With all of the corkscrews on the market today, it can sometimes feel overwhelming to pick the right one for your wine needs. In your search for the perfect corkscrew, it's important to keep in mind how often you're drinking or serving wine, whether you're opening younger or older bottles, and if you have any limited mobility. When it comes to professionals, they almost always use a waiter’s friend (commonly referred to as a wine key by industry folks), typically with a double hinge versus just one. As wine entrepreneur Regine Rousseau puts it, “The waiter’s corkscrew or bust—period.”
A waiter’s friend is the kind of corkscrew you’re likely to find in a restaurant, hotel room, airport lounge, or swag bag, and it's great for any situation, even at home. But if you’re not opening wine bottles for a living, then you'll find you have plenty of worthy styles to choose from, each with its own set of advantages. Our team of at-home testers evaluated every type of corkscrew out there, from electric to old-fashioned to two-prong, and we're confident that there's a corkscrew in our roundup that will fit your lifestyle, tastes, and needs.
Here are the best corkscrews to add to your collection, according to our tests.
Pulltap's Double-Hinged Waiters Corkscrew
Classic, double-hinged design
Screw goes in smoothly
Releasing cork from screw can be difficult
"As long as it's a double-hinged waiter’s corkscrew, I'm happy,” says Carrie Wynkoop, owner and founder of Oregon wine club Cellar 503. While Wynkoop buys her corkscrew of choice in bulk at auction from the TSA, you can now pop open some of your own bottles at home with Pulltap's Double-Hinged Waiter Corkscrew. This Barcelona-based brand's corkscrew is our top choice, since it's an ever sturdy and reliable option featuring a foldaway serrated blade for foil-cutting, a nickel-plated double-hinged lever, and a Teflon-coated worm (the screw part) that works perfectly on both natural and synthetic corks. Many wine pros and online reviewers swear by this durable, classic option.
Our testers admired the elegance and ease of use of this classic wine key. They appreciated that the wine opened after just 3.5 full turns, and the fact that the cork stayed in good shape after extraction. It was pointed out, though, that no instructions were included in the package, so prior knowledge of opening a bottle of wine with a double-hinged waiter's corkscrew would be helpful here.
Price at time of publish: $20
Dimensions: 4.72" x 0.79" x 0.51" | Material: Metal | Manual or Automatic: Manual
"It is affordable and small—perfect since wine openers can often be misplaced and need a replacment!"
True Truetap Waiter's Corkscrew
Double-hinged, compact design
Comes with serrated foil cutter
Takes some force to open and close
Though Pulltap’s standard waiter’s friend is relatively affordable, there is a less expensive equivalent for those who love a bargain. Enter the True Truetap Waiter's Corkscrew. You’ll get all the same bells and whistles that the Pulltap offers—serrated foil cutter, compact size, double-hinged design, nonstick worm, and thoughtful design—at a significantly lower price point, which several reviewers give it high marks for. This is a great option if you’re buying in bulk for an event or gifting endeavor, or just simply stocking up on wine keys (the more, the merrier).
Our tester appreciated the simplicity and straightforwardness of this classic corkscrew. While it's not a prestige piece, it works consistently, and there was no difficulty encountered opening bottles sealed with either natural or synthetic cork. Our tester also noted that this model comes in various colors, which adds to its value and versatility.
Price at time of publish: $8 for black
Dimensions: 4.75" x 0.75" x 1" | Material: Plastic and metal | Manual or Automatic: Manual
"This seamless design works everytime. It's really everything you need out of a corkscrew."
RBT Winged Corkscrew
Anti-rotation clamp feature
Slip ring helps with alignment
Winged corkscrews can often be a bit flimsy since their arms can go rogue whenever handled (there’s a reason they’re sometimes referred to as “cheerleaders”), but Rabbit is known to offer some seriously sturdy tools, and its RBT line just so happens to be even more functional and aesthetically pleasing than its standard counterparts. With supreme leverage for easy bottle-opening, the ultra-compact RBT winged corkscrew could not be more simple to operate, largely thanks to its slip ring at the base—this helps to ensure perfect alignment with the cork—and anti-rotation clamp feature, the answer to a common problem with everyday winged corkscrews. This corkscrew is made up of brass-finished stainless steel and matte black plastic parts, and it comes with a one-year manufacturer’s warranty.
