The 11 Best Manual Can Openers

Tin-opener-opening-a-can-of-food-canned-tinned-peas

You might think buying a can opener is one of the easiest possible things to do, but this simple piece of kitchen equipment comes in many shapes and sizes.

If you have no idea which type of can opener makes the right fit for you, you’re in luck today.

To prevent any confusion, we’ll be focusing purely on showcasing the best manual can openers today. Come back next week for our reviews of some pricier electric openers.

As with any kitchen accessories you’re considering, think first about your intended use. If you only occasionally open a regular can, all you really need to look for is a low-maintenance opener that’s a cinch to use.

For those likely to use the can opener every day, especially with thicker and more demanding cans, it pays taking a little bit more time to find the most ergonomic and comfortable opener.

Once you’re clear about how and how often you’ll be using your bottle opener, focus on the following elements to streamline your buying decision:

  • Style of bottle opener: Not everyone wants an electric can opener, even if they are usually super-simple to use. Not only are these openers more expensive, but they are also more prone to malfunctioning due to the electric components. These openers are also completely unsuitable for use anywhere without access to a power outlet. With the best manual bottle openers, by contrast, you’ll get an opener that’s surprisingly easy to use and capable of leaving smooth and rounded edges on your cans rather than leaving sharp and exposed edges
  • Ease of use: Whatever shape or size of bottle opener you choose, you should ensure it’s easy to use. If not, it’s likely to spend more time in the kitchen cupboard than being used. We flag any reported issues with ease of use so you can buy with your eyes wide open
  • Durability: You should view durability of a can opener in two ways: can cutting power and overall lifespan. Chromed or carbon steel can opener are made of harder metals and typically deliver superior lifespans. These openers will cope more readily with the impact of continuously cutting into cans. You’ll also find this type of opener will allow you to more confidently cut through heavier cans, something a more lightweight and less rugged opener will struggle with. Plastic handles are more likely to break in use than metal handles
  • Safety features: You should ensure any can opener on your shortlist leaves the edges of the cans smooth. Not only can jagged edges cut your fingers, but they are also much more likely to rip holes in your trash bags

If you keep this guidance in mind, you should find it easy to navigate our manual can opener reviews, and you should find the most suitable one for your needs without too much time or trouble.

Jump in!

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I. The 11 Best Manual Can Openers

1. Our #1 Pick: OXO Good Grips Can Opener

OXO-Good-Grips-Smooth-Edge-Can-Opener

Features

  • Material: Stainless steel
  • Weight: 12.2oz
  • Dimensions: 6.5 x 10.75 x 11 inches

First up and our overall favorite in today’s showcase of the best manual can openers comes from kitchenware specialist OXO. Like all the pieces in their Good Grips line, you get precision engineering married to rock solid build quality. Even better, all their gear is pretty keenly priced, too.

You’ll find this can opener allows you to open almost any kind of can without needing to exert too much pressure.

The side-mounted winder smoothly deals with your can without the cutting blade coming into contact with the food.

This cutting mechanism is made of stainless steel, so you should get plenty of faithful service from this can opener, as long as you follow the simple care and maintenance tips we outline below in the FAQs.

Pliers are baked into this opener, meaning you should find no problem at all removing the lids from cans without needing to put your fingers anywhere near those sharp edges.

The handles are comfy to grip and designed not to slide out of your hands, so you can work with complete confidence.

Almost all user reviews of this can opener are positive, but we found a few gripes from right-handers, claiming that this model is more suitable for southpaws. Do your due diligence here before committing to a potentially unsuitable can opener.

Things We Like Things We Dislike
  • Oversized mechanism
  • Non-slip handles
  • Super-sharp cutting wheel
  • More awkward for right-handers

2. Swing-A-Way Crank Can Opener

Swing-A-Way-Easy-Crank-Can-Opener-with-Folding-Crank-Handle

Features

  • Material: Stainless steel
  • Weight: 13.6oz
  • Dimensions: 8.86 x 2.36 x 2.17 inches

Next up comes the first of a pair of entries from Swing-A-Way in today’s quest for the best manual can openers.

