Best Wine Openers of 2020
The Rabbit Corkscrew caught the attention of all our testers due to its ease of use and visually appealing design. The well-engineered lever, rack, and pinion system deliver an effortless experience that will make the Rabbit opener feel comfortable in anyone's hands: those that struggle with grip may be particularly grateful. To add to the aesthetic appeal, the exposed gearing and brass finish give it an industrial, steampunk look that somehow avoided being called pretentious by all but the most casual of testers.
The extra accessories (foil cutter, bottle stopper, pourer, and spare corkscrew drill) that come with this package are useful, especially for a wine enthusiast. Our testers reported that the set would make a perfect gift for one of their favorite wine lovers.
The utilitarian-looking Wine Ziz Air Pressure opener is very popular among many of our testers, scoring highly across the metrics, particularly ease of use. Due to the uniqueness of this style of opener, most first-time users require some guidance on how to use it or at least some encouragement. However, once you see this opener at work, it is hard to believe the job really could have been this easy all along. To use this product, simply insert the needle into the cork (the circular plastic casing makes it simple to line it up accurately) and gently pump the plunger about five times. Once enough air has been pushed into the bottle, the cork slides out safely with a triumphant (but controllable) pop. Users report this experience is very satisfying and may prompt you to pop open another bottle.
The sharp needle at the center of the Wine Ziz tool may put off some cautious users; however, users can rest assured that it is well-protected with plastic casing. Though you may want to dismantle the Wine Ziz to give it a thorough cleaning, the needle should not pose a threat unless you purposefully take apart the tool, regardless if it was dropped or stepped on.
A "Butler's friend," such as the Monopol Westmark Two Prong opener, is a favorite wine opener with servers in the fine dining industry for good reason. Often referred to as an "Ah-So key", this nickname supposedly refers to the exclamations people make then they finally discover how this ingenious tool works. Once the two prongs are inserted into either side of the cork, a gentle rotational pull squeezes the cork from the bottle. This opener accomplishes all this without piercing the cork, making it particularly useful when working with delicate or damaged corks (think vintage or poorly-stored wine). This feature also enables a careful user to potentially reinsert the intact cork afterward, enabling you to re-cork your favorite bottle and save the rest for another day.
Unfamiliar users may be intimidated by this minimalist option, as it does require technique and may feel awkward at first. On occasion, heavy-handed testers accidentally pushed the cork further into the bottle when trying to insert the prongs.
Although there are other versions of this popular tool, the Monopol Westmark offers a particularly refined and polished look, incorporating hardened steel prongs and die-cast metal for the cover and handle. In case wine isn't the only drink on the menu, the ergonomic handle doubles as a bottle opener, ensuring that the Monopol is one tool you will want to keep on hand.
The cordless Secura Electric wine opener provides a straightforward and illuminating experience for any user level. Line it up, apply downward pressure, press the down button, and presto, let the Secura do the rest. The cordless electric opener mechanically drills into the cork and removes it with no further effort from the user. The transparent plastic base allows you to see what is going on, which is both helpful and entertaining. In case that wasn't enough, LED lights turn on upon use and will help ensure that you are successful even in the darkest of environments.
To some testers, the plastic material used for the base of the Secura appeared to be a "cheapened" version of the full stainless steel versions offered by other manufacturers. However, testing demonstrated that by allowing them visibility, this transparent material significantly improved first-time users' success rate and lessened their probability of detrimentally damaging the cork. This feature will appeal to those who want to take the pressure off of opening bottles of wine, particularly in low-light environments such as a candlelit dinner or power outage.
HiCourt has refined the old-time favorite waiter's corkscrew to create a highly functional and elegant wine opener commonly seen in the hands of sommeliers. The groove notched down the drill worm improves the insertion and performance of the corkscrew while lessening the chances of crumbling a delicate cork. The double-hinged fulcrum also offers a significant mechanical advantage, making extracting the cork feel easy peasy.
The overall familiarity of this style of wine opener may cause it to appear unextraordinary to some gift buyers; however, the high level of craftsmanship and five-year warranty make this product more unique than your average opener, and likely to be the perfect choice for many wine lovers.
