Abstract To analyse and indicate the performance of the planetary vibration mill (PVM), i.e. a new type of mill for fine grinding which combines the advantages of the vibration mill (VM) as well as the planetary mill (PM), a number of materials were ground with PVM and VM separately. The characteristics of the PVM are demonstrated by varying the revolution speed and the amplitude of the PVM, and comparing the particle size distributions, average particle size, specific surface area and X-ray diffraction spectrum of the ground product. Its working principle, the influence of technical parameters on grinding and the motion of the grinding media within the mill are discussed. It is found that mechanochemical effects take place during fine grinding.