Friday, August 29, 2014

The Can Opener Question

A reader wants to know which can opener I recommend. I am sharing the information here for other moms who are trying to be good stewards. The following are in my kitchen right now, but I may soon phase out the electric can openers for counter space. They are my least favorite.

In addition to the smaller cans, our family uses a great deal of #10 cans. These are the big cans from Sam's Club or other stores that sell the bulk goods. We average about a can a day. They can be a bit rough on normal can openers. The electric one I had last the longest was the Hamilton Beach 76606Z Smooth Touch Can Opener, Black and Chrome. It cut through the can and left a smooth edge safe for my children. With the #10 cans, it lasted a year. When it stopped cutting #10 cans, we were able to still cut the smaller cans for about another year. I purchased another and kept one labeled "Small Cans" and labeled the new "Large Cans." It seemed to be a good system but when I purchased the third, it stopped working rather quickly. The motor seems "sluggish." 

The best can opener for the money I have found is this manual one from New Star Food Service.* It isn't very pretty, but it does the job, does it well, and lasts for years. Then, when it needs a new blade, you can find them online for $6 and up. This one opens cans of all sizes. Everyone who has seen it has told me I found a excellent value because similar can openers are selling for much, much more. 

We had one of these in our kitchen pre-fire for over 10 years. I purchased it from another company about 15 years ago, and it was $60 then. I like this one better. It is made better, sits so the blade is protected from contact, and has a rubber piece that makes it quieter to use. 

It is heavy, but you only lift it enough to slide the can under it. If you are able to lift the #10 can, you can lift the can opener. The metal plate helps protect your counters from the big cans. Mine is mounted on a rolling cart. My 10 year hold has no trouble lifting it or turning the crank. Clint added some food grade grease to the gear mechanism for easier turning. It took less than 30 seconds to install with the provided screws. It's not a portable can opener for on the go families though.

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A few months ago, I purchased this heavy duty, made in America can opener pictured below. It was designed in 1954, and they have reports of some of them lasting over 40 years! When it arrived, it exceeded my expectations in quality. Clint liked it so much, I plan to purchase one for his office as a stocking stuffer. This is not the light, flimsy manual can openers that will barely punch through a can.  There is nothing like this on the shelves at any of my local stores. This can opener has some heft and is very well made. I love that this quality item is made in the USA! It would make a nice, long lasting wedding, housewarming, or off to college gift. It is perfect for the bug out survival bags or storm preparation.

There you have it. That is what is currently in my kitchen and is what I have found that works for my needs. 

*Food Service and restaurant supplies are great ways to find items for your large family kitchen. Those items usually are well worth the money. There are some suppliers that say they won't take small orders, but when I have explained my situation (busy mom of many who cooks nearly all of our meals and frequently cooks in bulk to save time, money, and clean up) they were more than happy to relax that rule for me. It never hurts to politely inquire.