Straight to the point:

Our favorite stand-up electric can opener is the Hamilton Beach Smooth Touch Electric Can Opener, which has an innovative, intuitive design. We also like the handheld, battery-operated Kitchen Mama Auto 2.0 Electric Can Opener thanks to its ability to power through a wide variety of cans.

For many home cooks, a manual can opener probably works fine. But if you’re someone who finds it difficult to use a manual can opener, or simply opens *a lot* of cans and would like to speed things along and give your hands a break, then an electric can opener can be a boon in the kitchen. Plus, most electric can openers have magnets that lift off the lid—no fiddling to pry it out of the can. 

To find the best electric can openers, we tested 10 popular options (including corded, stand-up, and handheld options. We opened 70 cans to evaluate their performance, how noisy they were, how smooth their cuts were, and more.

The Winners, at a Glance


Nearly every other stand-up model had trouble with at least one can, whether it couldn’t open the olives, dropped the unusually-shaped sweetened condensed milk can, or fell over when opening the largest can (whole peeled tomatoes). But not this one. It’s fast, powerful, and leaves a very smooth-cut lid that can actually be placed back on top of the can for storage.

Kitchen Mama Auto 2.0 Electric Can Opener


The Kitchen Mama model sits right on top of the can and with the press of a button, latches on and whirs around. It had no problem with any of the cans, even the small tomato paste.

The Tests

Serious Eats / Eric King

We timed how long it took each can opener to open a can of:

  • Tomato paste (6 ounces, 2 1/8-inch diameter )
  • Pitted olives (6 ounces, 3-inch diameter)
  • Tuna (5 ounces, 2 3/8-inch diameter)
  • Green peas (15 ounces, 2 15/16 inch diameter)
  • Sweetened condensed milk (14 ounces, 2 7/8-inch diameter)
  • Whole peeled tomatoes (28 ounces, 4-inch diameter)

We recorded how easily each opener latched onto the can, the time it took to open each can, how smooth the cut was, if there was any leakage, or if the opener ever dropped the can or tipped over. We also noted when an opener struggled to open a can or totally failed to open it.

What We Learned

Stand-Up vs. Handheld (Cordless) Electric Can Openers

Serious Eats / Eric King

Overall, stand-up electric can openers were just…finicky: Fiddling with the correct placement of the can on the locator post, ensuring the blade dropped at just the right angle on the can’s lip, praying that the machine latched onto the can correctly so it wouldn’t drop the can onto the counter and splash tuna all over you. 

The handheld models, however, were way more intuitive to use. They were as simple as placing the opener on top of the can, aligning the lip in between the blade and the gear, and pressing a button. Even if the button had to be pressed again to go *all the way* around bigger cans, using them was easy and usually less messy. The one stand-up model that we found to be as intuitive as the handheld models was our winner from Hamilton Beach, which was as simple as sticking the can lip in between the gear and the blade (this machine’s cutting mechanism functioned like that of the handheld models) and pressing down on the top bar until the cut was complete. Another exception to this rule was the handheld yet tricky to use Hamilton Beach Walk n’ Cut, which functioned more similarly to a stand-up model, hanging onto the side of the can while a blade pierces through the top.

Serious Eats / Eric King

For big, bulky 28-ounce cans of whole peeled tomatoes that sent many stand-up models tumbling over, the handheld models (Kitchen Mama, Bangrui, Handy, and Hamilton Beach Walk n’ Cut) simply sat on top of the can and whirred their way around automatically. Only a couple of stand-up models (AmazonBasics and Hamilton Beach Smooth Touch), were powerful and sturdy enough to open large cans without tipping over, thanks to their wide, heavier bases. 

On the whole, handheld/cordless models were louder and slower than stand-up models. But for how much smaller they are, and the fact that they take up no precious counterspace, it’s an easy tradeoff to make. 

Speed Wasn’t an Issue 

Serious Eats / Eric King

Most of the can openers opened the largest can, a 28-ounce can of tomatoes, in under 45 seconds. So unless you’re opening *a lot* of cans and really need to shave down your time, this variable isn’t going to separate the winners from the losers. 

That being said, we timed them anyway. On the whole, stand-up models were faster, powering through tomato paste cans in four to six seconds, tuna cans in about 10 seconds, cans of peas in six to eight seconds, cans of sweetened condensed milk in about nine seconds, diced tomatoes in seven to nine seconds, and large cans of whole peeled tomatoes in about 11 to 13 seconds. Meanwhile, the handheld models took longer, sometimes three times as long. It’s difficult to quantify exactly because some of the handheld models required re-pressing their start button halfway through, and most of them kept turning around the can even after they were done cutting. For example, the Kitchen Mama took 21 seconds to open the tomato paste and 41 seconds to open the whole peeled tomatoes. But another handheld model, the Handy Can Opener, took about seven seconds for the tomato paste (but kept running for another 10 seconds), but for the whole peeled tomatoes, it had to be restarted twice, taking about a minute to cut through the whole lid. 

