Opening a Can Should Be Easy
April 25, 2011 6:46 PM   Subscribe

Best hand operated can opener ever! Recommendations?

The can opener should operate something like this.

Price less than $15, which seems like a lot for a can opener. Although, if there are any amazing can openers available for more than $15, please post those as well.

Online stores highly appreciated, although I might be able to work something out with brick and mortar stores.

posted by 47triple2 to Shopping (27 answers total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
Below is Cook's Illustrated's top 4 (the 4 they rated as "recommended") -- review was done in October, 2008, so I don't know if new technology in can openers has happened since then... Star ratings are out of 3.

OXO Good Grips Magnetic Locking Can Opener
This can opener was intuitive to use and easy to attach and detach from cans. It was "comfortable," "very smooth," and very efficient in operation. Because it is a traditional opener, this model leaves a lid with sharp edges (its only downfall), but minimizes potential danger with a magnet that allows "neat and safe" lid disposal.
Performance: ***
Comfort: ***
Safety: **
Price: $9.99

Kuhn Rikon Slim Safety Lidlifter
Testers praised the handy "change in feeling" once the can was completely open. The "dishwasher-safe claim was spot-on: There were no changes in performance or appearance after several wash cycles. A few testers has mild complaints about the "awkward position" of the oversized turning knob, resulting in a slight demerit in the performance rating.
Performance: **
Comfort: ***
Safety: ***

Progressive International Safety I-Can Opener
The unique ratchet cutting wheel mechanism was "easy to operate" and comfortable, but was "hard to know when finished." Pincers disposed of the cut lid safely. For some testers, the instructions for this opener were "not obvious," even with visuals on the packaging.
Performance: **
Comfort: ***
Safety: ***

Good Cook 4-1 HT Safe Can Opener
"Clearly written instructions" and "smooth gears" made this opener easy and efficient as first use. Also, testers appreciated the "perceptible change in feeling" when the can opener had rounded the entire can. This model lost a few points for not having a lid-gripper.
Performance: ***
Comfort: **
Safety: **
posted by brainmouse at 6:51 PM on April 25, 2011 [3 favorites]

"Swing-A-Way Can Opener

Choose the can opener that is selected by NASA for their Skylab Space Station. Can opener has smooth, gear-driven operation. The hardened, sharpened high-carbon cutting wheel makes can opening a breeze. Model # 407BK. "
Accept no substitutes. $5.99 each, at Bed, Bath and Beyond.
posted by paulsc at 6:53 PM on April 25, 2011 [2 favorites]

You should get the Kuhn Rikon one mentioned by brainmouse above. It's awesome. My boyfriend and I actually fight over who gets to open the can when we're cooking, it's that cool. I especially like the little "beak" that pulls the can lid off for you.
posted by phunniemee at 6:57 PM on April 25, 2011 [2 favorites]

I have happily paid circa $15 (probably more after taxes and all) for the Good Cook Safe Cut can opener, which we have in our kitchen and in each of our car emergency kits. Never going back to the old sharp-edged cutters.
posted by straw at 7:03 PM on April 25, 2011

Kuhn Rikon. It's so much better than the usual can opener that it's like a whole other tool entirely. Also, the can's lid and edge aren't sharp afterward! Bonus!
posted by theredpen at 7:08 PM on April 25, 2011 [1 favorite]

Agree on the Kuhn Rikon. Since I got one for myself, I've bought a bunch more for friends. No more sharp edges!
posted by dorey_oh at 7:11 PM on April 25, 2011 [1 favorite]

Personally like the Oxo.
posted by Pirate-Bartender-Zombie-Monkey at 7:13 PM on April 25, 2011

I have arthritis which sometimes affects my hands and really like the Oxo. I'm sure the other recommended brands are fine as well.
posted by the young rope-rider at 7:16 PM on April 25, 2011

Nthing the Kuhn Rikon. Just got mine two weeks ago and I really, really love finding a reason to open a can now. I want to buy one for everyone I know!

My husband never thought that a can opener could be a wondrous thing, and now he can talk about a can opener for 10 minutes.

So, yeah -- DON'T get the Kuhn Rikon unless you want to become a person who looks for opportunity to wax poetic about your can opener . . .
posted by MeiraV at 7:19 PM on April 25, 2011

CrownWare CanPro; not the huge catering one, but the handheld version. Looks like the Kuhn Rikon uses CrownWare's patents, and the CanPro is less fiddly. Only problem with the CanPro is it's aggressively right-handed.
posted by scruss at 7:23 PM on April 25, 2011

I have this OXO can opener. Locks. Easy to grip. Just works, even on weird dented cans. My only compalint is that it's a little tall for my junk drawer.
posted by jessamyn at 7:48 PM on April 25, 2011

I have an OXO Good Grips Smooth Edge Opener. Unfortunately it's a bit over the price you're looking for(I believe my words were something like "20 bucks for a freekin can opener!?"). I think it was worth it. The grip is comfy. I don't really feel its weight in my hand. Really smooth glide when turning the can and the handle. Does not leave sharp edges.

