This sturdy flip-top salt box held plenty of salt and provided easy access to it, accommodating most testers’ hands. While somewhat vulnerable to humidity, this box was great at shielding salt from messes. It was a breeze to fill and clean and could be opened with one hand; a small handle made it convenient to lift for on-the-fly seasoning.
Our winning mill was easy to load, and thanks to its clearly marked grind settings, “you know exactly what you’re getting,” said one tester. The easy-to-read settings allowed us to quickly and seamlessly change grind sizes, and the pepper output was great, too: We saw clear differences between the pepper ground using the fine, medium, and coarse settings. The mill was easy to operate, and the clear body was a nice bonus when filling because it helped us to avoid overflow.
Adjusting this compact mill is easy: You simply slide a big plastic tab along a row of clearly marked grind sizes. It’s also a breeze to fill, thanks to a wide opening that’s about 2 inches across. We love that the pepper comes out of the top, because that keeps your countertop free of the peppercorn debris and dust that can fall out of other models. Thanks to the mill’s clear body, you can tell at a glance when it’s time to refill it.
This small granite mortar and pestle is a great option for those who are looking to economize and don’t mind spending a little more time and taking a few extra batches to get through a recipe. Although it has half the capacity of our winner, it did a great job of grinding spices to powder and making pesto, thanks to a heavy pestle and a relatively coarse mortar. While not as heavy as our favorite, the mortar is still heavy enough to sit fairly securely on the countertop. And the long pestle gives hands plenty of room to grip without hitting the rim of the mortar when pounding. More on this test
True to its name, this Goliath of a mortar and pestle was by far the biggest, heaviest, and best we tested. Weighing nearly 12 pounds, the granite mortar sat rooted to the counter; its coarse-textured interior allowed us to grind dry spices to fine powders and wet ingredients to smooth pastes more quickly than any other model. Its pestle—also the heaviest we tested—did a fantastic job of smashing garlic and reducing whole spices to smithereens. One tiny gripe: The pestle could be a smidge longer; our hands sometimes hit the rim of the mortar while pounding ingredients.
This grinder, our previous favorite, once again received top marks for its clean, relatively even grinding and simple, easy-to-use design. We particularly appreciated its wide, clear lid, which afforded us the best view of the grinding process, and we liked that its grind button was situated off to the side so we didn't obscure the lid with our hands during grinding. Its grinding chamber was a roomy oval that provided a wide base for us to cleanly load and empty the coffee. It held enough coffee beans to grind 70 grams of coffee, enough for a full 10-cup pot from our top-ranked coffee maker, and its low-lying blade ensured that no whole beans were left after grinding. It's also our favorite electric spice grinder. However, if you regularly grind both coffee beans and whole spices, we recommend you invest in a second grinder to prevent flavor crossover.
Our winning spoons had a simple design that allowed for a continuous, bump-free sweep, with a ball-chain connector (similar to what military dog tags hang on) that was easy to open and close. This set's metal construction felt remarkably sturdy, and ingredients didn't cling to the stainless steel. And while the 1-tablespoon measure did not fit into all spice jars, it was a minor inconvenience for an otherwise easy-to-use set.
This funnel had the longest spout in the lineup, nearly 2 inches, which made it feel securely anchored during use. Its spout was a tad narrower than ideal, but it still allowed foods and liquids to flow reasonably well—though the viscous barbecue sauce proved challenging. As with some other models, we learned that we could address flow issues by either slowing down our pour or tapping or shaking the funnel.
This Microplane grabbed the top spot thanks to its great performance and its soft, grippy rubber handle that was slightly more comfortable and secure than that of our old winner. Otherwise, their grating surfaces are identical, so they both shredded cheese, zested lemons, and grated nutmeg, garlic, and ginger with ease. The Premium Classic came sharp, stayed sharp, and looked as good as new after testing. We do wish it had a wider surface so it didn’t form a trench in our cheese while grating, but it’s still the best option out there.
We loved that this U-shaped model was fully customizable; it can be expanded or collapsed to fit wide or narrow cabinets, and its platforms can be stacked or used side by side. It’s designed to hug the sides and back of cabinets’ interiors, offering significant storage space and allowing users to see clearly into each tier. It had an impressive capacity, though it did leave a gulf in the center of the cabinet. We were impressed by this model’s sturdiness, but we wish it would have taken a little less time to put together. It’s best used when you can devote a whole cabinet to spices and don’t block the view with other items.
This simple and durable model expanded to hold an impressive number of spice containers. We especially liked that each tier had raised edges to keep the spices contained and organized. It was easy to find the spices we were looking for most of the time, though it did require a bit of lifting and tilting of spice jars to read the labels in the back. This is a great option if your cabinet height is limited; what you lose in visibility, you gain in capacity.
This pair of large metal panels interlocked for an expandable design that offered an impressively large capacity of 64 jars across four rows. It was easy to see all our spice containers in one glance, which made locating spices a cinch. We liked how durable and stable the unit was, which kept it from sliding around in the drawer, but we wish it had a no-slip coating on its surfaces so that individual jars didn’t move around. It was also too tall to hold extra-large spice jars without blocking the drawer from closing.
This storage rack hangs over the back of a door and is perfect for maximizing pantry space. It comes with eight spacious shelves that each hold 27 standard 4-fluid-ounce spice jars, for an impressive total of 216 jars. That’s far more space than most people need for spices, but the shelves are large enough to hold 28-ounce cans, boxes or bags of grains, and other pantry staples such as oils and vinegars. We recommend labeling the lids of the spice jars and storing the jars below eye level for maximum visibility. The rack performed well when simply hanging over a door, but it can also be bolted in for extra security. Our only qualm: This rack was a bit difficult to put together, and its assembly did require a screwdriver and a wrench.
With a medium-length tube for easy maneuvering and a rotating dial that allows precise control of fan speed, this smoke infuser was especially easy to use. It has a removable smoking chamber and filter, making cleanup a breeze and maintaining high-quality smoke. It's the heaviest model we tested, so it stays put on the counter.