As long as the cork comes out of the bottle and the wine flows, the corkscrew did its job. Right? Actually, that is the bare minimum that you should expect from a wine opener!
A wine opener is perhaps the most important tool in the bar for wine aficionados, and there are other very important qualities to look for—ease of use being chief among them.
Opening a bottle of wine should not be a hassle. When entertaining at home, you don’t want to spend half your evening fumbling with a poorly designed corkscrew. In a professional environment like a bar or restaurant, this is doubly true: On a busy Saturday night, you need an implement that makes opening bottles quick, clean, and easy. Lastly, those with dexterity issues or weaker grips need a wine opener that truly does the work for them.
Thankfully, there are many types of wine openers on the market that are easy to use for all of these unique situations.
In this article, we’ll look at a variety of different wine openers and evaluate them from an ease-of-use perspective. We’ll go through some of the most popular options as well as lesser-known styles to determine which types make opening your wine a snap, and which could perhaps use a redesign.
The Easiest Wine Bottle Openers to Use
Automatic & Electric Wine Openers
Electric wine openers are a tech-driven way to easily open any standard bottle of wine. These types of openers operate through a combination of electronic and mechanical functions to offer a hands-free wine opening solution. They can often be used with both synthetic and natural corks. Some electric wine openers also come built with other handy features, including foil cutting, aeration or even wine preservation capabilities. This makes electric wine openers some of the most capable and feature-rich options available today.
Because automatic wine openers can function entirely hands-free, they are the easiest to use. Some may require the simple push of a button. Others may have built-in sensors that automatically detect and open the bottle of wine without requiring any input at all. Because they are so easy to use, automatic and eclectic wine openers are ideal for those who want a no-fuss way to open their favorite bottle. For wine aficionados with dexterity issues, automatic wine openers are certainly a great way to go.
Recently, we experimented with a head-to-head race between an automatic wine opener and a waiter’s style corkscrew. Check out the results!
Among automatic and electronic wine openers, the Electric Blue Pro All-In-One Automatic Wine Opener is one of our favorites. It can automatically open and aerate your wines with a single touch. This five function wine opener can also seal, date, and preserve your favorite wine. The Electric Blue also comes as part of a six piece set, which includes a foil cutter, two vacuum stoppers, and an electric charging base.
Also available from Wine Enthusiast is the Electric Blue Automatic Wine Opener 3-Piece Set. With this wine opener, the user doesn’t even need to press a button. This electric blue model works with both synthetic and traditional corks and presents users with a simple, automated solution for opening wine bottles. Along with the opener itself, this set includes a foil cutter and a charging stand.
Air Pressure Wine Openers
Air pressure wine openers are simple devices that use a hollow needle to push through the cork. Once inserted, the press of a button will release a burst of pressurized CO2. This gas pushes the cork from the bottleneck with almost no manual effort on the part of the user!
Unfortunately, the gas canisters that are used with these will only work for a limited time before they need to be replaced. But because air pressure openers do not require that you pull or twist on the cork, they provide a remarkably easy method for opening wine.
For wine drinkers with weakened grips or arthritis, air pressure openers are the ideal method for opening wine. In addition to their ease of use, air pressure wine openers are also typically the fastest way to get to the good stuff.
Lever-style corkscrews rely on their mechanical advantage to simply and effectively open wine bottles. This style of corkscrew is very popular due to its ergonomic design and ease of use.
Lever corkscrews are larger and less pocket-friendly than some other manual options on this list, so you will not typically see them used in restaurants or bars. However, most lever-style corkscrews can open a bottle of wine in just three seconds. This makes them very well suited to home entertaining, when you would rather spend time drinking your wine rather than opening it.
The lever system that these corkscrews are built around maximizes the power output from the user, requiring minimal effort. The handles on lever corkscrews are designed for a comfortable grip. Even users with dexterity impairment can find great success and ease of use with lever-style corkscrews.
