Before the very first electric can opener entered our lives, I can vividly remember asking Tom to open some tinned peaches for me.
These requests were particularly frequent during both of my pregnancies (although I preferred peanut butter and jam with my son over the peaches I was desperate for with my daughter), and poor Tom still has a couple of scars to prove he has obliged every one of them.
I’m not exactly sure if there were no electric can openers back then, if they were too expensive, or if we just never considered them in the first place. They could have saved us a fair amount of bandages, I can certainly tell you that much.
To make up for the fact that we were electric can opener deprived for what is probably most of our lives, we are now the proud owners of two.
While our kitchen is not exactly that big, it houses a couple of drawers that seem to be the gateways to Narnia or some other mysterious land where small kitchen gadgets, knives, recipes and bars of chocolate vanish overnight.
Okay, maybe not the bars of chocolate, but everything else tends to magically disappear when you need it most, which explains why we have two of most every tiny, vanishable but necessary kitchen item.
Not to mention the dozens of pens (none of which seem to be working, but we never throw them out?).
All of this now brings us to the usual question: how to choose an electric tin opener that will prevent all those cuts and frustrations (and preferably will stay put)?
What to look for in an electric can opener
Although one tin opener might seem much like another, there are still some features you should keep an eye out for when making your choice:
Type: there are essentially two kinds of electric tin openers: handheld and countertop ones. The handheld models you attach to the tin’s lid and press a button, while the countertop ones you place on the countertop and attach the can, you don’t have to hold it.
Tin size: you want something that will work with all kinds of tin sizes, so make sure you check for the kinds of cans the model you are looking at can open
Safety features: you should look for a can opener that will detach the actual lid for you, as opposed to having to fish it out yourself – that’s how accidents usually happen
Multifunctionality: you might also want to look into an electric tin opener that can do jars or bottles, so as to save yourself some space in that kitchen drawer
Power source: it will be either batteries or mains: handheld ones usually need batteries, while countertop ones usually plug into the mains
Ease of cleaning: finally, you want to be able to clean your can opener easily – and after every use – so as to avoid any contamination
Let’s look at some of the best models available, shall we?
Here is a Morphy Richards can opener – because how else were we going to start this list?
As the name itself suggests, this is a multifunctional can opener that can be used in six different ways. A great option for the elderly or those who have really poor wrist strength and would like one tool to do it all.
It works as a can opener, as a jar opener, and it can also help you open bottles, lids and plastic packaging, or those awful ring pulls that never seem to work.
This is a countertop can opener, but it’s not too big and you can certainly store it quite easily.
It is powered from the mains, and there is built-in cord storage so as to prevent that bothersome tangling. The cord itself is 30 centimetres long, so you should have no particular trouble reaching a plug socket.
This electric can opener is easy to use – just attach your jar or can and press down on the lever, and it will do the rest. You don’t have to hold the can either.
In short, a great little kitchen gadget to have on hand if you open a lot of different items and need a helping hand.
This is another multifunctional electrical can-and-more opener.
What you are also getting is a bottle opener, and somewhat unusually perhaps, a knife sharpener.
It’s completely automatic, so you just place the can under the opener and turn it on. It has a magnetic lid holder that will prevent it from dropping back into the can (causing not only a mess but a potential injury).
It’s made of stainless steel so will be easy to clean too.
The knife sharpener is located on the side of this gadget, and the bottle opener is attached too, so not quite as versatile and practical as the Morphy Richards, but definitely a very affordable option.
It’s compact so you won’t have trouble storing it. Definitely not the best one on the market, but a solution for an immediate problem for sure.
Another 3-in-1 gadget here that triples as an electric can opener, as a bottle opener and a knife sharpener, this time from Kenwood.
It does everything you would want a tin opener to do – opens tins with minimal involvement on your part and holds on to the lid awaiting your pleasure.
It cuts very precisely and won’t leave any sharp edges you can cut yourself on when pouring out your tin’s contents.
The manufacturer states that you can use this guy with cans weighing up to 1.2 kilograms, which makes it suitable for most households.
This can opener is also easy to clean as the entire mechanism can be pulled out and cleaned with some warm soapy water.
There is also a slot to store the cord once you are done using it, and it shouldn’t take up too much space in your cupboard either.
The knife sharpener and bottle opener are non-detachable yet again, but you should have no trouble using them.
A reliable electric can opener that will keep your fingers safe and your cans opened.
On the other hand, if you are just looking for a can opener without any extras attached (especially if you already own a knife sharpener), this might be a nice option.
This Cuisinart can opener is sturdy, gleams in silver (although it’s actually made of plastic, which might be a turn-off), and can work with any size of can.
It also comes with the usual magnet that will hold the removed lid in place until you get to it, and it’s easy to clean as the arm can be removed, so you can get into all those tiny drops that are left behind after opening a can.
In short, a reliable and easy to use, no bells and whistles kind of countertop electric can opener you will love to use.
Another automatic and electric can opener that does just that – opens cans and leaves your hands free to tackle other aspects of meal prep.
