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Best jar opener for larger diameter jars?

greygarious Feb 13, 2014 11:43 AM

My glove size is women's large (or men's medium), and I have fairly strong hands but carpal tunnel surgery in my nondominant hand has resulted in some degree of weakening of the jar-holding hand. Lately I discovered a few condiments that I like a lot, but their lids are over 3" in diameter. I have a hard time opening them with my standard methods:
the opener that's a round sheet of rubber, holding the jar upside down and slamming the lid flat onto the counter, putting the upside-down jar in a half inch of very hot water, banging a knife handle around the edge of the lid. I succeed EVENTUALLY, but it's really tiresome.

Previous jar opener threads are over 6 yrs old so those models may have been replaced by others. Any opinions on the current crop of jar openers' effectiveness for larger lids? Merci buttercups!

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  1. k
    kcshigekawa RE: greygarious Feb 13, 2014 11:51 AM

    I'm a great believer in rubber bands; the really wide ones that come around supermarket broccoli. Usually one of those around the lid is enough for me; you might try one or two around the jar as well.

    I had carpal tunnel many years ago, in both wrists, and I remember not being able to even lift a plate. My very best wishes for a speedy recovery!

    1 Reply
    1. re: kcshigekawa
      sccrash RE: kcshigekawa Feb 24, 2014 10:18 AM

      +1 on rubber bands. Cheap, effective, and don't take up any extra drawer space.

    2. j
      janniecooks RE: greygarious Feb 13, 2014 02:40 PM

      There's a tool not designed for use in the kitchen, but I imagine would be very helpful in your situation. It's a strap wrench, with a rubber loop-type thing on the end of a handle. You tighten the loop around an object then pull the handle to loosen. Here's a link to strap wrenches at Sears:


      Good luck!

      10 Replies
      1. re: janniecooks
        DockPotato RE: janniecooks Feb 13, 2014 02:57 PM

        You are probably referring to a "Boa Constrictor" wrench:


        But you may wish to consider an oil filter wrench:


        Prices shown are $C so should be less in U.S.

        1. re: janniecooks
          greygarious RE: janniecooks Feb 13, 2014 04:24 PM

          Thanks - I was wondering about wrenches and didn't know the proper name for this style. I think I'll try that.

          1. re: janniecooks
            paulj RE: janniecooks Feb 15, 2014 11:47 PM

            I have a pair of those. Inexpensive Harbor Freight version, but it works. It can be hard to use if the lid is thin. The toothed wedge might be better for that.

            These are often sold in pairs, to work on larger and smaller diameter objects. But also you can put one wrench around the lid, and the other around the jar itself.

            1. re: paulj
              janniecooks RE: paulj Feb 16, 2014 02:18 AM

              Great idea to use one wrench on the lid and one on the jar!

              1. re: janniecooks
                autumm RE: janniecooks Feb 16, 2014 01:46 PM

                I have a home made Pimm's Cup blend that I can't open, Going to try the 2 strap version tonight!

                1. re: autumm
                  andieb RE: autumm Feb 24, 2014 08:08 AM

                  Off topic, but I am interested in the Pimm's cup blend recipe. Any interest to share?

            2. re: janniecooks
              Kelli2006 RE: janniecooks Feb 16, 2014 01:29 PM

              I never thought of using a rubber strap wrench. Kudos for a great idea.

              I have an OXO jar opener but they are very difficult to find in BB&B lately.


              1. re: Kelli2006
                DuffyH RE: Kelli2006 Feb 16, 2014 01:50 PM

                How about Amazon?


                1. re: DuffyH
                  Kelli2006 RE: DuffyH Feb 16, 2014 02:01 PM

                  Will you allow me to blame my lack of inclusion on the crappy winter weather and being blonde?

                  1. re: Kelli2006
                    DuffyH RE: Kelli2006 Feb 16, 2014 02:12 PM

                    Oh, absolutely! My stylist used to ask me the same question every time I asked him to put more blonde in my hair:

                    "Are you sure? You know you lose IQ points every time you go more blonde." :)

                    EDIT - and my loving son always says "Beauty may be skin deep, but the blonde goes clear to the bone." LOL

            3. r
              Red Oakley RE: greygarious Feb 13, 2014 04:04 PM

              I grew up with one of a similar design and it was the first gadget I bought for my own first kitchen 45 years ago. It has worn like iron, even though it has a turquoise plastic handle, and still works like a charm! I've bought others like the Amazon one for friends over the years and they're always a hit.

              I'm not familiar with this one, but it looks effortless and gets good reviews.

              1 Reply
              1. re: Red Oakley
                kseiverd RE: Red Oakley Feb 14, 2014 05:23 AM

                I found a "vintage" one like the first pic at a thrift store... works like a charm.

              2. g
                GH1618 RE: greygarious Feb 13, 2014 04:34 PM

                This is the one I use, which works well for me for nearly everything:


                If I had something I couldn't open with it, I'd use this:


                1 Reply
                1. re: GH1618
                  meatn3 RE: GH1618 Feb 13, 2014 11:42 PM

                  I have the first one you linked to and love it. I have very weak hands and this thing works great for me. Only problem is that once in a while I have a jar which is too wide for it.

