Fake Keys

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It’s never good to be caught in the urban wild without a bottle opener. Attaching an opener to your keychain means you never get far from home without emergency safety gear.

For this post, we’re exploring different key-shaped openers that you can attach to your key ring. They’re all equally portable, but which ones actually work? Are any of them usable with a wad of real keys in the way?

We put four openers to the test. They’re all about the size to a regular house key. In the  image below, a standard key is shown next to the four candidates. To the right of the regular key are the MAKR Bottle Key, Key-Shaped Pocket Knife, Suck UK Key Bottle Opener, and the Swiss Tech Utili-Key.



MAKR Bottle Key

With an antique brass finish and measuring 2.25″ in length, this opener does the best job of looking good and blending in with your other keys. From a sheer look & feel perspective, this thing is aces. It’s solid and looks great. However, it can be hard to use. A key-sized opener is already a bit small and the MAKR’s opener is at the head of the key. When attached to a key ring, it can be awkward to grip. But it’s cool enough, that I’d overlook it and accept the inconvenience.





Suck UK Key Bottle Opener

The Suck UK Key Bottle Opener looks more like a skeleton key. It’s a clean design and   very functional. Its 3″ length makes it a bit longer than a standard set of keys, which could be good or bad depending on your preference. With the opener at the edge of the key, it is quite a bit easier to use when attached to a key ring. The extra length also helps give a bit more leverage for opening bottles.




Swiss Tech Utili-Key Multi-Tool

The Swiss Tech Utili-Key has a lot going for it, but has its drawbacks as well. It advertises itself as six tools in one. It provides three types of screwdriver: flat, phillips, and micro for unscrewing any sort of screwed-in situation. It provides a straight and serrated knife blade for cutting and stabbing. And it includes a bottle opener.


Rather than providing a loop to attach it to your keychain, it has a clip that opens as you open the tool.


The bottle opener is the intersection of the phillips screwdriver and the serrated edge. I can appreciate the design that went into this as they’ve managed to eek out functionality out of every nook and cranny with this tool. However, this craftiness is also the tool’s downfall. Trying to pry open a bottle cap while gripping a knife blade is tricky business. It’s not difficult, but it does take some concentration. As the beers flow, the risk of self-mutilation escalates.


Harbor Freight Key-Shaped Pocket Knife

The creatively named Key-Shaped Pocket Knife serves one purpose: to hold attacking ninjas at bay with a 1-1/2 inch blade of terror! Harbor Freight Tools has delivered an ultra cheap, yet handy everywhere knife.


This item won’t help you much to open bottles. You can try prying the cap or stabbing the glass, but you’re more likely to open a self-inflicted wound than your beer. As a knife, it does work well for small jobs. In a pinch, it’s quite handy to have a blade on your keyring. The knife is easy to grip, even among either keys. It closes tight and feels safe on your keychain. Once open there is no lock on the blade, but feels stable enough. The only real gripe I have is the craftsmanship. When closing the blade, mine doesn’t quite line up and needs an extra twist to secure the bade. Such is the case with many low-cost items made in China.



Does they open? The MAKR Bottle Key and the Suck UK Key Bottle Opener are both effective. The Swiss Tech Utili-Key and Key-Shaped Knife are better suited elsewhere.

Can they do anything else? As a set they cover you in many situations. If you have enough of them on your fat keyring, you may even pass for a janitor! With all the included tools, you may even be able to do the job.

Overall rating (MAKR Bottle Key): 4 Stars (4 / 5). This opener looks great, blends well, and functional. It’s not as functional as it could be, but it’s well made and gets extra points for looking sharp.

Overall rating (Suck UK Key Bottle Opener): 3 Stars (3 / 5). Very functional, decent design. Whether this is clumsy looking or appealing depends on the buyer.

Overall rating (Swiss Tech Utili-Key): 2 Stars (2 / 5). Lots of utility, but hard to use.

