Can Openers

Published October 1, 2008. From Cook's Country.

Which model blows the lid off the competition?

Overview:

Update: January 2014

Our top-rated can opener from OXO has been discontinued. The runner-up by Kuhn Rikon is our new winner.

___________________________________________________________

Traditional can openers cut through can lids from the top, leaving sharp edges on the lids (which sit atop the contents and must be fished out). Safety can openers, on the other hand, cut from the side and remove the entire top part of the can (lid and all), leaving dull “safe” edges behind. In a previous testing featuring both types, our favorite was a $35 safety can opener by Rösle. Hoping to find a less-expensive alternative, we rounded up six safety openers as well as two traditional openers boasting “safer” operation; all models are priced under $20.

Methodology:

We tested six safety openers as well as two traditional openers boasting “safer” operation; all models are priced under $20.

ATTACHMENT ISSUES

Efficiency starts with locking onto the cans. Safety can openers come in two basic designs: top mounting and side mounting. Side-mounting… read more

Update: January 2014

Our top-rated can opener from OXO has been discontinued. The runner-up by Kuhn Rikon is our new winner.

___________________________________________________________

Traditional can openers cut through can lids from the top, leaving sharp edges on the lids (which sit atop the contents and must be fished out). Safety can openers, on the other hand, cut from the side and remove the entire top part of the can (lid and all), leaving dull “safe” edges behind. In a previous testing featuring both types, our favorite was a $35 safety can opener by Rösle. Hoping to find a less-expensive alternative, we rounded up six safety openers as well as two traditional openers boasting “safer” operation; all models are priced under $20.

Methodology:

We tested six safety openers as well as two traditional openers boasting “safer” operation; all models are priced under $20.

ATTACHMENT ISSUES

Efficiency starts with locking onto the cans. Safety can openers come in two basic designs: top mounting and side mounting. Side-mounting openers proved to be much less intuitive for first-time users; testers had particular difficulty getting one opener to attach. Top-mounting openers (their turning cranks are parallel to the counter) attach by scissor action; two models were especially easy to attach. The two traditional can openers have locking mechanisms with push-button releases; this worked great on one, but several testers had trouble disengaging the another opener from the cans.

EASE OF OPERATION

Testers preferred openers with easy, smooth-turning motions. The biggest loser here was a safety opener, which required too much muscle to use comfortably. Handles on two openers were angled so that short tuna cans tilted and spilled liquid when not opened with the handle hanging over the counter: a major flaw. Left-handed and right-handed testers had similar experiences with all models tested.

SAFETY MATTERS

Whether a lid is sharp (from a traditional opener) or dull-edged (from a safety opener), the danger lies in having to handle it; the best openers allow no-touch lid disposal. Two safety openers had metal pincers that gripped the lid for safe disposal. The side-mounting safety openers were downgraded for lacking mechanisms for no-touch lid disposal. The two traditional openers we included had magnets designed for no-touch lid disposal.

SUMMING UP

In opening over 120 cans, we found that there isn’t a single style of opener that works best. Our surprise winner left sharp edges, but its lid-catching magnet made disposing of the lid easy and safe. This opener was intuitive, comfortable, and efficient.

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  • Product Tested

    Results Key:

    Good ★ ★ ★ Fair ★ ★ Poor
  • Prices are subject to change.
  • Recommended

    OXO Good Grips Magnetic Locking Can Opener

    This can opener was intuitive to use and easy to attach and detach from cans. It was "comfortable," "very smooth," and very efficient in operation. Because it is a traditional opener, this model leaves a lid with sharp edges (its only downfall), but minimizes potential danger with a magnet that allows "neat and safe" lid disposal.

    • Safety ★★
    • Comfort ★★★
    • Performance ★★★

    DISCONTINUED

  • Recommended - WINNER

    Kuhn Rikon Slim Safety Lidlifter

    Testers praised the handy "change in feeling" once the can was completely open. The "dishwasher-safe claim was spot-on: There were no changes in performance or appearance after several wash cycles. A few testers has mild complaints about the "awkward position" of the oversized turning knob, resulting in a slight demerit in the performance rating.

    • Safety ★★★
    • Comfort ★★★
    • Performance ★★

    $11.95

    BUY NOW Amazon
  • Recommended

    Progressive International Safety I-Can Opener

    The unique ratchet cutting wheel mechanism was "easy to operate" and comfortable, but was "hard to know when finished." Pincers disposed of the cut lid safely. For some testers, the instructions for this opener were "not obvious," even with visuals on the packaging.

    • Safety ★★★
    • Comfort ★★★
    • Performance ★★

    $12.79

    BUY NOW Amazon
  • Recommended

    Good Cook 4-1WHT Safe Can Opener

    "Clearly written instructions" and "smooth gears" made this opener easy and efficient as first use. Also, testers appreciated the "perceptible change in feeling" when the can opener had rounded the entire can. This model lost a few points for not having a lid-gripper.

    • Safety ★★
    • Comfort ★★
    • Performance ★★★

    $9.99

    BUY NOW Amazon
  • Recommended with Reservations

    Zyliss Safe Edge Can Opener

    Testers appreciated the "good visuals" in the instructions for this opener. Although the handle was "very comfortable," its angle made opening short cans of tuna awkward and messy. Additionally, testers could not operate the lid sifter and had to dispose of the cut lid by hand.

    • Safety ★★
    • Comfort ★★★
    • Performance ★★

    $14.95

  • Recommended with Reservations

    Miu CanDo Safety Can Opener

    Downgraded for its lack of instructions, this opener operated smoothly once testers figured out how to use it. This model claimed to be dishwasher-safe, but the cutting wheel rusted after several washes—a serious flaw that affects both performance and longevity.

    • Safety ★★
    • Comfort ★★
    • Performance ★★

    $9.99

  • Not Recommended

    Chef'n EZ Squeeze 1-Handed Can Opener

    Testers found the instructions for attaching and detaching this opener from the can unclear. The gripper handle was "easy to squeeze," but was angled such that opening short cans of tuna was "messy and awkward." Also, the release button struggled to disengage the opener from the can. The magnet designed for lid removal failed to pick the lids out of most cans.

    • Safety
    • Comfort ★★
    • Performance ★★

    $14.99

  • Not Recommended

    CIA Masters Collections Side Can Opener

    This opener left testers tired and confused. Most testers found the instructions to be "a little vague." The opener was tricky to attach to the can, and the handle was remarkably difficult to turn, once attached.

    • Safety ★★
    • Comfort
    • Performance

    $14.95

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