Why Do Soda Cans’ Pull Tabs Have Holes?

The hole in soda can tabs serves multiple purposes: it acts as a fulcrum for opening the can and cleverly holds a straw in place. Introduced in the 1970s, this design enhancement addressed safety and environmental concerns by keeping the tab attached to the can, preventing litter and injury.

By Cookist

Have you ever paused while opening a soda to ponder the small hole in the pull tab? This seemingly insignificant feature actually plays a crucial role in the can's functionality. While most of us recognize it as part of the mechanism that helps open the can, there's another practical use that turns this simple hole into a clever innovation. Beyond its primary function, the hole in the soda can tab can transform the way you enjoy your beverage, particularly if you prefer using a straw. Let's dive deeper into how this small design tweak makes a big difference in beverage consumption.

The Straw Holder Trick

One lesser-known but ingenious use of the hole in soda can tabs is as a straw holder. This feature is particularly handy, as it solves the common problem of straws bobbing around and even popping out of fizzy soft drinks. Here’s how to use it: once you open the can, rotate the tab so that the hole is positioned over the opening. Then, simply slide your straw through the hole. This secures the straw in a fixed position, making it easier to sip without the straw moving with the bubbles or getting lost in the can.


Manufacturers design soda can tabs with both practicality and consumer convenience in mind. The placement of the hole is not arbitrary but is a thoughtful element of the overall design. It's an example of how even the smallest details can significantly enhance product usability. This feature is particularly appreciated in settings where convenience is key, like during drives, at picnics, or while multitasking at work.

A Brief History of Soda Can Tabs

The evolution of soda can tabs has been marked by various innovations aimed at improving safety and convenience. The modern pull-tab design, which includes the small hole, was introduced in the mid-1970s as a response to the environmental and safety issues posed by the original removable style tabs. These earlier versions were often discarded randomly, posing a litter problem, and were sometimes swallowed by children, causing injury. The new stay-on-tab design, with its hole, was a significant improvement, keeping the tab attached to the can throughout its use and providing a spot to secure straws.

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