By August 12, 2009

Zipit Opener electric blister packaging cutting tool review

If you know me at all, you know I buy a lot of stuff. Most of the stuff I buy comes in plastic packaging or cardboard boxes. I make short work out of the boxes with any number of blades, like the Gerber EAB pocket knife or X-Blades razor blade utility knife.

However, that damn clam shell, “blister” plastic packaging is another matter entirely. I have tried scissors, blades, and even the Open-X cutting tool, which is sort of like a pissed off Pac-Man knife with a razor blade in the “mouth.” Unfortunately none of these tools are perfect. Scissors torque and dull. Blades are unwieldy and dangerous on some blister packages. The Open-X is, well, a trip to the emergency room waiting to happen.

Stilts (who tried to kill me with the Open-X in the first place) provided a peace offering with the Zipit Opener. Powered by two AA batteries, the Zipit is an electric cutting instrument that is specially made to open blister / clam shell style packaging.

Would it be enough to redeem the Open-X debacle, or would I use the Zipit’s tiny tiny cutting discs to cut my 6′ 8″ friend down to size?

Retailing for about $25 on and the Zipit Web site, the Zipit Opener works by spinning two metal discs closely together like an electric can opener. You thread the plastic clam shell in between the disc and it NOM NOM NOMs the plastic.

Because we live in a litigious society, there is a plastic finger guard over the hungry bits. The guard is too thick to get most packaging into the discs, but you can remove it and have direct access to the DANGEROUS SPINNING BLADES. I guess this could be a cutting hazard, but you’d really have to try to cut yourself given that you have one hand on the tool itself and one holding the packaging. I’m pretty sure some lawdog insisted they put the cover on it “just in case.”

The Zipit does a good job as long as there is tension on the plastic and you keep everything nice and even. It begins to bog down and snare if the container is oddly shaped. I imagine that blister packs that are sealed closely to the product within would be hard to cut with the Zipit. You may even nick the item inside if you’re not careful. You also have to maintain some consistent pressure in order to get the Zipit to “bite,” and this can be a problem at the edge of the clam shell. There isn’t much tension by that point, and the Zipit choked a few times (as you can see in the video below).

Watch the Zipit in action.

The Zipit is a little too large to put in a kitchen drawer, so it will have to go in my Basket of Random Stuff™ in my dining room. I wish the tool was a little bit shorter (again, the useless plastic guard is what screws everything up). The Zipit tool seems to get the job done, especially if you can pick and choose what you open with it.

It may make a good gift this upcoming holiday season, especially for someone who already has a problem opening these fucking blister packages.


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7 Comments on "Zipit Opener electric blister packaging cutting tool review"

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  1. Retardo says:

    Have you tried a half-serrated pocket knife, for the clamshell things? The serrations grab the plastic and the blade doesn’t slip. I’ve been very happy with that.

  2. drfaulken says:

    Hey there — I do have some serrated pocket knives. I didn’t want to deal with a blade flying around while I try to open the blister pack, but your suggestion is good and I will give it a try.

  3. Sue says:

    I bought a ZIPit in December of 2008. I was very excited about a product that would make it safer and easier to open the plastic sealed products. I tried it and it worked great. The next time I tried to use it it was DEAD. It would not work at all.

    I tried contacting the company several times regarding returning the product for replacement or a refund with absolutely NO RESPONSE. Do not be a sucker like I was. This company is a very BIG DISAPPOINTMENT. Just another scam!!!!!!!!!!

  4. Sue, I cannot imagine why you have not been able to contact us, our phone number and address are on the web site. I just ran across your post and would gladly replace your Zip-it Opener. I am not sure what is causing the problem, but would like to inspect the unit that is not working to determine the cause. I have had very few returns due to failure to work, so am very interested in your problem. I hope you see this letter, and would be happy to get you a working Opener.

  5. DrFaulken says:

    Hello Mr. Fisher,

    Thank you for your comment. I hope that you and Sue resolve the issue with her Zip-It.

    However, I am unclear why you think she had a problem finding your phone number and address on your Web site.

    I think her point was that she didn’t hear back from anyone, not that she couldn’t find contact information.

    Regardless, I hope everyone winds up happy. I still use my Zip-It now and then. I use it more effectively now that it’s trained me on the best way to use it. 🙂

  6. Thanks for the note and thanks for doing the review. I am sorry I had not seen it sooner, I could have helped Sue.
    I see I really did not address the real issue Sue brought up. We are a very small company, and I answer almost all the email and most of the calls received by our company, and I do not recall receiving anything from Sue wanting to get a replacement for a defective unit. We don’t get many requests for returns but we are very good at responding ASAP to such requests. We don’t need the reputation of being the type of company that Sue thinks we are. It is bad business and it is also very instructive for us to see a defective unit as it alerts us to possible production problems.
    I guess from your comments that you have leaned that the unit looks
    deceptively easy to use, but in reality, there is a learning curve. Due to
    the variety of plastic packing designs different techniques are needed to open the various packages. I recently did an instructional video that is on my web site in the blog section as well as posted on You Tube explaining the unit and some tips in how to use it. Our intention is not to rip anyone off, but to rip open packages. The Zip-it won’t open every thing out there, but it is a real help if you find hard plastic packages hard to open.

  7. Mary Sue says:

    I just used Zip-It on a plastic sealed package of batteries yesterday. Like in your video, it choked when it got to to corner of the package and it was stuck in the plastic. Once I finally got it through the corner of the package to free it from the plastic, it also opened up the flesh on the index finger on my left hand. So I will say that it opens up flesh a lot easier than it opens up plastic.