Blade and Cutting Mechanisms Made a Difference

Serious Eats / Eric King

Two factors made a really big difference in choosing the best electric can opener: Does this opener work on a wide variety of cans? And is it easy to use? 

Serious Eats / Eric King

Each of the openers we tested functioned in one of two ways. Either they opened cans by puncturing the lid with a blade and rotating the can (almost all of the stand-up openers, besides our winner the Hamilton Beach Smooth Touch, worked like this.) Or they worked by placing the opener on top of the can, aligning the lip of the lid in between two gears that then clamped together, rotating and cutting the *side* of the lid all the way around. The latter type of opener was able to tackle more types of cans than the former, even unusually designed ones like the 14-ounce sweetened condensed milk or cans with pop tabs that got in the way of traditional models. Not only that; this opener style also produced smoother edges on the cut lid and can that are less likely to hurt the user. And since the lids are cut from the side, they fit back on top of the can for easier storage. 

The Criteria: What to Look for in an Electric Can Opener

Serious Eats / Eric King

Our favorite electric can openers ditched the original design (a triangle-shaped blade attached to a lever that presses down to puncture the top of a can). Instead, they opted for designs with two gears that clamp together and cut along the *side* of the can—sort of like scissors. The models with a traditional blade design were often finicky. It was difficult to align the blade with the right location on the can (just inside the lip) and, for some more unusual can shapes, these openers took several tries to latch on and get started. Overall, there was no good way to tell if the can had latched in, which made us concerned it would drop. And we were right to be concerned…because some did drop a few cans. 

On the other hand, models with the two-gear cutting mechanism (like our winners from Hamilton Beach Smooth Touch and Kitchen Mama) were able to avoid trouble because they cut around *the outside* of the lid. This type of opener also produced a smoother, less jagged lid that could actually be placed back on top of the can and was able to handle cans that were oddly shaped or even had pop tabs.

The Best Electric Can Openers



What we liked: Hamilton Beach makes a lot of can openers, and we tested three—more than any other brand. This one stands out from the other stand-up, corded models because of its unusual, bladeless design. Unlike the others, which have sharp, triangle-shaped blades that you have to line up to puncture the lid, the Hamilton Beach Smooth Touch uses a cutting mechanism where two gears clamp down on the lip of the lid. One, on the inside of the lip, rotates the can, while the other cuts through the side, not the top. All the user has to do is place the lip in between the two gears, press down the bar on top to lock it in place (a note on the lever will say it’s “Locked”), and then press down and hold to make it go. 

Every other stand-up can opener either failed to open one can, fell over when opening the 28-ounce can of tomatoes, or, worse, dropped cans. This model managed to avoid doing any of that. It was much, much more intuitive to use than the other stand-up models. Thanks to its locking mechanism and a guidance bar that aligns the can for you, at no time did we struggle to place the can or feel unsure if the can was latched on correctly. 

What we didn’t like:  This model was only slightly tripped up by one can: the sweetened condensed milk (14 ounces). The lid was a bit unusual, which is why several openers either had trouble latching onto the can and starting or simply couldn’t open it at all. We had to adjust the sweetened condensed milk in the opener twice after the opener had started, which was admittedly annoying. Still, the model eventually worked. The cut was smooth, but we also found a few metal shavings on top of the can post-opening. 

The other stand-up models run automatically when the lever is pressed down, but this one only runs when you press down on the top lever. Luckily, thanks to its speed (none of the cans took more than 11 seconds to open) it wasn’t really a bother. 

Price at time of publish: $36.

Key Specs:

  • Materials: Plastic, metal, stainless steel blade
  • Dimensions: 4.7 x 10.5 inches
  • Cord length: 24-inch cord
  • Features: Cord storage in the back

Serious Eats / Eric King

Kitchen Mama Auto 2.0 Electric Can Opener


What we liked: This handheld, battery-operated model absolutely breezed through opening each can: large, small, with a pop-tab, or otherwise unusually shaped. Its cutting mechanism, two gears that clamp together on the lip and cut through the side of the lid, left very smooth edges on almost every can. It was very easy to align on top of the can’s lip, and once you got used to its one-button function, all you had to do was press it to start, allow it to whir around the can, and press again to release. A magnet on the bottom attaches to the cut lid so you can lift it off easily.  

We love its size. It’s no bigger than a TV remote, meaning it doesn’t take up precious counter space and can easily fit in a utensil drawer. 

What we didn’t like: On the tomato paste can, it left a spike that poked out a bit from the lid, which we will chalk up to the unusually small diameter of those cans (2 1/8 inches).  Like the other handheld models, it was noisier than a stand-up opener. And it is the priciest option we tested at $40. 

Price at time of publish: $40.

