Screwdrivers are undoubtedly the most common and popular tool that every one of us has in our homes invented probably in the late 15th century, either in Germany or France.
While every one of us is familiar with a screwdriver, there is still a wide variety that has been designed for various purposes based on needs.
Many of us are still unfamiliar with and will get shocked by the range of availability of screwdrivers, which could make your work even easier.
So today, we will be going into all the types of screwdrivers and their uses to help you find the best tool that suits your requirement.
Let’s get started.
Different Types of Screwdrivers
A simple screwdriver consists of a handle and a shaft, that ends with a tip that has been in use since the middle ages. Since then, there have been many developments in screwdrivers and many kinds were developed based on needs.
Although this tool has a very simple design and function, choosing the ideal screwdriver for your job can be a bit of a chore because screwdrivers come in a dozen of varieties.
Using the wrong tool can strip and damage the screw as well as the screwdriver head. Therefore, it becomes very important to know where to use which tool.
Basically, I have categorized all the screwdrivers into three types.
- Based upon Variation of Tip
- Based upon Profession
- Based upon style
Classification Based Upon Variation of Tip
1. Flat head/slotted head Screwdrivers
These are also called straight or flat-blade screwdrivers. They are one of the oldest types and the most common types of screwdrivers
It has a flattened tip used for screws with single, straight slots straight across the head. Flat-blade screwdrivers are multi-purpose and can typically be used for a range of applications.
They come in various sizes to meet the size requirements of the screw. Also, according to needs, there are light-duty screwdrivers or heavy-duty screwdrivers.
They are of two types according to their application: keystone and cabinet. Keystone screwdrivers have a wider tip as compared to cabinet type which makes them applicable for larger screws and very small screws.
2. Phillips Screwdrivers
Phillips head screwdrivers are also called crosshead screwdrivers. These were invented in the 19th century by Henry Phillips with the aim to introduce power-driven screwdrivers.
Flathead screwdrivers have less grip and always pose the chance of slipping. So, Phillips screwdrivers were designed with angled tips to allow them to fit deeper into the screw head, thus reducing the chances of the driver sliding out.
As today’s world is moving from manually driven to power or motor-driven, these were the first step toward power-driven screwdrivers to save time and do things more precisely and accurately.
3. Pozidriv Screwdriver
Pozidriv’s is an upgraded version of Phillip’s head. Unlike the Phillips screwdriver, the pozidriv screwdriver has two cross marks that are offset at an angle of 45 degrees.
This shape provides better resistance to slipping and offers more stability than Phillip’s head when more torque is applied.
4. Torx Screwdriver
Known by various names such as star head screwdrivers, pointed screwdrivers, six-point screwdrivers, and Torx screwdrivers.
This unique shape increases the area of contact between the tip and the screw head and provides more torque as compared to the Philips screwdrivers and pozidriv screwdrivers.
Even on power devices with high driving speeds, too much torque can be transferred with no chance of equipment slipping.
Torx types of screwdrivers come in a variety of sizes. It uses a number system to determine the size of the tip like T8, T10, T15, T25, etc. As the number goes up, the size of the tooltip increases.
5. Hex Screwdriver
Hex screwdriver is also known as hexagon, hex key, or Allen wrench. These are L-shaped tools and are often used to fasten bolts instead of screws commonly used in furniture assembly and bicycle repair.
Allen keys or wrenches are more popular tools for loosening or tightening hex screws. However, hexagon screwdrivers exist to serve the same purpose without sliding or cam-out effect when driving it.
Hex keys are designed in such a way that they do not require a lot of space to turn the bolt. These are commonly included with DIY furniture pieces and are sold in sets of different sizes.
6. Robertson/square Screwdriver
Robertson screwdrivers originated in Canada and are most commonly used in USA and Canada.
The square-shaped tip provides a good locking with screws that allows them to have one of the highest torque tolerance of any screwdriver.
These screwdrivers were first used by the Ford Motor Company for industrial purposes, as these drivers speed up production, reduce losses, and are highly reliable. Today, they find applications in the automotive and furniture industry.
