HOME > Chowhound > Cookware >


manual can opener,best one?

tried 2 electrics and they dont do a consistant job- especially on larger cans -- I need a opener that dosent require too much strength as I have arthritis - thanks

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. I don't have a recommendation, but will mention a "do not buy" to save you from having a bad experience. First - I'm hung up on the side openers - just refuse to deal with the top openers any more - I've cut myself too many times on the sharp lids.

    I bought the Tupperware side-opener recently, having looked at the Oxo and the euro brands, thinking that the oversized handle would be easier to grip and turn. I've found that it takes a lot of effort, and would not recommend it for people with arthritis or any other wrist/hand problems.

    We love the Krups hand-held electric side opener - so much so, that we've gone through two of them. But unfortunately, they don't last that long - the cutting edge just gets so dull that it won't penetrate the sealed edge, and just keeps going around and around. They don't sell any kind of replacement blade, so the entire unit is junk - even when the motor is running as strong as ever. I was looking for another one of these, but they look to be discontinued - probably for the reasons I gave.

    I had looked at the Zyliss opener - very similar to the Tupperware, but with a smaller handle. Even with the smaller handle, it might be geared to be easier to use. Kuhn Rikon is another brand I saw. You can see images of both of these at Amazon.com.

    1. Swing-A-Way has large vinyl-sheathed handles, a very large key and a smoothly operating mechanism -- certainly the easiest manual can opener I've used. That said, it still requires some effort, especially to pierce a can's lid.

      2 Replies
      1. re: carswell

        I have the Swingaway which cuts the top and it is hard to keep the cutting wheel clean. I also have the Kuhn Rikon side opener. I really like it, got mine at TJ Maxx, it stays clean and opens things with little effort. There are just some cans it cannot open which is why I keep the Swingaway around.

        1. re: carswell

          Consistently rated the best, I have two.

        2. I, too, strongly prefer the side-openers. I've been using the Good Cooks side opener which doesn't actually cut the can, but 'uncrimps' the seal, leaving smooth edges all around.

          1 Reply
          1. re: MobyRichard

            This sounds good, because to me, the side openers just trade one sharp edge for another. I can see the sharp edges on the can being just as much of a problem as the ones on the edges. That said, I just have a nice version of the standard style can opener. But I also only open cans once in a while, mostly for tomatoes and beans, so I don't use it that often. I just got it at Marshall's or TJ Maxx and picked one with nice grips.

          2. The key measurement is how long the turning handle is, since a longer handle gives more leverage. I have large, strong hands, but can't stand the pain from using the cheap, Ecko openers.

            I got an Oxo, which has a wide, lozenge-shaped plastic turner, but don't like that either, since it's not long enough, and my fingers slip off the tapered ends.

            Be sure to get one that has two turning pieces, geared together. This Swing-Away http://www.amazon.com/Swing-Away-Open... is the best I've found.

            1 Reply
            1. re: KRS

              That's so funny - it looks exactly like the canopener that my mother used for twenty-five years! The only reason she replaced it was that all the plating wore off and the gears got rusty (and after twenty-five years of opening cans the blade was blunt, blunt, blunt...)

            2. Can't go wrong with the good, old-fashioned, still made in America standby.


              2 Replies
              1. re: Sam Harmon

                If that's not a Swing-A-Way, it's a Swing-A-Way knockoff.

                1. re: carswell

                  It's a genuine, made in America Swing-A-Way for $10. I picked one up last week on Michigan Avenue and gladly tossed the crappy old supermarket opener that I've had since college.

                1. re: donbonus

                  I find Rosle just won't work on some cans--it's frustrating to go all around a can only to find you'll need to use a "cutting" opener anyway. Some cans are sealed somehow differently, I guess. But when the Rosle works, it works well.

                2. I like the manual KitchenAid. Its longer and rounder than normal handles provide more leverage and comfort.

                  1. I bought a Zyliss about a year ago to replace a venerable Swing-A-Way. They're very similar, but the details make the difference, actually a huge difference IMHO. Here's a comparison:

                    Feature: Zyliss vs. Swing-A-Way

                    Construction: Plastic vs. chromed stamped steel. About the same weight and rigidity. Zylis has a hanger hole in the handle.

                    Handle length: 147mm vs. 138mm. Not much difference, but Zy gives you a little more mechanical advantage when piercing the top.

                    Handle width: 30mm vs. 10mm. Zy is much broader, reducing spot pressure on your hand when piercing. And you're more likely to hold it at the very back of the handle so you actually use that extra length. The back of the SAW is only about 3mm wide.

                    Latching handle: latched vs. not latched. The Zy latches once you have pierced the top, meaning you don't have to continue squeezing with your left hand while you turn the crank. This was the reason I bought it in the first place. I think it's a key feature.

                    Geared wheels: Both are geared.

                    Sharpness of cutting wheel: sharper vs. not so sharp. Sharper makes the Zyliss easier to pierce the top and to turn the crank, but it may not last as long. For SAW, think of a dull knife edge, and how hard you have to push on it to cut.

                    Gap between wheels: near 0 vs. 0.5mm. This may seem insignificant, but the cutting blade is structured differently in the two openers, and I think the Zyliss is less prone to skipping on difficult cans.

                    Crank length: 70mm vs. 83mm. This should make the SAW easier to turn, for the same reason that the longer handles on the Zyliss make it easier to start. But the Zyliss crank is flatter and I think easier to grip, and you can't really take advantage of the longer SAW crank unless you have big hands.

                    Overall, my feeling is that it's much easier to start the cut, and easier to turn the crank on the Zyliss.

                    It might seem that I have too much time on my hands, or am a little obsessive. Or I own stock in Zyliss. Mostly I really like the Zyliss, and based on your OP, I retrieved it from the kitchen and looked at it more critically to see what it was that I especially liked. I'm not familiar with the other brands mentioned, so maybe they're even better. Good luck.

                    4 Replies
                    1. re: Leucadian

                      Thanks for the well researched info -Zyliss it is for me.

                      1. re: drobbia

                        Whatever you wind up with, let us know how you like it.

                        1. re: Leucadian

                          I bought the zyliss(14.99) and I am very happy with it - I purchased the "lock-n-lift" model(NEW?) - very well made and although I dont open many cans,those I did opened easily and the magnet makes disposing the top simpler - the locking mechinism is a great feature-I'd reccomend it.

                          1. re: drobbia

                            Glad to hear you like it. I still like mine, but maybe I'll have to check out the new magnet model.

                    2. I think the classic Swing-A-Way wall-mounted version would be better for those with some hand issues.

                      Now you do not have to fasten down this thing to the wall or cupboards as mine is mounted on a cutoff railroad tie. Although it should be done with some machanical know how. Its a matter of being creative in the creative kitchen.

                      Beyond that, you would be looking for some rather pricy ($100+) commercial models like from Edlund.

                      1. I give a nod to the Zyliss, I have one as well and love it.

                        1. I dunno, I like my OXO manual. Affordable, works well, and doesn't hgurt my hand to use.

                          1. Cuisipro - not sure if it's available outside of Canada but definately the best.

                            1. I bought the "new" Zyliss with a magnet to catch the top - so far so good - more later as I dont open many cans beyond Italian tomatoes,anchovies and some beans -- thanks