Kitchen & Cooking

Here's how to properly use an electric can opener

The hands-off way to open all sorts of cans.

How to use an electric can opener Credit: Reviewed / Jackson Ruckar

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How an electric can opener works

Looking to add a little extra convenience to your life? If so, it’s time to invest in an electric can opener.

Even though there are plenty of tried-and-true manual can openers, upgrading to an electric version of this small kitchen appliance will make opening cans of ingredients easier and faster than ever. Seriously, once you try an electric can opener, you won’t want to go back to the old way of cranking tops off by hand.

Whether you’re opening cans of beans to add to a steaming pot of chili or removing the top of a tuna can to make a mid-day sandwich, an electric can opener will always be there for you—as long as you use it the right way. If you’re not exactly sure how your new appliance works, here's how to use it properly.

Step 1: Prepare the can opener

Lift or press the lever that releases the can opener’s blade and clamp so you can position the can.

Step 2: Get the can into position

Place the can against the back of the appliance and ensure the lip is aligned with the wheel and blade.

Step 3: Secure the can

Once the can is in position, adjust the cutter head to clamp the can in place.

Step 4: Open the can

Press down on the cutter head or push the designated button to start opening the can. As it rotates, lightly hold the can so its contents don’t spill.

Step 5: Remove lid

The can opener’s magnet will hold onto the lid of the can when you disengage the clamp. Remove the lid from the magnet and recycle it.

Handheld electric can openers

Handheld electric can opener
Credit: Instecho

Handheld electric can openers work a little differently.

All electric can openers have two universal components: a sharp blade that slices the lid and a serrated metal disc that rotates the can. However, there are a few styles of electric can openers, so the instructions above aren't necessarily one-size-fits-all.

If you have a handheld electric can opener, for instance, the process is a little different. To use a handheld electric can opener, start by placing the can on a flat surface. Line up the two discs of the can opener with the edge of the can. With one hand loosely holding the can in place, press down on the can opener to start the rotation. In just a few seconds, you’ll have a neatly opened can with minimal effort.

Are electric can openers worth it?

Those who spend a lot of time in the kitchen tend to prefer electric can openers, as their efficiency and precision eliminate the need for manual can openers and make prepping meals a little easier. Another key benefit of electric can openers? You can avoid sticking your finger into the can to retrieve the lid after it’s been opened. With an electric can opener, the lid is easy to grab thanks to the magnetized portion of the head. Plus, the hands-off process is easier for those who may have hand or wrist problems.

However, if you only find yourself opening cans once in a while, you might be just fine with a manual can opener. While they require a little more work on your part, manual can openers are generally less expensive and take up less storage space. Ultimately, you'll have to decide which option is best for your cooking needs.