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It’s safe to say you’ve probably opened at least one wine bottle in your life. Whether you’re comfortable with it (or do it often) is another story. With the help of two of our favorite wine experts, we’ve put together a guide to navigating the process with the right tool for your needs and preferences. Linda Trotta, Director of North Coast Winemaking at WX, breaks down the market’s main offerings in approachable terms: “Openers fall into a few categories: levered, hinged [waiter’s friend], rabbit-eared, electronic, and then the very pretty, but highly frustrating old-fashioned cork pullers shaped like a ‘T,’” she says. Then, there are specialty tools, like the Ah-So, designed for older corks, but this shouldn’t necessarily be the only wine opener you have on hand, Trotta notes.
Like Trotta, D.C.-based blogger and wine pro Alicia Chew is partial to the classic waiter’s friend-style, the simple, yet effective traditional design that you’ll see used at most bars and restaurants. “They're pretty simple and inexpensive, and one of the most convenient options on the market,” she says.
To help you figure out which wine opener is best for your needs, we tested them out side-by-side and evaluated each on its design, size, durability, and overall value. Many bottles of wine were opened with various opener styles, including both manual and electric options, to make sure the products on this list are truly the best.
Here are the best wine openers for every scenario, according to our tests.
Best Overall: Oster Cordless Electric Wine Bottle Opener with Foil Cutter
Easy to use and hold
Includes foil cutter
Red light is harsh
Oster’s Cordless Electric Wine Bottle Opener is your quintessential electric workhorse. It's a go-to for many casual everyday wine drinkers (the rave reviews speak for themselves), is available in multiple color options, and comes with a foil cutter. Our product tester found that this rechargeable electric wine opener, which can open up to 30 bottles on a single charge, fits all traditional wine bottles and is extremely easy to use. On top of that, it’s ergonomic and quite comfortable to hold.
To remove any cork in seconds with zero physical effort, just place the opener on the neck of the bottle and press the lower switch to bring the worm down into the cork. Press the upper switch to pull the cork out, and voilà.
Dimensions: 5.51 x 14.96 x 5.32 inches | Weight: 1 pound | Material: Plastic
"I like the Oster’s sleek design and attractive appearance; the silver unit blends in nicely with my stainless steel appliances." — Sage McHugh, Product Tester
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
Electric models can be pricier than manual models, but it’s an incredibly easy tool to operate—and our tester agrees. To use this set, remove the foil with the included cutter, then place the opener on the bottleneck, making sure that the worm is centered on the cork (the tool generally keeps things pretty centered, but it’s always good to double-check through the transparent window). From there, just push the down button and your cork will be removed in approximately six seconds. The opener will stop automatically once the cork has been removed from the bottle. To remove the cork from the opener, press down on the upper part of the switch. The corkscrew will turn counterclockwise and release it.
While it doesn't require much muscle strength, our tester did mention that the Secura Stainless Steel Electric Wine Opener requires a small amount of pressure to work properly. If you don't press down firmly, the worm will just spin around and not make contact with the cork. With that guidance in mind, cork removal is a breeze.
This model features a sleek stainless steel design, durable mechanism, rechargeable battery (it can open around 30 bottles on one charge), and internal light to help you see what you’re doing. The included foil cutter is an added bonus, as Trotta considers the tool essential. “It’s [very] handy to have a sharp circular foil cutter to get that perfect cut on the capsule,” she says.
Dimensions: 12 x 2.7 x 7.5 inches | Weight: 1.2 pounds | Material: Stainless steel
"An innovative feature is the transparent shell of the corkscrew mechanism, which eliminates any guesswork and allows you to easily line up the opener with the cork." — Sage McHugh, Product Tester
Best Lever: Brookstone Compact Wine Opener
Elegant, sleek design
Removes cork smoothly
Requires a bit of force to use
If a lever opener is more your style, consider this elegant, compact design by Brookstone. With its small, yet mighty size, ergonomic grip, streamlined metal construction, and new design defined by an extra-long lever for optimal leverage, you can pull any cork (natural or synthetic) with little to no effort in three seconds flat.
To open your bottle, align the opener so that the worm is positioned at the center of the cork, and then push the lever down to insert. From there, lift the handle with one hand while securely gripping the opener around the bottle with the other, and your cork will pop out in one smooth motion. An included, albeit separate, foil cutter with two sharp blades helps tackle the casing before you open the bottle.
Our home tester confirms that this product takes the legwork out of opening a bottle; simply use the unit to hug the bottle, and it takes out the cork without worrying about entering the worm straight or using steps on the rim of the bottle. The unit is on the larger size, but it’s smooth to use. Keep in mind it does require a good bit of upper body strength to use, particularly with trickier corks.
Dimensions: 7.25 x 3.75 x 7.3 inches | Weight: 2 pounds | Material: Metal
"This opener is heavy and sturdy with a super-sharp worm that easily removes corks. I find it quite clunky and cumbersome overall compared to my openers of choice (waiter's corkscrew), but for someone who wants to open bottles quickly, the single-handle design is straightforward to use."
