Best Wine Bottle Opener
When it comes to selecting a wine bottle opener there are a number of considerations you have to make. There’s something which is just special about opening a great bottle of wine, after all. That moment when you can finally remove the cork really shows you that it’s now your time to unwind – whether that’s relaxing after a long day at work over a bottle of wine and sprawling out on the sofa or whether you’re hosting a dinner party with a group of family and friends. So chose your wine bottle opener carefully and you’ll kick off your afternoon or evening to the best start.
Naturally, one of the most important considerations when it comes to a good wine bottle opener is pretty simple – functionality. Without being able to open a bottle of wine, a wine bottle opener is fundamentally useless. Past this though, you’ve got a whole bunch of considerations like style and design, and while all bottle openers may be functional, they’re not all created equal.
Wine bottle openers will traditionally come in either manual or electronic (automatic) styles, and it’s not a simple case of one being better than the other. They both come with drawbacks and some may be more suited to specific occasions than the other. After all, picture the scene:
…you’re relaxing after work, and it’s been a long day. You’ve finally got in, got changed out of your work clothes and into something slightly more comfortable. You sit down for a romantic candlelit dinner with your significant other over some great food. Your head is already slightly pounding from the day, but you’re eager to relax. Grabbing a bottle of wine, you reach for your wine bottle opener and REEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE as the electric motor punctures the air, cutting deep into your mental relaxation and bringing you swiftly back to cold reality…
Sure, sure, this may be a little extreme, but you get the point. Electronic doesn’t mean better, and there’s a right opener for the right occasion.
Commercial or home use
One of the first factors when deciding on a new bottle opener is the scene in which you’ll be using it – commercial usage or for personal usage at home? If you’re going to be using your wine bottle opener in a commercial setting, then you’ll have a whole different bunch of considerations than if you’re purchasing a bottle opener for home usage. In general, we tend to see that people have the following priorities:
Most important factors here are ease of use, sustainability, speed, and price.
- Ease of use – If you’re not going to be using the bottle opener yourself, then you’re going to want it to be simple to use. There’s nothing more depressing than getting a new kit for your bar’s toolkit and having to spend 30m explaining to every single staff member how to use it.
- Sustainability – Imagine buying a brand fancy new bottle opener and finding that it breaks after opening just twenty bottles? If you’re using it for home use, this might be a few months. If you’re using it commercially, this could be in half an hour. Get yourself an opener which will last the test of time.
- Speed – So it’s easy to use, and it lasts forever. Unfortunately, it’ll also take you 5m to open each bottle, so you may as well go back to the good old fashioned “smashing the bottle on the ground and crying instead” method. Ok, that’s a bit of exaggeration, but you see where we’re coming from. Speed is vital.
- Price – While this may be a little less of a priority for commercial usage than home usage (it’s an investment, after all!) price is also important. Especially if you’re buying three. Especially especially and definitely if you’re buying thirty.
Most important factors here are aesthetics, noise, and quality.
- Aesthetics – Do we really need to say this? If you’re going to be bringing out a wine bottle opener every single time you open a corked bottle of wine – especially in front of guests – then you’re going to want this thing to be more beautiful than the Mona Lisa.
- Noise – We’ve definitely covered this already, but come on, isn’t it obvious? In a busy bar you may be able to get away with a loud motor half deafeaning the patrons (they probably can’t hear it over the DJ anyway) but at home it’s a different ballgame. Don’t ruin the ambiance.
- Quality – Again, you’re probably not going to be the only person using this thing. Not only do you want your opener to work well, but you want it to feel good. Both of these attributes only come with quality, so don’t skimp out and go for something cheap “just because”!
Manual or electric
So you’ve decided on your main judging criteria (hopefully you knew some of them up front but, y’know, who are we to judge). Next up you’re going to need to make an important but vital judgement – whether you’re going for a manual or an electric opener.
Now, one of the key considerations to bear in mind here is something which is unavoidably tied to the manual or electric debate – noise. If you’re running a romantic restaurant, any kind of whirring louder than a candle blowing in the wind is probably unacceptable to be emanating from a wine opener, so you’re going to have to stick with manual.
