For an elderly person suffering from arthritis, not much hurts more than trying to open a can of food. The squeezing and twisting action required of this task can be so excruciatingly painful to inflamed, stiff joints. Holding down a narrow button while waiting for the opener to complete its circle can seem like its taking forever when you’re in that amount of pain. Removing the sharp can lid is also a recipe for injuries in the kitchen.
But there are ways to open up your favorite canned foods without hurting! Look through some of the types of can openers, and the safest ones to buy below. Then, read through my recommendations to find the best easy to use can opener for disabled or arthritic hands. They’re organized by type, too, so if you have a particular type of can opener that you like to use, you’ll find an arthritis-friendly version below.
Comparison Table: Arthritis Friendly Can Openers
For those of you in a hurry or who just want to see my recommendations, here is a quick comparison chart. Or, keep on reading to learn more about important freatures to look for and detailed reviews of each model.
Types of Can Openers
It is very important that seniors have a can opener in their kitchen that is easy to use. Many nutritious and easy to cook foods come from cans, so being able to pop open a can of food and throw it in an easy to use microwave oven will improve their independence in the kitchen. Quickly heating up a bowl of oatmeal while making their morning coffee will encourage better eating habits as well.
Can openers come in a variety of types. Some have to be cranked manually while others run on electricity or batteries. It is important to understand how each different type works before choosing a can opener for the elderly or those with arthritis.
Manual Can Openers
These look somewhat like a pair of scissors with a turning handle on the end. To use this type of can opener, the handles must be squeezed tightly together to break the seal on the can. While still squeezing with one hand, the other hand must turn the crank wheel. This moves the can opener around the edge of the can until it makes a full circle. Then, the lid can be removed.
For people suffering from arthritis, manual can openers are nearly impossible to use. Every step in using this type of can opener is going to hurt. Gripping the handles tightly and squeezing them continuously will cause sharp pain in the hand and knuckles. Turning the crank will make the wrist ache. There isn’t a good way to avoid it with this type of can opener. It also creates a sharp edge around the lid, which can be hazardous.
Electric Can Openers
This is the type of can opener that most people are familiar with. They plug into a wall outlet and generally sit on the counter top. Some mount under the cabinet for space saving. To use one, a lever arm with a blade is pressed onto the can’s lid to break the seal. Then, the arm is held down and a motor advances the can around until it makes a full circle. Many shut off once the lid has come off.
The difficulty here for arthritic hands is holding the lever down long enough, especially if the lever is small and only fingertips fit on it. It is painful to hold the fingers straight that long, too. Some elderly people, or those with arthritis, will not have the strength to make the initial puncture of the lid as well.
Handheld Automatic Electric Can Openers
This style of can opener is usually powered by batteries, although some use rechargeable batteries with a built-in charger. These are smaller in size than other can openers. They lock onto the edge of the can, then a button is pushed to move them around the edge. Many of these are automatic and hands-free.
In theory, this style is a good choice because most are fairly hands-free in their operation. However, there are many cheap versions on the market that aren’t worth what people are charging for them. Read reviews for automatic handheld can openers carefully to see if its a legitimately hands-free device.
Pull Can “Pop Top” Openers
These are designed to help open cans will pull top lids, like the ones found on tuna cans and pet food cans. They work by giving extra leverage to lift the pull tab, usually with an added easy to use lever or a similar mechanism.
Usually, these are super helpful for people with arthritis because it is difficult to get an arthritic finger through the pull hole without pain. Make sure the handle is robust enough not to require a tight grip, though.
Choosing a Safe Can Opener
There are few guidelines to follow if you’re looking for a can opener for arthritis ridden hands. Generally, stay away from can openers that require tight squeezing or gripping to operate. Manual crank wheels are usually a bad idea as well, as this motion can really flare up the arthritis. This is especially true if the crank wheels are small and require more precision.
