Cans: our cupboards are filled with them, and while we’re not quite sure how many hours of our lives we spend prising off their lids, we’re pretty sure the total would come as a rather unpleasant shock. This is precisely why good can openers are worth their weight in gold.
Thankfully, they’ve undergone somewhat of a transformation, evolving from the basic metal contraptions of yesteryear into sleek, cushioned metal cutters which will whip off the toughest of can lids without leaving sharp edges exposed.
Features we recommend looking out for include cushioned silicone grips – not just on the handle but on the lever – and blades that minimise the risk of nasty nicks by blunting edges at the same time as cutting them.
People with grip issues have never had such a wide range of models at their disposal, whether it’s can openers that latch on securely and don’t need to be held in place, or battery-powered models which simply need to be attached before working their way around the can’s rim. In summary? Prising lids off cans has never been easier.
How we tested
We opened a lot of cans, basically. Being self-professed dab hands in the kitchen, and subscribers to the belief that nothing beats a good can opener, we considered multiple aspects, including how comfortable the opener felt in the hand, how easy it was to operate and how efficiently it sliced through the lid.
The best can openers for 2022 are:
- Best overall – Zwilling pro 18/10 stainless steel can opener: £24, Selfridges.com
- Best for smooth edges – Oxo softworks smooth edge can opener: £12, Dunelm.com
- Best for users with mobility issues – Morphy Richards multifunction can opener: £27.89, Amazon.co.uk
- Best for comfort – Brabantia can and bottle opener: £10.50, Brabantia.com
- Best for simplicity – Culinare advanced one-touch can opener: £20, Dunelm.com
- Best for grip – Kuhn Rikon auto safety lid lifter: £17.99, Lakeland.co.uk
- Best for elegant styling – Stellar can opener: £11.25, Horwood.co.uk
- Best for cushioning – Masterclass soft grip stainless steel can opener: £8.44, Amazon.co.uk
- Best for colourful kitchens – Colourworks brights purple can opener: £7.67, Amazon.co.uk
Zwilling pro 18/10 stainless steel can opener
The supercar of can openers, this lean, mean, steel-munching machine sliced through our tin lids (including a certain type of tin which our regular can openers struggle with). It was incredibly comfortable to use, too, thanks to the ergonomically shaped handle and the brushed metal finish on the handle – the latter felt incredibly tactile, despite not having the cushioning provided by rubber. We also loved the option to hang it from two parts – the hook on the end of the handle, or the small safety guard covering the blade (although that’s obviously not its primary purpose).
Oxo softworks smooth edge can opener
Best: For smooth edges
We’ve lost count of the times we’ve almost sliced off a finger after coming into close contact with a razor-like edge of a can. There’s zero chance of that happening with this can opener, which doesn’t just slice through metal but smooths out the severed edges at the same time. How does it do it? It seems to essentially fold over the rim as it cuts, leaving a smoother edge rather than a finger-slicing rim, making it a godsend to anyone prone to clumsiness. Hurrah!
Morphy Richards multifunction can opener
Best: For users with mobility issues
This hi-tech can opener does it all, and, although it’s electric, it doesn’t require batteries – it’s mains-powered and has a cord which stashes neatly into the rear of the unit. The first surprise was the multitool tucked into the base – it features a bottle opener, ring pull tool, plastic slicer and cap opener. The best bit? The removable rubber ring around the top of the machine can be used to prise stubborn lids off glass jars.
The can opener itself is easy to use – simply place the can under the cutting tool, pull the lever and the opener will automatically rotate. It’s worth noting that although this is a brilliant option for anyone with limited mobility, its versatility also makes it a great addition to any household, and its compact design means it can be quickly stowed away when not in use.
Brabantia can and bottle opener
Best: For comfort
This might not look like anything special, but this one’s all about the detail, whether it’s the double hanging hooks, the built-in bottle opener with its extra-deep bite, or the generous areas of cushioning on both the arms and the dial. There’s something incredibly satisfying about turning the padded dial, which has a liquid-like movement, and although it’s not the lightest of can openers, it’s certainly not heavy, and its ergonomic design reduces the risk of wrist ache.
Culinare advanced one-touch can opener
Best: For simplicity
We weren’t sure what to think when we first clapped eyes on this battery-powered can opener – which looks weirdly similar to a computer mouse. The fact that it was incredibly tactile didn’t come as a surprise, but what we didn’t expect was the ease of use – simply place it on the edge of a can, press the button and hey presto, the blade will start to slice through the metal, moving itself along the rim. Changing the batteries – you’ll just need two AAs – is also a breeze.
Kuhn Rikon auto safety lid lifter
Best: For grip
We love Kuhn Rikon’s can openers, and this brilliant gadget is the perfect option for anyone who simply wants their opener to simply open cans, rather than opening bottles, cooking the dinner and walking the dog. We’re joking, but you get the point – sometimes, nothing beats a bit of simplicity. The one feature we confess a soft spot for is the built-in mini pliers, designed to remove the severed lid without risking injury. It’s an opener which is wonderfully easy to use and clips onto can rims incredibly easily – once you start cutting, there’s no chance of it coming off.
Stellar can opener
Best: For elegant styling
We never thought can openers could be things of beauty, until now. This rose gold can opener (it’s actually made from zinc alloy, with a copper composite) has a wonderfully smooth finish and two handles that open much wider than the ones on most can openers, making it wonderfully easy to quickly attach it to cans of all sizes. Rubber coating on the handles guarantees fantastic grip (even with wet hands), and we loved the added bonus of a lifetime guarantee.
We expect nothing less from cookware brand Stellar, which scooped our best buy award for its copper deluxe corkscrew.
Masterclass soft grip stainless steel can opener
Best: For cushioning
This practical can opener had some of the softest arms we’ve come across, although the same attention to comfort hasn’t been applied to the rotating handle, which has sharp edges and a rather clunky design that can feel awkward in the hand.
However, the arms make up for this, not just because of their soft rubber coating, but thumb grips which allowed us to get extra purchase when tackling particularly tough cans. We also loved the presence of not one but two bottle openers, and the extra-large hanging holes on the handles.
Colourworks brights purple can opener
Best: For colourful kitchens
We’ll admit it – things didn’t look promising when we first got to grips with this can opener, largely because of the presence of a small chunk of plastic securing the opener to the packaging that doesn’t seem to serve any other purpose (and was also impossible to remove from the opener once we’d prised off the cardboard).
Unwanted additions aside, we loved the super-soft handles, which are entirely covered in soft rubber, and the guard which surrounds the blade and provides extra protection. The ergonomic handle fits neatly into the hand, and we liked the two-tone colourway, too.
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