Manual Can Openers Review Part 3
Smooth edge can openers open a can from the side, by pressing against the top seam and separating the lid from the can, without having to cut it: there is no sharp edge left on the lid after opening. Because they do not contact the food inside the can, they are more sanitary. Theoretically, since there is no cutting involved, these can openers should last longer - but we found in practice that some of these models actually break down quickly. This may be due to the fact that, for some reason, many of the designs in this class of devices make very heavy use of plastics. It is however possible to find some outstanding models. Below we compare the models we found available.
These models did not make the grade
Brabantia Side Can Opener is a can opener with little distribution and very few reviews on the web. We were not able to obtain it for our own hands-on test. We will update this review with more information on the Brabantia if more user reviews appear.
CIA Masters Collection Side Can Opener is a good looking can opener, also with few reviews on the web. When we tried it, we had a really hard time starting a can. Some of our testers were not able to reliably operate it to opening, even after starting the can. This product is not recommended by Cook's magazine, which mentions that the tool is hard to attach to the can, and that the handle is hard to turn.
ChefMate SafeCut Can Opener is an ugly tool with a lot of plastic, which gets kudos from some of its users for its ease of use, even for large quantities of cans. However, it gets panned by many for its lack of durability, and is referenced several times in reviews of other can openers as a tool that breaks down quickly. Even 5-star reviews mention the need to replace it frequently.
Good Cook Orbi can opener has an original appearance, but those users that have owned it for a while report that it breaks down quickly, in a very repeatable manner. The overall positive to negative ratio of user reviews is mediocre.
Kuhn Rikon Ergo Safety Lid Lifter (also available in other colors such as green), is another remarkably ugly tool that provides a sea of plastic under the guise of ergonomics. This tool will keep hold of the lid so that it can be disposed of. It is criticized by some users of the better Kuhn Rikon can openers as being less usable and ergonomic: "the worst part about the Ergo is its knob, which simply is too large and thick to turn easily." Other Kuhn Rikon models offer more to the user.
Kuhn Rikon Safety Lid Lifter Can Opener is another plastic monster with large numbers of reviews. While most of these reviews are positive, several complain about early breakdown, and some mention metal shards left over after opening. There are better Kuhn Rikon alternatives.
The Kuhn Rikon Auto Safety Lifter (also available in other colors such as red and blue) is more compact than the other Kuhn Rikon openers mentioned above, and gets excellent reviews. Some users complain that, in order to open a can, it needs to be positioned "just so." It is made with much more plastic than the Deluxe model - we don't see any good reason to use this one when the Deluxe model is available.
Kuhn Rikon Slim Lid Lifter, all plastic outside and stainless inside, gets pretty good reviews although not quite as good as the better Deluxe Safety model by Kuhn Rikon. Some users complain that it is more awkward to use or hard to turn than others. It does not appear to be dishwasher safe according to Kuhn Rikon customer support, despite some advertising to the contrary. Based on the Kuhn Rikon literature, it is a lower priced version of the regular Safety Lifter. This model is recommended by Cook's magazine - but we feel there is no reason to go for this product when the better Deluxe Safety model is available.
MIU Can Do Safety can Opener, another one-handled plastic opener, has many reviews but poor ratings, and many users complain that it simply breaks down quickly. It is also downgraded by Cook's Magazine because it rusted in the dishwasher despite being advertised as dishwasher safe.
Oxo Good Grips Smooth Edge Can Opener is another large plastic monster, which , unusually for Oxo tools, does not do a very good job at its task. It counts many reviews on the web, many of which are complimentary, but most of which focus on the advantages of smooth edge can openers in general. When looking at reviews from more experienced or specific users, we finds out that the gears strip easily, that the tool has fragile teeth, and that it sometimes does not work well: "after just a year, its performance has become hit or miss, sometimes not opening the can at all", "the gears began to strip", "It requires too much force to work properly and frequently it does not work at all", "The second one is now only three months old and is failing", "Most of the time I have to go around twice to get the can opened."
Pampered Chef Smooth Edge can Opener, a basic smooth edge can opener, has a small number of reviews on the web, not all of them good. We tested it. We found that its grips are too thin and inflict hard pressure on a small part of the palm, and that it feels like a cheap tool when in hand, probably due to the flexing of the metal parts.
Progressive International Safety I-Can Opener is a clunky tool with a large crank handle and middling reviews. Some users liked the leverage of the handle: "There is no pain and the ratchet style makes opening a breeze", "It is amazingly easy to use and does not hurt using it." Others, however, reported quick gear failure and handling difficulties: "It's hard to get it positioned on the can, and sometimes can take several tries", "Within 3 weeks of receipt the crank mechanism failed." While there were not enough reviews as a whole to establish statistical validity for the problems raised by these reviewers, we feel that, despite a recommendation by Cooks Magazine, we cannot endorse this product at this time.
