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8 best corkscrews that open bottles with ease

Ensure stubborn corks don’t come between you and your bottle with one of these openers

Joanne Gould
Friday 08 January 2021 16:54 GMT
With a reliable tool you can forget wrestling with awkward openers or risking breaking the cork
With a reliable tool you can forget wrestling with awkward openers or risking breaking the cork (iStock/The Independent)

The last thing you need is for your corkscrew to fail at the crucial moment and leave you bereft of rioja. We’ve all had our fair share of cheap and cheerful novelty wine openers that fall apart at the first hurdle, so it makes sense to shop around for something built to last, rather than hoping that one you once got in a Christmas cracker is up to this important job.

Anyone who’s ever worked in a bar or restaurant will know that the standard waiter’s friend is a perfectly reliable piece of kit: it is small and compact but strong and shouldn’t cost a lot for a quality version. Having said that, many of the uninitiated can struggle with wrangling a cork out of a bottle without a winged corkscrew at the very least; still more can only countenance an automatic opener.

So, whether you’re a pro who likes a no-nonsense waiter’s friend, you prefer wings to help the pull on troublesome stoppers, or if you’d like a corkscrew that does most of the hard work for you, we’ve tested a plethora of styles and materials. 

We tested all items on synthetic and natural corks, looking for something that felt sturdy, built to last and gave a clear-cut, smooth pull with a sharp, precise worm and minimal effort – no one wants to be sieving bits of disintegrated cork out of their 1999 St Emilion.

Have a read through our reviews and take your pick from stainless steel versions, non-slip plastics from reliable brands, lever-action models that make wine-opening a doddle and even a hi-tech piece of kit to keep your wine accessible and fresh for months – should it last that long. Here’s our round-up of the best openers to get those corks a-popping.

You can trust our independent reviews. We may earn commission from some of the retailers, but we never allow this to influence selections, which are formed from real-world testing and expert advice. This revenue helps to fund journalism across The Independent.

Stellar copper deluxe corkscrew

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This black and copper corkscrew from kitchenware experts Stellar is a simple but effective piece of gadgetry. Using a very basic corkscrew system, the opener needs little effort and punctures through cork and plastic with ease and no awkward wrangling. 

The exterior is made from non-slip, soft-touch plastic that stays securely in your hands even if wet, while the screw is made from zinc and the handle is plated in copper-coloured chrome. It looks modern, understated and best of all it has a lifetime guarantee – not that you’re likely to need it. 

  1. £12 from Amazon
Prices may vary
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CellarDine winged corkscrew

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Winged corkscrews are often cheap, flimsy affairs, but this one from barware experts CellarDine has survived 15 years of heavy-duty use in our house: an impressive feat. This traditional corkscrew with arms is made from strong stainless steel across the body and worm, with non-slip, rubber-coated handles for a comfortable pull. The worm stays sharp and effective for years, while the body is robust and the bottle opener on the end makes this ideal for having out at parties. 

  1. £10 from Lakeland
Prices may vary
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Brabantia tasty+ pink corkscrew

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This corkscrew from Brabantia is the least expensive to make it onto this list, and offers good value and quality at once. It’s guaranteed for five years and is reassuringly sturdy, so while it is cheap and cheerful – particularly with its rosy colour – it certainly does the job. Position the corkscrew over the bottle neck and it will quickly and smoothly uncork natural and synthetically corked wines via its extra-large turning handles. The Brabantia tasty collection also has many other kitchen goods to match your new pink corkscrew, should you desire. 

  1. £6 from Dunelm
Prices may vary
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Cactus bottle opener and corkscrew

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This manual corkscrew features a bottle opener, corkscrew and foil cutter in one piece – and it is styled as a cactus, so what’s not to like? This novelty item is ideal for leaving out at parties and looks sweet on the worktop anytime. The worm is sharp and strong enough to make quick work of natural corks, though a bit of effort was required for synthetic ones. The cactus branches aren’t just for decoration, either, as they are handily placed to provide a bit of extra grip when opening more stubborn bottles. 

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CellarDine Flexicles bottle chiller and lever action corkscrew

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For anyone who struggles with – or simply dislikes – opening wine using a turning or wing mechanism, this lever-action corkscrew may suit. Use the separate foil cutter provided, then angle the worm over the cork and let the lever do all the work: this opener requires very little strength or effort and no cork proved problematic, so you can keep your cool opening the goods at future dinner parties. It also comes with a spare worm and a bottle chiller to keep white wines cool for up to five hours. It’s a good-quality set from the CellarDine brand, all in 100 per cent recyclable packaging.

  1. £29 from CellarDine
Prices may vary
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Kikkerland stainless steel rose wood sparrow three in one corkscrew

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A waiter’s-friend-style corkscrew is an essential piece of barware, and the Kikkerland models are all worthy of a look: strong, sturdy and well made. This is a rosewood and stainless steel version that’s subtly styled in the shape of a sparrow. It features the usual foil cutter, bottle opener and worm and just requires a bit of practice if you’ve never used one before. This is weighty, attractive and effective, and looks set to last and last through many bottles of wine.

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Le Creuset wine accessories original corkscrew

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While researching this list, Le Creuset’s wares kept coming up time and time again in the recommendations. The brand’s waiter’s-friend-style corkscrew is a high quality, great option, but the strongest endorsements were for its original model. This simple piece of kit has lasted some over 20 years of happy, wine-soaked use, and it’s universally easy to use, self-pulling turn mechanism does most of the hard work for you. Arthritis sufferers have also reported that they find this model comfortable to use. There are a few variations in style, but this black reinforced plastic model with sharp worm will appeal to many. 

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Coravin model three

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Not just a corkscrew, the clever people at Coravin have devised a way for you to pour a glass of wine without removing the cork – allowing the bottle to stay fresh to enjoy weeks, months or even years down the line. There are various models with all sorts of bells and whistles, but this basic version allows you to clamp the device onto any wine with a natural cork closure. It inserts a needle through the cork and pressurises the bottle with argon gas. When you’ve finished, the cork naturally reseals the bottle for another time. Yes, it’s expensive, but can you put a price on being able to dip into a great barolo vintage whenever you fancy?

  1. £199 from Coravin
Prices may vary
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The verdict: Corkscrews

The Stellar copper deluxe corkscrew gets our vote: it’s a fuss-free, low-cost corkscrew that will last you several wine-fuelled decades. If you prefer the good old waiter’s friend model, then Kikkerland’s is up with the best of them and looks great too. Serious wine lovers might like to pop the Coravin on their Christmas list and hope they’ve been extremely good this year. 

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