How To Remove a Broken Screw With No Head

how to remove a screw with broken head

If you have faced with a broken screw, you must be knowing how frustrating it is. Removing a broken screw can be really messy and can take a lot of time while it may also damage your workpiece.

There are many ways you can use to remove the stripped screw or broken screw with no head. Out of those many methods, we have listed the most effective and reliable ones.

You can opt for any of these methods according to your convenience.

How To Remove a Stripped Or Broken Screw

1. Use a Screw Extractor

Screw extractors are a good choice as they are counter-threaded to the screws. Screws have a right-handed twist while screw extractors have a left-handed twist.

Find a bit that is much smaller than your screw. The diameter of the drill bit should be 1/2 the diameter of the drill bit. Be gentle with the extractor. Attach it to a drill machine and make a hole in the head of the screw.

Then attach the extractor to the drilled hole. Turn the extractor using a tap wrench and the flutes on the tool will dig into the screw, causing it to lock tightly.

Once the extractor is securely locked, you can remove the screw by turning it counterclockwise.

2. Extracting pliers

If your screw has not penetrated deep inside your workpiece, you can opt for screw-extracting pliers which are specially designed for the purpose.

Have your full grip and hold the screw really tight otherwise any slippage may break your screw worsening the condition.

Pull out the screw with the help of the plier. If you do not want to damage the threads, you can remove the screw slowly by giving it a rotating motion with help of the plier.

3. Cutting Wheel

You can easily remove the broken screw using a flat-head screwdriver if you have a cutting wheel. Just put the wheel on top of the broken screw and make a slot in the screw.

If your screw is too deep for a cutting wheel to be used, use the screw extractor to pull a  portion of the screw from the surface and then make a slot.

Now your flathead screwdriver can easily fit into the slot and you can screw out your broken piece of the screw.

4. Using a drill

This method will work only if your screw is not completely sunk into the material and there is a portion of material protruding out.

Grab an electric drill and open the chuck. Try to get hold of the screw, tighten the chuck as much as you can and then drill out the broken screw by giving reverse rotation.

5. Just leave it

If it is not necessary, you can leave the broken screw in place. simply drill a pilot hole and drive a second screw about 1/4 inch from the first one.

If you are working on a project and concerned about the looks, just fill the hole with a dowel that matches the color of your wood or metal.

Ways To Prevent a Screw From Getting Stripped or Broken

It is wise to be careful and protect against risk rather than be careless. Always take measures to prevent a screw from getting stripped- Better be safe than sorry.

While it is not in your hands to cut down the chance of a screw getting broken, however, they are ways by which you can always minimize the risk.

1. Choose the right type of screw

Always make sure to choose the right type of screws as some types of screws are more likely to strip or break than others. It is better to opt for good quality.

Always choose a screw that has more contact points. This will prevent unnecessary slippage of the driver thus preventing stripping. For example, a Philips head has more contact than a slotted head.

2. Use the correct screwdriver or screw bit

Use a screw bit that is not too small nor too big for the screw. The bit needs to be of the right size so that it can fit firmly into the screw’s head otherwise. Also, make sure that the bit is not too dull or sharp which can lead to damaging the screw.

Make sure that use the exact bit that is intended for the screw. A Philips drive and Pozidriv might seem similar, but they should always be used with drives specifically designed for them.

3. Keep the driver aligned to the axis of the screw

When you are driving in a screw, always keep in mind to keep the screw and the driver straight. If it is angled even a little bit, you may end up damaging your screw.

It is easy not to realize that your screwdriver is at an angle. Hence, each time you turn the driver, make sure that it stays straight throughout.

4. Don’t apply too much force

No matter whether you are using a manual screwdriver or an impact driver, make sure to start slow. Do not press too hard and rotate it at the lowest speed.

Increase the speed gradually as you drive in the screw. This will help prevent the driver from skipping out of the screw’s head.

5. Make a pilot hole

There are times when your screw doesn’t go down deeper and gets stuck. Here, there is a high chance that you wi break or strip your screw.

Get a drill bit that is slightly smaller than the screw and drill a pilot hole for your screw. Then drill the screw into the hole. This will not only prevent the screw from breaking but will also help prevent cracks in wood and walls while driving the screw.


No matter how careful you are, there is still a chance that you may damage your screw. And it’s no big deal. You can simply remove the screw with the help of so many methods we discussed above.

However, as we know prevention is better than cure, we can try our best not to get into the situation. By following the steps mentioned, you will definitely reduce the frequency of damaging screws.

Also, while working with broken or stripped screws, you should keep your personal safety in mind and follow all safety measures. After reading this article, if you have any questions on how to install a drop ceiling, please leave a comment below.

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FAQ: How To Remove a Stripped or Broken Screw

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