The Brookstone Compact wine opener is a lever-operated wine opener. It features a lightweight design with extra long chrome handles that give you extra leverage so you can open any bottle in less than 5 seconds.
While lever wine openers have been around for decades, this one takes it to a whole new level. While the Rabbit actually remains one of the most popular models, this is an excellent option as well.
Wine Opener Buying Guide
Before you buy any wine opener, it’s important to understand what your options are. There are a lot of different types of wine openers out there, so here’s what you should be looking for when looking for the right wine opener for you.
Manufacturers throw terms around a lot. It can be confusing, so here’s a quick note. You don’t really need to worry too much about it. Some may claim to be able to preserve the undertones of the wine or prevent loss of the aroma, but they’re only doing that to sell the product.
All you need to know is how well the opener is made. Do you like the way it looks? Will the operation work for you? Does it open a bottle the way you want it to? The construction of the opener is the most important part.
Most of your time will be spent on choosing the right operation method. There are two basic types of openers: manual and automatic. However, within these two categories, there are plenty of options.
Manual openers require you to exert a bit more effort when uncorking your bottle, but different styles make it easier. For example, a lever-operated opener is easier than a traditional corkscrew.
Manual openers don’t need a power source and come in a wide variety of styles, so your choice will depend on how much effort you want to put into uncorking your bottles. From the waiter’s corkscrews to the fanciest wings, there are plenty of options.
An automatic opener will do the work for you but will need to be recharged frequently so it will continue to work. They also tend to be pricey and can get hung up on certain types of corks if not used properly.
Your cork type will have a lot to do with the kind of opener you choose. Some openers are only compatible with natural corks. Natural corks are made from tree bark, but some bottlers use synthetic corks made of a plastic composite.
Synthetic corks offer certain environmental benefits as well as ease of bottling for the manufacturer and lower costs for the consumer. If you drink wine that comes with a synthetic cork, you need to choose an opener that is rated to operate with them.
If your opener isn’t rated to work with all types of corks, you could break the cork or the opener. You run the risk of having to strain the bottle before you drink it or ruining your wine completely.
Alternatively, almost every opener is rated for use with natural corks, so if you always drink wine that’s bottled with a natural cork, there’s no need to worry. You’ll be able to use nearly any opener you want.
Just consider that buying an opener that works with any cork will give you the flexibility to try new wines or open a bottle with a synthetic cork if you get one as a gift or a friend brings one over.
Some openers come with foil cutters, and while it’s not necessary, it can be convenient. It saves you time and effort to have a foil cutter handy every time you open a bottle since most bottles have foil over the cork as a protective measure.
You won’t have to tear the foil with your fingers or find another way to cut it if you can just grab your opener and use it as a foil cutter, too.
Most manual openers have a serrated or straight edge that you can use. It’s either built into the handle or folds out from the handle. Sometimes they’re included with the opener, but they’re a separate piece.
Uncorking wine can be tricky since openers have sharp points and edges. Whether you’re using a manual or an automatic opener, there are safety concerns to think about. Moving parts and pieces could pinch your fingers, the corkscrew is sharp, and automatic openers are relatively powerful.
Pay attention to all of the parts and pieces of the opener. While an automatic opener will do all of the work for you, a waiter’s corkscrew may have a fold-out foil cutter that could cut you while you use it if you’re not careful.
If you’re considering an automatic opener, you’ll also have to consider how it gets power. Some take batteries, which means you’ll never have to plug it in, but you’ll always want to make sure you have a spare set around.
Others plug into the wall and contain a rechargeable battery, so you’ll need to decide where and how you store it. You can also opt for a more expensive model that retains a charge for longer and can open more bottles before needing to be charged again.
Manual openers are always handy as a backup, just in case your automatic opener dies or you experience a power outage and you have no way to plug it in.
Drinking wine is about more than taste. It’s about the experience. From uncorking to the last drop, you should enjoy the entire aesthetic. If the wine opener doesn’t look good, feel good, or make the experience enjoyable, then you won’t be able to appreciate the process.
Some people may believe that it doesn’t matter that the device works if you don’t like the way it looks. If you don’t agree, then you can ignore this advice and choose your opener based on function alone.
About the Brookstone Compact
The Brookstone Compact wine opener offers effortless wine opening. If you’re tired of using a manual corkscrew, it’s a great option that’s much more affordable than the automatic or electric varieties.
It’s large, so you’ll have to find a place in your kitchen or bar to store it, but it’s efficient and easy to use. It’s made of high-quality materials and the durability provides great value at the price point.
It’s a stylish opener that features the usability you need and will look great while you use it. It’s also a no-frills device. What you see is what you get. There’s no foil cutter, aerator, or stopper. The packaging isn’t even very elaborate.
It makes a great gift, and it’s probably a great starter opener, but for more advanced oenophiles, it leaves a lot to be desired. And of course, accessories are always available separately.
Thanks to the designers at Brookstone, there was a lot of thought that went into features. They didn’t mess around with all of the distractions and went straight to putting bulk into the actual opener.
When looking at the opener, the first thing you notice is the metal construction. There are no plastic functional pieces on it, which is a step above a lot of other lever openers. The only things that aren’t metal are the edge cover and the soft lever grip.
