Thursday, June 17, 2010

The 5 Best Traditional Manual Can Openers

Best Can Openers Review Part 2

Traditional can openers cut through the edge of the lid itself with a sharp cutter, using side gears to turn around the can. They need to be carefully washed after use, as they are in contact with the food. If you use a can opener to open animal food (such as cat food), we advise you to keep a separate can opener for that specific purpose, as there may be dangerous contaminants in animal food.

These models did not make the grade

The Amco Swing Away Comfort Grip Can Opener  is a remake of the most famous of all traditional can openers, with the addition of thicker grips, to make it easier to use, Users appreciate the cushy grips: "the soft, padded handles are comfortable in your hand." Unfortunately, this can opener's parts appear to rust quickly, and it has a tendency to chew cans rather than opening them: "I wish I owned a can opener that didn't rust", "has failed to completely cut the lid off of any can I've used it on". One would expect the cutting parts for the comfort grips model to be the same as for the regular model, but this does not appear to be the case. Reviews for this can opener are not good enough for us to recommend it.

The Chef'N EZ Squeeze Can Opener, a one-handed can opener, has few reviews on the web. It is dishwasher safe. One user bought three but has seen them all fail. Cook's Magazine does not recommend the product due to poor safety and performance: messy and awkward, hard to disengage.

The Cuisinart Can Opener with ABS Handle gets low reviews, due to its poor handles and it gears wearing out quickly. We find its aesthetics questionable as well.

The  Faberware Pro Can opener  has no web reviews. We tested it. We found that the grips were flexing, and that the handle required significant strength. The metal seemed thin, and the plastic was not comfortable. In the end, we do not feel that it compares well with the best in class.

The Harold Import 889 Can Opener is also without web reviews, and was tested by We find it to be the worst can opener we have ever tried, difficult to use, rarely able to cleanly open a can, with handles that flex easily, and gears that rust quickly. It would be difficult to come up with a worse model. The Chef Craft can opener appears to be the same model exactly. 

The  Kitchen Aid Can Opener is a stylish and good looking tool, with lots of reviews, half of which are unfortunately very poor: "it was awful...difficult to use, shredded the paper at the top of the can's label, and was very difficult to get started", "reminds me of a car turning its wheels will all smoke and noise but no results","if you DO get it to cut, it requires tremendous hand strength and multiple stops and starts."

The Oneida Stainless Steel can opener  a good looking tool, succeeds in getting a record 100% poor reviews, rusting, bending, and in general lacking structural strength.

The Oxo Good Grips Can Opener is the lower end of the Oxo family of can openers. It suffers from poor handles and does not compare well with the better Oxo model with steel handles.

The  OXO Good Grips Locking Can Opener offers only plastic to the sight - and so much plastic. It has many reviews,  but a poor ratio of good to bad reviews. Users like its comfortable handles, but complain about its poor handling,  lack of reliability, and breaking locks: "the lock on mine broke after just a couple months of use", "it's difficult to get it to lock on properly and gets dislodged during cutting easily also", "some of the teeth on the lower wheel ... were worn." While it is recommended by Cook's Magazine, its poor reliability record and mediocre user reviews make it impossible for us to rate it high.

The Pedrini Black and Satin Classic Can Opener gets significantly more bad reviews than good ones. Users report very poor quality control, with numerous experiences of DOA tools:"More like a Can't Opener", "the first time I used it, today, it broke", "Black & Crappy", "Today I used it and the handle you turn just broke off", "Cheap product! Broke on first use." Some of the reviews are actually quite entertaining... The tool, however, should definitely be avoided.

The  Pedrini Soft Grips Can Opener has no reviews on the web. We tested it along with other Pedrini tools. These grips have nothing soft about them. In fact, we found them thin and uncomfortable, as they dig into your palm and fingers. The handling of the tool is awkward. We were not able to reliably start opening a can.

