A can opener or “opener” is a device that can be found in any kitchen. You can open a can of green peas or a bottle of beer with its help in a matter of seconds. But few people know that there are several varieties of this tool, and the ability to distinguish them is a very useful skill.
Briefly about what a can opener is
The first tools, vaguely reminiscent of modern openers, appeared relatively recently - in 1855. There is still a debate about who can be called the creator of a can opener. Some give the palm to the Englishman Robert Yeats, others - to the American Ezra Warner, despite the fact that the latter received a patent for the invention a little later, in 1858.
The early models were not much different from the usual kitchen knives and were uncomfortable in operation. Even equipping them with a rotating wheel in 1870 did not improve the situation. Only half a century later, a second gear wheel was added to the design of the opener to fix the device on the bank.
Since then, can openers have undergone many metamorphoses, and today on the shelves of shops you can find hundreds of convenient models, from budget to indecently expensive.
Varieties of can openers
Modern devices for opening canned goods or bottles have practically no drawbacks. But they have distinctive features. Some openers are universal, others are suitable for one specific task. There are many varieties of the tool, and today in the store you can find compact pocket models, mechanical and even electric, running on batteries or by connecting to the mains. In order not to make a mistake in choosing, one should take into account the technical characteristics of each of the existing types of can openers.
Manual can opener
A knife for opening cans of manual type is an item familiar to everyone since childhood. This is a classic model, the easiest representative of the line of openers. The design of such a knife is quite straightforward: a handle made of wood or plastic - on the one hand, a cutting element equipped with a blade for opening canned food and a hook for removing caps from bottles - on the other. There are also models equipped with a plastic or rubber holder. By the way, hand openers are an indispensable part of the legendary Swiss knives, famous for their versatility.
Another type of manual can opener is with a wheel. Such an opener is considered safer, but it is more difficult to use than the classic model. The principle of operation is based on the rotation of the cutting tooth by pressing special levers. Sometimes this can cause difficulties for people who have first encountered an opener of this design.
Among the indisputable advantages of manual can openers are low price, small dimensions and versatility. However, when working with them, you need to be more careful, since the likelihood of injuring yourself on the sharp edges of the can is very high.
Mechanical can opener
The new generation of can openers, which appeared after hand knives, are mechanical. Their design is more complicated, therefore, most often they can be found in catering establishments. The principle of operation of such a tool is that the lid of the tin can first breaks through, after which the knife is attached to the side. The rotation of the special valve allows you to quickly and accurately open canned food, without making much physical effort.
The technical characteristics of the mechanical models make it possible to attribute them to professional knives for opening cans. As a rule, parts for them are made of high-strength materials - high-carbon steel and melonite. Such a tool is not susceptible to corrosion, durable and does not require special care. With it, you can easily uncork 4-5 cans per minute. However, opening a bottle of beer will not work.
Automatic can opener
Battery-operated canned knives appeared relatively recently, but immediately won a lot of fans around the world. They have a lot of advantages:
- Ease of use is a major plus. No physical effort is needed, just put the knife on the lid and press the power button,
- Such a device is safe because it does not leave sharp edges. This eliminates the possibility of the owner getting injuries during use,
- The compactness of the mechanism allows you to use it on trips, and it won’t take up much space in the kitchen,
- The magnetic disk, which is equipped with an automatic knife, does not allow it to slide off during operation and remove the cut-off lid of the jar without dirtying its hands with its contents,
- The prices of such knives are quite affordable, and their service life is quite long.
Electric can opener
Can openers working from the electric network can be classified as high-grade household appliances. Powerful and safe, they can open canned food in seconds. The principle of operation is that the container is placed in a special receiver, press the "Start" button, starting the cutting mechanism. Upon completion of the device, it remains only to remove the jar from the latch. The whole procedure does not require physical costs from a person and takes a minimum of time.
However, electric knives also have disadvantages. First of all, such openers are bulky and take up a lot of space. The second negative point is the high price of the devices. In addition, these mechanisms are useless in the absence of electricity, so if the light suddenly goes out in the house, the bank cannot be opened with their help.
Selection Criteria for Choosing the Best Opener
In order for the can opener to serve its owner faithfully for a long time, you need to approach its purchase with all responsibility.
First of all, you should decide on the functionality. If you need an inexpensive universal assistant, then the ideal option is a manual can opener. The main thing is that it should be made of quality materials (stainless steel, durable plastic, wood or rubber) and not become dull after the first use. The handle should not have chipping or roughness.
Mechanical knives, although they allow you to open a tin can faster and safer than using a hand-held device, cannot boast of multifunctionality. An important point: when purchasing such an opener, you need to understand that you will have to buy a bottle opener separately.
Automatic knives are convenient and practical, but require regular battery replacement - this must be taken into account. If you take such a device on a trip or a long trip, you should take care of spare power sources. When buying an opener, it is worth choosing models with a body made of metal or high-strength plastic.
In the case of electric openers, the situation is even more complicated. Given that these household appliances are quite expensive, you must carefully study the instructions before buying, ask if the seller has a guarantee for the goods.
To avoid disappointment with the purchase of low-quality openers, it is better to give preference to products of popular world brands that have proven themselves in the market. To date, the leading positions in the ranking of the best can openers are:
- Endever Smart-25 - a stylish electric knife with a capacity of 70 W will allow you to quickly open banks with minimal energy consumption,
Recommendations for the care and storage of can openers
The can opener is mostly unpretentious. Manual openers can be stored in a drawer with the rest of the dishes. You can wash them both manually and in the dishwasher.
Automatic openers require a more careful attitude. Changing the batteries, it is necessary to wait until the mechanism stops completely, and before cleaning the device, remove the power sources to prevent the possibility of spontaneous start-up. It is strictly forbidden to use household appliances to wash such knives.
After each use, electrical models must be wiped with a damp sponge, after disconnecting the device from the mains. Do not allow moisture to get on the plug or insert the cord into the power socket with wet hands.
The choice of can openers is truly huge. Manufacturers of dishes seem to compete with each other, regularly releasing new, improved models. Even the most demanding consumer can choose the perfect opener for himself, which will meet all his requirements. The main thing to remember is that the device should be convenient, high-quality and safe.
The right way to hold a knife
In fact, the knife must be held parallel to the jar - so that the blade disc is located directly under the solder of the lid. As a result, you get a jar with smooth edges, about which the risk of cropping is almost zero.
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It is much more environmentally friendly and practical to use an alloy made of stainless corrosion-resistant steel, which must contain chromium for corrosion resistance, manganese for hardness, and silver for an antibacterial effect. It is easy to recognize such an alloy by its dull, light silver color.
Did you notice rivets on the knife? Over time, they can become loose. The real assistant is always all-metal and made by hot stamping. Another sign of professionalism of a can opener is the same thickness of the blade from the base to the tip. Ideal - 2-3 millimeters.
Unlike a regular kitchen knife, the can sheet should not taper to the base. Otherwise, he will quickly bend over when working. Not a single knife, even the highest quality, will last you long if you open the can not from above, as the manufacturers advise, but from below. Indeed, at the bottom of the metal is twice as thick.