A 2014 paper from the University College London (UCL) called “What’s the quietest sound the human can hear?” put the sound of a soft whisper at just 20 dB. Amazingly, it also states that humans are capable of hearing an incredible 0 dB – corresponding to a pressure wave of just 0.00002 Pascals and causing the eardrum to vibrate by just 10^-8mm. This might sound absolutely crazy, and we’re not going to give you a science lesson, but suffice to say, humans are sensitive to sound.
However, just because electric wine bottle openers tend to be louder does not mean that they have to be deafeningly loud. Since motor technology has improved significantly in the last few years, there are many electronic bottle openers which barely clock in at more than 20 dB (a light whisper, after all) and if you’re going to need something which won’t destroy the romantic vibes it doesn’t mean you have to go with a manual bottle opener.
When you’re looking at the options however, you’ll definitely find that cheap bottle openers which are electronic are almost always incredibly noisy. So yes, if you’re going to go with something which you know won’t damage the romantic vibes then either go for an expensive electronic bottle opener or a good old-fashioned manual option.
If you’re looking for a commercial bottle opener, as we’ve already established in the criteria, you’re going to be looking for something which high ease of use and high speed. Fortunately, both of these are often associated with electronic wine openers and especially if you work in the catering industry, this is probably the way to go.
Some event caterers will be in the position of opening literally thousands of bottles of wine during the course of an event (yes, honestly, we pity you!) and doing this all by hand using a manual opener is just frankly insanity. You’re going to need some help from a machine to push through, and an electric opener is probably the way to go.
Electric wine bottle openers come with a whole host of important considerations which don’t exist in their manual counterparts. Some of them might seem obvious (you really cannot get these things wet you know…) but some of the considerations you’ll have to predict are a little more nauanced if you’re unfamiliar with the bottle opener market.
For example, how long does the electric bottle opener take to charge, and how long will it operate (how many bottles of wine can you open) before you have to charge it again? Finding this information online is notoriously difficult, so we’d recommend checking out reviews to determine the best options available to you. It’s almost certainly going to be an important consideration so don’t buy a brand new opener and find out that it has to be recharged for 30m between every two bottles!
You might think that’s ridiculous, but you haven’t seen some of the poor options available out there in the market.
Manual Wine Bottle Openers
It is the classic thing that comes to mind when we think of opening wine for good reason, and it’s hard to beat the classic aesthetic of a good ol-fashioned corkscrew. Whether you’re picking a manual opener or an automatic opener really comes down to the desired speed and number of bottles you’ll need to be opening.
This being said, one nice addition you’ll find in many manual wine bottle openers (corkscrews) is that they’ll frequently be multipurpose – doubling as both a wine bottle opener and a beer bottle opener. If you’re a caterer, or working behind bar, you’ll probably find this really useful. If you’re a wine bar, or a home user, this is probably a little less important. Consider what’s most important to you and purchase accordingly!
Aesthetics and the opener materials
Let’s just go ahead and establish this up front to avoid any confusion, but stay away from anything which is built primarily using plastics. Not only do they look and feel cheap, but you’ll also find they’re significantly less reliable then components made from metal or wood. It might seem attractive to buy a cheaper wine bottle opener on the face of it, but when it breaks after just a few months you’ll realize that not only do you have to buy another (and now you’ve spent more than you did originally) but unless you already keep a spare bottle opener knocking around the place you’re probably now in serious, serious trouble.
There’s nothing more awkward than having to ram a pencil or pen through the top of a cork to pry open a wine bottle in an emergency, so let’s make sure we don’t end up in that position from the get go, right?
Now, to be clear, I’m not saying stay away from anything with plastic in the construction, but if you look at a potential opener and go “oh, well, it’s made of plastic” then back away right now and find something else. So with that in mind…
When are they OK? Simple, when they’re not the main material. Combining plastics with metal or wood can look beautiful, and it can also look tacky as hell. There really aren’t any binary decisions I can give you here as to whether or not it’ll look good aesthetically – that’s just something you’ll have to determine by yourself. That being said, in general, look for an opener with muted plastic tones. A wine bottle is already shiny, and if you’re opening it you’re going to want to find something with matte tones rather than something as shiny as glass.
