A can opener has the singular status of being one of the most used, yet least appreciated, pieces of kitchenware. Whether you’re a busy workaholic who relies on a diet of canned goods or a consummate professional adding beans to your homemade chili, you’ll need a can opener. And a bad one can quickly become an exercise in frustration. Therefore, as a lefty, you’re probably going to need one of our recommendations for the best can opener for left handed people. There aren’t too many options but our research has come up with only the ones that actually do the job well.
When left-handed people try using can openers designed for right-handed people they may notice the can opener warping the lid without cutting through it, or even slipping off the edge. You’ll end up spending many pointless hours waging a silent and unnecessary battle with your can opener and end up with painful hands. Hence, replacing it with one better suited to your needs is your best option.
We can also recommend rotary cutters for left-handers.
Table of Contents
- 1 In a Hurry? Here Are Our Picks for Best Can Openers for Lefties…
- 2 Types of Can Openers
- 3 How to Choose a Left Handed Can Opener
- 4 Best Left Handed Can Opener
- 5 Best Ambidextrous Tin Can Opener
- 6 Best Left Handed Electric Can Opener
- 7 How to Use a Left Handed Can Opener
- 8 FAQs
In a Hurry? Here Are Our Picks for Best Can Openers for Lefties…
TOP LEFT HANDED CAN OPENER
Lefty’s the Left Hand Store Manual Can Opener
- Hold with right hand, turn with left
- Rotates counter-clockwise
TOP AMBIDEXTROUS CAN OPENER
Starfrit Mightican Manual Can Opener
- Hold with either hand, knob on top
- Mechanism holds removed lids
TOP ELECTRIC CAN OPENER
Hamilton Beach Smooth Touch Electric Automatic Can Opener
- 165 wattage
- One touch lever to turn and cut
Types of Can Openers
There are several types of can openers available on the market, with the main two being manual and electric. While there is no winner when it comes to the debate between both options, each comes with its pros and cons. Ultimately, the decision comes down to your individual needs.
Manual Can Openers
When you think of a traditional can opener a manual option likely comes to mind. These devices have two handles, with one attached to the blade and the other to the rotating gear. You simply place it against the lid, with the lip of the can next to the blade, and apply the appropriate pressure. As you turn the crank the can opener will rotate and cut through the lid.
These are best for people who don’t mind a little extra work and are looking for a low-cost, durable can opener to get the job done.
- Inexpensive, affordable tools, with an average price point of fewer than 30 dollars
- Effective at cutting through most cans
- Can function under most circumstances, including on trips or during a power outage
- A multi-purpose opener that works with cans of any shape and size
- Requires dexterity and hand power which may be an issue for people with weak wrists or those suffering from arthritis
- The blade may slip due to uneven hand pressure, or the can may move, which can cause cuts if you’re not careful
Electric Can Openers
The recent popularity of electric can openers comes from the fact that they do all the heavy lifting for you. With a magnet to keep the can in place, and a blade that cuts through the metal automatically you don’t have to exert any pressure at all.
These are best for people with weak wrists or those looking for ease of use. A preferable choice for families who want a single can opener that can be used by everyone in the house.
- Zero hand strain so anyone can use the can opener
- Quicker and easier than using a manual device
- An electric opener can be used by right or left-handed people
- Detachable cutting pieces that can be cleaned in a dishwasher
- Requires an electric outlet so its unsuitable for trips or people living in areas with frequent power outages
- Slightly more expensive than a manual opener, with a cost between 20 and 30 dollars
- Restricted to the standard can shape and size
Traditional vs. Safety Lid Openers
Traditional openers come with an angled blade that cuts through the top of the can. On one hand, this is an extremely efficient method, however, the disadvantage is that the top edge becomes extremely sharp and jagged. If you’re not careful you could cut your finger on it. That said, they’re very efficient and last many years.
Safety openers work in the opposite direction, with the blade on the side. Since the entire lid is sliced off the edge can’t cut your hand. The disadvantage of this is that the thick metal top wears out the blade quickly so these don’t last as long as traditional openers. A safety can opener will cost more money and need replacing in less than two years.
Another kitchen tool that has a sharp-angled blade is a chef’s knife. Some chefs knives have double-beveled edges, while others are single-beveled and don’t work the same for left-handers and right-handers.
How to Choose a Left Handed Can Opener
Here are a few factors to consider while you’re searching for the best can opener for lefties.
Ease of Use and Ergonomics
The comfort levels of your can opener depend greatly on the handle grip and shape. While an electric opener is easier to use generally, a good manual opener with a padded, smooth turning handle does the trick equally well. Look into safety openers if you’re concerned about keeping the can in place while the blade does its job.
Latching on and Cutting in One Go
A good tin can opener will have the cutting wheels properly aligned and able to latch on to the edge of the rim either on the top or on the side and pierce the metal easily. As the crank is turned, it should cut the lid smoothly in one go without slipping or getting stuck. No metal shards should be left behind, no last bit left uncut, and the whole lid should come off easily.
