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This $10 gadget is my favorite repair tool of all time

The DotterPod iSesamo spudger is a simple but oh-so-effective tool. Here's what I use it for.
Written by Adrian Kingsley-Hughes, Senior Contributing Editor
The iconic Italian-made iSesamo spudger
Adrian Kingsley-Hughes/ZDNET

Whenever I'm asked about my all-time favorite or most frequently used repair tool, people often anticipate some top-secret, ultra-expensive gadget straight from Area 51.

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However, their faces fall when I reveal my trusty, unassuming weapon of choice: a slim, metal pry tool, affectionately known as a spudger.

But this isn't just any spudger, it's the iconic DotterPod iSesamo spudger, the unsung hero of the repair world. 

View at Walmart

First and foremost, it's important that you always use the right tool for any repairs. if you're using screwdrivers or knives to pry open devices, just stop!

This approach is likely to damage the device, injure yourself, or both. I've witnessed the aftermath of such reckless prying -- it's a mess that takes considerable time, effort, and Band-Aids to fix.

Just stop!

The iSesamo spudger is a classic

Use this instead.

Adrian Kingsley-Hughes/ZDNET

Enter the iSesamo spudger, a superior tool that outperforms its many imitators. The genuine, Italian-made iSesamo is unrivaled in quality. I used the same spudger for over a decade before needing a replacement. It has effortlessly opened hundreds of smartphones, tablets, power banks, and more -- even when the gaps were incredibly small.

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The best part is, the spudger is made with ultra-thin steel that allows it to be both durable and lightweight. There's also a fantastic no-slip grip handle that keeps it from falling out of your hands during operation.

Also great for cutting labels and seals

It's also great for cutting labels and seals

Adrian Kingsley-Hughes/ZDNET

The tip has been specially designed to slip into the thinnest of hairline gaps, popping open clips and cutting through any adhesives that might be holding devices shut. Here's an example with a remote controller!

Pops open gadgets with ease!
Adrian Kingsley-Hughes/ZDNET

The only complaint I've heard about the iSesamo spudger is that some people find the handle to be a bit uncomfortable. The enhanced grip texture is to blame for that. So, if you want a spudger with a more comfortable grip, I suggest the iFixit Jimmy.

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However, from my experience with the iSesamo, they've stood the test of time well, and the soft, ergonomic handle enables extended work periods without discomfort. But, remember that greater pressure isn't always the best approach. Slow, deliberate movements and smart pressure levels yield better results than brute force.

iFixit Jimmy (top) vs iSesamo spudger

iFixit Jimmy (top) vs iSesamo spudger

Adrian Kingsley-Hughes/ZDNET

A couple of words of caution when using metal spudgers -- be careful. While you can wield one with the precision and care of a surgeon, it's also very easy to go overboard and tear ribbon cables and puncture batteries.

You especially don't want to damage rechargeable batteries and, if in any doubt, opt to use plastic, non-conductive pry tools. These aren't as effective, but they are significantly safer. For general spudging, then the iSesamo spudger is the way to go -- I can't recommend anything better.

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