Can openers are irreplaceable kitchen appliances. Whether you want to open a can of soup or beans, you’ll need a tool if you want to get to your food. Ever since the practice of sealing food in cans began in 1858 in the United States and even earlier in other parts of the world, people have invented and sold specialized devices that can quickly and effortlessly open all kinds of cans.
What first began as a gloried lever is now available in many shapes and sizes. Some are very basic and inexpensive, costing only a few dollars. Others are much more sophisticated and come with a variety of practical features. For example, some can be attached to a wall, while others can cut with a smooth edge. Basically, all can openers do the same thing – cut metal cans – but they vary greatly in their efficiency, convenience, and price.
So, if you’re still in doubt about which model is the best fit for your needs and preferences, keep reading to learn about the best can openers offered on the market this year, and what you need to consider when shopping for a can opener.
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 Can Openers
Best Overall: OXO SteeL Can OpenerWe chose the OXO 58081 as our best overall can opener. The unit is built to last, with comfort and safety as its best aspects. So, it’s not surprising why this simple, yet sturdy can opener is most people’s favorite pick.
The OXO 58081 can opener is one of the easiest manual models to operate. The large, cushioned handles help to absorb pressure, and the oversized, easy-to-grasp knob makes turning the sharp cutting wheel a breeze.
It has ultra-rubberized handles that prevent slipping which makes the device very safe.
On top of that, the unit is one of the rare manual can openers suitable for people with wrist problems or arthritic hands. Because of its sharpness and the way it’s constructed, every cut will be perfectly smooth – up to the point where you might not even feel it working.
Another impressive characteristic of the OXO 58081 is that it’s one of the most affordable can openers available on the market today. Why pay a ridiculous amount of money when you can get one of the best can openers for less? If you’re looking for a basic yet high-quality can opener, you’ve just found it.
While it’s very easy-to-use, the OXO 58081 doesn’t offer the same convenience when it comes to cleaning. Given that it’s not dishwasher-safe, you need to hand wash it every time. Of course, for most people this isn’t an inconvenience, but we felt it was something we should mention.
All in all, the OXO 58081 can opener is one of the best manual models available today because it’s durable, efficient, very easy-to-use, and best of all, affordable. If you don’t want to go over-the-top for a simple can opener, but still want the convenience of opening cans of every size, and frequently, the OXO 58081 would be a smart choice.
Best Quality: Hamilton Beach Smooth Touch Can OpenerIf you prefer electric can openers, then you should keep your eyes on the Hamilton Beach Smooth Touch model. It offers amazing quality and an effortless experience, which is exactly why we placed it in the best quality category.
Unlike the other recommendations, the Hamilton Beach Smooth Touch is an electric can opener that locks the can in place and can be operated with one hand. This means you only have to plug it in, attach the can, and press the lock with one hand. That’s it. You don’t even have to hold the can. Regardless of whether you have arthritis, problems with your wrists, or your left hand is the dominant one, this unit makes cutting cans a piece of cake.
Also, the Hamilton Beach Smooth Touch makes side-cuts (smooth) which prevents the lid from falling, and the machine itself has zero contact with the food. After you make a full cutting circle, simply take the can and take off the lid.
The unit is very user-friendly and intuitive. Once you plug it in, you’ll only have to raise the handle which unlocks the cutting wheel. After this, place the food under the wheel and press until it’s locked. To start cutting, hold the handle fully pressed. To stop cutting, remove the hand from the handle. It’s that simple.
Finally, the Hamilton Beach Smooth Touch won’t fail you even if you need to open large and heavy cans. The locking mechanism is very secure and can hold a can of all sizes. This also applies to cans with untypical shapes, like fish cans with ellipse shapes.
It’s hard to find a drawback to such a powerful device, but some people may be put off by the price. After all, we’re talking about a can opener and if you don’t want anything fancy, you might be better off with some of the other recommendations.
For people who prefer a fancier can opener with a lot of power and that requires zero effort to operate, the Hamilton Beach Smooth Touch seems like the right choice. It’s well designed, intuitive, makes clean side-cuts, and you can operate it using only one hand. The unit is also a great choice for people who can work with manual can openers that require pressure.
Best on a Budget: ZYLISS Lock N' Lift Manual Handheld Can OpenerWe chose the ZYLISS Lock N’ Lift 7″ Manual Handheld Can Opener as our best budget-pick because it’s a very durable, comfortable, and affordable device that gets the job done.
One of the best features of the ZYLISS Lock N’ Lift 7″ model is its ability to lock the lid. The locking mechanism securely holds the lid after cutting, so you don’t have to even touch it. This makes the whole cutting process very safe and clean (no stains on hands).
Another great feature is how comfortable it is to use it. To open cans you need pressure and wrist strength, so having a device that allows you to comfortably grip the handle is crucial. You’ll find that this level of comfort makes cutting much easier.
The ZYLISS Lock N’ Lift 7″ model has the best of both worlds – it’s very small and easy-to-store, while still feeling quite sturdy and heavy.
It comes with a stainless steel blade, which means it won’t rust or corrode. The body is made of hard plastic, while the handles are covered with a softer material.
Best of all, you can throw it in the dishwasher and save yourself the trouble of washing it by hand.