Transparent plastic isn’t always a bad thing either – and employed correctly can not only look beautiful but be incredibly practical. Just be careful. Imagine opening a bottle of wine for the Queen of England using the bottle opener…would you be embarrassed to bring it out? If so, don’t buy it. You can find great openers for cheap prices so just don’t get one which is terrible.
Pretty much an essential component of the bottle opener – especially since the actual corkscrew will almost certainly have to be made out of metal. What’s that? Your cousin’s uncle’s friend’s dog walker has one which is made entirely out of glass? Good for them. Doesn’t change the fact that unless you want to shell out some truly ridiculous money then yours is going to have to have some metal components.
Again, like the plastics, we tend to prefer matte metals (eg, brushed aluminium or steel) taking pride of place in your wine bottle opener. Chromed metals might look great on a hub-cap, but anything which will reflect enough light to blind a small village has no place in a kitchen or bar. You heard it here first.
Another obvious consideration (which is often overlooked) is the actual metal used in the construction. Not important, I hear you saying? Well if you go for a bottle opener made entirely of ferrous iron and find out one morning after leaving it next to the sync that it’s rusted into dust…don’t come complaining to us asking for a refund!
Metals can often come in a number of different colored finishes (altered by adding certain compounds to the metal or an outside coating) such as brushed metal, dark grey or black, or even more champagne / rose colored tints. This can be a great way to add a bit of personality to a bottle opener…but beware! If they’re coated then the coating may be damaged easily and this will make your opener look awful.
One final note on metals for those who aren’t aware, but many metals (eg, copper) have significant antibacterial properties! This means that a wine bottle opener made using copper metal may be significantly more hygienic than one made out of copper or wood, etc.
Who doesn’t love a bit of a curveball? There’s something about the rustic charm of using wood in a bottle opener construction that really epitomises the definition of “aesthetic”. Sure, why not pop a bottle of wine open? It’s been a long day hiking in the woods and we’ve finally got back to the cabin. We’ve earned a nice drink! …you can almost hear the fire crackling in the background already.
Before you go all crazy and start finding every wooden bottle opener you can see (we’ve tried already…don’t judge us) do consider that wood is far less durable than metals and some plastics. It might be great, but it doesn’t mean it’s the best material for all uses. Find a durable wine bottle opener, and consider the reviews if you’re going for one with wooden components.
So…what wine bottle opener should I buy?
Well we are so glad you asked! After reading that mammoth guide you’re probably keen to see our recommendations, so we’ve included them below and separated them by some key criteria like automatic vs manual and commercial vs home use. If you’ve got any further questions or would like to see us review any specific wine bottle openers then feel free to send us a message and we’ll do our best! We do open a ridiculous amount of wine, and we’re always keen to make that process a better experience…
Best Wine Bottle Opener for…a trendy bar
Name: Secura SWO-3N Stainless Steel Electric Wine Opener Corkscrew Bottle Opener
Price: $19.99 (on Amazon)
Why: The Secura SWO-3N is a beautiful piece of kit. Not only is it a highly durable bottle opener which will easily power through thousands of bottles with ease, but it’s also aesthetically beautiful.
Fitting somewhere between a bit of gear used in The Matrix and something you’d expect to drop off the back of a bike from TRON, the Secura is definitely the way to go if you’re keen on making an impact. Here we can see a great example of the right way to use plastic and combined with brushed metal gives an affordable option that will be sure to impress even the most snooty of patrons. Perfect for your wine bar!
Best Wine Bottle Opener for…a romantic restaurant
Name: Professional Wine Opener by HiCoup – Rosewood Handle All-in-one Waiters Corkscrew
Price: $10.95 (on Amazon)
Why: Nothing says romance quite like a good old fashioned corkscrew with some lashings of rosewood to really up the romantic vibes. This bottle opener is beautiful and functional.
