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Shopping Guide for Best Electric Can Openers

An electric can opener can be more than a simple plug-and-play appliance. Some electric can openers can also sharpen knives, open bottles, and cut bags.

But that’s not all. Let’s say you have a recipe that calls for eight ounces of tomato sauce. All you have are 16-ounce cans. Some can openers will not only can the can open, but they will also create a cut that turns the top of the can into a safe-to-use lid, allowing you to store the rest of your tomato sauce for later.

An electric can opener is also a safety device. Have you ever removed a jagged lid from a can after grinding away at it with a hand-held can opener? Jagged lids aren’t particularly safe to handle. An electric can opener minimizes your exposure to jagged lids.

Here at BestReviews, we’ve done our homework on can openers. We’ve studied the market and identified five of the top electric can openers available today. To ensure that we stay impartial and balanced in our opinions, we never accept freebies or other types of incentives from manufacturers.

If you’re ready to buy an electric can opener, we invite you to examine the above matrix where our top picks are examined in detail. To learn more about electric can openers, we invite you to read on.

Electric can openers used to be noisy, boxy appliances that could never be described as stylish or sleek. That is certainly not the case anymore. Many modern electric can openers have an aesthetic appeal all their own.

Questions to Ask Before You Buy an Electric Can Opener

Selecting the right can opener for your household might seem like a simple task, but there are a few questions to ask yourself before you buy one.

Considerations

Where would you like to place your can opener?

There are two choices with electric can openers: you could mount the appliance under a countertop, or you could leave out as a freestanding unit on your countertop. Under-the-counter can openers save space, but unless you have the type that folds out from underneath its perch, you may be restricted to cans of a certain height due to clearance issues. Freestanding can openers offer the user the freedom to place them anywhere they want, but they can get lost among other appliances or wind up in the back of a kitchen pantry or closet.

Considerations

Do you want a can opener that can perform other tasks as well?

As mentioned above, some electric can openers can also sharpen knives, open bags, and remove caps from bottles.

Product in Depth

Product in Depth

Hamilton Beach Smooth Touch Can Opener

The Hamilton Beach Smooth Touch opens most standard-sized cans with ease, including the "pop up" variety often used for canned soups. Some owners have had difficulty opening larger commercial cans (primarily the #10 type sold in bulk food aisles), but most home cooks tend to use cans in the 28- to 32-ounce range. The appliance's cutting blades follow the outer contours of the can and essentially peel the lid off. Unlike a traditional can opener, the Hamilton Beach Smooth Touch does not cut through the actual lid itself. While we feel that this appliance's side-cutting action is a safer option overall, there are some owners who lament their inability to use the opened lids to strain liquids from tuna or other canned meat products.

Considerations

What type of lid-removal do you prefer?

Many electric can openers use a magnet which grabs the lid of the can being cut and removes it once the job is done. That lid can be jagged in nature, which makes it another piece for the recycling bin. A far more useful option is a smooth-edge can opener that cuts the lid in such a way that the lid can snap back onto the can, allowing it to seal up leftovers and unused contents.

Considerations

Do you want a plug-in can opener or a battery-operated can opener?

Electric can openers have a motor that allows the appliance to rotate and cut the can. But not all can openers need to be plugged into a wall. A wide range of portable can openers run on battery power. If you choose a battery-operated can opener, make sure you have plenty of spare batteries on hand.

Some electric can openers are limited to a few standard can sizes; others are able to handle exceptionally large or small cans.

Considerations

Do you want a can opener that can open extra-tall cans?

If you tend to buy lots of tall cans, check the clearance measurement from the magnet that holds the lid in place to the base. If that number is 10 inches, for example, you may have trouble opening cans taller than 10 inches. Yes, you could try positioning the can opener on the edge of the counter, allowing the can to hang over the side. But the end result could be messy and counterproductive.

