already featured, these are made to an extremely high standard and offer smooth operation.
You also have the opportunity to adjust the grind size from coarse through to fine, which can be done with the twist of the top. It has a carbon steel-constructed mechanism that is spring-loaded for a smooth and consistent grind each and every time.
Cole & Mason Precision Grind Capstan Beech Grinders
Sticking with the Cole & Mason Precision Grind line of salt and pepper grinders range, the Capstan Beech models utilise the same renowned Precision Grind system but are designed with more natural beech wood.
It has a very curvy shape and feels comfortable to use. Thanks to how it has been devised it does not require a lot of effort to twist and season all your dishes as necessary. There is no guesswork if you forget which is which with these as they are clearly marked at the top with an S or a P.
Again, these are not exactly economy-priced kitchen accessories, but given the reputation of Cole & Mason as a brand, you actually get a very high-quality set of tools for a reasonable price.
Russell Hobbs Battery Powered Stainless Steel Salt and Pepper Grinders
Rather than twisting to grind that delicious, flavour-enhancing salt and pepper, why not let the grinder itself do all the hard work for you. That’s what’s possible with this set from Russell Hobbs. The Stainless-steel battery-operated pair have a high-performance ceramic-built grinding system that you can adjust from coarse to fine, as required and gets to work quickly.
There are no fiddly controls with just one button to start and stop the grinding. They have a very modern and streamlined look and the acrylic-made clear window towards the bottom allows you to monitor the volume of seasoning you have left.
Andrew James Electric Salt & Pepper Mill Set
Another electric grinder set next, this time from esteemed kitchen accessories and appliances giant Andrew James. The stainless-steel electronic salt and pepper mills are very stunning to look at and just as easy to use. There is a button found at the top of each and this is used to control the grinders. Press once to start grinding and press a second time to stop. It’s really as simple as that. There is even a handy LED that lights up while you are using it, which is great for darker coloured food or in low light conditions.
As is the case with most of these products, the blade of the grinders can be adjusted to offer the grind consistency you need from very fine powder to coarse flakes. Many grinders are problematic because they create a lot of mess. This is something that’s not an issue with the Andrew James models as they have a cover that fits over the base to stop seasoning from falling out.
One thing we would note about these is that they are quite cumbersome and tall. However, as they have the capacity for enough salt and pepper for a few weeks, we think they are a great investment. Another issue is that many reviewers have noted that bits from time to time get trapped in the mechanism. However, with a good shake, they will shift.
Cole & Mason 505 Salt and Pepper Mill
The second to last product in our guide are these very traditional transparent acrylic salt and pepper grinders. These attractively leave nothing to the imagination, with the inner workings visible for all to see. As you’d imagine, those inner workings, in line with the Precision Grind range from Cole & Mason and the company’s sterling reputation, are manufactured to a high standard of quality.
Like all of the best salt and pepper mills in this guide you have the option to easily alter the size of the grind to get the consistency you require. This is possible with the easy twist of the knob found at the top of the mill’s lid. For fine flakes, twist it clockwise and for thicker coarser flakes, twist it anti-clockwise. It really is that simple.
Although they do look a little basic in design, there is a subtle style and classiness to the and as they are a little bigger than the average table salt and pepper grinders, there is enough room in them to hold a couple of weeks’ worth of seasoning.
Morphy Richards Accents Stainless Steel Electronic Salt and Pepper Mill Set
Morphy Richards and their Accents stainless steel electronic salt and pepper mill set are the last brand to feature in our guide. The company are one that obviously knows a thing or two about producing kitchen accessories and appliances that are user-friendly, cutting edge and stylish and this set is no exception. The automatic nature of them allows you to grind up whole peppercorns and salt flakes to the consistency you prefer in no time at all.
It is very easy to use. Really how hard is pressing the button for some grinded seasoning and holding it in until you have enough? The biggest complaint we have come across concerning this set, though, is the size of the mills. They are not especially big and if you use salt and pepper regularly, you will probably have enough for a full week’s worth of meals.
However, the size is largely down to the amount of space their battery compartments take up. Any downsides can be forgiven, though, thanks to the brushed stainless-steel finish and elegant slimline construction. You will notice that they feel robust and substantial in your hands, without feeling too bulky or heavy too.
Best Salt and Pepper Grinders – Buyer’s Guide
We know how intimidating it can be when you are looking for a good quality product that provides you with great value for money and are faced with hundreds of items. That’s why we hope the above reviews of the 10 we picked out as being the best salt and pepper grinders are of assistance to you and at least makes your job a little easier.
To help you further, though, we thought we would go one step further and as with all our lists, include a comprehensive buyer’s guide. In it, you will find all the information you need to make the most informed decision about the salt and pepper grinders that are right for you and your household.
What is the Difference, If Any, Between Salt and Pepper Grinders and Mills?
Before we look at some of the important features, we wanted to tackle is the subject of the names of products. You will see from our guide and from any search you have ever run in Google and Amazon or anywhere else that there are some products that are named Salt and Pepper “Mills” and Salt and Pepper “Grinders”.
This has probably led you to wonder if there is any real difference between the two products. Generally speaking, you will be pleased to know, there is no difference between them. Both terms are used interchangeably, and neither is right or wrong. You will find that it often depends on the brand on which is used for what products.
The crushing or grinding process that they all use is exactly the same to prepare the salt and pepper in their raw state for seasoning food. They either use a manual mechanism or electronically powered machine to grind them down.
Having said that, it is crucial that you note that there is a difference between the mills designated for salt and pepper and the way they grind these two different ingredients.
Take salt mills and grinders, they are generally produced using materials designed to provide protection against rust and corrosion that can be caused by salt, and they tend to perform a crushing motion rather than a grinding motion.
Pepper mills and grinders though, usually feature tough mechanisms and steel that are enhanced to stop metallic parts from being scraped off during the grinding process. They tend to be much harder than salt grinders as peppercorns by their very nature are tougher than salt flakes. The grinding mechanisms in these devices have grooves where the peppercorns can fall into, to help position them better for optimum grinding.
Never Put Salt Into Pepper Mills and Grinders
With the above in mind, if you want to get the longest lifespan out of your seasoning grinders, you need to avoid the temptation of grinding salt into a mill or grinder designed for peppercorns. This will potentially corrode, damage and completely wreck the metallic components on the inside. Remember, they work differently from one another.
On the other hand, you also need to avoid putting peppercorns into mills and grinders designed for salt flakes. This is, as you can probably guess because the metallic components and mechanisms on the interior are simply not strong enough to crush down peppercorns and will eventually get damaged and broken.
Features That Are Important
Now that we’ve cleared up the above confusion, we want to help you make the right choice of salt and pepper grinders for your home by discussing some of the features that are most important to look out for.
Materials Used in Grinder Construction
As a general rule of thumb, it is always good to look at the materials used in the construction of a product. With regards to salt and pepper grinders, however, it is especially important as it can have an impact on how consistent and smooth the grinding components work. The materials used can also have an effect on the flavour of your preferred seasoning.
Grinders made from ceramic are normally considered to be the best as they are less likely to impede the salt and pepper flavouring and do not rust or corrode. Remember also that pepper mills should have tougher grinder mechanisms than salt mills.
Where Does it Grind From? The Top or the Bottom?
Whether mills grind from the top or the bottom is another important consideration to factor into your buying decision. Grinders that do it from the top tend to generate a lot less mess than those that do it from the bottom. This means there is less clean-up as fewer crumbs and residue is left on countertops and tables. If you do want to get a grinder that grinds from the bottom, you should look at getting one with a lid that covers the bottom.
Adjustable Grind Size
Having the freedom to choose the consistency of the grind for your seasoning can help you to have greater versatility when it comes to flavouring your dishes. Most of the models we’ve featured in this list offer adjustable grinds ranging from very coarse to fine.
Manual or Electronic
You will have undoubtedly noticed from our list that there are two clear forms of mills and grinders, manual models and those powered by electronics. Having an electronic-powered grinder makes things a whole lot easier and is ideal for those with dexterity issues.
Well, there you have it, our look at the best salt and pepper grinders on the market. As well as looking at the best in terms of functionality, we also believe we have singled out the most aesthetically pleasing. There is nothing worse than having your best dinner plates and tableware marred by the appearance of salt and pepper mills that look like they’ve come directly from any greasy spoon café.
All of the products we have chosen are both functional and stylish and would look great on any dinner table.