Rosle Can Opener is, like all Rosle products, a deluxe can opener, at least by its price ($35). It has a single grip and a plastic turning handle, and should not be confused with another fully stainless Rosle can opener model, even more expensive but of much better quality. It carries a large number of reviews, many of which are not positive. Reviewers like its looks and, in general, its operation, but complain about its remarkable lack of reliability given its high price: "high price, low quality", "gears stripped after 6 months", "doesn't last long - Buyers beware", "the Rosle can opener stopped opening cans after about seven months", "very quickly stopped opening cans". Its review record makes it clear that it cannot be trusted to work reliably in the long term.
Zyliss Safe Edge Can Opener is another can opener hiding under a sea of plastic. Some owners are enthusiastic about the Zyliss: "goes very smoothly and quickly", "nice weight, good grips and easy to turn." One literary user went so far as writing a good haiku on it: "Fits right into hand/ Never slips off / outer rim / Nothing it can't do / / You caress can edge / Sharp hidden blade, shy cunning / Oops my top is off!" Other users, however, even in good positive reviews, report poor handling and metal filings: "a great disappointment for both ease of use and safety", "it leaves small filings of metal on the lid that fall into the pan", "This one leaves the lid on the can", " It can be somewhat fiddly", "awkward to get used to the way it clamps onto the can, and the lid removal clamp is really a challenge to get it to work." While it is recommended by Cook's Magazine, we do not feel that its user reviews warrant rating this product among the best.
The best smooth edge can openers
Rosle All Stainless Can Opener is a beautiful, all stainless tool, with two large stainless grips of large diameter and a softly contoured stainless handle. It is the most expensive of all the can openers we tried ($45), but it is handsome and well designed. The grips are very comfortable and the cans are easy to grab. The handle does not require a lot of pressure to turn it, but it is small enough that we do not feel it should be recommended to users with arthritis. The tool has gathered few reviews on the web, probably due to its price, but thy are all excellent: "Never has it been easier to open a can,there are no sharp edges", "it takes very little effort to open", "smartly engineered and of great quality", "beautiful, works well and anything from Rosle will last a lifetime." We are not rating this tool higher due to its small number of ratings.
WMF Profi Safety Can Opener has many things in common with the Rosle All Stainless model: it is handsome, all stainless, efficient and expensive ($40). We found the grips, also made of large diameter stainless tubes, to be very comfortable, and liked the handle more than the Rosle one: being of larger size, it was perceived as much more comfortable by our testers with weak hands. This can opener is dishwasher safe. The reviews for this model are few but excellent: "good balance", "finger safe","easy to use", "lid and can are smooth with no sharp edges." We are not rating this tool higher due to its small number of ratings.
Fissler Magic Smooth Edge Can Opener, available for $26, is a single grip tool with a plastic handle and head over stainless frame, and is dishwasher safe. Its curved stainless steel single handle is punctured by multiple bumps to make it more grippy, which also makes it a touch harder to clean. We found it easy to handle and position over the can, and had no difficulty starting a can or finishing to open one. The Fissler has a good number of reviews, all positive without exception: "it attaches to cans easily, and smoothly removes the lid from the can", "it works so easily and effectively", "it is compact and easily stores in my kitchen gadget drawer", "simple, clean, easy design, well manufactured and durable", "the most compact, best smooth edge can opener", "easy to use and works beautifully." This excellent can opener requires a but more grip strength than others (although not much), and should not be recommended to people with severe arthritis.
Kuhn Rikon Auto Deluxe Safety Lifter (it can also be found in other colors such as black), available for a very reasonable $18, is far and away the darling of the smooth edge can opener crowd. It is a single grip model, with a plastic head and handle built on top of a stainless steel frame. The handle is made of a thick stainless steel tube to make it ergonomic, and it is dishwasher safe. We found it very easy to grab cans with. Starting to open a can could be reliably done. Going around the can was smooth and painless. Both the grip and the handle were comfortable. This model has an outstanding ratio of positive to negative reviews, and users rave about this smooth edge can opener: "Kuhn Rock-on", "Rolex of can openers", "lid comes off smoothly and cleanly", "it did its job so efficiently that it took me awhile to realize the can was actually open", "takes up less drawer-space", "compact and stylish", "opens cans with a minimum of effort", "sturdy, easy and comfortable to grasp when using", "minimal effort to turn mechanism, easy on fingers", "the most well made piece of gear in my kitchen", "my hand cramps up when trying to turn small levers, so the big wide handle on this is perfect", "easy to turn." Many users with poor grip hands found it easy to use, although a couple of users reported otherwise. This model carries many user reviews on the web, and the outstanding ratings it gets from a diversity of users makes it our #1 recommendation for smooth edge can openers.
Next we review compact portable can openers... So come back soon!
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