The can opener. A kitchen essential. Needed by every household.
And yet so many of us, after buying SEVERAL can openers, wonder “Why is it so TOUGH to find a good can opener??”
Now, what is a good can opener will vary from one person to the next. But there are some basic aspects that are universal, no matter if you are a teenager venturing off to college and fending for yourself for the very first time, a parent cooking meals for a busy household, or someone who has mobility or arthritis issues.
We've put together a handy guide on exactly what to look out for in a can opener, and how to avoid the duds!
EssentialsStainless steel cutting disks: Can openers come in all sorts of shapes and sizes, and some are even electrical, or 'hands free'.
Regardless of your preference, make sure the actual cutting disks are made from stainless steel.
There are models out there that will use brass or chrome. Neither of these materials stay sharp for very long. And with some food manufacturers using quite thick metals in their cans, even a relatively new can opener that does not have stainless steel cutting disks could fail.
Cushioned handles: If you're relatively young with no hand mobility issues, you'll probably think 'I don't need cushioned handles!' Trust us.....you do!
As mentioned before, cans can come in various thickness, and all it takes is for you to cut open 2 or more of these 'thick' cans, and one of your hands will start screaming in protest!
Look for cushioned handles that have a textured, non-slip grain on them. Cushioned handles are great, and but you won't be very happy if they keep slipping from your hands.
'Open' design: Regardless of the shape of can opener you like, the cutting disks need to open up completely and separate from each other in order for you (or your dishwasher) to be able to clean away any bits of food.
Trapped bits of food, apart from looking horrible and being unhygienic, will stop the disk teeth from cutting through metals properly, and your can opener will fail much faster.
The Chef Remi Can Opener opens up to nearly a 180 degree angle where the disks completely separate. There is absolutely no place for any food to hide or get trapped.Large turning knob: Again, if you have no hand mobility issues, you may think you can overlook this. But all it takes is a couple of cans made from stiff metal, and you'll be thanking us for reminding you this is an essential!
Personal preferences:Inside or outside rim cut: Several years ago, thinks were black and white in the can opener world. A model that cut inside the rim left a sharp can lid which could be dangerous. A model that cut outside the rim offered a smooth, no-fingers-cut option.
Nowadays, even models that cut inside the rim offer a smooth option, so you should never cut your fingers.
The choice between an inside and outside cut comes down to preference. Do you prefer to have the lid on the inside, where you can simply poke in a finger (or the handle of a spoon) and pick out the lid? Or do you go for an outside cut where the lid stays on top, but you risk spillage from the food in the can?
Personally, we prefer an inside cut that doesn't waste any food, but it's your call!Electric / battery model, or manual: This is also an option, not an essential, and there are plenty of great battery / electric models.
Our main gripe with electric or 'hands-free' options are they can be difficult to clean. We've seen many models that take a good read of a user manual to work out how to correctly disassemble!
If you are buying one of these hands free models for an elderly relative, or someone with hand mobility issues, make sure you can disassemble the equipment easily yourself.
Otherwise, by giving them a hands free can opener, you may be actually increasing their workload and problem!
Plus, a good manual can opener, with soft ergonomic grips and a large turning knob can be used successfully by everyone but those with the most severest of hand mobility issues.
Follow the above guidelines and, instead of screaming at your latest can opener that is making a huge job out of cutting a simple can open, you'll be thinking of that delicious meal you're about to eat!