7. Tri-wing Screwdriver
Tri-wing screwdriver has a tip that resembles a pinwheel. They operate on screws that have triangular sockets with three wings.
Tri-wing screwdrivers are costly and not easily available like other drivers. These drivers were previously manufactured for use in aerospace engineering, but now you can easily find them in home electronics.
These are used for specific devices such as consoles, mobile phones, and cameras. They often feature quite small tips to enable use with smaller screws and components.
8. Tri-point Screwdriver
The tri-point screwdriver is Y-shaped and has three blades set at an angle of 120 degrees.
These types of screwdrivers are very familiar in the electronic industry and tech giants. They find applications in phones, gaming systems, and other devices manufactured by Nintendo and Apple.
9. Tri-angle Screwdriver
Tri-angle screwdriver has a triangular tip that can be used on screw heads with triangle-shaped depressions.
Triangular screws are rarely used types of screws and are found only in certain kinds of toys and battery packs. Hence these types of screwdrivers are rarely used.
10. Spanner Screwdriver
A spanner screwdriver is also known as a snake eye, pig nose, or security screwdriver. It is called so because of the distinct shape of the spanner screw which has a head with two holes.
The screws have a unique head to make them tamper-proof as they cannot be removed using any other screwdriver thus making them security screws and less likely to be vandalized.
These screws are used in public areas where tampering is more likely to occur such as Bathroom dividers, Public Art Displays, Elevators, etc.
11. Clutch head Screwdriver
The clutch head screwdriver is also called a bow-tie screwdriver due to the slots that look like a bow tie.
These types of screws are used in the automotive industry and are commonly found in older model GM pickup trucks and Corvettes from the 1950s.
12. Bolster Screwdriver
Bolster screwdrivers has a nut at the base of the handle. This design is found typically on heavy-duty screwdrivers.
This design comes in handy when you need to apply greater amounts of torque to the driver. A wrench can be used on the welded nut to be able to withstand maximum pressure loads in any condition.
13. Frearson Screwdriver
The Frearson Screwdriver is also known as Reed and Prince Screwdriver. It is similar to that of a Phillips screwdriver with some changes.
Frearson has a sharp tip and is tapered to a sharp point with a larger angle, unlike Phillip Driver which has bluntly rounded points. One advantage over the Phillips drive is that one driver or bit fits all screw sizes.
14. Japanese Industrial Standard Screwdriver
Japanese Industrial Standard (JIS) Screwdriver is similar to the traditional Phillips Screwdriver. The only difference is that Phillips bits have a larger angle while in JIS the slots are narrower and more vertical to prevent slipping out of the screw.
These screws are commonly found in Japanese equipment and JIS screwdriver heads are identified by a single dot or “X” on one side of the cross blade to distinguish it from a Phillips.
15. Offset Screwdriver
An offset screwdriver is typically a double-headed steel rod. Their shank is bent at right angles to face in opposite directions.
They have been designed in such a way that they will be useful when dealing with hard-to-reach or obstructed fasteners in tight work areas which would have been impossible with a normal screwdriver.
16. Multipurpose Screwdrivers
The multipurpose screwdrivers have a shank with a hexagonal hole at the end that can fit various drivers, which means a user can drive various styles of screws without having to change drivers.
They are one of the most convenient tools you can ever have. They offer more versatility and economy of space and most multi-bit screwdrivers feature a design that makes them easier to use than standard screwdrivers.
Classification based on Profession
1. Watchmaker’s Screwdrivers
Watchmakers screwdrivers are always available in sets. In a set, there are six screwdrivers having number markings from 0 to 5. The screwdriver with the number 0 has the thinnest bit and the one with the number 5 has the largest bit.
A set of good quality screwdriver sets are made of stainless steel and the handles will have a hexagonal end piece. This is to ensure that they do not roll when put down on the bench.
2. Carpenter’s Screwdrivers
Carpenter’s screwdrivers are tough tools used in woodworking. Their handles are generally wooden and shaped in such a way to enable the worker to exert full force on the screwdriver.
3. Jeweler’s Screwdrivers
Jeweler’s screwdrivers are the same as watchmaker’s screwdrivers. They are very precise tools used on tiny screws.