You also get a knife sharpener (but no bottle opener), and a pair of scissors which can be stored in the back of the can opener. Cord storage is also provided, so no additional mess on that end.
It’s easy to use as it comes with a one-touch lever for attaching cans, which is also excellently placed to prevent the can (and can opener) from tipping forward.
What makes this one extra special though is the fact that it cuts from the side – which means as little food as possible is actually in contact with the meal blade, and you can use it with pop-top cans as well if you don’t fancy doing the opening yourself.
There is no auto-off with this one though, so you will have to pay attention to its progress.
Easy to use and handy around the kitchen.
Another countertop electric tin opener (and incidentally the last one on this list) that also comes with a bottle opener and a knife sharpener.
It has a handy foot that prevents tipping, and it also comes with a retractable cord you can suck back into the can opener with the push of a button.
The lever is easy to adjust to larger cans and the actual opener is easy to remove, clean and reattach.
There is a magnetic lid holder so there will be little to no mess and practically no chance of injury – unless you are particularly clumsy (like I am).
Reliable and easy to handle, another good countertop electric tin opener you can easily store.
Moving over into the realm of handheld and battery-powered can openers – let’s start with this JML model (which I keep calling JBL for some reason, even though JBL don’t make can openers to my knowledge).
This can opener will work with round, square or ring pull cans with the touch of a button.
What you actually do is place this gizmo on your can, press the button and let go, and then just watch as it works. You will need to press the button again to shut it off.
The lid will then remain stuck to the magnet of the can opener, so you can dispose of it safely.
The cuts are neat and clean and as long as you practice basic precautionary measures you shouldn’t’ injure yourself on any edges.
The one thing you will need to keep an eye (or more specifically an ear) out for is knowing when to shut if off. You will hear that it’s working differently when it has cut through the can as the sound will change noticeably – it might take a bit of practice, but you’ll soon get the hang of it.
If you are not a fan of countertop models, or prefer an electric tin opener you can take with you – this is a good option.
Another handheld electric can opener here, one that is again easy to use and that won’t require too much effort on your part.
The principle is the usual one – you attach this guy to your can, press a button and let it do all the dirty work. It will provide a clean cut edge and make it easy for you to detach the lid, as it will be stuck to the magnet of your can opener.
The only thing you will actually need is a set of batteries, which should be relatively easy to get a hold of.
You might find this particular model doesn’t work as well with fiddlier cans that have an odd shape – but your regular tins should prove to be no match for it.
And here is another, very similar, very egg-shaped model. Not that it’s actually the shape of an egg, I just don’t know what to call it.
This one is another one-touch gadget, where all you do is attach, press a button, watch it work and press again to stop it. Great if your other hand is busy stirring, or if for whatever reason one of your hands is unable to join the can opening fun.
This one is also a bit speedier than the other models (not that it’s actually noticeable by the common user), so you might shave a valuable second off your can opening time here and there.
Comes with the usual magnet so no mess and no sharp edges, easy to clean when you need to, tiny and easy to store.
A good handheld option if you prefer them to the countertop ones.
10 – Handy Can Opener
One more handheld electric can opener here for you to take a look at.
It works just like all the others do, at the touch of a button, and it’s small and compact so it won’t take up too much space in your kitchen drawer. You can also easily take it with you when going camping or on a road trip (and if you’d like to enjoy some baked beans for breakfast).
It’s a no muss no fuss option, easy to clean and sharp enough to cut through all sorts of tins – large and small.
It has that pocket knife appearance to it, so if that’s something that appeals to you – go for this one by all means.
Finally, we have one more can opener to look at, and this one is rather different than the other ones we have seen so far.
It operates on a simple principle: you align it with your can and close it, and it grips the lid. You then turn the little wheel, knob, whatever thingy and open the can. When you have done a full circle, you can just lift the lid with the can opener – and dispose of it safely.
I know this is technically not an electric can opener – but I thought I’d still feature it here, just in case you prefer to open cans this way.
You can use this one with a variety of cans, and it’s very safe and easy to operate as well. Cleaning is also a breeze, so if you would prefer to forego the automation and electricity – this can be the can opener you take home.
How to open a tin without a tin opener?
If you don’t have a tin opener on you – and you really need to get into that tin – you have several choices.
First, you can use a knife (the sharper the better). Stick it in near the edge (use one hand to hold the knife and the other to smack the top of the handle), make a hole, then remove the knife and repeat the process around the entire edge of your tin.
Depending on the type of tin, you can use a spoon to do the same thing. Place the spoon near the edge, where the lid is thinnest, and rub back and forth until the seal breaks. Then keep repeating the process around the entire can.
Remember that you need to be extra careful when doing this, as the edges will not be smooth and you can very easily cut yourself.
Which electric can opener should I buy?
Depending on your preference – countertop or handheld – take a look at the top or bottom half of this list.
All of the models I’ve featured do the job well – some will likely last you longer than others (most notably the more expensive options), but all of them will open cans and tins smoothly and safely.
Let me know which one you go for!