Overall rating (Harbor Freight Key-Shaped Pocket Knife): 3 Stars (3 / 5). This opens nothing, but is a handy tool to have on your key ring.

References: MAKR Bottle Key, Suck UK Bottle Key Opener, Swiss Tech Utili-Key Multi-Tool, Harbor Freight Key-Shaped Pocket Knife


Category: Bottle Openers

Swingline 747 Classic Stapler

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_MG_9457 stapler

You’re walking down the hallway in a corporate office. You see the boss rounding the corner. You know he’s going to ask the status of the Quality Audit Reports that were due last Friday. Rather than stand up for an ass chewing, you quickly duck into the open supply closet and ease the door shut.

Smart move! But then you realize the door has locked behind you trapping you inside with butterfly clips, staplers, reams of copy paper, and boxes of toner cartridges. You have to admit to yourself that maybe this wasn’t such a smart move after all.

But wait! Behind the reams of copy paper, you see the leftover drinks from the holiday fiesta! Amongst all the bottled waters is a case of baby Coronita beer bottles, full of liquid happiness.

Things are looking up! Then you realize you don’t have a bottle opener to free the happiness and ease your anxiety. Or do you? Fortunately, you have a formal education and learned how to be resourceful. The classic Swingline stapler to the rescue!

_MG_9460 stapler

No, you haven’t sniffed too much liquid paper. Popping open the refill lid of the stapler reveals a notch at the head. Flip the stapler over and you have a perfectly good opener. Or at least, good enough.

_MG_9465 stapler   _MG_9466 stapler

To use, simply line up the notch over the cap and pry. You find that the stapler takes a few tugs to work the crown of the cap, but the rewards are just a sip away.

_MG_9479 stapler   _MG_9471 stapler

The Coronitas are small, but there are many of them. You also learn that as the night wears on the stapler becomes less and less efficient as a tool. But determination and persistence push you forward to keep twisting caps until you clear the shelves.

The building Admin opens the door to the stock room the next morning and finds you slumped in a pile of empties with the stapler still in your grip. She gives you a knowing nod and quietly shuts the door and turns out the light.

_MG_9480 stapler   

Category: Bottle Openers

Iron Wedge

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_MG_8672 borough

This small iron bottle opener is simple and effective. Made from 100% recycled iron by the fine people at Borough Furnace, this little opener is a gem. Its wedge shape fits great and the weight feels strong and comfortable in your hand. I find the opener needs a little heft to quickly pop a cap. This opener weighs in at about 6.5 oz (175g) which creates a nice balance for its size. It routinely pops a cap cleanly on the first try and thus earns a spot in the silverware drawer when I’m home, and the back pocket when I’m out.

_MG_8660 borough    _MG_8664 borough

Borough Furnace is a casting workshop located in Syracuse, NY. They recycle scrap iron and cast skillets and bottle openers using custom casting tools. They fuel their furnace using old fryer grease to further conserve resources and materials. They do everything by hand in small batches to ensure quality.

Just as they do with their skillets, Borough Furnace has seasoned their opener with organic flax seed oil to seal the iron and protect it from rust. According to the manufacturer, the raw iron just out of the furnace is very vulnerable – it can rust just from the salt and moisture in your skin. Some iron openers are sealed with paint instead, but the look of the flax seed oil is a better fit for this opener. The finished product both looks and works great.

A cheaper Zamak version is also available, made of zinc-aluminum alloy which is about 33% lighter.


Does it open? Yes, with efficiency and style. This opener is nice and heavy and perfectly sized to do the job. I love it.

Can it do anything else? It’s perfect hand size for breaking down blocks of ice or flinging around the house like a ninja throwing star.

Overall rating: 5 Stars (5 / 5). This opener is one of my favorites and has earned a permanent home in the kitchen drawer.

