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10 Different Types of Can Openers

A collage of different types of can opener.

Many people stock up canned foods in their refrigerators for future days which can come in really handy during times when you don’t particularly feel like cooking. Canning is an excellent way to keep perishable food items from expiring and going bad.

However, as convenient it is to have ready-to-eat canned food, it is equally frustrating to open the can. These cans are often made from tin or metal so you obviously can’t plop it open with bare hands. You need some device or gadget to tear open the can.

What is a Can Opener Used for?

Lucky for you, with the latest technological advancements, you no longer have to worry about struggling with the can lid. You now have a multitude of different types of can openers at your disposal from which you can choose the one that best fits your needs.

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What is a Can Opener?

Simply put, a can opener is one of the most commonly used kitchen tools or devices that help you cut into a metal can with great ease and convenience.

These can openers also operate in a fairly simple manner in which they puncture into the metal can and rip off or tear apart the top of the can in a single, swift motion.

Can Opener Materials

Most can openers are made out of metal with some plastic elements such as handles, bases, or levers. However, some can openers can have wooden or bamboo components depending on the model.

Different Types of Can Openers

Since there is such a huge variety of can openers, you need to have the best of the lot to help save time and energy. Here are some of the most common and popular types of can openers that you are likely to find in almost all households in today’s time.

Lever-Type Can OpenerCan opener on a wooden background.

This can opener is also often referred to as the “claw-type opener” particularly due to how it is shaped like a claw. Level type can opener is one of the most basic and primal types of can openers that has gained significant population over the years and is still used in several households.

This opener is one of the most foremost designs that were used to slice open cans. It comes with a large sickle-shaped blade that helps puncture the lid of the can and open it up.

On the very opposite side of this curve-shaped blade, you will notice a kind of a shield or guard that serves the purpose of keeping the blade from cutting too deep in the can. This prevents the blade from touching or contacting any contents inside the can.

The right way to use the lever type can opener is to puncture the rim of the can lid and then slowly drive the sickle-shaped blade into the can. Saw along the edges with caution since it can result in a very sharp-edged container.


  • Doesn’t touch the contents of the can
  • Neatly punctures the can lid


  • A sharp blade can hurt fingers

Butterfly Can Opener

Butterfly Can Opener

This is a type of a manual can opener that greatly resembles and functions like a bunker opener. The butterfly can opener comes with a rotating cutting wheel that allows you to break open the top of the can, tightly hold on to the lid and then gradually open the can by spinning the lid around.

This can opener often comes with a “key” or crank, as well as “tongs” which helps one turn the can. This allows the serrated wheel of the opener to easily open the can.

The correct way to use the butterfly can opener is to first puncture the lid with the sharp ‘church-key’ kind of a pointed end and then tightly secure it with the pliers of the can opener.

Then cut through the lid with the sharp wheel at the back by cranking up the lever. Compared to the lever type or claw opener, this one might be a little more complicated and tricky to use.


  • Does an excellent job in terms of execution


  • Can be a little tricky and complicated to use

Church Key OpenerChurch Key Opener

This is a popular choice of can opener especially among campers and beer drinkers. Its popularity stems from the fact that it is incredibly easy and simple to use.

The church key opener is a basic hand-operated can opener that is commonly used to slice open the flat top of beer cans as well as to open the cork of different glass bottles.

This can opener was invented back in 1892 and has been used in many households ever since then. Although back in those days it wasn’t called a church key opener, the shape and design of the opener did make it look like a large simple key.

Church key openers are made with a single piece of pressed metal and have a pointed edge that helps pierce the lid of the can. The right way to use it is to first secure the guard firmly at the edge of the can, followed by a puncture in the lid with the help if the pointed edge of the can opener.

Then lift the opener in a very swift, rapid movement which will help rip a great part of the can, allowing you to empty out its contents.


  • Excellent for beers and drinks
  • Basic operating mechanism


  • Pointed edges can hurt fingers if not handled carefully

Single Wheel Opener

A single wheel can opener is very similar to the bunker can opener in terms of the design and function. The only difference is that the wheel opener comes with a magnet that attaches itself to keep the lid in place.

This can opener is more like a handy solution for all those times when you struggle with opening a tin can and all you end up getting is sharp and uneven edges on the can that can also hurt your fingers.

It allows for a quicker, safer and a much easier can opening with the help of its finer grate that lets you cut open a can with a very smooth and even finish.

The magnets further help keep the can in place as the wheel of the opener slowly cuts through the rim of the can.

The ideal way to use this opener is to attach the can opener on top of the can lid in a way that the wheel is positioned very close to the rim. Then crank the key in order to turn the wheel and to easily slice through the lid.


  • Has a magnet that makes things really easy
  • Results in smooth, even finish


  • Can be a nuisance if not worked with properly

Electric Can OpenerAn electric can opener on a white background.