One of our favorites is available in the Le Creuset Lever Style Corkscrew Gift Set. From the world-renowned maker of fine kitchen goods, this corkscrew features the time-tested lever design. The corkscrew’s mechanics are smooth and straightforward, painlessly removing even the most stubborn corks. The Le Creuset set also includes a matching foil cutter, making it your one-piece tool for opening any bottle in your collection.
Mounted & Tabletop Corkscrews
Another popular option are mounted and tabletop corkscrews. These provide both style and function, with decorative designs and near-unmatched wine opening ability. Like lever-style corkscrews, these use mechanical advantage to efficiently open bottles of wine. They are very popular in professional settings like restaurants and bars. This is due to the high speed at which they open bottles of wine. For high-volume applications, mounted corkscrews are hard to beat in both efficiency and visual style.
With that said, many of our customers like mounted and tabletop corkscrews because they add a professional, unique flair to their home bars. Many mounted corkscrews are available in eye-catching designs that make them great for decoration, in addition to providing a convenient way to open their wine.
Our Legacy corkscrews are especially popular because of their vintage, decorative look. The Legacy models feature the look of an antique wine opener, with the function of a modern, high-performance tool. Depending on the model you choose, our Legacy corkscrews can even be monogrammed with the recipient’s initials. This makes them very popular as gifts for wine lovers who value both form and function. In addition to their eye-catching designs, the Legacy corkscrews feature a non-stick worm that functions with both synthetic and traditional corks.
Mounted and tabletop corkscrews are extremely easy to use. They feature smooth gliding levers which allow users to quickly open bottles with very little manual effort. Their straightforward design makes mounted and tabletop corkscrews a favorite for fast-paced, heavy drinking environments. All it takes is a simple pump of a lever!
One of our customer favorites is our Legacy Corkscrew with Black Marble Stand and Handle in Antique Bronze. This Legacy style Corkscrew features the look of an antique tool, but promises easy wine opening for years and years to come. It can also be customized with up to three initials on the base. Made from a long-lasting zinc-alloy, this Legacy corkscrew is a great option for easily opening wine. This model can even be mounted to your home bar.
For those looking to add some flair to their home bar, the BOJ Wall Mounted corkscrew is a great option. This wall-mounted corkscrew was designed with professional use in mind, so even home customers can know that they are investing in a commercial-quality wine opener. With a 12-inch level, the BOJ corkscrew maximizes opening power. This means that any cork—no matter how stubborn or fragile—can easily be pulled with one fluid motion. Whether you’re buying for your home bar or your restaurant, the BOJ Wall-Mounted Corkscrew is an easy-to-use, effective way to open wine.
Twist & Pull Corkscrews
Twist & Pull Corkscrews are definitely the simplest type of corkscrew when it comes to design. The user twists the handle until the entire corkscrew is in the cork. Then, the cork is pulled from the bottle by the handle. This simplicity makes Twist & Pull corkscrews a straightforward, no-nonsense way to open wine. Just by looking at the design, it’s clear to see how they are used.
Twist & Pull corkscrews require a bit of elbow grease to use successfully, but for many wine drinkers, they are a fantastic option. You can use this style of corkscrew with almost any type of wine. In addition, their compact construction makes Twist & Pull corkscrews an ideal choice for space-limited wine enthusiasts.
Not-So-Easy-to-Use Wine Openers & Corkscrews
Butterfly corkscrews (also called winged corkscrews) are not so straightforward—in use or design. This style features a center screw that pushes down into the cork through a metal circle, meant to align with the mouth of the bottle. As the user screws the worm into place, the wings lift up towards the handle; once the cork is penetrated, the user pushes down on the wings to lift the cork from the bottle neck.
Although these are quite popular, they aren’t the most user-friendly. For one, the corkscrew itself requires two hands to use. Electronic and automatic corkscrews, by contrast, can be operated with just the push of a button. Even wine keys can be operated with just one hand by experienced users. Additionally, butterfly wine openers can take some wriggling and pulling. It takes practice to achieve a clean pop, and inexperienced users often risk ripping the cork in the process.