The Best Traditional Hand Can Openers

#5 Amco Swing-Away. The Amco Swing Away Portable Can Opener , also available in red, and originally made in St Louis, is a great old fashioned classic, with an excellent set of reviews: "I paid $6 for mine at least 15 years ago. It works like a charm", "I've owned and used this can opener for nearly thirty years." Late models, however, are now made in China, and many reviewers complain of that: "I'd be more satisfied and would have been willing to pay more for the genuine made in USA model." Some note that the quality of the previous, US made Swing-Away was better: "I then bought this one for myself, it is made in China, and the rivet was loose", "the action between the gears on the China model being a bit looser/less precise than the old one." Many of the excellent reviews for this model apply to the old US made version - it is not clear if the latest version will prove as good in the long term. Because of this uncertainty, we are ranking the traditional Swing-Away #5 but do not endorse it at this time.

#4 Nogent Super Kim. The Nogent Super Kim can opener, despite its outrageous price (due to its importer), is a truly interesting device, very compact yet powerful and effective. It carries very few reviews on the web, but we tested it at and came out impressed. It is the most compact of all can openers tested, except for camping models. It carries high leverage due to its long butterfly handles and makes it easy to start opening cans. Its gears have a special spring which maintains the opener in tight contact with the can once it is started. Because of its compactness and geometry, it is easy to clean. Its stainless metal is sturdy and does not rust easily despite our attempts. We talked to several owners of Super Kims who reported upwards of 10 years of continuous use without damage or rust. Its unreasonably high price ($45) takes away quite a few points. 

#3 Amco Swing Away Easy Crank. The Amco Swing Away Easy Crank is a portable version of the old fashioned wall mounted Swing-Away crank opener from the 30s. Its gets raving reviews from its owners, who love the ease of use and the leverage of this can opener, in particular for users with weak hands:  "It is a pleasure to use", "does NOT skip, easy on your hands", "I have Arthritis, this DON'T (sic) hurt your fingers or thumb", "This is so much easier to use.." Because of the long handle and crank, it is necessary, when opening small cans, to set them on the edge of the work surface so that the handle does not strike the counter. Our only concern is that new offshore manufacturing by Swing-Away may significantly impact the quality of this item.

#2 WMF Profi Stainless Steel. The  WMF Profi Stainless Steel Can Opener is a clean, traditional, well-built design with quality materials. It is dishwasher safe, an unusual quality which is greatly appreciated by its users: "It cleans immaculately in the dishwasher without rusting or spotting", "I have had them for a few months now and have noticed NO rusting", "It cleans up easy." The design is elegant and functional: "this thing cuts soooo smoooooothly. NICE! Sleek, comfortable to hold", "Sharp blade that opens with ease", "the grips are solid and very substantial, definitely quality here", "this thing opens cans like a hot knife through butter", "Great stainless steel quality and heavy in feel." All parts are stainless withe the exception of a good quality plastic handle. This can opener gets excellent web reviews from its owners, with nary a negative review out of the lot. While it is easy to use, we feel that it is slightly harder to turn than some others, and should not be recommended to users with arthritis or very weak grip.

#1 Oxo Steel Can Opener. The Oxo Steel Can Opener  is the best of all, a great modern classic, with comfortable thick grips that can be used by most users with weak hands. Its gets truly outstanding reviews (an amazing 165 to 9 positive/negative ratio) from its owners, who love the sturdiness, the comfort and the ease of use: "fast, easy to use, and comfortable", "I'm a totally disabled Veteran. My wife is disabled also with a severe upper back and neck problem that affects her hands. She doesn't have much strength in her hands. This can opener is so easy for both of us to use!", "I've never used a unit like this that was so effective, fast and easy", "easy to use and easy on the hands", "the handle turns very softly while opening the can (almost no effort is required)." Please note that, despite what the Amazon listing says, it is not recommended for use in the dishwasher. Our two regrets on this excellent model (which has been in use with since 2002): it is not dishwasher safe, and its looks are not as clean as we would like them to be.

Next we review smooth edge can openers... So come back soon!

 << Previous Page                Next: Best Smooth Edge Can Openers                   Next Page >>

No comments:

Post a Comment