“ Type: Can Opener „
Can openers are a strange yet very important part of life.
They have one single purpose and that is to open cans so that we can eat the delicious contents that are locked away inside, be those contents baked beans, chicken soup or even pet food, although I wouldn't know if pet food is delicious as I Haven't tried tasting it... well not for a while anyway.
Anyway, I said, can openers, or tin openers, depending on where you're from and how you speak, are quite an important way of life, especially if you or your pets like canned food.
So, over the years can openers have come in all shapes and sizes, such as the old fashioned 'stab' type where you use all your strength to take off the can lid, leaving what can only be described as a lethal weapon behind as the jagged sides of the can and lid stare menacingly at you.
Or there's even the military/camping flat ones which need the same amount of force but with a little more thumb action, although they can be carried around on your keys.
Or there's the standard kitchen type with the 'butterfly' turned and the bottle opened on the end of the flat handle
The thing about these type of can openers is that they need a certain amount of physical force to actually use, which, for those people who either can't or just don't want to use too much physical force in their lives, can be a bit off putting.
Luckily though these days there are several new type of can openers that don't need that much physical force as they are in fact powered by electricity, so it takes all the hard work out of living with the hassle of can opening.
Unfortunately several of those electric can openers have a price tag that can make your eyes water, considering that they are only used for one purpose. But one certain can opener, one which I happened to get my hands on, is not just a low price can opener, it is a rather cracking little can opener which has a lovely hidden little secret. This can opener I am talking about is in fact the Argos Classic can opener.
What does it look like...?
It's about five foot tall with big floppy red ears, a purple bobble nose and a tail the size of big foots left shoe.... Well not really, but I've got your attention though haven't I?
Seriously though, it's a white solid plastic 'rectangular/box shape design with the base of it being slightly wider than the top.
At the top of it, where the workings are, there is a lever, a couple of little 'wheels' and 'cogs'.
On the back of it there is what looks like a few slices which isn't damage to it, it is where the knife sharpener is situated. Plus there's a lovely little 'circular' hatch where the mains cable is stored.
How do I use it then..?
This is simple, you just lift the lever, place the can under the lever, lower the lever until the magnet grips the top of the can and away you go.
Once the can has done a full circle and the top has been sliced off the cutter should stop and the can can be removed with a lift of the lever and a bit of a tug... job done.
What about cleaning..?
That's a matter of a simple wipe down with a damp cloth, or even a kitchen wipe, but to make it easier to keep the cutting edge clean this one is removable which is pretty useful as even the best of can openers have a tendency to get a bit of a build up of 'gunk' on them.
This is quite a remarkable little kitchen device which really saves time and a lot of effort when it comes to opening cans.
When I first got it I did have to put it together myself, which was simple a matter of slotting the 'cutting' blade into place. Then, once plugged in, it was time to get a few cans out of the cupboard and get cutting, which meant beans on toast for anyone and everyone in the house, with a selection of soups for starters.
To be honest this bit did take a bit of practice and I did go through a few cans until I got the hang of it. Many of the cans I had used were either left with half a lid still attached or little slices all around them, some even had a bit of my blood on to. But once I'd figured out the best way to use it I've not cut myself since, and all the cans, well most of the cans, have been opened properly.
It's pretty quick at chomping through your standard can of baked beans, taking a matter of seconds to get all the way around, slicing the lid clean off. Although the edges are still sharp so do watch your fingers.
There is an automatic stopping mechanism whish kicks in when the lid has been completely removed.
And as for the way it grips the cans, well, it has one hell of a hold with the small, yet very powerful magnet acting like glue as the can spins around. It can easily hold onto your standard weight can with no trouble at all, but I have had a few can of certain, shall we say 'odd shaped' cans which have struggled to get around in one swift movement.
The cord itself, which fits nicely into the rear of the unit, isn't the longest so the unit can only really be used near a plug socket, but as this is used on worktops and most worktops should have a socket near by then this short lead should not be a problem.
As for that little extra bonus it has a sharpening feature for knives although I don't tend to use this feature that often but when I have tried it it has done what it is supposed to do, but you do have to empty the metal 'bits' into a bin.
It does have a couple of downsides, but not enough to warrant dismissing it from your shopping list of kitchen goodies.
