One-Handed Pepper Mills
How we tested
Update July 2012:
Since this review was published, a few readers complained that the handles of our winning Chef'n Pepper Ball broke, so we went back into the kitchen to grind 1/2 cup of pepper every day. That did it: The handles, which collapse when twisted off the base for refilling, refused to click back into place after less than a week of heavy-duty grinding. Our previous runner-up model is now our top recommended one-handed pepper mill.
One-handed pepper mills hold one obvious advantage over the usual two-handed twist styles: They free up the other hand to stir a sauce or turn a whole raw chicken for seasoning. One-handed pepper mills can cost well over $100: We set a ceiling of $50, which allowed us to include mills in many styles and sizes, both manual and electric. We put six to a range of tests, focusing on the quality of each grind (from fine to coarse), the output of each mill (the efficiency in producing 1 teaspoon of ground pepper), and ease of use.
To win us over, any one-handed pepper grinder would have to match the output of our favorite two-handed mill, which produces plenty of perfectly ground pepper with minimal effort. Alas, only a few electric models and just one manual version matched the output of our two-handed favorite; the rest took twice as long, or longer, to produce the same amount. One electric model produced uniformly ground pepper at five settings as quickly as our winning two-handed mill. And one manual model proved easy to fill and adjust for different grinds, and it operated one-handed with no need for batteries or electricity. Neither model would compel us to retire our favorite two-handed grinder, but at just $11.95, our winning one-handed model is worth picking up—with one hand, of course.