4 Best Can Openers, Tested by Food Network Kitchen

We tested electric, manual, top-cutting and side-cutting openers.

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May 10, 2021
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Unrecognizable male opening a can of food with an electric can opener

Photo by: CatLane/Getty Images

CatLane/Getty Images

Our Top Can Opener Picks:

Tested by Richmond Flores for Food Network Kitchen

It’s easy to consider a good can opener a functioning one, but the reality is not all are made equally. There is no reason to deal with a poorly functioning can opener that jumps, slips or makes a jagged edge on your can when there are some really good options out there are very reasonable prices. We decided to try out a few different types of can openers to find the best options in a variety of styles.

First, let’s determine what types of can openers are out there. We tested motorized, manual, countertop and handheld openers, all of which were one of two distinct methods of opening: top-cut or side-cut (safety) openers.

Top Cut vs Side Cut Can Openers

Top-cut openers clamp to the top of the can puncturing the lid and forcing the blade to cut around the top lip while turning. This method of opening tends to leave sharp edges. When done correctly, this method takes the least amount of effort and is the fastest. These also tend to be the cheapest options.

Side-cut openers clamp along the side of the can with the blade pushing against the rim of the can and cutting sideways. Clamping takes a bit more effort, but, once clamped, the can opener is very stable and barely needs support or guidance. This method leaves no cut, sharp edge and removes the top of the can completely.

Motorized vs Handheld

Opening cans manually can take some physical strength, making motorized options ideal for anyone with issues gripping or with limited dexterity. If storage or counter space is a concern, a compact, manual can opener that can be stashed away in a drawer might be a good choice.


This can opener initially caught our eye because it is both handheld and battery-operated. While electric, we still found it to be compact and lightweight. Although it is a little bigger than average handheld, manual openers, this side-cutting opener was easy to use and worked with no hiccups. Once attached, it opened the can hands-free, though we did find it to be a little slower than the countertop openers.

Buy It

While this was the biggest can opener we tested, we also found it to be the easiest to use — justifying the amount of space it will take up on the counter. It opens cans with the side-cut method, meaning it leaves no sharp edges and is the safer method of opening a can. This appliance is easy to keep clean, requiring just a wipe down without needing to remove any parts. Overall, this electric opener is a great choice if you are looking for the luxury of an electric can opener and have the space to store it.

Buy It

This opener was not only the best performing manual, top-cutting can opener but it was also the most compact. We also like how little effort was required to work this manual opener, making this compact gadget a reliable workhorse that is also easy to store. Although it’s not dishwasher safe, this can opener has few moving parts and therefore was easy to clean.

Buy It

The stainless steel blade opened cans smoothly and the soft-grip handle made it comfortable and secure while using. This is a classic top-cutting can opener that works well and, when taken care of properly (hand wash only!) will last a lifetime.

Buy It

How We Tested

When evaluating can openers, we realize that most are going to function pretty similarly, so we wanted to look closely at what made the top performers stand out. We first evaluated how well each opened a can, making note of any jagged edges left from opening or bumps and slips while opening. Then, after determining which opened with the most ease and efficiency, we looked at storage space needed, including if they required counter space or not.

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