Many factors can combine to turn a seemingly harmless jar lid into an unmanageable, welded disc of frustration. For example, many of us have people in our lives who can be relied upon to close a jar so securely that the lid feels like it’s been helpfully tightened by each cast member of The Expendables.
Factory vacuum sealing has a lot to answer for, too. Preserve jars in particular deserve a place in the upper body torment section at the gym.
According to the annals of housewife tips, there are almost limitless ways of loosening a stubborn jar lid. They all seem to have two things in common—the need for decent dexterity, and an unwanted sense of danger. For example, it’s not particularly easy or safe ramming a knife tip in between glass and metal lid to release the air lock. Nor is it ideal to spend time running very hot water over the lid until the air expands and you hear the ‘pop’. A pair of elastic bands wrapped around the jar lid can work okay, but not on narrow lids, and not if you’re lacking in strength or coordination.
Not everyone is blessed with a good grip or pain-free hands. Arthritis, rheumatism, Bell’s Palsy, Parkinson’s and carpal tunnel syndrome are beasts to the nerves and the reflexes, making a simple thing like a lid removal feel like an insurmountable, demoralizing challenge. There’s no dignity in having to grunt like a US Open tennis finalist while trying to fight your way into the peanut butter.
That’s why we’ve looked at the most highly rated, best-selling jar openers across a range of designs and narrowed down some affordable top performers for you.
In a hurry? Here’s our top six.
In a hurry?
This is our Winner!
Best Jar Openers for Seniors - Comparison Table
Buy on Amazon
Best Jar Openers for Seniors - Reviews
This neat, flat plastic disc will fix to the bottom of a cabinet or accessible surface and it deals with lids of all sizes, from nail polish tops to hotdog jars of unreasonable size. Just slidethe lid into the vector-shaped gap with the serrated sides and a quarter turn will loosen the top of the jar for you. The EZ Off is also great for childproof medicine bottles. Just push the bottle up against the ceiling of the vector gap before wedging and turning.
The opener fixes into place with strong adhesive. In most cases, this is strong enough to keep the EZ off firmly enough in place for you to install it alone. EZ off also provide three screws for extra security. That said, feedback across over four thousand reviews (86% at a five-star rating) suggests that the adhesive is hugely strong, withstanding the loosening power of steam from crockpots in some cases. Others have joked that they’ve had to leave the product behind when moving home.
This is said to be one of the best designs for serious weakness in the hands. It’s a boon to people who have to operate one-handed most of the time, but if the EZ off is placed at a convenient height, two hands can be used to steady the jar and spread the weight while loosening the lid enough that it can just be lifted lowered carefully back onto a flat surface.
Balancing the high commendations, a few reviewers have made the fair point that you need to have overhead cabinets for optimum easy use. Some have managed to fix the EZ Off beneath breakfast bars or the wide lip of a kitchen island; this works great so long as you can work by feel, and you don’t grate your fingers on the edges of the vector wedge. Some interesting workarounds have been suggested on messenger boards, such as fixing up a tiny shelf purely as a fixing point for this device. The shelf (and device) can then move with you if you leave home.
This particularly inexpensive little kit comes with a little rubber cone for smaller lids and two thin, flat rubber mats to grip the body and/or lid of a wider jar. Their bright colors (blue rectangle, green circle and red cone) make them stand out in the drawer. As a bonus, they take up very little space. They’re easy to hand-wash, dab-dry, and put away.
The flattened center of the red cone is about an inch wide, which makes it a welcome help for opening child-proof medicine bottles. The interior ridge is ribbed for stronger grip. The flat blue and green discs are five inches wide and work well together to loosen lids on wide-lid jars.
The world of the review section offers very mixed views on this product. It’s had the best feedback from those who welcome the extra grip, but who don’t necessarily suffer pain upon applying pressure to a lid. The red cone is continually singled out as being the most popular item in the set, providing quick and easy grip to uncooperative lids. Those who are unable to apply any force at all without unacceptable pain have not found that these grips help quite enough. However, this product can still very much earn its keep in a number of ways.
For example, they’re a good, safe option for culinary grandkids. Letting small visitors use these grips can be a real ego-saver when you’re called upon as the only adult around to loosen a lid. If Masterchef Junior is anything to go by, kids who take cooking seriously will just about tolerate adult oversight when using knives and ovens, but they otherwise like to have full independence during the food prep phase.
Keeping a set around the kitchen helps adult offspring to help you with moving awkward bookcases with no easy grip points, or cumbersome white goods. Keen gardeners have suggested redeploying the green and blue discs in the garden as a handheld backup to their gardening gloves, which don’t necessarily provide enough root grip or protection from prickly weeds. If mobility problems limit your flexibility to five-minute bursts of activity, then you want those five minutes to be as productive and pain-free as possible.
This is a two-item kit featuring a can and nifty bottle opener with a few extra features of its own.
