A wine opener that doesn’t work correctly can spoil that rare bottle of Bordeaux you’ve been saving for a special occasion.
In light of this, we put 8 of the best wine openers to the test, testing them in 3 different designs: traditional waiter’s corkscrews, labor-saving lever designs, and rechargeable electronic versions.
Choosing a wine opener
Wine openers come in an almost infinite number of styles and configurations, each optimized for a specific purpose. Your personal preferences in wine consumption, bottle-opening expertise, and space constraints will all play a role in your final decision. No matter what kind of opener you’re looking for, you can find a solid alternative within your price range.
The most affordable choice is manual openers or waiter’s friend-style wine keys, which are small, portable, and easy to store. Manual wine openers are affordable enough for the ordinary wine drinker to bring along on trips without breaking the bank. It takes practice and knowledge to use one effectively, both of which someone in this group is likely to possess already.
Manual wine openers are the most personal way to open a bottle of wine since you get to feel the cork in your hand and can tell at a glance if it’s damaged or will take more work to extract. This is especially useful for wine connoisseurs who are particular about their vintages.
Wine opening with a lever-style opener is easier on the hands and arms since you can apply greater force with less effort. A lever-style opener may benefit a person beginning to acquire wine and opening more than two bottles each week or an occasional wine enthusiast who hasn’t formed the muscle memory to utilize a waiter’s buddy accurately. Unlike electric wine openers, which require charging before use, you can use lever-style devices immediately after being taken out of storage.
An electric wine opener removes every element of chance when dealing with a fine wine bottle. A more expensive but trustworthy electric wine opener is the perfect option if you are a collector or are buying a gift for a collector. Electric openers need to be charged, but once they are, all it takes to open a special bottle is to press a button.
Features including foil cutters, vacuum stoppers, pour spouts, and state-of-the-art wine preservation systems are available on some models. There are single-lever and double-lever variants of manual wine corkscrews, the latter known as the traditional waiter’s buddy. The electric wine opener has recently seen a surge in popularity, thanks in part to the proliferation of rechargeable batteries across a wide range of tool types.
Several manufacturers, including Oster and Ozeri, have released high-end models that feature docking stations, backlit controls, and cordless operation.
The top lever corkscrew: Rabbit Wine Corkscrew With Foil Cutter
We were blown away by how simple it was to operate the Rabbit Wine Corkscrew, a contemporary take on the lever corkscrew design popularized by the original Rabbit. Unlike “wing” style lever-operated cork pullers, it doesn’t require as much precision in placing and is, therefore, easier to use.
By locking onto the bottle’s neck and pulling the handle, the Rabbit’s Wine Corkscrew makes quick work of removing corks. The two levers securely attach to the bottle neck; the longer one dislodges the cork while the shorter one effectively dismantles it, allowing the bottle to be opened in a matter of seconds. This opener required no initial setup or assembly. Its smooth, silicone-coated body made it feel at home in my hand from the moment I took it out of the packaging.
The Rabbit checks off all the boxes for what a reliable and user-friendly lever-style wine opener should be. In our tests, we observed that the Rabbit firmly grasped the bottle neck and released the wine cork with a simple up-and-down lever motion without damaging the cork in the process.
Also worth mentioning is that The Rabbit removed the cork from our bottle in precisely three seconds.
The Rabbit is an effortless alternative to traditional wine openers that uses a lever to release bottles. This would also be a fantastic present for the wine enthusiast on your list.
Waiter’s choice corkscrew: OXO Steel Double Lever Waiter’s Corkscrew
This OXO Steel Double Lever Waiter’s Corkscrew is an excellent choice if you’re in the market for a traditional waiter’s corkscrew. This corkscrew is made of stainless steel, has a comfortable hand feel, and has a pleasant, non-slip silicone grip; it is also small, lightweight, and portable, making it ideal for travel or picnics. It’s a waiter’s friend, so it can open bottles, and the lever is longer than the other ones we looked at, so you can use more force on stubborn bottles.
Our tests revealed that the nonstick screw sank into the cork relatively quickly, providing a solid footing from which to work. The longer lever gives you a better grip on the bottle’s neck so you can get a good pull started. The shorter secondary lever offers you a clean pop to remove the cork and then retracts out of the way. Any bottle’s cork is within easy reach, including those nestled within bottles with wider necks.
While testing this wine opener, we also found its built-in bottle opener and hidden foil cutting blade valuable additions. We recommend this little but sturdy wine opener that costs less than twenty dollars.
The top-rated electric wine opener: Ozeri Nouveaux II Electric Wine Opener
The Ozeri Nouveaux II Electric Wine Opener proved to be the most reliable of the devices we tried, allowing us to swiftly and effortlessly crack open bottles of wine. The opener is as user-friendly as the charging dock, wine pourer, stopper, and integrated foil cutter that come with this model.
