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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. From electric to old-fashioned and two-prong, we've researched the best corkscrews out there to fit your lifestyle, tastes, and needs.
Here are the best corkscrews to add to your collection.
Best Overall: 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.
Best Electric: 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.
"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
Best Lever: 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.
Best Winged: 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.
“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
Best Budget: 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).
Just note that a few customers say it takes a bit of arm strength to open and close the corkscrew, but they add that it might loosen up with extended use.
Best Splurge: 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.
“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
Best for Older Bottles: Monopol Westmark Germany Steel Two-Prong Cork Puller with Cover
Quick and fun to use
Sleek and compact
Useful tool for cork collectors
There is a learning curve
If you plan on opening an older bottle at any point, make sure you prepare accordingly: Older corks can become brittle and fragile, and if you want to avoid the woes of crumbling one into your wine, you’ll want to have the right gadget on hand. The Monopol, a two-prong steel opener made with German steel, is as great as they come, complete with a protective cover and a five-year warranty. This sleek and relatively inexpensive tool is designed to safely remove even the most compromised corks with ease. The stylish cork pull is made up of two prongs that slide down the sides of the cork, which work together to remove the cork from the bottle’s neck without penetrating it down the middle. A good, high-quality Ah-So cork puller is essential to keep on hand for this kind of occasion, and it also makes a great gift for the wine enthusiast in your life.
Best Standing: Wine Enthusiast Legacy Corkscrew
Great for gifting
In addition to their functionality, corkscrews can also serve as great display pieces—particularly this striking set by Wine Enthusiast, a trusted high-quality brand behind some of the best wine accessories out there. The Legacy Corkscrew collection includes the corkscrew itself along with its black marble handle and matching stand, and you can either purchase these pieces separately or opt for a set (such as this one). This particular set features a pewter-finished corkscrew with a smooth-gliding worm that’s designed to work for both natural and synthetic corks; the black marble stand can also be monogrammed, which is always great for gifting. The Legacy Corkscrew is a favorite among reviewers, with one describing the pewter and black marble set as “nothing short of a piece of art.”
Best Winged: Kitchenaid Winged Corkscrew
If you already know and love a brand for one kitchen tool, it’s unlikely that you’ll be disappointed by others from their lineup. The KitchenAid Winged Corkscrew is a reliable pick, at under $25, and has thoughtful details in its design that help make it easy to use. For instance, the soft grip wings and knob make it easier to grip, while the cast construction makes it strong and durable. The unique angle of the design helps stabilize it on the bottle, so your cork will come out quicker and more cleanly. Plus, it’s dishwasher safe, so you can just throw it in at the end of the evening.
If you’re looking for the best all-around corkscrew, we recommend Pulltap's Double-Hinged Waiter’s Corkscrew (view at Amazon). 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 (view at Amazon). It has all the features of Pulltap's opener—foil cutter, double-hinged design, a nonstick worm—but at an easier price point.
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.