equipment
These Accessibility-Minded Products Make Life in the Kitchen Easier
From heavy Dutch ovens to stubborn can openers, some kitchen equipment may be hard for certain people to use. These options make things more manageable.
06-09-2021
Chase Brightwell

We receive tons of requests from our readers to review products that make the kitchen more accessible for everyone, including those with disabilities; arthritis; or otherwise diminished hand, arm, or back strength. We think cooking is something everyone should be able to enjoy, no matter their ability. That’s why I was thrilled to review automatic and lightweight alternatives to a few of our tried-and-true winners. 

We’re looking forward to reviewing even more products like these. If you have a suggestion for something we should test, let us know at atkreviews@americastestkitchen.com!

Three high-performing kitchen products that are acceptable for cooks of many ability levels: Hamilton Beach Smooth Touch Electric Can Opener, All-Clad D3 Stainless Stockpot, and Outset Pizza Grill Stone Tiles.

Electric Can Opener

Opening cans is one of the most basic—yet vital—kitchen tasks, but most manual can openers require a strong grip to operate. I reviewed electric can openers, searching for a reliable model that opens cans with ease and leaves behind safe edges. 

To provide firsthand expertise, I recruited my mother-in-law, a whiz in the kitchen who has arthritis in her wrists and hands and routinely uses an electric can opener. Her perspective was invaluable; she pinpointed a handful of factors that helped us find a winner: the Hamilton Beach Smooth Touch Electric Can Opener

This can opener cut through can after can of every imaginable size, leaving clean, smooth edges every time. Positioning and attaching cans to its latching mechanism was straightforward and simple, and it was sturdy enough to suspend and open 28-ounce cans. Even pull-top cans were no match for this model.

Lightweight Dutch Oven

Our winning large Dutch ovens, from Le Creuset and Cuisinart, are heavy—they weigh 13.7 and 16.7 pounds, respectively. They’re made from cast iron, which retains and radiates heat beautifully for perfect searing, braising, and bread baking. We love them, but we set out to find a lighter-weight pot that was easier to maneuver and able to keep up with cast iron. 

Our winning lightweight model, the 6-quart All-Clad D3 Stainless Stockpot, has a fully clad construction that ensured stellar heat retention and distribution, helping it sear meat efficiently and evenly. Its broad cooking surface meant that we didn’t have to sear meat in extra batches, and its large, easy-to-grip handles and low, straight sides allowed us to maneuver and reach down into the pot with ease. It was large enough to fry in, and it baked bread adequately, though its loaf was not as satisfyingly browned and crusty as those from our favorite cast-iron pots. Most importantly, it weighs only about 6 pounds, making it easy to maneuver on the stovetop or in and out of the oven.

Baking Stone

Using a baking stone or steel in your oven can reward you with deliciously crispy pizza crusts and evenly cooked, picture-perfect loaves of bread. But these slabs of stone or metal can be prohibitively heavy for some cooks.

When my colleague Lisa McManus reviewed baking stones and steels, she found an innovative solution: the Outset Pizza Grill Stone Tiles, a set of four ceramic tiles that assemble on an oven rack to mimic a baking stone. They’re compact and easy to store, and they weigh less than 1.5 pounds each, so arranging them in the oven isn’t a hassle. They also allow for quicker preheating: Ovens we heated them in preheated to 500 degrees in only 30 minutes, half the time of the others in the lineup. Best of all, they cooked great pizza and bread, producing well-browned, crispy crusts every time. Pick up a set for convenient pizza at home, without hauling around a heavy baking stone.


Want to be a smarter shopper and become a better cook? Start a free trial to access all our rigorous, unbiased product reviews.