There are many types of anti-static wrist straps, such as from iFixit ($8 via Amazon), but most have the same components. There’s an adjustable wrist strap with conductive material, and a cord with a built-in resistor. You wear the strap and connect the cord to a grounding surface.
These special wrist straps help to prevent the buildup of static electricity, which can damage sensitive electronic components and other devices that might be worked on.
Have you ever felt (or even seen) a small jolt when shuffling across carpet and touching a door knob, another person, or any other object? Static electricity can damage or destroy sensitive parts.
There’s also a style of wrist strap that’s said to be anti-static, but without any cords or wires.
I don’t know how they are supposed to work. The whole point of an anti-static wrist strap is to provide a pathway for built-up electrical charge to flow to ground. That prevents a build-up of charge that could choose its own path to ground, such as through your fingers and a potentially sensitive electronic component or device.
Looking online, there are many negative user reviews saying that don’t work.
There’s also a new NASA report about the matter. Unfortunately, their alert and testing doesn’t seem to be public, but the conclusions are.
According to results from testing performed by the NASA Interagency Working Group on Electrostatic Discharge (IAWG-ESD), it was confirmed that wireless wrist straps failed to prevent charge build up or to drain accumulated charge in order to prevent potential discharges. Wireless wrist straps do not meet American National Standards Institute (ANSI)/ESD S20.20 Wrist Strap System performance requirements and therefore are not acceptable for use in ESD controlled areas used to process critical NASA mission hardware.
So, there you have it.
I can see the appeal in working with a cordless or wireless wrist strap. But it seems that they don’t actually work.
Read More(via NASA)