A smartphone is an easy thing to break, especially if you’re naturally clumsy or prone to dropping your phone. With smartphones becoming larger and larger, a phone grip can be a game-changer, helping reduce the risk of drops while also making it easier to safely carry your most precious devices.
PopSockets are specially designed phone grips that are unlike anything else on the market. To some people, they’re total and utter eyesores, but to others, they’re a mildly addictive—yet also completely satisfying—way to keep a phone or tablet from tumbling out of reach.
There are tons of models out there right now, but which are truly worth buying? To figure it out for ourselves, we tested 11 of the most highly-rated products by PopSockets, including mounts and a recently released charger, to determine which offer the most in terms of affordability, versatility, and style, plus which ones to avoid completely.
After extensive testing, the best PopSockets product we used was the PopSockets PopGrip: Swappable Grip(available at PopSockets)—a simple, easy to install, low-cost phone grip and stand that made everything about using our phones easier. But because we were looking at more than just holders alone, we really enjoyed the PopSockets Black Multi-Surface Mount for use in our cars as well.
Here are the best PopSockets we tested ranked, in order:
PopSockets PopGrip: Swappable Grip
PopSockets Black Multi-Surface Mount
PopSockets PopGrip: Backspin
PopSockets PopGrip: Lips
PopSockets PopPower Home Wireless Charger
PopSockets PopMount Car Dash and Windshield
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When it comes to PopSockets, the classic PopGrip: Swappable Grip was by far our favorite option, offering a combination of simplicity, style, and affordability, which most of our testers could get behind.
During testing, we were impressed by how quickly this phone grip and stand hybrid transformed the way we used our phones, helping improve grip and reduce the risk of drops. We also noticed a significant difference in how easy the PopGrip made texting and taking selfies, and keeping corded earbuds tangle-free.
The PopGrip: Swappable Grip—which is essentially the model for all other PopSockets—features a thin plastic base with an adhesive back and an accordion-style stem made from a combination of polycarbonate, TPU, and polyurethane, which pops in and out when it expands. It’s addictive and also makes it super functional as a kickstand, which made it easier for us to watch videos on our phones.
But of course, the thing that stands out the most is the decorative disc at the top, which comes in a variety of funky colors and patterns. Swapping the disc out was easy too: just press the accordion stem down flat, twist the decorative disc to the right, and remove it. To fit a new one into the plastic base, all we had to do was line it up and twist it to the right, which was also remarkably easy.
Touted as reusable and easy to reposition (more on that later), the PopGrip: Swappable Grip is everything we were looking for from a phone grip. Some testers—notably, those who had never used this style of phone grip before—disliked the sensation of having it between their fingers, but we chalked that up to a personal preference. For almost everyone who tried it, the PopGrip: Swappable Grip seemed like the ideal choice.
Although PopSockets has a few options out there for car mounts, our pick for the best was actually the Multi-Surface Mount, which we found to be the most versatile and reliable to use. Multiple Amazon reviewers say it can stay in place, even on hot dashboards and through heavy use, and one of our in-house testers has used the Multi-Surface Mount in their car for over a year without any setbacks.
Beyond just cars, the mount is multi-surface, meaning you can attach your phone to any vertical surface, like a bathroom mirror, a tiled wall, or kitchen cabinet, and go entirely hands-free, which could be ideal for anyone following a recipe or trying to follow along with a tutorial.
We let it settle for a full 8 hours before using our phones on it. During our initial test, the mount did collapse over a sink, causing our tester’s phone to fall. Fortunately, the phone survived, and our tester—who had been using a PopSocket on a textured case versus a smooth one—was able to reapply it and reuse the mount without any issues, leading our tester to speculate that it was an issue with the case itself, not the mount.
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
PopSockets PopGrip Backspin
Part of the appeal of PopSockets is that they’re basically a lot like fidget spinners. For most, manually twisting the tops around and/or popping the accordion-style base up and down repeatedly is part of the fun. Ipso facto, it was only a matter of time before the company caught on and made a PopSocket that’s actually a legitimate fidget spinner too.
