Jar Openers

Published May 1, 2009. From Cook's Illustrated.

We found one opener that could open anything from a small bottle of vanilla to a quart-sized jar of pasta sauce.

Overview:

Manufacturers keep coming up with new ways to open stubborn jars. We rounded up five new jar openers, plus the winner of our March 2005 review, and tested them on big jars of spaghetti sauce as well as tiny bottles of vanilla extract. One opener was so cumbersome it was worse than struggling with a jar. Two others couldn’t shrink down to grip vanilla lids. Another mangled lids as they were opened. We liked a rubbery disk that also works as a trivet and pot holder, but it couldn’t outperform our old standby. For its low price and ability to adjust quickly to any size jar without a single slip, our favorite is still our previous winner. Made of chrome plate, this opener consists of a 7 1/2-inch bar perforated with 18 holes and a vinyl grip. Although it takes a few tries to learn to adjust the clamp, this tool is handy in the stickiest of situations.

Manufacturers keep coming up with new ways to open stubborn jars. We rounded up five new jar openers, plus the winner of our March 2005 review, and tested them on big jars of spaghetti sauce as well as tiny bottles of vanilla extract. One opener was so cumbersome it was worse than struggling with a jar. Two others couldn’t shrink down to grip vanilla lids. Another mangled lids as they were opened. We liked a rubbery disk that also works as a trivet and pot holder, but it couldn’t outperform our old standby. For its low price and ability to adjust quickly to any size jar without a single slip, our favorite is still our previous winner. Made of chrome plate, this opener consists of a 7 1/2-inch bar perforated with 18 holes and a vinyl grip. Although it takes a few tries to learn to adjust the clamp, this tool is handy in the stickiest of situations.

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  • Product Tested

  • Prices are subject to change.
  • Recommended - Recommended

    Swing-A-Way Comfort Grip Jar Opener

    While it takes a few minutes to learn how to use the Swing-A-Way, its clamp grip is strong and sturdy, and lids of any size pop off with little effort.

    $6.95

    BUY NOW Amazon
  • Recommended

    Le Creuset Silicone Cool Tool Pot Holder and Jar Opener

    Not only is it a good pot holder and trivet, this large silicone disk also grips jar lids, making removal easy and quick. Our only complaint: The thickness of the material (for heat protection) makes it hard to feel the lids of smaller bottles.

    $8.99

    BUY NOW Amazon
  • Recommended with Reservations

    Good Grips Jar Opener by OXO

    This opener removed lids of all sizes with ease, but lost points with testers for its bulky size and sharp teeth, which gripped ridged lids well, but scratched and clawed smoother ones, leaving them mangled. This model was the largest of all jar openers tested and won’t fit easily in a drawer.

    $7.99

  • Recommended with Reservations

    Kuhn Rikon The Gripper Jar Opener

    Unfortunately, one major design flaw kept this model from winning: The turn-style gripper only reduces to 1 inch, making it impossible to open small bottles of vanilla extract. But it locked firmly onto larger jars, making it incredibly easy to remove the tightest lids.

    $15.00

  • Not Recommended

    KitchenAid Jar Opener

    With its heavy construction and large metal clamps, this opener resembled a dentist’s tool more than a kitchen gadget. And with three different possible ways to hold the opener and no instructions, testers found this hefty tool tricky and cumbersome.

    $14.99

  • Not Recommended

    Progressive 6-in-1 Multi Opener

    Although testers were impressed by the number of jobs this little tool attempts, it fell flat when it came to opening jars. Not only did it struggle and slip as we tried to open the spaghetti sauce jar, the clamp was not small enough to tighten around a small bottle of sticky vanilla extract.

    $8.95

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