Can openers: almost every household has one, but they’re items we often pay little attention to.
That’s a shame, because the right one can slash food preparation time and serve a wide range of other purposes, whether it’s the ability to open sticky-lidded jars or prise caps off bottles.
When purchasing a can opener, there are multiple factors to consider. Electric ones can be great, but they’re often larger, so consider what else it does – some have multitools which slip into the base, for example, while others have attachments such as rubber strips that can be used to help unscrew lids from jars.
If mobility issues mean you struggle to operate certain can openers, look for ones with cushioned handles and oversized knobs that are easy to grip and turn.
Finally, if you’re a fan of a certain range of kitchenware, it’s worth checking to see if the product line includes a can opener – more homeware brands are creating entire ranges of products in complementary colour schemes, allowing you to bring a dash of coordination to your kitchen, if that’s your thing.
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Morphy Richards multifunction can opener
This hi-tech can opener does it all, and, although it’s electric, it doesn’t require batteries – it’s mains-powered and has a cord which stashes neatly into the rear of the unit. The first surprise was the multitool tucked into the base – it features a bottle opener, ring pull tool, plastic slicer and cap opener. The best bit? The removable rubber ring around the top of the machine can be used to prise stubborn lids off glass jars.
The can opener itself is easy to use – simply place the can under the cutting tool, pull the lever and the opener will automatically rotate. It’s worth noting that although this is a brilliant option for anyone with limited mobility, its versatility also makes it a great addition to any household, and its compact design means it can be quickly stowed away when not in use.
Buy now £25.00, Amazon
Kuhn Rikon five in one auto safety master opener
This all-singing, all-dancing can opener is packed with features designed to open five types of container, including ring-pull cans and screw-top bottles. So it’s hardly surprising that it’s got a heavy-duty, supersized feel, with an extra-large knob and a longer, thicker handle.
A word of warning: the flush positioning of the cutting blade (designed to reduce the risk of accidental nicks) made it a little fiddly to lock it onto the top of the can at first, although once we got the hang of this bit, attaching was easy.
Buy now £16.95, Amazon
Oxo good grips soft handled can opener
A large knob and generous areas of rubber coating make this ideal for those who struggle to grip certain types of can opener, and we also loved the ease with which the blade locked securely onto the rim of our test cans, minimising spills and allowing us to whip off the lid in seconds. This is a can opener which ticks all the boxes: it’s light and sturdy, comes with a lifetime guarantee and has an ergonomic design which makes it a joy to hold.
Buy now £11.99, Lakeland
Oxo softworks snap lock can opener
This sleek black can opener is from Oxo’s softworks line, and two large patches of rubber on the handles provide a decent amount of cushioning. The mechanism is smooth and easy – the opener locks into place without the need to squeeze the handles, and the lever turns incredibly smoothly.
Our only gripe was that the can edge left behind was slightly ragged, but the wonderful ease with which the blade slices through the metal means it’s a minor flaw that we’re willing to overlook – in our experience we’re much more likely to injure ourselves wrenching off lids which haven’t been properly cut.
Buy now £11.00, Dunelm
M&S can opener
This is a sleek, stylish can opener with a great price tag. We loved its brushed metal finish and silky smooth movement, although we’d have preferred to see more cushioning on the handles to up the comfort level, along with fewer sharp edges. That said, it’s a can opener designed for practicality – it will slice the top off a can in seconds, and has the added bonus of a bottle opener. We also liked the metal loops at the end of the handles – a space-saving feature which allows it to be dangled from hooks.
Buy now £7.50, M&S
Stellar can opener
We never thought can openers could be things of beauty, until now. This rose gold can opener (it’s actually made from zinc alloy, with a copper composite) has a wonderfully smooth finish and two handles which open much wider than the ones on most can openers, making it wonderfully easy to quickly attach it to cans of all sizes. Rubber coating on the handles guarantees fantastic grip (even with wet hands), and we loved the added bonus of a lifetime guarantee.
We expect nothing less from cookware brand Stellar, which scooped our best buy award for their copper deluxe corkscrew.
Buy now £12.00, Horwood
Colourworks brights purple can opener
We’ll admit it – things didn’t look promising when we first got to grips with this can opener, largely because of the presence of a small chunk of plastic securing the opener to the packaging that doesn’t seem to serve any other purpose (and was also impossible to remove from the opener once we’d prised off the cardboard).
Unwanted additions aside, we loved the super-soft handles, which are entirely covered in soft rubber, and the guard which surrounds the blade and provides extra protection. The ergonomic handle fits neatly into the hand, and we liked the two-tone colourway, too.
Buy now £6.95, Harts of Stur
Masterclass soft grip stainless steel can opener
This practical can opener had some of the softest arms we’ve come across, although the same attention to comfort hasn’t been applied to the rotating handle, which has sharp edges and a rather clunky design that can feel awkward in the hand.
However, the arms make up for this, not just because of their soft rubber coating, but thumb grips which allowed us to get extra purchase when tackling particularly tough cans. We also loved the presence of not one but two bottle openers, and the extra-large hanging holes on the handles.
Buy now £7.99, Amazon
JML hands-free automatic can opener
We never thought a can opener could benefit from the presence of batteries – four of the AA variety, to be precise. Call us lazy, but we’re converted – all we needed to do was place the opener over the lid, press the button and then watch it being neatly sliced off. And the lid sticks to the opener courtesy of a built-in magnet.
Anyone prone to clumsiness will love the way it cuts through the metal without leaving any sharp edges, too.
Buy now £14.99, JML Direct
The verdict: Can openers
The Morphy Richards multifunction can opener is our clear winner, for various reasons. To start with, if we’re going down the electric route, we’ll take a mains-powered model like this one over a battery-powered option every time. But it’s the added extras that won us over, whether it’s the multitool hidden in the base or the presence of a removable rubber ring which can be used to open jars.
Kuhn Rikon’s can opener is a seriously tough tin opener which feels incredibly comfortable in the hand, and Oxo’s good grips soft handled opener is a brilliant budget option with oversized features that make it ideal for those with limited wrist movement.
For more kitchen must-haves, read our review of the best non-stick frying pans