True story: when the first tin can was invented in 1810, there was no such thing as a can opener. In fact, the lids of the first tin cans were so thick, they had to be smashed open with a hammer. The first can opener made its debut in 1858, and was quickly bought up by the U.S. military for use in the Civil War. Today, the can opener has seen dozens of design and technological leaps forward, but still has the same purpose it’s had for over 150 years: open a can without spilling its contents or cutting your finger. Which can opener does it best? Which one can you rely on whether it’s a bean can or a juice can? We twisted the handles – lots of handles – and found that these are the 5 best can openers available today.
Zyliss Lock N’ Lift Handheld
In truth, not a lot has changed in the basic design of the can opener since its early inception. Zyliss takes the classic design and makes it even better. From the soft-touch of the turning handle to a locking mechanism that places the cutting wheel securely in place every time, the Zyliss Lock n’ Lift delivers consistency and efficiency. Add to this a magnet that grabs the cut-top of your can, and a button near the thumb that releases the lid into the trash, and you’ve got a can opener that saves you from getting cat food all over your fingers. We especially like the rounded & padded handles, which ergonomically reduce hand fatigue. It’s a no-brainer can opener!
- Stainless steel wheel punctures cans easily
- Modern look and feel
- Available in three colors
- Can shred paper labels
- Does not maneuver easily around dents
Kitchen Mama One Touch
If your hand cramps easily or you suffer from arthritis, you’ve probably been thinking about an electric can opener. Kitchen Mama takes the whole idea to the next level with their One-Touch Automatic Can Opener. Simply latch it on to the top of a can and press a single button and that’s it: the mechanism opens the can, pulls away the lid, and stops automatically. In fact, the Kitchen Mama cuts along the top of the lid – not on the inside – so it never touches your food and doesn’t leave a sharp ring that leads to cuts. Save your hands – open the cans!
- Runs on 4 AA batteries (not included)
- Available in blue and red
- Impeccable customer service
- Large cans drain batteries
- Tiny screw in battery compartment
Hamilton Beach Smooth Touch Electric
The whole idea behind the electric can opener is ease of use: it should be simple to start and operate and should do the job (so your hands don’t have to). Hamilton Beach’s Smooth Touch has all of this in spades. Designed with an easy-opening lever that allows can-opening with one hand, the Smooth Touch opens the can along the side, creating a smooth lid that never cuts. In fact, you can open both “pop top” and regular can lids with this device, so you never have to touch a messy lid again. Best of all, the Hamilton Beach is durable, built with a permanently-lubricated motor that never needs maintenance.
- Available with bottle-opening tool
- Sleek chrome and black design
- Includes convenient scissors for boxes and bags
- Takes up counter space
- Short 9-inch power cord
LUFU Safety Kitchen
With a design that looks like something straight out of The Jetsons, The LUFU Safety Kitchen Can Opener is a sight to see. Made from both plastic and a rugged steel alloy, it easily cuts through cans with its advanced sliding gears that leave no jagged edges to harm your hands. It’s also designed to open glass bottles and jars, and since it has such a compact design (only 5-inches long), it’s perfect for camping trips or storage in your RV. You have to see it to believe it, but you’ll love to use it.
- Easy to clean with damp cloth
- Safety grooves prevent accidental finger-bruising
- Cutting wheel remains clean
- Does not work on edgeless cans
- Not convenient for left-handed users
Kuhn Rikon Auto Safety Smooth Touch
Unlike most openers with their “dual-handle,” gripping design, the Kuhn Rikon Smooth Touch uses a single handle with the twist mechanism on top and the cutting blade on the side. The result is not only a can opener that’s easier to navigate, but one that opens cans with less effort. The unit automatically attaches itself to cans, then opens along the outer rim, leaving no sharp edges because it doesn’t cut the lid; rather, it unfastens the sealing crimp. This also means the cutting wheel never touches the food, so it’s more hygienic and less of a mess than other can openers.
- Comes in four beautiful colors
- Mini-pliers on side lifts lids easily
- No chance of finger cuts
- Not for commercial-grade cans
- Rotate can only once to prevent slivers
Frequently Asked Questions
How long does canned food last after you open it?
After you open a can of food, treat it like any other fresh food. Store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator and it should last a couple of days or more. However, it’s imperative you don’t store the food in the can. Iron from the can may seep into food and affect the flavor, and in some cases, cause detrimental health effects. Some cans are now made with a food-grade plastic interior lining, making them adequate for food storage, but unless it says so directly on the label, don’t risk it by storing your food in open cans.
Are tin cans recyclable?
As a matter of fact, yes. Though it often seems like aluminum is the only recyclable form of can, tin cans, steel cans and bi-metal cans are all recyclable. Check with your local community’s recycling regulations first, but for the most part, just throw any cans you’ve got into the recycling bin.
I’m left-handed, and it seems like can openers are not designed for people like me in mind. Anything I can do?
Unfortunately, this may be a “trial-and-error” situation. Most can openers will cut through a can lid regardless of the way you turn them, so the question becomes, which turning mechanism seems like it will be the most comfortable: top, left side or right side? If you’re not sure, then just be careful to order your first can opener from a company that offers free returns or exchanges. That way, you can experiment until you find the can opener that’s most comfortable for you.
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