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When You Should And Should NOT Install Your Own Screen Protector

Installing a screen protector on your phone is a cheap and simple way to keep the screen from being scratched to death or potentially shattering. But how hard are they to actually put on yourself?

The material of screen protector will likely determine whether you should attempt to install it yourself or have a store do it for you “professionally.”

TPU – plastic film (more like a clear sticker)

TPU is an incredibly durable plastic film which can protect against scratches. It’s usually advertised as “self healing” because of its ability to absorb minor abrasions. Just because you scratch the screen protector doesn’t mean it will continually look scratched up.

Pros:

  • Can wrap around curved screens (like Samsung’s Galaxy S line)
  • Can fit more generic phones which don’t have screen protectors specifically made for
  • Generally less expensive

Tempered glass – rigid compounded glass (like a second screen)

Tempered glass is quickly becoming the most popular option for protecting screens because it not only keeps scratches away, but, in a lot of situations, it can absorb a small impact better than TPU and save you from a cracked screen.

Pros:

  • Can protect from screen shattering
  • Easier to install
  • Looks and feels better

Can I install one myself?

Screen protectors are made for consumers to be able to install themselves, but, that doesn’t mean everyone should. TPU protectors, ones that are a plastic, flexible film and involve a wet application are, for example, an exercise in frustration.

The trick with TPU and the wet application process isn’t necessarily skill, it’s regular practice. Someone at a store like Best Buy who does this regularly will be familiar with what causes application problems.

Frankly, a lot of people are nervous to take their new phone out of the box and spray it with liquid to get that screen protector on. The sales person doesn’t have the same attachment and can leave emotion out of it.

As far as installing tempered glass protectors, they don’t succumb to the same hardships of the sticker-like ones–with ugly air bubbles. In that case, they instantly become easier for more people to attempt the installation. I.e.: You can probably install a tempered glass protector yourself.

Lining up the top portion still requires a certain amount of skill and patience, but tempered glass protectors make this much simpler.

Pro tip

Even if you’re not lazy, there are plenty of reasons to pay someone to install a screen protector for you. Don’t sweat it. But, if you do have a store install a screen protector for you, just make sure you ask this question before proceeding:

Can you approve the installation before you pay, OR, if you do pay prior, will they keep installing a new one until you’re satisfied?

Making sure you get the final say essentially guarantees you get a perfect looking screen protector, which makes the small fee well worth it.