Also, some can openers have small buttons or levers that need to be held down for relatively long periods of time. This can be extremely painful, or even impossible, for people with arthritis in their hands. Some can openers with levers that require a lot of strength to puncture the lid also won’t work for arthritis sufferers, as they don’t have enough strength in their hands to operate this kind of mechanism.
The best safety feature to look for is a smooth edge can opener design. This means that the cuts made to the lid of the can with come out smooth and won’t cut or scratch the handler. This is one of the most common safety concerns when it comes to can openers, because a cut from a metal can can be extremely painful and dangerous.
Also, you’ll need to look for a low pressure, ergonomic handle as well. This is a safety feature mainly for people with arthritis because without it, it could cause a flare up and damage the hand, fingers, and wrist that could be irreparable.
To pick the best, safest can opener for people with arthritis, check out some smooth edge can openers with easy to use features. The less work, the better. Any extra pressure or motion can be hazardous for people with this condition, so keep it simple.
So, what are the Best Can Openers for Arthritic Hands?
Obviously, when looking can opener for arthritis, you want one that causes no or minimal pain. It should be highly functional and maybe even a little stylish. Cost is always an important consideration, as is safety features. Here are my nominees for the overall best can openers for arthritic hands. They’re organized by category (electric, under the cabinet, handheld automatic, manual, and pull-top) so that you can choose based on that as well. Read through and see what would work best for your situation.
Best Electric Can Opener for Arthritic Hands
Hamilton Beach (76606ZA) Smooth Touch Electric Automatic Can Opener with Easy Push Down Lever, Opens All Standard-Size and Pop-Top Cans, Black and Chrome
5 used from $ 24.99
The biggest reason for my recommendation of this particular product is the easy to use lever handle. It presses down without much force at all. Even the initial puncture of the blade is easy to maneuver. The handle can be pushed with the palm of the hand, or even the forearm. This saves any potential pain in the fingers or hand.
The blade of this device cuts the side of the lid rather than the top, leaving a smooth, safe edge instead of the typical sharp lid edge that can lead to dangerous cuts. To get a sense of the size of the product, it weighs about 3.1 pounds, and comes in at 5″ wide by 4″ deep and 9″ high. It’s definitely not handheld, but you actually want to stay away from a handheld can opener for disabled people, especially if they have arthritis.
Something else to think about is that this is the style of can opener that most people are used to using. There is no learning curve to using it. Elderly users won’t feel intimidated by it, and will be able to use it right out of the box.
It’s not very often I give a 5 -star rating to a product – but this one deserves it. To prove it, 81% of the reviewers on Amazon agree. They gave it a 5-star rating too.
Best Under the Cabinet Can Opener for Arthritic Hands
BLACK+DECKER Spacemaker Multi-Purpose Can Opener, Black, CO100B
People with arthritis rave about how much this can opener has improved their life. This model utilizes a large, easy to push handle system that needs very little force to use. but effectively cuts through any can. The blade cuts into the side of the lid with ease, leaving behind a smooth edge.
Some other advantages include the Space Saver design of this model, which mounts right under the cabinet and out of the way. A flip-down door covers the front when not in use, which just adds some extra protection and safety. Installation is simple with the included templates, spacers, and easy to follow instructions.
The built-in bag cutter, knife sharpener, and bottle opener will also benefit users with arthritis for all kinds of kitchen tasks – not just opening a can of tuna! All of these actions (cutting a bag open, sharpening a knife, and opening a sealed bottle) are very difficult if you have constant pain or weakness in your hands, so it’s really nice that all of these helpful features are built right into the device.
In terms of the specs of this easy to use can opener, it’s about 5 inches high by 7.5 inches wide and 5 inches deep. It also weighs only a little over a pound, so it won’t take up much room in your kitchen and will stay discreetly tucked away until you want to use one of its many features.
