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Best can opener

Which can opener is best?

As long as they are stored in a cool, clean and dry location and the cans are not dented, rusted or swollen, most canned foods will last for years — at least two, maybe as long as five. This makes them a convenient food to keep on hand for both regular use and as backup stock. However, to access the food in that can, you need a quality can opener.

The best can opener will be easy to use and safe, creating no sharp edges on the can or the lid. The OXO Can Opener has an innovative design that cuts cans on the side instead of the top so there are no jagged edges, and the cans are easier to open.

What to know before you buy a can opener

Different types of can openers

It is possible to purchase an electric can opener, a claw-shaped can opener, a survival can opener or a battery-powered can opener. While each of these has its pros and cons, the focus of this article is on manual can openers. These models clamp to the can and use a twisting motion to slowly move a blade through the can until it can be easily opened.

Open a can from either the top or the side

Most individuals are probably familiar with holding a can opener vertically to puncture the lid of the can and working it around the can until the lid can be removed.

Alternatively, there are can openers that are designed to puncture the side of the can. These models are held horizontally. The benefit of using this type of manual can opener is that it removes the lid without creating a sharp or jagged edge. Additionally, some can openers can be held either vertically or horizontally, so it is up to the user to decide how to open the can.

Always inspect a can before opening

Cans are designed to keep food safe for extended periods of time. When a can is dropped or damaged in any way, however, that can compromise the can's integrity and allow bacteria into the food, making it unsafe to eat. Therefore, before opening any can, check to make sure there are no dents, creases, buckles or rust. In addition, make sure the can is not bulging, as swollen cans are a sign of spoiled product.

What to look for in quality can opener

Consistent, reliable performance

The best can opener will make a clean cut through the lid or the side of a can on the first try. There shouldn’t be any spots where the can opener didn’t penetrate the can, and the lid should be easy to remove every time.

Ergonomic grips

You want to purchase a can opener with large, cushioned grips that will be easy on your hands. In other words, a design with smooth edges that provides for an anti-slip handgrip is what you should look for in a quality can opener. 

Hands-free removal of the lid

The most dangerous part of opening a can is removing the lid, as that is when you are most likely to slice your finger. To keep your hands safe (and out of your food), look for a can opener that has a built-in magnet that snatches up the lid so you don’t have to use your fingers. Alternatively, some can openers come with build-in pliers, so you can grab the lid with the pliers to remove.

Works consistently on cans of all sizes

Many can openers work great on larger-sized cans but struggle or offer inconsistent performance on smaller cans. Browse the product reviews before purchasing to make sure the unit you are considering has no shortcomings in this area.


The length of the warranty tells the consumer how much faith the manufacturer has in its own product. For example, if one company offers a one-year warranty and another offers a lifetime warranty, the latter product is the one to purchase as long as the price is reasonable.

How much you can expect to spend on a can opener

For less than $10, you can find a budget model can opener that may not function well or last very long. It’s best to consider models in the $10-$25 price range, as these are both durable and affordable. Models over $25 may have some extra bells and whistles, but typically, they do not perform noticeably better.

Can opener FAQ

How often do I need to clean my can opener?

A. Unfortunately, can openers will rust. However, it’s not necessarily the rust that is the danger — it’s the bacteria that can quickly build upon the can opener that is the concern. Because of this, you should clean your can opener after every use. A dishwasher is not required (or typically recommended) for cleaning, but you simply need to hand wash with hot soapy water and dry thoroughly. 

How long does a can opener last?

A. A can opener is a mechanical tool with a blade. Over time, the mechanical part of the tool can wear out and begin to fail, or the blade can become dull. Depending on the build quality of the can opener, this can happen in as little as a year or two. Conversely, some can openers are designed to last for many years. Once your can opener starts to slip while twisting, the blade doesn’t easily penetrate the can or the performance of your can opener becomes inconsistent, it’s time to consider purchasing a new model.

What’s the best can opener to buy?

Top can opener

OXO Can Opener

What you need to know: An innovative can opener that cuts from the side, so there are no sharp edges on the can or the lid.

What you’ll love: This large ergonomic can opener has soft-grip handles, making it easy on your hands. Considering that it also features built-in pliers, touching the lid with your fingers is unnecessary.

What you should consider: Since this can opener doesn’t operate like a traditional model, most users will need to reference the manufacturer’s instructions to learn how it operates.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon, Bed Bath & Beyond, Home Depot, Kohl’s and Macy’s

Top can opener for the money

Zyliss Lock N' Lift Can Opener

What you need to know: This is an affordable can opener that includes a number of user-friendly features.

What you’ll love: The can opener locks into place when closed and twists easily to open cans. The built-in magnet and magnet release allow you to remove the can lids without touching them to keep your fingers safer from jagged edges.

What you should consider: While most appreciated the bells and whistles, some felt they made the can opener more complicated to operate.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon, Bed Bath & Beyond, Macy’s and Wayfair

Worth checking out

KitchenAid Gourmet Multifunction Can Opener

What you need to know: For individuals looking for a durable, well-built, no-frills can opener, this product will satisfy their needs.

What you’ll love: This rugged can opener is manufactured using stainless steel. It has large, ergonomic handles for easy operation and features a built-in bottle opener for added convenience. The model comes with a one-year hassle-free replacement and limited lifetime warranty.

What you should consider: The performance of this can opener is impressive, but there are occasional reports that it’s a bit heavier than expected.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon and Wayfair

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Allen Foster writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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