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Best Corkscrews

By: Angela Stringfellow on December 04, 2017

Corkscrews require less money, but more finesse

Many wine aficionados say they prefer a simple corkscrew to a lever-style or electric wine bottle opener. Corkscrews do have a lot going for them: They're compact, they give a skilled user a greater amount of control, and they're inexpensive. On the flip side, corkscrews can have a long learning curve and require the greatest amount of strength and dexterity for proper use.

Reviewers say you can't go wrong with the double-hinged True Truetap (Est. $6), a waiter-style corkscrew that is inexpensive and solidly constructed, too.  A close knockoff of a slightly more expensive corkscrew called the Pulltap (which we discuss below), the Truetap is just 3 inches long and weighs roughly 4 ounces, making it easy to hold in your palm or tote in a pocket or a purse. The stainless steel finish helps it blend well in any setting, though you can also purchase Truetaps with different colored handles, including black, red, blue and pink, in finishes such as gold, copper, and wood, and even in different patterns such as stripes and polka dots.

The Truetap performs well in expert tests. Nick Guy of Wirecutter says the double hinge provides ample leverage to open each bottle, and the five-turn worm doesn't break any corks. Owners, many of them professional servers who open hundreds of wine bottles, echo these conclusions, saying it handles both natural and synthetic corks quickly without any problems. Most say the integrated beer bottle opener and serrated foil cutter also do their jobs reliably, though a few reviewers wish for a bigger blade on the foil cutter.

As for ease of use, owners say the aforementioned double hinge makes opening bottles much less of a struggle than with other types of corkscrews that require more muscle and pose a greater risk of breaking corks. Though some say there is a bit of a learning curve with the Truetap, the worm inserts easily into the corks and rarely gets stuck, owners say. A few reviewers report stiff hinges at first, but say they loosened with time. Maggie Hoffman of Serious Eats says the worm's black coating started to rub off after 10 bottles, while a few owners say it bent or broke after little usage. The Truetap comes with a 90-day no-questions-asked return policy. Note that some reviewers warn of fakes being sold by Amazon sellers. They recommend buyers look for Truetap-specific packaging and a Truetap logo etched on the side of the corkscrew.

The Pulltap Double-Hinged Waiter's Corkscrew (Est. $10) is the design that the True Truetap is modeled after, and while it costs a few dollars more, it earns just as much praise from experts and users alike. It has the same double-hinged fulcrum and a five-turn, serrated foil cutter and bottle opener. It's about 5 inches long and weighs less than 3 ounces, making it a big longer but also lighter than the True Truetap. Like the Truetap, it comes in a variety of colors and finishes. Editors at one professional cooking magazine praise the Pulltap's Teflon-coated worm, which they say produced "zero friction going into the cork" and also stayed firmly in place when popping the cork from the bottle.

Serious Eats' Hoffman says the coil is a bit thicker compared to the Truetap and in testing, the Teflon coating didn't rub off. She also says the corkscrew feels sturdy overall with a solid lever and a sharp knife, and while she experienced some difficulty getting the knife out of its slot to cut the foil, it was the easiest to use among the corkscrew-style openers she tested. Carson Demmond of Food & Wine says the Pulltap offers the best price-quality ratio of all the waiter-style corkscrews he evaluated, noting that the worm twists easily into different types of corks without resistance or squeaking.

Dozens of owners are mostly pleased with the Pulltap, although like the Truetap, there are several complaints from users who say they received fakes from some Amazon sellers. Pulltex products are backed by a two-year limited warranty.

Many people prefer a winged corkscrew to a waiter-style corkscrew because they don't require as much finesse to use. If you're among them, many reviewers like the Precision Kitchenware Luxury Corkscrew and Wine Stopper Set (Est. $15). The chrome-plated unit has a classic look that will blend in most settings. It also has an integrated bottle opener at the top. As the name suggests, it comes with a wine stopper, but not a foil cutter.

The Luxury Corkscrew garners mixed reviews for performance (though in fairness, all winged corkscrews seem to get mixed reviews). Reviewers say it handles natural and synthetic corks equally well, and they say the bottle opener does its job reliably. However, while most say it does just fine removing corks, a few owners say the worm isn't quite long enough and stops short of pulling the cork all the way out. For some, this is a mere annoyance, but others say it raises the risk that they'll end up breaking the cork and fishing pieces out of their wine.

Owners are happier with ease of use, which is where winged corkscrews shine: They like how easy it is to center the worm, raise the wings and drill down, then push them down to remove the cork. Durability, however, is iffier. There are complaints about a plastic ring in the base of the unit popping off with normal use; a few owners even report bent metal or snapped levers. However, others say this winged corkscrew performed like a workhorse for two years or more. The unit does come with a lifetime guarantee, and the company actively responds to reviewers' comments and complaints on Amazon.

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