Made with a spinnable aluminum top, the PopGrip Backspin is a grip-spinner hybrid that can help put restless hands at ease and creates a nifty optical illusion as it spirals. Although it’s a blast to play with, this PopSocket does come with a few notable issues.
In testing, we found that the top—which is equipped with ball bearings to create that spinning functionality—creates a loud and noticeable whizzing sound whenever it moves, which could be distracting to some users. Our tester used it on a slightly textured case with a polycarbonate shell and had no issues with it staying intact, although the company itself suggests it works best on smooth plastic cases. While it’s not compatible with any PopSockets mount, this one was easily the best non-traditional PopSocket we tested.
Looking for a PopSocket that flaunts your nerdy side? You can represent your favorite fandom and start a couple of conversations along the way with something from the PopSockets PopCulture collection. Although these repositionable PopSockets are just like our favorite choice overall in that they work as both grips and smartphone stands, come with a built-in PopTop, and are completely compatible with all PopSocket-branded mounts, they have a distinct aesthetic edge. For example, our tester—a massive Star Wars fan—opted for a PopSocket from The Mandalorian featuring Baby Yoda, but there are plenty of pop culture picks to make your geeky heart squeal with delight, from Harry Potter to The Avengers and so much more.
This PopSocket is the one that surprised us the most. Initially, it seemed a bit gimmicky, since it comes with lip balm inside of it. While the design itself is cute—we tested Strawberry Feels, which features a lip balm that’s flavored to match—we had mixed expectations for how the PopSocket itself would be, given its larger size. We were pleasantly surprised to find that it was one of the most comfortable ones we used.
Compared to standard PopSockets, our tester liked the fullness of this grip, which made it easier to hold for scrolling and other tasks. The strawberry lip balm, made with vitamin E and beeswax, was less enjoyable, since our tester found it somewhat drying on her lips. But with four other refillable varieties to choose from—including vanilla, watermelon, blue raspberry, and cotton candy—this PopSocket could be a good option for anyone looking for something a little sweet and unexpected from a phone grip.
One of the most common concerns that people seem to have about PopSockets—beyond whether or not they’ll actually stay stuck in place—is that they make wireless charging more difficult, if not impossible. While technically you can still charge your devices wirelessly if you have a PopSocket on your phone (you just need to pop the top of it off, which you can do with certain models), it’s an added step that can make the experience less seamless than it ought to be, in theory.
Enter the PopPower Home, a Qi-enabled wireless charging pad designed to circumvent that issue altogether. The pad—which was just released on January 7 and is already waitlisted on the company’s site—looks somewhat like a donut and is designed to cradle most standard PopGrips. It’s a cool effect and works exactly as described, and even though it doesn’t work with specific models like the PopGrip Lips or with any metal or aluminum PopGrips, some might enjoy it for that reason.
However, there were some notable drawbacks to this wireless charger. For one, it's significantly more expensive than the best wireless chargers we've tested. For the price, we expected superior charging performance, but instead in testing, it took longer than 2.5 hours to charge our tester's Galaxy Note 8, and a little over 2 hours to charge my own iPhone XS. Additionally, it got hot when used, leaving our PopSockets warm after we removed them from the charger. It comes with an AC adapter and 6 foot charging cable, which also struck our tester as being slightly outdated compared to other wireless chargers on the market. All in all, while we like the idea behind this charger, we wouldn't recommend it for the price.
A stick-on wallet that also comes with a swappable PopTop? Sounds like a match made in heaven. Sadly, the execution on this wallet-gripper hybrid left me wanting more. While the PopWallet+ does what it claims it can do and safely holds up to 3 cards at a time (I tested it with one credit card, a subway card, and an ID, and it kept them all snugly in place), it’s not ideal for holding any kind of cash, which made it feel less effective as an alternate option for wallets.