Firstly, unlike manual can openers, this one does struggle opening certain cans, such as those flat ones with the big lids that those flaky pastry pie with hardly any filling in them... you know the ones. When ever I have tried opening these tins the cutter has struggled to slice
Also, it's not the quietest machine in the kitchen, in fact it makes my garden chain saw sound like a whispering worm in the wilderness, but as the high pitched 'grinding/slicing' noise lasts only as long as the can remains closed, the sound is pretty tolerable.
And, it can only be used on a table top or work surface as there are no screw holes or bracket fro this to be attached to a wall.
What about the price of this can opener..?
This one sells for around the £7.00 region at, well at Argos of course, otherwise it wouldn't be called the Argos Classic can opener.
Although, to be honest, I can't seem to find it for sale on the website at the moment, which is weird.
We had a brill tin opener that cost mega bucks but it broke, my mum only bought this Argos Value Can Opener to see us through because none of us can be bothered with a manual one any more. We haven't been in a rush to replace it though because we haven't had any problems with it and for £6.99 it's been just as good as the really expensive one, it just doesn't look as shiny!
It's a basic electric tin opener and looks it, the plastic looks a bit cheapy and the pure white colour of it hasn't even got the Argos logo on...... most people would be glad NOT to have the logo on the plastic but I think it looks proper plain.
The tin opener runs out off the electric and you can't decide to put batteries in it instead like our old one, that's no worries though because there's always a plug in the kitchen and it seems a bit stupid to not use the plug and buy batteries all the time!
This tin opener is good at opening nearly everything, the only thing so far it hasn't been able to open very well was one of them tins of corned beef that are square. It's like it's made only to cut round tins because it struggled big time on the corners of the corned beef tin AND even on the straight edges as well!
All the round tins are fine, it's weird though because the smaller tins like the mini tins of beans and stuff like that will whizz round proper quick on the tin opener and the bigger normal sized tins definately go a bit slower. It's still quite a fast opener though and it's not very often that it will stick with a tin..... I've noticed recently that it's having trouble with Branston Beans for some reason though and looking at the tin I think it might be because the lip is quite thick round the edge of the tin.
I haven't noticed that the opener is going blunt or anything and the blade is easier to keep clean than a lot of these sorts of tin opener. The tops of the tins come out sharp but not all jaggedy like usually happens with cheap tin openers..... still be careful though because you could definately still cut yourself if you wasn't careful!
Recommended..... even though this tin opener is 50p dearer now it's still a mega bargain that might not look stylish but does the job well.
I was used to using a prestige model which I have had for years.I particularly wanted a white one and the replacement prestige was chrome and so I opted for this - wish I hadn't.This device is very poor by comparison, cans slip from under the blade.The knife sharpener on the other hand works well
my mother has severe arthritus in most of her joints now due to two much wear and tear, she could no longer apply the presure needed to open a tin with a normal tin opener so i brought her this electric can opener from the argos for £4.99
The can opener itself is made of a white plastic that is very easy to clean and the cutting blades are made of metal
It is a tall design so will take most sizes of tins and is very easy to operate, to use all you need to do is lift up the handle on the top and put the tin under where a magnet will hold it, push the handle down and away it goes opening the tin, i find this very easy to use but my mom strugles to get the can to latch onto the blade properly at times and the machine makes a horrid noise, it is quite slow at opening cans but for the price i cant grumble.
There is also a knife block on the back for sharpening your knives which is a usefull tool in any kitchen
Tinned cans of food have been a staple addition to my shopping basket over the years from tinned budget branded fruit to major branded tins, which never have ring pulls. As a failed dieter on many an occasion I still prefer to buy tinned food and being single and living alone find that tin cans are still economical to live with. Although some tins now have ring pulls, many do not and its with slight hesitation I reach for my cheap can opener to open the tins with.
Mechanical tin openers are not an option in life; they are a necessity if you buy tins of food generally. From the cheapest £1 types which have awkward handles to the Brabantia £5-00 priced "quality" can openers which are very comfortable but still heavy and bulky, for those with hand fatigue problems, an electric can opener is usually the preferred choice over the mechanical twisting and turning involved. I have a Brabantia can opener but it gets very grubby all too quickly and the joy of cleaning is compromised because the turning toothed wheels have lubrication oil which can get congealed with food thus, when cleaned can be quickly wiped off. And when the teeth are cleaned, they can be rendered useless in their design because they start to grate and loose their clamping grip when it comes to opening a tin.
