Human beings have enjoyed wine for centuries for social, personal, and religious occasions. It not only tastes great, especially when paired with the right food, it may also be good for you. Drinking wine in moderation may protect you against chronic cardiovascular diseases, according to a recent study published in Circulation.
To truly enjoy your red, white, and rose, you’ll want to open your wine bottle quickly, without damaging the cork or allowing any of its residue to get into the wine. That old-fashioned corkscrew in your kitchen drawer can be challenging to operate, so it’s no wonder there’s a variety of redesigned bottle openers available today. To choose the best bottle opener for your home bar, read on to understand the various types and why the following models deserve cheers!
- BEST OVERALL: HiCoup Kitchenware Professional Waiter’s Corkscrew
- RUNNER UP: Secura Electric Wine Opener
- BEST BANG FOR THE BUCK: Pulltap’s Double-Hinged Waiters Corkscrew
- ALSO CONSIDER: Oster Cordless Electric Wine Bottle Opener
- ALSO CONSIDER: KitchenAid Gourmet Winged Corkscrew
- ALSO CONSIDER: Brookstone Compact Wine Opener
Popular Types of Best Wine Openers
A quality wine opener will pop out that cork with little effort. There are four types of wine openers, with each of them having pros and cons.
The most basic wine opener is still used by restaurant servers and sommeliers. Also known as a wine key, waiter’s corkscrews are inexpensive and small enough to slip in your pocket. Though simple in design, they’re not that easy to operate, as they require both muscle and coordination. To use, you must manually turn the spiral business end (called the worm) into the cork, then flip the notched metal arm until it rests against the lip of the bottle, and finally pull the cork out. It takes practice to master, but using a waiter’s corkscrew properly brings a fancy flourish to your entertaining style.
The winged corkscrew—the most common wine opener found in home kitchens—gets the job done with a bit more ease than a waiter’s corkscrew, though a modicum of coordination is required. You turn the metal worm into the center of the cork, then lower both wings all the way to pull the cork up and out. The trick lies in holding the bottle securely or setting it on a flat surface to create resistance that forces the cork up. Winged corkscrews are fairly inexpensive and fit easily in a drawer.
Lever (Rabbit) Style
Lever-style openers are also known as rabbit openers because they resemble the profile of a rabbit. They’re a bit bulky and pricier than traditional corkscrews, but they open bottles with very little effort. With this tool, you clamp the corkscrew over the top of the bottle, then pull a lever one way—inserting the worm mechanism into the cork—and push it back in the opposite direction to pull the cork out. Lever style openers are larger and more expensive than winged or waiter-style corkscrews, but they’re a breeze to use.
Electric Wine Opener
For ultimate ease in operation, an electric wine opener does 99 percent of the work for you. Simply place the device over the top of the bottle, press the button to lower the worm into the cork, then press the reverse button to pull out the cork. The chief complaint about electric openers is that they don’t allow the user to have complete control of the cork removal. If the cork is falling apart, an eclectic opener won’t let you stop midway to gently remove the cork by hand. They can also be rather loud when in use and a bit bulky for storage.
What to Look for When Buying the Best Wine Opener
The best wine openers offer a balance of usability, durability, and style. They should also be able to easily fit in a kitchen drawer or on top of a bar. When shopping for a wine opener, take the following factors into account.
Worm Type and Length
There are two types of wine opener mechanism that grabs the cork—a worm or an auger. A worm is a thin metal coiled corkscrew, while the auger is a nail with a worm coiled around it. While both types can be effective, an auger has the tendency to shred corks. This makes it difficult to remove corks cleanly, leading to a risk of cork residue falling into the wine. Also consider the length of the worm. Anything shorter than 1¾-inch increases the likelihood of breaking the cork during use.
The quality of materials directly affects the durability of the wine opener. In particular, pay attention to the quality of the worm and how it’s mounted, because the worm is usually the first part of an opener to wear down. Stainless steel is the best option, and the worm should feel thick, not bendable, and securely mounted.
Select a wine opener with handles or levers made of zinc alloy, not plastic. Openers with metal elements are more durable than those with plastic components. Quality openers will often come with a warranty—worth noting if you’re about to spend a pretty penny on a wine opener.
For many people, ease of use is the most important consideration in choosing a wine opener. There are still old-school corkscrews available with no mechanical assistance at all, and that demand quite a bit of strength. Waiter’s style openers have a lever to help with removing the cork, and winged models feature more assistance in driving the worm into the cork and pulling it out. Lever and electric openers are by far the easiest to use, but you’ll pay more for that convenience.
If you’ll be toting your wine opener to a picnic or otherwise using it away from your home bar or table, consider the ultimate portability of the waiter’s style or winged style. Lever/rabbit type and electric openers can be up to 12 inches long and three to four inches wide, so they are not particularly portable. Waiter’s and winged openers are not only small and thin, but they’re also generally inexpensive, so if you accidentally leave one behind, it won’t be such a dent in your wallet.
