For our money, we like the OXO Good Grips Smooth Edge Can Opener, it’s easy to use, efficient, and opens from the side in order to keep sharp edges to a minimum. If you’re looking to make the most informed purchase possible, however, then you’ll want to read on. Check out our five favorites and then we’ll show you how to get the most out of your dollar.
We can’t quit raving about the OXO Good Grips Smooth Edge Can Opener, overall it’s the best of the best and you won’t find anything easier unless you want to opt for an electric option.
Table of Contents
Top 5 Can Opener
|Name||Type||Side or Top?|
|OXO Good Grips||Manual||Side||Check Price|
|Pampered Chef||Manual||Side||Check Price|
|Cuisinart CCO-50BKN Deluxe||Electric||Top||Check Price|
|BLACK+DECKER Spacemaker||Electric||Top||Check Price|
|Swing-A-Way Portable||Manual||Top||Check Price|
1. Best Overall Can Opener
OXO Good Grips Smooth Edge Can Opener
Reviewed by: Max Perzon
When it comes down to it, we absolutely love this manual, side opening can opener. It has an easy to twist, ergonomic grip and a sleek design which makes it right at home even in the most modern kitchen.
This is the best of the best even for OXO can openers, which really are some of the best on the market. The grip is soft, the gears are smooth, and it’s sure to leave even those who have some trouble with their grip strength in awe at how easy it is to use.
Unfortunately, the quality comes across in the price as well but if you can afford it this is simply one of the most wonderful can openers on the market.
- Soft grips
- Super smooth turning
- Modern design
- Extremely durable
- Very expensive for a manual opener
- Not electric
2. Runner Up for Best Can Opener
Pampered Chef Smooth-Edge Can Opener
Reviewed by: Max Perzon
If you’re not going to opt for our favorite OXO then you’ll be impressed with this model from the Pampered Chef. We find it to be comparable in pretty much every way, the only real issue is that it’s even more expensive.
On the other hand, it will leave you with a super smooth grip and safe to handle edges on your can. It also seems to turn just a touch easier overall.
It also has a pull tab opener to let you remove the can top quite easily. That’s a definite bonus, since side-opening can openers sometimes have a seam which is hard to break into.
If you’re willing to spend the money, then this might be a smidge better than our favorite. On the other hand, we don’t really feel justified in recommending it due to the price jump.
- Super smooth turning
- Leaves no edges
- Makes it easy to pull off the can top
- Very durable
- Extremely expensive for a manual can opener
- Still requires considerable grip strength
3. Best Electric Can Opener
Cuisinart CCO-50BKN Deluxe Electric Can Opener
Reviewed by: Max Perzon
When it comes down to it, electric can openers are pretty awesome. Especially for repeatedly opening cans, which can get tiresome and time-consuming when you’re having to fill out the pot for a large number of people.
As usual, Cuisanart delivers with this deluxe electric can opener. This one is super simple to use, just press down the lever after attaching the can to the magnetic attachment and it’ll drop in and get cutting. Once it’s done, you’ll have easy access to the food.
While we aren’t too fond of the top-opening action, we do love the ease of use which we feel puts it in a league all of its own. Add in the super small footprint and you’ve got a clear winner.
If you’re going to buy an electric countertop model, then we strongly recommend this one. Despite the top opening, we feel it really can’t be beat and it’s super affordable.
- Super simple to use
- Doesn’t take up much space on the counter
- Super affordable
- Quicker than a manual option
- Top opening leaves sharp edges
- Tends to shred paper labels on cans
4. Best Under Counter Can Opener
BLACK+DECKER Spacemaker Multi-Purpose Can Opener
Reviewed by: Max Perzon
We love under counter models. When you’re fascinated with kitchen gadgetry, then sooner or later you begin to run into problems with space. Under counter models solve that easily and this BLACK+DECKER model is our favorite.
When it comes to price versus function, you’ll quickly find it’s hard to beat this one. It’s simply one of the best available to those outside of commercial kitchens while remaining quite affordable for the average person.
The only real drawback is that this is a top opening model, so it does leave sharp edges, but other than that you’ll find it makes short work of cans and easily penetrates the tops.
If you’re looking for an electric can opener but you don’t want to take up room on the counter, then take a closer look at this under counter model. Convenience, power, and affordable pricing rolled into one quick and easy to use package
- Under counter to save space
- Quickly and easily slices open cans
- Power piercer will let you easily get through can tops
- Comes with a bag opener, bottle opener, and knife sharpener built in
- A little bit expensive
- Opens cans from the top
5. Best Budget Can Opener
Swing-A-Way Portable Can Opener
Reviewed by: Max Perzon
We looked at a ton of different can openers in order to bring you only the best, and we always try to offer something for those who are on a tight budget. The Swing-A-Way Portable Can Opener is the perfect one for those who don’t want to spend much money on opening cans.
On top of that, it’s highly durable since it’s made of high-carbon steel and comes with a built-in bottle opener.
It’s really not as smooth or easy to operate as our other manual options., but if you’re on a tight budget and willing to put in a little bit more work with your hands then give it a shot.
This top-opening, budget priced manual opener is the best we could find at a low price point. We still recommend something better, but this will work in more than a pinch.
- Super affordable
- High-carbon steel construction
- Comes with a bottle opener
- Soft, cushioned grips
- A bit hard to turn
- Top opening
The Big Question: Manual or Electric?
Canned goods are pretty much ubiquitous, and depending on your cooking style they’re probably an important source of food contained within your kitchen. Of course, opening them is one of the biggest pains that you’ll ever find in your kitchen too. That means it’s imperative to have the best can opener you can find around. With so many on the market, however, it can be hard to pick one and know that it’ll be the best addition to your kitchen.
Choosing between a manual or electric can is something which you’ll need to decide before you go any further.
Both sides have their advantages and disadvantages for your kitchen.
Manual can openers take up less space and cost less… they’re also a lot slower to use. Many people still prefer them, since they can be quickly and easily put away and not take up space when you’re done, but if you need to open a lot of cans then they turn into a pain quickly.
Electric can openers are more expensive, but also much more efficient. Since you don’t have to sit there twisting on the knob of the can opener the whole time, you can much more easily open several cans at once.
If you’re living by yourself, or possibly with just one other person, then we see no shame in going with a manual option.
On the other hand, if you have a large family or need to open several cans a day then you may want to just take the leap and invest in an awesome electric can opener to make your life around the kitchen a whole lot easier.
The Smaller Question: Side Opening vs. Top Opening
We’re going to come out in favor of side opening right now. The thing is, nothing is perfect at the end of the day so both bear some consideration if you’re not already in favor of one style or the other of can opener.
Top opening can openers have been around for a longer time. If you’ve used an old manual opener, then you’ve seen them before: they punch a hole in the side of the top of the can and then rotate around it, removing the top from the inner circle.
We feel like they’re outdated and problematic, to way the least. They’ll leave you with sharp edges and the top of the can sometimes drops into the food if you cut all the way around and aren’t careful to remove the lid.
On the other hand, they do require a bit less effort to open when you’re using a manual opener, so for some people it may be worth the drawbacks.
Side opening models are relatively new but a lot safer. They’ll work around the edges of the can in order to let you pull off the whole top. This prevents sharp edges, although it can create debris if you repeatedly go around the top on accident.
The hand-held models also tend to last for a shorter period of time than top opening can openers, but when it comes down to it we still feel that they’re the right choice for the majority of people.
How to Use A Can Opener
Using a manual can opener is part art, but at the end of the day it’s mostly science.
You’re going to want to grab your can and the opener in order to get going, for obvious reasons.
With a top opening model, you’ll want to open the handle and bring the “opening” wedge over the size of the can. After this you’ll simply twist the handle, which will move things along.
Don’t run all the way around the inside edge.
Instead, you’ll want to stop just shy of going all the way around. Leave 1/16th of an inch or so of the top intact, which you’ll be using as a lever to remove the top of the can. Then you’ll grab a fork or butter knife and lever the edge upwards.
All isn’t lost if you accidentally drop the top of the can into the whole mess. Instead, simply turn it so it’s facing side-down and then fish it out.
Be careful, since the edges can be remarkably sharp depending on your opener and the can in question.
Side-opening can openers are similar with some key differences. Where most people have trouble is getting them on properly. The majority of side-opening can openers should be placed perpendicularly to the can, then closed on the rim.
From there you want to go around exactly one time. Provided the can opener is sufficiently sharp, you’ll be good to go at that point.
The key with a side opening can opener is always to use the minimum amount of turns. This is due to the fact that too many times around will generate small metal slivers which can do some serious damage if they get into your food or your unfortunate thumb.
If all else fails, most can openers come with directions but we’ve got faith in you.
