The Best Electric and Hand-Operated Can Openers

updated May 1, 2019
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(Image credit: The Kitchn)

Can openers may win the award for the least sexy kitchen gadget around. However, they’d also take the title for one of the most essential tools. Even if you don’t have a habit of warming up canned soups or opt for fresh vegetables over canned, we’re guessing you still need to open a can from time to time (those whole peeled tomatoes aren’t going to let themselves out!). And a can opener is somehow the only tool for the job (unless you’re buying pull-top cans, but even then, those tabs have a tendency to break off without the lid). You’re gonna need a good one, too — there’s just something so annoying about a junky can opener!

If you’re in the market for a new one, we’ve got you covered. Here are our picks for the best electric and manual can openers out there.

Going for an electric can opener over a manual one is a matter of personal preference (a lot of people with arthritic hands, for example, find it easier to let a machine do the work). If that’s you, this is your best bet.

It actually happens to be the electric version that our friends at Wirecutter picked, and while we don’t always agree with them, we do in this instance. Amazon shoppers agree, too: With more than 5,000 reviews, this bestselling can opener has earned a 4.7-star ranking (out of five).

It works on all can sizes (and pull-top cans), which can’t be said for all electric can openers. It has a large ergonomic lever that’s easy to use. And the special side-cutting system leaves a smooth edge behind, so you don’t have to worry about cutting yourself. Like other electronic can openers, it’s not small (it’s smaller than a bread box but bigger than a slice of bread), so you’ll have to find a few inches of counter or cabinet space for it.

Here’s where we differ from Wirecutter. They picked this $10 can opener, but we actually find it to be a little chintzy. Instead, we vote for this option from Zyliss. It’s bulkier than Wirecutter’s pick, so it will take up more room in your drawer, but that means it’s sturdier and feels better in your hand.

Another one with more than 5,000 reviews (and 4.3 stars), this can opener locks onto cans of all sizes, is comfy to hold, and easy to turn. A built-in magnet grabs the lid and pulls it out of the can once you’ve made it all the way around the can, and a special lever releases the lid into the trash, so you don’t ever have to touch it.

Do you have a can opener that deserves some love? Tell us about it in the comments below.