In my opinion, there are four things you want to look for as far as ease of use:
- How hard is it to fill?– I mentioned I have a favorite mill that I use all the time but after writing this article I’m thinking of trading it in. Every time I go to fill it, I end up spilling a bunch of those little peppercorns on the ground and they are hard to find on the floor. I need to find a pepper mill with a larger opening to make it easier to add peppercorns.
- Output– how much ground pepper a mill can provide determines the speed at which you can use it. If you are doing large amounts of cooking and your recipes call for a lot of ground pepper, you don’t want to be spending too much time grinding away because your pepper mill is slow. On the other hand, if you are using it at the table to add some additional seasonings to your food, you don’t need a lot of speed.
- Handle– This is really a personal preference. I happen to like the crank handle on top that you spin around. Yes, it can be awkward at times, but I’ve gotten use to it. Most of us are more familiar with the mushroom bulb handle that you find on traditional pepper mills. They probably offer more control than the crank handle and are a little less awkward.
- Adjusting the Grind– If you are using a pepper mill for your recipes, you will find some call for a coarse grind, like inSteak with Peppercorns) and some require a fine grind. So if you are constantly going back and forth between grinds, you want to make sure the adjustment is easy. Most pepper mills adjust by turning the little knob at the top. The same knob you use to remove the top when filling. But some mills adjust with a screw or dial from the bottom.