Organization and Cleaning

Family Table Testing 123: Can Openers

Esther Kurtz May 15, 2024

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Can You Do It?

Can openers. I’ll admit it, they’re not the most exciting gadget. It’s not the one you’re running to try out the newest sleekest model. It’s likely that you have the same can opener that you bought when you first started cooking.

Thing is, when it comes to can openers, for some reason we just accept mediocrity. We accept exertion, frustration, and jagged edges. We think wrists hurting is normal. And we’re not opening that many cans at a time, so we tolerate being mistreated. But listen up now, your median nerve (aka where you get carpal tunnel syndrome) will thank you.

The right can opener should do a few things for you. It should feel comfortable in your hand, it should have good torque so you don’t have to exert much effort, and the cut should be smooth so you don’t feel a need to yell at your curious little ones, “Sharp!”

I tried out top-rated can openers on Amazon, including the brand name OXO, the best-selling generic, an electric one, a safety one, the cheapest one available, and a new style, to see if it was any good.

I tested them on cans of beans, tomato paste, tuna, and string beans, as well as guava shells, to see if the circumference and size made any difference. I also considered their physical footprint, because if it can’t fit in my drawer easily, sayonara.

Testing, Testing 1, 2, 3

1. I held each can opener in my hand, feeling for weight and comfort. I also stuck it in my drawer to see how much space it took up.

2. I opened several cans, checking for how easy the first clamp was and how much exertion was needed.

3. I checked for can stability, how smooth the cut was, and the ease of removing the cover.


Price: $9.98

Stars 4.5

Notes: Did everything a can opener is supposed to do, and well! Takes up more space with a longer-than-usual handle. Harder plastic than other “comfort” grips. Easy clamp and turning mechanism. Doesn’t open much, possibly a safety mechanism.

Swing-A-Way Easy Crank

Price: $21.38

Stars: 2

Notes: Great concept in theory to make the can easier to open, failed in practice. Hard to turn. Can not stable on counter. Jagged edges. Large storage footprint.

Pakitner Safe Cut

Price: $11.98

Stars: -1

Notes: Odd design in the name of safety. Literally spinning wheels, did not open the can. I gave up. Copy on the box had a typo — “dlade” instead of “blade.” Good grip. Heavier on head side. Fairly compact. Why am I bothering? Complete dud.

OXO Good Grips Soft Handled Manual

Price: $16.95

Stars: 4.8

Notes: Light, but not too light, so you have a good grip. Large turn knob, which is good for turning, but bad for storage. Clean edges. Easy first clamp. Light tension needed. It’s OXO, it’ll never be bad, but for the price, there are other contenders.

Kitchen Mama Electric Can Opener 

Price: $29.99

Stars: 4.8

Notes: Easy to use – touch of a button. Easy to clamp on top of can. Works at a steady pace. Safety open for smooth touchable edges. Cut lid is automatically removed and secured by a magnet. A little hefty in weight and storage. It’s great, but how many cans are you opening already? Only recommend if you use a ton of cans or you have arthritis or the like.

Chef Craft Select

Price: $4.58

Stars: 3

Notes: Handle is thin metal bar, uncomfortable for more than one can. Light and flimsy. Small, non-rotating blade. Needs a bit but not too much exertion. Edges were not completely straight. Neat and easy storage. Honestly thought it would break on first touch, but performed way better than expected. How long will it last is a better question.

Overall Winner: Mebotem

When factoring in price, it edges out the OXO and the Kitchen Mama. Also, it comes in 10 colors, it should get more points for that.

Fun fact: Can openers were invented in the 1850s. Before that, hammers and chisels were used to open cans.

Tip: Rusty can opener? Scrub it with vinegar, rinse, then dry right away to restore it to its original condition. Never air dry a can opener; hand dry it to prevent rust.

Shoutout to my neighbors Ahuva Braid, Yocheved Kaniel, and Chevi Marks for emptying their old can stock on me!