A spudger is an electronics probe and soldering aid, typically made from plastic so as to not damage delicate components.
I bought two of these 6-inch 3M SP3010 spudgers a while back, and have gotten quite a bit of use out of them, and not just for electronics work.
- Glass-filled ESD-safe nylon plastic construction
- Temperature resistant
- Pointed tip (but be careful, it can break off)
- Screwdriver-shaped blade and gentle prying tool
- Wire notch
Generally, spudgers are used to manipulate or hold parts into position for soldering, but I find them to be quite useful for random here-and-there applications.
For instance, my wife came into the room yesterday and needed help opening the side flaps of a new box of McCormick ground black pepper. I didn’t want to use a precision screwdriver for the job, so I reached for my spudger and gently pried both flaps open in all of three seconds.
I have also used this spudger for prying batteries out of small devices or enclosures, scraping some glue from a wood joint, and for other such tasks. Spudgers’ uses aren’t endless, but they are quite handy. I have metal scrapers, probes, hooks, and other sorts of parts manipulation tools in my tool box, but sometimes a plastic tool works best.
The 3M spudger is fairly rigid but, and this is my speaking from experience, the pointed tip can snap off if you’re too hard on it.
I have two of these 3M spudgers – one for electronics use, and one for general purpose use. The next time I place an order from All-Spec, I will likely buy a few more as spares.
The 3M SP3010 is made in the USA and is priced at about $2. Nylon spudgers from other brands typically cost between $1.50 and $2.25 or so.
If you don’t care about brand, you can buy spudgers for cheap via ebay. Generally, they’re sold as spudgers, but also as iPod/iPhone/iPad disassembly tools.
I purchased the spudgers via All-Spec, but you can generally find these at any electronics supply shops.
Update: I can no longer find the 3M spudger at any quantity. I would suggest the Menda for anyone looking for USA-made spudgers, but they’re a bit pricy, or any nylon spudger that you can find at lower price points.