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best jar openers for arthritic hands

Jar Openers for Arthritic Hands: Helpful Kitchen Aids for Seniors

Even the simplest tasks become more difficult as you age. Problems such as arthritis make even the most easy tasks painful. Or, sometimes, impossible. If you have trouble opening jars because of arthritis, it doesn't seem like a big deal. At first. That is, until you realize that it makes you less independent. Difficulty opening jars affects what foods you cook, how you care for pets and even limits your favorite treats. The best way to avoid this problem is to know about the kitchen aids that are made to help with this. For example, electric and manual jar openers for arthritic hands do this work for you. It is also important to know how to choose the best one for you or a loved one.

Comparison Chart of the Best Jar Openers for Arthritic Hands

Photo
BEST OVERALL PICK!
Hamilton Beach Open Ease Automatic Jar Opener, Model 76800
Black & Decker JW200 Lids Off Jar Opener, White
Best Manual Jar Opener
EZ Off Jar Opener For All Jar Sizes, White
Adjustable Jar Opener Cooks Illustrated Top Pick for Arthritis
Kichwit Arthritis Jar Opener Stainless Steel Lids Off Jar Opener - Free Bottle Opener Keychain...
OXO Good Grips Jar Opener with Base Pad
Product
Hamilton Beach Open Ease Automatic Jar Opener, Model 76800
Black & Decker JW200 Lids Off Jar Opener, White
EZ Off Jar Opener For All Jar Sizes, White
Adjustable Jar Opener Cooks Illustrated Top Pick for Arthritis
Kichwit Arthritis Jar Opener Stainless Steel Lids Off Jar Opener - Free Bottle Opener Keychain...
OXO Good Grips Jar Opener with Base Pad
Mini-Review
Completely automatic and easy to use and store. No limit on height of jars.
Completely automatic but a bit bulky. Limited in jar height.
Simple but effective design. Requires easy installation.
Works like a vice. Requires squeezing which may cause pain.
Slightly more complicated to use. Large handle requires some wrist action.
Handheld version of under cabinet opener. Requires some grip to use.
BEST OVERALL PICK!
Photo
Hamilton Beach Open Ease Automatic Jar Opener, Model 76800
Product
Hamilton Beach Open Ease Automatic Jar Opener, Model 76800
Mini-Review
Completely automatic and easy to use and store. No limit on height of jars.
Photo
Black & Decker JW200 Lids Off Jar Opener, White
Product
Black & Decker JW200 Lids Off Jar Opener, White
Mini-Review
Completely automatic but a bit bulky. Limited in jar height.
Best Manual Jar Opener
Photo
EZ Off Jar Opener For All Jar Sizes, White
Product
EZ Off Jar Opener For All Jar Sizes, White
Mini-Review
Simple but effective design. Requires easy installation.
Photo
Adjustable Jar Opener Cooks Illustrated Top Pick for Arthritis
Product
Adjustable Jar Opener Cooks Illustrated Top Pick for Arthritis
Mini-Review
Works like a vice. Requires squeezing which may cause pain.
Photo
Kichwit Arthritis Jar Opener Stainless Steel Lids Off Jar Opener - Free Bottle Opener Keychain...
Product
Kichwit Arthritis Jar Opener Stainless Steel Lids Off Jar Opener - Free Bottle Opener Keychain...
Mini-Review
Slightly more complicated to use. Large handle requires some wrist action.
Photo
OXO Good Grips Jar Opener with Base Pad
Product
OXO Good Grips Jar Opener with Base Pad
Mini-Review
Handheld version of under cabinet opener. Requires some grip to use.

Last update on 2017-10-23 at 22:01 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

What is Arthritis?

Arthritis is a disorder that comes in a number of forms. But, it generally causes inflammation in the affected joints. This results in discomfort, pain and an inability to do some basic daily tasks. It affects every aspect of how seniors live their lives.

Arthritis is particularly common in seniors’ hands, wrists or finger joints. There are a lot of different treatments for it, but no cure yet.

Arthritis is also degenerative, which means that it gets worse with time. Usually the use of the affected limb or joint decreases with the progression of the disease. The Arthritis Foundation estimates that arthritis affects almost half of the population aged 65 and over.

closed jam jars on a shelf

How do Jar Openers Help People with Arthritis?