                2. 5
                  51rich RE: greygarious Feb 13, 2014 04:46 PM

                  I have one that oxo makes- wide toothed metal grabs the lid and has a fairly long handle for leverage and a plastic disc rests on the counter to keep the jar from sliding.- always works very well for me.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: 51rich
                    DuchessNukem RE: 51rich Feb 14, 2014 05:33 AM

                    I second this -- the Oxo is smartly designed and often effortless. I love mine. Ten bucks and built to last.


                  2. Davydd RE: greygarious Feb 14, 2014 06:15 AM

                    The next time you go in for a medical exam, if they draw your blood for testing ask them to let you keep the rubber tourniquet. They just throw it in the waste basket anyway. It is perfect for using to open jars.

                    1. letsindulge RE: greygarious Feb 16, 2014 02:26 AM

                      I slip on my rubber dish-washing gloves, and VOILA!

                      1. coll RE: greygarious Feb 16, 2014 01:35 PM

                        This is what I always used, even when I was young and strong! Sad to see that, like me, it is now declared "vintage"...also like me, still working!

                        5 Replies
                        1. re: coll
                          liu RE: coll Feb 16, 2014 05:27 PM

                          coll, I have one of these, but it always seems to slip.
                          Perhaps the teeth have worn out?

                          1. re: liu
                            coll RE: liu Feb 16, 2014 06:01 PM

                            Mine always feels like it's going to slip, and then at the last second it grabs. I do always have my doubts, but so far it hasn't failed me.

                            1. re: coll
                              liu RE: coll Feb 16, 2014 07:17 PM

                              We haven't tossed ours yet, so I'll give it another chance.

                              1. re: liu
                                coll RE: liu Feb 17, 2014 02:42 AM

                                Hey, don't throw it out! Sell it on eBay for $14.99: It IS vintage after all.

                                1. re: coll
                                  liu RE: coll Feb 17, 2014 07:37 AM

                                  Rather than sell it on eBay, I'll let my kids put it up on Chowhound in a few years with a title of: "What's This?" or "Can Any Hound Identify This Contraption?"

                        2. junescook RE: greygarious Feb 16, 2014 02:53 PM

                          I have one of those Y shape ones and really dislike it, it has a tendency to slip off when I'm trying to open stuff.

                          Last fall I found a flexible, lightweight gadget in a cooking shop in an outlet mall in Lee, MA. It works so easily it always makes you wonder if the jar or bottle was sealed in the first place. It is made of light and darker green plastic and rubber, and, unfortunately, has no markings on it whatsoever. It cost $7.

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: junescook
                            DuffyH RE: junescook Feb 16, 2014 03:12 PM

                            Found it. Well, sort of. This one is red/orange.


                            Edit - Also in blue/light blue http://www.amazon.com/Universal-Opene...

                          2. Caitlin McGrath RE: greygarious Feb 16, 2014 04:36 PM

                            I have both lack of grip and lack of hand strength (as well as small hands), and one of the most useful tips I've gotten on CH over many years is a nearly foolproof way to ease the initial opening of any size non-threaded jar lid: Take the pointed end of a church-key bottle opener and insert it under the edge of the lid, then gently lever it down to pop the vacuum seal. I sometimes need to do this in a couple of places, and the key is to do it somewhat gently so you don't mangle the lid. Once the vacuum is broken, the lid will twist right off.

                            3 Replies
                            1. re: Caitlin McGrath
                              greygarious RE: Caitlin McGrath Feb 16, 2014 05:59 PM

                              I'll have to remember that one, as I do have a churchkey.
                              But I'll bet that knowing what a churchkey is is a line of demarcation between generations. I wonder how long it will be before churchkeys and corkscrews appear in the "what is it?" feature of cooking magazines....

                              1. re: greygarious
                                coll RE: greygarious Feb 16, 2014 06:02 PM

                                I just whack the edge of the lid with a heavy duty spoon, more times than not it releases.

                                1. re: greygarious
                                  DuffyH RE: greygarious Feb 17, 2014 01:11 AM

                                  I won't cry when corkscrews appear more often in antique stores than my kitchen drawer. :)

                              2. breadchick RE: greygarious Feb 17, 2014 05:24 AM

                                I have this one, bought it somewhere years ago and now see that it's here from Amazon:


                                It works well if I put a little torque into it.

                                1. mtlcowgirl RE: greygarious Feb 17, 2014 07:38 AM

                                  My favorite jar opener is to smack the lid flat on the floor. Works every time.

                                  1. c
                                    CorinneD RE: greygarious Feb 23, 2014 05:21 PM

                                    I have a vintage item called a Gilhoolie. Google it.You might find one on eBay or etsy from time to time. I love the thing! I think it's from the '50s. I think it would work very well for you.

                                    2 Replies
                                    1. re: CorinneD
                                      DebinIndiana RE: CorinneD Feb 23, 2014 06:24 PM

                                      Vermont Country Store has it, I think.


                                      1. re: DebinIndiana
                                        CorinneD RE: DebinIndiana Feb 23, 2014 06:45 PM

                                        Yes!! That's it! Didn't know they were still available! I'm gonna order a couple more for gifts! Thank you! ;-)

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