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Mar 11, 2012 01:20 PM

Manual Can Opener?

What is a GREAT manual can opener?

Our Zyliss Lock-n-Lift just broke; I didn't love it anyhow. There have been many others before it that I also haven't what should I get next?

Surprisingly, there are many features to consider in this simple kitchen tool:

Does the handle turn smoothly?
Does the blade cut the lid itself or does it separate the lid from the can at the seam?
Does the can opener touch the food inside?
Can the can opener be cleaned in the dishwasher or does it have to be hand-washed?
Does the can opener lift the cut lid out of the can?
How durable is the cutting blade?
Does the blade shred the metal lid and leave little bits of metal in the food?
Is the cut lid sharp? Does the can opener leave sharp edges on the cut can?

Tell me what is your favorite manual can opener -- and why, please.

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  1. I have a Kuhn Rikon can opener that I LOVE and I've recommended it countless times. I bought it at Sur La Table for like $20-$30 bucks and it was worth every penny. Flawless hand crank mechanism. It cuts the top of the can off in one go around. It doesnt touch the food. It has a side pinching mechanism that you can use to lift off the lid. No shredding. It's easy, safe, smooth and consistent.

    6 Replies
    1. re: lynnlato

      Hi, lynnlato!

      Your recommendation is very helpful...thank you!

      Hmmm -- I have never used a single handle can opener. How does it grip? Is the hold stable while you crank the opener?

      1. re: liu

        Very stable. I think most our single handle nowadays. The handle has nothing to do with the gripping mechanism. Trust me, this is an amazing can opener. The ratings/reviews on are mostly 5 stars. Here's a link:

        1. re: lynnlato

          You are making it so easy for me with all your links; thanks for your extra effort!

          Yes, in my previous searches I noticed all the single-handle can openers. Old habits die hard, so initially this appeared awkward to me. However, I will try to bring myself into the 21st century and place this Kuhn-Rikon can opener on my list for serious consideration.

          1. re: liu

            I have the same opener (Kuhn Rikon) and although I appreciate the fact that it cuts the lid off cleanly leaving no jagged edges, I find it very hard to use when opening multiple cans. It's just too much work. If I'm doing something involving multiple cans of beans, diced tomatoes, etc., I usually go with my Oxo two handle opener.

            1. re: Isolda

              Thanks for posting, Isolda.

              Mostly, I use a can opener for one can, but I like tools that don't that have lots more to give than what I generally demand of them. So, your comment is extremely helpful.

      2. re: lynnlato

        I have the same one and really like it a lot.

      3. I don't know at this time but Swing-A-Way used to make great can openers prior to sending their manufacturing to China. The quality is no longer the same. The possibility exists that you may be able to find one in a store, the packaging will tell you if it is made in the USA or made in China.

        1 Reply
        1. re: SanityRemoved

          SanityRemoved, thanks for replying so quickly!

          We have a Swing-A-Way can opener that was made in the USA. It is old, but not so old because it has vinyl covered handles. I think the original ones were bare metal? However, the blade feels dull. I'm ready for a new one.

          It did serve us for many years, however. Long ago, we never had so many can opener options as we do today!

        2. I haven't got one but you should check out the OXO good grips can openers that are out there. All the OXO products seem to have been very thoughtfully designed. I have an OXO corkscrew and I will never use another.

          3 Replies
          1. re: kagemusha49

            kagemusha49, there seem to be two opinions about the OXO products: love 'em or dislike them strongly.

            Personally, I find them a bit bulky for my hands. I prefer something with more precision. That said, however, I have not tried their can opener. I will do so before ruling them out.

            Thanks for your input.

            1. re: kagemusha49

              I have one of these, and I think it is fine. The newer Swng A Ways are not nearly as good as the older ones. But the blades do get dull with use. My OXO works well with no fuss.

              1. re: kagemusha49

                I have to second the OXO can opener. I've had mine for years and really love it. It's very effective.

              2. I've had my Swing-a-Way forever, and it's still showing no signs of giving up the ghost.

                it doesn't hurt my hands, it doesn't balk on very large or very small cans, and it works every single time.

                3 Replies
                1. re: sunshine842

                  Thank you, sunshine842, for offering your suggestion. As I mentioned upstream, we have a Swing-A-Way that is old and not cutting like it used to. If I could replace it with a Swing-A-Way as good as it originally was, I would do that. But most of the reviews that I have read seem to indicate that today's Swing-A-Way is not the same product.

