Our Top Pick for 2018: Oster Electric Wine Bottle Corkscrew
Read our full review.
Perhaps you have seen this on YouTube. The scene is a military wedding. It’s time for the champagne toast; a brilliantly attired officer steps forward and draws his saber. In one quick, elegant move, he neatly slices through the neck of the bottle. Cork and glass fly ecstatically away and the toast is pronounced. It’s a flashy way to open a bottle, but it’s not for all of us. For those of us without sabers or officers to wield them at the ready, corkscrews are necessary. For this piece, we examined many corkscrews on the market. As is our policy, we have selected three very good options in an average price range and a budget model for our economy readers. In the process, we learned a great deal about cork removal. It has not completely made us change the way we view wine. However, we have learned that we, and many other occasional wine drinkers, have been inefficient at best and dangerous at worst in our technique. Purchasing a hardy, easy to use corkscrew is the first step. Learning to use it properly is the second and equally important step.
#1. Oster Electric Wine Bottle Corkscrew
You can pay tribute to your old, double-winged corkscrew through sweet memories. As for using it any longer than it takes to for your new Oster Electric Wine Bottle Corkscrew to be delivered? Not happening. This sleek, understated mechanical gadget is as far above its manual predecessors as a Porsche is above roller skates.
There are many, many automatic corkscrews on the market. It was an easy task to eliminate most of them. Many take up as much room on your counter as a Kitchen Aid Mixer; no matter how well they work, our readers do not have that much room to dedicate to a corkscrew. Many were just too expensive. Others were unreliable with short-lived charges, poor mechanisms or difficult functions. Many were unattractive. Appearance is important here. Preparing to offer wine to one’s guests or family should be gracious; similar to fine presentation as opposed to swilling beer from a solo cup.
Our gold winner, the Oster Electric Wine Bottle Corkscrew hits the automatic corkscrew sweet spot. It costs only $19.99, is easy to use, attractive and has a small footprint. Most of our reviewers found it most convenient to keep it in the base with the electric adapter plugged in, though it has batteries as well.
An Amazon best-seller, this gem is available in three finishes: silver, champagne and merlot and is replete with attractive functions. It has a power indicator on the base so you know when it’s plugged in and a charge indicator clearly visible on the top so you know in an instant if it needs charging. The design of the corkscrew is ergonomic and soft to limit hand stress and promote comfort.
Most manual corkscrews include a tiny blade to cut the foil. Placing this blade correctly on the bottle and pressing it into the glass as you trace a circle around the neck requires some dexterity, real attention to avoid accidents and coordinated pressure on the blade to successfully cut the foil.
The Oster Electric Wine Bottle Corkscrew foil-cutter takes a less demanding approach to this task.
The detached foil-cutter is a blade embedded in a soft, flexible handle. To cut the foil, you slide the cutter around the neck of the bottle like a collar, apply moderate pressure to the exterior of the collar while turning the bottle and you’re done. This design entirely removes the safety issues associated with the traditional blade and is a function that does not require much dexterity to complete.
Once you have removed the foil, hold the bottle upright and place the corkscrew on the bottle until securely seated. Press the up side of the slider button and in a moment, the cork is free. Press the down side of the slider button, and the corkscrew releases the cork so you are ready of the next bottle.
Manually opening a bottle of wine requires strength and agility. If you have a sprained wrist, broken thumb, tennis elbow or arthritis, you may not be able to open a bottle manually at all; this is an excellent option that enables independence without looking like an orthopedic tool.
Oster offers a one year warranty on this product.
#2. Shenkitchen Professional Wine Opener Corkscrew
Our silver pick is a sturdy, high end, manual corkscrew (the best of the manual lot) at $27.88. The steel handle is an excellent design element and provides the necessary power to pull out the cork.
The Shenkitchen Professional Wine Opener Corkscrew, though redundantly named, is actually a set. For the price, you receive the main unit, a replacement worm and a detached foil cutter. The foil cutter is a small, separate device. To cut the foil, you attach the foil cutter like a collar around the neck of the bottle and twist until the foil is cut through. The body of the cutter is comfortable though firm enough for you to exert sufficient force to accomplish the task.
