Can Opener Buying Guide
What is a Can Opener?
A can opener is an essential small kitchen appliance that can be electric or manual. The can opener is used to remove the lids from cans in a safe and fast way. Now more than ever people don’t have to worry about jagged can lids that can really give a nasty cut if you’re not careful. There are many different types of manual and electric csn openers and they all work in similar ways.
Many can openers can handle other jobs as well such as bottle opener or lid hole-puncher for when you want to put a hole in the top of the can rather than remove the lid completely. Depending on the can opener you choose, it can be kept on the counter, in a drawer or even mounted underneath a cabinet.
Considerations to Think About Before Purchase
There are several things to consider before you start researching the different can openers that are available. We have listed these considerations below.
- Top or Side Cut – Both top and side cut can openers have benefits and disadvantages to consider. With a side cut opener, the can opening mechanisms have little to no contact with the food that is in the can and therefore stay cleaner than the other types of can openers. Which type you get between top cut and side cut is personal preference, as both work well. Just be certain to wash a top cut can opener between each use and dry thoroughly to prevent rust and bacteria build up which can contaminate the food in the can.
- Do you have young children? – If you have children, having a can opener that leaves smooth edges is definitely a plus as they can even use the can opener themselves with no worries about jagged can lids. This also is a consideration if the can opener operator is an elderly person.
- Do you use the lid to drain the can? – If you open tuna or other foods where you use the can lid to drain the contents, you will need a top cutting can opener. A side cutting model will not cut the can in the right place to be able to drain the food. Just be careful to keep the can opener clean after using it and be mindful of the edges of the can lid so you don’t get cut.
- How much grip strength do you have? – For people with carpal tunnel or arthritis, a can opener that requires a strong grip will not be a good option. In those cases, an electric model is the best choice and will not put stress and strain on the hands.
- Budget – Don’t get the cheapest can opener you can find. You don’t have to spend tons of money either, but you definitely get what you pay for and if you spend a little more for a good quality can opener, it will last a long time and the performance will be what you are looking for in a can opener.
- How much storage space do you have? – Electric can openers sit on the counter, so you will need to have counter space to accommodate them if you get one. Of course you can keep it in the pantry or on a shelf as well, but it is more convenient to have it accessible. Manual can openers can fit right in a drawer easily but they can be bulky so if you have shallow drawers the bulky can opener could possibly not fit.
- What Type of Cans Will You Be Opening? – If you open a large variety of can sizes, a manual can opener is going to offer the most versatility. If you still want to get an electric can opener, get one that can accommodate extra tall cans.
What to Look for in a Can Opener
The following characteristics are the ones to look for in a good quality can opener.
- Stainless steel cutting blades – Stainless steel is durable and resistant to rust.
- Comfortable Handles – Look for non-slip or rubber grips that are much easier and more comfortable to use than the metal handle varieties.
- The Right Size – Electric can openers should be tall and strong enough to handle the largest can size you regularly open and manual can openers you look at should fit in the drawer you want to store it in. If you don’t have much room either in drawers or on the counter, look for wall mounted or cabinet mounted varieties.
- Easy-to-Clean – Side-cut can openers don’t touch the food inside the can so the blades of side-cut openers stay cleaner than top cut or electric. If you get a top cut can opener, look for models that can be taken apart and washed in the dishwasher for the most thorough cleaning.
- Sturdy Build – If you get an electric can opener needs to be heavy enough that it doesn’t tip over when you open large cans. The higher quality manual can openers will open cans smoothly even after years of use.
- Smooth Performance – You want to choose a can opener that is easy to get on and off the can whether it is manual or electric. If it is difficult to maneuver, you will just end up replacing it so make sure that easy use and smooth performance are at the top of the list.
- Lid Magnet or Lid Pliers – A lid magnet grabs the top of the can after you have opened it so you don’t have to mess with it with your fingers. It is much safer than trying to pry the lid out manually for side cut openers look for attached lid pliers or tweezers that will help you take the lid off easily.
Types of Non-Electric Can Openers
One of the biggest benefits of using a non-electric can opener is the fact that you can use them without power. This is great for camping trips, fishing, hunting, picnics or power outages. We have listed the types of manual can openers below.
- Handheld Manual Can Openers – The regular, standard manual can opener has a sharp cutting wheel, handles and teeth that grip the top of the can. They are simple to use and come in many different styles and colors. It is easy to find a manual can opener that matches any kitchen décor. These are good choices to take on picnics, fishing trips, camping trips and other situations where power is not an option. The majority of manual can openers are dishwasher safe which makes them easy to clean.
- Wall Mounted Manual Can Openers – These have the same mechanism that a manual hand-held does but it is mounted on the wall. The wall mounted manuals are easy to use and don’t take up space in your drawers. If you have a super large family or use a lot of huge sized cans, you can get an industrial sized can opener and mount that as well.
Types of Electric Can Openers
Electric can openers don’t take much effort at all to operate and are perfect for those with arthritis or hand problems. They are fast and open cans easily making them great for busy cooks. Many electric ca n openers have parts that come apart so they can be washed in the dishwasher. You should never put the mechanical part of the opener in the dishwasher or submerge it at all.
Counter Top Electric Can Opener – This type is the most common although they can look very different due to all the styles that are available. These appliances are not usually very large and don’t take up too much room on your counter. Depending on the model you choose, you can choose from a variety of colors that can match your kitchen décor.
Handheld Electric/Cordless Can Openers – A handheld electric can opener ca n be corded or cordless. The cordless varieties have portability and convenience when it comes to size but it also has the convenience of the electric can opener. Some can openers require recharging on a dock, and some have batteries.
Under-the-Cabinet Electric Can Opener – These can openers are mounted to the underside of a cabinet. They are easy to use and don’t take up counter space at all. Some under cabinet mounted can openers also have jar openers, bottle openers and bag openers as well.
Side Cutting Electric Can Openers – The biggest benefit of side cutting can openers, whether electric or manual, is the smooth edge that they produce which means less chance of injury.
Regardless of the kind of can opener you choose, you want to be certain that you get one that will meet your family’s specific can opening needs and that is a good quality can opener so it performs well without frustration or struggle.
The information we have provided in this buyer’s guide will help you narrow down the large selection of choices so you can make an informed decision on the best can opener for your preferences. You will be confident in the choice you have made and your can opening needs will be taken care of for a long time to come.