When you want to take all the physical effort out of opening a wine bottle, an electric wine opener is probably your best bet. Powered by a small battery-charged motor, electric wine bottle openers typically require you to center a tubular opening over the bottle, press a button, and watch the worm drill down to extract the cork. These are particularly good for those with limited hand strength, though there are a couple of downsides: They're typically designed to sit out on the counter, potentially taking up valuable space. Also, if your unit isn't charged, you'll need a manual opener or you're out of luck.
If you're looking for an affordable electric wine opener, reviewers highly recommend the Oster Electric Wine Opener (Est. $20). Many say it opens wine bottles quickly and easily, and it is very well priced at about $20. The unit, a silver plastic tube with black accents that sits upright in a black charging base, should blend in well in most modern kitchens. An included foil cutter can be stored with the charging base. For $10 more, you can also buy a unit that comes with a wine chiller.
The Oster scores well in tests of electric corkscrews. It also earns high marks from hundreds of owners. Nick Guy of TheSweetHome.com says it outperforms several pricier models, removing corks more quickly -- in about 6 seconds -- and with more ease. Reviewers say it consistently removes all types of corks, even tricky plastic ones. Others praise battery life, with one reviewer saying it needed to be recharged only three times in the course of opening more than 100 bottles. It recharges in six to eight hours. The foil cutter does its job well, most say.
It couldn't be easier to use the Oster, reviewers say: All you have to do is hold the unit's opening on top of the cork, press a button and wait for the cork's removal. Because it's so easy to operate, Guy recommends it for "those with grip issues." He also notes that the unit's slim body makes it especially good for users with smaller hands. There are scattered reports of durability-related issues: Some reviewers say it stopped holding a charge after several months, while others say it started dying in the middle of pulling a cork. The unit comes with a one-year limited warranty.
If you're considering the Oster Electric Wine Opener, you may also want to peek at the similar Ozeri Nouveaux II (Est. $26). Reviewers say it's also fast and efficient, working with any kind of cork. Available in red, white and silver, the tubular unit has a modern feel similar to the Oster's. It does not have a charging base, but can stand on its own while being recharged. The bottom is transparent so you can see the wine bottle while opening it. The unit also comes with a wine stopper and an integrated foil cutter.
If battery life is a concern, the Nouveaux II actually gets higher marks than the Oster -- it can open up to 60 bottles on a single charge. Most reviewers say it has no problem with potentially tricky synthetic corks, either. It is a bit slower than the Oster; it took about 14 seconds to remove a cork in The Sweet Home's tests, while the Oster only needs about six seconds. Guy says the unit also had a harder time catching the cork compared to the Oster. The integrated foil cutter gets high marks for cutting cleanly and evenly. Reviewers say it requires eight to 10 hours to fully recharge.
The Nouveaux II gets solid reviews for ease of use. The sides are curved for a more ergonomic shape, and the push-button operation has little to no learning curve: press the "down" button to send the worm down into the cork, and the "up" button to extract it. While most say it's a good choice for users with arthritis or other conditions that limit hand strength, they caution that you still need to keep a firm grip as the cork is extracted. A blue light illuminates during the process (most reviewers like this feature, but a few find it "cheesy"). Durability reviews are mixed: Some owners say their units stopped working after a month or two, either because the motor died or it would no longer hold a charge. A few also caution that the tabs holding the foil cutter are flimsy and prone to breakage. The Nouveaux II has a one-year warranty.
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