No kitchen is fully equipped without a can opener. But cheaply made can openers can prove frustrating to use or even be a safety hazard if they leave cans with rough, jagged edges.
This is why buying a good can opener is so important. Good can openers will not only last years but always let you open cans easily, smoothly and safely.
There are two main types of can openers. Manual (or traditional) can openers typically work by squeezing two handles and twisting a knob, and are easily storable since they fit into drawers and countertop organizers. Electric can openers, on the other hand, require little effort on your part but do occupy more space and sometimes have a shorter lifespan than manual openers.
Can openers usually cost somewhere between $10 and $50, depending on what they’re made of and whether they’re manual or electric. Cheaply manual models can even cost under $10, but they’re often less durable and more likely to rust, break or malfunction faster. Quality manual models cost around $10 to $20, with some exceptions, while electric can openers can go all the way up to $50.
Can Opener Buying Guide
Because all can openers do the same job, you might think any model will be fine. However, if you want to buy a quality can opener — the kind that will offer optimal performance for years — here are some factors to consider:
• Material. Make sure the can opener — especially the cutting wheel — is made of stainless steel, which is durable and resistant to rust and stains.
Handles are also sometimes made of stainless steel but often coated with rubber. This design is ideal because it offers a solid grip and makes squeezing more comfortable.
• Safety. Traditional can openers have a mechanism that cuts directly into the top of the lid. This type of cut produces sharp, dented edges that can slice through skin and may cause serious injury if you’re not careful.
Smooth cut or safety can openers, on the other hand, open the tops of cans without leaving any sharp edges. Instead of cutting into the top, the blades cut through the sides, under the seams of the lid, until the entire lid pops off. This makes injuries less likely, and you might even use the lid to cover the can and store any leftovers for a limited time. However, can openers with this type of cut tend to become dull over time, usually faster than those with a traditional cut.
Some can openers feature built-in magnets or pliers as an additional safety measure since these can help you lift and dispose of the lid without having to touch it.
• Features. Some can openers offer extra features. For example, they sometimes have a lock mechanism that keeps handles tightly clamped, eliminating the need to squeeze as you twist the knob and open the can.
Others have built-in bottle openers and ring-pull cans tabs, or the ability to open jars, as well.
More importantly, some models have ergonomic designs such as larger handles and knobs, soft grips and non-slip rubber, which can be particularly helpful for people with arthritis, carpal tunnel or limited hand strength.
The Best Can Openers of 2023
1. Best overall: OXO Good Grips Smooth Edge Can Opener
List Price: $25.95
The OXO Good Grips is among the best can openers for pretty much everyone, including kids who like to help around in the kitchen.
The OXO’s lateral blade mechanism cuts through cans from the side and doesn’t leave sharp edges on the can or lid. This type of cut is safer and reduces accidental finger injuries. The blades are made of stainless steel, and the handles are coated with non-slip rubber. Additionally, the oversized knob doesn’t require much effort to twist. A pair of integrated small pliers, meanwhile, lets you remove the lid without having to touch it.
Note that some reviewers find it a bit difficult to attach the cutting mechanism to the can at first. So it might be helpful to watch some videos online to (literally) get a better hold of it.
Other very good, slightly less expensive OXO models include the OXO Steel, which has a traditional cut but is completely made of sleek stainless steel, and the OXO Snap Lock which features a lock system.
- Lateral blade mechanism doesn’t create sharp edges
- Durable stainless steel blades for long-term use
- Handles feature a non-slip coating
- Built-in pliers for contact-free lid removal
- May be difficult to attach at first
- May require greasing with frequent, long-term use
2. Editor’s pick: Zyliss Lock N’ Lift Can Opener
List Price: $21.95
The Zyliss Lock N’ Lift stands out for its ergonomic design with cushioned, non-slip handles. It also has a lock system that clamps the cutting mechanism tightly into place so you don’t have to worry about squeezing the grips while turning the knob. This makes it easier to use for most people, including those with limited grip strength.
A built-in magnet makes it easier to prevent injuries. Just place the magnet on top of the lid to pick it up and take it to the trash, and then press a lever at the bottom to release the lid from the magnet.
The Zyliss has two potential drawbacks. First, even though it is made of sturdy plastic, it may break faster than can openers built with metal. Additionally, according to some reviewers, it takes a bit of practice to fully grasp how the locking mechanism works.
- Ideal for individuals with limited grip strength
- Cushioned, no-slip handles for ergonomic grip
- Built-in magnet makes it easier to dispose of lids
- Locking system conveniently clamps in place
- Not as durable as fully metal can openers
- Some users say it has a learning curve
3. Best for low prices: EZ-DUZ-IT Deluxe Can Opener
List Price: $20.91
Aside from its low price (often on sale for between $8 and $12), there are two other main reasons why the EZ-DUZ-IT is the best inexpensive can opener for most people: it’s well-built and cuts with ease.
This American-made traditional can opener is built with stainless steel and features a large knob that makes it easy to turn and use. Its metal handles are coated in rubber, providing a better grip to hold and squeeze. Finally, on the sides, it has a built-in hook that’s useful for opening bottles and jar lids.
Another great low-priced option is the KitchenAid Classic Multifunction. It also comes with an integrated bottle opener and typically costs around $14.
- American-made, durable stainless steel construction
- Rubber-coated metal handles provide a good grip
- Built-in hook for opening bottles and jars
- Available in five different colors
- Food grime must be rinsed away
- Rusting can occur if not dried after cleaning
4. Best electric can opener: Cuisinart SCO-60 Deluxe Stainless Steel Can Opener
List Price: $49.95
If manual openers are always a bit of a struggle, and you would rather get a can opener that requires next to no effort, the Cuisinart Deluxe is a great choice.
