A spudger is a tool technicians can use as a handheld manipulating probe when working with delicate electrical systems. In addition to being useful for handling fragile or sensitive components, it may have a flat side the operator can use to gently pry apart fittings like the edge of a cell phone case. The device is designed to limit damage to components and is generally easy to use. Spudgers are usually available from electronics retailers and companies that specialize in repair tools and replacement parts.
Spudgers typically have a broad end and a pointed end. The broad end is useful for activities like scraping contacts and removing grease without leaving a mark. The spudger can also be used to delicately pry outer casings off without scratching, nicking, or marking the material. The pointed end can be used to pull apart and separate wires. Many also have a small pick, useful for picking up and pulling wires.
This device is antistatic and non-conductive. It should not damage components, as long as it is handled carefully; the plastic or wood used to make the spudger will flex before it scratches. It also doesn't mark or smear, which may be important for visible repairs where people do not want to leave obvious markings behind, as when a technician needs to pry apart a tablet computer to access the circuitry. Other types of tools may cause marks, creating gouges that are very difficult to remove.
Picking tools like a spudger can be very useful in a small space where it would be difficult to work by hand. The tool is also handy for delicate tasks where a person working manually could potentially make a mistake, like bumping into a fragile component that might be damaged by grease on the fingers and hands. The antistatic feature is also important, as some electrical systems are very sensitive to static and must be handled with care to avoid damage.
It is sometimes possible to purchase a small kit with an assortment of electronics tools, including a spudger. The kit's packaging should list the contents and provide information about the tools and materials inside to help the buyer decide if it is a good deal. Package buys can sometimes be less expensive, but it is important to check for quality, as sometimes companies package tools of lesser quality in this way, leaving the high quality components as standalone items that must be purchased separately.