What is a Jar Opener?

Malcolm Tatum
Malcolm Tatum

Many kitchens benefit from the presence of a jar opener. Essentially, a jar opener is kitchen device that helps to loosen the lids of jars so they can be opened with ease, often without the need to apply a great deal of strength to the task. Here are some examples of the different types of jar openers on the market today, and how they benefit many people.

Woman posing
Woman posing

One of the most common problems in the modern kitchen is dealing with tight jar lids. In some cases, the jar lid may be simply vacuumed sealed to keep the contents fresh until they are opened by the consumer. In other cases, the issue is dealing with stuck jar lids. Having a jar opener can take a great deal of frustration out of the task of opening any type of jar that has a twist on lid.

The most simplistic type of jar opener is simply a round piece of synthetic material, usually constructed of rubber or rubberized plastic. Generally, the texture of the material includes ridges or small cleats that help to grip the sides of the lid securely. This eliminates one of the problems associated with opening a tight lid, as the grips will not slip. By applying a strong grip and some muscle, it is possible to open the most stubborn jar.

Of course, not everyone has a great deal of strength to apply to the task of opening jar lids. People with some sort of health issue may not possess the ability to grip and twist with enough pressure to open the seal on the lid. Fortunately, there is a jar opener that resembles a wrench. The mouth of the jar opener is placed around the sides of the lid and then closed to create a tight fit. Gripping the jar in one hand, the arms of the jar opener are gripped and turned with the opposite hand. Much less upper body strength is required to open stubborn jars with this type of jar opener. As a plus, the body is usually made of steel and is easy to clean.

Malcolm Tatum
Malcolm Tatum

After many years in the teleconferencing industry, Michael decided to embrace his passion for trivia, research, and writing by becoming a full-time freelance writer. Since then, he has contributed articles to a variety of print and online publications, including wiseGEEK, and his work has also appeared in poetry collections, devotional anthologies, and several newspapers. Malcolm’s other interests include collecting vinyl records, minor league baseball, and cycling.

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Discussion Comments


@Pippinwhite -- Every kid has "that" teacher at some point, I suppose. Mine was in seventh grade. But, I digress.

I don't generally use a commercial jar opener, either. I repurpose my old latex dishwashing gloves for that. Works about the same way as your tourniquet.

One thing I will do if I have a sealed jar, like spaghetti sauce or jam, is to get my "church key" can opener and get the point of it between the gap in the lid and the jar, and gently lever the lid away from the jar. What this does is break the canning seal and allows air to get in. Once I hear the "pop!" I can usually open the jar easily.

The electric openers are good for people who don't have much strength in their hands, though. I know several older people who use them.


My mom is a retired lab technician and she also did the veinipuncture for the doctor's office where she worked. She swore by the latex tourniquets, and I do too. The nice thing about a tourniquet is that it's long enough to wrap around a jar lid a couple of times for a better grip. That was our jar opener of choice around the house for years. But we always had some kind of medical instruments around. My first grade scissors (when you didn't have to have school-approved versions) were my grandmother's old bandage scissors. I far preferred them to the clunky, stiff kiddie scissors most of the students used. They hurt my hands. Granny's scissors, however, were nice and loose and I could cut easily with them. My teacher didn't appreciate it, but there wasn't much she could say.

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