Pros: Effective; great for damaged hands
Cons: Not entirely durable
Rating: 4 out of 5
First published 1/26/2005
I have tendonitis in my hands, and this makes opening jars a bit difficult at times. There isn’t always someone else around to open them so we picked up the OXO jar opener to give me a hand. It’s a funky thing, combining one of OXO’s large, soft rubber Good Grips handles with a fan-shaped piece of plastic that grips the edges of a jar lid in metal teeth, grasping it and giving you leverage with which to twist.
You simply slide the fan over the lid until the lid can’t sit any further inside the edges, which means it’ll adjust to fit a wide variety of lid sizes. The teeth grip, and you twist, holding onto the Good Grips handle.
The good: That handle is very comfortable for hurt hands to use. It also gives plenty of leverage and thus works fairly well in opening jars.
The bad: The teeth don’t grip perfectly, sometimes slipping a bit, so it still requires a bit of hand strength to push the opener on securely enough to work. Also, it didn’t take too long before the metal teeth-strip along one side just came right out of our jar opener.
For some reason our OXO products don’t seem to last all that long or hold together all that well, although most people I talk to don’t have so much trouble with them. Perhaps it’s just that we put our kitchen things through a whole lot of use; maybe if we were less intensely active in the kitchen it wouldn’t be a problem. Regardless, the good thing is that their products are designed so well in other ways, and usually not too expensive given that, that we keep buying replacements instead of simply going with other companies. There aren’t that many companies that create kitchen items with injured and painful hands in mind, and despite their flaws, I’m still happy to support their efforts in that direction.
I sometimes wonder if the problem is that they set such high design goals and then have to try to keep in mind the income brackets of the arthritic and handicapped folk who are likely to need them most, which I think would be entirely understandable. Perhaps one possibility in that case would be to produce another line of products that combine the excellent design with higher-quality materials and construction, and use some of the profits from the higher prices to finance research into finding cheaper ways to improve the construction of their cheaper items.
At any rate, I do believe the jar opener is a handy item, particularly for occasional use. Just be aware that it might not stand up to heavy use.