References: Borough Furnace

Category: Bottle Openers

Beverage Entry Tool

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_MG_8797 yeti

Here’s one from the drawer of my office. The Tarpon BET from YETI Coolers is their Beverage Entry Tool. They bill it as the ultimate survival tool for keeping you hydrated in the field or on the water. The tool is yet another opener shaped like a fish. There is definitely a trend here that needs to be investigated. It’s a church key, twist-off wrench, and can tab opener. It is made from stainless steel and although small, it is quite solid. If you’re a fan of YETI coolers, then you definitely take a look at their tools too.

_MG_8794 yeti

This tool is pocket sized and perfect for carrying around the office, in search of a spontaneous happy hour. The opening in the center is notched and fits around a cap perfectly for those tough twist-offs. The tail has a traditional church key opener for popping open a cap. The additional notches on the tail are also useful for digging under troublesome can tabs.

_MG_8906 yeti     _MG_8905 yeti

Overall, this is a nice compact opener with a variety of tools in its arsenal. And if you like fish-shaped openers, then the YETI Tarpon BET will definitely be a crowd pleaser.


Does it open? It can twist and pry any cap or tab, although it might take a couple tugs to get to your drink.

Can it do anything else? It can open anything with a pull-tab (e.g. sodas, beers, soup cans) and its tail may also be used as a screw driver. So if you need to sabotage your neighbor’s sprinkler control box, but you forgot your tools – you’re covered!

Overall rating: 3.5 Stars (3.5 / 5). This opener is small and handy. It’s not perfect, but it gets the job done.

References: Yeti Tarpon BET

IMG_3046 yeti


Category: Bottle Openers

Beer Blizzard

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IMG_2751 blizzardYou’re sitting at the pool and leave your beer behind for several minutes while you rescue a drowning kid tangled in a pool noodle. When you return, you are disappointed to find your beer has gone warm from the 100 degree summer heat. Sure you had a koozie to insulate your can, but we all know they have their limits. Has this happened to you? Of course it has.

IMG_2750 blizzard

Enter the Beer Blizzard, a Kickstarter project from the brains of Mike Robb and Tom Osborne of Cold Can Innovations, LLC. They have a small plastic widget filled with frozen liquid that fits snuggly on the bottom of any beer can or soda can. It’s effectively a fitted plastic ice cube. Did you know most cans have the same curved snape at the bottom? I’m not sure why that is, but these guys made the most of it. The Beer Blizzard fits snuggly along the bottom of the can and is secured by any koozie.

While any koozie works fine, I found the folding ones with a slot at the bottom are easiest to slide the blizzard for a snug fit.

IMG_2748 blizzard   IMG_2749 blizzard

So that’s all swell, but does it really work? To compare, I conducted a highly scientific test. I popped open two beers and drank them out in the blazing Texas heat. One with a regular koozie and one loaded with a Beer Blizzard. I set out my tools – a thermometer, flip flops, taste sensory device (my tongue), a pool, music, and a few friends. After analyzing the data, the key takeaway is you can’t collect good scientific data if you’re double-fisting beers and hanging out at a pool. However, even without the numbers to back it up, my taste buds (taste bro’s?) were able to confirm that there is a difference. The beer flowing from the Blizzard can did taste better than the regular can. I could feel a distinct difference in temperature at the bottom of the cans as I drank. The tops of the cans were equally warm – but that’s OK. In theory there’s no beer left at the top end anyway.

I have not been overwhelmed by this product; it has not miraculously made the beers as cold as frosty mug brews. However, it does make a difference and I found myself using them at each subsequent trip to the pool. The web site says to expect to get a few uses out of each frozen Beer Blizzard in an afternoon. Perhaps I just drink way too slow, but I found in the Texas summer heat, a Blizzard was good for about one can. Once I finished my beer, the Blizzard was cool but no longer frozen so I just reached in and grabbed another. They sell these in six-packs, and I’d recommend having a handful on hand.

Once your binge is over, just toss the Beer Blizzards back into the freezer to be prepared for the next adventure. I’ve also read they’ll work with beer bottles as long as you use a koozie. That may be true, but I wouldn’t know. I always prefer my bottles like my women. Bare.


Does it open? No, but it’s not an opener so that’s all for the best. If its freezing temperatures opened a crater in the bottom of your can, that could be tragic.

Can it do anything else? Spread smiles and cheer around a yard on a hot summer day.

Overall rating: 4 Stars (4 / 5). These dudes may not be miracle workers, but they make an impact, have a high novelty factor, and act as great conversation starters.

References: Beer Blizzard



Category: Bottle Openers

Bottle Cap Hive

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IMG_2709 hive

In a previous post, I reviewed the Starr Magnetic Bottle Cap Catcher. It is a magnetic tool to catch bottle caps as they fall from the opener above. Since that post I’ve let the bottle caps collect onto the side of the fridge. It turned into a hive that swelled off the side of the appliance. I decided to let it grow to obnoxious proportions to see how long it could maintain its super powers.

The hive collected about 50 bottle caps before the miss rate started to climb. Around that point, new caps would sometimes stick and sometimes roll off onto the floor. After 60, the hive stopped catching caps at all.

Taking the caps off the hive to count them was like peeling an onion. The caps came off in layers. The first 25 came off easily, but the remaining caps had to be pried apart from their brothers. The core magnet is impressively strong.

I wouldn’t necessarily recommend your own hive growing beyond 25 caps or so, but it was an thirst quenching experiment to execute.



Category: Bottle Openers

Father’s Day

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_MG_8932 cardI had a great Father’s Day full of thoughtful gifts and gestures from my family. I could tell you all about those, but this is a bottle opener blog. So instead, let me tell you about the card I got from my dog.

IMG_2625 lucky

My dog Lucky is incredible. Without thumbs, pockets, or a driver’s license, she somehow managed to buy a very thoughtful card with an attached bottle opener.

The card includes a 4″ flat metal cap lifter. It’s light and could fit on a keychain. The opener is attached to the card via a strip of adhesive and thankfully pops off. Otherwise, it wouldn’t be nearly as functional.

Once plucked from the card, the opener works well for what it is. It’s small and lightweight. It’s extremely thin and not as sturdy as my preferred openers. However, it’s solid and does the work. It’s also nicer than the standard church key opener, in my opinion.

_MG_8927 card

By the way, the punchline on the card: “And the correct answer is… IT’S ALL EMPTY! Cheers to you!”



Does it open? The card doesn’t do much, but the attached opener does the trick.

Can it do anything else? Isn’t offering father’s day wishes enough?

Overall rating: 3 Stars (3 / 5).

References: Carlton Cards. JFO C style.



Category: Bottle Openers

Shark Attack!

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_MG_8755 shark

Remember the 50’s, when men were men and a powerful bottle opener meant something? Me neither, but I enjoy collecting the relics of that era.

The Bremer Bar Shark is an aluminum chunk of awesome. It weighs a solid 6 ounces and 7 inches long (8 inches if you follow the curve of its tail). It spends its days patiently lurking on my counter while waiting to pounce on the next bottle.

_MG_8775 shark

_MG_8776 shark

The shark mouth is used to pop the cap and the long body is used for a grip. If perfectly centered, it will pop a cap on the first tug. However, it usually takes two pulls as it mauls the bottle cap.

There’s not much else to say about this one. It does the job, but the big takeaway is it’s freaking cool. Or as they said in the fifties, it’s a swell opener.

_MG_8782 shark


Does it open? It takes a couple tugs and will leave your bottle cap twisted and wounded, but it’s a shark – I’d expect nothing less.

Can it do anything else? It’s mighty tail could be used to split the boards on your neighbor’s fence, finally avenging the day he let his dog Merv poop on your front lawn.

Overall rating: 4 Stars (4 / 5). This opener feels great and looks even better.