An electric can opener is a must for those who hate opening tins. My parents owned an old Rowenta model for a couple of years before a larger Kenwood replaced it, which can deal with larger, taller tins. In both cases however there is minimal user involvement needed other than to steady the can or be near it in case it falls off whilst during the cutting process.
The Cookworks Classic can opener however has to be the cheapest model I have so far seen this year, which is about 99p or slightly more than the average price of the mechanical Brabantia can opener. So for £5-99 what are you getting here?
** Nar's Quick Skip Product Spec **
* Removable magnet clamp and cutter blade.
* Tall design, can handle small to medium sized tins.
* Knife sharpener built in at the back.
* Cord storage at the back.
* White colour, PVC plastic; wipe down/washable.
* Price £5-99 Argos/cat number 4219457
Earlier this year Argos renamed their budget brands. So in lieu of Proaction and Cookworks for some appliances and gadgets, Argos have renamed this as "Argos Value Range," but the boxes of these appliances still retain the original name on them, which can be confusing for any consumer. Regardless of what Argos call it you'll still find the name of "Cookworks" written in blue/grey capital letters. I suppose if you don't want anyone to know you've bought a cheap machine you could try and etch the name out with nail varnish remover. I however don't care who sees it!
Out of the box you get a removable cutter, which by its name suggests that it can be removed for cleaning, and a magnet clamp, which is not a permanent part of the can opener that needs to be added. I however like quick and efficient performance and the expectations on an electric can opener can only go so far; so the magnet gets to stay.
Using this electric can opener is however the same principle involved with other brand offerings on the market. You lift the handle, put the can under the edge cutter, allow the magnet to clamp on the lid and push the handle down which then activates the cutting motor. Wait as the tin turns around and the Cookworks Classic will keep the tin turning around until the cutting has finished. Then you take the can off simply by lifting the handle and pull the can off. Leave the can standing however and it may drop off the cutting blade, which is a general no-no; otherwise you may end up breaking the handle off its holder. A concave on the front of the body of the can opener suggests that the can gets cut closer to the blade whilst a permanent set plastic strip shows how far down the tin's top will be cut. Unlike the magic "cordless" "Magic? battery powered can opener, the Cookworks Classic cuts down into the tin's lid edge rather on the rim which minimises cuts to the owner. Despite the size of this Classic model, I've so far found that it can manage small and medium tins in general. Wider and larger cans can only be cut if you hold onto them as the mechanism can only hold onto the smaller cans unaided.
Like my parents Kenwood however I find that the Cookworks version is just as slow but manageable when it comes to cutting. The noise of the can opener however is too noisy just as I find with any other electric can opener on the market of which I have tried. However compared to the mechanical can opener, this Classic opener cuts the tins in half the time involved and of course without manually twisting and turning, you are relieved of the muscle ache.
At 50 watts the Cookworks Classic isn't power hungry either. Travel to the back of the machine and you'll find three slices built into the motor. These are your knife sharpener slide in slices where normal cutting knives can be used to sharpen up. However serrated knives cannot be used, only knives which have a straight edge; I've so far found it useful to have this in place especially when kitchen and paper cutting scissors are beginning to lose their sharpness. It is a pity though that no thought has been given to the metal fragments that collect once they have been sharpened. I usually just lift the machine over an empty sink and shake out the fragments that have been left over from the sharpening process and here the weight of 800g is nothing short of lightweightness proves it can be shaken to free itself of metal sharpenings. Below the slices you'll find a hole of which the 30 cm or so length cable can be pulled out or pushed in for extra storage thus allowing the Classic to take up as little room as possible in use.
The body of the opener is in shiny PVC plastic, which can be washed down. However due to its price, it is easy to see where cost cutting has taken place; both the floating magnet hinge and cutting blade holder have been made of cheap plastic and like the rest of the opener can be washed down with a damp cloth. The shiny appeal however makes this can opener look extremely cheap compared to my parents more expensive Kenwood can opener. The turning wheel however is not lubricated and access to it and the moving parts can be easily cleaned with a damp cloth or scrubbing brush should any food particles get stuck to it.
All in all this is a cheap electric can opener, but it does its job well. It has no frills other than a knife sharpener and against a mechanical can opener, which can feel painful to use, this machine at best, is relatively stress free. For the price it makes the decision to choose a mechanical can opener harder to justify for use in the kitchen - unless you like camping outdoors, perhaps! Thanks for reading. ©Nar2 2008