We tried out a range of can openers to bring you our top five most efficient and easy-to-hold gadgets for making life easier in the kitchen.
Kenwood electric can opener CO600, £19.98
Best bits: Holds onto can, ambidextrous, smooth cut
Standing at 23.5cm tall, this electric opener will hold cans up to 1.2kg. To operate, you hold the can just under a metal guide pin and gently press down a lever to start the motor. The machine then works hands-free, holding the can with a magnet and rotating it as it cuts. Once the lid is separated the machine stops automatically, holding onto the can and lid until you release the lever. This opener takes up more space than a hand-held but it cuts consistently well, is easy to use whether left or right-handed and is ideal for those who struggle with manual openers. As a bonus, the opener has an integrated knife sharpener and bottle opener too. Buy from Kenwood.
** STAR BUY**
Zyliss Lock-N-Lift, £15.99
Best bits: Magnet to hold lid, solid build, comfortable handle
This can opener is very satisfying to use. The arms press together with little effort, locking the opener to the top of the can. The large handle has a soft-grip, non-slip rubber surface and turns with ease. The press of a button unlocks the opener and a magnet at the front holds onto the cut lid, preventing the lid from falling back into the can and minimising contact with the sharp edge. The Zyliss has a solid build, is safe to use and can handle a range of shapes and sizes. Buy from Zyliss.
Best… lightweight design
Culinare MagiCan can opener, £8.99
Best bits: Compact design, comfortable handle, smooth cut
Smaller than a lot of the other designs, this reasonably priced opener is lightweight with comfortable curved arms. Once the arms of the opener are pushed together, the MagiCan bites into the can and grips it so there is no need for continual squeezing. The large handle is easy to turn and the opener cuts smoothly and efficiently under the rim. An integrated magnet helps to lift the cut lid away. Buy from Culinare.
Best… ergonomic design
OXO Good Grips soft-handled can opener, £14
Best bits: Cushioned arms, oversized handle, solid
The comfortable soft-grip arms are large and cushioned to reduce pressure on the hand, making them easy to hold and squeeze together. The opener connects easily to the can and cuts smoothly and efficiently. Reliable and durable, the opener is solidly built with no worrying wiggles. The oversized handle is easy to turn. The opener is not dishwasher safe, but hand-washing keeps the blade good and sharp. Buy from OXO UK.
Best… ambidextrous opener
With a diameter of only 7cm, this compact disc-shaped opener takes up minimal drawer space. Its small size makes it a good option for hiking or camping trips. The opener sits on top of the can and as the handle is twisted, it locks on and cuts under the rim. There is a button on the front to release the lid when finished. The comfortable handle runs across the top of the opener and can be turned both clockwise and anti-clockwise – ideal for both left and right-handed users. Buy from Joseph Joseph.
Once an undisputed kitchen essential, the rise of ring-pull can lids threatened to make the can opener obsolete. The higher production cost of the ring-pull, however, means there are still plenty of cheaper traditional cans out there. A decent opener offers access to a wider range of canned foods and acts as a reliable back-up should a faulty ring-pull snap in the middle of dinner prep.
What should I buy?
There are two basic designs; traditional openers cut into the top of the lid, just inside the rim, which sometimes means using a dinner knife to lever the cut lid out. Other openers cut around the side of the can, just under the rim, which can result in a little spillage but an easier to remove lid. This is a matter of preference, but either way you want a smooth, safe cut. Electric openers are often larger so take up more storage space, but they are easy to use for both left and right-handed people and can be a helpful aid for those who find holding a manual opener difficult.
What we looked for
A clean cut: A good opener should separate can and lid smoothly, leaving no jagged edges. Once cut, the lid must be easy to lift away from the can for safe disposal.
Ergonomics: An opener should be instinctive to use. The arms of the can opener should be easy to push together and comfortable to hold. We looked for larger turning handles that were easy to twist.
Build: We looked for openers with a solid build that should last for years and dismissed any with wobbly, bendy arms or loose components.
How we tested:
We gave each opener a good wiggle and firm squeeze to test for solidity. The openers were tested on different shaped and sized cans to check their versatility. Finally we tested each on the thicker metal of a ring-pull can to see if it could handle a snapped ring-pull emergency.
This review was last updated in July 2017. If you have any questions, suggestions for future reviews or spot anything that has changed in price or availability please get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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