The Best Can Openers for Seniors and Elderly (Even With Arthritic Hands)

By: Scott Grant, ATP, CRTS®

Opening canned food is difficult – and even painful – for many seniors and elderly people… especially those with arthritis. But, there are can openers that are easier to use with less pain. Here are the best can openers for seniors and the elderly.

Income Disclosure: I recommend products based on my personal experience working with seniors. I may earn a commission on items purchased from links in this guide. Learn More.

The simple task of opening cans can turn into a torturous and dangerous experience for seniors with arthritic hands. When dealing with stiff and inflamed joints in the hands and fingers, the acts of twisting and turning crank wheels, holding down levers or buttons for extended periods can leave you in a lot of pain.

Fortunately, you don’t have to suffer through all that every time you want to enjoy the convenience and nourishment of canned foods.

Top Recommended Can Openers for Older Adults and People With Arthritis

Read on below for my list of the best can openers for arthritic hands. After that, I’ll tell you about the top features to look for when shopping for a can opener for seniors and the elderly.

Hamilton Beach Smooth Touch Electric Automatic Can Opener with Easy Push Down Lever

$36.99
Pros:
  • Eliminates sharp edges
  • One hand operation
  • Also opens pop-top lids
Cons:
  • Not ideal for canned foods that need to be drained
  • Lever must be held down
See It At Amazon
09/18/2021 05:12 pm GMT

A sleek and stylishly designed countertop electric automatic can opener, the Hamilton Beach 76606ZA is a great addition to any kitchen counter. A suitable option for seniors suffering from arthritis, this product makes the opening of regular and pop top cans easy and effortless.

To open cans safely, without the blade coming into contact with the contents, this can opener’s blade cuts along the side – not the top like other can openers.

Some of the main features of this product include electric automatic operation and ergonomic lever; all bundled into a sleek, high quality and well constructed package.

This Hamilton Beach can opener is a great fit for seniors with arthritic hands for a number of reasons. For starters, this product is built to be durable and reliable. It is made from plastic and metal parts; and, equipped with a stainless steel blade.

Furthermore, this can opener ensures easy and effortless use – a huge plus where seniors with arthritis are concerned. To open both regular and pop top cans using this electric automatic can opener, just align the top of the can to the cutting blade, holding it in place – using the ergonomic handle – until the can makes a full turn. You can then lift the lid off at the end of this process.

The Hamilton Beach is also considered to be safer to use than some of the other options on offer. This is due to the fact that it cuts cans from the side, not from the top; thus, eliminating the creation of sharp edges.


Cuisinart CCO-50N Deluxe Electric Can Opener, White

$22.99
Pros:
  • Slim design
  • Comes in a range of colors
  • Wide lever
Cons:
  • Activation lever comes off easily
  • Complaints that magnet stops working
See It At Amazon
09/18/2021 05:06 pm GMT

Offering one touch operation, the Deluxe electric can opener from Cuisinart is definitely one of the best options for seniors suffering from arthritis. A useful and stylish addition to any kitchen, this white can opener, decorated with chrome accents has a slim profile.

Some of the main features of this impressive product include high quality Power Cut stainless steel blade, press and release operation, automatic stop, magnetic lid holder and slim profile with wide base.

So, why is the Cuisinart Deluxe electric can opener a great option for seniors?

First and foremost, this can opener is designed to help users, especially those suffering from arthritis, open all types of standard sized cans with its simple press and release activation lever. Once the can is properly positioned, just press and release the lever and leave the rest to the can opener. With this action, the can rotates and stops on its own.

Opening cans can be a messy endeavor, and regular cleaning of the can opener is required to avoid unnecessary health hazards. To make the work of keeping the can opener as clean as possible, this product comes with a removable activation lever, with the cutting blade and magnetic lid holder attached. As such, dismantling and cleaning the can opener is as easy as can be.


BLACK+DECKER EasyCut Extra-Tall Can Opener (EC500W)

$19.44
Pros:
  • Opens cans of all sizes
  • EasyCut Blade system
  • Multi-opening tool included
Cons:
  • Can lids have sharp edges
  • Must hold lever down through cycle
See It At Amazon
09/18/2021 05:01 pm GMT

This EasyCut electric can opener by Black+Decker has several great features that make it a great choice for seniors.

The wide activation lever that operates it is located across the top of can be pressed with your fingers, palm, or even the heel of your hand. It is designed to be easy to press with minimal effort which means less pain for arthritic hands. With this option, you’ll need to hold the lever down for the entire cycle so you’ll definitely appreciate how easy it is to keep held down.

The magnet located at the top grabs the lid once the cutting cycle is finished to keep it from falling down in your can. This also reduces the chance of you getting cut by the sharp edged of the lid too. Both the blade assembly and lever are removable for an easy and thorough cleaning.