FOR YOUR SAFETY

Can opener blades can harbor a number of foodborne germs, so owners should spend a few minutes with a brush and sanitizing solution to address this. Some electric can openers are designed to break down easily for proper cleaning and repair, but others are a bit more challenging when it comes to routine care.

Benefits of Electric Can Openers

Obviously, the top benefit of an electric can opener is the ability for a cook to safely peel open the aluminum top of a can. This handy appliance will help keep your digits intact! Furthermore, it’s a handy tool when you need to open a can in a hurry. Perhaps your dog missed his meal time and is ravenously hungry or you need to add a canned ingredient to your dinner at the last minute.

Topping the list, though, is the fact that an electric can opener is a lifesaver for those with arthritic hands – or anyone with an injury to their fingers or hands, for that matter. The American Arthritis Association suggests anyone with such a debilitating condition trade in their manual opener for an electric one.

If you have young people in your home that like to cook, an investment in an electric can opener is a great safety precaution. The same goes for visually impaired folks who run the risk of cutting their hands on a manually opened can’s jagged edges.

DID YOU KNOW?

Battery-operated can openers are ideal for camping and for use in motorhomes.

Tips for Keeping Your Electric Can Opener Clean

The best way to maintain your electric can opener is to keep it clean. Here are some tips.

  • Never immerse your electric can opener in water, and be sure to unplug it before cleaning it.

  • Between uses, use warm soapy water and a sponge to clean your unplugged can opener.

  • Occasionally take off your can opener’s cutting wheel and lid holder. Clean these parts by soaking them in hot, sudsy water.

  • Use a toothbrush and warm soapy water to remove food that gets caked onto your can opener.

Product in Depth

Product in Depth

BLACK + DECKER SpaceMaker Under The Cabinet Multi-Purpose Can Opener

The BLACK + DECKER SpaceMaker mounts firmly under cabinets for easy access and everyday performance, freeing up counter space for other kitchen tasks. The power cutter removes can lids with hands-free operation. It has a built-in knife sharpener, bag opener, and bottle opener. Notably, this can opener will not mount successfully beneath all cabinet types. If you’re considering it for your home, make sure your cabinet has a completely flat underside before you make the investment.

Can Opener Prices

Price

Under $20

For this budget price, there are multiple can openers you can choose from, including battery-operated models that are placed on top of the can for easy opening. Beyond the basic, magnet-based can opener, you can also find some models that are extra-tall and able to open large cans as well as small ones.

In addition, many models in this price range have knife-sharpening capabilities. That said, a can opener is not the recommended sharpening method for high-end chef’s knives and paring knives.

EXPERT TIP

Food can be heated in its can, but the lid must be removed. Food cans should never be placed in a microwave for heating. Instead, the can should be placed in simmering hot water with the top covered in aluminum foil.


Staff  | BestReviews
Price

Under $50

As we go up in price, can opener features stay about the same, but you will find some under-the-counter models. Under-the-counter can openers sit in a nifty drawer beneath your cabinet. The drawer folds open when it’s time to use the can opener. The cord also tucks away in the cabinet.

Two issues to consider with under-the-counter can openers are convenience and clearance. It’s nice to have a can opener that hides out of the way, but these fixed devices aren’t portable, so wherever you install the can opener is where it stays. Furthermore, they usually have little space from top to bottom and can only accommodate smaller cans.

A University of Illinois study in 1997 found that canning may help increase the nutritional value of certain foods.

Electric Can Opener FAQ

Q. When was the first electric can opener developed?
A.
The first patent granted for an electric can opener was in 1932 to Preston West.

Q. What are the downsides of sharpening knives with an electric can opener.
A.
Knife sharpeners on even the best can openers tend to be aggressive in their approach and remove too much metal from the blade, thereby shortening the lifespan of the knife.

Q. In addition to knife sharpening, what else can an electric can opener do?
A. A number of newer can opener models can also act as a plastic bag cutter and bottle opener.

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    Allen
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    Eliza
    Digital Content Strategist
  • Melissa
    Melissa
    Senior Editor
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