Arthur strives to balance aesthetics, functionality, and quality with costs when planning DIY projects in the home and garden.
This model has a knife sharpener on the back, but it’s something I’ve not actually used yet; although some of our older (and trusty) kitchen knives are beginning to get a bit blunt so I guess it'll not be long before I'll be using the knife sharpener facility.
Why I Love This Great British Tin Opener
It goes without saying that to open a tin of food which doesn't have a pull-tab that you'll need to use either an electric or manual (handheld) Can Opener. I wrote this article to compare the humble hand operated can opener with electric ones highlighting the obvious advantages of using electric can openers; and demonstrating why I love the British model we use.
For clarity, what's called a can opener in America is a tin opener in Britain; so the two terms are synonymous although more often than not Ill use the British description in this review article.
Until recent years we've always used the good old fashioned handheld devices to open tins. We find them simple, easy to use and quick; a simple tool for a simple task. That is until we received an electric one as a gift; and since then we haven't looked back.
As shown in my video demonstration, the electric one is so easy to use, convenient, quick and reliable that there is no point in opening tins by hand. Although we have kept the manual one which is hanging it up in the kitchen just for emergencies e.g. in the event the electric one fails, we have a power cut or we're on holiday where there's no electricity or no tin opener has been provided.
Hands Free Demonstration of the Kenwood
Our Model of the Kenwood in Action
This is a short video I made to demonstrate how quick and easy it is to open canned food with little or no effort. And requires no hands to operate which means this kitchen device can be opening your tinned food while you’re getting the saucepan from the kitchen cupboard ready to put on the stove or hob.
The Kenwood Electric Tin Opener
Hands Free Operation
Opening tinned food by hand is simple enough; open it with an electric can opener is even simpler.
With the model we use all that’s required is to lift the handle, put the can in place and lower the handle which firmly holds the tinned food in place and automatically turns the can opener on to that it proceeds to cut the lid. The whole hands free process takes about 10 seconds.
Once the lid is cut just simply raise the handle to release the can and empty the contents into your saucepan for heating. The lid, now detached from the can, is firmly held in place by a strong magnet until you’re ready to remove it for disposal.
Hands Free Grip
Holds the Can Tightly
The great things about these kitchen devices is that they hold the tinned food securely by just the flick of the handle and even once the lid is cut off the can still remain safely in place until you grab it to pour the food content into your saucepan for cooking. And even when you’ve taken the tin away the lid remains in place waiting for you to dispose of it.
I can still remember in the days before these electric devise existed how my grandmother use to struggle trying to open tinned food by hand; if only she had an electric tin opener life would certainly have been so much easier for her.
Handle Lifts for Easy Operation
Smooth Action and Ease of Use
Cooking is a hobby of mine, and one where I don't want to spend hours slaving over a hot stove when I can find simpler ways to prepare a tasty nutritious meal. So as a keen cook, and a vegetarian, I like to experiment with my dishes to make interesting, tasty and nutritious meals from basic ingredients using kitchen appliances and devices when their beneficial.
However, as many will know, some of the electrical devices can take ages to setup. Be fiddly to use and then awkward to clean; no so the well-designed electric can openers; and the one reviewed in this article is well designed. It sits on the kitchen work surface patiently waiting to be used. When needed the handle just lifts up with no resistance, you offer the canned food up, bring the handle back down and it automatically grabs it tightly. Then one quick push on the top of the handle and it just gets on with the job of opening the can for you; and then holds it safely until you're ready to take the can off its hands, at which point the can just lifts away in your hands with no resistance.
At no time do you have to struggle with any part of the operation so for the elderly in particular it's probably one of the most useful devices in the modern kitchen; making it an ideal practical gift for parents and grandparents who struggle in preparing their meals.
Easy to Clean
Simplicity in Design
Although tin openers don’t get dirty quickly, other than the very tip of the cutting blade they don’t come into contact with the food, this is a very well designed piece of kitchen apparatus where with just one simple twist the whole handle pulls out for through and easy cleaning. You could put the handle in the dishwasher but dishwashers do tend to rust things quicker so I would recommend just rinsing it under the hot tap, giving it a quick wipe over with a dishcloth and drying it off with a tea towel; then just popping it back ready for use. The rest of the tin opener is ergonomically shaped so is easy to wipe clean with a damp dish cloth.
Kenwood Can Openers
In this review article I’ve focused on electric tin openers manufactured by Kenwood specifically because that’s what we use and love in our kitchen; and the one we have has given us years of perfect service with no problems and is so easy to use.
Although a well-known and trusted brand name manufacturer in Britain with their products readily available on the British market in doing my research I’ve noticed these products tend to be in limited supply in America. But here is another model that's currently available.
Handheld Tin Openers
Hand Operated Can Openers
Manually operated tin openers are easy enough to use; especially the older more traditional types where you just place the tin opener on the can and turn the side knob until the lid is cut off and can be removed before emptying the food contents into the saucepan.