There are an endless variety of jar openers available online and in stores. Many of them promise that they are the best available. But which one is really the best? Jar openers vary in strength, durability and how well they work. It is important to research your options too.

If you have bad arthritis, the whole process of opening a jar is difficult. This includes gripping the lid and holding the jar strongly with both hands. You may even lack the strength and flexibility to turn the lid. A good jar opener can do all these tasks for you.

Many seniors report difficulty getting medicine bottles opened. You know, when you think about it, they are really just small jars. Some jar openers help with this task as well.​

Electric Jar Openers

Automatic jar openers are just that. They do the job almost without any help from you. There are different types of these jar openers. But, basically, you just put them on the lid or put the whole jar inside. Then, turn it on and let the machine does the rest. Most can be adjusted to fit almost any jar size. They also are usually the easiest to use and fairly lightweight. All these features make them the best option for people with very severe arthritis. They are also a good choice for people with very limited movement and strength in their hands.

Even with so many benefits, there are a few drawbacks to this type of jar opener. First, is the price. A good electric opener is more expensive than all of the manual options available. This might be a concern for people on a tight budget. Electric options are also bulkier than most of the manual openers. They will probably have to be stored on the counter rather than in a drawer. In a small kitchen, this could take up valuable room. Or become a hazard while cooking.

Manual Jar Openers

Manual jar openers come in a bewildering variety from small hand grips to attachments that can stick underneath a cabinet. Because there are so many choices though, people with arthritis are very likely to find one that works well for their needs. Many of these openers are also multi-functional. They often have separate attachments that can pull the tabs on cans or remove bottle tops. This will save space in your utensil drawers. It also makes sure that you can always open whatever types of food containers you bring home.

The key with manual jar openers is to test them out. Most of them still require some grip or hand strength on your part. So, if your arthritis is severe manual jar openers may not be good enough  to be much help. Pay attention to the movements required when looking at a new manual opener. It’s important that you avoid painfully twisting inflamed parts of your hand or wrist.

sealed jars of jam

How to Use Jar Openers in your Kitchen

People with arthritis often avoid tasks that their condition makes hard or painful. Some avoid certain foods just because the jars they come in are too difficult to open. An automatic or manual jar opener can help with that. There is no reason not to enjoy your favorite foods again. To help you get the best out of your new equipment, here are a few tips for storage and use of your new jar opener.

  • Store them somewhere easy to reach where you won’t forget about them.
  • If you have trouble holding the jar and using a jar opener with the other hand, try putting the jar on a non-slip surface or mat. That way, you can concentrate on working the jar opener.
  • If you have trouble gripping the handles of jar openers, look for padded handles. They are thicker and easier to grasp.
  • Some manual openers attach to the bottom of cabinets so you only have to turn the jar.  That way you can use both hands to hold the jar. If you buy this type of opener, attach it somewhere you don’t have to bend down to use it.
  • If your arthritis is really severe than invest in an electric jar opener. They may be a little more expensive, but pressing a button is a lot easier for painful joints than trying to grip and squeeze a glass jar.

The Best Jar Openers for Arthritic Hands - Reviews

Automatic Jar Opener Options

Hamilton Beach Open Ease Automatic Jar Opener

The Open Ease is kind of like a little robot that opens your jars for you. It is completely automatic and easy to use. No manual effort is required other than sitting it on top of the jar. It opens jars from 1" to 4" across. Height of the jar doesn't matter.

To use this automatic jar opener, simply sit the opener on top of the jar. Make sure the lid is between the edges of the center. Press the button on top marked "Open Jar" and the opener goes to work. It spins and opens the lid for you. And, shuts off automatically once done. To remove the opener, simply press the button labeled "Remove Jar" and the device loosens and can be removed.

This opener works very well for people with all levels of arthritis. Mainly, because it requires no gripping or force from the user at all. It also is small enough to fit in a drawer when not in use.

Last update on 2017-10-23 at 22:01 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Here is a great video showing it in action:​

My Rating: 

Black and Decker Lids Off Jar Opener

The Black and Decker Lids Off is another automatic, hands-free jar opener that is very helpful to people with arthritis. It easily opens jars up to 4-1/2" wide by 8" high.

To use, lift the handle of the opener and sit the jar on the turntable at the bottom. Next, lower the top of the unit onto the jar lid. Now, press the large button on top and hold it down. The machine goes to work by clamping down on the jar and the lid and unscrewing it. When done, release the top button and lift the handle.

