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The Best Hand-Operated Pepper Mills

Updated July 19, 2017

A pepper mill is also known as a pepper grinder. Pepper mills come in electrical and hand-operated varieties. Hand-operated pepper mills allow cooks to grind tiny amounts of pepper as they are needed. This ensures that pepper used in recipes is freshly ground and at its peak flavour. Cooks fill pepper mills with peppercorns, which is pepper in its harvested state. Prices are as of this publishing date.

Magnum 6-inch Pepper Mill

The Magnum 6-inch pepper mill comes recommended by Faith Durand of the website thekitchn.com and has a top rating on Amazon. It is also rated the best pepper mill by consumersearch.com. Produced by Chef Tools, it is a professional-grade pepper mill that costs about £26. It features an adjustable grinder to allow cooks to produce any grade of pepper, from coarse flakes to a fine powder. The Magnum is quick to load and can hold almost 56.7gr. of peppercorns. The grinding mechanism is oversized, which allows cooks to grind large amounts of pepper quickly. This feature also means that cooks' hands don't tire out as much.

Perfex Pepper Mill

While the Magnum has contemporary styling, the Perfex pepper mill has a more old-fashioned appearance, including a crank on the top. Some people find a crank mill easier to operate, since they can grasp the crank handle with two fingers instead of having to wrap their entire hand around the top of a contemporary mill. Because it is made of nickel-plated aluminium and consists of solid metal, the Prefex has a reputation for "lasting a lifetime;" it comes with a lifetime warranty. Manufactured in France, a Prefex pepper mill retails between £39 and £52.

Unicorn Keytop

The Unicorn Keytop is rated on consumersearch.com as the "best budget" pepper mill. Retailing for about £13, it has the sleek contemporary styling of the Unicorn Magnum, but features a grinding handle similar to the crank on the Perfex. This makes the Keytop ideal for people who prefer a black lacquer finish, but have difficulty grasping with their entire hand. Those with arthritis in their fingers appreciate this feature, and cooks don't have to dry their hands before grinding pepper with this unit.

Peugeot U-Select Pepper Mill

The Peugeot pepper mill has the most traditional styling of all. Made of wood carved into the familiar silhouette of an old-fashioned European pepper mill, the Peugeot receives top ratings for its grinding mechanism, which breaks open the peppercorns prior to grinding them. The U-Select system on this mill allows a cook to select from six preset grinding grades. This lets cooks produce a uniform grind and eliminates guesswork.

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About the Author

Elise Vogler is an educational consultant who started writing in 1990. She is a certified SMART Board trainer and holds teaching authorizations in history, science, English and language acquisition. Vogler holds a bachelor's degree in literature from the University of California, San Diego, and an M.A. in humanities from California State University.