Pulltap's Double-Hinged Waiters Corkscrew is a bartender's classic. Based on the two-step waiter's corkscrew, this type of wine opener has been working successfully for centuries. A helpful foil cutter is folded into the body of the pocket-sized tool, and the double joint helps prevent you from breaking your cork. Servers with over 40 years of experience at Chez Panisse argue that there is no need to overcomplicate a simple task.
This pocket-sized tool is also a serrated foil cutter, and the lever doubles as a bottle cap opener. The multifunctional nature of this tool, coupled with its affordable price, makes it an all-around favorite for those looking to get the most out of their wine opener while spending the least amount possible.
The Cork Pop Original is a distinctive wine opener that provides the quickest and most entertaining wine-opening experience of all the options we tested. Once you have taken the foil off the bottle, remove the cap of the opener, then insert the needle fully through the center of the cork and press the top of the canister while gently lifting. The cork will pop right out, often leaving a trail of vapor (and occasionally a spray of wine) in its wake.
For the confident showperson, this gadget makes opening bottles one-handed an easy trick to add to your repertoire. If the cork was particularly crumbly or already damaged, we found that this opener was not always successful at its task. Cautious users also struggled to use it successfully. Parents may not want to have an appliance like this lying around the house due to the sharp needle and pressurized CO2 container.
The OXO Steel Vertical Lever Corkscrew is quite the oversized opener, presumably to make it easy to hold and comfortable to use. This tool requires two hands and a bit of grip strength. Although easy to master through practice, infrequent users were often confused and unsure of how to proceed, resulting in a few damaged corks.
Some testers criticized this opener for being clunky and unbalanced, suggesting that it should come with a holster so that they can lug it around; however, many people were impressed with the cleverly-hidden foil cutter that sits in the top of the OXO Steel Vertical Lever corkscrew. For those looking for a truly effortless tool or an elegant gift, the Rabbit slims down this style of opener while still maintaining an easy grip and oversized lever, all for less money (and more style).
The Cuisinart Electric Opener offers a sleek design with simple instructions, making for a wine opener that you can easily use one-handed. Despite its simplicity, if you are not patient when lining up this corkscrew, it can be easy to misalign the angle of approach and spoil the cork. Taking an extra second to set up this gadget will pay dividends, allowing you to finish the task with one hand and your eyes closed.
Overall, testers preferred the look of this fully stainless steel gadget over the part-plastic Secura Electric. Yet, we were significantly more successful when using the Secura, as the plastic base reduced user error by enabling better visualization.
A familiar sight from your parents' kitchen, IPOW utilizes the classic wing-lever corkscrew, which is still going strong. The archetypal design is straightforward to use and completes the job (as long as you line it up straight). The IPOW Wing Corkscrew adds plastic grips in all the convenient places, resulting in less pressure on those fingers—something to consider if you expect to do this task multiple times in one evening. In addition, the neck of the opener is conveniently designed to serve as a bottle opener.
The oversized drill piece causes an excessive amount of damage to the cork, which means that recorking a bottle was rarely an option. The corkscrew presented another challenge, as it has to be screwed in all the way; otherwise, it is a strenuous or an awkward two-stage process to pull it out.
Why You Should Trust Us
In preparing for this review, our lead tester and wine fanatic Sara James reached out to a team of professionals to share their insights. This group included sommeliers, servers, corkscrew collectors, wine growers, and wine enthusiasts. Collating the experiences of hundreds of hours of testing by different types of users, Sara and the testing team are committed to the task of finding the best wine openers. The team's diverse range of backgrounds, preferences, age, geographic location, professions, and budgets helped us to consider the needs of all types of wine connoisseurs.
To compare and score ease of use and aesthetics, we had a varied panel of testers with a wide range of hand sizes and physical capabilities. These testers tried out each product to measure how easy they were to use for both new and experienced testers. Finally, we evaluated the durability and additional features for each model.
Analysis and Test Results
We started by researching 40+ openers, selecting the top products that had the potential to be the best. We then set about opening countless bottles of wine, using a diverse panel of testers to analyze each product. Ease of use was considered first and foremost. Durability and aesthetics were then factored in, as were additional features.
Ease of Use
Ease of use is measured in multiple ways: was it straight forward for a novice to figure out how to use without instruction? How much hand strength does it require? Could someone with reducing dexterity use this tool effectively? Finally, we tried it out with one hand (and occasionally with our eyes closed).
