Opening ring pulls on food and pet cans

Opening ring pulls on food and pet cans

Ring pulls are now seen on the majority of food cans we purchase and because of this the designs are becoming easier to use for a wider range of the population (Dawes, 2009). It is generally quicker to open a tin with a ring pull than with a tin opener.

How do ring pulls work?

There are two main parts to this:

  • lifting up the ring pull
  • pulling the ring pull back, which rolls the tin lid back, allowing you to remove the contents of the tin (pictured above right).

Ring pull openers

Ring pull openers can make it easier to open tins if you have reduced hand grip or the use of only one hand. The larger handles increase leverage, although some strength is still needed. However, it's worth a try as lifting a ring pull with one of these openers can be quicker than using a tin opener.


It may be helpful to stabilise the can before using the ring pull opener which will reduce the energy required. See our sections on slip resistant mats and jar and bottle holders:

You may also like to read our information on opening aluminium cans or even choosing a tin opener if that is your preference. You will usually need to open the bottom of the tin if it has a ring pull though.

Advice last checked: 09 May 2017 Next check due: 09 May 2020

All advice is either supported by references (cited in the text) or is based upon peer reviewed professional opinion. Our advice is impartial and not influenced by sponsors or product suppliers listed on the site.
Conflict of interest statement

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