References: JFO R-5

_MG_8786 shark

Category: Bottle Openers

The Magical Blomus Utilo Opener

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_MG_8693 blomus The Blomus Utilo bottle opener is simple, sleek and one of my favorite everyday openers. This stylish bottle opener is brushed stainless steel with a black plastic handle. It is 6.5 inches long and 1.8 ounces. The length provides excellent leverage and the lifter connects well. This product of German design makes for a consistent, reliable pop every time. If you’re looking for a touch of class to your bar or only want a single opener in the drawer, this is a great candidate. Wait – just one opener? what fun would that be?! _MG_8705 blomus Summary Does it open? It feels and operates like the perfect opener. Can it do anything else? It’s magical! Wave it like a wand to pull a beer out of a floppy hat. Overall rating: 5 Stars (5 / 5). This opener is a perfect touch of class to any bar or kitchen. References: Blomus Utilo Kapselheber _MG_8802 blomus

Category: Bottle Openers

One-Handed Bottle Opener

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_MG_8749 grab

Consider this. You find yourself in a backyard among a pack of dangerously thirsty drinkers. You are enjoying a refreshing Dos XX while you survey the chaos. Everyone has a bottle, but in this nightmare nobody can open it. The caps are screwed on too tight or they have dreaded imported bottles with no threading at all. Everyone soon realizes there is only one opener in the yard and you have it. Slowly, the pack turns to you and approaches as one, like a pack of hungry zombies. Or thirsty zombies. Do zombies get thirsty? Wait, I digress…

One by one they raise their bottles near your face. Claustrophobia sets in. What do you do?

Should you set your beer down to grab an opener and help these thirsty zombies? If you do, surely one of these desperate fiends will grab your tasty brew as their own! Or do you let them all collapse from thirst? That doesn’t seem right either.

Do you panic and flee the scene? Heavens no! Instead you reach in your pocket for your GrOpener one-handed bottle opener and the evening is saved!

_MG_8695 grab

The GrOpener (aka GrabOpener) is a one-handed bottle opener. It allows you to hang onto your beverage with one hand while popping open other bottles for your buddies. It is the creation of Mark Manger, an artist from Denver and delivers a clever design in a simple package.

Affixed to the underside is a magnet, which serves three purposes. The magnet helps line up the opener onto the bottle cap for a smooth open. Once popped, the cap sticks to the magnet for easy disposal. When the night is over, the magnet may also be used to store the GrOpener on your fridge, while it awaits its next mission.

_MG_8718 grab

To use, let the GrOpener hang in your hand, with your index finger in the hole and the middle finger on the trigger (back edge). Give a firm squeeze and the cap pops.

_MG_8721 grab

It fits comfortably in your hand and if used properly, it will be in perfect position as you grab your bottle. After many uses, a habit is formed where you can pop the cap in the act of grabbing and lifting your beer.

_MG_8726 grab  _MG_8717 grab

While the designer claims that it is made for even a grandmother to use, I found it did take a bit of practice to make it a routine opener. When I first received it, I did not find it intuitive and would forget how to operate the opener until I did a bit of fumbling. My first opens took a lot more focus and force than they do now. After using it several times, its use is second-nature and the squeeze grip feels natural and unforced.

The backside of the opener also acts as a tab lifter for opening cans. The design is minimal, sleek, and well suited for its purpose. It comes in several colors, some with industrial anodizing for scratch resistant finishes.


Does it open? There may be a slight learning curve, but once you get the hang of it, the opener works great. It has a nice novelty factor that will intrigue your guests, but be prepared to roll through a few bottles for demonstrations.

Can it do anything else? Let’s say for no apparent reason you stumble and fall face first in your front lawn. You drop your house key into a raging two-foot tall bed of fire ants. The GrOpener and its magnet can be used to fish the house key out of the swarm without risking a hand full of welts. That should add some peace of mind when navigating the front yard late at night.

Overall rating: 4 Stars (4 / 5). This opener has no glitter or shiny features, but delivers on its unique promise.

References: GrOpener

_MG_8767 grab

Editor’s Note: Many fire ants were mercilessly tortured and maimed during the shooting of this photo.

Category: Bottle Openers