Why Are Under Counter Can Openers So Expensive? (Find Out Now!)

Ossiana Tepfenhart
by Ossiana Tepfenhart

If there is one thing that us home chefs enjoy having in our counters, it’s an under-counter can opener. These little gadgets make it easier to open cans without injury and also speed up prep time. Fans of canned food and 50s cooking will want one of these, but the price can be pretty insane. Ever wonder why that is?

Under counter can openers are expensive because of the installation they require, the many moving parts, as well as the quality of the can opener itself. They last long, are less likely to cause injury, and act as a home improvement.

If you are on a budget, you might be curious about the price of these can openers as well as your ROI. This article is here to help you understand what’s going on with the price tag.

First Off, How Much Does An Under Counter Can Opener Cost?

Can openers are generally not going to be expensive in most cases, but these are not your typical can openers. A handheld can opener can cost between $5 to $10. A mechanical can opener will cost $15 to $30 to purchase.

On the other hand, an under counter can opener will cost anywhere between $150 to $450. At times, this may not even include the installation, which can add an additional fee if you choose to do it through a professional. This makes under counter can openers 10 times as expensive as a standard opener.

Why Are Under Counter Can Openers So Expensive?

There are several reasons why under counter can openers are as pricey as they are. When you take a look at the logic behind the price tag, things will start to make a lot more sense:

  • First, these are machines that have a lot more moving parts than a typical can opener. These are openers that take a while to produce. They often have built-in safety mechanisms that ensure that you won’t cut your hands using it. They also might have spill-proofing tech, too.
  • They are also meant to last longer than a typical mechanical can opener. Most of them last three to five years with proper care and maintenance.
  • There’s also the fact that they are installed under your counter, which means they have to have extra bits n’ bobs. Many can opener brands actually add the installation fees into the price of the can opener. It’s good to check what the policy about your can opener’s price before you buy it.
  • It’s considered to be a home improvement. Much like other add-ons, it’s considered to be a part of a kitchen remodeling project. It can bolster your home’s value.
  • Finally, under counter can openers are (kind of) a niche product. Can openers, in general, are not going to be very popular. Under counter can openers are very rare to find in a place like Sears or Home Depot. So, you might have to search for them. Since there’s a lower demand for them, the price goes up.

Are Under Counter Can Openers Outdated?

This depends on who you ask. Most people do not really think of under counter can openers as a hot-button item. They were in high demand back in the 60s and 70s. Today, they’re kind of retro. Well, actually, they are pretty outdated. Most homes are large enough to afford a regular machine can opener, which was not the case back in the 60s.

However, they still offer a lot of convenience and no one will ever turn a free under counter can opener down. It’s a neat (but totally unnecessary) gadget to own.

Which Brands Make Under Counter Can Openers?

There are only a few companies that have under counter can openers for sale. The most commonly-cited under counter can opener brand today is Black & Decker. You might also be able to find unbranded models on sites like Amazon, but we cannot guarantee they would actually work.

Can You Install Under Counter Can Openers Yourself?

It depends on the make and model, but for the most part, it’s doable. In most cases, you will need to have a second person help you out. After all, you are going to have to have someone hold the can opener to the underside of the cabinet while you drill it in.

Before you buy a can opener for your under-cabinet area, make sure to read reviews on them to make sure it’s something that you can install on your own. Otherwise, you may have to set aside $50 to $100 for a handyman to help you install it.

Is Getting An Electric Under Counter Can Opener Worth It?

Honestly, it’s kind of a crapshoot. Most of the time, an under counter can opener will be treated like a nice little perk to an already highly functional kitchen. However, there is a reason why these can openers fell out of style. Their price tag doesn’t really make sense for most kitchen owners. We all have space for a manual can opener, and it’s cheaper.

However, there are some moments where having an under counter can opener makes more sense than others. If any of these situations ring true for you, it might be worth the splurge:

  • You have carpal tunnel syndrome or similar mobility issues. If you have a hard time moving your wrists or gripping a can, this kind of can opener might be a very wise investment. Trust me, I understand how hard mobility issues can be.
  • You don’t have counter space for a countertop can opener. Admittedly, you can always use a manual one. However, if you can’t for the reasons above, getting an under counter can opener is a smart move. This is why they are popular in efficiency suites as well as RVs.
  • You don’t want to leave a regular can opener where kids can reach it. To a point, I would say that this is easily avoidable with the right planning ahead, but it’s understandable if you want to go the extra mile for babyproofing. You can never be too careful with kids.
  • You love to deck out your kitchen with a bunch of doodads just because you can. As a culinary person, I totally understand the desire to do this. There’s something so fun about having all the kitchen gizmos in the world!

Are Under Counter Can Openers Reparable?

One of the major drawbacks that comes with having an under counter can opener is their lifespan. In most cases, you are going to end up with a permanently broken can opener when your under counter can opener breaks. There aren’t really any places that sell replacement parts, and finding a repairman who will service it is nigh impossible.

There is only one case in which you can rely on your can opener to be repaired or replaced. That’s if the can opener is still under the warranty that it came with. We suggest getting that proof of purchase and making sure that you know how long that warranty is good for. Otherwise, you’re going to end up stuck with a nonfunctional can opener.

Should You Get An Under Counter Jar Opener Instead?

If we were to be honest, we would say the answer is yes. Jar openers that are fitted under your counter are easier to use, more stable, and also tend to be a fraction of the cost of an electric can opener. Besides, most people are starting to veer away from canned food in favor of fresher offerings.

Unlike electric can openers, jar openers are “analog.” They are not electric. They are just there to make sure you have enough grip to get that jar of pickles open. Since they don’t have many moving parts, the chances of them breaking are far lower. This means you can expect them to last a lifetime and not break. Oh, and they are also easy to use. Woo!

Related Questions

When were electric can openers invented, and do some still work?

If you want to get a vintage electric can opener, you can. Electric can openers were first invented in 1950, and believe it or not, there are some that still work. If you want to buy one, it may require you to look at old fashioned flea markets as well as antique stores.Due to the high-quality workmanship, these older models have, they tend to last longer. That’s why some of them are still functional 70 years after they were made. However, you have to watch out for rust. It’s a major problem with some of them.

Can you sharpen a can opener?

Can openers can be sharpened and maintained fairly easily, especially if they are handheld. Just run some sandpaper through it and it’ll feel good as new.

How long does an electric can opener last?

Electric can openers are not meant to last forever, or even that long. Most countertop models will only last between three to five years with a typical maintenance schedule. This makes them only slightly more durable than a typical coffee machine or scale.

Ossiana Tepfenhart
Ossiana Tepfenhart

Ossiana Tepfenhart is an expert writer, focusing on interior design and general home tips. Writing is her life, and it's what she does best. Her interests include art and real estate investments.

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