Best Nutcracker Tool for Pecans, Walnuts, and Acorns

Nutcrackers have come a long way since monkeys were using rocks. Now you can easily get into a wide variety of nuts with simple tools. The best nutcrackers have improved ergonomics, will last a lifetime, and have the ability to crack nuts quickly and efficiently. There are many brands and types to pick from and they don’t all perform the same.

This is where we come in. We’ve researched the best nutcracker tools, tested them, and now the results are in: the overall best, a budget option, and a high-capacity crank option. If you need to separate shells from meat, one of our suggestions is the tool for the job.

Contents (Jump to a Section)

Anwenk Nutcracker Tool

The Best Nutcracker

Heavy Duty Nutcracker

Strong, Ergonomic, and Durable

Kiss those hand cramps goodbye with this spring-loaded cracker that busts open nuts of all sizes.

*Price at time of publishing; check for price changes or sales.

Plenty of grip to hold the nut in the opening and a lot of leverage with the 7″ handles lets you open a huge variety of nuts with ease. Unlike the classic nutcracker, where you often need to hold the nut in place while you crack it, this is a true one-handed tool.

It also reduces hand fatigue with the larger grips and the spring-assisted opening.

Here is what you get with this cracker:

  • Die-cast aluminum w/ wooden handles
  • 2″ max nut diameter
  • Spring-loaded
  • 6.9″ long
  • 7.0 ounces

This simple and dependable tool gets it done every time- so it’s easy to see why the Anwenk Heavy Duty Nutcracker is the best.

Chef Craft Classic Nutcracker

Budget Nutcracker

Chef Craft Classic

Simple, Inexpensive, and Versatile

Get the job done effectively and on a budget with the original nut-cracking tool (besides a rock).

*Price at time of publishing; check for price changes or sales.

You won’t get much for this price, but you will get a reliable stainless steel lever tool that will pop open nuts with enough elbow grease. This is the classic model that I grew up shelling pecans in my grandma’s backyard with a few pecan trees. While it’s great for reminiscing, there are better options ergonomically and for faster throughput.

Even if it’s not the most comfortable tool in your hands, it works and is versatile enough to crack open a wide variety of nuts- if you have the grip strength.

Here is how the old-school tool measures up:

  • Zinc-plated stainless steel
  • 2x picks
  • 5″ long
  • 5.0 ounces

If you need a simple tool that won’t break your budget, the Chef Craft Classic Nutcracker is what you’re looking for.

Nut-Ricious Hand Crank Nutcracker

Best Crank Nutcracker

Nut-Ricious Crank Nutcracker

Lightweight, Versatile, and Reliable

For serious crackers with multiple-tree hauls- turn your countertop into a nut processing station.

*Price at time of publishing; check for price changes or sales.

Nut-Ricious makes it all easy. While you do still have to turn the crank by hand, this nutcracker does the rest of the hard work for you, plus it works a lot faster than you could. The hardest you’ll work is deciding whether you want the black or the red model.

This crank cracker stands just over a foot tall so it’s easy to stow when you aren’t shelling. It has an adjustable knob on the front so you can crack (not crush) a wide variety of nuts including hazelnuts, walnuts, pistachios, filbert nuts, brazil nuts, almonds, and acorns.

Here are the full specs:

  • Electrostatic-coated steel
  • Adjustable gear width
  • 7″ W x 14.5″ H
  • 2.2 pounds

If you have more than a few nut-bearing trees (or a regular need for shelled nuts), you’ll want to pick up the Nut-Ricious Crank Standing Nutcracker.

Everything We Recommend

Anwenk Nutcracker Tool

Heavy Duty Nutcracker

Kiss those hand cramps goodbye with this spring-loaded cracker that busts open nuts of all sizes.

Where to Buy

$11* at Amazon

*at time of reviewing

Chef Craft Classic Nutcracker

Chef Craft Classic

Get the job done effectively and on a budget with the original nut-cracking tool (besides a rock).

Where to Buy

$5* at Amazon

*at time of reviewing

Nut-Ricious Hand Crank Nutcracker

Nut-Ricious Crank Nutcracker

For serious crackers with multiple-tree hauls- turn your countertop into a nut processing station.

Where to Buy

$65* at Amazon

*at time of reviewing

The Tools We Compared

Our research narrowed the field down to a few brands and types of nutcrackers that we compared: Chef Craft, Harveast, Nut-Ricious, New Star, Carolina Cracker, Good Cook, Farberware, and more.

You can see our full list of review criteria below in the What to Look For section, with an explanation for each.

We considered a wide range of tools but focused on portable and bench-mount nutcracking tools. We did not get too far with powered machinery, since that wasn’t our particular aim with this review. Many of the long-lever bench mount tools were effective but seemed like more of a novelty due to their size versus low throughput. A few of them are necessary for cracking stubborn nuts, like macadamia or black walnut, but those are specialized tools.

We’re always looking for new and better equipment, so if you have a nutcracker you love, let us know in the comments. We review most of our tested equipment annually so we can try to get it in the next roundup round and see if it will beat out our top picks.

What to Look For

The best nutcrackers have a few features to look for:

  1. Value
  2. Ergonomics
  3. Capacity
  4. Size & Weight
  5. Versatility

When you get the right blend of these, you can find a tool that will crack a wide variety of nuts. Below, we break down what each of these features means for the nutcrackers that truly set themselves apart.

