Brief Introduction to Can Openers

A can opener or a tin opener, is a device that eases the process of cutting into a metal can or tin. The opener works by simply puncturing into the metal and ripping off the top cover of the can.

ZYLISS Lock N Lift Can OpenerA can opener has 3 different parts, two long arms better known as levers that clamp onto the side of the can. The handle that is used to turn the can is comprised of an axle and a wheel. The circular wheel that cuts into a can is called a wedge.

Types of Can Openers

Having the right can opener saves you both time and energy.
There are manual can openers and automatic ones. Can openers can also be categorized into the various types:

Claw-shaped Opener

This is also known as lever-type opener, and was one of the first designs. It is hand-operated and has a large curved blade with a guard on the other end to prevent it from going deep into the can.
The Claw-shaped can opener is easy to use; simply puncture the lid along the rim of the can, insert the sharp sickle into the can, then saw along the edge.

Church Key Opener

This is a simple hand-operated opener, made using one piece of pressed metal and has a pointed edge that is used to pierce the lid. It was initially used to pry open the crown cork of glass bottles, and is now used to open flat topped beer cans.

To use, just hold the can with one hand, secure the guard at the edge of the can, and puncture it using the pointed edge of the opener, then quickly and firmly lift the opener to rip the can open.

Bunker Opener

This is a one-handed opener is made of plier-type handles, a key, and a serrated wheel. It firmly grips the can while you crank the key that rotates the serrated wheel to cut through the lid.

Butterfly opener

The Butterfly opener punctures the can just the way the church key does. Then the serrated wheel helps cut into the lid just like with the Bunker opener.

Key Opener

The key opener is for opening thin-walled containers. It has one twisted piece of metal which looks like a door key. It is usually attached to the container it opens.

This key is simple to use; simply twist it in a particular direction so as to tear and roll up a strip on the side of the can. There is usually a couple of these keys on the lid to roll it from one edge to the other.

Single Wheel Opener

The single wheel opener is magnetic, so it holds the can in place while the wheel cuts through the rim. It has a finer grate, which gives the can a smooth finish.

To use, simply place the opener on top of the lid keeping the wheel close to the rim. Cut through the lid by cranking the key to turn the wheel.

Side can opener

The side can opener has a serrated feed wheel as well as the cutting wheel, to give you a firm grip while cutting through the lid. It cuts the outside rim of the can, giving you a smooth finish.

To use, just place the raised edge of the opener along the raised edge of the can and twist the knob.

Counter top openers

Counter top openers have a vacuum base that allows them to be secured on the kitchen counter.

They are easy to use; secure the opener in place, hold the bottom of the tin with one hand, and turn the knob with the other hand. The sharp wheel will cut into the lid, leaving you with a smoothly opened can.

Electric Opener

The electric opener comes with magnets that hold the can in place, as they cut through the lid. You don’t have to lift a finger when using an electric can opener.

To use, just place the can under the opener. The can will rotate, allowing the wheel to tear open the top. The magnets will then separate the lid from the can. Find more details about electric openers on this post.

Pull tabs

You must have seen these on modern cola cans and tins. They allow you to easily open the can by lifting the tab to puncture the tin. It either rolls or lifts the lid off.