It's a nice can opener...for a can opener.
posted by mnology at 7:57 PM on April 25, 2011

I have the Swing-A-Way Easy Crank Can Opener. Best thing since sliced bread....or something...(a can of baked beans?).

See: Fantes.
posted by scalespace at 8:04 PM on April 25, 2011

I had the Swing-A-Way until it got so rusty that turning it made me feel like I'd suddenly lost all muscle tone. I ended up with this Zyliss which, turns out, is totally awesome.
posted by sugarfish at 8:06 PM on April 25, 2011

+1 Oxo Good Grips. So zero-frustration, so pleasant to use.
posted by kmennie at 8:10 PM on April 25, 2011

Response by poster: Wow! Thank you all for your recommendations!

I should add that I want a can opener that will not rust. At all. I want a can opener that will last for a loooong time.

Which of the recommended brands won't rust? That seems to be my biggest problem with can openers. :(
posted by 47triple2 at 8:20 PM on April 25, 2011

Happy with the Oxo Good Grips also. Goes through the dishwasher fairly often, with no blemishes five or six years on.
posted by bonehead at 8:48 PM on April 25, 2011

The rosle can opener is pretty much as sexy as a can opener gets. Over double your $15 price point, though.
posted by shesbookish at 9:03 PM on April 25, 2011 [1 favorite]

I have a Kuhn Rikon. While I love it, my wife does not. This is because my wife is left-handed. Unlike the conventional Swing-Away types, the Kuhn Rikon only cuts when turned clockwise; the other way releases it from the can, so it's awkward for lefties to use.
posted by jon1270 at 11:36 PM on April 25, 2011 [1 favorite]

I'm going to go against the Oxo. I had one that did the "safe edge" on the can and it stopped working! How the heck does a friggin can-opener stop functioning?!

Fell back on the old rusty thrift store one and it's never failed me. Honestly, the normal ones work great and are cheap.
posted by j03 at 3:43 AM on April 26, 2011

2nding the rosle that shesbookish recommends. Sexy is right! But yeah, a bit pricey. I love the safety openers though, since you can't cut yourself with the lids, and you can put them back on the cans, too.
posted by Grither at 6:06 AM on April 26, 2011

I have a regular Good Grips, and I have arthritis. Works like a charm, easy to use, goes into the dishwasher every couple weeks. Still works like new, five-ish years in.
posted by freshwater at 6:24 AM on April 26, 2011

I have this Zyliss can opener in green. I'd say it's the best opener I've owned.
posted by orme at 6:43 AM on April 26, 2011

I bought a WMF Profi Plus a few years ago and it's been great. A little above your price point, but the SS construction keeps it from rusting.
posted by doctord at 6:45 AM on April 26, 2011

"... Which of the recommended brands won't rust? That seems to be my biggest problem with can openers. :("
posted by 47triple2 at 11:20 PM on April 25

The standard Swing Away can opener I recommended above does have a carbon steel cutting wheel, and so, technically, it does rust. But if it does, it does so incredibly slowly (as in, I've had my current Swing Away more than 20 years, opening 20 to 30 cans a week. Still works like a champ.) The cutting wheel can contact foods from the cans it opens, but it is easily cleaned with a toothbrush I keep handy at the kitchen sink, for scrubbing this and other small items by hand. The rest of the thing is heavily chrome plated and handles are covered in plastic, so it doesn't seem to mind immersion in dishwater, and comes out shiny as new. Cleaning the cutting wheel occasionally, and putting a drop of 3-in-1 oil on the turning handle bushing is about all I've ever done to mine, and I think the oil is pretty much optional.

So, while rust might be a concern with other all metal can openers, the substantial construction of the Swing Away seems to relegate it to a practical non-issue, at least in the first 20 or so years of use...
posted by paulsc at 9:44 AM on April 26, 2011

So that Kuhn Rikon—I don't put mine in the dishwasher. In fact, I rinse it off only rarely. This isn't as gross as it might sound, though, because the safety feature—in addition to making the edges smooth and safe—also keep the can opener from touching the food. So it doesn't really get dirty (unless my children leave it in the sink with a sinkful of gross dishes or something). I don't know if it would rust if you did wash it frequently, but I know it probably won't be necessary to do so. End result = no rust. I should be getting a commission for this.
posted by theredpen at 5:24 PM on April 26, 2011

the kuhn rikon for sure. i got it as a last minute stocking stuffer for my mom and she shows it off to everyone. it's really an upgrade from the others.
posted by screamingnotlaughing at 12:53 AM on April 27, 2011

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