collage of canopers

Best Inexpensive: Can Openers—UPDATE

A can opener. A simple tool that is mandatory for every kitchen. Whether you’re a student living in a dorm, a world-class chef in a 5-star restaurant, or somewhere between—you need an easy, reliable way to open a can. That’s about as basic as life gets. Why is it that something so simple as opening a can of food has become such a challenge?

collage of canopers

The year was 1810. Peter Durand took food preservation to new levels with his patenting of the tin can. Sadly, those first cans were so thick they had to be hammered open, eliminating all hopes of practicality for home use.

It took a few decades, but finally in 1858, just as our friend Peter was coming up with thinner cans, Ezra Warren patented the first can opener. As primitive as that first opener was, it worked! And that’s a lot more than we can say for most can openers 162 years later.

Can’t anyone make a can opener that’s easy to use, does a great job, and doesn’t turn into absolute junk in a matter of months? An opener that will latch on easily, twist smoothly, and give a clean continuous cut every time? Is that too much to ask?

Perhaps you detect my severe case of angst when it comes to can openers. I’m pretty sure that through the years, I’ve owned ’em all. Most can openers work, at first. But then in what seems like no time at all, they begin to slip causing hits and misses. The gear parts rust causing the rotating parts to seize up. Is there anything more frustrating than a can opener that refuses to open a can?

Best Can Openers

Today I bring you good news. It’s taken a while—even a major update—but I’ve made a breakthrough. Perhaps my ah-ha moment will become yours as well. Ready?

Here it is: Never put a  can opener—any can opener—in the dishwasher, even if it touts to be dishwasher safe. Just don’t. Never. Ever! That goes for a manual model, a sleek stainless steel option or the working parts of an electric model if those parts come off to be washed.

Repeat: Never put a can opener in the dishwasher. The cutting wheel will turn to rust and in time, that will destroy its intricate working parts.

Instead, always wash a can opener by hand with hot soap and water; rinse well, and dry quickly to prevent rust. Keep it rust-free and a good one will keep cutting and working for many years to come.

 

Best Inexpensive—Starfrit Can Opener

 

starfrit white can opener

 

It was My Dear EC Reader Tara, whose comment sent me back onto the Best Inexpensive Can Opener trail. I’d never heard of this brand, assuming it must be a Canadian or European item. With very little research I found it online.

Within 48 hours I had my own little Starfrit in hand and it’s been in my kitchen utensil drawer ever since. From the moment Starfrit landed in my kitchen, I have not used any other opener. It’s what I instinctively reach for.

Little Starfrit is very lightweight, smooth, and so easy to pick up and use. It’s mostly plastic—only the blade and its housing are metal. Operating Starfrit is effortless—it’s one smooth operator!

Tara tells us she’s had hers for 30 years and it’s still working like a champ. I can believe it. And here’s the best part: Starfrit comes in the least expensive of all options. This is the Best Inexpensive manual can opener out there. Available in white and black.

Why we like it

  • Super lightweight
  • Sit on top of the can, separates the can’s lid from its body
  • Smooth edges
  • Fool-proof operation
  • Left- and right-handed operation
  • Holds lid securely until released
  • The price!

With the Starfrit “mightican” can opener, you’ll never have to touch another lid. Its Swiss-patented mechanism holds removed lids to prevent them from falling into the food, which makes this can opener both convenient and hygienic. Soft-grip handles and ambidextrous design mean it’s comfortable and easy to use for right and left-handed chefs alike.

 

EZ-DUZ-IT Manual Can Opener

 

EZ DUZ it

 

Here it is, the best manual can opener Made in the USA. With its vinyl-coated grips, it is simple and functional. It grips cans securely and cuts smoothly every time, producing a top with traditionally sharp edges. This model requires a bit of effort to run around the top of the can, but for most, the task is relatively easy. If you want a reliable economical can opener that is still Made in the USA, EZ-DUZ-IT Manual Can Opener fills the bill.

Why we like it

  • Heavy-duty “swing” design can opener; made of heavy gauge chromed steel
  • Features carbon steel cutting blade and thick rubberized deluxe handles for easy grip
  • Gear-driven design allows for smooth, easy operation
  • Made in the USA!
  • Offers many years of service when washed by hand with warm soapy water.

 

Hamilton Beach Automatic Can Opener

 

Hamilton Beach electic can opener

This smooth touch, electric can opener with the easy push-down lever, is ideal for anyone who enjoys a beautiful appliance sitting out on the counter, but especially for seniors with arthritic hands or other challenges that make a manual opener problematic.

