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CAN OPENER BUYING GUIDE: how to choose can opener that works

      Buying a can opener that is right for you is not an easy task.  Chances are you already own one or maybe even a few of these gadgets. Some of them have ended up in the trash because they didn’t work. Some of your openers got pushed far away in the drawer because they were difficult to use and caused frustration.

      So you need a new can opener now. And this time you are determined to get a handy device that is functional, pleasant to use and, hopefully, will last for decades. But how to choose the right can opener that works? Which option among many available choices to pick? On what features to concentrate?

      This can opener buying guide explains in a simple way how to select a gadget that satisfies your demands. First, it describes the requirements to look for in a good can opener. Then it gives you knowledge of types of can openers and discusses their positive and negative points.  Next, it makes clear how to determine which type of can opener is right for your needs.  After you learn about available options from this guide, feel free to proceed to the can openerOPENERS BY NEEDS section of our website to pick the best tool suited for you.

What is the best can opener?

In order for you to end up with a perfect tool, your new can opener should meet some requirements, which we divided into four groups. The first group of requirements is a “must haves” in any can opener. The second group describes the features that are nice to have. The choice of the features will depend on your individual preferences and the budget. The third group of requirements lists people’s individual needs. Lastly, the fourth group takes into consideration aesthetic requirements that might be important to some people.


1. Essentials 

First of all, a can opener should be:

1) able to open a can. A simple request, but there are lots of can openers on the market that cannot do that;

2) simple to set up and operate with no complicated steps involved;

3) long-lasting. In order not to buy a new can opener every year it is better to find a tool produced by a manufacturer that offers a good warranty: lifetime warranty and 100% money back guarantee is ideal (some manufacturers still offer this option), one-year limited warranty or no warranty at all is unacceptable.


2. Additional requirements 

Besides, you most likely will want your can opener to have the following qualities:

1) well made, so it does not have a flimsy feel. If the opener is handheld – it should be comfortable to hold, if it is freestanding electric – it should not tip over from the weight of the can. It also should be able to grip cans securely;

2) rust resistant ( it’s best when the cutting mechanism is made of stainless steel. You don’t want to end up with rust particles in your food, do you?);

3) easy to maintain – preferably a dishwasher-safe manual can opener or dishwasher-safe removable cutting unit for an electric one; 

4) leaves smooth, safe edges after cutting, so you won’t hurt yourself on the sharp edge of the can or can lid. This can be achieved by buying can openers, known as “safety,” “safe-cut,” or “smooth-edge”;

5) has a cutting wheel that does not touch the food to eliminate cross contamination risk. You can reach this goal with a safety can opener because it cuts through the side of the can. The opener’s metal wheel goes under the lid’s outer lip so  the entire top of the can lift up and off (see illustration on the right)

6) if you want to stick with a traditional manual can opener that cuts the can on the top through the lid, it is good to pick a gadget with lid lifter magnet. The magnet can pick the lid from the top of the can without creating a mess. If the opener has a release button – you will not need to touch the lid by hand and can send it straight to the trash container ;

7) you also might want your can opener to be able to open unusually shaped cans: rectangular Spam or sardine cans, as well as pull and pop cans.


3. Individual needs

After you figured out from the previous section which can opener features are important to you, it is time to take into consideration individual needs.

Think about which person and in which situation will use the can opener. Will this can opener be used :

1) by a left-handed person?

2) should it be ambidextrous? ( so left handed and right handed people in the family can use the same can opener);

3) operated by one hand?

4) by somebody that has arthritis, or weak hands? By elderly or children?  By somebody that need to open a lot of cans per day ( like lots of canned dog food) that puts a strain on the wrist?

5) for camping and traveling or for an emergency/ survival kit? In this situation the main requirement for a can opener is to be functional, light, and small;

6) for commercial use? This will require a heavy duty can opener, that can handle a large volume of bigger and taller cans.

7) Should it be budget friendly? (under $15)


4. Aesthetic considerations

Also, you cannot deny aesthetic needs. Some people want a can opener to be:

–  of a particular color to coordinate with the other appliances;

– displayed on the countertop;

– mounted under cabinet;

– wall mounted;

– multifunctional (combine few tools in one);

– hidden in the drawer.

What are your aesthetic preferences?


Which type of can opener is right for you?

Now, after we have covered what to take into consideration when looking for a good can opener, you will need to educate yourself on different can opener types available on the market today.

Please, read my in depth article that  describes and illustrates each type of manual. electric and pneumatic can openers and discusses their pros and cons.  

Manual vs electric vs pneumatic can opener: more things to consider

While making decision which kind of can opener you should get, answer these questions:

1) How many cans on average do I need to open per day?

2) How big are those cans?

If you normally open cans of usual size  (15 oz or 28 oz cans 7” tall), you need to get a manual or electric can opener for everyday use. Check out this article for the best can openers in this category.

If you are opening more than 25 cans (#10 cans) per day, consider heavy duty manual, electric or crown punch can openers. Most likely you are running small or large business facility if you have these needs. Read CAN OPENERS FOR COMMERCIAL USE  to pick your opener.

If you are traveling or hiking, or if you are creating an emergency kit, you need a lightweight manual device to open a can of food (or maybe even multi-use tool) to carry with you. In this case, you will choose an opener in this comparison tables.


Final thoughts on How to choose can opener that will last

By now you are equipped with all required knowledge to choose the can opener that fits your needs.

  1. You know which types of can opener suit you ( manual, electric or crown punch),
  2. You are aware of positive and negative points of each type,
  3. You decided which features in can opener are important to you.
  4. When you looked through the individual needs description you noted if you fell into any of listed individual needs categories. If you don’t find yourself belonging to any of those categories, then you need a can opener for everyday use.


Next step

To make your search for the actual model and make of can opener simple and quick we created comparison tables, which we categorized by individual needs:

– for everyday use ( fits for most people)

for commercial use ( heavy duty)

for campers/travelers or for an emergency/survival kit ( light and small can openers)

– for seniors, people with arthritis or weak wrists

– left-handed can openers

– one-handed

– ambidextrous

– budget friendly (under $15 )

– stylish gifts

You can pick a can opener category from a drop-down menu or from the can opener comparison tables landing page. Each table contains 3 best rated can openers suitable for a chosen individual category. You will be able to see at glance the type and features of can openers and have an opportunity to buy a can opener of your choice with the click of the button.

For additional information that can help you to make the decision, visit BEST RATED CAN OPENERS section of our website, where you find best can openers categorized by type, see top performers in 5 categories and a list of can openers with a lifetime warranty.

can opener buying guide

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