The can opener is a symmetrical, wide-based U-shaped pincer made of plastic with exterior rubber grip lining. Simply place your lid into one of the four circular indentations between the handles, grip lightly, and give a quarter turn. There are four sizes of indentation from soda lids to a 2.95” lid. The bright color will make it stand out among the many stainless-steel items you may have in your kitchen drawer.
The bottle opener has a non-slip, chunky handle and doesn’t just ease the lid from a bottle of beer. The round head aperture has enough depth to grip a soda bottle lid and break the seal with an easy twist. On the side of the head are plastic pincers which act as an easy jar breaker claw, removing single-use metal caps from glass bottles of juice. The pincers are also super-helpful to hook into the tab of a pull can. Finally, there is a pull-top lever built into the handle to help you ease up the stubborn tab of a can of soda.
The bottle opener’s standout selling point is that the round aperture is ideal for opening pill bottles. The handle enables you to push down around the cap and then twist with minimal discomfort. This compact little tool weighs just four ounces and is nicely balanced in the handle.
Meyuewal’s two item set comes in three color variations: lime; red, gray and black, and pale grey and blue.
The V-shape grip that featured in the EZ Off under-cabinet jar opener also features in RTreek’s hand-held opener. It’s portable and made of plastic of a startling shade of lime green, making it quite hard to lose. It barely weighs 2.5 ounces. It can grip lids from 1” to 4”, which makes it one of the more versatile devices on offer.
A lot of work has been put into redesigning the Rtreek to make it grip better on metal or around a sleek plastic film. The vector’s teeth are made of a high carbon steel, and the device is built ergonomically, allowing the user to apply minimal leverage for easy opening. As a nice little bonus, the flattened grip end can be used to lever up stubborn tabs on soda cans.
By way of constructive criticism, some reviewers have suggested that it might be beneficial for the broad head of the Rtreek to be a little heavier so that gravity does the job of holding the vector in place before leverage is applied. For people with smaller hands, holding this opener down at the wider point could prove a little awkward.
The Kichwit Jar opener essentially works like a bottle opener for standard lids. You close the grip around the edge of the lid and twist the top screw to break the air seal. The grip screw will open up to accommodate a 3.7” lid, or wind right down to grab a 1-inch lid. It’s designed with arthritis sufferers in mind and the ease of use is shown in the reviews. A particular selling point is how comfortable this product is to use. The screw handle is chunky and the corners rounded off for a gentle grip.
The jar opener comes with a bonus bottle opener..
The design has been highly praised by reviewers with shoulder and wrist injuries because all they need to do is lightly stabilize the base in a loose grip while letting the opener do all the work. This has made it a cut above designs which still require strength in both hands.
This product is Amazon’s choice for electric jar openers. If your manual dexterity is at a minimum, then this gadget can save a world of irritation and pain. The Zomma jar opener features an oval gripping head which features the lime green on-button and the battery compartment. Once the jar has been slid between the two sets of inner and outer jaws, just hit the start button and the jaws will move into place, stabilize the jar, and pop the lid so that it can be lifted off.
The Zomma can undo lids between 1.2 and 3.4 inches wide and operates with two AA batteries. It’s portable, light, but enough weight for easy positioning, and comfortable to grip while putting the jar into place. With a motor and moving pieces, this is a little more expensive than the other options listed in this article. Feedback on the Zomma jar opener is mixed; those who have got into the swing of using it have found it to be an invaluable aid and easy to use. However, at least a couple of remarks suggest that the battery compartment door has a tendency to come off over time.
Best Jar Openers for Seniors - Buyers Guide
You may find it helpful to think about what is the most difficult thing about opening the jar. If you can apply some force, but not without serious discomfort, then the options which allow you to lightly hold the base while turning the lid will help.
If you're struggling with both hands, then the under-cabinet options or motorized openers may be your best bet. For a wider range of choices beyond the Zomma, simply use 'electric jar opener' as your Amazon search string.
If you're traveling a lot and want something hassle-free and portable, then the following alternative designs use a combination of grip and leverage to help you pop the vacuum or break the seal. All the products mentioned use a variation on the strap/loop wrench design, but you could also look at options with a spring-loaded arm which grabs the lid at two points (vacuum breaker), or a handle and a grip which holds the jar at more than two points.
Once you’ve chosen your product and you’re trying it out, the advice from experienced buyers is to always lay some paper towel beneath the jar until you get used to the amount of force you need to apply. The leverage that some of these gadgets apply can take you by surprise initially.
Frequently Asked Questions
Does it matter that I’m left-handed?
No, none of the products chosen for the top six are designed in a way that commits the user to a right-handed grip.
How do I know how big a jar these products can handle?
If you’re shopping more broadly on Amazon, then scroll down from the product summary (which appears in bullet points under the title, and next to the pictures) and check out the product description. This will give you more information on size and functionality. Click this link for a little assistance with any products measuring in metric.
Are all of these products add-ons?
You can get free shipping (and free returns if necessary) on all products if you’re spending over $25 overall, but you can buy these items independently. Most of them have seen a $4+ reduction in price, which will help recoup some single-item shipping costs.