A reliable wine opener is a wine lover’s best friend, while a wonky one can ruin that special bottle of Bordeaux you’ve been saving for just the right occasion.
With that in mind, we tested eight top-rated wine openers in three different styles — traditional waiter’s corkscrews, labor-saving lever styles and rechargeable electric models.
Best waiter’s corkscrew
With a more comfortable grip and longer lever than the competition, the OXO Waiter’s Corkscrew is easy to use, store, and take anyplace you need to uncork a bottle.
Best lever corkscrew
The Rabbit is the most secure, easiest-to-use lever-style corkscrew we’ve tried, quickly and cleanly removing corks from any bottle with little effort.
Best electric corkscrew
The affordable, stable and rechargeable Ozeri Electric Wine Opener is easy to use, and opens any bottle at the press of a button.
Danielle St. Pierre
OXO Steel Double Lever Waiter’s Corkscrew
If you’re looking for a classic waiter’s corkscrew, we recommend this sturdy OXO Steel Double Lever Waiter’s Corkscrew. Compact and easy to store or carry with you anyplace (picnic, anyone?), this stainless steel corkscrew has a balanced hand feel and a comfortable, nonslip silicone grip. And it has a longer lever than the other waiter’s friend-style openers we looked at, giving you more leverage and an easier time opening tougher bottles.
During our testing, we found that the nonstick screw easily and snugly sunk into the cork, providing a stable base to begin the opening process. The elongated lever provides extra leverage to grip onto the edge of the bottle’s neck to provide the initial pull, and the shorter secondary lever finishes the job with a clean pop, retracting out of the way to give you a clear path for cork removal. This corkscrew can easily grab any cork, even those nested within longer-necked bottles.
Other user-friendly features of this wine opener that we appreciated during testing are its integrated built-in bottle opener, as well as a discrete foil cutting blade that tucks into the base of the opener. At its sub-$20 price point, we stand by this compact, durable wine opener.
Danielle St. Pierre
Rabbit Wine Corkscrew with Foil Cutter
The Rabbit Wine Corkscrew, a modern spin on the lever corkscrew style made popular by the original Rabbit, impressed us with its sheer ease of use. It’s easier to use than other lever-style openers and doesn’t require as much care in placement as “wing” style lever-operated cork pullers. Rabbit’s Wine Corkscrew makes easy work of dislodging a cork with a simple one-two punch mechanism — you lock the opener onto the bottle’s neck, pull the handle and that’s it. The dual levers adhere firmly to the bottle neck, with the longer lever dislodging the cork and the shorter lever effectively dismantling the cork to open the bottle in seconds. There was no setup or assembly required prior to use, and the silicone-lined exterior of this opener felt immediately comfortable in-hand upon unboxing.
Lever-style wine openers are meant to be stable and easy to use, and the Rabbit satisfies this most important requirement. During our testing, we found that the Rabbit effectively latched onto the bottle neck, allowing us to then pull the lever up and then down (in that order) to engage and then release the wine cork seamlessly and without any residual damage to the cork.
Also of note: The Rabbit got the cork out of our bottle in three seconds, as advertised.
If you’re looking for a foolproof lever-style wine opener without any manual stress or labor, consider the Rabbit. This also makes for one hell of a gift for that wine lover in your life.
Danielle St. Pierre
Ozeri Nouveaux II Electric Wine Opener
We tested several electric wine opener models and found the Ozeri Nouveaux II Electric Wine Opener to be the most stable, which let us open bottles more quickly and easily. Included with this model is a charging station, wine pourer, stopper and built-in foil cutter, but the opener itself is intuitive and easy to operate. Conversely, we found the Oster Electric Wine Opener to be a bit clunky, heavy and hard to grip firmly in the hand, which impacted our ability to properly vertically align and stabilize the opener above the bottle neck.
As the Ozeri owner’s manual indicates, all you need to do is position the opener directly above the bottle to make sure it’s centered on the cork. From there all we had to do was hit the LED-lit blue “down” button to activate the opening process and let this electric wine opener do its thing.
Once the cork was effectively dislodged, a simple push of the LED-lit “up” button released the cork back into its original condition. The entire process took around seven seconds, and this electric wine opener actually made opening a bottle of wine a bit more fun.
At under $20, we think the Ozeri Electric Wine Opener would make a great gift for the wine lover in your life, and we also think it deserves a spot in your home wine bar setup.
There are countless varieties of wine opening tools, with widely different designs and functionality. Which one you choose comes down to how much wine you drink (and thus how often you’re likely to use it), how comfortable and experienced you are with opening bottles and how easy it is to store. There are good options for any budget regardless of which type of opener you use.
Waiter’s friend-style wine keys or manual openers are compact and easy to store, can be easily transported and are the most budget-friendly option. For the everyday wine drinker, a manual wine opener will get the job done on a tighter budget, and they’re inexpensive enough to take along with you and not worry too much about. Using one accurately requires a little bit of work and experience, which someone in this category is likely to have. And for those really picky about their vintages, manual wine openers also provide the most intimate experience of opening a bottle of wine, since you’re in close contact with the cork and can immediately tell if it’s damaged or might require extra effort to remove.
If you’re looking for a slightly smoother and simpler experience, a lever-style wine opener gives you more leverage and requires less hand and arm strength to use. Thus, a lever-style opener might suit someone who is starting to collect wine and open more than two bottles per week, or it might appeal to the infrequent wine drinker who doesn’t open bottles often and hasn’t developed the muscle memory to use a waiter’s friend accurately. A lever-style device does take a bit more storage space, so you’d want to factor that in, but it’s always ready to go, unlike an electric wine opener.
Electric wine openers take the guesswork out of opening a nicer bottle of wine. If you’re a collector or you’re gifting a wine collector, a more expensive yet reliable electric wine opener is the best option. While electric openers require a charge, a simple press of a button is all that’s required physically to uncork a nicer bottle you’ve been saving.
Some models include additional bells and whistles like foil cutters, pour spouts, vacuum stoppers and advanced wine preservation systems. In the manual wine corkscrew category, for example, there are single-lever as well as double-lever models, the latter commonly referred to as the classic waiter’s friend. As rechargeable batteries have made their way into tools in every category, the electric wine opener has become much more popular in recent years, with brands like Oster and Ozeri introducing more luxe models, which include charging stations, easy-to-read LED buttons and cordless functionality.
To ensure consistency in our testing, we used a case of white wines, in identical 750-milliliter glass bottles with natural corks. Over the course of one week of testing, we paired each bottle of wine with one wine opener, assessing the below factors.
In our test, we focused on three main criteria categories:
Ease of use: Is the model ergonomically sound? Does it feel comfortable in the hand? How difficult is the setup process? Damage to cork: Did the wine opener damage the cork during the opening process? Efficiency: How long does the wine opener take to effectively open a bottle of wine? How effectively did the opener work overall, considering effort and pressure involved?
During testing, we spent time with each wine opener individually, from initial setup, to hand feel, ergonomics and weight, through uncorking performance and efficiency. We scoured owner’s manuals and detailed instructions, we took time to charge any electric models before use and we cross-checked brand video tutorials when necessary to ensure we were operating each model correctly.
For initial impressions after unboxing, we paid close attention to simplicity of design as well as other included
We went through a case of wine to find the best corkscrew for you
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