Are DIY screen repair kits worth the trouble?

Consumer Reports tests DIY screen repair kits

SAN ANTONIO – A professional replacement for a cracked phone screen can be expensive, so Consumer Reports tested some cheaper do-it-yourself repair kits to see if they’re a better alternative for those looking to save some cash.

“It would have cost me $129 to get the screen of an iPhone 6 repaired at the Apple Store,” said Bree Fowler, Consumer Reports’ tech editor.

Fowler wanted to try a few DIY screen repair kits to see how they work, so she rounded up some cracked iPhone 6 models and fixed them for about $50 each. However, she found that it takes a lot of patience and some skill to use the kits.

In addition to removing the screen when repairing it, consumers need to disconnect the iPhone’s home button, camera, sensors and microphone, and they need to melt adhesive with a hair dryer without damaging the phone.

Fowler found that the tricky part was getting the tiny screws on the phone off.

“They were stripped. I mean, anyone who has built anything or taken anything apart knows how aggravating stripped screws can be, but imagine having to deal with those screws and having them be nearly microscopic in size,” she said.

Fowler wound up with a dark shadowing image in the upper left corner of the screen after replacing one screen. While the phone works, it’s not the same as it was before.

“To me, the hours I put into this — the aggravation and stress — it just wasn’t worth it,” Fowler said. 

Consumers who want to save money on an older phone can use the kits to repair their phones, but they need to be sure they’re up for a challenge.

The kits Consumer Reports used are the i-Cracked repair kit, the u-Repair kit and the RSTH kit, which are all available online and cost between $40 and $50.

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