Can crusher is a simple tool that is used for aluminum can crushing. But this simple tool can be categorized in multiple smaller categories. Aluminum can crushers can be divided by their operation, placement, material and capacity or size of cans they can crush. Let’s start by dividing aluminum can crushers by their operation.
By operation can crushers can be divided into three categories:
Manual can crushers are the most common and approximately 9 out of 10 crushers sold are manual crushers. Manual means that you can insert just a single can into the crusher. Can compression process is done manually, you need to pull the leveler, which lowers the crushing plate and compresses aluminum can. After crushing a can, you need to dispose the compressed can and insert next can into the crusher. This process can take quite long time, if lot of cans need to be crushed. This is where semi-automatic can crushers become handy.
Semi-automatic crushers differ from manual crushers, because they have collection tray on top of the crusher. In this tray you can place multiple cans and crush them one by one. Different crushers will have trays with varying capacities, some crushers can store only 4 cans, while other can store even up to 10 cans. Semi-automatic crushers make aluminum can compression process faster, as you do not have to place a new can into crusher after compressing previous one. This allows speeding crushing process up multiple times. However, the crushing process needs to be done by you and there aren’t any automatic systems in semi-automatic can crushers.
Automatic can crushers will crush aluminum cans automatically. These crushers usually work with pneumatic engines and compresses cans with air pressure. Automatic can crushers are the fastest of three crusher types and takes less effort, however, it is hard to find fully automatic can crusher, as they are mostly made by individuals or small companies and are produced in small scale. This means that automatic crushers are available to limited number of customers or are used only by their manufacturers. Besides these pneumatic can crushers, there are also some large and expensive industrial can crushers that are used for compressing cans of different sizes and materials. If regular can crushers are able to compress aluminum cans at certain (usually 12oz or 16oz) size, these industrial crushers can compress cans in many sizes from different metal materials like steel and others. They are often used to compress larger paint cans, different buckets and similar things.
Can crushers can be categorized by installation or placement. There are three ways crushers can be installed:
- Multi position (both horizontal and vertical positions)
Horizontal can crushers can be installed to horizontal places, like for example desk. These can crushers are not that common as vertical can crushers, because there are not convenient ways to dispose the empty can after compression. This means that you have to take that can out of the crusher manually and throw it into a trash bag. Many vertical can crushers are designed in a way that compressed soda can gets disposed automatically into the trash after crushing and you just need to place the trash bin under the crusher. There are also some benefits of horizontal can crushers. They can be stored in areas, where vertical can crushers cannot. For example, if you do not want to screw a vertical can crusher to wall of your house, or material of wall does not allow to simply screw a vertical crusher, you can get a horizontal one and install it to a table. There are also some special horizontal crushers that can be operated with feet. These crushers are called foot operated crushers. They have a specific mechanism that allows to easily crush these cans with feet. Foot operated can crushers are easier to use than vertical crushers, because, as we know, crushing empty can with feet is much easier than crushing it with hands. Because of this, there are some foot operated can crushers that are able to compress larger cans than 12oz or 16oz and even some non-standard food cans.
Vertical can crushers are the most popular type of aluminum can crushers. Vertical can crushers usually get installed to a wall. These crushers come with a special mounting plates or screws and can be installed to different materials, like plastic, wood and other. What makes vertical can crushers so popular is that they can be installed in more convenient places. For example, you can install a vertical can crusher to a wall in your garage or in your kitchen and place the garbage bin directly under the crusher, so when your soda or beer can is compressed, it will immediately get thrown out in the trash either manually by your, or automatically by the crusher. There are also some vertical can crushers that come with detachable can collection bean. This way all the compressed cans drop into the collection bin directly after compression. Sometimes people forget to empty can from all liquids before crushing them and unpleasant liquids can leak out of the can, when you compress it. Touching these cans with bare hands may not be pleasant at all, so these collection bins help to make can crushing process cleaner and easier.
Multi position can crushers can be installed both horizontally and vertically. These are universal can crushers and can be used practically anywhere. By their shape, size and way how they compress aluminum cans they are more similar to horizontal than vertical crushers. Basically, multi position can crushers are same as horizontal crushers, but with additional mounting hardware that allows to mount them both horizontally and vertically.
By can size
Can crushers can also be categorized by their capacity or can size they are able to compress. Most can crushers are made for crushing 12oz cans, as it is the most popular aluminum can size for sodas. 16oz is the second most popular can size that is supported by can crushers. One thing to note, if can crusher is intended to compress 16oz sized cans, it will also fit 12oz and 8oz cans.
Manufacturers usually do not indicate this information on the packaging of a crusher as it is pretty obvious. 16oz can crushers are larger and take up more space than regular 12oz crushers. Also 16oz crushers are often made from more durable material, usually steel or tough nylon. There are some aluminum can crushers that can compress larger cans up to 32oz size. These crushers can be used for compressing large soda and beer cans and are often popular for people around Europe. If you need to compress larger cans than 32oz, you will probably need to get an industrial can crusher, which is an automatic can crusher and will cost a lot more than manual 12oz – 32oz can crushers.
There are two most popular types of materials from which can crushers are made:
Steel is the most popular material from which can crushers are made. Steel is very durable, which is important, if you need to recycle a lot of cans and want to use can crusher for many years. These crushers are usually made from stainless steel, so they can also be used outdoors. Steel can crushers feel more sturdy and durable than plastic can crushers and also look better. However, not all steel crushers are going to be better and durable than plastic crushers. Most plastic can crushers are made from very durable plastic material – usually nylon. This material will easily withstand continuous load and can also be used outdoors. Plastic can crushers with good build quality can last as long as stainless steel crushers. Plastic can crushers are generally cheaper than steel crushers, however, very cheap plastic crushers are more fragile and may not stand continuous usage for longer time.
What most steel and plastic can crushers have in common are metal hinges and mounting hardware. Not only crusher’s body material is important regarding durability, but also the moving parts of a crusher. Without durable hinges or mounting screws crusher is going to break easily, no matter if it’s made from cheap plastic or expensive metal. This is why most can crushers have durable stainless steel hinges that can withstand continuous usage and will work for long time. One thing to remember is to occasionally lubricate hinges of a crusher, so everything works smoothly and crusher is able to compress aluminum cans for as long as you need.
At the end, it is matter of your preference and needs, which can crusher material will be better. Generally speaking, if you or your family love to drink a lot of soda, or your often enjoy drinking beer from cans, and need to compress a lot of cans, than get yourself a premium steel or durable nylon can crusher. If you just occasionally need to compress few beer or soda cans, cheaper metal or plastic can crusher will be good enough for your requirements.