This brand not only produces a great line of kitchenware and accessories, but they are also priced firmly in budget territory, giving you a bargain without compromising on build quality.

The can opener is comfortable to use, with cushioned and neatly-designed grips that will give you plenty of purchase when you’re opening challenging cans.

This handle is also extra-long, giving you the ability to open cans more easily and with less pressure. If you have arthritis or joint mobility issues, you may find this one of the best manual can openers you’ve encountered.

Equipped with a gear-driven stainless steel cutting wheel, you should find yourself coping with just about any can, even if they are thicker than average.

This can opener is not suitable for putting in the dishwasher. Instead, hand wash it from time to time using warm water with a very mild detergent. Rinse and immediately dry thoroughly to keep your can opener at its best.

Although the bulk of user reviews sing the praises of this manual can opener, we found some isolated complaints about the way it can skip spots, forcing you to backtrack as you cut. Setting this aside, you’re getting a simple, no-nonsense can opener at a very affordable price point.

Things We Like Things We Dislike
  • Extra-long handle
  • Gear-driven cutting wheel
  • Cushioned grips
  • Prone to skipping spots

3. Good Cook Can Opener

Good-Cook-Can-Opener,-Safe-Cut-Manual-Can-Opener

Features

  • Material: Chrome and stainless steel
  • Weight: 4oz
  • Dimensions: 9 x 3.5 x 1.5 inches

Good Cook serves up a striking can opener that makes a real visual statement, but without forcing you to dig too deep for the privilege.

Like all the best manual can openers, this traditional and simple model is a cinch to use. As an inbuilt kicker, the patented design ensures your cans won’t be left with sharp and jagged edges either.

The stainless steel cutting mechanism doesn’t come into contact with your food, so you can open cans with a clean conscience, while avoiding any cross-contamination.

Made from a heavy-duty chrome with a stainless steel mechanism, this can opener will stand up to plenty of rough and tumble.

The non-slip knob allow you to turn the can opener without any slippage.

As with all the best manual can openers, the compact nature of the Good Cook makes it the perfect too when you’re camping or out in the RV, as well as in the home kitchen.

Unlike many of the can openers on our shortlist, this model is safe to pop in the dishwasher.

If you’re still in any doubt, this brand offers a 100% satisfaction guarantee. If you’re not completely happy with your can opener, you can easily get your money back, removing any risk from purchase.

Things We Like Things We Dislike
  • Cutting wheel doesn’t contact food
  • Simple to use
  • 100% satisfaction guarantee
  • Build quality issues reported

4. Kuhn Rikon Master Opener

Kuhn-Rikon-Auto-Safety-Master-Opener-for-Cans,-Bottles-and-Jars

Features

  • Material: Stainless steel
  • Weight: 4oz
  • Dimensions: 8.13 x 2.63 x 2.63 inches

Whether you’re constrained by space in the home kitchen or you want a compact and multipurpose tool for camping or RV trips, this 5-in-1 master opener from Kuhn Rikon is well worth popping on your shortlist.

You can perform the following functions with this 5-in-1 opener:

  1. Standard cans
  2. Cans with ring-pulls
  3. Crown-cap cans
  4. Screw-top bottles
  5. Jars

This functionality alone is enough reason for many people to consider adding this opener to their arsenal, but how does it perform?

Well, as with all the best can openers in this class, you’ll find the cutting mechanism stays away from the food, eliminating the chance of cross-contamination.

Beyond this, the smoothness and sharpness of the blade means you won’t need to use too much pressure when you’re opening cans, handy if you have arthritis, or any problems with your hands or joints.

The only reported weakness of this manual can opener is when it comes to dealing with much thicker cans. If you open lots of this type of can, you might want to explore some of the other can openers above and below. For regular cans and bottles of all descriptions, this is one of the finest options at your disposal.