Value: Cost vs. Benefit

The amount of money you spend on something as simple as a tool shouldn’t blow out your entire budget. Unless your budget is really strapped, they shouldn’t set you back much. There is a wide range of prices associated with quality (like most tools), so you can pick based on how much you plan to use it.

You never want to spend too much money on one tool when it comes to the kitchen or pantry. It’s better to diversify your spending to make sure you are covered for a wide range of scenarios.


If you’ve cracked a good amount of nuts before with a classic-style nutcracker you know it can be punishing on your hands. Many models have improved this with larger and longer grips to reduce hand fatigue. Some also have spring-loaded openings and larger openings so nutcracking can truly be a one-handed operation.

None of the manual nutcrackers are as easy as the crank models, however. Gears give you more mechanical advantage than levers, and a crank nutcracker is the easiest to use by far.


Most manual handheld nutcrackers open a single nut at a time. The amount of nuts that you can get through is more closely related to how quickly you can load and eject nuts. We called this ‘capacity’ in our tests.

Size & Weight

Whether you plan on getting a handheld manual cracker or tabletop crank tool should depend on the yield you are trying to harvest. After that, there is the consideration of how much space you have available (especially with the tabletop models).

Since these aren’t mobile tools, and you’re generally going to use them in the same spot each time, size isn’t the greatest concern.


A nutcracker’s versatility is generally related to how many types of nuts (or other types of shells, like crabs or lobsters) it can crack. Specialized tools are usually used for stubborn nuts, like macadamia and black walnuts.

The best nutcracker will pop open most of the nuts in your area (if not all of them). If you have black walnut or macadamia trees, you may want to go for a specialized option rather than a nutcracker that works with a wide variety.

How to Use a Nutcracker

You can learn to use a manual handheld nutcracker easily, but it takes time and experience to master. I’m admittedly a novice when it comes down to the sheer number of nuts I’ve shelled in my lifetime. While I’m sitting somewhere in the thousands, many people with groves of nuts under their belt have nut cracking down to a science.

Crank-model nutcrackers can help you bypass the learning curve, since you load nuts in the top and turn the crank- not much technique or form to master. You will need to adjust the gear settings for the various nut sizes, and presorting them by size can help as well.

If you end up with a crank type, collecting nuts may be a more manual task and you’ll want to look at a roll-in collector. Kyle shows off his ingenious pecan collector:

Who Needs a Nutcracker?

Almost everyone can use a nutcracker if you live in areas with walnut, pecan, or even oak trees. Handheld, manual nutcrackers are best for those without very many nuts to regularly shell.

But for those with several nut trees in their yards, or those with groves- a crank nutcracker is more than worth it. These will cut processing time down from eight hours to thirty minutes for a 5-gallon bucket harvest.

Because of their weight and niche use, we don’t consider nutcrackers essential for any type of survival kit. But they are handy to have in your kitchen for food prep and occasional use for your:

At the very least, having a classic nutcracker tool around in the kitchen gives you a versatile tool to handle nuts and crustacean seafood shells.

How We Review Products: We research thoroughly before selecting the best products to review. We consult experts in the field for a better understanding of what makes the gear great. Hours on end are spent field testing gear in stressful conditions. We assign performance criteria and impartially rate each tested item. You can support us through our independently chosen links, which can earn us a commission at no extra cost to you. After our review process, some of the items reviewed end up in our giveaways.

Sources and References

All of our experience and the testing we do to determine the best nutcracker tool are useless without listing our research sources and references. We leaned on these for the book knowledge that we paired with our hands-on testing and practical survival experience:

Baumard, J., et al. (2023). Grip selection without tool knowledge: end-state comfort effect in familiar and novel tool use. Experimental Brain Research. Issue 241. Pages 1989 – 2000. (Source)

Kortlandt, A. (1986). The use of stone tools by wild-living chimpanzees and earliest hominids. Journal of Human Evolution. Volume 15. Issue 2. Pages 77- 132. (Source)

Ottoni, E., et al. (2005). Watching the best nutcrackers: what capuchin monkeys (Cebus apella) know about others’ tool-using skills. Animal Cognition. Issue 8. Pages 215 – 219. (Source)

The Final Word

Even monkeys use nutcracker tools to get their vittles. Thankfully, we’ve improved on the Stone Age technology and have great nutcracker options to process a wide variety of nuts quickly.

Here are a few other guides and reviews our subscribers have found helpful:

We presented quite a lot of information, but as always: if you have any questions let us know and we would be happy to help. Our research and testing found the Anwenk Heavy Duty Nutcracker to be the best option given its value, ergonomics, capacity, size/weight, and versatility.

Keep exploring, stay prepared, and be safe.

You’ve Been Missing Out

Join the 2+ million preppers that rely on our prepping advice by subscribing to TruePrepper.
  • Practical guides and tips
  • Useful survival giveaways
  • Free, forever
  • < 0.4% of people unsubscribe
Thanks for subscribing, reading, and welcome to the club.


The Best Nutcracker

Rusty Collins

I am an engineer, Air Force veteran, emergency manager, husband, dad, and experienced prepper. I developed emergency and disaster plans around the globe and responded to many attacks and accidents as a HAZMAT technician. I have been exposed to deadly chemical agents, responded to biological incidents, and dealt with natural disasters. Check out my full story here: Rusty's Story

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *