It was fifty years from the time that cans were first invented to the appearance of the first tin opener. Once it finally did, however, it was an instant success. And that shouldn’t be all that surprising to most people. After all, the alternatives to opening cans without one of these tools is neither efficient nor safe. And it’s also why almost every kitchen needs at least one of these devices.
While it’s easy to look at some of the models currently on the market and proclaim that all can openers are the same, that really isn’t the case at all. These type of openers came in a number of different varieties that include everything from electric models to manual ones. That’s why it’s extremely important to judge each model on its features and merits. Below are ten of the models that we think are pretty good and would serve any kitchen well.
Best Can Opener – Top List
10Swing-A-Way Comfort Grip
Swing-A-Way has been creating quality openers for over 80-years now and has several different product lines currently available. And while just about any of its openers are kitchen worthy, its line of Comfort Openers are really built to impress. They are manufactured using extremely durable steel and are sold with a comfortable grip that has extra cushioning. With a high-carbon gear driven cutting wheel, this product is capable of opening just about any can, and it also has a built-in bottle opener to open soda and beer bottles. Another feature worth mentioning is its handy size which fits easily in just about any kitchen drawer.
This electric opener has a revolutionary design that allows it to be used by just about anyone, including individuals with arthritis or other disorders which make it hard to use certain openers. With just a push of a button, this tool can easily take the lid off of a can and do so without the user having to exert any manual labor. And since the blade is recessed, its safe to use and prevents the user from being accidentally cut. Another great feature that can be found in this tool is a metal gear that can move 360-degrees around the can’s rim all by itself.
8Baflan Heavy-Duty Manual Opener
This manual opener may look like 99% of the other models currently available on the market, but it does have a few characteristics which make it better than most of these other kitchen tools. All of its major components including its gears, feed wheel, and cutter, has all been heat-treated and coated with a high-quality zinc-plating that increases its durability. Its most important feature, however, is that it can open cans of just about any size. This makes it a useful tool not only for home kitchens but also bars, restaurants and other locations where a quality no-frills opener is required.
7Korin Ganju Kankiri Japanese Opener
This traditional manual opener is manufactured in Japan and is made from high-quality components that will ensure that it will probably last a lifetime. It has no moving parts which can break down or get jammed, and it has a sharpened edge that’s designed to stay sharp for long periods of time. This opener has an elegant design that not only gives it its characteristic look but also makes it quite easy-to-use as well. While it’s larger and heavier than most other manual openers, its simplicity allows it to easily open even the most stubborn can and do it efficiently.
6Flying Colors Manual Stainless Steel Opener
Reliability and simplicity are the two main features of this opener. It has a very traditional look to it and is quite easy to use. All the user has to do it place it on the can, press together the handles and rotate the extra-large turning knob. The opener will then do the rest. And since it has a stainless-steel cutting mechanism, it can open the can in only a few moments. This tool has a soft-touch grip and plastic handles that helps to eliminate hand fatigue and makes it easier to grip and has a built-in bottle opener to open pop and beer bottles.
5OXO Steel Opener
OXO is a company that likes to take simple kitchen tools and redesigns them so they are more functional and this opener is a prime example of that practice. It has a sharp cutting wheel that efficiently and easily cuts through metal, and it has a built-in bottle opener that quickly pulls off bottle caps from beer and soda bottles. This tool also has large handles which are cushioned so that they are easier to grasp and use. It also has a large turning wheel that gives the user additional torque to open their favorite canned items. All of these features make it an extremely useful tool to the average kitchen.
4Kitchen V Tin Opener
This portable tin opener is not only designed to be compact and lightweight but to also open cans quickly and efficiently. It has ergonomic handles that are easy-to-hold, and it has an extra sharp stainless steel cutting wheel that’s designed to slice through the lids of cans quite effectively. This tool also has an extra-large turning knob that’s easier to turn than other openers and is soft so its easy on the hands. Whether this tool is used in the kitchen, at a campsite or in an RV, it’s got the power to open just about any can.
3OHSAY USA World’s Greatest Can Opener
Designed to last up to 25 years, this tool is aptly named the World’s Best Opener, and it’s quite easy to see why they gave it this name. This Missouri made tool has handles and a crank that are expertly crafted with 1008 carbon steel and is plated with chrome for durability. Its cutter, gears and feed wheel are all heat treated and are zinc plated for added corrosion-resistance. This unit also has a quality crank which gives the user the leverage they need to easily open cans and an over-sized black non-slip grip handle that makes it easy to hold.
2Shelby P-51 & P-38 Opener-20 Pack
These military-grade openers are made for use out in the field, but they can easily be used in the kitchen as well. They are made in the U.S of high-quality stainless steel and are the ideal opener to pack for a number of different situations. These openers can be packed in bug-out bags, emergency kits, and first-aid kits, and will easily open cans with minimal effort. This pack of 20 comes with ten P-38 openers and ten P-51 openers. They make an ideal gift for hunters, campers or anyone else who may need a reliable opener out in the wilderness.
