Unicorn Magnum Plus Pepper Mill vs. Oliver Hemming Spice Mill
Unicorn Magnum Plus Pepper Mill vs. Oliver Hemming Spice Mill – For a few years I used the Unicorn Magnum Plus Pepper Mill (left), but about five months ago I started using the Oliver Hemming Spice Mill (right). Now that I own both of these grinders, I thought I would have a pepper grinding duel to compare the two products.
I have previously written about the Oliver Hemming and the Unicorn, and both are very good pepper grinders, but there are some differences that set them apart. So after a lot of pepper grinding, here are how the two grinders compare.
Unicorn Magnum Plus vs. Oliver Hemming Spice Mill – Styling
The Oliver Hemming has better styling in my opinion and comes in a range of colors. The body of the Hemming is also made out of acrylic and has a smooth, solid feel to it. But what sets it apart is the unique use of a traditional mortar perched on top of the grinder. There is a reason why the Oliver Hemming spice mill won a Red Dot Design Award.
The Unicorn is less stylish and more utilitarian, and one of the most common points raised about the Unicorn is that it doesn’t look that great. I do agree that it is nothing special, but I also don’t think it is that bad. I just wish they would start making the Unicorn in different colors. I think that would greatly reduce the ‘ugly’ stigma associated with it. Also, the ABS plastic feels a lot cheaper than the Hemming material.
Unicorn Magnum Plus vs. Oliver Hemming Spice Mill – Loading and Storage Capacity
The Hemming’s storage capacity is good compared to other grinders and holds about 3/8 cup but nothing like the Unicorn. The best part of the Hemming, though, is how easy it is to load. The mortar on top acts like a funnel, so loading is extremely easy.
The Unicorn holds almost one cup of peppercorns when filled up to the loading hole, which is an amazing amount. The hole is also large for easy filling, but I must admit that I find the loading of peppercorns awkward on the side of the grinder.
Storage, in my opinion, is a wash between these two products. The ease of loading with the Hemming adequately compensates for its smaller storage, but the Unicorn definitely will need less filling.
Unicorn Magnum Plus vs. Oliver Hemming Spice Mill – Grinding
The Hemming’s grind is very good and the turning is smooth. A nice shower of pepper comes out, and there is also an adjustment knob on the bottom to regulate the grind from fine to coarse. A nice feature of the Hemming is that the grinding mechanism is made out of ceramic and not steel, so you can use it for grinding salt as well as other dry spices that are under the size of a coffee bean.
The Unicorn is a pepper-grinding monster, and it has a very satisfying grind-and-crunch feel. It grinds fast and the shower of corns is fast and plentiful. The grinding mechanism is steel, so though it can be used for pepper, salt will corrode the metal. Unicorn has different products for grinding salt if you are looking for that option. There is also a knob at the bottom for adjusting the grind just as the Hemming has.
For comparison, at a medium-coarse grind the Unicorn produced about 1 3/8 tsp of pepper after 20 turns versus just under 1 1/8 tsp with the Hemming. At finer grinds, the Hemming performed almost as well as the Unicorn, and the Hemming actually allowed for a finer grind at the most extreme setting than the Unicorn. There is no question though that at medium to coarse grinds, the Unicorn is much faster.
Unicorn Magnum Plus vs. Oliver Hemming Spice Mill – Other Considerations
The Unicorn was messier than the Hemming and a fair amount of pepper would leak out of the Unicorn while resting on the counter, especially at coarser grind settings. You will probably notice a lot of peppercorn droppings where you store the Unicorn if you purchase this grinder.
Also of note, the loading hole on the Unicorn can come open accidentally because it is located just under the turning mechanism and regular grinding sometimes opens it. If this happens and the grinder tips over, you may spill peppercorns. This only happened a couple of times to me, but it did happen. The new Unicorn, however, has a tighter fitting ring over the loading hole, so hopefully it will stay closed and be less of a problem. This problem was also noted in Amazon reviews.
Unicorn Magnum Plus vs. Oliver Hemming Spice Mill – Conclusion
All in all they are both very good pepper grinders. If you are looking for grinding speed during hectic cooking sessions, then the Unicorn is probably the best choice. If you can sacrifice a bit of speed and want something that looks better, the Oliver Hemming is an excellent choice.
If you want to purchase the Oliver Hemming Spice Mill, Dream Icons has it for sale for $45 + $20 shipping. The Unicorn Magnum Plus Pepper Mill is available from Amazon for $45 with free shipping.