                  1. re: liu

                    I have the cabinet mount Swing-A-Way. It's probably 15-20 yrs old, the second one I've had since buying my house 35 yrs ago. It's dulled over the years but as long as it still cuts, and doesn't leave metal slivers in the food, what more do I need? I much prefer the mounted opener to hand-held. Less force needed, and no fumbling around to find it in a tool drawer/caddy.

                    1. re: greygarious

                      ...back then...things were so simple when we had but one choice!

                      I don't think I appreciated my Swing-A-Way until now, and now I can't seem to replace it with anything that works as well.

                  1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                    Chemicalkinetics, I have read a lot of your other posts and appreciate that you have responded here.

                    I am not a huge OXO fan as I find their products a little "gross" and bulky for my hands. Still, I will try one of their can openers in a store before I purchase anything online.

                    1. re: liu

                      On the OXO bulkiness. I am 63 next month and had arm surgery last year. I could barely open wine with my rabbit corkscrew and finally it fell apart. The OXO performs spectacularly. I suspect they are designed with two markets in mind - 1) old farts like me who are starting to have ageing problems and 2) young farts who are clumsy and inexperienced

                      1. re: kagemusha49

                        Hi, kagemusha49...I'm laughing at your post!

                        Since you are among several others who really like the OXO can opener, I will try it at Bed-Bath (they seem to have an extensive collection of OXO products) before I order anything online.


                        1. re: kagemusha49

                          OXO do 3 types of can openers. Is the one in this link the one you are talking about?


                          1. re: iliria

                            Thanks, iliria! I am glad you posed this question. It will save me the confusion when I go looking and find several OXO openers on the shelves! There are SO many choices these days...times were simpler when a can opener referred to one specific item!
                            But I love all the gadget options! Surely, having so many choices makes it more fun when something breaks!

                            1. re: iliria

                              I'm not Iliria and several years have passed but I'm chiming in. In a word, "no." There are at least three types of OXO can openers, two of which have mentioned so far in the thread. Neither of those models works for me. The smooth edged one is particularly problematic. I feel like I'm taking a cognitive function test every time I go to fit the jar into the grinding gears.

                              Here's the OXO model I like. It features a little magnet that grabs the top of the can so it doesn't sink into the contents.


                            2. re: kagemusha49

                              kagemusha, I'm 20 years behind you, but have very small wrists and had four hand surgeries before I was 30, so I think you missed one of OXO's markets--people who fell apart prematurely. ;) Love, love, love my OXO Good Grips can opener--it's a breeze to use. I clean it manually. And while we're talking about OXO, I completely dig my OXO peeler. It used to feel like such a chore peeling carrots or potatoes when I was a kiddo--not so with my OXO peeler--and it's fast-fast, too!

                              1. re: kattyeyes

                                WOW -- I can't believe the love for the OXO can opener!
                                I am definitely going to go to a store to check it out before I decide.

                                I know, I know -- this is such an insignificant purchase, but it's these little things in the kitchen that make the task either a breeze or a drag. I appreciate "good" tools!

                                1. re: liu

                                  NP...and just in case you haven't read enough already, here is an old thread with the same inquiry! But it seems you have plenty to go on so far. ;) Happy shopping!

                                  I appreciate good tools, too, BTW, so I understand completely. The right tools make a HUGE difference.


                                  1. re: kattyeyes

                                    Actually, so as not to get stones cast at me, I did check the previous can opener post. It seemed old enough to readdress this tool search. Still, thanks for the link and thanks for your input.

                                  2. re: liu

                                    I hate my OXO can opener. I find it too bulky for my hands. It's not so horrible that I would replace it, but I recently misplaced it and now am in the market for a new can opener and would not run out to buy another OXO.

                                    1. re: omotosando

                                      Finally, omotosando, I hear from someone who feels about OXO the way I feel. I always feel that there is too much plastic and that their hand products are too round...pregnant!
                                      But, there are a lot of Hounds here that really like their can openers, so I have promised to give them a chance.

                                      So, omotosando, which can opener are you going to buy? Would you buy one online without trying it out or will you store shop it before the purchase?

                                      1. re: liu

                                        There don't seem to be a lot of options for a well-made can opener.

                                        I'll probably go with the WMF Profi Plus Safety Can Opener, which is more money than the other WMF can opener mentioned on this thread, but doesn't have that awful plastic.

                                        Apparently, it used to be made in Germany, but now is made in China. I would prefer to buy something not manufactured in China, but that seems impossible with can openers.