Finally, B+D includes a multi-tool that also opens pop top cans and bottles too for a complete can opening solution.


BangRui Smooth Soft Edge Electric Can Opener

$23.99
Pros:
  • One -button, hands-free operation
  • Side cutting with clean edge
  • Left-handed friendly
Cons:
  • Requires batteries
  • Will stall when batteries go dead
See It At Amazon
09/18/2021 04:55 pm GMT

If you are looking for a small but powerful handheld can opener that is easy to use, the BangRui soft edge electric can opener is a great option to consider. While it is not designed for heavy use, this battery powered option is great for those looking for a compact handheld alternative to the larger countertop options described above.

This can opener comes with a smooth plastic casing that’s comfortable to hold; enclosing the high tech internal mechanism’s wear resistant steel alloy components. Four AA batteries are required to power this can opener.

This can opener is a great solution for seniors with arthritic hands for a number of reasons.

Designed to be used on cans of various sizes, this product offers one button operation. To open a can, just position the can opener on the lid and press the activation button. The cutting blade is designed to cut from the inner side of the lid. Once the cutting is complete, the magnetic lid holder removes the lid as you lift the opener from the can.

Furthermore, this is a compact and highly portable product that is easy to carry around, and store away when not in use. As such, it can be used at home or even outdoors during picnics and camping.

Convenience is the name of the game as far as this can opener is concerned. In addition to being portable and compact, its unique design makes for easy use and cleaning as well.

Lastly, this product also doubles as a knife sharpener as well.


OXO Smooth Edge Manual Can Opener (1049953)

$19.97
Pros:
  • Neutral hand position for less pain
  • Thick crank handle
  • Smooth edges
Cons:
  • Some squeeze required
  • Manual operation
See It At Amazon
09/18/2021 04:49 pm GMT

If you or the person you are shopping for prefers the old manual method of opening cans, I highly recommend this one from OXO. You are probably familiar with the brand – they are well known for their kitchen products with soft grips.

I recommend this one for people with arthritis because it operates in a more hand neutral position than some of the other manual can openers. What I mean by that is that the super sharp stainless blade lays flat on the lid and cuts it from the inside instead of you having to squeeze it to pierce the lid from the top. anyone with arthritis in their hands knows how bad squeezing motions can hurt.

That’s hard to explain, so here’s a video from OXO showing you what I mean:

Yes, there is still some squeeze motion needed but you can easily use both hands because of the thick handles. If you need to avoid squeezing altogether, choose an electric model instead.

As you probably noticed in the video, because of this face down position, your operating hand is in a better location for turning the crank handle. And, in this case, the crank handle is large and chunky and will be easier for arthritic hands to grasp and turn.

Other features include the smooth edge cutter which eliminated lids with sharp edges, a built-in grasper to remove the lid form the can and soft, comfortable grips.


Swing-A-Way Easy Crank Can Opener

$16.75
Pros:
  • Affordable and simple
  • Sharp cutting wheel
  • Long crank handle for leverage
Cons:
  • Hard to use with large cans
  • Loosens quickly
See It At Amazon
09/18/2021 04:44 pm GMT

If you are looking for a more familiar looking type of can opener that can also be used in opening bottles, this Swing-A-Way Easy Crank variant is a fitting and affordable option for you to consider.

Right off the bat, this can opener is suited to elderly users, including those suffering from arthritis.

For starters, due to its familiar design and mode of operation, this product is fairly easy to use. Designed for manual operation, the opener features all steel construction and a high carbon cutting blade. To open cans of all sizes, just position the opener on top of the can, and start cranking away on the long crank handle, while holding it in place using the ergonomic grip handles!

In addition to being easy to use, this can opener is specifically designed to ensure comfort and minimize any strain on the user’s hands – something that seniors with arthritis will appreciate. This is all thanks to the extra long grip and crank handles, which are also covered with comfy cushions – that also enhance grip.

Thanks to its solid construction from high quality steel, this product is extremely durable. And, will ensure that you always have something to open all types of cans (and bottles) with ease for many years to come.


Swing-A-Way Wall Mount Can Opener with Magnet

$12.98
Pros:
  • Simple to use
  • Magnet secures lid
  • Extremely durable
Cons:
  • Must be wall mounted
  • Need to hold onto can for safety
See It At Amazon
09/18/2021 05:14 pm GMT

If you are yet to find the right can opener from the above described variants, may be a wall mounted option is exactly what you need. Designed to offer reliable service for an extended period, the Swing-A-Way wall mounted can opener ensures easy, effortless and convenient opening of all sorts of cans.

