E-Z Reacher


Back-saving picker-upper

There are various incarnations of these grippers, but I’ve been using mine all the time for at least three years and it still looks new and works great. It’s a rigid aluminum shaft with spring loaded rubber suction cup grabbers on one end and a squeeze handle at the other. Lets me grab things off high shelves and retrieve things dropped in inaccessible places, but it’s especially great for repetitive tasks that require bending over, like gathering lots of small things off the ground (fallen walnuts; I hate stepping on them in my yard) or grabbing icky things. I use mine 2-3 times a week, mostly for those quick grabs or a put-back on a high shelf, but also for serial grabbing: I picked up two 5-gallon bucketfuls of squishy rotted peaches off my lawn recently — no bending, no sticky fingers. When I was done I just used the hose to rinse it off. You can also yank down fruit from on high or pull down a thin branch that needs trimming. It’s also gentle enough to pick up an egg if you’re so inclined.

Other models made by other companies – even the more expensive reachers — feel cheaply made, grab less firmly, and often use weaker spring steel. Some use less grabby suction cup ends and others simply have a hook-like grabber which wouldn’t be of much use for me. I’ve seen landscape trash collectors using this model, so I feel that speaks to its strength and longevity. There are shorter E-Z Reachers available, but personally, I find I want as much reach as possible. They also make folding versions (good for those in wheelchairs) and locking versions (for those with less hand strength) and various combinations thereof. Replacement suction cups are available ($4), but I have never needed to replace them.

10/31/07 -- Barbara Dace