How We Tested
I’m Shayna Murphy, a senior staff writer here at Reviewed. I’m also a lifelong klutz and I’ve dropped my phone more times than I can count, resulting in countless jokes and some pretty hefty repair bills over the years. Because I also have carpal tunnel syndrome in my right wrist—and that’s my dominant hand—I’m sensitive and perhaps more susceptible to aches and pains when I hold my phone and scroll for extended periods of time than most. I used my first PopSocket about a year ago and immediately noticed a difference in how easy it felt to use and hold onto my phone. To get a sense of how others felt about them (and since I was already sold on them going into these tests), I also recruited a team of in-office testers, none of whom had used PopSockets before.
To find the best PopSockets, I tracked down the most popular models on the market and asked our team of in-office testers to start with the most straightforward test of them all: they stuck them onto their phones and simply started using them.
While some testers quickly decided that PopSockets weren’t for them—among those who didn’t like PopSockets, the common complaint was that they just didn’t care for the feel of them between their fingers—the majority of testers enjoyed them and we collectively looked at how easy these models were to install, remove, and reuse, as well as how much extra weight and bulk they added to phones overall. Additionally, we looked at how resilient they were with continuous daily use.
For models with removable tops, we looked at how easy it was to take off existing ones and add new tops. Because I had experience with PopSockets PopGrips before, I spent the bulk of my testing period examining models that I hadn’t used before, specifically the PopWallet+, PopThirst, and Slide units.
During our testing period, which lasted for approximately three weeks, we looked at two different types of mounts—both of which were exclusively designed to work with PopSockets—and a recently released charger, to determine just how compatible these products actually were with the phone grips themselves.
Lastly, since we were curious about how much weight a single PopSocket could support, our lab tested two different PopSocket PopGrips—one brand new, the other gently used—by hanging bags of sand from each and sticking the adhesive side to the underside of a table, in order to determine how much weight each could hold before falling off.
What Are PopSockets?
Made with a circular plastic base, accordion-style stem, and decorative disc top, these expandable grips look just like a knob and stick to the back of your phone the same way a sticker would and “pop” out, so they function as a stand, too.
Since their release in 2014, they’ve risen to near cult-like status, which is no surprise, given that these grips aren’t just super-cute accessories—they also help make everyday things like scrolling, texting, watching videos, and taking selfies from a phone or tablet more comfortable than before.
How Much Weight Can PopSockets Really Hold?
In the lab, our testers put bags of sand on two different PopSocket PopGrips, one of which had never been used before and one that had been previously used. We fixed the adhesive side to a wooden table that was coated with plastic. In our findings, the brand new PopSocket was able to hold three pounds of sand overnight. Conversely, the used PopSocket—which our lab determined had 10% less adhesive on it than the brand new one—was only able to hold two pounds of sand for 45 minutes before falling to the ground.
Are PopSockets Actually Reusable?
Although our lab was unable to determine the exact type of adhesive used with PopSockets—some speculated that it may be similar to a modified acrylic adhesive that historically works best with plastic and doesn’t fare so well with silicone, where it may cause discoloration—we were able to confirm one very important detail about PopSockets: they’re completely reusable.
To test reusability, our lab peeled a freshly applied PopSocket off, then moved it into a different location. They noticed that you can do this up to 4 times before there seems to be any overall degradation in the grip itself. Even then, our lab speculated that it was more likely due to the plastic base bending out of place than the adhesive itself losing any stickiness.
However, some PopSockets seem to contain less adhesive. Of the four PopSockets we tested in the lab, some had about 10% less adhesive, which impacted their overall performance. We couldn’t determine whether this was connected to the price, model, or design, but it was notable, especially during our weight tests.
When it came to reusing PopSockets, we found that you can “revitalize them” by dipping the base into warm water, then using a microfiber cloth to clean off dirt and any other lingering debris. For PopSockets that were extremely dried out—I volunteered one of my own old PopSockets, which had been sitting on my desk for several months—this method didn’t completely restore them good as new, this could make them fine for reuse again, at least until you’re ready to buy a new one.
Other PopSockets We Tested
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Checking our work.
We use standardized and scientific testing methods to scrutinize every product and provide you with objectively accurate results. If you’ve found different results in your own research, email us and we’ll compare notes. If it looks substantial, we’ll gladly re-test a product to try and reproduce these results. After all, peer reviews are a critical part of any scientific process.