The pepper mills that made our list of top picks claim numerous fans among home cooks. Most users of the OXO Good Grips Pepper Grinder rave about its overall performance, according to pepper grinders reviews. The amount of pepper that emerges with each twist of the base, and the five grind settings that each produce an even grind, earn praise in users' postings on the Williams-Sonoma Amazon similarly commend the smooth and effortless grind action, variable grind settings that let dinner companions choose their own, and the top-pour design that leaves no mess behind. We did, however, notice two minor grievances that pop up in reviews about this model. One is that the fine grind is not fine enough and the difference in grain sizes from one setting to another are not always noticeable. Second, the removable bottom in older models has a tendency to fall off, leaving the contents to spill far and wide; one user commenting on Crate & Barrel solved this problem by taping the bottom in place with a small piece of electrical tape.
Partisans also rally 'round the Vic Firth Pump & Grind. Alone among the low-cost models that we researched, this one is primarily stainless steel, with just an inch or so of acrylic for an inside view. It's a stylish look that calls out to users, according to a review on Bed Bath & Beyond, although some purchasers are surprised by what they consider the Vic Firth Pump & Grind's small size (six inches high and one inch wide). Pepper grinders reviews on Epinions, however, say it's just right for use at the table and a blog post on Gadgeteer reports that it delivers a precise shot of spice- with one hand, no less -- exactly when needed.
Two other cheap pepper mills that we looked at occasionally meet consumers' expectations. Although some users like the styling and pump/squeeze action of the Chef'n Pepper Ball, others consider it little more than a cute gimmick. The Chef'n Pepper Ball dispenses minute amounts of pepper with each squeeze, asserts one pepper mills review on Epinions, and you need about 50 squeezes to get a quarter of a teaspoon-worth of unevenly ground spice. Several consumers posting on Amazon similarly complain about the inability to estimate the amount of pepper dispensed with each squeeze of the handles, but at least some users appreciate the coarse grind that results.
Consumers really like the novelty of the Trudeau Graviti pepper mill -- just turn it upside down and pepper comes out as if you were using a regular pepper shaker. Most users consider the relative free-flow a plus, although a pepper grinders review on Viewpoints grouses about too much pepper. Still, we read numerous reports from users who give the electric pepper mill Trudeau Graviti as a gift and find it to be an attention grabber at the dinner table.