Things We Like Things We Dislike
  • 5-in-1 functionality
  • Compact and space-saving
  • Ideal for anyone with arthritis
  • Not great with thicker cans

5. Zyliss Manual Can Opener

Zyliss---20362-ZYLISS-Lock-N'-Lift-7

Features

  • Material: Stainless steel
  • Weight: 10.9oz
  • Dimensions: 2 x 3.5 x 7.5 inches

Next in line is an affordable manual can opener from Zyliss delivering everything you need and nothing you don’t need.

When you’re comparing the best manual can openers, you are not looking for something that reinvents the wheel. Instead, focus on finding a tool that gets the simple job at hand done well, smoothly, and quickly. That’s all you need and this can opener provides that.

If you’re tired of using can openers that keep slipping off the can, you’ll appreciate the way this one locks into place snugly and securely. This not only helps you achieve a smooth and seamless cut, but it also means you won’t need to strain yourself to achieve this.

The cutting wheel is fashioned from super-sharp stainless steel, durable enough to last the distance, and designed to stay sharper for longer.

With a magnet baked in, you can quickly and easily dispose of the lid to your can without needing to gran hold of it and risk cutting your fingers or smothering them in food.

Although you will encounter mainly positive reviews of this can opener, we unearthed a handful of gripes about the flimsiness of the construction and overall lifespan. We feel you need to be reasonable with any product at this price point.

Things We Like Things We Dislike
  • Intelligent locking mechanism
  • Integrated magnet
  • Sharp and robust cutting mechanism
  • Flimsy build quality

6. Swing-A-Way Comfort Grip Can Opener

Swing-A-Way-Comfort-Grip-Can-Opener

Features

  • Material: Carbon steel
  • Weight: 11.2oz
  • Dimensions: 8.5 x 4 x 1 inches

As we hit the midpoint of our manual can opener reviews, we have another entry from the Swing-A-Way stable, this time a model designed with ergonomics and comfort uppermost.

Despite being priced pretty reasonably, this can opener is made from carbon steel throughout, giving you a solid and long-lasting addition to your kitchen, RV, or camping supplies.

The handles are extra-soft and cushioned so you won’t blister your hands, even if you’re opening can after can after can. Designed to fit most hands, you’ll find this model ideal for use in a small commercial backdrop or in the home kitchen.

You can choose from the handles finished in a variety of vibrant colors to inject some brightness into your kitchen.

Avoid dishwashing this can opener, and use some mild detergent and hot water to keep it clean instead. Make sure to rinse the can opener immediately afterwards then dry it thoroughly. That’s about the extent of the upkeep required with this model.

The cutting wheel is gear-driven, returning a super-smooth mechanism that makes light work of almost any can it encounters.

The compact nature of the can opener also makes it a great travel opener, widening your options further.

With the exception of some niggles about build quality issues developing over time, this is one of the best manual can openers in a crowded field.

Things We Like Things We Dislike
  • Multiple colorways
  • Gear-driven cutting wheel
  • Doubles up as bottle opener
  • Some build quality issues reported

7. OXO Good Grips Soft-Handled Can Opener

OXO-Good-Grips-Soft-Handled-Can-Opener

Features

  • Material: Stainless steel
  • Weight: 14oz
  • Dimensions: 7 x 1.88 x 2.75 inches

OXO serves up another entry from the Good Grips stable with this soft-handled can opener. What do you get for your money here, then?

The key selling point is the jumbo cutting wheel. This stainless steel gem will slice open even thicker and more challenging cans without leaving you wishing you had bought an electric can opener.

The handles of this can opener are nicely cushioned. While intended for use in a home kitchen, it stands up to repeated use without blistering up your hands.

This is a traditional can opener with no bells and whistles, but you do benefit from a bottle opener baked in, making this the perfect all-rounder for your next dinner party.

The majority of user reviews for this can opener are positive, but we came across one or two complaints about the way it tends to slip off much larger and thicker cans. If you frequently open foods in this type of can, you might want to rethink. For most normal purposes, you’re getting one of the best manual can openers out there.

