Locks onto cans for cutting
Magnet can grab can lids
Slight learning curve
Lid can fall into can
Magnet doesn’t always reach cut lid
Who doesn’t need a can opener? We certainly found plenty of uses for the Zyliss Lock N' Lift Can Opener when we were testing it. Sure, we have a vast array of fresh fruits and vegetables available year-round, but we love the convenience of canned tomato products, particularly in the winter, and canned beans are great when we just need a small amount and don’t want to cook a batch from dried beans. We used the can opener for large, medium, and tiny cans, tested the magnetic lid lifter, and gave it some thorough cleanings in between.
Design: Attractive, but not glorious
While we wouldn’t call this opener pretty, it is stylishly designed, so it doesn’t look completely utilitarian. It’s relatively compact so it fits neatly in a drawer, but it’s hefty enough to feel solid in the hand.
We tested a classic-looking gray and white opener, but it’s also available in green and white or red and white. While a manual can opener isn’t something that you’d display on the kitchen counter when guests are coming, we appreciate that multiple colors are available for people who like the idea of having a color-coordinated kitchen.
This is a classic-style opener that cuts the can lid just inside the rim as opposed to others that un-crimp the outside joint between the lid and body. The elements that set this can opener apart are a lock that keeps the opener attached to the can and a magnet for lid removal.
The opener locks in the fully closed position for neat storage, but it opened easily when we pressed the red trigger. Then it locked onto the can as we began turning the knob, which meant we didn’t need to keep squeezing the handle while cutting. When we were done cutting, we had to press the red trigger again to release the can. That locking feature is great for people with poor grip strength, but we tended to forget that we needed to keep unlocking it.
A magnet on the nose end of the cutter is used for grabbing the can lid. It worked fairly well, but we would have appreciated a stronger magnet for times when the lid was stuck to thick contents in the can, like tomato paste, or when the lid fell too far into the can and the magnet didn’t reach far enough. A lever pushes the can lid off of the magnet. It’s a nice idea, but we seldom used that feature.
This opener cuts the lid inside the rim, as opposed to others that un-crimp the outside joint between the lid and body.
Performance: Does its primary job well
There was a bit of a learning curve with this opener. If it wasn’t attached at the proper angle, it tended to tear the paper label on the can we were opening, and the cutting was rough and jagged. Once in a while, we got the opener attached to the can, but the position was so far off it didn’t cut at all, even though the can rotated. After a bit of use, we figured out the correct angle, and when we attached the can opener properly, cutting was smooth and easy. For most users, that angle will become a habit so they won’t have to think about the proper attachment position.
When the lid is completely freed, it can fall into the can, but we found that many times the lid didn’t always remove completely, with a small section remaining attached to the can. We’re not sure if that was an intended feature, but it happened more often than a complete removal of the lid, even when we were sure we cut all the way around. When the lid hung on, it was easy enough to lift the lid to empty the can, so we were fine with either result.
Material: Sturdy plastic
The can opener is made from a hard plastic with a softer, comfortable-to-hold material on the handles and the turning knob. The cutting blade is stainless steel, so we expect that it won’t rust or corrode. Even though this can opener is mostly plastic, it felt very durable and we can’t imagine it would break with normal kitchen use.
Cleaning: Easy but necessary
When unlocked, the can opener unfolds completely for easy access to the cutting wheel, gears, and other parts that might get dirty while opening cans. Because this cutter actually pierces the top of the can and comes in contact with the food, it’s going to be important to keep it clean so your peaches don’t get a seasoning of chipotle peppers. If the opener is rinsed right after use, cleaning is easy. But if food is left to dry, a small brush might be a good idea. While this is dishwasher safe, we thought it was just as efficient to wash by hand. However, if it’s gotten splashed and spattered in the kitchen, it’s good to know we can just toss it in the dishwasher.
Retailing for under $25, this can opener falls right in the middle of its peers, with plenty of choices that are more or less expensive. And of course, there are plenty of electric can openers that are much more expensive.
Zyliss Lock N' Lift Can Opener vs. OXO Good Grips Smooth Edge Can Opener
We’ll admit it. We’ve had the OXO Good Grips Smooth Edge Can Opener in our kitchen for quite a while, and we’ve become used to the way it works. Compared to the Zyliss we reviewed, the OXO is larger, so it takes more space to store, and it’s also more expensive. One of the main reasons we like the OXO is that it un-crimps the side of the can lid, so the can opener never comes in contact with the food in the can, and the lid never falls in.
We also like that a tiny set of pliers-like jaws can grab the edge of the lid to lift it off neatly. Do we like the OXO better because we’re used to it? Possibly. Is the preference between top or side cutting entirely personal? Yes. For our own kitchen, we’ll stick with the OXO, and we’d happily recommend it to folks who prefer a side-cutter. But for folks who like a top-cutting can opener, the Zyliss works well and it has plenty of happy users.
Want to check out more reviews? Take a look at our guide to the best cooking utensils.
A good choice for top cutting.
While we personally prefer a side-cutting can opener, we have to agree that the Zyliss Lock N' Lift Can Opener is a good example of the top-cutting style. Once we got used to the correct angle to attach it to the can, we got great results, and we can see how the locking feature will be very useful for some users.
- Product Name Lock N' Lift Can Opener
- Product Brand Zyliss
- MPN 20362
- Price $22.99
- Color white with gray, green, or red accents
- Material Plastic body with stainless steel cutting wheel
- Warranty 5 years