Guide For Buying The Best Can Opener

A reliable can opener is essential for opening cans of tuna and bottles of beer. After cutting into 150 cans with 25 can openers since 2014, we recommend the EZ-Duz-It. This is a simple, inexpensive opener that locks onto cans and cuts through lids easily. We are confident that it will last for many years because it is so durable.

The durable and inexpensive EZ-Duz It can opener locks securely onto cans and allows you to cut through the lids with utmost precision. The knob spins smoothly and is easy to use.

EZ-Duz – It works every time, unlike other can openers. The lid can be easily removed by simply removing the cover. The can opener is made entirely of metal and will last many years.

Runner-up

If the EZ-Duz-It sells out, we recommend the Made in USA Can Opener. It is made by the same manufacturer as our main pick, but it is a little more costly.

Great also

The Hamilton Beach Smooth Touch Blacktailnyc beer can opener may take up valuable counter space and require an outlet, but we’ve found it’s the best electric option for anyone who has difficulty using a manual can opener. This can also be used to open safety cans. It can open all sizes of cans, which is something other can openers could not do. The lid also stays in place after it has been opened. We recommend the electric opener for those who are unable to use a manual one due to its size.

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An essential tool for preparing tins in the kitchen is a good can opener. It’s time to upgrade if your opener is difficult to turn, doesn’t latch on to cans or fails to cut all the way.

Note on opening safety cans manually

Manual safety can openers were once a popular choice. They use pressure from both a top- and bottom-mounted wheel to open the seam between the lid and the can body. This creates a smoother edge. But we no longer recommend them. After three years of testing, talking with experts, listening to our readers and taking into consideration customer reviews on Amazon, we made this decision.

The cutting wheel on conventional can openers cuts through the top of a can around its inner perimeter, creating sharp edges. We have tested many of these models over the years and found that they are durable enough to last for years without becoming dull. Manual safety models last only one to two years, and are three times more expensive than conventional openers. If you’re set on having a safety opener, consider getting our electric option, the Hamilton Beach Smooth Touch Can Opener. We think that most people will be satisfied with a $10 standard model that will last for many years.

How we selected and tested

For our 2017 update, we tested eight can openers, including safety and electric models.
While a good can opener does not need to have complicated features or be overly elaborate, it should still be able to open cans of any size. Emma Christensen, a former recipe editor at The Kitchn said that “above all, it is important to have a can opener which works every time. I don’t want the can to slip when I open it, and it should cut through the lid cleanly.” Matthew Amster-Burton is the co-host on Spilled Milk. He said that the main qualities you look for in a can opener include reliability (no falling off the can, or leaving an uncut segment), and comfort.

The handle should feel comfortable in the hand and the knob should be easy to turn. The ideal can opener cuts easily and quickly. Its simple, narrow design means it won’t take up much space or get stuck in a messy kitchen drawer.

During testing, it was important to note any discomfort or hand-strength issues and how well the openers held onto cans.
We also considered electric openers. They come in safety and standard styles. These openers have triangular blades rather than round, which keep the can in place and spin while the lid latch magnetically locks it. However, electric openers can take up a lot of counter space or storage space. Amster-Burton said that electric can openers are not a good idea if you have a medical condition making it difficult to open manual cans. They take up more space, require an outlets, and have more parts that could fail.

We wanted can openers that could cut well, operate easily, and feel comfortable to hold. We also took note of any issues with hand-strength or comfort, as well as how the openers held onto cans. We measured the number of turns required to open each size can (or the time it took for electric openers) and evaluated the difficulty and comfort of each model. We also evaluated the durability and size of the openers, as well as whether the lid could be removed in one go or multiple attempts. We tested whether the standing electric models could support large 28-ounce cans and not tip over.

We tested can openers with common household can sizes for this guide.

The can sizes most home cooks use are 5-ounce tuna cans and 6-ounce tomato paste cans. We also tested the openings with 15.5-ounce bean cans, 28-ounce whole-plum tomatoes cans, and 6 ounce tuna cans. For the original version of this review, we tested 60 pounds’ worth of 14.5-ounce cans of veggies and 24-ounce cans of beef stew, which we donated to the Friends of Night People, a shelter that cares for the poor and homeless in Buffalo, New York.

EZ-Duz-It

The durable and inexpensive EZ-Duz It can opener locks securely onto cans and allows you to cut through the lids with utmost precision. The knob spins smoothly and is easy to use.

Buying Options

We think the American-made EZ-Duz-It is the best can opener for most people. It’s a timeless tool that has not changed much in design but still outperforms all other can openers over the years. The EZ-Duz-It can opener’s ability to attach to cans, sharp cutting blades and smooth spinning knob make it a great tool. The EZ-Duz – It can opener is guaranteed to last you for decades, and that’s despite its price tag of $10.

