Four years ago I threw out a back muscle which resulted in limiting my ability to bend and pick up dropped items or reach for things on high shelves. Only with great difficulty could I perform the tasks I had normally done without much thought. Then I remembered an aluminum grabber reacher gadget that I’d bought for a couple of bucks at Goodwill a few years earlier. I retrieved it from the closet where it had been stashed. The tool proved to be quite handy and made life a bit easier in small but meaningful ways.
Between then and now, if I saw a grabber reacher tool at a thrift store, I’d buy it. It turned out that they were few and far between but I was able to score two more. The tools were constructed out of different materials and utilized unique jaws.
There was a much older gadget that is constructed of coiled steel wire and features a push button that activates four hooks to grasp very small items. This grabber belonged to dad; he used it to retrieve bolts or small parts that accidentally dropped into nooks or crannies while he worked on the engines in his cars. I checked the Web and discovered these can still be purchased.
The photo shows the four grabber reacher tools that I regularly use for various “rescue” tasks. The one at the bottom has been the most useful and versatile tool of the batch, so far. The wooden handle provides strength and stability. Each grabber jaw utilizes a different tip yet they mesh together precisely when they are drawn together. This is the go-to tool that is kept in the den for ready use.
Above the wooden tool, is the wiry gadget dad kept handy for car repairs. I’ve used it several times during DIY projects, basic tinkering, plus tune-ups on my own cars. This is a gadget I highly recommend because of its flexibility, durability, and convenience. It has four, coordinated, spring-loaded steel hooks that grab together when the push-button is released.
The tool shown second from the top is the aluminum grabber reacher that was so handy during the time my back muscles were inflexible. This is the most commonly found type of grabber reacher and has been recommended for light duty for invalids and elderly folks. However, I do not recommend it because it is the most flimsy tool of the bunch. The rubber cups are tricky and I’d never try to pick up glass or fragile objects with them. The shaft also folds unexpectedly, so this makes the tool unsuitable for retrieving objects on high shelves unless you are mindful of the direction of the handle’s bend. If I was buying a brand new tool, I would not consider this one. I have relegated this tool to picking up trash that has been thrown onto the lawn and streets by litterbugs.
The reacher grabber at the top is my new favorite. I just purchased it from Goodwill this week. Although it’s the shortest tool, it’s the strongest and most trustworthy one of the bunch. I’ve put it through some tests and trials and have been greatly impressed. This is one that I would gladly purchase brand new from a regular retailer.
Although I do not know the brand names of any of these grabber reacher tools, most of them can be found on line at reasonable prices. Simply type in “grabber reacher tools” on your favorite search engine page. You’ll be glad you did.
The Blue Jay of Happiness is really reaching with this quote from Henry David Thoreau. “Men have become the tools of their tools.”