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Whether it’s on the counter or tucked away in a utensil drawer, you’re sure to find a can opener in every household. Even if you buy mostly fresh and frozen groceries, you’d be surprised how often you reach for the can opener. Think of all the tins of canned fruits, vegetables, soups, beans, and other canned goods you go through in a week. Therefore, a sturdy and reliable can opener is a must.
While finding the best can opener doesn’t sound like a daunting task—won’t any can opener do the trick?—there are a lot of different features and preferences to account for. A manual can opener is more common and stores easily, but an electric model requires less effort. Some leave sharp edges as they cut along the top, while others cut along the sides.
Here is everything to consider when selecting the best can opener for your kitchen.
Best Overall, Manual: Zyliss Lock N’ Lift Can Opener
Anyone who has used a manual can opener before knows how tired the hand can get. Enter the Zyliss Lock N’ Lift Manual Can Opener: With its locking mechanism that securely locks the cutting wheel in place, this model ensures a consistent cut and features a smooth-touch design for comfort.
Seasoned can opener users are also familiar with the mess of disposing of the lid of a can once it's opened. The Zyliss model seeks to eliminate that, too, with its built-in magnet that allows for hands-free lid disposal. If you’re looking to upgrade your clunky manual can opener, this one has a modern design along with its modern features. It’s easy to use, made with high-quality stainless steel, and designed to be more comfortable to twist than traditional models.
Best Overall, Electric: Hamilton Beach Smooth Touch Can Opener
Though electric can openers require more cabinet or countertop space, it is worth it for those who seek the ultimate smooth can-opening experience. An electric can opener eliminates the need to manually twist open canned goods. With its easy-touch lever, the Hamilton Beach Smooth Touch Electric Can Opener is the model to go for if you’re looking for a way to easily open cans with just one hand.
This model measures 4.7 x 5 x 10.2 inches and looks nice on countertops with its chrome and black design. It has an extra-tall design for a variety of can sizes, including standard-size cans and pop-top cans. Highly rated by consumers, reviewers seem to enjoy the smooth touch feature of this can opener that eliminates sharp lid edges; the opener cuts along the sides of the can instead of the top.
Best Ergonomic: Oxo Good Grips Smooth Edge Can Opener
With its soft-grip knob and non-slip handles, the OXO Good Grips Smooth Edge Can Opener is the model to consider for a comfortable hold. Though it is a manual can opener, the easy-turn design makes opening canned goods a breeze. This model is made with a patented oversized side-wind mechanism that cuts easily and smoothly.
Safety features include built-in pliers that attach to the lid, allowing for touch-free lid removal. This can opener also leaves no sharp edges on the can or lid for added safety. The placement of the sharp stainless steel cutting wheel ensures that the can opener does not come in contact with the contents of the can, reducing the risk of cross-contamination.
Measuring 7.5 x 4.5 x 2.25, some reviewers note this model is slightly bulkier than other options. However, the comfortable design and safety features make it the right choice for many households.
Related: The Best Electric Can Openers
Best for Lefties: Bartelli Soft Edge 3-in-1 Ambidextrous Safety Can Opener
Left-handed people can confirm—many kitchen appliances are designed for those who are right-handed. Lefties will rejoice with this ambidextrous can opener suitable for everyone, regardless of your dominant hand. The single handle design of the Bartelli can opener ensures that lefties can get a comfortable grip.
For those with an affinity for multifunctional kitchen tools, the Bartelli can opener also serves as a bottle opener and jar opener. Since no strenuous gripping or twisting is required to open cans, jars, and bottles, this opener is also suitable for people with arthritis or hand pain.
If safety is a concern, this is an opener to keep on hand. The cutting mechanism automatically locks onto the can and cuts around the side, leaving behind no sharp edges or lids. Cutting around the side also creates a lid with a smooth edge that can be used to temporarily re-seal the can.
Best for Safety: Kuhn Rikon Auto Safety Master Can Opener
When choosing any kitchen tool, safety is an important factor, especially if you have children in your household. The model by Kuhn Rikon is one of the leading safe can openers.
With mini pliers to remove the lid without handling with your hands and auto lock-on technology that grips the lid, this can opener is safer than traditional openers. While traditional can openers cut into metal cans and leave behind sharp, rigid edges, this model does not cut into the metal, leaving a smooth edge around the rim of the lid.
This opener also prevents cross-contamination: The opener never touches the food, and the lid never falls into the can. Measuring just 7.25 x 2 x 3.5 inches, this is a compact option for those with limited storage.
Best Battery-Operated: Kitchen Mama Electric Handheld Can Opener
Ever wished you could open a stubborn can with the push of a button? Electric can openers make that a reality. This model by Kitchen Mama is a popular choice for those looking for a battery-operated can opener; plus, it features an ergonomic design.
This handheld device works in three simple steps: place the opener on the top of the can, press the button to start, and press the button to stop. The cutter leaves a smooth rim so you can remove lids without handling rough edges.
While electric can openers are long-lasting, replacing the batteries every so often may be an inconvenience to some. Since batteries are not included, you’ll have to provide your own.
For smooth, comfortable turning, the Zyliss Lock N’ Lift Manual Can Opener (view at Amazon) is the best handheld choice. It allows for hands-free disposal of the can lid and tucks away nicely in drawers. If you prefer an electric can opener, the model by Hamilton Beach (view at Amazon) eliminates sharp edges when opening standard-size and pop-top cans.
What to Look for When Buying a Can Opener
Handheld vs Battery-Operated
Handheld can openers are the classic staple for convenience. They require some physical effort and are straightforward to use. But it can be challenging for some people to manage the dexterity of using a handheld can opener. They have the benefits of being easy to store and significantly cheaper than their electric counterparts.
Battery-operated can holders will take up more space, and are accompanied by a higher price tag. If you are seeking a stress-free, hands-off kitchen experience, or have limited hand mobility, battery-operated is the one for you. Many of them will open your cans without a sharp or jagged edge, reducing the risk of cuts or harm. It’s almost a luxurious experience, placing the can under your battery-operated opener, and watching it seamlessly open it up for you in a few seconds. As with any electric device, there is the need to regularly replace the batteries. Cleaning is not as simple with these, as submerging them in water will result in malfunction. You will need to wipe the blades separately.
There are special features to seek out with can openers. Side-cutting mechanisms are an important feature that ensures the blade doesn’t touch the food in the can. This is essential to avoid cross-contamination or rusting. Side-cutting mechanisms also eliminate the dangerous sharp edges of open cans, as they smooth the edges while cutting.
A common complaint with manual can openers is that the handles cause pain or discomfort to the hands. Thankfully, most new can openers come with a soft rubber grip and ergonomic handles that ease this greatly. These handles guarantee a non-slip grip and less strain on the hands and wrists.
Another convenient feature is magnets that lift and keep the lid up while you finish the job. The modern upgrades to traditional handheld can openers make your life a lot easier. This can include pliers and auto-locking technology as featured in the Kuhn Rikon. Both features ensure the lid of the can won’t fall into your food during the opening process and is removed without the need for your hands to be fishing for it in the can.
Why Trust Simply Recipes?
Lacey Muinos is a wellness writer with a specialty in food-related topics and a passion for kitchen gadgets. She has an impressive collection of small kitchen appliances and tools. Since she goes through a decent amount of canned beans and vegetables, she relies heavily on her manual can opener.
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