Last Updated: Sep 4, 2020 @ 1:59 pm.

What's the best grinder for spices and herbs? We tried out several top brands of manual grinders in our test kitchen to find the best bets. Which worked well for dried chiles? What about more coarse spices like peppercorns? What if you have arthritis? Here are the winners.

FYI: We've been reviewing and rating products for the home and families since 1994. To keep our reviews independent, we don't take money or freebies from brands we review. Our work is 100% reader-supported!


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Best Grinder Chile Peppers

Also great for basil
We liked this grinder with a poly o-ring that enabled smooth grinding without added friction. Worked well turning dried chile peppers into a fine powder.
$12.99

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Best Grinder Chile Peppers: Golden Bell 4 Piece 2” Spice Herb Grinder

Dried chile peppers are stable of Mexican and Southwestern cuisine—and grinding your own chile peppers to create the perfect mole sauce is a good way of getting that authentic taste.

We tried out several top brands of manual grinders for chile peppers before deciding Golden Bell’s 4-piece spice herb grinder did the best job. Here’s why:

What We Liked

• Worked well on large spices and dried peppers.

• Mesh screen filters out stems.

• Smooth grinding, thanks to poly o-ring. This creates less friction.

What Needs Work

• Can get stuck if you overtighten the lid. 

• Easy to lose the scraper, which is rather small.

• Paint chipping? This grinder is painted and we see a few reports online of the paint chipping over time—and that may end up in the ground up spices or herbs. We didn’t see this during our short-term testing, however. If this is a concern, you may want to go for an unpainted grinder like the one we recommend next.

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Best Unpainted Grinder

Easy to clean
This iridescent rainbow colored grinder was our favorite among unpainted grinders we tried. Made of a zinc alloy, this grinder is quite portable. Caveat: shallow collection chamber.
$12.99

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Best Unpainted Grinder: Censtar Grinder – 4 Pieces Zinc Alloy Pollen Rainbow Grinders Spice Grinder

As we tested and researched grinders for use in a kitchen for cooking, we were surprised to see one quality issue come up time and again: grinders with chipped paint. Many grinders are painted . . . and that paint can chip off over time. Of course, having a paint chip in your freshly ground rosemary is sub-optimal.

The best solution is to go for a unpainted grinder. And after trying out a few, we think Censtar’s Grinder worked the best on spices and herbs. And it looks pretty as well.

What We Liked

• Sharp blades = smooth grinding.

• Easy to clean.

• Iridescent rainbow color looks nice on a kitchen counter.

What Needs Work

• Smaller herbs can get stuck in teeth. 

• Collection chamber is rather shallow.

• No pollen scraper. 

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Best Grinder Dried Spices

Easy to grip
This pricey yet effective manual grinder is the easiest to use, especially if you suffer from arthritis. Large size. Caveat: fine screen is a bit too fine for some spices.

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Best Grinder Dried Spices: VIVOSUN 2.5” 4 Pieces Herb Grinder

For those cooks who want to grind dried spices such as peppercorns, we think VIVOSUN’s grinder is the best of the bunch. We tried out several grinders with coarse spices and thought this grinder did the best job.

Whole leaf herbs (Bay Leaf, for example) or Anise Star for baking can be challenging to grind up, given their large size. Yet this grinder handled them with ease.

What We Liked

• Curved teeth for finer grinding.

• Nice grip.

• Easy to use.

• Larger size than others we tested.

What Needs Work

• Paint can chip after long-term use, says some users.

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Best Grinder For Arthritis

Magnetic lid doesn't get lost
This pricey yet effective manual grinder is the easiest to use, especially if you suffer from arthritis. Large size. Caveat: fine screen is a bit too fine for some spices.
$19.97

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Best Grinder For Arthritis: Kozo Best Herb Grinder

If you have arthritic hands, using a manual grinder can be difficult at best. After trying out a few grinders that promise to be easier for those with arthritis, we thought Kozo’s Best Herb Grinder was the top choice. It was the easiest to turn with minimal effort.

What We Liked

• Easy to use.

• Larger size than others we tested. At 2.5″ wide, it is about 25% bigger than the Censtar grinder reviewed earlier.

• Smooth grind for spices or herbs.

What Needs Work

• Pricey.

• Fine screen is too fine for some users. That means some spices can get stick in the screen.

Why Trust Us

We’ve been rating and reviewing products for the home and families since 1994. We do hands-on testing—we buy the products with our own money and evaluate with an eye toward quality, ease of use and affordability.

Here’s another key point: we don’t take money from the brands we review. No free samples, no sponsors, no “partnerships.” Our work is 100% reader-supported!

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