The 5 Best Can Openers for People With Arthritis of 2020

Ease pain with easy-to-operate gadgets

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First Look

Best Overall: AmazonBasics Electric Can Opener at Amazon

"This pick is as close to hands-free as you can get, all you need to do is attach your can to the blade and remove it once it's cut."

Best Dishwasher Safe: Hamilton Beach Heavyweight Electric Can Opener at Best Buy

"If hand washing kitchen tools is a dreaded task, opt for this dishwasher safe pick, especially after using it to open saucy foods."

Best Durability: Cuisinart CCO-50 Electric Can Opener at Amazon

"No manual rotating or gripping is needed with this electric can opener, featuring a magnetic lid holder for ease of use."

Best Handheld: OXO Good Grips Can Opener at Amazon

"This choice requires minimal finger strength and promises to leave no messes or sharp edges behind for your safety."

Best Electric: Hamilton Beach Smooth Touch Electric Can Opener at hamiltonbeach.com

"Opens both standard-size cans and pop-tops, along with non-circular shaped tins, which most others can’t do."

Can openers may seem like no big deal—just a kitchen staple that you don’t have to think twice about operating. When you start to experience inflammation of the joints with arthritis, the swelling, pain, stiffness and decreased range of motion start to seriously affect your ability to do everyday tasks, says Manisha Mittal, MD, rheumatology director at St. Agnes Medical Center in Fresno, CA. 

In particular, for folks with arthritis, holding your hand in a tight grip or flexed position can cause your joints to become stressed or stiff, and causes muscle fatigue, Dr. Mittal says. 

Between handles that have to be tightly squeezed, knobs you have to manually wind, and cheap brands with dull blades, the basic appliance can quickly become a headache for someone suffering.

Here are a few reliable, easy-to-use, headache-free can openers ideal for anyone with arthritis.

Our Top Picks

Best Overall: AmazonBasics Electric Can Opener

Continuous grip, even if it’s a lighter squeeze than your typical opener, can cause your joints to become stiffened and muscles to fatigue, says Dr. Mittal. Electric can openers take that issue out of the equation, making them ideal no matter your level of arthritis.

This device in particular, made by Amazon, is compact, affordable, and very straightforward to use. Just flip the lever down to lower the stainless steel blade onto your can and it automatically starts turning to smoothly open the can. The magnet holds onto the lid while you lift the can away. 

It won't cut odd-shaped cans or dented ones, but it does work on both standard and large circular cans.

One special feature we really like: Whereas most other devices cut the top off with a jagged edge, this device cuts the lid in a wavy line, which lowers the chances of cutting yourself when you take the lid off. This is an especially great feature for people with a weaker grip who might drop the can once they remove it.

Best Dishwasher Safe: Hamilton Beach Heavyweight Electric Can Opener

Hamilton Beach Heavyweight Electric Can Opener

 Courtesy of Amazon

If you reach for a can opener, you're likely going to to crack into messy-but-delicious ingredient like tomato sauce or pumpkin puree. Save yourself the trouble ahead and opt for one that can be cleaned fuss-free—that is, by just running it through the dishwasher.

This heavyweight opener is extra tall, which is great for easy grabbing and maneuvering, and electric, making it easy to use. The base stays plugged in, but the cutting unit is removable and dishwasher-safe. What’s more, this part is engineered with patented technology to make sure your can opens on the first try, every time.

The appliance itself isn’t too loud and when it comes to most standard size cans, you can press start and walk away while the magnet does its thing (no need to hold). We also love that it has an auto shutoff once you’re done with it for guaranteed safety.

Best Durability: Cuisinart CCO-50 Electric Can Opener

If you've wasted money on cheap, flimsy opener after opener, it's time for one last purchase. The CCO-50 one is crafted from all stainless steel, has the backing of Cuisinart’s stellar reputation behind it—and, as an extra guarantee, comes with a three-year warranty.

The device itself is remarkably easy to operate, especially if you have limited range of motion. Just place the can and lower the lever, and the electric blade will open the can with no effort on your part. When the device is finished cutting, a magnet holds onto the lid while you move the can out, so you don't have to worry about slicing your finger in the process.

Not only does it fit cans of all sizes, but it's extra wide at the base so it won't tip over while you're trying to unlock the can. It's lightweight, easy to clean, and doesn’t take up your entire counter.

Best Handheld: OXO Good Grips Can Opener

The OXO opener may not be electric, but it's snap-and-lock feature and cushy handle make it so you can grip the device without much effort. The side wind is oversized, so it's easy to grab. And it moves smoothly, without too much finger strength.

The opener never touches the contents of the can, so you don’t have to worry about washing it—just throw it right back into the drawer after use. If it does get dirty, the stainless steel body is easily cleaned by hand (but it can’t be run through the dishwasher).

After the can is fully cut, the opener acts like pliers to remove the lid without you ever touching it. And the device is designed in a way that it opens cans without leaving sharp edges once it’s without its lid. This minimizes the chances of cutting your finger as you scoop out what’s inside.

Best Electric: Hamilton Beach Smooth Touch Electric Can Opener

Hamilton Beach

Electric can openers are remarkably easier to use if you have limited strength or limited range of motion in your hands. And while this appliance is a tad pricier than anything else on our list, it’s also hands down the product with the fewest compromises or complaints. 

For starters, this appliance is very well designed: Hold the can up to the blade and press down on the top lever—which is huge and features minimal resistance, making it easy to press regardless of mobility and strength. Then, the appliance will hold the can up on its own as it cuts all the way around, letting you focus on pushing the lever down. Once it's done, just release the lever.

You’re left with not just an open can, but one with no sharp edges. The blade cuts right along the border between lid and can, creating a smooth edge you could touch if you wanted (we still don't suggest trying).

We also love that this appliance opens both standard-size cans and pop-tops, along with non-circular shaped tins, which most others can’t do. 

The sleek black-and-chrome design looks clean, inconspicuous, and will fit right into any kitchen. The device itself is wider across the bottom so it won't tip over. And it even has a retractable cord so it won't get in the way if you keep it on your counter all the time.

Final Verdict

If you just need something simple and reliable, OXO Good Grips Can Opener is the best handheld with oversized handles and winds. If you want to go hands-free, opt for the Hamilton Beach Smooth Touch Electric Can Opener.

What to Look for in a Can Opener for People with Arthritis

Oversized Features: For handheld can openers, bigger handles and knobs can reduce the amount of grip pressure needed, Dr. Mittal says. “This promotes the use of the larger joints for the same motion, preserving small joints,” he says, adding that it helps you spend less energy to get the job done.

Minimum Touch Requirements: For electric or battery-operated openers, look for ones with one-touch features, which can help to avoid joint pain and stress of holding a button down the entire opening process. Also, opt for an appliance with a magnet so you don’t have to hold the can up the entire time it’s being opened.

Size and Weight: Handheld can openers have the built-in advantage of being light easy to stash away in the kitchen, but if you’re going electric, make sure it’s light and convenient to store to account for limited strength and mobility, Dr. Mittal adds.

Why Trust Verywell Health

Rachael Schultz is a freelance writer with a focus in health and nutrition. Her articles have appeared on a handful of other Health sites, and she has a degree from the Savannah College of Art and Design. She specializes in breaking down science and medical jargon into digestible information.

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