Electric or manual can opener?

A friend of mine told me she was having a problem with her electric can opener and I thought: “Ohhh…I remember those!!!” I had totally forgotten about them. I mean sure I was aware they existed in some forgotten corner of my mind but I haven’t thought about them for years. I had one when I first moved out on my own, a hand me down, but I think I threw it away at some point in favor of a manual. A manual is just as fast, easier to clean and doesn’t take up as much space. If someone had asked for a can opener for a gift they would have gotten a manual one. It never would have occured to me to even look for an electric version. So, it got me wondering what other people visualize first when they hear the word can opener…electric or manual?

Also, what do you use personally and why do you prefer it over the other?

I use manual for the reasons you give: cheaper, just as fast, goes in the dishwasher, takes up almost zero space.

When I hear someone say “can opener” I envision a manual opener, unless they’re talking about how the cats come running when they hear it. :slight_smile:

When I think of one, I think electric. I remember the device at my Grandmas when I was younger.

As for what I prefer, I guess a manual will do. Electrics are good for those who cook a lot or have a need to bust open a lot of cans. But don’t blame someone for getting one even if they need to do a few cans a year. Personal preference thing.


Now that’s kinda weird, because I always assume that everyone else has an electric can opener. Many of my friends consider me something of a Luddite (or they would if they knew the word) because I have no microwave, no crock pot, no deep fryer, no television… and I just got a toaster over 2 years ago. So I just always figgered that my manual can opener was not the norm as well.

Eh, we cook a lot, and neither of us have owned an electric can opener since moving out of our parents’ homes. The extra 1/10 of a calorie expended just isn’t that big a deal, especially when you consider the price difference. And my parents have been through 3 electric ones in the time since we bought our manual.

Oh, and just to be more picayune about it, this is what I mean when I say “manual can opener.”

FWIW, I opened a couple of cans with the one on my Swiss army knife once. That’s survival mode, there, let me tell you.

I use a manual one. Why complicate things with another piece of useless junk in the kitchen?

I think I had an electric can opener once, maybe when I first married? (Twenty years ago.) For at least the past decade, though, I use a manual opener. Like others have pointed out, who has the counter space for such a specialized gadget? For someone like my grandmother, with arthritis and other dexterity issues, an electric opener makes sense. Otherwise? Three dollars, easy to clean, easy to store - what’s the downside of a manual opener?

More than half of the cans we open these days have pull-tabs.

My parents had an electric model and I had to learn how to use the manual type when I left home for college. I was kind of surprised at how easy it turned out to be, once you know how.

I preferred an electric because, being left handed, I always either have to use it upside-down…or right handed.

I can use a manual and whenever I buy my own stuff I’m sure I will get one cuz it is cheaper, but if I had my choice…electric.

Manual. My family had an electric one once, and it was a pain. We don’t open all that many cans that need it - stewed and diced tomatoes and that’s about it. Most things have pull tabs. I’m in the “we have too much stuff on our counters already” contingent.

Manual now. I just don’t open as many cans as my parents did when I was growing up. They had an electric can opener that they must have picked up in the 1970’s or maybe early 80s. I remember those big ass cans of coffee that they would buy. I’d hate to open one of them with manual.

I also just remember a lot more canned food 20 years ago. Tuna, canned veggies, canned fruit, canned cans.

I’m sure I’d use an electric if I ended up with one. But, I"m not going out of my way to buy one, either.

I actually just had this discussion with my Mom. I just moved, and she decided one of the things I needed for the new place was an electric can opener. I had to talk her out of it. I agree with all the reasons stated above - more expensive, takes up counter space, etc. I do however, open a fair number of cans. What can I say - I have a strange but devote love for canned mushrooms, which rarely come with pull tabs.

That being said, I really wouldn’t mind having an electric hand mixer. That would be nice.

I only use manual, but I’ve used some spectacularly sucky manual ones and can see why someone would make the switch to electric. When my wife and I first met, she had an old metal one that did little more than spin in place every time I tried to open something.

I have an Oxo opener that’s incredibly easy to use.

I’m with the manual contingent, and I cook a lot. I’ll take the counter space over the electric can opener, hands down. Or, um, hands up and wrapped around my manual can opener or something…

What you really want is the can opener of the astronauts, the Swing-A-Way, selected by NASA for the Skylab Space Station!

I use a manual one that unzips the crimp instead of cutting. I like it a whole lot better than the electric one I used to own. My parents always had an electric one and when I set out on my own, I got one too. I like that the manual kind can be cleaned in the dishwasher, and I don’t have to worry about cutting myself.

I have a side cutter that I like. I can put the lid back on with a rubber band and put the can in the fridge.

What I would like is a kitchen version of the manualones used in restaraunts with a big fishing reel style handle.

I’m left-handed too, and I hate electric can openers. I don’t understand why so many other lefties have trouble using a manual one right-handed because it’s not difficult. Upside down sounds messy, though.

We’ve had both electric and manual I think the big “keeping up with the Joneses” push to have an electric opener in the 70’s is what drove many of these relics into our parents kitchens. Some refuse to die.

We had a rechargeable one that popped off of it’s wall mount and worked kinda like an electric opener and “walked” around the edge of the can. That one was pretty clever but the ones where you have to line up the can with the cutter on a plastic base are annoying as hell.

I even bought one of those expensive Pampered Chef manual side cutters thinking it would be cool but the one that comes out of the drawer most every time is the old Swing-a-Way.