Our tester found this winged corkscrew very easy to manage, stating that "the black plastic part acts as a gripper to help keep the corkscrew stable during entry." In addition, our tester found the action of the hinge to be smooth and reliable—not flimsy or variable at all. In a world of questionable winged corkscrews, we found this to be one of the winners.
Price at time of publish: $30
Dimensions: 3" x 10" x 5" | Material: Metal | Manual or Automatic: Manual
“I almost exclusively use wine keys to open my wine bottles. They’re low-tech, inexpensive, and I like to keep one in my backpack just in case.” — Adam Goddu, Beverage Director at Stone’s Throw Pizza in Richmond, Vermont
Secura Stainless Steel Electric Wine Opener
Includes foil cutter
Transparent corkscrew mechanism
Wobbles on charger base
Foil cutter can be knocked off easily
While electric wine openers aren’t necessarily a go-to for serious oenophiles, they do have their moments, especially for those with limited mobility who might otherwise struggle to remove a cork. Electric wine openers are also perfect for anyone who just isn’t comfortable with a wine key, lever system, winged corkscrew, or other manual tool. Plus, they're fast, easy, rechargeable (if not battery-powered), and often come with a display base and an accessory or two. Such is the case with the top-rated Secura electric wine opener, a stainless steel device that comes with a charging base and a great foil cutter, which is always great to have on hand no matter what kind of corkscrew you’re using.
This model can remove up to 30 corks on one full charge (perfect for events), and the built-in LED light helps immensely with visibility, though the device is designed to guide the worm in nice and straight without extra effort on the user’s part.
Our product tester was impressed with how quickly and cleanly the cork comes out with this tool, especially compared with a traditional corkscrew. She notes, however, that you have to make sure to press down firmly on the opener, otherwise it will just rotate but not make contact with the cork.
Price at time of publish: $30
Dimensions: 12" x 2.7" x 7.5" | Material: Stainless steel | Manual or Automatic: Automatic
"All you have to do is place the opener on top of the bottle and make sure that it remains as upright as possible." — Sage McHugh, Product Tester
Laguiole En Aubrac Solid Horn Waiters Corkscrew
Expertly crafted in France
Beautiful design and box
Makes a great gift
Some occasions (such as impressing guests or gifting the wine expert in your life) call for an extremely fancy wine key, and nothing really fits the bill quite like the Laguiole en Aubrac Solid Horn Waiters Corkscrew. This is a tried-and-true brand known for its heirloom-quality products, and this particular corkscrew is the product of top-of-the-line materials––think Sandvik stainless steel combined with solid Nigerian Zebu horn––and craftsmanship. If you’ve ever wanted to feel like you’re cutting through a stick of butter when opening a bottle of wine, this is the ticket. The ebony storage and gift box is a nice touch, too.
Our tester praised the aesthetics of the Laguiole en Aubrac, and thought it felt "nice and heavy" in the hand, but did point out that "the hinges are a bit tight." She also observed that "the bulk makes it slightly hard to maneuver," especially for someone with smaller hands. That said, she conceded that a pricey bottle of wine deserves special attention, and this glamorous corkscrew certainly feels special.
Price at time of publish: $160
Dimensions: 6.4" x 3" x 1.3" | Material: Horn, Stainless steel | Manual or Automatic: Manual
“There’s a misconception that the more expensive, gadgety corkscrews are easier and better, but that’s rarely the case for me. Use whatever’s easiest for you, but for me, that’s my trusty wine key.” - Adam Goddu, Beverage Director at Stone’s Throw Pizza in Richmond, Vermont
OXO Vertical Corkscrew with Removable Foil Cutter
Sleek, sturdy design
Easy to use
Works well with both natural and synthetic corks
Underwhelming foil cutter
Lever-style corkscrews are another smart alternative to traditional wine keys for wine drinkers with limited mobility (or anyone who just prefers an easier means of opening a bottle of wine). This type of tool is generally made up of two long clamps that secure around the base of a bottle’s mouth, with the corkscrew attached to a single lever that drives the screw downward into the cork at the ideal angle.