Unfortunately, there aren’t any grips on the body of the opener, but it’s still pretty easy to handle. The back arm and body have gentle contours so that it fits well in your hand. You’ll be able to achieve an ergonomic grip, making it even easier to use.
The metal is polished for a finished look, but the contours ensure that your grip won’t slip even as you apply pressure.
The entire opener weighs about 2 pounds, so it’s easy to carry around the kitchen or to a friend’s party. It’s also easy to manipulate as you open bottle after bottle. Its dimensions are 3.8 x 7.2 x 7.3, which might seem bulky, but it’s about the same as other models.
The truly standout feature of the Brookstone Compact is that the lever is extra-long, which does most of the work for you. You’ll have to apply much less pressure than with other lever-operated openers because of their length.
The corkscrew is designed to handle both natural and synthetic corks. You can even use it on old corks that have been dried out, but it’s important to use extra care and minimize force to reduce chances of crumbling or breakage.
Because it doesn’t come with a foil cutter, you’ll have to use something else to prepare your cork first. Then simply place the opener on top of your bottle while the lever is in the up position.
Once the tool is positioned directly above the cork, squeeze the body of the opener and the back of the arm firmly as you pull down on the lever. This inserts the corkscrew into the cork.
Once it’s inserted all the way, pull the lever back up to remove the cork. You can now loosen your grip and remove the tool from the bottle.
To remove the cork from the opener, squeeze the body and the back arm firmly and pull the lever down.
- Full metal body with stylish polished metal
- Extra-long lever for easier operation
- No plastic functional parts
- Ergonomic grip
- No foil cutter or other accessories
- No decorative packaging or storage case
If you’re not keen on the Brookstone Compact, but you’re looking for a lever-operated wine opener, there are several other options you could look into. These are pretty comparable but have a few other standout features that might interest you more.
OXO steel lever corkscrew
The OXO features an improved design with a non-slip grip. It’s more comfortable to hold as you open your bottles. It comes with a stainless steel foil cutter that is stored right inside the body.
It comes in a box that you can use to store it, it makes a great gift, and it comes with an extra worm just in case yours wears out.
The zinc and black combination makes for a sleek, upgraded look, and it looks a bit more sturdy than the Brookstone. It’s also a bit more expensive, but I’d say it offers a better value for what you get.
The original Rabbit wine opener is the tool that started it all. It’s the most expensive of the options, but it really looks like a rabbit and it comes in three different colors. It comes with a foil cutter, an extra corkscrew, and a 10-year warranty.
It’s probably the best lever-operated wine opener you’ll get for the money. It can open a bottle in 3 seconds flat and it immediately releases the cork by itself after opening.
It’s made of polished stainless steel, so it’s incredibly durable and it has an ergonomic handle with comfortable grips for extra control.
This pricey lever-operated opener is heavy duty and sturdy. You can feel the bulk in your hands, and if you’re looking for something that will be sleek and elegant at your dinner party but pull corks with ease, this is it.
It’s chrome-plated and die-cast with a built-in foil cutter and includes a replacement corkscrew. You can use it on all cork types and the lever action is seamless and easy to operate. It’s smooth, simple, and you’ll never want to use another lever opener again.
Answer: The best lever corkscrew is the highly-rated vertical Rabbit. It’s durable, easy to use, and affordable. It offers great value with a 10-year warranty, so you know they stand by their quality. However, the Brookstone Compact is also very highly rated.
However, for those with limited arm strength, automatic wine openers are much easier to use, so it depends on what you’re looking for and what you need. If you’re looking for an automatic wine opener, the Oster cordless is one of the best.
Answer: A corkscrew is what draws the cork out of the bottle of wine. It’s a pointed metallic helix. It’s also sometimes called a worm. Basically, it looks like a pointy spiral.
The most basic corkscrews are attached to handles. It requires pressure and muscle to insert it into the cork and remove it from the bottle.
Other corkscrews are attached to a set of wings or a lever to give you leverage to pull the cork out more easily. You either pull the lever or turn a crank to twist the corkscrew into the cork, then pull the lever again or push down on the wings to remove the cork from the bottle.
The most advanced corkscrews are contained within devices controlled by a motor and they work automatically by simply pushing a button.
No matter which type of corkscrew you use, the device that removes the cork is basically the same thing.
Answer: This is where things can get confusing. Rabbit is a brand, but rabbit is also the term commonly used to refer to lever wine openers. Whether it’s because Rabbit made the style popular or because they look like rabbits, I’m not sure.
Either way, a rabbit wine opener is one like the Brookstone Compact, that operates via a lever. It’s called a rabbit because the body tends to look like a rabbit’s head and the lever looks like ears.
While that’s not always the case, for some, especially the Rabbit brand, it’s pretty close.
I’m partial to the Rabbit wine opener because I think it’s cute and I am comforted by the 10-year warranty. I also like their other products and the fact that it comes with some accessories.
However, the Brookstone Compact is rated pretty high, and the design is solid. If you’re looking to get good value out of a wine opener, it’s a great choice. The ergonomic grip is comfortable and the extra-long lever makes it easy to use.
It’s durable, versatile, and reliable. It’s also lightweight, so you can take it from the kitchen to the bar and back or you can take it to your friend’s party, just to make sure you can open the bottle of wine you brought.