This model is unsuitable for cleaning in the dishwasher, but you’ll have no problem at all giving it a quick once over with some hot soapy water. Just be certain you rinse and dry the can opener immediately after washing it and you should find you get years of service from this thing.

Things We Like Things We Dislike
  • Large ergonomic handles
  • Sharp and rugged cutting wheel
  • Integrated bottle opener
  • Slips off larger cans

8. Rosle Stainless Steel Can Opener

Rosle-Stainless-Steel-Can-Opener-with-Pliers-Grip

Features

  • Material: 18/10 stainless steel
  • Weight: 10.6oz
  • Dimensions: 7.9 x 1.5 x 2 inches

The first thing we should state is that this model from Rosle is certainly not the cheapest manual can opener you’ll find. That said, it’s currently steeply discounted, and if you consider you’re likely to get a decade or more of service from this can opener, it suddenly doesn’t seem quite so expensive.

Made from premium 18/10 stainless steel, you get none of the flimsiness or build quality issues that blight many cheaper and less effective manual can openers.

Sized at 7 inches, this is a compact can opener that works equally well camping, on RV trips, on a boat, or in the home kitchen. The design and the performance means this can opener is also ideal for use in a busy and high-demand environment where you’re dealing with lots of cans.

You’ll find this model helps you to open almost any kind of can quickly and smoothly, and with the very minimum of effort.

As with all the best manual can openers, you’ll find the cutting mechanism stays away from the food, eliminating the likelihood of cross-contamination between foods.

Aside from the stiff price tag, there’s not much to knock about this elegant and highly efficient manual can opener.

Things We Like Things We Dislike
  • Stainless steel throughout
  • Opens all can smoothly
  • Cutting mechanism doesn’t contact food
  • Pretty pricey

9. Bartelli Ambidextrous Can Opener

Bartelli-Soft-Edge-3-in-1-Ambidextrous-Safety-Can-Opener-Jar-Opener-and-Bottle-Opener

Features

  • Material: Alloy steel and stainless steel
  • Weight: 4.6oz
  • Dimensions: 4.5 x 3 x 1.5 inches

As we near the end of our search for the best manual can openers, we have a great ambidextrous model suitable for all users from Bartelli. What do you get for your money, then?

Not only is this can opener just as easy to use left-handed or right-handed, but you’ll find the smoothness of the mechanism leaves your cans free of sharp and potentially wounding edges.

You’ll be amazed at how little force you need to apply when you’re using this manual can opener. Many people instinctively opt for electric can openers fearing a manual model is too much like hard work. Nothing could be further from the truth with the Bartelli.

The smooth edge this can opener imparts also allows you to slip the lid back into place if you need to store some of the contents back in the refrigerator for the following day.

As well as allowing you to open just about all cans, you get a bottle opener and a jar opener built in, too.

We ran into some isolated complaints about the lifespan of this can opener, but most reviews are overwhelmingly positive.

Things We Like Things We Dislike
  • Ideal for use with either hand
  • No-squeeze cutting mechanism
  • Great for anyone with arthritis
  • Questionable lifespan

10. Made in USA Can Opener

Made-in-USA-Can-Opener-(Black)

Features

  • Material: Stainless steel
  • Weight: 10.4oz
  • Dimensions: 7 x 2 x 2 inches

As we near the end of our manual can opener reviews, we have a simple and pocket-friendly model from Made in USA that deserves a place on your shortlist.

As with all the best manual models, you’ll find this opener is a cinch to use. While it is not designed expressly for those with arthritis or joint problems, the lack of pressure required renders it suitable if you struggle with mobility in your hands.

Made from stainless steel throughout, this opener will give you plenty of faithful service. You should refrain from putting it in the dishwasher, though, and if you stick to washing this opener by hand, it should last the distance without letting you down.

If you’re looking for a classic and simple can opener suitable for most cans that’s made in the USA and built to endure, you won’t be disappointed.

