Best Jar Openers

Updated September 2021
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Buying guide for best jar openers

If you have trouble opening jars, you’re not alone. Jars are difficult to open for a variety of reasons: lids are vacuum-sealed, childproof, tamper-proof, or plain old stuck due to the sticky contents inside. Opening jars requires a certain amount hand and arm strength — not something every adult and child has. A jar opener is a simple fix that supplies leverage and grip to help you open a variety of lidded containers, from pill bottles to pickle jars.

Most kitchens are already stocked with a can opener, but a jar opener is just as important; you wouldn’t want to be caught mid-recipe without one. There are a lot of different types of jar openers on the market, from those you can mount on a wall to those you hold in your hand. Whatever type you choose, this low-cost investment — usually less than $20 — can make your life in the kitchen a little easier.

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The best jar openers can open jars larger lids of up to five or six inches as well as smaller lids, such as those found on nail polish bottles and water bottles.

How jar openers work

Grip, strength, and leverage: jar openers provide one or more of these qualities needed to open a jar.


When opening a jar manually, you need to get a good grip on it. If the lid or your hands are slippery, it’s challenging (or nearly impossible) to open the jar. People with arthritic hands also have difficulty with grip. Jar openers address this problem with a non-slip material, such as textured rubber or silicone, that provides grip or sharp “teeth” or jaws to grab the lid.


If you’re opening a jar by hand, you know that both hands are required: one to grip and twist the lid and the other to securely hold the jar in place. This requires not only grip strength but also arm strength. People with small hands or weak arms may have a harder time opening bigger jars. Jar openers that are wall-mounted offer stabilization and act in place of a strong second hand and arm.


Jar openers that provide leverage allow you to apply greater force with the help of a handle or some other type of extension. The added distance of the lever means you don’t need a lot of strength to twist off the lid. The mechanics of the design amplify the force you exert on the jar, reducing your need for physical strength.

Types of jar openers

Classic metal jar openers have an adjustable lever arm and clamp onto the jar lid. They can fit both small and large lids. These compact jar openers can easily be stowed in a drawer to save space.

Wall-mounted jar openers are generally made from plastic and can be screwed into a surface like the underside of a cabinet. They have a V-shaped set of teeth that fit a range of lid sizes; all you have to do is slide the lid into its grippy jaws and twist. Be advised that both hands are generally needed to hold the jar for this action.

Grip bands, pads, and cones offer a simple solution when you need to add some grip to a slippery lid or your hands. These inexpensive silicone or rubber products come in a variety of shapes. Bands wrap around the lid’s circumference, whereas pads and cones cover the whole lid to keep the fingers from slipping while twisting. Some bands come with an adjustable slide and grippy teeth.

Jar keys are designed to open vacuum-sealed jars. Often, the difficulty with opening a jar is its vacuum seal; a jar key can pop the seal, making it easier to unscrew. A jar key has a ring with a small lip at the end of a handle. It work similarly to a bottle opener but more gently, with little to no damage to the lid.

Twist handle jar openers are popular with people who suffer arthritis. A ratchet-type mechanism grips the top of the lid with an adjustable metal clamp. An easy-to-grip handle extends from the clamp and opens the jar when you twist it. Both hands are needed in this action, as one hand must hold the jar.

Clamp-and-lock jar openers have a long handle for leverage and a triangular head that fits lids. The head tightens around the lid with the turn of a crank, which in turn slides three teeth on the underside of the opener to create a vice grip around the lid. Once this is established, the handle is used like a lever to twist open the jar.

Progressive multi-jar openers are ergonomically designed handheld tools with a row of interior circles of descending sizes — usually up to four. The flexible rubber body can easily open and close around various bottle and jar lids that are approximately the size of the circles. These squeeze-and-twist gadgets are designed to be comfortable and easy to grip.

Automatic jar openers are battery-operated attachments that fit over lids. A simple touch of a button makes this device work: the outer arms automatically grip the jar while the inner arms grip and unscrew the lid. Compact in design, you can easily toss this gadget back in the drawer once it has done its job.

Electric jar openers are premium countertop devices that require a power outlet. The jar is placed inside the device’s housing and on a platform that adjusts for grip. The upper part of the housing is then lowered over the lid. With the press of a button, arms close in around the lid and unscrew it completely. Electric jar openers can be operated with just one hand.

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Did you know?
A wall-mounted jar opener hides out of sight and saves counter space. It can also handle large jars.

Jar opener prices

A manual jar opener may cost from $7 to $22. If you want something simple that costs less, consider a grip pad or band; these items cost as little as $4.

If you opt for an automatic jar opener that runs on battery power, expect to spend between $15 and $40. If you choose a countertop jar opener that runs on electricity, expect to spend far more than that. Many of these products fall in the $100 to $200 range.


  • Dry your hands before using a jar opener to reduce slippage. If you tend to multitask in the kitchen, look for a model that can be used with wet hands.

  • Although inexpensive, keep in mind that jar opener grip pads, cones, and bands do not provide leverage. You will need to apply full strength when using these products.

  • Before you purchase a jar opener, survey the size of jars typically found in your kitchen. Not all jar openers can handle large lids. Conversely, not all jar openers can handle small lids. In short, pick a product with dimensions that fit your needs.

  • If you struggle with arthritis, look for a jar opener that’s ergonomically designed for an easy grip. If you choose a jar with a handle, you might want one made of soft rubber or silicone, as these materials tend to be more comfortable to hold and less likely to slip.

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Jar openers are great kitchen aids if you suffer from carpal tunnel syndrome, have arthritis or joint problems, or have injured your hand or arm.


Q. What’s the difference between a jar opener and a bottle opener?
A jar opener works gently to unseal and/or twist open a jar. Because lids of jars typically need to be put back on after opened (to preserve the contents inside), a quality jar opener will not damage or warp the lid. Many jar openers are designed to also open lids of bottles. A bottle opener, on the other hand, is designed only to pop the seal and remove metal bottle caps, such as those on a non-twist-off beer or soda bottle. In the process, the bottle cap is usually dented by the force applied by the bottle opener and has to be discarded.  

Q. Can a child use a jar opener?
There are plenty of jar openers that children can use. In fact, because children don’t have the strength or hand size that most adults have, a jar opener may be the only way a child can open a favorite peanut butter jar. We only recommend jar openers with plastic or rubber parts for children. Jar openers with metal parts can have sharp edges (as do the ones with teeth) that could harm a child. To be on the safe side, always supervise children when they’re operating a jar opener.

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