More and more cans are coming from the manufacturer with manually pull-off ring-tab tops. I have noticed this shift beginning with soups and expect that we will see a time when the can opener, in either it’s electric of manual incarnations, will become obsolete. That transition is apt to take quite a few years, so I am not throwing away all of mine yet. A can opener is a basic household appliance that can be either simple or complex, manual or electric, highly effective or a wast of money and source for continuing frustration. This Proctor – Silex is in the latter category. Sold as a ‘combination’ electric can opener and manual knife sharpener, it is designed in such a way as to render it appropriate feed for the rummage pile – perhaps someone who has never had anything that worked better would like to have it. More likely, I think the experience of using this machine would drive most users back to the simply, manual, squeeze-to-close and bite-through-the-edge and turn-the-rotating-handle-manually devices of our mothers’ kitchens. It isn’t that there are not good, efficient and effective electric can openers – my current favorite is one of those “AS Seen ON TV” One-Touch battery powered openers that you just p[lace down on top of the can and push the button. The opener does all the rest itself, and it works. But, back to this Proctor – Silex.
The most annoying feature is the unnecessary and problematic separating of the cutting assembly – the part of the unit that contains the handle you press down on to engage the cutting blade, the cutting blade itself and the magnet intended to keep hold of the can’s top as it is opened and afterwards. I think their intentions were good. According to the manual, this removeable piece allows for easier cleaning and maintenance. Maybe so. Bu what the manual doe not say is that this handle, blade and magnet section easily and regularly slides out of its correct positioning, causing the opener to not work. Before each and every use, it has to be removed and correctly reinserted. Not exactly a convenience. It is as though the design was never actually tried by human in real kitchens with real cans before the product was released to market.
It is not unattractive. Mine is/was black to match other kitchen appliances and it has the appearance of being solidly built. You would never know to look at it that after each and every use, that handle assembly needs to be manually removed and reinserted into the correct position for the next can. The Knife Sharpening feature is equally unimpressive in that it is a simple, non-powered slot on the back of the unit that you can slide a knife through once or twice to sharpen it up a bit. A simple sharpening iron does a far better job, as would just about any power sharpening device.
I tend to shop carefully and, consequently I like most of the products I buy. This one was an ‘impulse’ buy that I regret and anoint with a big thumbs down.