Opening canned goods shouldn't be a struggle. And if it is, then it is time to upgrade to a quality can opener that can open can lids with ease and lasts for years.
These days, kitchen brands put just as much design attention into a can opener as they do any major appliance. And we've rounded up the best of the best. So whether you're shopping for a can opener with a magnet to prevent spills, a handle that's easy to hold if you have arthritis, or an electric can opener to do all the work for you, we've found the right one for every need and budget.
Take a look at our top-rated picks for best can opener and see which one is best for your kitchen. We even threw in a backpack-friendly option for camping and cooking on the go.
You might think something as simple as a can opener wouldn't have fancy bells or whistles, but there's a surprising amount of features to look for when shopping for a manual can opener, such as ergonomics. Soft grips and larger handles can help people with limited dexterity and arthritis turn or crank a can opener more easily.
There are now can openers made with a "smooth cut" feature to prevent slicing your hand when you lift the edge of a metal lid. Those cuts can be serious, especially for kids, so look for that safety feature if you've got little helpers in the kitchen.
But you don't even have to touch the lid anymore. Some can openers have incorporated magnets that hold and then release the lid for a complete hands-free opening. This feature also helps curb messes with liquid, such as tomato juice splatters.
Beyond the design, consider the durability of a can opener. You don't want to keep replacing it year after year.
Typically, cheap can openers aren't dishwasher safe, and it's a big pain to hand wash a can opener every time you use it. Also, the metals in these cheaper options likely aren't pro-grade, such as stainless steel, and will rust over time. No one wants a rusty can opener.
OXO's signature, easy-to-grip handles perform extremely well across the board for kitchen tools, such as peelers, slicers and pitters. And the company's can openers are no exception. In fact, this is where OXO really shines.
The MVP can opener on our list is OXO's Good Grips Soft-Handled Can Opener. At less than $15 (with free shipping for Prime members), it's a bargain and has every feature you want in a can opener, from a large knob that makes turning easy to cushy handles that alleviate pressure and strain on hands to a secret built-in bottle opener. But the best and most important feature: Unlike other OXO models, this one is dishwasher safe.
Buy it: OXO Good Grips Soft-Handled Can Opener, $15; Amazon
If you couldn't care less about how well-designed a can opener is and you just need a sturdy tool that lasts for years without breaking the bank, this is your buy. The EZ-DUZ-IT is no frills, and it relies on the classic, gear-driven basics. There's no smooth-like-butter crank or contoured handles on this one, but what you do get is a seemingly infinite amount of guaranteed opened cans for about $11. So, if that's all you need, you can buy this USA-made product with absolute confidence.
The only drawback is that you will have to hand wash it. As it's only chrome-plated, make sure to completely dry after washing to ensure it doesn't rust.
Buy it: EZ-DUZ-IT Can Opener, $12; Amazon
Manual can openers are chunky and can take up a lot of room in a silverware tray or kitchen drawer. If you're short on space, check out the Joseph Joseph Can-Do Compact Can Opener. This nifty little wonder sits on top of a can, attaches to the lid with magnets and slices through metal with ease. Even the cooking pros at Sur La Table swear by it, but we found it for a couple bucks less at Target. This tiny, space-saving doo-dad would make a great addition in a care package for a college kid or even a holiday stocking stuffer for the gear obsessed.
Buy it: Joseph Joseph Can-Do Compact Can Opener, $8; Target
If you'd rather not crank at all, invest in an electric can opener and let it do all the work for you. This small appliance is super handy for multi-taskers, busy parents, or cooks with limited dexterity.
But the convenience doesn't come cheap. Priced at about $50, the Cuisinart Electric Can Opener is like the Cadillac of can openers. It features a brushed stainless steel finish to match gourmet kitchen appliances and touts a breezy, one-touch operation with a magnetic lid holder and a removable activation lever for easy cleanup. This appliance will completely spoil you. If you can splurge, splurge on this one.
Buy it: Cuisinart Electric Can Opener, $50; Amazon
You know it's time to replace a can opener when it starts making those wavy cuts on the can lid. Or the metal edge comes out totally jagged. Those sharp, uneven edges can easily cause an accidental cut when you remove the lid. One way to prevent these knicks and slices is with a can opener specially designed to create smooth edges. True to its name, the OXO Smooth Edge Can Opener is engineered to cut metal lids with incredible precision. No jagged edges or surprise metal spikes. If you have a kid sous-chef in the kitchen, this is one of the safest manual can openers on the market.
Buy it: OXO Smooth Edge Can Opener, $20; Target
Like with other tools in the kitchen, the most hygienic material for a can opener is stainless steel because it doesn't have pores, which can become a breeding ground for bacteria. But not all can openers that claim to be stainless steel are completely stainless steel. The gears and the blade might be, but the handle might not, so it's important to read the fine print on materials when shopping.
If you're looking for a can opener that's 100 percent stainless steel — even the handles and crank — check out the Roslë Stainless Steel Can Opener. True to name, it's stainless steel inside and out. Plus, it features an additional hygienic design as the lid never comes into contact with food.
Buy it: Rosle Stainless Steel Can Opener with Pliers Grip, $40; Amazon
If you have arthritis, carpal tunnel syndrome, or other pain in your hands and wrists, an electric can opener is likely your best bet, as it doesn't require any holding or turning. But if you do want a manual can opener, it's important to look at the ergonomics, or how well the can opener feels and operates.
Similar to other OXO models in our roundup, the OXO Good Grips Smooth Edge Can Opener is designed to take the pressure off of your hands. Instead of clamping down on the handles, you simply pop the tool on top and hold gently. No squeezing required. This one also features a nifty slot that holds the lid in place for a touch-free removal.
Buy it: OXO Good Grips Smooth Edge Can Opener, $23; Bed Bath & Beyond
One of the best features to look for when shopping for a new can opener is a magnet. This simple addition is a serious game changer in the kitchen. Magnets hold a lid in place so there's no slipping when opening a can, and they also prevent a lid from dropping into the can and into your food — fishing out a lid while simultaneously trying not to knick your fingers is the worst.
One of the strongest magnets we found is on the KitchenAid Gourmet Soft Grip Can Opener. It probably would have scored higher and earned our best overall can opener award, but it's not dishwasher safe.
Buy it: KitchenAid Gourmet Soft Grip Can Opener With Magnet, $15; Amazon
They really should put a warning on canned tomato sauce like "Heads up: This will be a 100 percent nightmare for your white counters and cabinets." If you're tired of the clean-up, stop the splatter with a can opener that actually prevents messes.
The OXO Good Grips Locking Can Opener With Lid Catch is a godsend for keeping kitchens clean. It has a magnet that holds on tight to any can lid, and it doesn't let go until you press a little button to release it which makes rinsing off and disposing lids super easy. The tool also features a little covering that pinches the can and keeps the lid safely in place. As for cleaning the tool itself, it's dishwasher-safe so you don't have to wash a thing.
Buy it: OXO Good Grips Locking Can Opener With Lid Catch, $18; Amazon
Beyond the kitchen, having a travel-friendly can opener is a must for camping or RVing. It's even a good idea to pack one for a vacation rental just in case the property doesn't have kitchen essentials.
But you likely don't want a can opener taking up much space in your suitcase. Enter the Coghlan's G.I. Can Opener. This teeny, tiny lightweight gadget can squeeze into any pocket in your bag. It's made with nickel-plated hardened steel so if you're out camping and your gear gets wet, you don't have to worry about it rusting. Just be careful when packing as it's razor sharp.
Buy it: Coghlan's G.I. Can Opener, $6; Amazon
Related: Browse our collection of Canned Food Recipes.