1Winfong Portable Can Opener
This durable opener is made from some of the finest materials available. It’s manufactured using high-quality German stainless-steel and has an extra-sharp cutting wheel that effortless slices through can lids. Its sharp blade and its easy-to-turn knob allow this opener to be used by just about anyone, even individuals who have arthritis or other disabilities. This tool is also impact resistant, easy-to-clean and has a modern look that makes it at home in just about any kitchen. And its ABS handle fits most hands well and is comfortable to hold.
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How to Find the Best Can Opener
The can opener has to be one of those tools that no one really gives much thought about. It just sits in a kitchen drawer or cabinet until it’s used and then it promptly returned when the user has finished with it. It’s a tool with a singular purpose that is only thought about when it doesn’t do its job correctly. It’s only when it malfunctions that people consider the features that go into a good opener. And that’s why I’ve decided to do this article on what to look for in a good opener.
I decided to take a look at some of the best openers currently available and then break them down into their main components to see what made them so great in the first place. Once I did that, I was able to see all of the thought that really goes into a good opener. These tools have a lot more design features than most people give them credit for having.
I’ve listed some of the main components and features that a person should look for when they are deciding on a new opener. Some of them might be quite obvious to even those not familiar with tin opener technology, but others are not so obvious.
While cutting blades can be crafted out of any number of lesser quality materials, don’t expect these cheaper models to effectively cut through a can’s lid. The blades are one of the most important parts of an opener and they should only be crafted from high-quality stainless steel. Anything less is not even worth checking out.
Side Cut or Top Cut
There are advantages and disadvantages to both side cut and top cut can openers. Sidecut models are usually safer to use because they leave a smooth edge when the top of the can is removed, while top cut models usually leave that jagged edge. Therefore, side cut versions are usually considered safer for children and the elderly to use. They also come in less contact with food, so they are easier to clean. However, top cut models are usually easier to use and last longer. So whether a consumer chooses a side-cut or a top-cut model all depends on what they intend on using it for and their personal preferences.
Manual or Electric
Another important consideration for a person to make is whether the opener is a manual one or an electric one. And as was the case with sidecut and top cut openers, there are pros and cons with both a manual and electric model. Manual models are usually more durable and easier to maintain than electric ones, but they also require more effort to use. Electric ones usually have a magnet that pulls the lid off of the can, which prevents the user from having to deal with it, but their blade assemblies usually have to be disassembled to clean them. Also, electric models become useless when the power goes out, while manual ones can be used at any time. These are all important considerations a person needs to think about when considering an opener.
Users who need an opener that can be taken and used anywhere will probably want to buy a manual model that’s compact and easy-to-use. While there are a number of different varieties which are suitable for outdoor use, use in the RV or out on the road, some of my personal favorites are the P-38 and P-51 models.
Sometimes called dead dukes, these military-grade openers are specifically designed to be used out in the field. They are basically just a sharpened piece of rolled over steel, but they do an amazing job opening just about any can. And since they’re basically just a blade, the user never has to worry about moving parts to maintain. Some of the top P-38 and P-51 models are made in the United States out of cold-rolled steel. Beware of lesser quality ones that are manufactured in China. Those models tend to bend or break during use.
Handles are another thing to seriously consider when buying an opener. The user should buy a model that has large handles. Larger handles give the user additional leverage as they are opening the can. Of course, portability might be a bit of a concern when using larger-handled openers, so the user is going to have to decide how they balance those two factors.
The handles also need to be comfortable, however. There are some manual openers which are very hard to use because they have a one-piece design and the thin metal can hurt the palm of the hands when a can is opened. Personally, I prefer an opener with a plastic handle that’s easy-to-use and easy-to-hold. I’ve found that makes all of the difference in the world.
How the opener needs to be cleaned is something else that people need to think about, but usually don’t, when they purchase a new opener. Most of the electric models have assemblies which have to be taken apart so they can be washed either in a dishwasher or be washed by hand. However, most manual openers can’t even be washed in the dishwasher and instead have to be hand washed. That’s just something that needs to be considered beforehand.
Nowadays, most of the top-end models come with additional features which make them more useful and make them more than just one trick tools. Some of them are equipped with bottle openers, which allow pop and beer bottles to be opened, and others have a hook which allows them to be hung up in the kitchen. Other models have over-sized turn handles which give additional leverage when cans are being opened, tin openers which can be used to pry up partially opened can lid, and some of the electric ones have push buttons which allow for one easy hand operation. The consumer should factor any features against their own personal needs and then choose accordingly.