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Can openers are a kitchen essential, and choosing the right one makes cooking with canned tomatoes, beans, tuna, soup (and anything and everything else) effortless. There’s little as frustrating as fighting with a can and a can opener that won't get the job done. Selecting a reliable and smoothly functioning one makes kitchen life substantially easier.
Patented in 1931, the first electric opener was described as a “power-operated cutting device specially adapted to be hand-held.” Still, it took the gadgets another few decades to find commercial success. Well-made modern electric can openers are first easy to use. In most cases, a magnet holds the can in place while it spins through a sharp blade, removing the top of a can at the push of a button or pull of a lever.
As opposed to a manual can opener, an electric model takes care of holding the can, turning it, and cutting the top off for you. If you have mobility or strength issues, want the safest possible option, or just open a whole lot of cans, an electric can opener is a great investment.
Here are the best electric can openers to have in your home.
Best Overall: Hamilton Beach Smooth Touch Can Opener
What We Like: Works on all can sizes and holds the lid in place, no sharp lid edges, easy-touch opening lever
What We Don't Like: Bulky, may lose performance quality over time
More than 35,000 five-star Amazon reviews can’t be wrong. While holding down the top lever, the Hamilton Beach Smooth Touch Can Opener slices through all standard-sized cans with regular or pop-top lids. This appliance cuts cans along the sides for smooth, touchable lids (ensuring fingers are safe from knicks and cuts) and a mess-free can-opening experience.
Ergonomically designed for easy operation, this sleek black and chrome will look snazzy in almost any kitchen. This is especially important, as it does take up valuable real estate on your kitchen counter. You did need both hands for this opener since your other hand has to hold up the can. It does come with a 1-year limited warranty.
Dimensions (LxWxH): 5 x 4.7 x 10.5 inches | Weight: 3 pounds | Cut: Side
Best Budget: Black+Decker EC500W Easy Cut Can Opener
What We Like: Stabilizing wide base works with most can sizes, fast and safe lid removal
What We Don't Like: Bulky lever makes it a little hard to attach the can
The Black+Decker Easy Cut can opener is a top-cut model that can hold up 32-ounce cans. It’s lighter in weight than some other options but definitely can still get the job done. The wide base stabilizes the opener so it can handle a variety of sizes. An advantage of this opener is the one-hand operation. A magnet holds the can in place, so you only need to push down on the top lever. That said, the can does need to line up precisely with the cutting tool.
It also comes with a removable multi-tool that removes bottle caps and pop-tops, stored conveniently in the back of the unit, and a built-in knife sharpener. When it's time to clean up, the cutting blade can be removed for hand-washing.
Dimensions (LxWxH): 5.6 x 4.9 x 9.5 inches | Weight: 2 pounds | Cut: Top
Best Handheld: Kitchen Mama Electric Can Opener
What We Like: Thoughtful design, compact, leaves safe edges
What We Don't Like: Needs 4 AA batteries, noisy
This product came about as a family effort to help make life easier for "Mama Ola" whose arthritic hands made kitchen work tough. This cordless electric can opener worked for her, and it can do the same for you.
It’s incredibly easy to use—two taps open any can, cutting 360 degrees along the lid, then you push the button again to stop. You’ll get a smooth cut for safe hands. Then stash this compact tool in your drawer until you need it again. One downside is that this needs AA batteries to operate and those have to be purchased separately.
Dimensions (LxWxH): 7 x 2.8 x 2.2 inches | Weight: 8.5 ounces | Cut: Side
Related: The Best Can Openers
Best Battery-Operated: Bangrui Professional Electric Can Opener
What We Like: Ergonomic, easy to stash away, makes a smooth, clean cut through the can’s side
What We Don't Like: Requires AA batteries, works slowly
Similar to the Kitchen Mama can opener, this Bangrui model operates at the touch of a button. This handheld device opens lids by releasing pressure from inside the can, which leaves no sharp edges, and works with cans of all different sizes, including oblong ones like those for anchovies.
The ergonomic lever is comfortable to hold, even for those with arthritis, and it's safe even for kids to use. The side-cut model leaves lids smooth and safe. A downside is that the 4 AA batteries required to make it run are not included in the package, and the 360-degree turn happens a little on the slow side.
Dimensions (LxWxH): 7 x 2.7 x 2.5 inches | Weight: 8 ounces | Cut: Side
Best for Large Cans: Cuisinart CCO-50 Deluxe Electric Can Opener
What We Like: Easily cuts through all cans, truly hands-free, chrome design
What We Don't Like: Some parts could break with time, base can be a bit wobbly
While having a relatively small footprint, this Cuisinart model works especially well on large cans, including 48-ouncers. The can opener operates with a single touch, making it completely hands-free, and stops automatically when done removing the lid. When you grab the can after, a magnet holds the lid off for you. Plus, the blade and magnetic lid holder are detachable for fast cleanup.
It doesn’t come with a knife sharpener or other extras, but it does have a 3-year warranty.
Dimensions (LxWxH): 4.5 x 4.6 x 9.4 inches | Weight: 3.5 pounds | Cut: Side
Best Splurge: Oster Electric Can Opener
What We Like: Quality stainless steel blades, comes with bottle opener and knife sharpener
What We Don't Like: The plastic handle can break, expensive
This tall stainless steel can opener opens cans with a patented power pierce cutting mechanism for easy opening. The Oster Electric Can Opener’s cutting blade is removable to make cleaning a breeze, and its auto-stop feature shuts the can opener off after the can is opened.
It comes with retractable cord storage to make hiding the unsightly cord easier, and its sleek stainless-steel design means it’ll look nice in your kitchen. If you need to open a bottle or sharpen a knife, the Oster does those things, too.
Dimensions (LxWxH): 6.5 x 4 x 9 inches | Cut: Side
With its easy-touch lever and ability to handle cans of all sizes, the Hamilton Beach Smooth Touch Can Opener (view at Amazon) should have a place on your kitchen counter. If you're looking for a lightweight opener that can be easily stashed away, turn to the Kitchen Mama Electric Can Opener (view at Amazon).
What to Look for in an Electric Can Opener
Top Cut or Side Cut
Traditional or top-cut can openers slice the lid just inside the rim, leaving a thin circle of metal. If you typically use the can's lid to drain liquid, this is handy. Since top cut can openers come into contact with food, they need to be cleaned and dried well to prevent the growth of bacteria and rust on the blade.
Side-cut openers make a clean slice along the side of the can’s top, leaving a smooth, safe, and seamless edge.
Upright or Handheld
Traditional electric can openers are almost always upright, which means they take up significant counter space. Battery-operated handheld electric openers are relatively new to the market and can be stashed in a kitchen drawer. To use a handheld battery-operated can opener, place it on top of the can, push a button and wait for the lid to be removed. Bonus: no sharp edges left behind.
How do you use an electric can opener?
Lift or press the lever that releases the can opener’s blade and clamp, then position the can. Align the lip of the can with the wheel and blade, against the back of the can opener. It should be easy to clamp the can in place. Then press the button to begin opening the can, keeping a light hold on the can to make sure nothing spills.
To use a handheld electric can opener, make sure you have a flat surface. Line up the two discs of the can opener with the outer edge of the can. Use one hand to hold the can in place, and the other to press down on the can opener, starting its rotation. Voila!
How do you clean an electric can opener?
Some electric openers have removable blades that can go right in the dishwasher, while others require handwashing. Prevent gunk from accumulating in the first place by regularly wiping your can opener clean with a wet paper towel or sponge.
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