Picking Your Can Opener
Picking out your can opener, from the myriad options currently on the market, can be something of a pain. You’ll quickly find that there’s just a ton of them out there even once you know what you’re doing so far as manual vs. electric and top vs. side opening.
Thankfully, there’s a few easy ways to distinguish the bad from the good, and the good from the great.
For manual options, you want to take a good, hard look at the handles. Especially if you’re planning on opening more than one can at a time on a frequent basis.
The best will have rubberized handles with some placement for your knuckles, but anything is a step above the bare metal of our forefathers.
You’ll also want them to be a bit wide, since you’ll have to be able to apply enough pressure to easily break through the metal. The leverage of the handle style will do a lot of the work, but you still have to do some of it after all.
Think About Your Hand Strength
If you have particularly weak hands, especially due to something like arthritis, you’ve got two options.
The easier, cheaper route is to find a top opening can opener. They’re easier to use since they break through less surface area, but they also tend to come in a bit cheaply and you still have to deal with jagged edges.
It’ll also be important to make sure that you’ve got good handles.
The other option, and in our eyes the preferable one, is to invest in an electric can opener. Just clear the counter space needed if necessary and save yourself the trouble entirely. We recommend them for basically anyone who’s going to need to open a lot of cans in a single day.
If Electric, Under Counter or On Counter
Electric can openers really are the better option for most people, but it can be hard to justify the price difference at times.
If you’re going to be using one of these then you’ll want to figure out if you want an over or under counter model.
Countertop models are much easier to get started with. Just plug them in, place the can in the right spot and hit the button to get things going.
They also tend to be a little bit cheaper.
Under counter models can be super handy however. Once mounted and plugged in you’ll quickly find that they’re pretty awesome for saving space while still being handy. Most can be used without even needing to be seen as well, but the biggest thing is not having to sacrifice more of that valuable countertop.
Which you go with is ultimately up to you.
Battery or Plugin
Knowing whether or not you want a battery-operated or plugin model of can opener is a big one as well.
The thing is this: a lot of us resort to canned foods when the power is out. That makes battery operated models an attractive option for many people.
You’ll also have to deal with replacing the batteries on occasion however, which is something of a pain. Fortunately most will last for quite some time, so it’s not too big of an issue and it’s virtually a non-issue if you keep extra batteries around anyways.
If you do opt for a plugin model, we recommend having a cheap manual model around as well just in case. Even a Swiss Army knife will do in a pinch, just don’t let yourself be caught without a way to open cans.
Ease of Use
This applies to both electric and manual can openers. How easy they are to use is a huge factor.
For manual options, this mostly boils down to how well the gears work. It’s pretty rare you’ll actually get a real gear ratio out of the companies which make can openers, but the smoothness of operation is the key.
A high gear ratio will cover more ground per twist of the handle, but they’ll also tend to be a little bit harder to turn. Smooth is the main thing you’re going to be looking for.
Electric openers should be simple. That’s about it, a couple of buttons and an easy-to-use action is all you need.
A lot of us have seen ancient can openers that still work great. That’s the biggest advantage left to top-opening manual can openers in all honesty: even the cheap ones last practically forever.
On the other hand, side opening models tend to have smaller gears to slice through the can rim as opposed to the wedge which drives through the top for top-opening can openers. This means they wear down a lot faster and you’ll need to look for superior construction quality.
The good news is that more expensive models tend to last longer… the bad news is that a cheap top opener is likely to outlast the best side opening model.
Electric can openers also tend to have some durability issues. You’ll want to find something with great construction quality since it does take some amount of force in order to open a can quickly and easily.
Basically, avoid super cheap electric can openers and you should be fine as far as durability is concerned.
The cost is always going to be a factor in your purchase. Name-brand can openers tend to be a lot more expensive than the competition, and it’s not always justified at the end of the day.
This is especially true in the case of top opening models.
On the other hand, for side openers and electrics having a good name brand behind them is almost essential. It means the company stands behind their quality… and they usually have a decent warranty in case something does break.
If all else fails, snatch up a cheap model until you can afford a better one but keep in mind a couple of bucks more can often translate to years of use with manual models. We always put a budget product up, but in this case you’ll find that the money is much better spent on quality since the better ones will last much longer.
You’re soon to be in the possession of the best can opener for your kitchen. It might not seem like a big leap, but the next time you’re having to slice open five cans of tuna or kidney bean you’ll be surprised at just how big of a quality of life difference it makes. Even the best are only a small investment for the amount of convenience you’ll enjoy.