One brilliant aspect of the HiCoup is that despite being a manual corkscrew it is incredibly ergonomic. A real pleasure to use!
Best Wine Bottle Opener for…a home wine enthusiast
Name: CUSIBOX Electric Wine Opener Cordless Rechargeable 2-in-1 Vacuum Pump
Price: $36.99 (on Amazon)
Why: Now here you’ve got a bit of a curveball but bear with us before you exclaim at the price. Firstly, let’s get the obvious out the way – this is a formidable bottle opener. It’s electronic, it’s fast, it’s ergonomic, and it’s beautiful. But what else?
The CUSIBOX kills two birds with one stone here by doubling as a 2-in-1 vacuum pump which allows you to reseal your bottles without leaving air in them to spoil. For a home wine enthusiast who might not want to drink a fresh bottle of white in a day or two this is an absolute MUST and comes highly recommended.
Best Wine Bottle Opener for…an eccentric billionaire
Name: Rose Gold Champagne Gun
Price: $499.99 (Fine Wine Suppliers)
Why: How frustrating is it to be hosting a party on your yacht only to realize that you’ve got no easy way to spray your new magnum of Dom Perignon all over your guests?
If you’re like us, we’re sure this is an issue you run into on almost a daily basis (sometimes a few times per day – just our luck, right?) so for those occasions we’ve got you sorted.
This champagne gun fits a magnum of your favorite beverage and is coated in pure rose gold, so everyone will know exactly how many zeros your bonus had this year.
While we really can’t condone wasting good champagne, we know some of you will anyway. Regardless, we’re disappointed in you.
If it wasn’t obvious then yes, this is a joke! We came across this while we were looking for examples of “rose colored” metal wine bottle openers and felt we just had to include it in the list.
Common problems with wine bottle openers
Since you might have ignored all of our advice and gone ahead and bought an absolutely awful bottle opener already, we figured the least we can do is to give you a quick lowdown guide to fixing common problems with bottle openers. Maybe next time you’ll listen to us and buy a better product – but it’s the least we can do if you’re already in a jam to help you out with out emergency solution guide!
What to do if your corkscrew breaks into the cork
If your corkscrew breaks into the cork – don’t despair! Follow this simple few step guide and you’ll be ready to drink in no time.
- Remove as much of the corkscrew as you can from the broken cork and throw this away. If the corkscrew hasn’t entirely broken off within the bottle then break it off. There’s no use trying to save it at this point!
- Find a pen or pencil, preferably a sturdy one which is thinner than the bottle neck (let’s be real, most are, but we’ll point it out anyway)
- Place the bottle down onto a surface. Do not under any circumstances attempt this while you’re holding the bottle on your lap or in the air
- Using one hand to hold the bottle steady, ram the pen/pencil through the cork to push it into the bottle
- Decant the remainder of the bottle either using a decanter (if you have one to hand) or a sieve (if you don’t).
Enjoy the rest of your wine but next time, use a better bottle opener. Whatever you do though – don’t eat the pieces of cork! If you’re keen to find something to pair with your wine then we have written an excellent guide on pairing food and wine – there’s no need to eat the cork!
If you’re feeling a little more adventurous…it’s even possible to open a bottle of wine with a shoe. We’ve included a video below of this incredible feat so you can give it a shot – but make sure not to spill wine on the carpet at home!
What to do if your bottle opener rusts
This one is a reader submission, so we’ll do our best to answer it as best we can! In short, you have two options at this point, you can either:
- Cut your losses, throw away the rusty wine bottle opener and buy yourself a new one (our recommendation)
- De-rust the bottle opener using a wire brush and some anti-rust WD40. You’d be surprised how resilient bottle openers are, so you may well be able to bring it back to life.
We’d only suggest opting for number two if the bottle opener holds sentimental value though – odds are you’ll spend far more time fixing it than you would on just buying a new opener!
EDIT: Updated for 2019!