Unveiling the Finest Pepper Mills of 2021: Embracing Ease with the Eparé Battery Operated Pepper Mill

Looking to add some spice to your culinary adventures in 2021? Look no further than our top pepper mill picks! Amongst them, we have found the crème de la crème – the best pepper grinder of 2021, the Eparé Battery Operated Pepper Mill. This sleek and innovative electric option is sure to elevate your seasoning game to new heights. Say goodbye to the tedious twisting and hello to effortless grinding with just a push of a button. But what sets this pepper mill apart from the rest? Join us as we dive into the features, performance, and overall value of this top contender in the pepper mill world. Prepare to be amazed!

Our Favorite Pepper Mill Choices

Reviewed By Joelle Battista for Food Network Kitchen

When it comes to flavor and texture, we can all agree that freshly-ground black pepper is far superior to its pre-ground counterpart. However, finding the perfect pepper grinder that meets all our requirements can be a challenge. The right pepper mill can make all the difference between a delicious cacio e pepe and a disappointing steak au poivre.

When delving into the world of pepper mills and grinders, the array of options can be overwhelming. You have the classic pepper mills with their traditional French-inspired design, as well as more modern styles that don't even resemble pepper grinders. There are one-handed models, electric models, large and small models, made from stainless steel, wood, or plastic. All of them claim to be the best tool for grinding black peppercorns. We conducted tests on highly-rated models of various materials, sizes, shapes, and functionality. Considering these factors, along with price and performance, we have discovered the top pepper mills and grinders available on the market.

An electric option: Eparé Battery Operated Pepper Mill

The Eparé Battery Operated Pepper Mill on a set table.

Photo: Michael Hession

The Eparé Battery Operated Pepper Mill is a convenient and efficient choice for those who prefer an electric pepper mill. It requires four AA batteries and stands out as the quietest electric model we tested. Despite its small size, it delivers finely ground pepper with ease.

If you struggle with hand-strength issues, chronic hand pain, or simply desire the convenience of one-handed operation, we highly recommend the Eparé Battery Operated Pepper Mill. It is incredibly user-friendly - simply insert four AA batteries (not included), press the button on the top, and let the pepper fall gradually from the ceramic grinder. While it lacks predefined settings for adjusting the grind size, an arrow indicator helps you determine the right direction for fine or coarse grinding. In our testing, the Eparé consistently produced superior results compared to other electric models.

The sleek stainless steel cover adds an attractive touch, making it suitable for both table use and kitchen use. However, it can be a bit slippery when handling messy ingredients. The slim and long body design ensures easy grip for people with small hands, but like all electric models, it can be slightly top-heavy. To keep your kitchen counter clean, the Eparé also comes with a cap that prevents pepper dust from scattering.

Unlike most electric pepper mills, the Eparé stands out with its LED light feature that automatically illuminates during the grinding process. Although not as effective as overhead lighting, the Eparé's LED light is noticeably brighter than other models we tested. In case the light ever burns out, Eparé offers a lifetime warranty for the product.

It is worth noting that electric pepper mills, including the Eparé, have their drawbacks. They tend to be loud, slow, and top-heavy. Additionally, their internal parts are often made of inexpensive plastic that can easily break if accidentally dropped.

The Eparé shares these limitations. It grinds pepper at a slower pace, taking almost two minutes to produce one teaspoon of finely ground pepper. While it performs faster on coarser settings, grinding a large quantity of pepper still requires a considerable amount of time and effort. For recipes that require larger quantities of pepper, it may be more practical to use pre-ground pepper. However, the Eparé stands out as the only electric model we tested that consistently produces a fine grind and maintains a relatively low noise level.

Refilling the Eparé is not as straightforward as with most manual pepper mills. The process involves twisting the base off the top stainless steel cover and then separating the base from the battery pack to access the refill opening. We recommend consulting the instruction manual beforehand, as it can be a bit complicated. Individuals with limited dexterity or chronic hand pain may require assistance in refilling the grinder. Alternatively, the Krups Electric Spice and Coffee Grinder, mentioned earlier, offers a one-handed operation and doesn't require disassembly for refilling. Grinding a batch of pepper using the Krups and storing it in a container will ensure fresher pepper compared to pre-ground options from the store.

Remember, it's important to avoid using a pepper mill for grinding salt or other spices. Salt can corrode untreated metal, so it's best to use a salt mill specifically designed for salt. Colored peppercorns, such as red, pink, or green, should be mixed with black peppercorns to prevent potential clogging. These colored peppercorns have been treated and may contain higher moisture content, which can gum up the grinder. Following these guidelines will help maintain optimal performance for your pepper mill.

If you encounter difficulty turning the knob on your mill, try loosening the screw at the top (if applicable) and gradually retightening it as you grind the peppercorns. This will help dislodge any stuck peppercorns and ensure smooth operation.