Safety Lid or Smooth Edge
With a safety lid, the top comes off cleanly, leaving no jagged edges for you to cut yourself on. While this can wear down the blade quickly the safety advantage is a definite plus. A traditional opener will only cut through the top layer leaving a sharp edge. However, most top-of-the-line can openers and lid lifting. That means they have a magnet to take the lid off so you don’t have to fish for it and risk hurting yourself.
Cleaning and Maintenance
Electric openers are easier to clean if you use a dishwasher since all the parts are detachable and safe to put in the machine. Cleaning a sharp blade by hand can be difficult, which makes maintenance for a manual opener harder. That said, each model is different so read the manufacturer’s instructions to make sure you know the proper cleaning process.
Size and Storage
A manual opener is a simple device that takes up about as much space in your kitchen drawer as a large spoon. On the other hand, electric openers with their wires and paraphernalia take up considerably more space. This won’t pose an issue if you have the space to leave it on your kitchen counter at all times. But if you intend to pack it away you’ll have to make storage space.
Where manual openers work the same for cans of all shapes and sizes, electric openers are restricted to a standard can size. So if you come across unusual cans that are either too big or too small they may not fit inside your electric opener. Just something to keep in mind.
Stainless steel openers are the superior option in terms of durability. Cheap plastic alternatives don’t last very long.
Comparably an electric opener will cost more than a manual one. With the price difference being anywhere from $10 to $20. There’s also the question of value for money since a manual opener will comes with an inbuilt bottle and can opener. Then again, electric openers tend to come with knife sharpeners so it depends entirely on your preferences.
Best Left Handed Can Opener
Hardly anyone makes can openers designed specifically for left handers and of the few available only one is worth buying.
Lefty’s the Left Hand Store Left Handed Manual Can Opener
Lefty’s is a brand that caters specifically to the needs of left-handed individuals so their products are designed with an expert eye. Their Lefty’s Left Handed Manual Can Opener is no different. The orange handles will add a fun touch to your kitchen appliances and are easy to grip. Unlike regular openers, this design rotates counter-clockwise which is exactly what you need. You can hold it by the handles in your right hand, attach the jaws to the left side of the can, and turn the knob with your left.
It also has an attached bottle opener. While it doesn’t come with any other bells and whistles, it does what it’s supposed to. While there are a few other options like this one, the Lefty’s product is the best left handed tin opener available right now.
Caters to the left-handed grip and offers a counterclockwise rotation for lefties.
Comes with a bottle opener so you get twice the features for the price of one.
It opens can of all sizes without issue and is extremely easy to operate.
Plastic handles that as not as durable as metallic alternatives.
Best Ambidextrous Tin Can Opener
If you live with right handers, you may want to buy a can opener that is designed to be used easily by all people no matter the handedness.
Bartelli Soft Edge 3-in-1 Ambidextrous Safety Can Opener
If you’re looking for a modern and sleek device, then the Bartelli Soft Edge Ambidextrous Opener is the one for you. It has a strong can grip without needing you to squeeze on handles. It just locks on and cuts around the side while you hold the can with one hand and turn the knob with the other. It doesn’t matter which hand you use for which task, as it caters to an ambidextrous grip.
Since it is a safety opener it won’t leave sharp edges, although you will need to apply more force turning the knob if you’re cutting a thick can.
It also has an in-built jar opener and bottle opener and comes in a plastic body, which is common for lefty-specific openers but provides considerable ease of use.
Designed for left-handed and right-handed people so it will cater to anyone.
Smooth edges so you do not risk cuts.
Large easy-turning knob.
3-in-1 design means you get thrice the facilities for the price of one.
Slightly confusing design with many bells and whistles that take getting used to.
Bangrui Professional 3-in-1 Can Opener
The Bangrui Professional 3-in-1 Can Opener has a similar but more elegant design than the Bartelli where you don’t need to squeeze two handles together to get it to pierce the metal. You hook it horizontally to the rim with one hand so that the handle points towards you and turn the handle with the other hand to cut. You can use whichever hand feels comfortable to do so but you must turn the handle clockwise.
As long as the tin is not rimless or odd-shaped, it will cut any sized can and will leave no jagged edges while doing it. In fact, it seals the cut edge by rolling it down. Your fingers will be protected by the safe groove and sliding gears.
This tool also comes with a bottle and jar opener, so it’s very good value. The body is made of ABS and the blade is made of alloy steel.
Both for left-handed and right-handed use.
The lid comes off in one smooth, safe piece.
Compact and easy to store.
Great for those with arthritic hands.
The jar opener won’t work on jars with very deep lids.
Some customers find it difficult to figure out how to use it.
Starfrit 093112-012-BLCK Mightican Manual Can Opener
The Starfrit Mightican Manual Can Opener is a superb ambidextrous can opener that will easily cut through your cans. It comes with easy grip, comfortable handles that work great for people suffering from arthritis, and a sharp stainless steel blade that is rust-resistant. With this model, you will be able to open cans of all sizes without worrying about the opener slipping or getting stuck. You can use either hand to hold the opener while it locks on from the top. Then use the other hand to turn the knob, which is also placed on top instead of on the right side.