Depending on the shape and size of the can, unfortunately, sometimes the magnet doesn’t reach the lid and can’t lock it. This means that the lid might fall into the can and make a mess. However, this happens rarely, and only with very large cans.
Some people find it hard to latch this can opener onto the lid, so if you’re someone who has a weaker grip, it’s best to go for an electric can opener or our best overall pick.
The ZYLISS Lock N’ Lift 7″ model is a great budget choice as it offers convenience, comfort, and most importantly, durability. While a lot of cheap options are made of thin plastic and brittle blades, this unit promises a job well done regardless of the can type. Plus, it’s easy-to-store and easy-to-clean.
Most Verssatile: Kuhn Rikon Auto Safety Master Smooth Touch Can OpenerWhen it comes to versatility, the Kuhn Rikon Auto Safety Master Smooth Touch is the winner. With the ability to open cans of all types and sizes, as well as bottles, this little can opener deserves a spot among the best can openers available on the market.
The Kuhn Rikon Auto Safety Master Smooth Touch can opener can open pretty much anything. If you want a two/three-in-one device that can handle a variety of different tasks, know that this unit can open cans, bottles, pop, and pull tops.
Not only is the Kuhn Rikon model the most versatile can opener, but it’s suited for lefties, too. This means that regardless of whether your right or left hand is dominant, you won’t have problems cutting cans or opening bottles with this practical kitchen appliance.
The Kuhn Rikon can opener has an automatic attaching mechanism. What this means is that it automatically locks itself onto the lid, so you can very easily cut the can and then remove the lid without ever touching it with your hands. This is also the reason why this unit is praised as being very safe.
The body of the Kuhn Rikon is made of plastic, which might be a turn off for people who use can openers very frequently and appreciate a very durable product.
Versatility is no problem for the Kuhn Rikon can opener, so if you want a unit that can do it all – this should be your choice. Aside from being versatile, the can opener is also very safe, easy-to-use, and suited for lefties.
The Advantages of Can Openers
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 advantage of using a good can opener is usually convenience.
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 you either getting cut by a sharp edge or feeling frustrated with a partially opened can. There are manual ones available that are easy to twist though, like the ones we chose in our recommendations. Some even cut the can leaving a smooth edge which is ideal for families with small children. Even the fancier manual can openers are very affordable.
How To Find the Best Can Opener?
There is a myriad of can openers on the market, so here are three factors you should always keep in mind when looking to buy a can opener.
Electric vs. Manual
The first thing you should decide is whether you need an electric or manual type. Electric can openers are much more convenient and powerful, requiring zero effort, but they also cost more. Some people don’t have a choice and an electric can opener is something they truly need. For example, people with arthritis. Others want something simple and portable, so they invest in a high-quality manual can opener. For example, a person who’s going camping will want to open cans without having to use electricity.
Some people do not wish to clutter their kitchen counter with a can opener and opt for the small, handheld device, while others have a bigger kitchen or more storage space. The price is often a factor when deciding on a electric vs a manual can opener. While some want to only pay a small amount and prefer to add muscle to the mix, others are willing to pay more for the convenience that the electric can openers have to give.
There are also extra features that are available in many of the electric versions. For those who use a can opener frequently, these features will certainly come in handy. Some have a knife blade sharpener, there are can openers that can be mounted on a wall, and some can even open bottles.
Manual and metal types, on the other hand, are generally sold very cheap but usually require a series of heavy twists in order to operate. This can be an issue for anyone who does not have good strength or who has trouble gripping.
Cleaning And Safety
Many manual models are not suitable for the dishwasher as that can lead to rusting. But there are some that 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 both manual and electric can openers have is the ability to cut cans with a smooth edge. The can is cut from the side and doesn’t reveal sharp edges, perfect for those who have children in the household.
What kind of cans do you usually buy? If you’re someone who enjoys the convenience of canned food then you probably come across a variety of different cans on a weekly basis. In this case, versatility would probably be very important for you. Also, instead of buying a bottle opener and going through the same selection process, you might be better off with a multi-purpose device.
Most people don’t really see the point in investing more than a couple of bucks in a can opener. Of course, you can always find manually operated ones that cost very little. Some work and some are just a waste of money. Plus, being without a can opener in the kitchen when preparing a family dinner, for example, can be very frustrating, so throwing a couple of bucks more for a good quality can opener can be a lifesaver in the long run.
Of course, higher-end devices (usually electric types) are also available if you want that extra convenience or you have problems with your grip. Therefore, think about your budget and decide how much you want to spend on a can opener that works for you.
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.
Before You Go
Every kitchen needs a can opener, whether you’ll use it on a daily basis or want to have it just in case. Either way, you need to decide how much you want to invest in a small but significant kitchen appliance, what type suits you best, and its uses.
Hopefully, you’ll find the best can opener for you among our recommendations, but if you’re still indecisive feel free to follow the links and get more information about each product’s price, specifications, and customer reviews.
The information in our detailed buying advice can also guide you when shopping for a can opener, and in case you’re looking for other products for your kitchen, we also have many more product reviews, product guides, and even recipes on our blog.
Want to see our favorite can openers one more time before you go? Here they are!
Amazon product information last updated on January 24, 2021. Images, prices and links from Amazon Product Advertising API.