Best Specialty: Monopol Westmark Germany Steel Two-Prong Cork Puller with Cover
Durable, high-quality construction
Ideal for bottles of older wine
Great gift for wine collectors
Has a learning curve
The ah-so style, according to Trotta, is something that most wine professionals own. It features two prongs that slide down the sides of the cork, its design intended to gently and effectively pull old and brittle corks. This type of opener is great to have around if you drink the occasional older wine, but it’s not exactly essential for the casual everyday drinker, Trotta adds, noting that it shouldn’t be the only one you have on hand. That said, having one is essential for wine lovers; if you feel the cork in your older Barolo or your aged port is at risk, whip out an ah-so to avoid having to use cheesecloth and a decanter. Plus, it takes up minimal space in your pocket or jacket.
A good, high-quality ah-so makes an excellent gift for any wine collector or advanced enthusiast in your life (or if you yourself happen to be either of those things). Monopol Germany’s expertly crafted two-prong steel opener comes in a sleek, silver satin finish with a decorative cover and five-year warranty.
Dimensions: 11 x 6.5 x 1 inches | Weight: 2.46 ounces | Material: Steel
Best Waiter’s Friend: Le Creuset Waiter’s Friend Corkscrew
Built-in serrated foil cutter
Scratch-resistant, ergonomic handle
Comes in many color options
“Sometimes called a ‘sommelier’s cork puller,’ the double-hinged versions are, by far, the most preferred by the wine community. They’re sturdy, they fit perfectly in your hand and then into your pocket, and the investment is easy to swallow,” says Trotta. Double-hinged corkscrews, as opposed to those with a single hinge, provide additional leverage to safely and easily remove either synthetic or natural corks from any bottle. According to Trotta, this style also generally avoids puncturing through the bottom of the cork, which can lead to cork bits ending up in your wine (although if it’s natural cork, this is no big deal—just remove the pieces if they make it into your glass).
You can find plenty of quality double-hinged classic corkscrews for a bargain price, but if you’re willing to spend a bit more, go for a design with a grooved worm, like this Le Creuset Waiter’s Friend. The grooved worm makes quick work of tough corks (even delicate aged ones or thicker plastic ones), allowing you to smoothly and quickly get to the bottom.
The hinged steps are a particularly nice feature—it lends you the leverage you need to guide a stuck cork out.
“As a longtime wine writer and sommelier-in-training,” says Celine, “This is one of my absolute favorite features in a wine key—the groove ensures a smooth and easy journey into the cork.” This version comes in a multitude of color options and features a scratch-resistant ergonomic handle and built-in wide serrated foil cutter.
Dimensions: 0.8 x 6 x 1.5 inches | Weight: 2.82 ounces | Material: Metal and steel
Best Value: TableCraft Chrome Wing Corkscrew
Straightforward to use
Wing handles are thin
Winged corkscrews are a bit old-school, but they have their perks. They’re also relatively affordable, generally speaking (particularly this model). Chew recommends a winged-style corkscrew for a few reasons: “[These have] an additional lever, and this is a popular option because it's easier to use than the standard wine key,” she says. “It's almost impossible to angle the lever incorrectly with a winged corkscrew.”
To use, simply secure the corkscrew onto the neck of the bottle after removing the foil, double-checking that the screw itself is aimed straight down at the center of the cork. Then, twist the top clockwise to drive the worm downward and into the cork. Once it’s fully inserted, the wings will have risen—just push those down with both hands and it’ll do most of the work to pull the cork out for you with the help of your leverage. This version by TableCraft is a budget-friendly, no-frills model with a plastic ring to protect the bottle in addition to sturdy chrome construction, and best of all, it’s dishwasher safe.
Besides its affordability, it is easy to use, and requires less skill than a waiter’s friend. If you’re not one to drink a lot of wine but desire an opener for when guests swing by, this option is an excellent all-purpose option. However, there is no foil cutter—you will have to use kitchen scissors or a paring knife to open the foil.
Dimensions: 6.8 x 2.44 inches | Weight: 0.5 pounds | Material: Chrome
Best Design: Rabbit RBT Tabletop Corkscrew
Beautiful, modern design
Easy to operate
May not consistently remove cork from bottle
If you’re looking for a display piece that will add drama to any space (and inevitably generate good conversation), check out Rabbit’s tabletop corkscrew from its beautifully designed RBT line. It’s a modern lever design, but the difference here is that it’s stationary, meaning you don’t have to handle it all on your own—it stays in place while you simply operate the lever as the bottle rests in its pivoting brass coaster on the acacia wood and metal platform (this stabilizes the bottle, making it super easy to operate).
All you have to do is lift up the adjustable lever to raise the worm, place the bottle in its designated nook, then bring down the handle to insert the worm into the cork. From there, simply raise the lever back up to release the cork. The RBT tabletop corkscrew is compatible with both standard 750-milliliter bottles and magnums (1.5 liters).
Customers give this high marks for its unique design, with one saying it made a great holiday gift. However, a few people say that it doesn't consistently remove the cork from the bottle.