Things We Like Things We Dislike
  • Traditional and elegant design
  • Built to last
  • Easy to use
  • Some reports of rusting

11. EZ-DUZ-IT Can Opener

EZ-DUZ-IT-Deluxe-Can-Opener-with-Black-Grips

Features

  • Material: Alloy steel and carbon steel
  • Weight: 0.64oz
  • Dimensions: 7.25 x 2.13 x 1.88 inches

If you have not encountered the brand EZY-DUZ-IT before, they bought out the Swing-A-Way operation but not the brand name, so you can expect half a century of expertise brought to bear on this intelligently-designed can opener.

This can opener is a super-heavy-duty model that works well for travel purposes.

One of the unique selling points here is the carbon steel cutting mechanism. This allows you to slice the tops off even thicker and more challenging cans without needing to apply too much pressure.

The handles are designed with comfort firmly in mind, and you’ll find it easy to get a firm grip without any danger of slippage.

You should avoid placing this can opener in the dishwasher. Stick with hand washing using some hot soapy water to prolong lifespan.

Things We Like Things We Dislike
  • Rugged steel build
  • Hard and sharp cutting mechanism
  • Ergonomic handles
  • Hand wash only

II. FAQs

1) How should I use a manual can opener the right way?

You may find that initially locating the proper angle for opening a can is tricky, but once you get to grips with it, you’ll find using a manual can opener couldn’t be easier. Make sure you rest the can on a completely flat surface. Position the turning handle so it’s facing away from the can. Next, open the wings of the opener slightly. Position the cutting wheel right inside the rim of the can. When you close the wings of the opener gently, this will hold the blade securely in place. Use your other hand to hold the can. Next, squeeze the handles of the can opener together using one hand. This will lock the handles together at the same time as piercing the lid with the cutting wheel. You may find at this stage you need to reposition the opener so you get the right angle to pierce the lid of the can. Sometimes, you’ll need to release both handles so you can more easily reposition it and get traction. Use your other hand to turn the knob. The opener will then travel around the rim of the can as you rotate the gear. This will slice through the metal inside the rim of the can. Choose whether to continue cutting until the lid is detached, or whether to stop with some of the lid intact. Remove the lid carefully. You could use the tip of a knife if the lid has fallen into the can. Be sure to avoid the edges of the can as you do this, even if the opener leaves the edges fairly smooth.

2) How can I troubleshoot a manual can opener that’s stopped working?

The most common problem people encounter with manual can openers is the gears seizing up or failing to rotate properly. Try lubricating the gears using either some oil or some cooking spray. Avoid the temptation to use any commercial lubricant, though, as these are not food-safe. If this doesn’t work, you may find that one of the gears is broken. In this case, you’ll need to choose a new can opener.

3) Is it possible to sharpen a manual can opener?

You should find the cutting wheel on your manual can opener stays sharp if you don’t abuse it. You need to keep the opener clean and dry, and this should ensure the wheel remains sharp. If you find your blade starts skipping, try running some folded sandpaper through the opener a few times. Clamp it between the wheels then rotate the handle. This will move the sandpaper through and sharpen the blade.

4) How do I maintain a manual can opener?

You should not just toss your manual can opener straight back into the kitchen drawer after use. Even if you can’t see it, you’ll find food debris and liquid accumulates on the inside of the wheel, leading to bacteria building up. To avoid this, rinse your can opener with some warm soapy water. Dry it immediately. Avoid placing the can opener in the dishwasher unless the manufacturer recommend this. If you find the opener has any rust or debris accumulated, try soaking it in some white vinegar. This will often remove the scale that’s built up. If you keep these very simple pointers in mind, you should find a well-built manual can opener will give you years of faithful service without letting you down.


III. Conclusion

While buying a can opener might seem easy, if you jump in without any forethought, you could easily end up with something completely unsuitable.

We have highlighted the downsides of the openers on our shortlist as well as showcasing their many benefits. We feel you should have both sides of the story so you can buy with confidence.

We would suggest you bookmark Madiba before you go today. We update our content daily, and we have lots more informative guides coming your way to help you kit out your kitchen the easy way. See you soon!

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