The handle is ergonomically designed and found comfortable by our reviewers. The screw or worm is coated to ease its passage into the cork and our reviews found this an excellent feature. Also admired is including a replacement screw, which is not often done. Indeed, most corkscrews are not designed for replacing the screw.
The unique design element of the Shenkitchen Professional Wine Opener Corkscrew is the anchor. There are two grips positioned on the interior of the main unit intended to prevent rotation and enable a stronger anchor. These work very well and minimize the pressure you need to expend to hold the bottle securely while uncorking.
Though certainly not rocket science, most of our reviewers recommend actually reading the directions before using this product. It’s not difficult to use, but the corkscrew does work best when you follow the included instructions. Purchasers who experimented with the device before reading the directions sometimes found that the corkscrew pushed the cork into the bottle rather than extracting it.
Customer service from Shenkitchen is first class. Their stated warranty is for one year and they certainly honor that. However, and this is conduct that sets them apart, they actually monitor posted reviews and send replacements to people who were not satisfied. This is a level of service way beyond the norm. If you prefer a manual corkscrew with muscle, the Shenkitchen Professional Wine Opener Corkscrew is our recommendation. Though in no way automatic, it is more “assisted manual” than just brawn manual. The foil-cutter is an admirable design and easy to use and the extra screw is a great addition.
Note: Traditionally, manual corkscrews include bottle-opening functionality. That is not part of this unit.
#3. HiCoup Wing Corkscrew
View it on Amazon: $24.95*
*Price typically updated every 24 hours. Current price may be different.
Our bronze winner is the HiCoup Wing Corkscrew. Selling for $11.95, this opener visually resembles the one you find in the supermarket, but is a substantial step above.
To use this unit, you place the bottle anchor over the bottle; this positions the screw in the center of the cork to prevent breaking. Twist the upright, oval control to advance the screw into the cork; a stopper prevents cork breakage. As you twist the screw into the cork, the wings open. To remove the cork, exert pressure on both of the wings and the cork emerges intact for reuse if desired. Note that this unit does not have any kind of foil remover.
With an ergonomic handle and coated screw, this corkscrew is easy to operate. A helpful design element that sets this above its less expensive siblings is the bottle seat. This provides a secure anchor and directs the screw into the middle of the cork eliminating the guesswork that often leads to broken corks.
In addition to all this, the HiCoup Wing Corkscrew is a bottle-opener as well. The more substantial metal of the unit adds to the ease of cork extraction. You do have to manually twist the screw into the cork, but the coating on the screw eases this process. HiCoup designed the screw to be long enough for even exceptionally long corks and no reviewers reported challenges with any type of cork, natural or man-made.
HiCoup also excels at customer service. They offer a 100% lifetime guarantee applicable to breakage or simple dislike of the product, which is very impressive. If you don’t like it, they will replace it or refund your money without questions, long application processes or recriminations. You may be required to return the item, but that is not too much to ask for getting your money back.
The HiCoup Wing Corkscrew is fully manual, though designed with elements to ease the work. The bottle anchor that helps steady the bottle and direct the worm to the center of the cork is very helpful and the handle design helps alleviate hand stress. Supported by the lifetime guarantee, this is an excellent option for the investment.
#4. True Fabrications Waiters Corkscrew
If there is a standard corkscrew for professionals in the food industry, it is the double-hinged model. It fits easily into a waiter’s pocket or apron, is not bulky and neatly removes the cork. Additionally, it presents well tableside, and is easy for both men and women to operate.
The True Fabrications Waiters Corkscrew takes a playful view of this time-honored tool by offering it in a wide range of colors(including hot pink, lime green, black, white, blue, metallic blue, sky blue etc.). Many of our reviews are very happy with this innovation. After years of opening bottles with plain metal wine keys, using a hot pink or lime green one is distinctive and fun. Professionals who work in an environment that serves wine, also enjoy the bright colors as a way of identifying their own key and avoiding loss.