Although the design for the PopWallet+ is slim, the holder itself takes up a lot of space on the back of a phone case, so if you’re someone like me who has a flashy or intricate case that you love to show off, you can forget about it if you use one of these. This also made my phone feel heavier and added more bulk overall, which for anyone who dislikes that effect, could be a dealbreaker.
Multiple reviewers also complained that they had problems keeping the PopWallet+ in place—unlike with regular PopSockets, the sticky back didn’t seem strong enough to support a phone plus 3 cards throughout everyday use. While it didn’t give me any trouble during testing and never fell off, the overall vibe on the PopWallet+ was pretty much a big old “meh.”
On days when you’re absolutely obsessing over that awkward pimple or the errant hairs you forgot to pluck before heading out the door, a PopSocket with a mirror built into can seem like a lifesaver. Add to it the fact that the PopMirror comes with a mirror that delivers 2x magnification and presto, you’re in business. Outside of this one area though, our testers didn’t think the PopMirror was much to write home about.
It’s larger than ordinary PopSockets, which makes it tougher to hold onto, and multiple reviewers note that it’s bulkier than most phone grips, so slipping it into a purse or pocket can create an unwanted bulge effect. It’s not compatible with mounts, either. Ultimately, our testers felt their smartphone’s camera was just as effective for quick mid-day makeup touch-ups and spot checks and the PopMirror wasn’t useful enough to justify the added price.
At first glance, it might seem like there are some upsides to the PopThirst. Namely, it is a pretty effective cup holder, able to securely hold most standard coffee cups and pint glasses on-the-go. For someone who commutes via bus or train and often does it with a coffee in hand, the PopThirst might seem like it does for coffee cups what a standard PopSocket does for smartphones. However, I found that it didn’t make a substantial difference when it comes to preventing spills or other beverage-related mishaps.
Although the cup holder is good quality—it’s made with a dense non-slip foam material that fits snugly around cups and makes the holder easy to grip—the PopSocket component itself felt pretty superfluous. In testing, I had to remind myself that there even was a PopSocket feature of the cupholder, and when I did use it, it didn’t seem to have a noticeable impact on comfort or cup stability. Although the PopThirst seems mostly unnecessary, if you’re looking for a portable cup holder during the winter months, you could do a whole lot worse.
The idea behind the PopMount is a brilliant one, since unlike many other car mounts, it’s designed to securely hold your smartphone even with a PopSocket still in place. For anyone who depends on their smartphone’s GPS functionality while they drive, it can definitely seem like a smart investment. However during testing, our reviewers had trouble securing the mount to their dashboards and found that it frequently fell over and toppled under the weight of a smartphone. While the PopSockets PopMount does come with some convenient cord management functionality, allowing you to tuck cords out of sight while you drive, the fact that our testers could never fully secure the mount to their dashes makes this one PopSocket we’d definitely encourage you to pass on.
We had high hopes for the PopSocket Slide, which features a non-adhesive base and—unlike other PopSockets—is designed to clip rather than stick in place onto your phone. In theory, it seemed like the perfect alternative to the standard PopSocket: you can raise it, lower it, adjust it or slide it as needed throughout the day without ever putting anything sticky on your phone case. Unfortunately, the Slide I tested (which was made specifically for the Apple iPhone XS, a.k.a. my phone model) never connected securely at all.
When I attempted to slide it up and down on my iPhone XS without a case on, my phone fell straight through the holder. When I fastened it onto an iPhone XS with a case on, it fit but didn’t slide at all. It was easily the worst PopSocket experience we had and the biggest bust of the bunch, so if you’re in search of a smartphone holder with a non-adhesive base, we highly recommend looking elsewhere.
Shayna started her writing career doing film reviews for The Weekly Dig in Boston, Mass., and she's been covering a variety of topics ever since, including consumer education, sex tech and wellness, relationships, and more. She's written for Bustle, Elite Daily, PopMatters, and other outlets. In her spare time, she likes to make candles, brew kombucha, and go to the movies.
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.