Ah So Wine Openers
Consisting of two long metal pins, ah so wine openers have gained in popularity in recent years. The ah so pins are pushed down into the neck of the bottle, in between the glass and the cork. Then, the user gently rocks the opener gently back and forth to ease the cork out of the bottle.
As you can probably guess, the ah so style of wine opener can be very difficult to use. It can also present significant potential for injury because of the long, exposed pins which serve as the basis for its design. Although the risk of damaging a cork is significantly lowered when using an Ah So opener, the risk of hurting yourself is magnified. These openers require a fair amount of muscle, and are most prone to slippage of the hand.
In addition to these issues, traditional Ah So openers do not come equipped with foil knives. To use an ah so, you will also need a knife or a wine key with a knife. For a visual aid, you might like to reference Josh’s video tutorial on how to use an ah so corkscrew!
Air Pump Wine Openers
In the above section, we discussed air pressure wine openers that function through the use of pressurized CO2. There are also air pressure wine openers that use a manual hand pump to open bottles. These function very similarly to pressurized wine openers, but the user must manually pump air into the bottle to push the cork from the bottle neck.
Because these require an air pumping action from the user, they can be much more difficult for seniors and older imbibers, as well as those with poor dexterity or arthritis. In fact, most wine lovers find air pump wine openers to be much less convenient than their CO2 powered counterparts. They are much slower and more cumbersome to use effectively.
Wine Keys & Waiter’s Corkscrews
Wine keys and waiter’s corkscrews are popular options for opening wine at home. They generally feature three separate components: a knife, a fulcrum, and a worm. Relying on manual turning and pulling, wine keys require some dexterity to bottles of wine. Because these types of wine openers can fit in your back pocket, they are popular for both professional and at-home use. They are very affordable and durable, but wine keys and waiter’s corkscrews aren’t the easiest way to open a bottle of wine.
These types of openers will take some finesse to use properly. A wine key is also going to have the highest likelihood of seriously damaging a cork. The turning, wiggling, and pulling action needed to use a waiter’s style corkscrew makes it relatively easy to rip or outright break the cork. Drinkers with less manual dexterity could also have problems when using this type of corkscrew, given the labor-intensive nature of their function. However, for experienced wine drinkers, this style of opener can be a budget-friendly way to open wine. At Wine Enthusiast, we have a few different options available.
The Wine Enthusiast waiter-style corkscrew in black matte and wood sets the standard for wine key style opening. With its simple, elegant design, this wine key is a compact multitool that is sure to get the job done time and again. It features a double-hinged lever and contoured wood handle that makes wine opening simple. Also on the handle, you will find a serrated foil cutter that conveniently folds into the wine key. This waiter-style corkscrew can even be personalized and packaged in a wooden gift box to make a thoughtful present. Or, up the elegance by electing for a stag horn finish. Like many of our gift options, this corkscrew can be personalized to create a truly one-of-a-kind present.
For a simple, compact wine key, our Retractable Foil Cutter Corkscrew is a cleverly-designed option. This budget-friendly wine opener incorporates the foil cutter directly into the corkscrew itself. Highly portable, our corkscrew easily fits into any pocket without sacrificing on functionality.
Shop Easy-to-Use Corkscrews
For the vast majority of wine drinkers, there are two types of wine openers that provide the greatest ease of use: automatic wine openers and CO2 powered air pressure openers. These options are best for people who want (or in fact, need) an effortless wine opening experience. Lever style and Twist and Pull corkscrews are also popular options, but do require some manual effort. Your own needs will vary, of course, but all of these are great options for easy wine opening.
At Wine Enthusiast, we have a variety of quality, easy to use wine openers. We welcome you to take a look around and find which style corkscrew will best suit your needs. And as always, customer service representatives are available to help with any questions you might have!