This product is sold together with the necessary mounting bracket, complete with screws. Once installed in place, the opener can lock in 3 positions. It also freely swings right or left when not in use.

To open cans, just position the can properly, with the cutting tool in contact with the lid. Next, use the long crank arm to manually turn the gear driven high carbon cutting wheel. After the cutting is done, safely lift away the lid using the built in magnet.

It is also worth noting that since this highly durable can opener is designed to be mounted to a wall, it does not take up the valuable real estate on your kitchen counter!


If opening ring pull and/or pop top cans is your main issue, consider the Jokari deluxe ring pull can opener. While this can opener may not be as versatile as the above described options, it can definitely help save people with arthritis from hurting their nails and fingers when opening these types of cans.

Thanks to its oversized hook and ergonomic handle, prying such cans open is simply a breeze!

To open pop top and ring pull cans, just put the opener in place – with the big hook going under the ring pull – and then pry away. The oversized hook and large curved handle offer additional leverage for effortless opening of cans. The handle is also lined with a thick layer of rubber for comfort and gripping purposes.

When not in use, this compact and highly portable can opener can be easily stored away, out of sight.

senior man looking at cans of food
Canned food is a kitchen staple for many older adults so it’s important that an easy to use can opener is always available.

Different Types of Can Openers For Seniors

When it comes to seniors, canned foods are a convenient and nutritional option to have in the kitchen. Seniors can enjoy more independence at home with these easy-to-prepare meals. However, you will need a reliable and easy to use can opener, if you want seniors, especially those with arthritic hands, to enjoy canned foods whenever they wish.

RELATED: Pureed Foods for Seniors

There are different types of can openers out there, each designed to match specific needs of different users. They include:

Pop Top Can Openers

It can be quite difficult, not to mention painful, for people with arthritis to open pop top and ring pull type cans. Pop top or ring pull can openers are designed to make the work of opening such cans easier. Using a lever mechanism, these openers easily hook onto the ring/pull tab on the cans, prying the lid open with ease thanks to the additional leverage provided by the long, easy to grip handle.

Manual Can Openers

While they are arguably one the most common types out there, manual can openers are known to cause people with arthritic hands a lot of pain and hurt. However, they also have a number of unique selling points as well. To open cans, these openers rely on the use of grip handles meant to hold the can in place and apply downward pressure on the lid, and a crank to rotate the can along the cutting blade.

Electric Can Openers

Another popular type, electric can openers are designed to ease the work of opening cans by using an electric motor to rotate the can along the path of the cutting blade. This style relies on an electrical cord to draw power from a nearby socket. However, the user is still required to hold the can down using a manually operated activation lever. This can be quite problematic for seniors with arthritic hands. Most electric can openers are designed for countertop use. You can also find some designed for mounting under the counter.

Handheld Automatic Can Openers

Designed to provide convenient and effortless operation, these can openers easily lock onto the top of the can and turn it around, circling along the cutting blade, with the simple press of a button. Powered by batteries, some of which are rechargeable, these handheld can openers are compact in size.

Tips On Choosing The Safest Can Opener For The Elderly

For people with arthritic hands, choosing the right can opener can be somewhat of a challenge; and, most importantly, a necessity. To ensure that you end up with something that does not cause you pain or result in injuries, be sure to look for:

Ergonomic Handles

If you want to keep your arthritis from flaring up, or causing serious damage, due to overexertion of your hands and fingers when opening cans, be sure to look for a can opener with comfortable and low pressure ergonomic handles.

Oversized Buttons and Levers

If you end up choosing a can opener with any form of levers or buttons, which need to be held down when opening cans, make sure that they are large/oversized. These are easier use. Otherwise, gripping or holding on to these components may be impossible if you have arthritic hands. In fact, you should steer clear of any products that require you to press down hard on any buttons or levers!

Smooth Edge Cutting

The wrong can opener can expose the user to a high risk of cuts by leaving behind a sharp edge on opened cans. For safety purposes, it is recommended that you look for a variant that is designed to leave a smooth edge.

Last but not least, it is also important to mention that any can openers that require manual cranking are more likely to leave arthritic users with inflamed or even injured hands and fingers. This is especially true with manual openers with small grips and handles.

Conclusion

When it comes to the elderly and seniors, arthritis can seriously affect their quality of life. Even though there are ways of treating this condition at home, avoiding any activity or action that inflames arthritic hands is the first line of defense against pain and injury. However, this does not mean that you have to stop living your life.

With the right household tools, you can continue living an independent life, without hurting yourself. And, with the above list in mind, you will have an easier time choosing the right can opener for arthritic hands.

In my opinion, the Hamilton Beach described above, with its sleek look, easy and effortless operation is the best overall pick.

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