EATING MY EMPIRE
The best can opener has much in common with the best mouse trap: It’s almost always the simplest, possessing the fewest bells and whistles and moving parts. Because, if we’re being honest, a can opener is the kind of essential home kitchen tool that we’d really rather think about as little as possible, and most innovations in “can opening technology” feel like they create more problems than they solve. We don’t want to fret over how much counter space a can opener is going to take up or whether it’ll work when the power goes out or if it’s okay for it to get wet or not. We just want to be able to take it out of the drawer and open cans of chickpeas, thank you very much.
Which is why we think that the best can opener for most people is the oh-so-simple EZ-Duz-It steel can opener. It’s our top pick because it’s cheap, will last a lifetime, and works like a champ every single time. For ease of use and reliability, you can’t beat a heavy-duty traditional can opener like the EZ, but it is also the case that certain folks in certain situations might be better served by another type of can opener—and that’s cool too. Read on to find out what kind of can-opening apparatus is best for you.
There are two main types of can openers on the market, and they operate in one of two ways. Top-cut can openers cut down into the lid from the top of the can, while side-cut can openers cut—you guessed it—into the side of the can in order to remove the lid. This typically results in a smoother edge that’s less likely to slice your fingers by accident. We’ve recommended one such option as a top safety pick. Then there’s the distinction between manual versus electric: For most people, a good old-fashioned manual opener will get the job done, but if you are unable to use a standard two-handed model for one reason or another, or you want an option that requires as little effort as humanly possible, we found a battery-operated electric tool that will cut the lid off that can of tuna with the click of a button.
As we mentioned, the EZ-Duz-It is pretty much our Platonic ideal of a can opener—if there were a can opener emoji, this is what it would look like. You don’t need an instruction manual, you don’t have to spend a single second wondering how it is supposed to work. All you have to do is clamp it onto the rim of the can and give the lever a few good cranks. And while it’s a simple, no-frills tool, it has a few key details we really appreciate: There are the rubberized handles, which make it easier to grip than similar all-metal versions, and a carbon-steel blade, which maintains a sharp edge for a really long time. While the EZ-Duz-It is technically dishwasher-safe, the manufacturer recommends hand-washing to keep it in tip-top shape. Bottom line: If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.