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My favorite tech repair tool just got smaller, and better

I love my new keychain spudger tool. It's the perfect tool for dismantling gadgets when on the move.
Written by Adrian Kingsley-Hughes, Senior Contributing Editor
Reviewed by Min Shin
The full-sized DotterPod iSesamo spudger next to the mini iSesamo on blue background spudger

The full-sized DotterPod iSesamo spudger next to the mini iSesamo spudger.

Adrian Kingsley-Hughes/ZDNET

When it comes to repairing gadgets, the hardest part can be getting into the ailing device without causing more damage. Using screwdrivers and knives is a fast-track way to break things and hurt yourself in the process.

One of my most-used tools is the DotterPod iSesamo spudger -- a simple metal blade that's highly effective at getting into joints and seams of devices and prying them apart safely.

Also: Repairing electronics with the wrong tools can be dangerous. How to stay safe

For $10, it's something that every repair tech and DIYer needs in their toolbox. I've had one for over a decade and just bought a couple more as replacements. I've tried dozens of different spudgers from no-name brands, but the iSesamo is the only one that stood the test of time.

But there have been times when I've been away from my desk and wished I had a portable spudger. These are usually the times when I find myself using a knife, a screwdriver, or my fingernails to try, unsuccessfully, to do the job.

Well, my wish has come true.

Also: I bought this plastic-welding tool that TikTok suggested. Did the algorithm get it right?

Here's the Mini iSesamo spudger

View at Amazon

It includes all the features of the big iSesamo spudger, but it's much more compact. Made in Italy of thin, highly-flexible, yet heavy-duty stainless steel sheet, it features a tip that has been specially ground to slip into the thinnest of hairline gaps, popping open clips and cutting through any adhesives that might be holding a device shut without causing any damage. 

An iSesamo spudger slipping into a hairline gap

The iSesamo spudgers can slip into the tightest of hairline gaps.

Adrian Kingsley-Hughes/ZDNET

Bonded onto the stainless steel is a non-slip flexible rubber handle. When I got my first iSesamo spudger over 10 years ago, I thought that the rubber handle would fall off within days, but I was wrong.

It's as well bonded to the metal today as it was a decade ago.

Also: Why every tinkerer needs this digital microscope for repairs

The only difference between the regular spudger and the mini spudger is the size, and to be honest, I find that I can control the mini spudger with the same dexterity as I can the bigger one. If anything, the compact design encourages me to grip it closer to the prying end, giving me even better strength, control, and feedback.

Using the Mini iSesamo spudger to open a device

The smaller size offers greater control.

Adrian Kingsley-Hughes/ZDNET

I love this smaller design and don't see any downsides to it.

And I can fit this tiny spudger to my keyring, so I always have one with me, no matter where I am.

A couple of words of caution when using metal spudgers: Be careful. Take special care to not tear delicate ribbon cables and puncture potentially explosive batteries.

Also: This must-have screwdriver has two cool hidden tricks

And you really don't want to damage rechargeable batteries because of the likelihood of fire and explosion. If in any doubt, opt to use plastic, non-conductive pry tools, such as this excellent $10 set from iFixit.

DotterPod iSesamo spudger with the Mini iSesamo spudger

For all your spudging needs.

Adrian Kingsley-Hughes/ZDNET

I paid $10 for my full-sized iSesamo spudger, but I noticed that you can get a pack containing both the big and mini spudgers for only $12. This is an absolute steal, and whether you're buying your first spudger or getting a spare, I highly recommend getting this set.

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