It doesn’t matter how big of a kitchen you have; you will need to use a can opener at some point. The best manual can opener is a great tool to have in your kitchen because it will take up less space than an electric can opener and will cost less.
The best manual can opener falls into two categories: those that cut the outside edge of the can and those that cut the inside rim of the can. The first category allows the can’s lid to be placed inside the can for temporary storage – although the lid doesn’t snap on if you grab the can from the top, you could have a mess! Those in the latter category let you leave the can’s lid in place so you can drain the liquid inside the can.
No matter which manual can opener you go with, here are the best manual can openers on the market today!
Top Recommended Product: OXO Good Grips Smooth Edge Can Opener
Top Budget Product: P51 Can Opener
Top Premium Product: Kuhn Rikon Auto Safety Master Can Opener
1. OXO Good Grips Smooth Edge Can Opener
This is the best manual can opener on this list – you simply can’t go wrong with it! It features a side-wind mechanism that easily cuts through cans and doesn’t leave any sharp edges behind. It’s made from high-quality stainless steel and is dishwasher safe.
This best manual can opener has handles that lock together, so you don’t need to worry about squeezing them together while you open your can. Plus, the soft-grip knob is easy to turn and comfortably situated on the side of the can opener.
- Smooth and safe side-cutting
- Comfortable handles and knob
- Easy to clean
- It takes some time to learn how to use
2. KitchenAid Multifunction Can Opener
This best manual can opener is made from high-quality materials and has a nice weight without being too bulky or heavy. It features ergonomic handles that are easy for anyone to grip and a larger knob that makes it easier to use.
Aside from these comforts, there aren’t a lot of bells and whistles on this best manual can opener. This best manual can opener also opens bottles for you! It comes with a great warranty.
- 1-year limited warranty
- Bottle opener built into the can opener
- Ergonomic design
- It comes in a variety of colors
- Hand wash only
3. Kuhn Rikon Auto Safety Master Can Opener
If you’re looking for the best manual can opener that leaves behind safe, smooth edges, so your kids don’t get hurt when they help you in the kitchen, this is the can opener for you. This can opener is reasonably priced and has over 1,400 reviews.
There’s no need to squeeze a handle with this best manual can opener because the opener will automatically grip the can as you start twisting the handle. If the lid gets stuck after you cut it open, there are mini pliers on this best manual can opener that will grip the side of the lid to remove it.
- Smooth and safe side-cutting can opener
- Easy to use
- All-in-one bottle and can opener
- Not very comfortable to use
4. Ez-Duz-It 3028 Deluxe Can Opener
This best manual can opener is made from sturdy heavy-gauge chromed steel, so it has an extra level of strength compared to other manual can openers. It operates using a simple swing method that allows maximum pressure when you first grip the can opener and drive the sharp blade into the can’s lid.
While this can opener is a bit bigger than other manual can openers on this list, it’s for a good reason. The bigger size and more traditional opener design give this best manual opener more durability and cutting power. So, you don’t have to use a lot of pressure to cut open your cans.
- Extremely durable
- Easy to use
- Leaves behind a sharp edge
- Right-handed only
5. Cuisinart Metropolitan Collection Can Opener
This best manual can opener features a generously proportioned head and substantially sized handles that will make opening cans an easy and quick task. The handles are non-slip and soft grip, and this can opener is safe for the dishwasher.
This best manual can opener has a sophisticated and professional design and look. It’s made from stainless steel, so it’s durable and comfortable to use.
- Large soft-grip handles
- Comfortable to use
- Dishwasher safe
- Lifetime warranty
- Easy to use
- Slow to work with
6. P51 Can Opener
The P51 can opener is a camping can opener, but it’s also a budget can opener if you’re looking for something cheap to get you by. P51 can openers are two inches long. They’re compact and lightweight and can fit on a keyring or in your pocket.
To open a can using a P51 can opener, you simply move the open toward yourself in an up and down motion along the rim of the can.
- Best used for camping
7. Farberware Can Opener
This best manual can opener is another affordable option if you’re looking for something that will just open your cans. It comes with a simple turn-knob design that makes it easy for anyone to use because the design will puncture any metal lid, and once fixed, it will turn smoothly.
It’s a safe can opener and won’t leave behind a sharp edge like other can openers. Plus, it’s very compact. It features heat-resistant construction, so you don’t have to worry about it coming in contact with heat.
- Heat resistant
- Leaves behind a smooth edge
- Easy to use
- Not very durable
What to Look for in the Best Manual Can Opener
We’ve gone over the best manual can openers on the market today, so what makes them the best? What features should you look for when you go shopping for the best manual can opener for you?
In this next section, we’ll go over some of the critical features to think about when you go searching for your next manual can opener.
The best manual can opener requires minimal hand strength to crank the knob, but the can opener should turn smoothly with the least amount of strain. When it comes to manual can openers, the design varies, but most are fitted with a curved or flat knob-styled crank.
The larger the turn knob is, the easier it is to turn and operate the manual can opener.
