Types Of Can Opener
- Handheld – The smaller, compact tin openers which look like the traditional manual twist models. All you have to do is attach it, and press a button to make the cutter go around the lid and stop again. They are often battery operated
- Countertop – These do more of the hard work for you. Simply lock the can to the machine and press the lever/button, and it will open it without you having to hold the tin in place. They are usually mains operated
- Rust Resistant – Your cutting mechanism is going to come into contact with some liquids, whether it be opening a tin of kidney beans or washing it in hot water. The last thing you want is for it to become difficult or unsafe to use, so look for a model with a stainless steel mechanism
- Cutting Wheel – You don’t want this to come into contact with your food, so you avoid the risk of cross-contamination. Safety can openers cut through the side of the can which is the best option, or there are automatic models which lift the lid after they’re done
- Operation – Some are less bother than others, and some are more appropriate for users with a certain favoured hand
- Cleaning – The best electric tin openers will have removable cutting blades and wheels which can safely be washed without getting the entire unit close to the water. This also helps when wanting to avoid cross-contamination.
You will either want your can opener to store nicely in the drawer as a compact handheld model, or in the cupboard if it is a freestanding model.
Countertop models are bigger of course, but can still be surprisingly small. If they do a few other things, such as act as a knife sharpener or bottle opener, they may be more on the bulky side
You will want your tin opener to leave a relatively smooth, safe edge when done. This will still be sharp, but it will be harder to injure yourself on it. Look out for a can opener which sells itself as ‘safe-edge’ or ‘safe-cut’.
The actual operation is important, too. If you or the person you are buying this opener for struggle with pressing buttons or pulling levers, ensure you buy a model which can comfortably be started and stopped
The absolute cheapest option will be a manual model, but if you are set on buying an electric tin opener, you will see prices ranging from around £10 up to £30+.
Countertop models are more expensive generally than handheld, and those with extra features such as knife sharpeners or jar openers will likely be the highest price.
Why Do I Need A Tin Opener?
You may wonder why manufacturers don’t just use ring-pull tins, as they are much easier to open. Well, essentially they’re more expensive to produce, so plenty of standard tins are still around.
Unless you have a tin opener, it is impossible to get into a metal tin. Even if you only buy ring-pulled options because of the convenience, you never know when the entire ring is going to snap off, leaving your beans on toast lacking the actual beans. A tin opener can help sort this out
What Makes Electric Tin Openers Better Than Manual Ones?
- Less effort in opening cans, and less wrist action
- Safer cutting – they often leave cleaner edges and can keep the lid out of harm’s way until safe to dispose
- Can deal with difficult shaped tins such as square or thick edged options
Will An Electric Can Opener Open Difficult Tins?
A FAQ across the board when it comes to tin openers. The real test of any model is whether it can cut into the toughest of them all, a famed Fray Bentos pie. Manual options, such as butterfly or rotating wheel, fail too often, and unfortunately, there is no definitive answer.
Most will cut around the edge of whatever shaped tin you throw at them, but could struggle with thicker models or tins where there isn’t a very good grip (such as rounded or completely flat designs).
The Fray Bentos tins are a certain shape and incredibly thick as you cook the pie inside them, which takes a lot more power than most tin openers can cope with. It is worth giving it a go, but you may be best purchasing a modern lever-type opener if it doesn’t work and you use these tins often.