If you oppose single-purpose gadgets on principle, winged and waiter’s wine openers will have bottle cap openers on the handle or lever. Some also have foldaway knives or foil cutters to remove the plastic, foil, or wax covers that protect the bottleneck. The knives are also handy because they can help cut away stubborn cork that may get stuck in the neck of the bottles. Lever/rabbit and electric wine openers remove corks and nothing else.
Our Top Picks
By taking the above shopping considerations into account, you’ll be able to find the best wine opener for your needs. The following models are top picks for their overall ease of use, durability, portability, and style.
There’s something undeniably elegant about using a waiter’s corkscrew to open a bottle, and any true wine enthusiast should learn how to use this effective, portable tool. This stylish, durable, stainless steel waiter’s corkscrew functions as a cork remover, bottle opener, and foil cutter. It boasts an ergonomically designed comfort-grip wood handle and a double-hinged fulcrum that provides extra leverage for smoother pulling action.
The retractable serrated foil cutter is specially designed to reduce the risk of slippage and minimize any tearing foil or plastic. The worm is made from heavy-duty steel and will cleanly remove any natural or synthetic cork in only five turns with no breakage. It comes with a lifetime warranty and is inexpensive. This wine key is sure to make a sophisticated addition to your bar or table.
For usability, price, and overall appearance, the Secura Electric Wine Opener is a great addition to the home bar. It features an attractive stainless steel sheath with a clear lighted base so you can watch the worm at work. The wine opener uses a rechargeable battery guaranteed to open 30 wine bottles in a single charge. It comes with a sleek charging base that’s pretty enough to display on your counter or bar. It’s a cinch to use: Simply place it on top of a wine bottle, press the button, and enjoy your wine. It’s relatively small and includes a foil cutter for removing seals. The simple, sophisticated wine opener will remove even the toughest corks in seconds—buy one for yourself or as a great gift for wine aficionados.
Simple but effective, this Pulltap tool frequently appears on sommeliers’ list of best wine openers. Made by one of the world’s preeminent wine accessories companies, the double-hinged corkscrew features a Teflon-coated worm and solid stainless steel arms for durability. It also has a serrated knife that serves as a foil cutter and, when folded closed, one end removes bottle caps. The most distinguishing feature is the double-hinged lever that allows you to easily remove a cork without breaking. It fits easily into a pocket and is inexpensive.
It makes sense that Oster, a well-respected kitchen electronics manufacturer, would enter the electric wine opener market—and this model doesn’t disappoint. It offers wine enthusiasts portable, cordless convenience, sleek presentation, and fast, effortless performance. This opener fits all traditional wine bottles, boasts an ergonomic design, and includes a foil cutter. It comes with an attractive base that doesn’t take up much real estate on your counter. It promises to open 30 bottles on a single charge and is modestly priced.
For most wine fanciers, it’s all about function over form—so while winged openers aren’t the prettiest contraptions, they’re popular for being easy to use. Technically, this opener is an auger but its unique hybrid design works more like a corkscrew. The auger is coated to glide smoothly through the cork, and there’s a stopper that prevents the screw from breaking the cork.
Featuring an ergonomically designed handle, the opener is comfortable to grasp and effortless to turn. The durable 3-inch broad wings require minimal force for pressing down to free the cork from the bottle, allowing you to easily remove any size of cork quickly and efficiently.
If you don’t want to build muscles opening bottles, this lever-style opener is an absolute breeze, requiring very little physical effort. And unlike some bulky lever/rabbit-style openers, this Brookstone model is quite compact. It’s suitable for anyone looking for a simple, almost effortless, uncorking tool.
The durable opener is made almost entirely of stainless steel, the exceptions being a protective edge cover and the soft grip on the lever. The body and the back arm feature gentle contours that sit well in your hand and provide a good grip. The worm slides into synthetic and natural corks with ease and, while this model is significantly pricier than a winged or waiter’s opener, given its durable construction, it should last many years.
The Advantages of Owning the Best Wine Opener
Opening a bottle of wine should be part of the pleasure! While there are several types of wine bottle openers available, the best one for you should have these three basic features:
- Largely stainless steel construction, especially the worm/corkscrew.
- A double hinge lever that easily removes the cork from the bottle.
- Ergonomically designed to fit comfortably in your hand.
FAQs About Your New Best Wine Opener
Here are answers to some common questions people have about wine openers.
What is the best type of corkscrew?
The best type of wine opener is one with an actual corkscrew worm and not an auger. Corkscrew openers burrow into the cork more effectively than augers and won’t shred the cork.
Can you open wine without a corkscrew?
In a pinch, you can use a large screw to drill into a cork and then use the claw part of a hammer to carefully lever the cork out of the neck of the bottle.
What is a wine bottle opener called?
A wine bottle opener is generically known as a corkscrew.