OXO’s steel vertical lever corkscrew, which comes with a nifty foil cutter, is made up of a die-cast zinc handle and nonstick worm (plus a replacement screw), meaning it works well with natural and synthetic corks alike. It’s also incredibly easy to use, requiring minimal physical effort to remove any cork. Plus, it’s easy on the eyes thanks to its sleek, smart design.
"This was not a difficult device to use and it worked exactly as the instructions detailed," reported our product tester. She mentioned that she did have trouble with the foil cutter, which she found to be "rather flimsy," and she noted that "extracting synthetic corks wasn't as seamless as regular corks for some reason." Overall, she thought the OCO lever corkscrew would make a great gift for someone who's into gadgets, or who has enough space for more complex kitchen gadgets.
Price at time of publish: $45 for Corkscrew
Dimensions: 2.5" x 7.6" x 7.2" | Material: Zinc, Stainless steel | Manual or Automatic: Manual
"This would be good for someone who loves a kitchen gadget, or a caterer who needs to open multiple bottles of wine at a time." —Prairie Rose, editor
If you’re looking for the best all-around corkscrew, we recommend Pulltap's Double-Hinged Waiter’s Corkscrew. It’s a durable, high-quality bottle opener that professionals swear by. If you prefer something more budget-friendly, consider the True Truetap Waiter’s Corkscrew. It has all the features of Pulltap's opener—foil cutter, double-hinged design, a nonstick worm—with an even friendlier price point.
How We Tested
We sent a total of 17 top-rated corkscrew models to Dotdash Meredith editors for testing in their own homes, looking at qualities like aesthetics, comfort, ease of use, and value. Our testers also undertook various tests to determine which corkscrews performed the best in a range of categories—these included foil cutting, extracting natural corks, and extracting synthetic corks.
What to Look for in a Corkscrew
Everyone has their favorite kind of corkscrew. For most beverage professionals, a good old wine key or waiter’s corkscrew is the holy grail tool, but if you prefer a winged model or electric option, that’s great, too. Whatever will best help you open your favorite wine bottles is the one you should choose.
For most, a corkscrew made primarily from stainless steel is the best way to go. It’s sturdy, won’t rust, and has a nice shine to it.
You can find a great wine key for under $20. Winged corkscrews can be found for around that, but sometimes will go up to $30 or more. Most electric models will range between $20 to $75. You can go even higher than that for an upgraded model, but don’t feel like you have to spend over $20. Budget picks will serve you well.
How do you use a corkscrew?
It depends a bit on the corkscrew, but for a simple wine key (sometimes called a waiter’s corkscrew), the process is as follows:
- Cut the foil under the lip of the bottle using the serrated blade. If it’s a casual gathering, feel free to just pull off the foil. It’s generally only lightly stuck on with a bit of glue.
- Center the squiqqly metal part (sometimes called the “worm”) atop the cork, and then screw it in until it’s about 3/4 of the way inside the cork.
- Fold the opener down and place the lower of the double-jointed metal arms on the edge of the bottle. Use that leverage to get the cork about halfway out of the bottle.
- Take the bottom joint off the bottle by folding the handle back. Then, rock the metal arm back toward the bottle and place the shorter of the two joints on the bottle. This will give the leverage you need to remove the cork the rest of the way from the bottle.
What should you do if the cork breaks off on the corkscrew?
Though this can feel stressful, the solution is actually quite simple. Just screw off the bit that’s stuck on the corkscrew and go back in and use the corkscrew the same way on the part still stuck in the bottle.
Why Trust The Spruce Eats?
Between writing about wine for the past seven years and being half French, Céline Bossart has opened more bottles than she can count. Her preferred corkscrew is a classic waiter’s friend, and she may or may not have taken Wynkoop’s lead in buying a mixed bulk bag from the TSA.