Dimensions: 7.375 x 7.375 x 17.5 inches | Weight: 6.225 pounds | Material: Alloy steel
Best Air Pump: Host AirPop Wine Bottle Opener
Fun and easy to use
Great for those with limited mobility
Needle may come loose
The HOST AirPOP is one of the best air pump-style wine openers out there—and it’s pretty fun to use. This device uses compressed inert gas to pull a bottle’s cork, and all it takes is the simple touch of a button. To use this opener, insert the needle into the cork’s center after removing the foil cap from the bottle. Then, press down on the top of the opener, and before you know it, the cork comes out with a satisfying “pop.”
With the HOST AirPOP, you’ll need the brand’s gas cartridges to operate it, but each one can open up to 80 bottles (plus one canister comes included in the set). To remove the cork from the device, just give the base a good twist until it’s released. This style doesn’t require much physical force to use, so if you’re working with limited mobility or don’t have a lot of upper body strength, this is an excellent option to consider. It’s light and relatively compact (there’s no arms like a winged opener). The ergonomic rubber handle makes it easy and secure to grip. If you have young ones around, the needle is concealed—simply twist the base to show.
Dimensions: 2.5 x 2.54 x 10.25 inches | Weight: 0.31 pounds | Material: Mixed material
Best Preserver: Coravin Model Two Premium Wine Preservation System
Helps preserve high-quality wine for longer
Easy to use
Great gift for wine lovers
Coravin is every wine pro’s secret weapon. While it’s not technically an opener, it not only pours your wine, but preserves whatever you don’t drink—essentially, you’re accessing your wine without actually opening the bottle. Think of it as a fancy tap that bypasses the cork using a needle and inert gas, allowing you to pour your wine without exposing it to oxygen, meaning it’ll keep as if you never opened it at all (both a natural and synthetic cork will reseal itself after you remove the needle). All of this said, it’s easy to use. The learning curve is low and it pulls out fresh glasses with ease.
This means that you don’t really have to think about whether or not you’re going to finish a bottle, and you’ll minimize your wine waste significantly. Now, this tool is an investment (as are its accessories, from stoppers to new cartridges), but it’s also a game-changer. You’ll need to stock the gas cartridges, and you can also add on other attachments like an aerator, which will cut your aerating time significantly. Just note that this system is not compatible with screw caps.
Wine lovers who like to savor their wine, as well as people who only enjoy wine occasionally, say they're happy they made this investment.
Dimensions: 2.5 x 4.25 x 8.25 inches | Weight: 10.9 ounces | Material: Mixed material
The Oster Cordless Electric Wine Bottle Opener with Foil Cutter takes the top spot because it makes bottle-opening practically effortless. Plus, it boasts a sleek, compact design. The Secura Stainless Steel Electric Wine Opener (view at Amazon) is another top-rated, aesthetically pleasing option that uncorks bottles in just six seconds.
What to Look for When Buying a Wine Opener
Electric or Manual
Manual wine openers are generally inexpensive, but they do require some physical effort, which may or may not be OK with you depending on your desire for convenience or possible ailments, like arthritis. Electric openers are certainly useful for those who open or serve wine frequently. They can be pricey, but they take the hassle out of popping bottles—and some get the job done in mere seconds.
Some wine openers are simpler to use than others, but once you learn how to operate a harder-to-maneuver tool, you could end up loving it. It all depends on whether you want to add a new skill to your repertoire (or if you even need to).
If you drink wine often, you want something that will last through many bottles for years to come. It's also wise to think about extraneous parts you may have to replace from time to time, including batteries.
Are you drinking old wine? If so, the cork may be decayed and fragile, so you don't want an opener that will completely destroy it. On the contrary, other openers may be more suitable for newer corks, and even synthetic ones.
How do you use a wine opener?
Your standard wine opener works by inserting a metal worm into the cork to pull out the cork smoothly, giving you full access to your favorite wine. A wine opener comes in many forms, though. A waiter’s key stabilizes the cork to help you remove it, while more automated wine openers will pop the cork without any effort from you.
How long does wine last after you open it?
This depends on the type of wine. Sparkling wines will go flat within a few hours of being exposed to air, while wines with more acidity will last up to five days in the refrigerator. A rule of thumb: The higher the acid, the longer the wine will last. That said, wines made in natural styles will have shorter lives once open because they generally do not contain preservatives.
Do you have to refrigerate wine after opening?
Yes. The cold temperature will delay oxidation, keeping your wine fresh for longer. While your mind may immediately go to refrigerating whites, you can also pop your reds in the fridge to extend the life of the bottle.
Should you clean your wine opener?
Yes. Like any kitchen utensil, give your corkscrew a good wipe with a damp cloth after use. Units like a Coravin or Host require more rigorous cleaning procedures, so read up on your respective unit before use.
Why Trust The Spruce Eats?
Kate Dingwall is a sommelier and spirits writer, who has her BarSmarts and WSET certification. She personally tested seven wine openers on this roundup.
Céline Bossart, who originally wrote this article, is a wine and spirits writer for The Spruce Eats. While she's opened her fair share of wine bottles, she also enlisted the help of Linda Trotta, Director of North Coast Winemaking at WX Brands, and D.C.-based blogger and wine pro Alicia Chew to round up the best wine openers for whatever your needs and preference may be.