Swing-A-Way Can Opener


10 Mar Swing-A-Way Can Opener


It shouldn’t be that hard to find a gadget that opens cans without tossing tomato paste all over the kitchen — or breaking my thumb. But I’ve been on the lookout for a good can opener since November and have found only hand-held or electric versions. Neither meet my space or arthritic thumb requirements.

In the meantime Andrew has been the official can opener. If he wasn’t around, I’d pry open a bottle of extra-strength aspirin and tackle the tin myself. More than once I considered treking over to my mother’s to use her electric can opener. Pride and knowing I’d spill the contents on my way home prevented me from exercising this option.

Despite the temptation, we don’t have the space for an electric version. So we continued the search. Then on the weekend, I found a design that’s been around almost as long as tinned food itself. I thought the Swing-A-Way opener had been discontinued, but it’s making a comeback.

It’s not high-tech. It’s not pretty. But after cursing out my portable version daily for the past four months, there are four reasons everyone should have one (but 24 reasons very few people do):

  1. It’s wall mounted, so it takes up no counter or drawer space.
  2. It’s easy to install. All you need is a screw driver (and awl if your cupboard is very hard wood).
  3. Its easy-turn handle gives your thumb a break and requires so little strength a child can use it.
  4. It requires no electricity.

At $24 pre-tax, the Swing-A-Way costs more than its fancy schmancy electric counterpart. However, it lasts for years and opens cans easily and cleanly.

The only thing it won’t do is go camping. Which isn’t much of a drawback around here.

And when the power goes out? I’ll be able to open a tin of beans, or salmon, or tuna, or tomato paste. No aspirins, mess or strong-handed husband required.

  • Dana McCauley
    Posted at 18:11h, 10 March Reply

    Looks good! I would likely pull it out of the wall – I’m not the gentlest or daintiest person on the planet. My grandmother had rheumatoid arthritis and lived with us when I was a kid so we always had an electric can opener when I was a kid. When I grew up and discovered hand held can openers I was amazed at how quiet and compact they were. I never went back!

  • cheryl
    Posted at 18:29h, 10 March Reply

    There’s something especially wonderful about identifying a need and then discovering the precise product that fills it completely. Looks like you found yours.

    Now if I could find a retro gadget to make me a pan of brownies, I’d be all over that like an opener on a can.

  • Divawrites
    Posted at 19:04h, 10 March Reply

    My grandmother had one just like that, and it’s still the best can-opener ever, manual, electric or anything else. I wish I’d scooped it off her wall when she moved from her apt…I could have added it to the cooking utensils stash I’d already claimed…

  • Puglette
    Posted at 02:17h, 11 March Reply

    i love my hand held swing-a-way can opener. i am sure that crank model works well! my mom in law and sis in law both swear by the hands free can opener. it looks like it would work wekk, but the swing-a-way is just so darn easy to use!

  • R-
    Posted at 06:38h, 11 March Reply

    I really like your blog. I love how you turn a phrase and your “voice” when you tell your story. I like how you write your husband. Yep, a good read, and your pictures make my mouth water.

  • Anonymous
    Posted at 08:39h, 11 March Reply

    Dear Charmian,
    Looks Shmooks. I you want looks get dickied up and go out. I think the swing-away is the best type of can opener bar none. I’ve had more than one electric model and several hand held styles. For my money the swing-away is consistently reliable and never hurts my sore hands. The only problem is that I have no excuse for not cooking when I can always open a can.
    Your ancient sister.

  • Maggie
    Posted at 11:56h, 11 March Reply

    Is it easy to take down so you can clean it? Otherwise, it looks very convenient.

  • Christie's Corner
    Posted at 10:44h, 12 March Reply

    Dana, my mom’s Swing-A-Way survived three kids and three decades of use. I’m sure you wouldn’t kill yours. Good point about how quiet the non-electric version are.

    Cheryl, if I find a brownie maker, you’ll be the first to know. And yes, it DOES feel wonderful to find something that fills a need. My thumb is especially grateful.

    Diva, I’m glad to hear you know and love this product. You can buy them still –yay! I got mine in Kingston but I’m sure there are stores in your area that sell them.

    Puglette, glad to know their hand-held version is also good.

    R – thanks for the kind words. My husband is a good sport about it all. I’ll keep him.

    Robin, we will argue over semantics (cooking = opening a can) later. However, knowing your hands are worse than mine means Andrew will be off the hook for a while to come.

    Maggie, the unit doesn’t detach from the wall, but rarely needs cleaning. A damp rag is all that’s needed now and again. My mom had one for decades and it remained relatively clean despite my love of cooking and slovenly ways.

  • Anonymous
    Posted at 12:16h, 25 August Reply

    Swing-A-Way does also make a hand-held version as well as a small version.

  • dmz
    Posted at 04:54h, 05 May Reply

    What’s a “chid”?

    • Charmian Christie
      Posted at 09:07h, 05 May Reply

      A “chid” is either one of my famous typos or a small thumbless animal that can be trained to use a can opener. :-)

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