If you're anything like me, manually opening cans is the bane of your existence — they're hard to puncture, they catch constantly, and they're often left with treacherous sharp edges. That's why it's extra important to have the best manual can openers when you're handling pantry items. Before making a purchase, there are a couple of key elements to consider.
First, think about comfort. This largely comes down to the handles and the knob. The handles should be large enough to grip easily, and they should fit to the shape of your hand. The knob should rotate smoothly as you crank it around, causing minimal hand strain.
Next is sharpness. This is a matter of having a well-honed blade that can slice through lids easily. If the blade isn't sharp enough, not only will it catch constantly (a major annoyance with lesser can openers), but it could serrate the edges of the can, too, turning the rim into a minefield of pointy metal.
To save you some time, I've scoured through hundreds of reviews and read about these features to ensure that each of my picks does what its manufacturer says. Below are the three best manual can openers I could find — all of which have great bottle openers built in, too.
1. The Best Overall
What's great about it: With more than 1,500 reviews, this sleek, stainless steel can opener is one of the most popular of its kind on Amazon. The sharp cutting wheel is smooth and precise, allowing for purposeful slices that don't leave serrated edges behind. Comfort-wise, it has oversized handles that are covered in cushioning to absorb some of the pressure from the can, making it easy to use (aka no hand cramps). As a bonus, it has a built-in cap opener to handle beer and soda, too.
What fans say: "After fighting with can openers for years, I have finally found one I love. I discovered this while renting a vacation home, and immediately ordered one from Amazon. Now all I want to do is open cans."
2. The Best Budget Option
What's great about it: If you're on a budget and just want something cheap to open your soups and beans, this affordable steel can opener is the ticket. It features a simple, turn-knob design that punctures metal easily and runs smoothly once in place. The cutter is sharp and, like the previous pick, it doesn't leave dangerous, uneven edges. Not only that, but it's compact, too, so it doesn't take up much space in your drawer. Constructed with an integrated bottle opener, this one isn't going to be as durable as the OXO opener, but it does come with a lifetime warranty.
What fans say: "Easy to use, classic style can opening. The handles and the key are large and easy to hold onto. The plastic grip on both is very smooth and not textured, but not as slippery as it looks ... Once the can is open, the opener pops off the edge without any effort."
3. The Best Splurge
What's great about it: Whether you need the most effortless option out there or you simply want to treat yourself with the best, this high-end can opener is a luxurious choice. It has chic, stainless steel handles and a razor sharp cutting wheel that slices through cans smoothly. The durable components are built to last, and they look good, too. This one is also a great option if you have weaker hands or arthritis.
What fans say: "I have arthritis in my hands, especially my thumbs, making it hard to grip a jar lid properly for leverage. I've been through *many* other types of jar wrenches, but this one is the absolute best -- works on virtually any screw cap or lid, with minimal effort and no damage to said cap/lid. Plus it's very sturdily constructed without being overly heavy. I couldn't be happier!"
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