Chances are, if you want to open a can of soup or even a can of green beans, you are going to need to use a can opener. Since the practice of sealing food in cans began in 1858 in the United States and even earlier in other parts of the world, apparatuses have been used in order to open the cans.
What first began as a gloried lever, the can opener is now available in many makes and models. Some are very basic and inexpensive as well, costing only a few dollars. Others are much more sophisticated such as devices that attach to the wall and others that cut with a smooth edge. All do the same thing, cut metal cans, but the differences are great both on price and convenience.
The Best Chart For Can Openers
|OXO Steel Can Opener||4.8||Manual||$$|
|Hamilton Beach Smooth Touch Can Opener||4.4||Electric||$$$|
|Proctor Silex Plus Extra-Tall Can Opener||4.2||Electric||$$|
|West Bend Electric Can Opener||4.4||Electric||$$$$|
|EZ-DUZ-IT Deluxe Can Opener||4.8||Manual||$|
|PowerLix Heavy Duty Safety Manual Can Tin Opener||3.0||Manual||$|
|Hamilton Beach Classic Chrome Heavyweight Can Opener||4.2||Electric||$$|
|Resource for Cooking Stainless Steel Manual Can Opener||4.3||Manual||$|
|Made in USA Can Opener||4.8||Manual||$$|
|Bartelli Soft Edge Automatic Electric Can Opener||4.4||Electric||$$$$|
There are a myriad of can openers on the market. There are the cheap, manually operated ones that cost very little. Some work and some are a waste of a dollar or two. There are the moderate range devices and again, many work excellent but there are those that don’t really work at all. The same is true of the state-of-the-art models on the high end. So, which are the most likely to open that can of soup or green beans for you without bloodying your fingers or breaking the bank? The chart above will help guide you to the perfect can opener for your needs.
Can Openers 101
A can opener is a device that is used to open cans, usually ones made of tin or metal. In England, the apparatus is often referred to as a “tin opener”. Can openers are available in manual versions that generally operate by twisting a lever, which turns a wheel that is punctured into the top of the can. There are also electric models on the market too. These modern devices are easy and convenient to use but cost more as well. While the object of a can opener is to open a can, the way in which they do are what distinguishes one from another.
What Are the Advantages of a Good Can Opener?
The advantage of having a can opener is that you can actually open canned food. It is near impossible and very dangerous to attempt to open a metal can without one. The advantages of using a good can opener are immense.
The cheaper models cost a mere buck or two but often do not work at all. If they do, they are often very hard to turn which can result in getting either cut by a sharp edge or frustrated with a partially opened can. There are manual ones available that are easy to twist though. Some even cut the can leaving a smooth edge which is ideal for families with small children.
Electric models are more expensive, some by just a few dollars and others by a hundred dollars or more. Of these, some work extremely well and others are known to wear out quickly, attach poorly to the can well or to have other operational issues.
One thing is for sure, when you are ready to open a can, you want a can opener that works. Be it a manual version or a top of the line more modern device, it is imperative that it works and that it works well. Looks, size, and durability are other factors that certainly fall into play as well, but bottom-line is that you can have the best valued, best looking can opener available and if it doesn’t open a can for you… it’s worthless.
How Do You Find the Best Can Openers?
The best can openers will have some things in common that are basic. As you browse through our reviews, you will find additional information such as various features each has to offer so you will want to take those options into consideration as well. The following are some attributes to look for so you can separate the good from the very best.
- Safety is of utmost importance. The jagged edges of a metal can have the capability to shred skin. Look for safety features such as those that provide a smooth cutting edge. On a manual can opener, some feature slip-proof handles. On electric devices, it is important that the can secures to the rotation device and does not slide off.
- Reliability is a huge factor to consider. You will be very disappointed if your device does not perform properly each and every time. Whether you chose a manual or an electric version, reading reviews on the model is helpful to assure the device is dependable. A warranty is helpful too.
- A can opener should be easily maintained. Some manual versions cannot go into the dishwasher, which may or may not be a big deal to you, but it is something to note. On electric devices, some tend to cut cleaner than others. Those that cut clean do not tend to collect paper and food and will not need to be cleaned as often. Cutting levers on electric versions that can be detached to clean are optimal.
- Do your research. No matter if you are looking for a simple, inexpensive device that will just open cans, or if you are wanting a fancier, industrial quality machine to handle heavy cans and that will perform other tasks as well, you will do well to read all there is available about the model. Narrow down your choices and then look into each in depth to find the one that is best for your needs.
- If you are opting for an electric version, you may intend to have it for a while. If so, you may want to look into replacement parts to see if they are available and if so, how readily they can be found at what the price tag is on them. A warranty offer may eliminate the need for replacement parts if it is a good one.
Things Worth Knowing About Can Openers
The use of packaging food in metal or tin cans has been around for hundreds of years. In fact as far back as 1772 it is recorded that the Dutch Navy preserved food in cans. The invention of canning food in metal brought along with it the need to open the cans.
While a chisel and hammer were first used to get food cans open, much has changed. The first proper “can opener” was invented in 1858, 48 years after the world’s first can made of iron and tin was patented. Levers, church-key devices and rotating wheel cutters have all been employed to achieve the task. Electric devices came about around in the 1930’s, but were not perfected and not very well received. They were improved and reintroduced in the mid 50’s and went over much better.