I have tried some of the more modern fancy hand operated tin openers and some of them can be a little fiddly to fit onto the can until you get the knack; and once fitted doesn't seem any easier or quicker to operate. So I think this is one instance when basic is good and wonder why you should want to pay more for something more fancy looking when a simple basic tin opener does just as good a job.
Also if you're going camping e.g. tent and campfire the traditional basic tin opener will be lighter and less bulky than some of the more fancy tin openers and therefore easier to slip into your rucksack and lighter to carry.
But for the kitchen an electric tin opener is so much easier and quicker than a hand held manual tin opener that it should take pride and place on you worktop surface and be to hand to use at a moment's notice.
Dangers to Wildlife of Not Removing the Tin Lid Completely
Look After Your Pet and Wildlife Safety
Some people don't cut the lid off completely, they leave a little of the lid attached to the tin and lift it up like a flap to empty the tinned contents. Consequently (even if the tin is disposed of properly for recycling) there is always a risk of it ending up in the wild (being accidentally dropped in the open) or wildlife getting to it while rummaging through your rubbish bin.
The danger to wildlife and pets of a lid attached to a tin is real; foxes and badgers alike other wildlife and pets have been seriously harmed where an attached lid has acted like a barb, cutting and sometimes trapping the animal's head as it nudges it into the tin foraging for food; therefore always remove the lid completely and for extra safety to wildlife squash the tin down.
For wildlife the tin opener pictured here, commonly used when camping (or traveling) is probably one of the worst tin openers to use in that it cuts a ragged edge to the tin which if not disposed of properly can be lethal to any poor creature trying to lick food from the inside of the empty tin.
Pull Tabs and Ring Pulls
Tinned Foods That Open Just Like Canned Drinks
Just like canned drinks with their ring pulls many (and an increasing number) of tinned food is being sold with pull tabs elevating the need for tin openers. But many tinned foods that require an tin opener are still being sold, and occasionally a pull tab can break off when you try to open a tin; so a tin opener whether manual or electric is still a very much a must need in the kitchen.
Unlike the ring pulls on drink cans the pull tabs on tinned food is securely attached to the lid so the whole lid is pulled off; obviously so the contents can be emptied into a saucepan for heating. Therefore unlike the rings pulls on canned drinks they can't be collected and used decorative purposes e.g. making bling jewellery.
Electric vs Hand Tin Opener
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2012 Arthur Russ
Have you had any experience with can openers? - Share your views and comments here
Arthur Russ (author) from England on June 15, 2017:
Thank you all for your comments and feedback; and additional advice and tips based on your own experiences.
Tony Bonura from Tickfaw, Louisiana on November 24, 2012:
I have gotten into some epic fights with stubborn electric openers. I usually win by trashing the stubborn one for a new one I can operate easily. Guess I showed them, huh?
johnsja on October 10, 2012:
Always using my electric can opener. Never fails me!
getmoreinfo on September 16, 2012:
I love my electric can-operner so much it makes opening canned foods so much easier.
saltwaterfishtankguide on September 13, 2012:
The electric opener I have could use some work, it's always a pain to get it started. Always good to have a manual one for backup.
anonymous on September 13, 2012:
Kay on September 09, 2012:
I'm fine with the handheld ones but I tend to buy really nice ones because they are SO much easier to use!
MichaelDubrovnik on September 08, 2012:
After using different tools, I always end up using a cloth to open a jar.
A RovingReporter on September 08, 2012:
Yes of course. I recommend that every household should have a good tin can opener.
Nancy Tate Hellams from Pendleton, SC on September 07, 2012:
We have two sitting on the counter now and I want to throw them both out. They are awful so maybe we should try this one that you recommend
queenofduvetcover on September 07, 2012:
I only use the electric ones. Too lazy to use the handheld ones lol Great info, thanks for sharing. =)
beindustrial on September 06, 2012:
I have both at home: electric and hand held can opener. I use electric can opener when I'm cooking in a rush or when I'm too tired to cook. But I use hand held can opener for my everyday, regular cooking. I treat it as a good arm exercise... :-)
jimbarnes lm on September 06, 2012:
it"s the electric one for me !
neotony on September 04, 2012:
i was old school until I experienced the electric can opener.
Dianeyp LM on September 03, 2012:
being left handed I find most can openers awkward, but must admit the electric one work best for me. great lense!
blue autumn on September 03, 2012:
I will give you an experience from two days ago. My can opener broke! So I made my own with a hammer and a screwdriver...handheld and automatic are better =).
anonymous on September 03, 2012:
That's quite the testimony for using an electric can opener and there are many who must love them because of not being able to operate those manual can openers due to disability and the electric opener gives them independence in that area. I've noticed those pull off lids can be a challenge and not as easy as a pop top to remove...wondering what crafty uses could be made of them for those who get a lot of them. I love that you present concerns to wildlife below the guestbook, those sharp edges are a danger to us too and its best to go with an opener that does a better job for the safety of all.
Harriet from Indiana on September 02, 2012:
I have had a few, but the one I have now is flimsy. It works but I always feel it might fall apart the next time I use it.