To clean the outside of your pepper mill, simply wipe it with a damp cloth. For models with oily residue, you may use a natural, all-purpose cleaner or a small amount of dish soap. Always refer to the manufacturer's instructions before cleaning the inside of the mill, and never put a mill in the dishwasher.

If you're having trouble getting peppercorns into your mill, a simple trick is to use a folded piece of paper as a funnel. This makes it easier to direct the peppercorns neatly into the mill and can be stored in a cupboard for convenient access.

If you prefer a metal pepper mill: Peugeot offers a stainless steel version of our top pick, but it has a few caveats. While the internal grinding mechanisms are the same as the wood model, the stainless steel version lacks a plastic brace to keep the spindle in place. Although the spindle appears well secured, it's worth considering this minor difference before making a purchase. Additionally, the stainless model features a plastic ring around the base, which provides extra protection against water damage, but may crack if the mill falls from the counter.

If you want a gentle option for your wrists: The Kuhn Rikon Adjustable Ratchet Grinder is worth considering. While we dismissed it in our testing due to loud grinding and fine coarse settings, the newer model features a shorter handle, making it potentially easier to operate for individuals with chronic hand pain.

In our testing, several other pepper mills fell short of our expectations. The Cole & Mason Forest Capstan Pepper Mill lacked a plastic guard to hold the center spindle in place, making it difficult to attach the top of the mill when filled. The Zassenhaus Berlin Pepper Grinder had a problematic plastic twist knob that easily clogged with pepper dust, resulting in inconsistent grinding. The Zassenhaus Speyer Pepper Mill, although highly reviewed on Amazon, tended to spray pepper everywhere when cranked by hand, ruling it out as a viable option. The IKEA Ihärdig struggled to transition from coarse to fine grinding and had uneven results. Lastly, the Unicorn Magnum Plus, another highly regarded model, produced metal shavings in our ground pepper, impacting its overall performance. The Olde Thompson Senator pepper mill had a classic look at an affordable price, but the loosening nut at the top felt unstable during coarse grinding and the flatter top knob proved challenging to use with slippery hands. The OXO Good Grips Radial Pepper Grinder had a thin plastic housing that lacked durability and the crank action resulted in pepper spray over a wide area. The OXO Good Grips Pepper Grinder, despite offering five grinding positions, consistently produced pepper of similar coarseness and suffered from pepper dust jamming the opening. The OXO Good Grips Sleek Pepper Mill, known for its easy-fill design, was one of the slowest manual pepper grinders we tested and had a see-through body that exposed peppercorns to light. It is currently only available as part of a salt and pepper set. The Atlas Brass Pepper Mill, although infused with a bit of charm, exhibited metal shavings during the initial grind and had a slightly complex refill system. The William Bounds Key Mill is a compact option with only three coarseness settings and a clear body that exposes peppercorns to light.

Hopefully, these insights and recommendations will help you find the perfect pepper mill for your needs. Happy grinding!

This article was edited by Marguerite Preston and Marilyn Ong.

  1. Christine McFadden, Pepper: The Spice That Changed the World
  2. Faith Durand, The Kitchn Reviews: Our Favorite Pepper Mills, The Kitchn, March 11, 2011
  3. Best Pepper Mills: There’s One for Every Taste, SpiceLines
  4. Sarah Perry, How to Choose a Pepper Mill, Chow, October 29, 2012
  5. G. Stephen Jones, Pepper Mills, The Reluctant Gourmet, September 16, 2012
  6. Katherine Cancila, Pepper Grinders, Wall Street Journal Test Kitchen, January 28, 2012
  7. Diane Morgan, James Beard–award-winning cookbook author, phone interview, January 7, 2014
  8. Jennifer Jasinski, James Beard–award-winning chef, email interview, 2014
  9. Stephanie Coyle, former culinary director for Sur La Table, email interview, 2014
  10. Patty Erd, former spice merchant and co-owner of The Spice House, interview, 2014
Michael Sullivan Michael Sullivan has been a staff writer on the kitchen team at Wirecutter since 2016. Previously, he worked as an editor at the International Culinary Center in New York and has accumulated over a decade of experience in the food and restaurant industry.

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    In conclusion, finding the best pepper grinder for your kitchen can greatly enhance the flavors in your dishes, adding that crucial element of freshly ground pepper. While manual options have their charm, the convenience and efficiency of electric pepper mills like the Eparé Battery Operated Pepper Mill can't be overlooked. With its sleek design, easy-to-use functionality, and adjustable grind settings, this top pick is sure to elevate your culinary experiences. So go ahead, invest in the best pepper grinder of 2021, and step up your seasoning game in style.

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