Best Handheld Automatic Can Opener for Arthritic Hands
Home Kitchen Restaurant Mama Manual Automatic Safety Electric Can Opener : Creates Regular And Smooth Edges, BangRui Automatic Can Opener With One-Touch Switch, Chef's Best Choice(Green)
This handheld can opener may appear intimidating at first, but it is actually very simple to use. Just line up the blade and wheel against the edge of the can and press the button. The can opener will cut around the side of the lid automatically – no hands required. It will also shut off once it has completed the cycle.
It is shaped almost like a computer mouse, so it’ll fit securely and comfortably in your hand while you’re placing the blade. The handheld compartment is also made out of plastic, so it is much more lightweight than its counterparts. Only the blade mechanism is metal, and its housed by this safe plastic material, so this entire device has a very safe design. Once the can is open, this can opener holds onto the lid via a magnet, and then the lid pulls off of the magnet easily. No sharp edges too!
It’s 4.8 inches long by 2.9 inches wide and 2.4 inches high, and only weighs 7 ounces. This is another excellent choice for elderly seniors and people with arthritis because it is completely hands-free.
However, it also requires 4 AA batteries to operate, which aren’t included in your purchase. also There have been some complaints about this can opener not being very durable. This is a common complaint about this entire category though. Because they are so small, people tend to say they lack the power needed to open large cans. I researched this category well and this is the highest rated handheld can opener and one of a few that had more than a 3-star rating. If the can opener will be used heavily, I would recommend the heavy duty Hamilton Beach can opener above
Best Manual Can Opener for Arthritic Hands
Trudeau Stress Less Safety Can Opener
For those who prefer a manual can opener, or for elderly people who don’t want to use electrical appliances, this is a great choice. It uses reduction gears and a long crank handle to make turning the can opener much easier. The handle folds in and out easily for storage.
This one also uses a prying motion to open the lid rather than a cutting blade which would leave sharp edges, so this can opener is both safe and easy to use! It is also the only manual can opener for people with arthritis I could recommend.
Its manual crank is 5.5 inches long, and .8 inches thick. The overall device is about 8.7 inches long and weighs 8 ounces, so it should be lightweight and easy to hold for anyone with arthritis. While it’s not ideal, as any manual crank runs the risk of inflaming arthritic conditions in the hands and fingers, if you really don’t want to give up that kind of device, this is the best way to go.
Best Pull Top Can Opener for Arthritic Hands
Jokari Deluxe Ring Pull Can Opener
1 used from $ 11.99
While not a general can opener, this little gadget has a definite place in the life of a person with arthritis. This opener is specially designed for pop top or ring pull style cans like on tuna, pet food, and such. Those types of cans can be difficult for anyone to open – arthritis or not. Prying them open is much simpler with this!
This device uses a prying action to lift these types of ring pulls without hurting your fingers or hands, or breaking your nails. Its giant hook top goes under the ring pull of the can and gives you leverage to easily pull it up without any hassle. The curve is also lined with rubber to ensure that it stays securely on the lid while you’re pulling it (and the lid doesn’t fly off once it comes loose).
It has a super wide handle as well that’s ergonomically designed, making for easy gripping. This part is also lined with rubber to ensure a secure, comfortable grip while adding leverage to your grip. Overall, this handy little device is about 4 inches wide by a half inch thick, and 9 inches long weighing 3.2 ounces.
Conclusion and Recommendations
Arthritis pain interferes too much with the quality of life for many seniors and elderly. Painful swollen joints make everyday items like can openers difficult to use. There are home remedies that help with arthritis and exercises for the wrists that help too. But, everyday household tools like these are also very helpful.
Look through the options above for can openers that are easier – and less painful – to use. There are also automatic and manual jar openers to help seniors with arthritis or weak hands. Lightweight pots and pans are also very helpful at relieving arthritis pain in the kitchen.
My top pick of the best can opener for seniors with arthritis is the Hamilton Beach model. It is easy to use, looks great in the kitchen, doesn’t take up a lot of room, and doesn’t break the bank either.
Hopefully, this list of the best can openers for arthritic hands is helpful. Let me know in the comments if you have a product you recommend or any other can opening tips for my readers!