It is also known as a watch or eyeglass driver. They are usually Philips and flathead screwdrivers.
Classification based on Style
1. Manual screwdrivers
These are the most common screwdrivers and have been in use for ages. It consists of a handle and a shank that ends with a tip of different shapes and sizes.
While using a manual screwdriver, you’ll have to lift the screwdriver from the screw head after each turn of the screw and reposition it for the next turn. You will have to repeat this till complete screwing or unscrewing.
2. Electric Screwdrivers
These are also known as screw guns and powered screwdrivers. Since they are electrically powered, you do not need to exert manual force to exert torque.
Electric screwdrivers have been very common these days as they reduce your effort to a great extent. This type of screwdriver is perfect for one who has an interest in DIY’S. It is also one of the things that you must keep in your home toolbox for emergency use.
3. Battery-powered Screwdrivers
Battery-powered Screwdrivers are operated with small batteries and are not as powerful as screw guns. But still, they provide enough power for most applications.
4. Corded Screwdrivers
These screwdrivers need to be connected to a power source during use and hence these drivers are the most powerful screwdrivers in terms of the torque they can generate.
However, they are not very common as they always need to be transported to a nearby power source. They are used only in those places where higher torque is necessary.
5. Cordless Screwdrivers
As the name indicates, they are not connected to a power source. Instead, they are provided with rechargeable batteries.
They offer less power as compared to a corded one and the main advantage is portability.
6. Magnetic Screwdrivers
A magnetic screwdriver has a magnetic tip that allows for easy placing and retrieval of screws. The problem of dropping and losing the screw is solved with a magnetic screwdriver.
It is very useful in small electronics to lace screws in hard-to-reach areas. Its use becomes easy because they stick to your screwdriver.
Once your screwdriver is demagnetized, you can always magnetize your existing screwdriver using a rare earth magnet instead of going for a new one each time.
The most important thing to note is to use the right screwdriver size for your screws. Using the wrong type or size screwdriver can damage your screws.
Screwdrivers come in many different sizes. There are standard, large, medium, and small. The tip width and length of the screwdriver are usually measured in millimeters.
There are four standard sizes of Phillips screwdrivers. These range from #0 to #4, where #0 is the smallest screwdriver and #4 is the largest one.
Then there are Torx screwdrivers classified by Torx size which is indicated by the letter T followed by a number.
Different types of screwdrivers have different classifications of sizes.
- Slot or Flathead = 1/8”, 5/32”, 3/16”, 1/4”, 5/16”, 3/8”
- Phillips = #000, #00, #0, #1, #2, #3
- Allen or Hex = 0.7, 0.9, 1.3, 1.5, 2, 2.5, 3, 3.5, 4, 4.5, 5 mm
- Torx = T2, T3, T4, T5, T10, T15, T20, T25, T30, T40
- Robertson or Square Recess = #0, #1, #2, #3
No toolbox is complete without a variety of screwdrivers. Whatever project you are working on, They will always be a need for a screwdriver.
You cannot sweat out with the wrong screwdriver. An improper screwdriver can be really frustrating making your job more difficult and can even damage your workpiece.
Hence it becomes very important to have the right set of screwdrivers that fits your work profile. For that, you need to have a little knowledge about different screwdrivers and their uses
In this article, we have tried our best to cover all the types of screwdrivers and their uses. We hope that we have cleared all your doubts about the screwdrivers.
In case of any queries, feel free to comment.
FAQ: Different Types of Screwdrivers
Today, there are so many different types and sizes of screwdrivers around us which creates confusion among people. There are many questions in the minds of people related to this, here we are answering some important questions.
1. How many types/sizes of screwdriver should an average homeowner have?
As a homeowner you will always be needing a screwdriver time and again to fix things.
Slotted, Philips, Pozidriv and Hex screwdriver are the basic things that everyone must have at their homes.
2. Why are there so many types of screwdrivers?
Each screw head meets a different need or solves a problem.
Slotted: Easy to manufacture
Philips: Solves the centering problem
Pozidriv: Designed not to cam out and so on….
All of these is because of history. Overtime, screwheads kept of improving for different purposes and here we are with so many screwdrivers.