Electric vs. Manual: The choice of buying a manual version versus or an electric model is often a matter of what the purpose of it will be. One who is going camping will want to open cans without the use of electricity while one who wishes to open cans to prepare family dinners may want to do so more quickly and conveniently than the manual type offers. Some do not wish to clutter their kitchen counter with a can opener and opt for the small, handheld device. The price is often a factor too. While some want to only pay a small amount and prefer to add muscle to the mix, others are willing to pay for the ease that the electric ones have to give.
There are extra features that are available in many of the electric versions. For those that are preparing meals for a family or are in the kitchen a lot, these features can come in very handy. Some have a knife blade sharpener and some have bottle top openers too.
There are manual versions that double as a bottle opener and some, like the military models, also puncture a can so that it will pour. These metal types are generally sold very cheap but also usually require a series of heavy twists in order to operate which can be an issue for anyone who does not have good strength or who has trouble gripping.
Cleaning is something to consider. Many manual versions are best not washed in the dishwasher as that can lead to rusting. A few are dishwasher safe. Of the electric models, some have cutting blades that can be removed for cleaning which is a big plus.
Another feature that some have, both manual, and electric ones, is the ability to cut cans with a smooth edge. The can is cut from the side and does not reveal sharp edges. This option is great for those who have children in the household.
Whether your intent is to simply open a can or you are looking for a modern multi-functional device, the invention of the can opener has left the playing field wide open. You are sure to be able to find the most basic, inexpensive manually driven model or the most sophisticated one by looking online where there are a myriad of options available to you.
How Much Do the Best Can Openers Cost?
Can Openers vary greatly in price but they also vary greatly in what they offer. If you are purchasing a manual can opener, you can expect to pay anywhere from $10 or under to $20 or upward. Those that cut a smooth edge or feature a grip handle tend to run a little more than most. As far as electric can openers, the price range is greater. You can get a functional basic model for as little as $15 or a state-of-the-art one for over $100. The $40 to $50 range is about average for a device that offers some features.
What Do Our Reviews Reveal?
This manual type can opener is one of the easier to operate. Large, cushioned handles help to absorb pressure and the oversized, easy to grasp knob makes turning the sharp stainless steel cutting wheel a breeze. The OXO Steel Can Opener has a non-slip grip on the handle to allow pressure to be applied without losing a tight grip. It also has a built-in bottle opener. For best results, this device should not be put in the dishwasher.
The reviews for this can opener were generally favorable. Many felt it was a sturdy and well-made device. It was noted that it was easy to use and eliminated the need for a bulky can opener. Also mentioned was the fact that one consumer had the model for five years and the blade was finally getting dull but had lasted well throughout the duration. There were, however, complaints of the device rusting.Click here to view prices on Amazon and find the best deal.
This electric can opener offers ease in opening any size can, even pop-top ones. It features a smooth edge cutting system that goes in from the side and removes the top of the can as well. The lever is quite large and requires little effort to operate. The device is nicely designed in black and chrome. In addition, it comes with a full 1-year warranty.
Most of the reviews are positive on this can opener. One thing that stood out to consumers was the fact that the device does not touch the food, leaving the food uncontaminated and the can opener clean. The fact that the top of the can comes right off was another plus mentioned. Some acclaimed this model the best on the market. It was noted in at least one review that the machine did not shut off upon completion of opening the can, but it was also cited that that seemed to be a small matter given the overall performance of the device.
This device is manufactured by Proctor Silex. It focuses on dependability and convenience with cans opening on the first try and featuring a cutting lever that detaches so it can be cleaned. This model is made taller than most so it can handle tall and larger size cans. The machine doubles as a knife sharpener. It comes in white so it easily fits into most kitchen decors. The low price of this device makes it even more attractive.
The reviews on this electric can opener were generally very good. The ease of operation was a plus as was the ability to take the cutter device off to clean it. Some compared it to other models that were similar in price and stated that this device was superior. There were a few mentions of the can edges not being cut smooth which is a feature that is not promised by this model.Click here to view prices on Amazon and find the best deal.
This electric can opener is a West Bend brand. It operates at 70 watts and is made of plastic, chrome and aluminum in a slim, sleek design. It is extra-tall so it opens larger, taller cans and is a heavy duty design as well. As a bonus feature, it has a knife sharpener and a bottle opener as well. For safety, this device has an automatic shutoff. It also has a cord storage built in and the cutting accessory is dishwasher safe. It measures 5-1/6 by 5 by 9-8/9 inches and carries a 1-year limited warranty.
This model is not the cheapest of its size range, but it has many features that are not found in the less-expensive ones. The reviews were good, for the most part. Many stated the looks of the device and the extra features were well worth paying a little more for. One reviewer mentioned he had his can opener for five years and then the magnetic device broke. One mentioned that the can labels tend to bunch at the top. Overall, the reviewers were very impressed with the device.Click here to view prices on Amazon and find the best deal.
This device is a manual can opener. This is a John J. Steuby brand. It features red handles that are designed for an easy and a tight grip. It is very inexpensive and is great for those who simply want to be able to open a can or wish to have a can opener that is portable. It is best washed by hand. The blade is hardened steel where the body is chromed steel with red handles.
Most who reviewed stated that this device was easy to hold and fairly easy to turn. It was noted that the device was sturdy and well made. Many raved at the sharpness of which it cut but there was mention of a 6 ounce can being difficult to cut. It was mentioned that the lid of the can does not readily come off after cutting. Most agreed that for the small price tag, this small device was worth the cost.Click here to view prices on Amazon and find the best deal.