This electric opener can handle all standard-size cans found in supermarket aisles, and its operation is simple and hands-free. Once the can is placed in the right spot, you only need to click the lever down and wait until it makes a full rotation. Meanwhile, its magnet holds cans of up to 32 ounces tightly in place throughout the process.
The lever can be removed, making it easy to clean the blades without having to move the whole unit, and it can be adjusted to cut open from the top or the sides.
We also like Cuisinart’s sleek design. The stainless steel finish matches other kitchen appliances, while its weighted base and magnet help prevent cans from tipping over.
One drawback, though, is the can opener lever. According to some customers’ reviews, it breaks over time. However, a replacement can be purchased on the brand’s website. Also, the can opener has a limited three-year warranty.
Another great contender is the Hamilton Beach Smooth Touch. Unlike the Cuisinart Deluxe, you do have to hold the lever down until it makes the full rotation. However, it offers a smoother and safer side-cut than Cuisinart’s sharp cut, and it costs about $20 less.
- Hands-free operation for maximum convenience
- Removable lever for easy cleaning
- Sleek design looks great in any kitchen
- Limited three-year warranty included
- Lever may require replacement eventually
- Not ideal for very small cans
5. Best for lefties: Kuhn Rikon Auto Safety Master Opener
List Price: $25.00
The Kuhn Rikon is a great all-around can opener for most users, including left-handed people.
Like other safe models, the Kuhn Rikon opens can lids from the side, leaving no sharp edges. The main differences, however, are that its knob is situated on top of the opener rather than on the side (good for lefties and righties alike) and that it only has one long handle, meaning you don’t have to squeeze while twisting the knob.
The Kuhn Rikon is also a multitasker. It can be used to ring-pull tabs in draw cans — for instance, tuna, sardines or luncheon meat cans — remove bottle crown caps, unscrew tops from water bottles and open jar lids. Additionally, it features a pair of small pliers to grab the lid once opened.
- Comfortable for left-handed users
- One long handle, so no squeezing is required
- Built-in bottle opener for versatility
- Ideal for ring-pull tabs on flat cans
- Could be too big for some users
- May wear out over time
6. Best can opener for arthritis: Kitchen Mama Electric Can Opener
List Price: $35.00
If you or a family member suffer from arthritis or mobility impairments, the Kitchen Mama automatic can opener is one of the best options out there.
This battery-operated can opener is user-friendly and requires little effort. You just need to place the Kitchen Mama on the can’s lid, press the button to start opening and then press it once more when it’s done. This model's blades cut along the sides of the lid, leaving smooth edges that are safe to touch.
Do note this unit requires four AA batteries, which must be purchased separately. If that’s a drawback for you, consider a traditional electric model like the Cuisinart Deluxe or the Hamilton Beach Smooth Touch(mentioned above), which both feature a power cord.
- Automated operation for hands-free use
- Safe design doesn’t leave behind sharp edges
- Available in four bright colors
- User-friendly design with just one button
- Requires four AA batteries, not included
- May operate slowly
7. Best stainless steel can opener: Rosle Stainless Steel Can Opener with Pliers Grip
List Price: $60.00
We like the Rosle can opener for its sturdy design. It’s entirely made of stainless steel, including the knob and its large handles. It cuts lids from the side, so it leaves no sharp edges, and its blades don’t come in contact with the food. The Rosle also features an integrated pair of gripper pliers, which help lift the lid, and a loop at the bottom that can be used to hang it on any hooks you have in your kitchen.
The Rosle’s main drawback is its price. At $60, it’s one of the most expensive manual can openers on the market; however, if you don’t mind paying a bit more, the Rosle’s user-friendly design and 20-year warranty are well worth the money.
- Premium, long-lasting stainless steel construction
- Impressive 20-year warranty ensures reliable use
- Loop for easy hanging on hooks
- Gripper pliers enable easy lid disposal
- Expensive for a manual can opener
- Not ideal for very small cans
People Also Ask
Q: Is there a difference between manual and electric can openers?
A: Manual and electric can openers differ in terms of their features and capabilities. Manual can openers are typically less expensive than electric can openers but require more effort to operate. Electric can openers are more expensive but they offer a more effortless operation and typically have additional features such as an integrated knife sharpener or a jar opener.
Q: Are there any safety features on can openers?
A: Many modern can openers feature safety features such as lid holders to keep hands away from blades and finger guards to prevent skin from coming into contact with blades. Some electric models also feature an auto shut-off switch that turns off the unit when it has finished cutting.
Q: How much do different can openers cost?
A: Can opener prices vary depending on their type and features, but generally cost between $10 and $50. Manual can openers tend to be less expensive than electric models but usually don't offer any extra features or conveniences.
Q: Are there other features that should be considered when buying a can opener?
A: Some other features that you may want to consider when buying a can opener include easy storage options, ergonomic design, convenience features like jar or bottle openers and customer reviews to ensure you're purchasing a quality product.
Why Trust Us
Our commitment to the consumer begins with product selection and ends with the last word we write in each article. Each can opener is carefully vetted quantitatively through star ratings and the number of reviews and qualitatively through careful examination of reviews and the features each one has to offer. Leveraging our team of bargain hunters, we’re also always sure to keep your budget in mind while we find the best can openers on the market. Our team of experts is dedicated to accurately depicting the pros and cons of each can opener, translating technical product specifications into information you can understand. Our mission is to provide you with the most useful cooking tools for your kitchen that money can buy.