Grip Tape You Might Want To Buy

The first thing everybody notices about my phone is that it's covered with grip tape on the back and sides. Some people think this looks uncool, but I think it looks much cooler than a phone with a cracked screen from being dropped, which is what I'd have otherwise.

However, there are significant differences between grip tapes. I've used several different kinds, and I'll summarize them here for you.

3M Safety Walk

This comes in 3 different grades - heavy, medium, and light. The heavy grade, which is black, is the standard sandpaper-like substance that you're used to encountering on stair treads. I do not recommend it for anything except stair treads - it is too abrasive.

The medium grade is grey. It is coarsely textured, but is all plastic and does not include any sand or grit particles, which is good. I find it a good texture to grip, but it's coarse and thick enough that it can cause a phone to hang up on fitting into a tight case. It does wear with rubbing, and will probably need replacement after 8-12 months of use. The light grade is clear and much thinner, and I have not found it to impede the insertion of phones into cases. It's probably the better bet if you're going to get one of the two.

The part number for a 1" x 60' roll is of the medium/gray is "7739"; the same size roll of the clear/light is "7751". You should expect to pay about $25 to $30 for a roll, and a single roll is probably a lifetime supply for you and your whole family. It is also available in other widths. Vendors come and go, so just search for "3m 7739" or "3m 7751".

Egrips Silicone

The 3M tape mentioned above is great for things you're holding with your hands, but because it's made of hard plastic, it doesn't do much for holding your phone flat on a hard surface, such as a desk or the dashboard of a vehicle. For that, you want a silicone-based material.

I'm aware of only one vendor of the Right Thing, which is Egrips (manufacturer's label) and Gecko Strips (their consumer division). You can buy a 10' roll for $20 - astute readers will have noticed that this is 6-8x as much as the 3M grip tape. If that link has broken by the time you read this, search for "gecko strips univeral" and then look for the roll. All other precut shapes are many, many times more expensive.

3M Splicing Tape

The cut-rate alterative to the above, which is almost the right thing, is 3M splicing tape, part number 130C. It has some drawbacks, however, since it was intended for a different application. The outside is actually a bit too sticky - I left a cardboard box sitting on some for a month, and when I took it off, parts of the cardboard remained on the tape, which was then in turn not sticky anymore. The adhesive side, on the other hand, is not actually sticky enough, such that the tape doesn't remain attached all that well to the surface you want it on.

Still, this tape is much cheaper and easier to find, and it might be good enough for what you need.