how to use a can opener

Using a can opener is essential if you desire to reach the contents within. A can opener is one of those important kitchen items that everyone has. And there’s not much of a variation in how it operates.

However, people will often overlook that there’s a right way and a wrong way to use a can opener. So, let’s settle this by walking you through how to use a can opener to make sure you don’t get that sharp-edged container that is only there to cut you.

Which to Go For – Manual or Electric?

Of course, you need to choose between using either a manual or an electric can opener. This leads to some differences in how it is used, but we will quickly run through both options to make life as easy as possible for you.

The Basics of the Manual Can Opener

butterfly type of tin opening device

With the manual can opener, which is more of a traditional form, the way in which it works is easy to follow.

What you have here with the can opener is a cutting wheel that will pierce through the lid while it then gets to work on slicing the top from the can’s edge.

With a manual version, you may see it referred to as a bunker opener or a butterfly opener, but it’s pretty much the same thing. Both come with a large turning knob on the top. So what’s the best way to use them?

Step 1: Positioning the Can

First, put the can on the countertop. You want to make sure it’s resting on the counter since it makes life a lot easier when using your can opener. Don’t do it by any other method.

Step 2: Attaching the Can Opener

You then need to attach the can opener to the can itself. To do this, you need to spread apart the opener arms and make sure that the turning knob on the top of the can opener is facing to the right.

By opening the legs, it means the serrated wheel and the feed wheel are apart, and you need to do this so the edge of the can lid can slide in between the two wheels.

Step 3: Proper Place of the Cutting Wheel

The next step with using can openers is to make sure the cutting wheel is resting on the top of the can lid. Ensure it’s all resting on the right-hand side of the can.

Step 4: Holding the Arms

You then need to close the legs of the opener. That will lead to the cutting wheel being able to puncture the lid. You will feel the teeth of the wheel working through the top, and you may even hear some air escaping from the can.

Step 5: Turning the Opener

manual opening tool

You must use your dominant hand when using a manual can opener. If this is your right hand, use your left hand to hold the can opener’s legs to have a better grip.

At this point, the correct way to use the can opener is to twist the knob on the opener in a clockwise direction. You should then be able to see that you have a smooth finish on the outside rim of the can and that the opener is indeed cutting through the lid.

Step 6: Keep on Cutting – Surely and Safely

Keep turning the knob until you have either gone completely around the lid or stopped slightly short of completing the circle.

Just remember, if you cut all the way around, the lid may fall into the contents of the can. If this happens, use a butter knife to lift the lid. Be careful not to use your fingers if it hasn’t cut correctly, as the edge could be sharp, and you could injure yourself.

The Benefit of Using a Safety Can Opener

You can also use a safety can opener, which will make things a bit safer. While it still works in a particular direction, it’s better for some people than the other manual can opener. It opens cans without leaving the possibility of a sharp edge, which is always a risk when using other can openers.

This can opener will cut through the side of the can. With this option, the sharp wheel is on the top of the can and will cut a small ring from the top. It means you won’t have a pointed edge. That is why it is a safer option.

Countertop Electric Option

Finally, if you don’t want to use a manual can opener, you can place an electric can opener on your kitchen counter. This will do all of the hard work for you, and it takes seconds to successfully open tin cans.

Now, even with this, you have a couple of choices of can openers. One will either open the can lid by holding it on the top, while the other countertop opener will easily open cans on the side.

How to Operate an Electric Can Opener

To use this option, you need to do the following:

  • Plugin the can opener to your mains outlet. It’s the only way it will work.
  • Lift the lever and position the rim of the can under the guideposts.
  • Lower the lever and make sure the wheel is inside the rim of the can.
  • Lock the lever in place. This will then allow the cutting wheel to effectively puncture through the can.
  • Once the can is correctly positioned, the opener will start to work automatically.
  • The can opener is going to rotate the can all on its own. It will automatically stop when it is done
  • Lift the lever and remove the can.

As you see, this method is easy, and it does tend to leave a smooth edge. Also, you don’t have to worry about the serrated wheel or turning anything manually since the opener does it for you.

Do note that some people feel the automatic can opener is better on thin-walled cans, whereas a manual can opener will work well even on thicker cans as you can apply more pressure. Some may have tried the church key opener but have not been too satisfied as this type tend to break easily.

Enjoying Your Meal Without Getting Cut

And that is how to use a can opener. As you can see, the humble can opener is quite easy to use, and you only need to let it get on with its job all on its own. As long as you line things up, the cutting wheel will do everything else for you. Of course, if turning the wheel to open the can is too much, then use the electric version. It indeed does make life a lot easier.

Openers are essential. However, you need to have something that leaves a clean-cut edge with the lid rather than sharp edges on the rim. It has to come off in a single piece, and the blade that appears on these openers should ensure that happens. So, if you want help opening cans, one tip is to get a quality opener. It will be worth the investment.

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