You've probably been using your can opener the wrong way

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What the!?! Black is white! Up is down! It’s like suddenly learning that I’ve been wearing my shoes ont he wrong feet all these years.

(wanders off to have a little lie down)


And yet I have two can openers that are specifically designed to work in this way, and cannot work in the ‘traditional’ way.


I tried this and yes, it leaves sharp edges easier to cut yourself on. I guess if you are careful, do what you want. But other than the downside of easier to touch sharp edges, I don’t see any advantage to this method.


No. You CAN do it this way, but it’s not the “correct” way. Haven’t you ever seen industrial can openers in bakeries, factories, or even in some old homes? They open the vertical way. The horizontal method leaves the top edges sharp and short, which will leak the contents as well slice away a few fingers.

Sorry. This is definitely one of those dumb things that people think is cool because it’s different.

EDIT: There is another style of opener which cuts into the thick rim to leave a dull, but raised top. It cuts horizontally as well, but is clearly not the same opener as the one in the video.


I got one of those “special” can openers as a gift years ago, the only problem is I’m a cheap bastid who buys the dented discount cans of stuff at Stop N Shop, and the new can opener won’t always work on them (plus I tossed out my old can opener, so I end up using a Swiss Army knife to open my dented 30cent generic can of beans.)


It looks like this one does cut through the rim,

akin to the As Seen on TV™ Safety Can™ from the 90’s.


I’ve been using the can opener on my multi-tool for … hmmmm, well, I’ve had this multi-tool for well over ten years, perhaps as long as twenty. Its been the most reliable can opener I have ever used in my life. Period. Its never slipped nor does it have any moving parts to wear out and it doesn’t take any more effort to use than any of those crappy crank types.
The multi-tool in this vid is not mine. The can opener on mine is easier to get at. But, how to use it is the same.

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Can openers came WAY after cans. I think you were supposed to use your bayonet on em.


I was coming here to make this point.

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So say we all!


The advantage seems to be that you don’t have to fish the lid out of the can.

I have one of those openers designed to cut horizontally and it cuts only the outer layer of metal on the rim so the sharp edge is not on the top of the can. The edge has never been a problem for me. As an added bonus since the lip is still on there you can put the can lid back on and it will stay in place.

The downside is that it has to be a higher precision instrument so it costs more.

OK, so that horizontal method results in a can lid that has no sharp edges. But it DOES leave sharp edges on the can itself! Net gain = zero.


Back when C rations were canned the Army issued tools like that. They were call P-38s. Troops called them “John Waynes” because they save lives.

I have a few uses for opening cans like this. When the contents are solid or semi-solid (chilli, cranberry jelly, dog food) and you want to remove the whole contents, this method work better as it doesn’t leave a ‘lip’ for the contents to get stuck on. Oh, it also helps to punch a small hole in the bottom side of the can with the other side of a bottle opener so that air can get it.

It disturbs me to leave the cans this produced in my recycling as–unlike a vertically cut can where you can cut yourself if you stick your hand into the can–this method produces cans that will gladly punch a can sized hole through flesh like objects. I feel like I’m sending landmines off to the recycling people. I’ve taken to only putting them in the bin after stacking a smaller but taller can inside. The hope being that if the assembly gets stepped on, the smaller can will prevent a serious injury.

How about this method?


Kuhn Rikon can opener FTW.

Can openers that don’t leave any sharp edges on either the can or the lid do exist, but just holding a regular opener differently will not do it.

We use this and I will never buy another kind of opener again. It truly is astonishing how liberating it is to not have to worry about mauling myself on the can or lid:


I am opening cans right now.


I use this method when I’m concerned about the contents of the can (e.g., jellied cranberry sauce) getting hung up on the rim, so I just cut the whole top off. But whether you use a standard opener sideways, or use one of the newer ones that cut into the can seam itself, the main problem is that you can’t easily use the cut-off lid to squeeze liquid out of the can contents. I’ve never cut myself on a can or lid edge. But it seems I’m unusual in that regard.

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