How to Choose the Right
Shopping the screwdriver aisle at the hardware store, whether online or offline, can be a forbidding task, especially for the uninitiated. Do you need a flat head or a Phillips? What’s the sizes of different heads? And do you need a full set, or can you do with one “universal” model? There are dozens of different kinds of screwdrivers — and more cropping up all the time as manufacturers develop new types of screws. Luckily, there are really only a few varieties the average homeowners should keep on hand.
Types of Screwdrivers
Here are some the different types of screwdrivers, categorized by their respective functions:
- Manual: These screwdrivers are pretty basic. They have a head, shaft and handle, and you turn them with your hand. You can find right-angle variations that fit where a regular straight screwdriver couldn't.
- Ratcheting: To fully unscrew a screw with a normal screwdriver, you either have to spin your hand 360 degrees or remove and reinsert the bit every time your hand twists as far as it can go in one direction. A ratcheting screwdriver fixes this problem. The head spins normally in one direction and stays put as you turn your hand back the other way.
- Precision: These are manual screwdrivers, only smaller. They can be used for electronics and jewelry. Sets typically come with Phillips, flat and sometimes Torx heads.
- Magnetic: Magnetic screwdrivers attach to screws, which holds them in place as you fasten them for one-handed operation.
- Electric: This is not a drill! Actually, they're a lot smaller than drills, and they're meant to put screws into predrilled holes. They're available in corded and cordless varieties. You can exchange the bits on some power drills to convert them into power screwdrivers.
- Multi-Bit: These have interchangeable bits in multiple sizes or types. Because the bits attach to the shaft magnetically, multi-bit screwdrivers are usually magnetic screwdrivers, too.
Types of Screwdriver Heads
Screwdrivers have three basic parts: the handle, shaft and head. Screwdrivers are usually categorized by the type of head they have. Here are some common ones:
If you only own one screwdriver, this is the one you want. Phillips head screws are as close to a universal screw as you can find them almost everywhere, including in electronics and most home hardware applications. Philips head is a popular configuration in the US because of its larger surface area, which provides more torque to the screw head and does not slip as easily as the slot. Additionally, it is less likely to damage the screw head, the bit, or the work surface.
|Phillips #||Tip Width (Metric)||Fits Screw Sizes|
In terms of screwdriver technology, flat head screwdrivers are the most basic model. The blade is shaped like a chisel and (as you could probably guess) is flat. They fit into slotted screws, which have an indented line running through the diameter of the head. Flat head is the oldest traditional form of screwdriver bit configuration but is the most inconvenient to use. Impossible to use with power drivers.
|Tip Width (SAE)||Tip Width (Metric)|
Torx is a brand name. The head of a Torx screwdriver is a six-pointed star. Similar to the Allen or Hex, the Torx can withstand greater torque. Because of its larger surface area, it is the least likely to slip. Torx screws are commonly found on automobiles, appliances, computers, and electronics. Because of their shape, they’re particularly resistant to camming out. Many woodworkers are fans of these for that reason.
|Torx Size||Width （SAE)||Width (Metric)|
Robertson or Square Recess
These square-headed screwdrivers are popular because it has a ‘stick fit’ into the screw head—the Robertson or Square head can be held in place on the tip of the driver bit. Friction holds it in place while starting to screw into materials. This bit was invented in Canada and is the most popular configuration in the Canadian market.
|Size #||Fits Screw Sizes|
The Pozidriv drive style was originally formed to address the largest issue Phillips heads are prone to: cam-out. Cam-out is defined as the slipping out of a drive recess that occurs when torque exceeds a certain limit. The Pozidriv drive style improves upon the two following factors:
1. Increased torque without cam-out.
2. Greater surface contact engagement between the drive and the recess in the fastener head making it harder to slip when installed correctly.
Pozidriv screws are eight-pointed. They have a cross-shaped slot, plus a shallower, X-shaped slot imposed on top. They’re popular in Europe.
|Size#||Wood Screws||Metric Screws|
|#1||#2, #3, #4||M2.5, M2|
|#2||#5 to #9||M3.5, M4, M5|
|#3||#10 to #16||M6|
|#4||#18 to #24||M8, M10|
Hex or Allen keys may not look like the typical screwdriver with a distinct head, shaft and handle, but rather an L-shaped piece of metal with hexagonal ends. They fit into hexagon-shaped holes in screws.You can refer to our exclusive blog about Allen Wrench.CHECK OUR BLOG
Socket adaptors give you the ability to attach sockets to a drill, allowing you to tighten nuts or screws that are too big for nutsetters. In order to fit more size sockets, they are available in the main three drive sizes - 1/4”, 3/8”, and 1/2”.
Tips for Choosing the Best Screwdriver Bits
Opt for high-quality screwdriver bits that match your screw head and size. Do not forget to drill pilot holes if required and always use top-quality screws. You should also remember to adjust the speed of your drill driver or electric screwdriver to protect the screwdriver bit and the screw head. This will also prevent you from splitting any wooden surfaces or damaging the screw thread when screwing into metal. Finally, remember to choose the right size of screwdriver bit. Choosing the wrong screwdriver bit for your screw head can mean the difference between success and distress. By selecting the right match and fit you will prevent stripped screws, damaged bits, and spoiled work surfaces. Why not visit our online shop for tool sets? We hope that you can find the right screwdriver bits in the recommended tool kits below.