Easy to operate, this opener opens all standard-size and pop-top cans. This Hamilton Beach Automatic Can Opener cuts along the side of the can, producing smooth, “touchable,” safe lids.

Why we like it

  • Eliminates sharp lid edges: This electric can opener cuts cans along the sides for smooth, touchable lids.
  • The price!
  • A manually retractable cord.
  • Opens pop-top and regular cans: No need to struggle with or handle sharp and messy pop-top lids any longer.
  • Easily open cans with one hand, designed with an easy-touch opening lever makes this the perfect option for anyone with physical challenges or conditions.
  • Sleek chrome and black design: the stylish design of the Hamilton Beach can opener looks great on the countertop and complements any décor.
  • 1-year warranty, provided you never put any part of it in the dishwasher!

 


Rosle Manual Safety Can Opener

Can opener and Lid

 

This beautiful stainless steel manual luxury model can opener sits on top of the can, rather than the more traditional “hanging” from the side approach of other can openers. In this way, the can opener separates the can’s lid from its body, so there are no sharp edges.

The beautiful Rosle Safety Can Opener with pliers-style grips is smooth and feels great in the hand. Super smooth operation! Wow! And the lid, once removed from the can, can be re-used to store the can’s contents. Gorgeous!

Why we like it

  • Made of durable and hygienic 18/10 Stainless Steel
  • Easy positioning pliers that grip onto the top of the can, lift the lid from the can so your hands never come into contact with the food.
  • Suitable for both right- and left-handed users.
  • Ergonomically shaped thumbscrew for smooth and effortless turning
  • Safe, lateral cutting wheel which avoids sharp edges along the rim and lid of the can by separating it from the can.
  • Can lid can be reused to store can’s contents.
  • 20-year warranty with Rosle, when washed by hand!

 

 

Updated: 1-21-22


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26 replies
« Older Comments
    • Mary Hunt says:

      I’d try Barkeeper’s Friend. But more than that, you need to figure out why it rusted. Have you put it thru the dishwasher? That’s a big No-No for any can openers. Handwash only and then dry fully, immediately. Good luck!

      Reply
  1. Pat syblik says:

    My mother had a Swingaway on the wall in the house I grew up in. When we moved, she bought a handheld Swingaway. They lived in that house for at least 30 years. When I got married, that was the first kitchen appliance I bought. I returned the two electric can openers I received as wedding gifts. I am still using my original Swingaway. We have been married 53 years! When my son was about 16, a friend’s family got a new electric can opener. He wanted to buy me one and I said NO. They always break. A few months later, he admitted that his friend’s electric can opener was already broken. I do have two can openers, both Swingaway, because when he started to work, he was taking cans of food to work for lunch. He always borrowed mine…..I bought the second one in self-defense. He is married now, and he bought a Swingaway for himself!

    Reply
  2. Rachel says:

    I ordered the Starfrit can opener as soon as I read the email last week. It was easy to use, however with the second can I opened, I cut my thumb as I moved the can from the counter. That edge is smooth but sharp. I haven’t had a cut like that in decades. I’m going back to previous brand.

    Reply
    • Mary Hunt says:

      The black and white are basically the same … mine is the white one, but I’ve used both. You can’t go wrong either way. Hope that help;s …

      Reply
  3. kathny says:

    I have had an EZ-DUZ IT can opener for about 10 years. I bought 5 different brands of can openers to test them and EZ- DUZ IT is the only one that still works as well as the day I bought it. In fact, I was just thinking today that I should probably pick up one or two more to have on hand in case this one gets lost (or taken by one of my kids!). Thanks for the link!

    Reply
  4. Rick says:

    I have had 2 Hamilton Beach Automatic can openers. With the latest one I bought, you have to be very careful to only go around ONCE when opening a can. Sometimes, if you go around more than once, even a little bit, you can get fine strands of tin in the food in the can. Other than this, the can opener works great!!!

    Reply
  5. Stuart says:

    I bought my Hamilton Beach automatic opener for $17 at Walmart. You show Amazon for $65.
    N.B.: Amazon is always higher on most items so I buy everything I need at Walmart and eBay.

    Reply
  6. Nancy says:

    Love my Hamilton Beach smooth touch can opener! Have given to adult kids who also love it. Favorite feature: no sharp edges as Mary mentioned. (I probably first read about it years ago in a prior column as most all my good tips come from Mary!)
    Currently $31.85 at Walmart

    Reply
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