Long reachers have their place, but a longer arm doesn’t necessarily mean more mobility. This 19-inch grabber is ideally sized for most situations that require some extra assistance. It’s an especially great option for wheelchair users.
Practical features include an ergonomic handle, a soft trigger grip, and a rubberized jaw that rotates 90 degrees. A finger-like tip allows small items to be picked up easily, and a heavy-duty connection cable ensures years of dependable use. RMS offers a limited lifetime warranty, and the price is affordable; while some seniors might prefer a longer reacher, this is one of the best short-reach products on the market.
While the Ettore Grip’n Grab is somewhat light on features, it’s a well-made, easy-to-use product at an affordable price. It’s available with either a 32-inch or 50-inch arm, and both models feature an articulation head that turns 90 degrees. The rubber tips on the jaws allow for precision control, and the aluminum construction is both lightweight and durable.
Some reviewers note that the Grip’n Grab’s aluminum frame is more likely to bend (and, eventually, break) than heavy-duty models. Also, while the grip is comfortable, it’s not quite as soft as some of the other options on this list, so frequent use could lead to comfort issues.
The main appeal of this reacher is its foldable design, which allows for easy storage. The 32-inch arm is long enough for most applications, and the aluminum alloy construction is dependable enough for light use (just don’t try to lift any heavier objects).
The textured tip is accurate when grabbing small objects, and the full-hand grip is an improvement over a straight trigger grip, since you’ll use your entire hand to squeeze the claw closed. However, the handle is bare plastic, and squeezing it closed requires decent grip strength.
Rather than a claw-like hand, this grabber has a thin head that fits easily into small spaces. The trade off is that it’s not quite as intuitive as some other reachers, but with a bit of practice, it’s no less capable. It features a magnetic tip and a post for hooking items. A clip towards the top of the arm attaches to bed rails, walkers, canes, and wheelchair arms for easy storage.
While aesthetics aren’t a major consideration with reachers, this product probably won’t win any fashion awards; the bright yellow plastic and exposed aluminum aren’t exactly elegant design choices. Still, the workmanship is solid, and while the materials are heavy duty, the grabber itself is fairly lightweight and easy to maneuver.
This reacher might qualify as a niche product, as it’s specifically designed to pick up smooth objects; the jaws have two secure rubber suctioning tips, which attach to lightbulbs, glasses, and other objects without damaging their surfaces. The jaws close tight enough to pick up smaller items, but the suction cups don’t entirely replace the need for larger multi-purpose jaws.
With that said, this is an ideal choice for handling small objects, and the 32-inch arm provides plenty of reach without adding too much weight. The lightweight corrosion-resistant aluminum helps to reduce arm fatigue during regular use, and Vive offers a lifetime money-back guarantee.
This folding grabber isn’t the lightest option on this list, but its high-quality materials set it apart. When fully extended, a safety buckle prevents the arm from folding in accidentally.
The soft-grip trigger connects to the head with a heavy-duty steel connection cable, which should provide years of dependable use. The jaw features an anti-slip material, and the tip is suitable for grabbing smaller objects.
Unger’s Nifty Nabber seems designed primarily for outdoor use, given that it has an ultra-strong gripper and quite a bit of exposed metal surrounding its large rubber jaws. That doesn’t mean that it’s less effective for indoor use, but it is slightly less nimble than some other models.
A built-in magnet towards the tip is useful for picking up small metal items, and the grabber’s powerful enough to lift larger objects. The one significant drawback is the reversed grip, which isn’t quite as comfortable or easy to use as a more traditional trigger-style grip.
Reaching assist tools certainly aren’t a one-size-fits-all purchase. You’ll need to consider your senior’s mobility challenges carefully, along with the unique features and specifications of the product in question. Here are a few factors to keep in mind.
Start by identifying the user’s needs and challenges. Is the user having trouble reaching items in the back of the pantry, or do they need to pick up items off the floor? Do they use a wheelchair? Will they need to keep the grabber near them at all times?
Questions like this will help guide you to a particular model. They suggest features like reach length, gripper texture, and grip trigger pull weight. When in doubt, start with a particular task and a tape measure. Find the distance between the upper shelf and the user’s maximum reach, for instance, and you’ll have a good idea of what size grabber to look for.
The goal is to allow your loved ones to pursue the activities they enjoy with limited assistance. There’s even evidence that the use of low-cost assistive technology, like a grabber, can improve emotional security and safety in older adults!
Include the user in the purchase decision as much as possible. In one study, occupational therapists looked at the top reasons their patients weren’t using adaptive equipment following hip replacement surgery. They found that, too often, the user of the equipment isn’t included in making the choice. Even when surgery isn’t involved, the implication is that people are more likely to use assistive equipment (including a grabber) when they pick it out for themselves. An article like this one is a great place to start. Caretakers and seniors should discuss the options listed above to make the best decision for their particular needs.
Look for ergonomic grips designed for maximum comfort. People are more likely to use their grabbers when they’re comfortable, of course. Look for handles that are padded, coated with an anti-slip covering, and—perhaps most importantly—sized for the user’s hand.
For users with reduced grip strength, be sure to look for models with lightweight, full-hand triggers. A two-finger trigger is fine for lots of people who use grabbers, but for those who struggle with grip strength, a full-hand trigger will be easier and more comfortable.