What is the difference between a salt mill and a pepper grinder?

Peugeot Pepper Grinder and Salt Mill SetWhile it may seem obvious to some, it’s a legitimate question and one which frequently comes to customer service here at MetroKitchen.  Although a similarly styled Peugeot salt mill and Peugeot pepper mill (or pepper grinders) may look the same, there are important distinctions.

The grinding mechanism in Peugeot pepper mills are made of hardened steel.  Peugeot uses the process of case hardening to ensure that the grinding mechanism withstands hard peppercorns and that the user doesn’t grind metal along with peppercorns.  Case hardening is a process of infusing elements into a metal’s surface in order to form a hard outer layer.

Peugeot Salt mills, on the other hand, have an 18/10 stainless steel grinding mechanism.  The first number, 18, is the percentage of chromium in the stainless steel.  The second number, 10, is the percentage of nickel.  Both of these elements in this type of stainless steel create a protective layer that is highly resistant to corrosion and rust, which makes it ideal for grinding salt.

What also makes a Peugeot pepper mill’s grinding mechanism different from a Peugeot salt mill’s griding mechanism, besides the metals used to make each, is the physical design of the mechanisms.  The pepper grinder is made up of large and small grooves.  The large grooves, called channeling grooves, line up the peppercorns and crack them.  The smaller grooves, called grinding grooves, do the fine grinding of the pepper.  Within the pepper grinder’s grinding mechanism, there is a grinding head that fits inside an outer ring.  These two components have different numbers of teeth or grooves, which keep them from locking together during the grinding process.

The Peugeot salt mill’s grinding mechanism does not use a channeling-grinding process.  The mechanism in the salt mill is designed to crush dry salt to its desired consistency rather than truly grind the salt.

One word of caution:  You should never use salt in a pepper grinder or pepper in a salt mill.  The salt will corrode the metal used in the grinding mechanism of a pepper mill and the metal in the salt mill is not hard enough for peppercorns.  The case-hardened steel used in the pepper mill’s grinding mechanism are more prone to corrosion but this will not be an issue if you keep the mechanism dry and only use peppercorns and not salt.

We hope this helps to clarify the differences.  MetroKitchen offers a large selection of Peugeot peppermills and salt mills, including specially priced sets available with free shipping.

Creative Commons License photo credit: KaiChanVong

  • Betsy

    I heard you should not put moist salt into a salt grinder. Is this correct? What do you recommend if I have a lot of moist Celtic Sea Salt that I need to use?

    • admin

      You are correct! Where did you purchase your salt? An alternative option is to put it into a salt holder, sometimes called a salt pig, and use a small spoon or a pinch of the fingers to add it to whatever you are cooking.