The easiest wine openers to use required little thought and effort. Despite having very different approaches to removing a cork, the Rabbit, Secura Electric, and the Wine Ziz all excelled in this area. Many testers were able to use the latter two with just one hand, and all required minimal strength to use due to the wonderful forces of physics.
The Waiter's corkscrew (HiCoup and Pulltab) and the Monopol fall into a unique category, as they require a technique. Unless you have seen someone use these products, you are not likely to figure it out without instructions, particularly with the Monopol. But when you do learn to use it and are armed with a well-designed version such as the Westmark Monopol, then you are sure to find it easy for all future uses.
The Cork Pop Original was challenging to evaluate. Many apprehensive users took a moment to use it successfully, as they didn't press the canister enough to release any gas. Overconfident users removed the cork before testers could even start the timer, pressing the canister too much or for too long, and were rewarded with a triumphant pop. Do make sure you insert the needle fully through the cork, but not to insert it into the actual wine ( unless you also want a spray of wine). The Cuisinart Electric is almost as easy to use as the Secura; however, the lack of visibility regarding the drill piece increased user error. The size of the OXO Steal Lever Corkscrew made it easier to grip than some tools, but we were disappointed with how heavy and cumbersome this appliance felt to use.
To ensure that these openers will live up to the tasks you need we tested each opener extensively, putting it through more stress than a usual person would entail. This included battery life tests on the electronic models and clumsy user tests.
Each tool withstood the challenges we set them up, and not one demonstrated evidence of damage. This was particularly reassuring with the electric models as originally testers were considered that they may not withstand multiple drop tests.
Despite our best attempts at being a clumsy user we saw no indication of wear and tear on any of our openers.
The Monopol and HiCourt included warranty and the Level OXO and Rabbit included spare drills. We doubt you would ever need to use either of these. Pretty disappointing the moment you realize your Cork Pops' canister is too low to fully remove the cork.
Drinking wine is an experience based around aesthetics. The smell, flavors, and feel of the wine are all essential aspects of this experience. Because of these crucial components, one may also want to consider the aesthetics of the wine opener they choose to purchase. Despite a diverse range of testers, certain openers are distinct in this particular metric.
After using the Rabbit, multiple testers exclaimed that they would have to buy this gadget for someone in their life, either because it just looked so cool to use, or because it felt incredibly easy to use. Both of these qualities can be partially attributed to the visible gearing system, which makes it easy and effective while giving it a unique look that is likely to draw attention. The mechanical advantage provided makes it feel so easy to use that the tangible experience also adds to the aesthetics of this well-designed piece.
The Westmark Monopol Two-Pronged Opener has a certain aesthetic quality that piqued the interest of several testers. The onlooker is drawn in by the mysterious simplicity of using this cork puller, as well as the smooth lines of the handy tool.
The electric models tested had a very similar stainless steel finish that may look polished amongst the other appliances in your kitchen. Or maybe it will take up valuable space? Some testers did worry they would be mistaken for oversized salt and pepper shakers.
You may think a wine opener does not need to be complicated with extra features; however, most users recognized the appeal once they had tested them out.
Most of the options tested came with some sort of foil cutter either built-in (HiCourt, Pulltab) or as a separate attachment (Cuisinart, Secura, Rabbit, Wine Ziz). Despite being considered unnecessary by some, foil cutter tools undeniably improve efficiency and grace. All these tools worked with ease and could tackle the task in anyone's hand. Our favorite tool for foil cutting is the built-in knife present in the Pulltab and HiCoup waiter's corkscrews.
Out of all the options, the Rabbit comes with the most accessories, including a wine cutter, bottle stopper, wine pourer, and extra spiral drill. We particularly enjoyed using the pourer as it just looked great when pouring the wine. If you don't take care to wipe the bottle after use, you are still likely to get drips all over your table.
The Secura electric has an inbuilt LED that glows blue when in use. Although some testers found this feature tacky, in low-light conditions, it proved to be particularly useful. We would be grateful to have this on hand during a power outage.
Drinking wine should be an easy and enjoyable experience, and opening your wine should be the same. Just like a winemaker carefully selects the grape to make the very best wine, we have selected the very best openers to enhance your wine-drinking experience. We hope that you find our research useful.
— Sara James