Like other tools, the two hinge corkscrew, has its own process which is unique more than complex or difficult. Notice that the part topped with the bottle-opener has two notches. These are for anchoring the unit to the bottle. Place the notch that is closer to the bottom of the upright against the upper lip of the bottle. Direct the worm into the center of the cork. Hold the corkscrew against the bottle with one hand while pressing the extended arm with your other hand to lower the screw into the cork.
When the screw is about half way into the cork, reposition the upright arm to the lower anchor to complete the insertion. Hold the bottle securely to pull out the cork.
The True Fabrications Waiters Corkscrew has a built-in blade for foil removal that retracts into the base. Having the foil knife built-in makes a very compact, complete wine opening unit.
Though this corkscrew does include a bottle-opener, it is a little smaller than standard bottles, so you may need to use it several times to remove a single top. Some reviewers state that the colors advertised do not match the colors delivered. This could easily be attributed to dye lot or display variables, but is included here for your information.
For an investment of $5.98, the True Fabrications Waiters Corkscrew accomplishes its task with economy and fair. Many reviewers purchase several so they have one always at hand.
Silly Note: Because this product has an attached tiny blade for foil removal, the TSA confiscates it if you attempt to take it on an airplane.
Two Step Process
When we think of opening a bottle of wine, we tend to forget that it is a two-step process. For most of us, removing the foil that covers the cork is so easy it is makes no impression. However, it is not without challenges. That the industry acknowledges this is apparent in corkscrew design; there is usually a tool or adjustment for removing the foil.
In the older manual corkscrews, people often used the point of the worm to loosen and then remove the foil. This works, but presents the danger of poking oneself and having to maneuver the bottle to remove the foil. Because foil removal is a necessary part of opening a bottle of wine, when we searched for the best products, we looked for how this part of the process was addressed.
Many models ignore foil removal. Most included a small knife to cut the foil, which we consider the minimum arrangement. Others include interesting twists on the basic knife that were easier and safer, which put them higher up on our list.
We placed designs that required less in the way of brute strength and more basic technique higher on the list for convenience and inclusiveness and added points for creative foil removal. If you keep such concerns in mind as you read our recommendations, it adds to the transparency of the evaluation.
Ease of Use
Most of us start off opening wine bottles with the old, reliable winged corkscrew or the older even more manual twist without wings. Indeed, most households have several of these in the drawer. Some people theorize that manual corkscrews are self-replicating; that’s why every household has several of them.
So in determining which product to purchase, ease of use is at the top of the list. Yes, the manual corkscrews are easy to use in that they are not complex, but they require applied force and fairly accurate worm placement, both of which are inconvenient.
In the ease of use evaluation, we looked for products that improved upon the very basic, manual corkscrews that infest all our homes.
Convenience includes how much space it requires for storage. If you have to dedicate half your counter space to a corkscrew, it’s not a great buy, no matter how easy it is to use. This extends to not just how but where you can store it. We are used to corkscrews that fit into the smallest kitchen drawers. Most of our selections necessarily take up more space than that, but it should not be oppressive to find room for a corkscrew.
If the manufacturer is not supporting the product, why should anyone buy it? This includes how easy it is to contact customer service, what their attitude is when you do contact them, how they address your issues and if they offer replacement or money-back for manufacturing problems.
Questions to ask yourself: Where is the customer support information listed? Is it easy to find or hidden in the small print. Also where is the warranty data? If you misplace the instructions that are included with the corkscrew will you never be able to reach them?
Conclusion (Wrapping it up)
Our selections for corkscrews offer our readers a variety of choices in economic and execution terms. Many wine drinkers feel strongly about using a very manual tool; they consider it part of serving process and do not want to automate in any way. Others see no reason to avoid automation and do not feel it detracts from being a gracious host. Most reviewers have strong opinions about how much money they are willing to invest in this specialized but necessary tool.
We selected corkscrews for home use. If you are a professional, working in food service, you may require a more hard-wearing model. It is not unusual for professionals to uncork one hundred bottles in a week; this clearly cries out for a different tool. Our selections are targeted to the personal wine drinker who opens a corked bottle significantly less than one hundred times in a month.