Oxo 5.5-inch Pepper Mill

Pros: Fast; easy on hands; easy to load; easy to see when you’re running out
Cons: Grind wheel breaks easily; needs to be cleaned frequently
Rating: 4 out of 5

First published 10/11/2002

Some time ago I was having a tendonitis flare-up. At the time we had a little crystal-clear pepper mill that was fairly stiff when you used it to grind pepper. It was also a little slow. This was merely annoying when we wanted to grind lots of pepper for a recipe; it was sheer agony when my tendonitis started acting up. So, we decided to try the Oxo pepper mill. Oxo, after all, makes a fair amount of stuff that’s meant to be easy on the hands.

You pull open the little plastic “window” so that it becomes a spout-like opening, and you pour peppercorns inside. You set a wheel on the bottom in order to adjust the grind from coarse to fine. Then you grab the big black knob on the long lever arm and grind your pepper.

Because you get plenty of leverage with that long grind arm, you can very quickly grind large amounts of pepper with little effort – perfect for the home cook! Best of all, it’s very easy on the hands. Even at the worst of my tendonitis I’ve been able to use it.

The clear window makes it very easy to see when you’re running out of pepper. Wonderful for people like us, who cook a lot – we go through a lot of pepper! The white color unfortunately does mean that it gets dirty quickly and obviously. You’ll need to clean it quite often.

Like so many things Oxo, unfortunately, we find that this mill doesn’t entirely stand up to frequent usage. The grind wheel developed problems pretty quickly. Now, if you want finely-ground pepper, you have to keep dialing the wheel back to the fine side after every few grinds. It seems to work its way back to coarse without help from anyone else. Luckily for us we don’t mind coarsely-ground pepper.

It’s really unfortunate that the durability of Oxo goods seems so much less impressive than the ideas. (And then there are the cases where the execution in general lacks – like the refrigerator-magnet clips that have been unable to stay up on any refrigerator I’ve owned if the least bit of weight is clipped into them.)

I love the big handles, and all the little ways in which these products make life easier for people like me who have hand problems. But so many of our Oxo products have developed flaws of one type or another that they’ve kind of become a bit of a joke around here (“is it time to buy another jar opener again?”). If only either Oxo would make their items more durable, or some other company would start putting out such helpful designs, our kitchen would be complete!

Posted in Reviews

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