In addition to the size of the knob, handling a manual can opener is easier if the handles are easy to grip. Look for handles that are non-slip and fit comfortably in the palm of your hand.
Handles that will lock together while you crank the knob reduce the hand strain you have because you won’t have to squeeze as hard to keep the handles together.
Side vs. Top Cutting
Traditional manual can openers will cut through the lid of the can and leave behind a sharp edge that can slice hands while emptying the can. Most people have this kind of manual can opener, so if that’s what you prefer, there’s plenty of them on the market.
If you’re looking for a can opener that will leave behind a smooth edge, look for a manual can opener that will cut the can from the side. This style of manual can opener will allow you to safely remove the lid of the can without cutting your hands. It’s also more sanitary because the blade of the can opener doesn’t come in contact with your food, and you don’t have to stick your fingers into the can to look for the lid.
Two parts of the manual can opener require consideration regarding the material made from the body and the cutting mechanism and the handles.
First up is the body and the cutting wheel. The cutting wheel or cutting mechanism is exposed to liquids, so it must use a metal that resists corrosion and rust. Stainless steel is an excellent choice because it stays sharp and resists corrosion, rust, and stains.
Handles are next. Because you need to hold onto the handles to open a can, it’s best to go for a can opener with rubber handles. We mentioned handles above, so remember what we said above when you go shopping for the best manual can opener.
Manual can openers can be bulky, so you must get one that fits in your hands because if it’s too large, you’ll struggle to grip it. If it’s too small, it’ll be hard for you to align it with the can.
You’re ideally looking for a manual can opener that has an ergonomic handle design that is angled well so you can tightly hold it while opening your cans. The best manual can opener will also fit in your drawer or have a hanging hook.
Most manual can openers have cutting wheels that touch the food in your cans. This means that cleaning is essential. Find a can opener that opens wide enough for you to clean the cutting wheel with a toothbrush or sponge because most can openers shouldn’t be placed in the dishwasher.
While extra grips and flanges might make the manual can opener easy to use, they can add spots on the can opener where bacteria can grow and hide. So make sure that you’re weighing ease of use against the ability to clean the tool.
The best manual can opener doesn’t need to come with many bells and whistles to be the best. But some do have additional features that you might want. Some can openers have magnetic lid-catching tools to save you from having to fish out the lid. In contrast, other can openers come with bottle openers.
What features you go for will depend on what you’re searching for in a manual can opener.
How to Use a Manual Can Opener
Follow these steps to use a manual can opener the right way:
- Place your can on a flat surface, such as a counter. With the turning handle facing you, open the wings of the can opener slightly and fit the cutting wheel inside the can’s rim. Close the wings to hold the blade in place gently. Hold with one hand.
- Squeeze the wings together with one hand, locking the handles together and piercing the top of the can with the cutting wheel. You might have to reposition to get the cutting wheel to pierce the can
- With your other hand, turn the knob. The can will turn the can as it cuts around the can. You can either let the can opener cut open the entire can until the lid falls into the can or leave about a half-inch of the can left uncut.
- Carefully take the lid off the can or bend the lid up. Remember that the edges will be sharp unless you use a side-cutting manual can opener.
Now that you know how to use your manual can opener properly, it’s time to talk about how to maintain the best manual can opener properly, so it lasts for years to come.
Most people throw their manual can openers back in the drawer after using them, but this is a huge mistake because food and liquids can coat the cutting wheel. This can cause bacteria and rust to grow on the manual can opener. Because of this, proper maintenance is required after each use.
To care for your best manual can opener, rinse your can opener with soap and warm water and let it dry completely before you put it back in the drawer.
If you notice that your can opener has a grime buildup, let it soak in some white vinegar for a few minutes, and then scrub with a brush to get rid of the grime. If the buildup of grime or rust doesn’t go away, it might be time to invest in a new can opener.
The best manual can opener is one that you can easily use and resist rust. Which kitchen tool you go with will depend on your personal preference and needs. We gave you a list of the best manual can openers on the market today to help you narrow down which ones are worth looking into and which ones aren’t.
Remember that you want something that’s going to be comfortable, safe, and durable. So, go for the product that speaks to you, and you should be good to go.
How Do I Fix My Manual Can Opener?
The most common issue with manual can openers is that they become hard to turn or become stuck. You can use cooking spray or oil to lubricate the wheels or gears: spread a little bit of oil over the wheels or gears of the can opener, and it should start working smoothly again.
Avoid using commercial lubricants on your can opener because they aren’t food safe. If using oil doesn’t work, the gears may be broken, and you might need to invest in a new manual can opener.
Can I Sharpen My Manual Can Opener?
If you’re keeping your manual can opener clean and performing regular maintenance on your can opener, your cutting wheel should remain sharp. If you find that the cutting wheel starts skipping or seems dull, you can run it over a piece of folded aluminum foil several times.
To do this: clamp the cutting wheel down over the folded aluminum foil and turn the handle to move the foil through the can opener, and the material will sharpen and clean the cutting blade.