The first ever electric can opener was created in 1931 after which they were re-introduced in 1956. Electric can openers have been majorly invented to get the ultimate hassle-free can opening experience.

These openers are extremely easy to use since all you need to do is push the button or flip the level, depending on the type of electric can opener you have.

These can openers come in two major varieties; under the cabinet models and free-standing countertop models. Most of these types of electric can openers come with magnets that keep the can in place.

The trick here is to position the can under the opener after which it starts rotating on top of the can, tearing the lid open within a matter of a few seconds.

Although these openers require space on the worktop, they are a great option for those people whose hands have a reduced grip or those who don’t have enough strength in their upper limbs.

The downsides of electric can openers is that firstly, they are slightly more expensive than many other types of can openers and secondly, they require two hands to operate.

However, despite these factors, they can tend to be super practical, especially if you suffer from joint pain or you are always too busy in the kitchen.

They do a very smooth and quick job in terms of execution and performance by ripping off the lid of a can within a few seconds. They also leave the edges of the can really even so there is absolutely no chance of you hurting your fingers.

These can openers are easily one of the top rated kitchen gadgets and because of their quality, ease of use and efficiency, they are a must-have for any smart kitchen.


  • Super quick and easy to use
  • Updated design that is super practical


  • A tad expensive than others
  • Requires the use of both hands

Key OpenerSilver Key-Shaped Can Opener

These look a lot like door keys especially due to the way they are designed like a key. Key can openers come with a single twisted piece of metal that is excellent for opening thin-walled cans. They need to be attached to the container completely in order for them to work properly.

These openers are commonly used in the majority of households because they are super easy to use and don’t even require much storage space. All you need to do is affix or attach the key opener to the cap in order to puncture it by using the sharp, pointed edge of the key-shaped feature.

The best way to use key can openers is to twist it in a particular direction so that you are easily able to tear a side of the can and roll it up upwards or outwards.


  • Compact and small
  • Easy to use


  • Pointed edges can hurt fingers

Bunker OpenerBunker Opener

This is the most popular one-handed opener that is made of pliers-type handles, a serrated wheel, and a key, all together which allow a smooth and easy can-opening experience.

The bunker feature of this can opener firmly grips the can as you crank up the key in order for the serrated wheel to rotate.

To work the bunker can opener, you first need to grip the can with the help of the pliers. Then turn the key and slice through the lid of the can with the help of the serrated wheel.


  • Requires only one hand
  • Easy to use

Side Can OpenerSide Can Opener on a Can

This is one of the few novel designs that emerged during the 1980s. Usually, most can openers work by cutting down through the lid from the very top, which results in a neat removal of the top and the rim being left behind, attached to the can.

Side can openers, on the other hand, use a cutting and roller wheel that only cuts through the side of the can below the rim. This results in complete removal of the rim as well as the top.

These can openers are equipped with a serrated wheel and also have the cutting wheel. This added feature provides a better grip when you slice through the lid of the can.

Also, since side can openers are primarily designed to puncture the outside rim of the can, they end up leaving a very neat and smooth finish.


  • New and innovative design
  • Completely removes the top and rim


  • A little complicated to use

Countertop Opener

As the name suggests, countertop openers are meant to be used by securing or attaching them on the kitchen counter. They often come with a vacuum base that helps you to kind of lock them on countertops.

The best features about this type of can opener are that they help open regular as well as pop top cans. They also do a very fine job in terms of cutting along the side of the can and producing a super smooth, touchable lid.

This also prevents the occurrence of any sharp lid edges that can potentially hurt your fingers. The opening lever of most of these countertop openers is incredibly easy-touch and all it requires is a light touch in order for it to work.

The correct way to use these can openers is to first secure the opener well in place after which you need to firmly hold the base of the can.

Then, turn the knob with your other free hand and at the same time, the sharp wheel on the opener will neatly and swiftly slice into the lid, producing a perfectly opened can.


  • They result in neatly opened cans
  • Stay put in one place


  • Might need large counter space

Manual Can OpenerOpening a canned food using a manual can opener.

A manual can opener is an ideal choice for all those people who are on a budget since they are available very cheap and inexpensive. They are also fairly easy to use and all you need to do is to turn the wheel or crank which will then make the lid easily slide through the spinning blades.

This action of the can opener helps reveal the top of the can which means that now you can easily empty the contents of the can.

One major downside of this can opener is that they need very steady hands and a tight grip in order to operate. This suggests that people with health conditions like arthritis find it a bit tough and challenging to use the manual can opener.


  • Not heavy on the pocket
  • Easy to use


  • Requires immense physical strength
  • Not ideal for people with arthritis

With all these different varieties of can openers, it is important to make a well-informed decision by thoroughly researching what type of can opener you really need for your kitchen.

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