Top positive review
24 people found this helpful
Well designed & made, functional little gem
on 8 July 2013
Well it's been 7 months since I bought my mother one of these for Christmas as she has arthritis and I could see she was struggling in silence with manual tin openers.
When I opened it with her, I was initially disappointed. It seemed to me that the bulk of it was just this huge plastic block, and I wasn't crazy about the extras.
However I've been regularly checking with Mum if it works OK and have used it myself a few times, and I was completely wrong.
This product has a few additional functions - a jar opener, a ring-pull tin opener, a zip pack opener, a bottle opener, and a bottle top twister-offer(sorry for the daft name but I had to differentiate from the bottle opener somehow!).
I'll be honest - neither me nor my mum have tried the bottle opener so I can't comment on that one. In my experience of bottle opener's it looks like it will work though.
I'll cover the rest of the functions one at a time below:
1) The tin opener: There's a bit of a knack to it otherwise it won't work. In fairness I think you can expect that with anything mechanical involving cutting or crunching, so it's not a bad thing - you just have to learn the knack. Here's roughly how it works: with the handle up, you hold the tin with it's metal lip just above the wheel and bring the handle down about 90% of it's full range. Before you bring it down fully though you need to fold the magnetic lid-grabber(best I could do under pressure!) down so it's in contact with the tin's lid. Then you bring the handle fully down and the electro-mechanical mechanism kicks in and you no longer need to hold the tin - in fact yu could step away and let it do its thing until it finishes at this point. It rotates the tin while simultaneously cutting the lid. It rotates the tin just over 360 degrees until the lid is completely severed, then stops. Then, holding the tin again, you lift the handle fully up, and the lid-grabber(yes, you've guessed it) grabs the lid. Obviously you have to take some care removing the lid from the grabber as it may well have sharp edges - best to use a finger/thumb on the flat sides, avoiding the edge completely. Now I haven't tried any other automated tin openers but all I can tell you is this one works like a dream.
2) The jar opener: This is that grey crescent you can see adorning the top of the tin opener. It's made of fairly malleable rubber and very easily comes away from the tin opener's base to be used on its own. The idea with this is "one size fits all", so you put it around the jar to be opened and compress it with your hand until it is touching the sides of the jar. Then compress and twist. Now I really thought this would be awful but Mum assures me it's very good for opening jars so I'm surprised.
3) The ring pull tin opener: You can see about half of this part jutting out of the bottom of the tin opener on the photo. It's rectangular with one of its shorter sides curved into the arc of a circle, either end of which forms a flat curved hook. Now I don't know what the official modus operandi is but this is how Mum uses it: with the rectangle stood up on the curved end, approaching the ring pull from the outside of the tin, tuck one of the flat hooks underneath the ring. Keep the opener firmly pressed down on the tin and pull it back(which amounts to rocking it like a rocking horse) until the ring lifts up slightly. Now approaching the ring the same way but from the inside of the tin , position the one of the hooks under the ring again. In the same motion as before, keep the opener firmly pressed down on the tin and rock it back until the lid starts to peel off. Keep on rocking(no pun intended!) until the whole lid is all but removed. Then you can remove it relatively easily using your finger. This seems dubious when you first try it but it always seems to work. I was stunned but just good simple design I guess.
4) The zip pack opener: this is built into the centre of the ring pull tin opener rectangle. It's really just a slot and a blade. We only tried it on a pack of bacon so far and it worked absolutely fine but you need to hold the pack firmly and apply some force to the opener to get it going. In all honesty, if scissors were available, you'd probably use those instead. That said, it does the job it's supposed to. Also, I know scissors can be tricky on certain kinds of zip packs so perhaps that's where this comes into its own providing you have the strength in your hands/arms to use it.
(Update 22/02/17: I used the zip pack opener the other day! Now maybe it was an unorthodox zip pack but I have to say it struggled with it. There was card stuck to the plastic on this particular package so I had to cut through both. The card kept catching and bunching up inside th zip lock cutter. It made it very tricky and in the end I cut the rest with scissors. Also it was hard pulling the gadget with brute force down through the card and plastic. And I had a job getting the bunched up card out of the gadget afterwards. I imagine it works a lot better when it's just plastic though, and perhaps that's the only issue here)
5) Bottle top twister-offer: this is simply a molded indent in the plastic of the ring pull tin opener. It is designed specifically to fit the kind of plastic bottle tops you find atop pop(or soda) bottles. It works fine on those, providing a much better amount of purchase/leverage than you'd normally get with your hands. Now I've tried it on other bottles and as expected it doesn't work. So perhaps if you were looking for a fault with this product that could qualify but that's really not how I view it. I view this product as an electric tin opener, that happens to also have a few crammed in extras that might come in handy one day. To rate it down on the extras would be missing the point, and besides many of them are great anyway.
The bottle opener is also built into the ring pull tin opener rectangle. I think this was the source of my original disgust - the jar opener looked like a cop-out solution to a problem at first glance and all the remaining extras were built into one small chunk of plastic. I expected more somehow. *** Yet *** practical usage has proven that all of them (bar the bottle opener which remains unused) do the job they were designed to do. So I think some clever, simple, and compact design went into this and its usability belies its appearance.
The plastic base is pretty solid as seem most of the parts. In particular the base's pyramidesque profile means it's fairly stable. The handle/blade/lid-grabber assembly can be very easily removed from the base for cleaning purposes, or maybe oiling, by holding a purpose-built spring-loaded catch to one side and just pulling it off. I've removed it and put it back a few times - a tiny knack to putting it back but really easy to deduce.
So this was a real pleasant surprise in the end. I really can't fault it(cue massive comedy explosion, melted plastic, beans all over kitchen, parts everywhere...d'oh).
OK so we haven't tried the bottle opener - but it's a bottle opener people. There are no mechanical parts. We've been making them since at least the Victorian era. So I'm going to make the leap of faith that the boys down in the Morphy Richards underground lab complex have pulled it off(no pun intended again!).