There are a few minor drawbacks to this one. First, the jar size it will open is limited. Especially in height. So, it isn't going to open large jars of mayo or any jar taller than 8". Also, it is larger and bulkier than the others so it isn't as easy to store. It will need to stay out on the counter top or be placed in a cabinet everytime it is used.  It weights nearly 4 pounds so this might not be easy for every senior.​

Last update on 2017-10-23 at 19:42 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

My Rating: 

Manual Jar Opener Options

EZ Off Jar Opener

This jar opener is a very simple design but extremely helpful. It is the best jar opener for people who can lift jars and use both hands to grip and turn.

​It mounts under the cabinets using super sticky, double-sided tape. Then, the user lifts the jar putting the lid between the gripper teeth.  Twist the jar to loosen or remove the lid completely.

The EZ Off opens all sizes of jars too. It opens jars as small as fingernail polish to medicine bottles up to a jars with 6" openings like large pickle jars.​

Last update on 2017-10-23 at 19:42 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

My Rating: 

Cooks Illustrated Adjustable Jar Opener

This manual can opener advertises itself as helpful for people with arthritis. But, I'm not sure how.

To use this one, you place the edge of the opener on the jar. Then squeeze handle locking it onto the jar lid. Rotate the handle around opening the jar. 

This would help people that can't get a good grip with their hand in a more open position. But, overall, using this jar opener requires a lot of squeezing. ​For people with arthritic fingers and hands, that could be painful.

So, I am not recommending this one for people with moderate to severe arthritis. It could be helpful during the early stages though. But, why buy two devices?

Last update on 2017-10-23 at 19:11 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

My Rating: 

Kichwit Arthritis Jar Opener

The Kichwit is an improvement on the Adjustable Jar Opener above and does offer some benefits for people with arthritis. It is good for opening jars from 1.2" to 3.7" wide.

To use the Kichwit, place the opener on the jar lid and squeeze the bottom of the opener until the edges are right next to the edges of the jar. Then, turn the handle counter-clockwise. This locks the metal teeth into place against the lid. Finally, keep turning until the lid is loosened and off.

This opener does help open jars but may not be the best jar opener for seniors with arthritis. It does require being able to twist the wrist and gripping the handle. Although, the handle is larger and easier to grip than the jar lid itself.

Last update on 2017-10-23 at 19:11 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

My Rating: 

Oxo Good Grips Jar Opener

The Oxo Good Grips Jar Opener is basically a hand held version of the under the cabinet jar openers. It will open small jars up to large condiment and pickle jars.

To use the Oxo jar opener, place the jar on the base pad. This pad reduces the about of grip needed on the jar. Then,slide the opener onto the lid, teeth side down. Once the lid is tight against the teeth, turn the opener counter-clockwise. This pushes the teeth into the lid. Continuing to rotate the handle opens the lid.

This opener should work well for seniors with arthritis in the hands. The arm and shoulder muscles should do most of the work. So, it may not wokr as well for peope with shoulder or elbow problems.

Last update on 2017-10-23 at 19:11 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

My Rating: 

unopened jars of pickles

Final Thoughts

There are a lot of health problems that affect your functioning and quality of life when you’re a senior. Some of them can’t be avoided or cured. Learning how to better cope with them is often the only option. Arthritis can be painful, it can limit your ability to perform basic kitchen tasks like opening jars or even cans of food. It even affects your ability to operate a microwave. There are home remedies that help relieve symptoms of arthritic hands. But, as of yet there is no cure. But that doesn’t mean that seniors should just accept the limitations it puts on their lives - and on their menus. Learning about aids such as jar openers for arthritic hands and even using the right cookware will help seniors take back a little of the power that their condition takes from them.

So, tell me. What other recommendations do you have for people with arthritis to open jars. Do you have a trick or another gimzo that works for you? Please let me know about it in the comments below. Questions are always welcome too!

About the Author Scott Grant, ATP, CRTS®

I work daily with seniors and the elderly in my position as a wheelchair specialist at a home medical company. I see the struggle they have maintaining their independence and living their daily lives. Most are completely unaware of the options and products out there that can improve their independence, mobility, and safety in their home. I created this site to help seniors, elders, and their caregivers make smart buying decisions about the many independent living aids on the market.

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