The EZ-Duz -It was one can opener that we tested that could be securely attached to cans. Photo: Sarah Kobos
Our testers unanimously agreed that the EZDuz-It was the best lid remover. It is easy to use and cuts quickly, which made it a top choice for every can they opened. John J. Steuby Sr. is the president of John J. Steuby Company. The carbon-steel cutter used on the EZDuz-It can opener has been sharpened before it’s heat-treated. The sharp blade was able to cut through can lids with great precision. The long knob gave us excellent leverage and turned easily with very little effort. The EZ-Duz -It was the only can opener that completely removed the lid. Some other models, such as the Amco Swing-A-Way Portable Can Opener, left a small section of the lid attached to the can, which required us to pull it off with our hands.

The EZ-Duz It (top) has full-tang durable handles. Other models, like the OXO SteeL Can Opener, have plastic handles that are covered in a metal sheath. Photo: Michael Hession
The handles of the EZ-Duz -It are entirely made from metal. It’s strong enough to withstand a fall off your kitchen counter without bending. Contrasting models, like the OXO SteeL Can Opener and OXO Good Grips Softhandled Can Opener, include plastic parts that are less durable. The handles of the EZ-DuzIt have a smooth rubber coating that provides a secure grip, even when your hands get wet. The EZ-Duz -It also includes a bottle opener to pop the lids off sealed glass bottles and home-canning jars, which is a departure from other safety can openers.

Like most can openers, the EZ-Duz -It has a bottle opener that allows you to pop lids off. Photo: Sarah Kobos
John J. Steuby Sr. explained to us that his company manufactured hardware for the Swing-A-Way Can Opener for over 30 years before he started manufacturing the EZ-Duz-It. After the company was sold, Steuby stopped making parts and moved production to China. Steuby claims that his company made many improvements to Swing-A-Way’s model to create the EZ-Duz-It. This included making the handle 1 1/4 inches longer. The EZ-DuzIt’s smooth spinning knob was a favorite among our testers. It provided great leverage and required less effort than the OXO openers.

Though we’re confident of the EZ-Duz-It’s durability and longevity, if you encounter issues with this can opener, you can contact the John J. Steuby Company by emailing sales@steuby.com or calling 314-895-1000. Although the company does not offer a warranty on its products, a representative said that they will replace any faulty can openers.

Note: Two Ez-Duz-It can openings were ordered through Amazon sellers. One arrived with the Ez-Duz-It branding, the other did not. John J. Steuby Company representative told us that some retailers require their branding, while others do not. Therefore, they can make the openers with or without their logo. If they have low stock, they will sometimes ship non-branded can openings. This explains the slight logo variation. Don’t be alarmed that your can opener doesn’t have “Ez-Duz It” written on it. The non-branded can opener may be the same as the Made In USA opener, although we were unable to confirm this with John J. Steuby Company.

The Made in USA Can Opener (top), is identical to the EZ-Duz It (bottom), and typically costs $5 more. Photo: Sarah Kobos

Flaws, but not dealbreakers

People cite sharp edges that result from the EZ-Duz It can opener as one of their biggest complaints. We understand that it can be frustrating to remove a cut lid from a can. However, this can opener’s efficiency is exceptional and makes it a great tool for can opening. To prevent a lid from falling out of the can and avoid it being cut loosely, leave a small portion of the lid intact to make a hinge. To avoid cutting yourself, flip the lid open with a butter knife.

We recommend that you leave a small portion of the can open to make a hinge. This will prevent you from having to handle a lid that has been sharply cut. Flip the lid open with a knife. Once the contents are removed, push the hinge down.

The EZ-Duz -It can opener knob was easy to turn for all our testers. However, it may be difficult for anyone with hand-strength issues to use. If using a manual can opener is difficult for you, we recommend getting our pick for an electric opener, the Hamilton Beach Smooth Touch Can Opener.

Notes for long-term testing

Since 2017, we have been testing the older, now discontinued, EZ-DuzIt can opener in our Wirecutter kitchen. The discontinued model’s cutting mechanisms are identical to the current version. The only difference is that the bottle opener is now at the top, instead of at the bottom. It opens cans just as well as it did the day it was first received.

Many commenters have said that the new EZ Duz-It can opener isn’t performing as well than the discontinued model. We had no issues testing the 2020 version. To see if there are any issues down the line, we’ll keep using the can opener in the test kitchen. Keep in mind that if you let go of the knob while turning it, the blades may slip off the can. To prevent this, make sure you hold the handles tightly while cutting.

Runner-up

If our main pick isn’t available, we also recommend the Made in USA Can Opener. The model is almost identical to the main pick, and it was manufactured by the same company that makes the EZ-Duz It in St. Louis. This model is $5 less than our top pick and does not have the “EZDUZ-IT” name on it. There are four options for handles: white, black, red and red. The John J. Steuby Company sold the EZ-DuzIt to a company called 4 Peaks Technology LLC. This arrangement is probably responsible for the increase in price. The Made in USA Can Opener opened all the cans it tested with, just like the EZ-DuzIt.