Key Specs:

  • Materials: Plastic, stainless steel blade
  • Dimensions: 2.76″W x 7.08″H
  • Cord length: Cordless, uses 4 AA batteries
  • Features: Magnet lid lift

Serious Eats / Eric King

The Competition 

Serious Eats / Eric King

  • Hamilton Beach Electric Automatic Can Opener: This model failed to open the sweetened condensed milk can, struggled with the diced tomatoes, and tipped over when opening the 28-ounce can of tomatoes. It’s also the largest model, which isn’t great for crowded countertops. 
  • Cuisinart Deluxe Stainless Steel Can Opener: While it stayed upright when opening the 28-ounce can of tomatoes, it did stop about a quarter of the way around, and was difficult to pry up the blade lever and restart. Otherwise, despite some slight trouble latching onto the small can of tomato paste, it quickly opened the other cans, but the blade did seem to create some fine metal shavings.
  • Handy Can Opener Electric Can Opener: This handheld model struggled with a few cans. It began shaking and stopped halfway around the olive can, struggled to latch onto the tuna can, and needed to be restarted twice while opening the 28-ounce can of tomatoes (and still couldn’t get the lid clean off). And while it produced a clean, smooth cut, it was pretty noisy. 
  • Bella Electric Can Opener: Overall, this stand-up model was pretty easy to use, but it failed to open the can of olives (with a pop tab), had trouble latching onto the sweetened condensed milk can (and dropped it), and tipped over while opening the large can of tomatoes. With normal cans, though, it was fast, powerful, and quiet.
  • Hamilton Beach Walk n’ Cut Electric Can Opener: The only rechargeable model we tested, this unusual, handheld opener works like many of our stand-up models: It’s activated by bringing a lever with a blade attached down onto the interior rim of the lid. But instead of rotating the can, the opener “walks” around the edge, slicing open the top. For cans like the tomato paste, which the opener was bigger than, it was easier to let the opener lean back on its hind legs and rotate the can. This was fine with the tomato paste, but when it tilted back with the tuna can, the tuna juices spilled out. It also wouldn’t open the pop tab olive can. 
  • Bangrui Automatic Safety Can Opener: With almost the exact same design as the Kitchen Mama handheld model, this model had a poorer performance that surprised us. This likely has to do with their one difference: a slightly different outer gear, which gave the model trouble when opening the 15-ounce can of peas (no other model in the test had trouble with this very standard can) and prevented it from opening the sweetened condensed milk at all. We also had a problem with the batteries fitting too loosely in their compartment, so sometimes the opener wouldn’t power on.
  • AmazonBasics Electric Can Opener: This stand-up opener made a good attempt at opening the olive can, but ended up dropping it. It also was the only opener to drop the tuna can. Despite feeling cheap and flimsy, it did open the large can of tomatoes without tipping over. 
  • Proctor Silex Power Electric Automatic Can Opener: Other than tipping over when opening the 28-ounce can of tomatoes (which, you can just support the top of it to keep it upright) it had no trouble opening any of the other cans. And it was fairly quiet! It does take a while to get used to; the lever rests in the down position and obscures the blade, making it hard to see if you’re placing the can right. And we will say, it produced some jagged edges on the cut lids. 


Should I buy a handheld or electric can opener?

An electric can opener makes this common kitchen task way easier on the hands, and they’re ostensibly safer thanks to their overall smoother cuts (some still produce jagged edges, though) and magnetic lid-lifters. If you’re someone who has arthritis or other hand mobility problems, or even if you happen to be opening a lot of cans, it’s worth spending the money on an electric model and any counter or drawer space it may take up.

That being said, manual openers (which you can find our review on here) take up less space (some are as small as business cards). Another thing to consider: While some electric openers are battery-operated, a manual one will always work, even in a power outage, emergency, or on a camping trip

How do you use an electric can opener?

For most stand-up models, lift the lever with the blade and place the can so its rim is under the locating post. Tip the can forward so that the lip of the can goes behind the blade, then press the lever down so the blade punctures the corner where the lid flares up. Most models will automatically begin to run, turning the can all the way around. When the cut is complete, the opener will stop automatically, hold the can in place, and lift the lid with the magnetic arm. Grasp the can and lift the lever to release it. 

For most handheld models, place the opener on top of the can so that the lip is between the blade and the metal gear. Push the button and let it rotate around the can on its own.

After one rotation around the can, it may stop on its own. If it doesn’t press the button again to stop. The gear and blade will separate and release the edge of the can. Lift the can opener off (if it has a magnet on the bottom, the lid should pop off with it.)

Which electric can openers have smooth edges?

In general, models that rely on two gears that clamp together produced the smoothest edges. Our winners, the stand-up Hamilton Beach Smooth Touch and the handheld Kitchen Mama, functioned like this—as well as the Handy Can Opener, and Bangrui Automatic Safety Can Opener. Overall, models that use a sharp triangle-shaped blade to carve through the metal tended to produce lids that were bendy and/or jagged—and sometimes created metal shavings.

Why We’re the Experts

  • Eric King is a recipe developer, photographer, food stylist, and content creator.
  • He has a B.S. in magazine journalism from Syracuse University.
  • He runs a baking blog called easygayoven and has developed, styled, and photographed recipes for Netflix Family.
  • He has reviewed many items for serious eats, including bench scrapersa smart stand mixerwine tumblers, and more.
  • For this review, Eric tested 10 electric can openers, opening 70 cans of various sizes to land on the best ones.

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