On the other hand, we considered the Oster Electric Wine Opener cumbersome, heavy, and challenging to grip firmly in the hand, all of which interfered with our ability to line and balance the opener above the bottle neck correctly.
To ensure the opener is placed correctly on the cork, the Ozeri owner’s manual instructs you to hold it directly above the bottle. The electric wine opener did the rest of the work once we pressed the blue “down” button, illuminated by LEDs.
After we successfully removed the cork, we could replace it with the press of an LED-illuminated “up” button. This electric wine opener truly made cracking a bottle of wine a little more enjoyable, and the whole thing only took about seven seconds to complete.
The Ozeri Electric Wine Opener, available for less than $20, is a must-have for any home wine bar and would make a fantastic present for the wine enthusiast in your life.
Our testing methodology
We utilized a case of white wines packaged in equal 750-milliliter glass containers with natural corks. This helped us maintain consistency throughout the testing process. As part of a week-long experiment, we tried opening every bottle of wine using a different wine opener and recorded our findings below.
As part of our evaluation, we paid particular attention to the following three factors:
- Is it easy to use? Does the design prioritize comfort? Will you be able to hold it easily? How tough is it to set up?
- During the process of opening the bottle, did the cork become damaged by the wine opener?
- How long does it take to crack open a bottle of wine? Considering the time and stress put into the opening, how well did it perform?
We gave each wine opener tested our full attention, from the time it took to get it ready for use to the time it took to uncork a bottle of wine. To ensure we were using each tool correctly, we reviewed the manuals, confirmed the electric ones were fully charged and re-checked the brand’s video tutorials where necessary.
After taking it out of the package, we first noticed how quickly we could use the many functions, tools, and attachments that came with it. Does the wine opener need some setup before you can use it? Are the manual corkscrews equipped with a foil cutter? Was a complete charge necessary before using the electric models? During these preliminary setup stages, we noted any problems that arose.
Our top picks didn’t need much in terms of assembly, and they all came with extras like foil cutters and spare corkscrews to help open a bottle quickly.
We put a lot of thought into how each wine opener would feel in the hand, how comfortable it would be to use, and how much it would weigh. Were our hands able to comfortably grasp the tool? Was the model’s modest heaviness noticeable when using the opener to crack open a bottle of wine? The angle at which an electric wine opener is held concerning the bottle neck is a crucial factor in the opener’s effectiveness.
Therefore, we tested the electric wine opener by noting how easy or difficult it was to hold it at a perfectly symmetrical position above the bottle. We also looked at the weight, balance, and grip to determine how secure the manual corkscrews were.
Uncorking the wine was where we got a feel for how well each wine opener performed. We accounted for the fact that some manual or pronged wine keys required some force to wedge the corkscrew into the cork and that some lever-style and electric wine opener devices needed the same amount of pressure.
Last but not least, we considered how enjoyable it was to use each opener and how effective it was. Some of these models not only effortlessly removed the cork from the bottle but did so with a gratifying pop, click, or hiss, encouraging us to use the same model on our next bottle of wine.
The OXO Steel Vertical Lever Corkscrew, like the Rabbit model we just evaluated, is operated by a lever. Compared to the Rabbit model, we discovered that the OXO’s seal wasn’t as secure, making it more challenging to center the device precisely above the bottle neck.
We tried multiple times to get this device oriented properly with the bottle neck but were never able to get a good seal.
Another model that seemed to have stood the test of time and earned glowing reviews was the Durand, but our experience with it was disappointing. We had a hard time getting a good hold on the Durand after we had inserted the two prongs into the cork and were ready to pull the wine stopper out.
We think you could do better spending $145 on a wine opener and accessories that don’t require quite as much finesse.
The Oster Cordless Electric Wine Opener was less secure in our hands than the Ozeri Electric Wine Opener. While we like the cordless design, we found that the electric wine opener shook and rattled too much when first placed to create a seal and remove the cork efficiently.
Reviews on Amazon have consistently complimented this model as an “oldie but a goodie” for its reliability and straightforward design. While we acknowledge that this wine opener does operate to uncork a bottle of wine successfully, we found the process to be a bit too burdensome due to its fold-down wings and somewhat more clunky profile compared to a straightforward wine key, which performs the same operation in fewer steps.
Yes, it’s an oldie, but that doesn’t mean it’s inherently good.
We had high hopes for this manual wine corkscrew because it was made by a well-known culinary brand, Le Creuset. Dislodging the cork was a breeze with this type. Still, we preferred the OXO Double Lever because of its superior ergonomics and durability.
The OXO model proved to be slightly more efficient and comfortable to use. Still, the Le Creuset Waiter’s Friend gets the job done because of its smaller size and portability.
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