Manual can openers

Mom had a cabinet-mount Swing-A-Way manual can opener for at least the first 18 years of my life. When I bought my house 45 years ago, I bought the same model (well, in the interim they added a magnet to catch the lid before it fell inside the can), which I did replace when the blade became overly dull; I can’t recall how many years it lasted but back then I was raising and showing pedigreed cats, opening at LEAST a dozen cans a day.

In my rapidly-increasing decrepitude, my shoulder arthritis is now bad enough that I can’t raise my right arm high enough to use the can opener, which is screwed to the lower part of the cabinet beside the kitchen sink. I’ve been using a badly-designed, tiny manual opener that I bought even before my house, to use at cat shows.

I’m looking for suggestions as to what brand to buy (online) or avoid, in a normal size manual can opener. So far, my hand and forearm strength are still pretty good. I prefer the type that removes just the lid and not the rim.

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You might like a handheld Swing-Away. I have a long-handled one I like that I bought at a resto supply store. It also has a longer crank and knob, so generally it has good leverage. I see no model #.

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We’ve used this Oxo for years. It’s got a good sized knob to turn and works well.


My handheld sort of works, but it’s a challenge to hold and turn the knob. I’m back to getting an electric to go next to my toaster oven.


I have this Kitchen Aid. You may find it for a better price at Home Goods, which is where I bought a second one for my mom.
But beware–dry it very thoroughly as it tends to rust. A few drops of cooking oil on the metal parts seems to keep this from happening.

It’s a great opener otherwise, never had a problem with large or heavy cans.

Here’s the model I have. It replaced one that just has the “wing” style turning knob. The crank makes it easier to turn, but it’s not compact, 10" long.

I second the Oxo. I also grew up with a wall-mounted electric can opener, but I want to be able to open cans when the power is out.

I couldn’t find a brand logo on mine, but it’s much like the Oxo. The only difference is that rather than an fat oval knob for turning, mine has a slight S shape so that you can grip and turn it easily. I’ve had this for a good 15 yrs. For all I know it might be an early Oxo model no longer sold.

Another OXO fan here. I got one with a magnet ‘arm’ that has been/was a little troublesome. I found it seemed to interfere in some way with getting the thing well-seated on top of the can. Then one day it came off - just by accident - and I have found it much easier to get the opener correctly seated on the can.

This is the first c/o I’ve had with a magnet so I don’t know if I got a defective one, defective design, or it was just me.

Are Brabantia products available in the US? Their can opener has served me well in the UK for over 20 years.

Actually it gets little use these days as I guess 90% of the canned products (tomatoes, various beans, chick peas, tuna etc) I buy have pull-ring opening.


Growing up our kitchen had the wall mount Swing Away. Later, there was Oster brand electric, aka the ‘cat caller’, even the next door neighbor’s cats. After having numerous hand helds over the years, I have to say the OXO soft grip style I have had now for maybe eight years is the best! I like the no sharp edge cutting and the handy lid remover. I don’t know much about OXO, but I am very happy with this product.


Ours looks similar to this Oxo one, although I’m not sure if it’s exactly the same (edit - see below). Once you have it bite it down through the lid, the handles kind of lock into place so you don’t have to really keep squeezing the handles together very much - they mostly stay in place, so you just have to focus on twisting the knob, which isn’t hard (good gears, well aligned).

Edit - Okay, I just checked and the brand name is Zyliss, for what it’s worth. But it is easy to use.

But frankly if I still had the shoulder issues (mine are mostly a lot better now), I’d go for an electric stand-type can opener. Just jam it in there and let `er rip.

I agree that these days a can opener is still required to keep in the kitchen but seldom used due to the pull-ring style lids.

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I have two Zyliss versions. One looks like the common style that opens the cannon the top of the lid. The other cuts open the lid from the side. Both work fine.

Is Zyliss a European competitor of Oxo?

Thanks for the concern, but electric can openers (like power windows in cars) are anathema to me.

I wish more cans had pull-ring lids. Most of the cans in my house don’t.

That reminds me of when we bought an electric can opener for my mom thinking it would help and/or impress her with it’s fantastic modern convenience. Turns out she could never figure out how to get it to work, and it took me or my sister at least 20 mins to get it to latch on and work too. That thing stayed in a box for much of its life with us. :sweat_smile:

I like my EZ-DUZ-IT can opener, basically the same style as the Swing-A-Way but easier to use.