This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

Which pepper grinder should I buy?

When adding pepper to a dish, freshly ground is the preferred choice. This is because the pepper has less time to oxidize, which means it has a more robust flavor and loses less of its health benefits. To get the best freshly ground pepper, you need the best pepper grinder.

The best pepper grinder for 2021 is Cole & Mason Derwent Pepper Grinder. This quality model has all the essentials needed for precision grinding.

To find out more about what makes a quality pepper grinder and which are the best models in 2021, keep reading.

What to know before you buy a pepper grinder

How does a pepper grinder work?

Most pepper grinders feature two conical shaped burrs. When the user rotates these burrs, any peppercorns caught between them are cracked and crushed. When the crushed pepper becomes small enough to pass through the burrs, it comes out the bottom of the grinder to season your food. By changing the distance between the two burrs, the user can adjust the fineness of the pepper. 

Manual vs. electric pepper grinders

While grinding pepper requires some effort, it probably wouldn’t be described as a strenuous activity. Still, for convenience, it’s possible to purchase either a manual or an electric pepper grinder. The benefit of an electric pepper grinder is that it does the work for you. Many may even feature an LED light so you can better see how much pepper you’re adding to your food. The downside to an electric pepper grinder is you have the added (but nominal) expense of replacing batteries.

What to look for in a quality pepper grinder

Sturdy food-grade material

Peppercorns can be tough. When you’re shopping for a pepper grinder, you want a model that’s built to last. While the grinding mechanism — the burrs — should be made of either carbon steel or ceramic, the housing may be manufactured using a wide variety of materials. You can find wooden pepper grinders, stainless steel pepper grinders and plastic pepper grinders. If the pepper grinder you’re considering is plastic, make sure it’s BPA-free.

Variety of grind settings

All pepper grinders have the option to create fine ground pepper, coarse ground pepper or something in between. The best models, however, have markings on the housing so you can be precise and consistent with the grinding to achieve the same results each time.

Easy to fill

The best pepper grinder is a top-fill model — just remove the lid and fill the container as needed. Alternatively, a side-fill model is acceptable, but in general, that type requires a little more care and precision when filling.

Easy to clean

Most pepper grinders come with instructions stating they should not be washed in a dishwasher. Many models don’t recommend hand-washing, either. Cleaning with a damp cloth is the preferred method. Because of this, you want a pepper grinder that can be easily disassembled so you can wipe down all the components. 

How much you can expect to spend on a pepper grinder

While some high-end pepper grinders may cost as much as $200, the average homeowner doesn’t need to spend that much to purchase a quality model. For $15-$50, you can get a pepper grinder that meets all your expectations.

Pepper grinder FAQ

Where does pepper come from?

A. Black pepper actually comes from a flowering vine. It starts as a tiny fruit that’s harvested while it’s still green (unripened). It’s briefly cooked in hot water, then dried. While drying, the skin shrinks and darkens, becoming the familiar black peppercorn. The beneficial oil from peppercorns is released when it’s crushed. 

What are the health benefits of black pepper?

A. According to Healthline, black pepper has a number of potential health benefits. Black pepper is rich in piperine, an antioxidant that can help prevent cellular damage and has been shown to decrease inflammation in animals, though its effect on humans has not been determined. Additionally, black pepper may help lower cholesterol and increase the good bacteria in the gut. While these and many other benefits may be possible, black pepper has not been studied enough to offer conclusive evidence for benefits in humans, but the current outlook appears promising.

What’s the best pepper grinder to buy?

Top pepper grinder

COLE & MASON Derwent Pepper Grinder

COLE & MASON Derwent Pepper Grinder

What you need to know: For the person who wants to treat themselves to a quality pepper grinding experience, this top-of-the-line model is the best option.

What you’ll love: This stylish two-stage grinder cracks and shaves the peppercorn for the most flavorful experience. The six settings allow you to choose the ideal grind for your needs, from fine to coarse.

What you should consider: About the only downside to this model is that it costs significantly more than other models.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon and Wayfair

Top pepper grinder for the money

OXO Good Grips Pepper Grinder

OXO Good Grips Pepper Grinder

What you need to know: This model is the perfect balance of price, ease of use and quality. 

What you’ll love: The OXO pepper grinder uses a ceramic grinding mechanism that won’t ever rust or corrode. The five grind settings lock in place to produce consistent grind sizes. The non-slip grip allows you to easily grind, even if your hands are a bit wet or oily.

What you should consider: This pepper grinder is better suited for individuals who like their pepper a little coarse.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Worth checking out

Kuhn Rikon Adjustable Ratchet Grinder

Kuhn Rikon Adjustable Ratchet Grinder

What you need to know: A budget-priced option for the individual who has difficulty with twisting motions.

What you’ll love: This pepper grinder utilizes a ratchet mechanism to grind peppercorns, allowing you to move a lever back and forth instead of twisting. It’s easy to fill, offers a consistent grind and features a durable ceramic grinding stone.

What you should consider: Although this model works very well, it isn’t as durable as other pepper grinders.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon


Allen Foster is a writer for BestReviews. BestReviews is a product review company with a singular mission: to help simplify your purchasing decisions and save you time and money.

Copyright 2021 BestReviews, a Nexstar company. All rights reserved.