Electric pepper mills offer many conveniences, including one-handed operation. Many cooks find this a valuable feature while trying to multitask in the kitchen. Electric models are also the best choice for cooks with hand conditions that limit strength or dexterity because they require no twisting, turning or other manipulation of the device to start grinding.
Nevertheless, electric grinders aren't perfect, and some experts advise considering all your options. Automatic mills often aren't as sturdy as manual mills and may not produce as wide a range of grinds. Many also run through batteries quickly, and nearly all are top-heavy because the batteries sit in the upper chamber, above the grinding mechanism. Keep in mind, too, that while electric styles may be easy to operate, they can require a lot of twisting and maneuvering to pull them apart, which is required for reloading batteries and filling the peppercorn chamber.
Despite these drawbacks, many consumers still believe an electric pepper mill best suits their needs. If you're in this camp, the Trudeau Graviti (Est. $30) gets the most top ratings and positive reviews of any electric model we found. It's about as effortless as they come: You simply turn it upside down to engage the motor and start grinding. You don't even need to press a button. It also has a knob on the bottom to adjust to any desired grind, and a clear center section so you know when the peppercorn supply is running low. The Graviti comes in a choice of four colors: black, red, chrome and matte silver.
This Trudeau pepper mill earns an average rating of 3.5 stars out of 5 from nearly 300 users posting to Amazon.com. At Walmart.com, the red version gets 4.2 stars out of 5 from about 20 owners, and the silver grinder averages 3.8 stars out of 5 from nearly 30 users. Most say it handles easily and performs well, although a fair number of posts complain about malfunctions. The grinder is also reviewed by About.com's Mariette Mifflin, who calls it fun and convenient. However, she dislikes that it requires six AAA batteries, which is a common complaint among owners, as well.
If you'd rather have control via a button or you simply prefer pre-set grind options to an infinite adjustment knob, consider the Ozeri Savore Soft Touch Electric Pepper Mil ($25) . It has a sliding switch for choosing among three grind sizes and comes in black. Like the Trudeau Graviti, it has a clear center area so you can monitor your peppercorn supply and requires six AAA batteries. The Ozeri Savore earns 4.4 stars out of 5 from 135 Amazon.com users, who generally applaud its ease of use and like its appearance. Nevertheless, some report mechanical problems and others say it grinds too slowly.