Additionally, it is designed with hygiene in mind, as it lifts the lid off the top of the can so that it can’t fall into it. This way the can opener and the outside of the lid do not touch the food in the can.
Takes very little effort to open a can.
Very easy to clean.
Rust-resistant and durable.
Holds and lifts the lid off the can.
Leaves a razor-sharp but smooth edge on the top of the can.
Takes off a bit too much from the top of the can.
Kuhn Rikon Auto Safety LidLifter/Can Opener with Ring Pull
When you’re looking for an ambidextrous can opener you have to consider the Kuhn Rikon Auto Safety LidLifter/Can Opener. Designed specifically to be ambidextrous, this model will make your life a lot easier. It features a single handle for holding and the crank knob is on top so that you can use either hand for the task.
There are no squeeze handles, as just a turn of the knob makes the cutting gears clamp down on the rim of the lid. You release the lid by turning the knob counter-clockwise. The lid will not fall into the can but still be lying on top of the can. It comes with mini pliers on the other side that you engage by just pressing the button on the side to remove the lid from the can.
For cans that come with a pull ring, you can protect your hands by using the in-built ring-pull opener.
It can be cleaned with warm water by hand or just wiped with a damp cloth.
One of the fastest safety openers on the market.
Good for those with arthritis or a weak grip.
Safe edges so there is no risk of cutting your hand.
The lid won’t fall into the can after opening it.
May leave shreds of metal along the edge after a while.
EZ-DUZ-IT Deluxe Can Opener
At first glance, the EZ-DUZ-IT Deluxe Can Opener is a solid, traditional can opener, popular for its powerful grip and durable steel build with no plastic parts. This model will cut through any lid without slipping or getting stuck along the way. It also comes with easy-to-grip rubber-coated handles so the ergonomics are a plus. If you’re looking for a simple, long-lasting can opener this is the one for you. While it is a right-handed design, this top-of-the-line, affordable manual opener may be the one you’re looking for because even left-handers report that they effortlessly open cans with it using their right hand to crank.
While it is not the first manual opener we would recommend for left-handed users, it is still a solid option. It is affordable, easily available, and has a hook for a bottle opener built in. If you’re having trouble finding a specialty lefty opener you can give this one a shot.
Durable, high-quality build and cutting blades.
Affordably priced option.
Comes with a hook for a bottle opener.
Designed for right-handed users so it will take you time to adjust.
Best Left Handed Electric Can Opener
If you want to make opening a tin can effortless for everyone, opt for an electric opener.
Kitchen Mama Electric Can Opener
If you’re searching for the latest in electric designs then the Kitchen Mama battery-operated can opener will wow you with its sleek and compact form. Powered by 4 AA batteries the device works like a charm, needing only a slight push of a button to get started. The stainless steel blades grip the rim of the lid tightly and the can rotates 360 degrees quickly. Another tap of the button stops it and lifts the lid off the can without it ever touching the food inside. There is no sharp edge or fraying metal left behind.
The durable finish is easy to wipe clean and does not stain.
While this is a great opener for left-handed people and for elderly individuals, you may run into problems using it if you are switching from a manual option. Electric can openers take some getting used to so make sure you read the instructions first.
Safety design so blade slices sideways and does not leave sharp or jagged edges.
A hands-free, easy-to-use option.
Easy to store.
Opens all sizes of cans.
Batteries do not come with the opener and will need to be purchased separately.
Hamilton Beach Smooth Touch Electric Automatic Can Opener
Another great electric model is the Hamilton Beach Smooth Touch Automatic Can Opener. It comes in sleek chrome and black finish that will fit into any modern kitchen. The design is also extremely easy to use. All you need to do is place your can below the cutting assembly and lightly push down on the lever. Once the device turns on it will lock the can in place and safely cut through its lid. You can release the lever once it finishes a full turn and then easily lift the lid off the can. The blade cuts the lid from the side and leaves a smooth edge without letting it touch the food inside.
This opener is rated at 165 watts and operates quietly. It can open all standard-sized regular cans and pop-top cans.
The safety design pulls off the entire top so no sharp edges are left behind.
It opens pop-top cans as well as regular ones.
Comes with a permanently lubricated motor that does not need regular oiling.
A few complaints of metal flecks coming off the opener after frequent use.
If you want to claim the warranty you will be responsible for paying the shipping fees.
How to Use a Left Handed Can Opener
Lefthanded can openers must be placed on the left side of the can, handles squeezed with your right hand, and the crank knob turned with your stronger (left) hand. With its counterclockwise rotating mechanism, the opener makes opening cans easy for left-handed people.
Ambidextrous openers will allow you to hold the handle with either hand and turn the knob, which will be placed on top, with the other.
Are there left-handed can openers?
Yes, there are a few left-handed can openers available so that you turn the crank with the left hand. The best one is made by the Lefty’s Left-handed store.
Do left-handed people struggle with can openers?
Without a contortion act to cross your hands, regular can openers won’t open tins easily and some lefties will tell you that they’ve even broken openers trying to use them like a right-hander.
Who invented the left handed can opener?
William J. Landry published a patent in 1962 for a right and lefthanded can opener. Since then, manufacturers have adapted other designs to suit left handers.