Top cut or side cut? Both have advantages and disadvantages that could make one or the other a better choice. See the following considerations, as well as our comparison in the introduction to this report. Regardless of the type you decide is best for your household, manual can openers and electric can openers of both types are available.
Do you have children in the house? If so, the extra safety provided by a side-cut can opener that leaves smooth could trump all other concerns. The same is true if you are buying a can opener for an elderly individual.
How diligent are you about cleaning the can opener? A top-cut can opener's blades can actually touch the food inside the can, so you'll need to hand-wash it regularly (or find one that's dishwasher-safe). For electric models, a removable blade assembly will be easier to clean, but it may be a pain to get on and off. Side-cut can openers may not touch the food at all, so they'll stay cleaner.
Do you regularly use the lid to squeeze liquid from the can, as with tuna? You'll need a top-cut can opener to keep doing that.
How is your grip strength? If you suffer from arthritis or any other condition that may affect your hand strength, opt for an electric opener, or look for a can (or jar) opener with longer handles; they provide better leverage and ultimately require less effort.
What's your budget? Expect to spend $25 or more for a good electric can opener. A good, traditional top-cut manual can opener can be found for less than $10, but side-cut manual can openers cost more.
Is counter (or drawer) space tight? Most electric can openers sit on the counter, so make sure you've got enough room for that. Some manual can openers have surprisingly bulky bodies; pick one that will fit easily in your kitchen gadget drawer (or consider a wall-mounted can opener).
Will you need to open a wide variety of cans? Manual can openers handle the largest range of can shapes and sizes. If you're buying an electric can opener, make sure it's tall enough to handle the largest cans you usually open.
Elsewhere in this Report: