types of screwdriver

Types of Screwdrivers and Their Uses

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Today we will discuss about types of screwdrivers. Screwdrivers are one of the most widespread driving tools you can use to put together or take apart a wide array of screws. Screwdrivers traced their origin in the middle ages when they were used to tighten the screws on armor suits. They have evolved over the year to the present years, where they serve several purposes like tightening, loosening, installing, or removing screws.

This is an essential tool that you should not lack in your toolkit. You can use a screwdriver to open mobile phones and computers. You can also use them in carpentry, metal work, and industrial production.

If you are going to use a screwdriver to work on your electronic devices, it is important for you to understand the different types of screwdrivers that are available and what each one is good for. Below we look at the different types of screwdrivers and their uses.

Parts of a Screwdriver:

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There are three main parts of a screwdriver:

  • Shaft or shank
  • Handle
  • Drive tip or bit

The three parts are made in a process involving the use of machines to form the shape of material with an extruder and heat-treating it to achieve a preferred tensile strength.

Screwdriver Handle:

These are used for gripping and are made to prevent rolling on flat surfaces. They can also be ergonomically designed in order to improve comfort when gripping.

Over the years, tools have become more sophisticated and varied. Most handles are now made of hard plastic composites that provide an ergonomic grip while holding up well under stress.

They can also be fitted with soft, non-slip thermoplastic rubber grips.

Shaft or Shank:

The shaft or shank is made of solid steel to prevent bending and twisting when force is applied. It is rounded or hexagonal to allow a spanner or wrench to be used, increasing the amount of torque applied. The shaft and drive tip may be made from different materials; the colored portion can usually come off, so it’s more visible when you do your initial search for that pesky screw.

Drive Tip or Bit:

The drive tip can be part of the shank or an interchangeable component known as a driver. These are stipulated for multi-bit tools and may also be called screwdriver heads.

Screwdriver Sizes

There are various sizes of screwdrivers, from large to small, and even stubby ones, that are great for working in tight spaces. Typically, screwdriver widths and lengths will be measured in millimeters (mm).

It is important to note that different brands and types of screwdrivers come in different sizes. For example, there are four standard sizes from #0 (the smallest) up through #4, and they differ from one another by only 1/16th of an inch at most.

Some tools are also classified by Torx size, designated in this case by the letter T followed by a number. The range goes from miniature screwdrivers to larger ones for working with heavy machinery, for example, T45 and beyond.

This can also be applied to screws and screwdrivers, helping you choose the correct-sized tool for each type of screw.

Sets of Screwdrivers

Screwdriver sets contain a variety of differently shaped bits for performing different functions. For example, precision screwdriver sets are suited to delicate electronic work, whereas electrician’s screwdrivers are more multi-purpose and often easier to use by inexperienced hands.

Sets typically contain a variety of tools in different sizes, for example, multiple screwdriver blades with varying tip sizes. Torx screwdriver sets are a popular option because of their versatility. The best set to buy will depend on your requirements, so research before making any purchase decisions.

Types of Screwdrivers:

Screwdrivers are categorized according to manual, precision, magnetic, and ratcheting screwdrivers.

Manual Screwdrivers:

Manual screwdrivers are basic as they have a head, handle and shaft that you turn with your right hand. These screwdrivers include Robertson, Pozidriv, Frearson, and Hex Screwdrivers.

Pozidriv Screwdrivers:

Pozidriv screwdrivers are considered a more sophisticated variation of the Phillips screwdriver. They have a similar design to the Phillips Screwdriver, only that they allow you to put in more torque on the screwdriver without risking having it cam out. It can be identified with the four shallow edges at its tip, which are smaller and blunter. Its increased torque that does not have a cam-out gives it a tighter grip that prevents it from slipping.

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Its handle is also designed to facilitate faster rotation in applying low torque, increasing the strength and efficiency balance. Though it has similar uses to the Phillips screwdriver, the Pozidriv Screwdriver is more effective, reliable, and efficient compared the former.

Hex Screwdrivers:

Also known as Hexagon or Allen Wrench Screwdrivers, these screwdrivers are commonly used to fasten hex-headed screws. Hex-headed screws are small in size ranging from 0.03″ to ⅜,” and are widely found in doorknobs, mechanical installation, and towel bars.

Hex Screwdrivers
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The hex screwdriver is characterized by an L-shape that has a hexagonal cross-section. The handle of the screwdrivers has a rotating cap which allows the user to steady the shaft of the screwdriver while only rotating the cap at the back. Hex screwdrivers are a particular favorite in the assembly of furniture and repair of bicycles.

Robertson Screwdriver:

Robertson screwdrivers are the least common type of screwdrivers and are mostly used in Canada, where they originated. Also referred to as the square head driver, this screwdriver is characterized by a square-tipped head that prevents the damaging or stripping of the screw.

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The square-tipped head gives it the greatest torque tolerance compared to any other screwdriver. It has a cushion grip that allows for better handling and slipping as there is quick identification of the size of the screw. Its durable nature makes it a reliable tool in the furniture and automotive industry.

Bow Tie Screwdrivers:

Commonly referred to as Clutch Head screwdrivers, these drivers are very popular in motor vehicles such as vintage GM automobiles. Clutch Head Screwdrivers have a tip that resembles a bow tie. It has higher torque and can withstand a faster spinning power.

bow tie screwdriver

The security version of this screwdriver is screwed one way with a slotted screwdriver making it challenging to be removed. These screwdrivers are commonly used in screws found in areas with little maintenance, like prisons and bus stations.

Frearson/ Reed/ Prince Screwdrivers:

Frearson screwdrivers have a similar design to the Phillips Screwdriver, only that instead of blunt tips, they have sharp tips. Its sharp end gives it a higher torque than the Phillips Screwdriver. The sharp tip is also essential for maximum grip and reducing spillage.

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It works with Frearson screws of all sizes and a big number of Phillips Screws. Its acetate handles are chemical resistant and impervious to many chemicals and solvents. It is a common tool used in nautical equipment that requires precision and a smaller set of tools. The Frearson Screwdriver prevents shattering and premature wear. As a power tool, a bit holder is commonly used with insert bits making it economical and more flexible.

Japanese Industrial Standard Screwdrivers:

Japanese Industrial Standard Screwdrivers are one of the most recognized types of screwdrivers used for fastening cross-screws. It bears a close resemblance to the Phillips Screwdriver, only that the screw head of a Japanese Industrial Standard Screwdriver is smaller than that of the Phillips Screwdriver.

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It has a cruciform tip that gives it a higher torque application. Its self-centering tip design allows it to get into the head of the screw easily and quickly. The Japanese Industrial Standard Screwdriver is commonly used in screw heads that are commonly imported from Japan.

A Phillips and Frearson screwdriver can be used to open the imported screws, though it will be a daunting task. When working on brand products from Japan, a Japanese Industrial Standard screwdriver is preferable as it prevents cam-outs and damage to the screws.

Precision Screwdrivers:

Precision screwdrivers are similar to manual drivers, only that they are much smaller. They are mostly used in jewelry and electronics. Precision screwdrivers include Torx, Phillips, and Flathead screwdrivers.

Flathead Screwdrivers:

Flathead screwdrivers are the most common and oldest types of screwdrivers. Also known as a slotted head screwdriver, the flathead screwdriver has a wedge-shaped flat tip. They come in different sizes to fit the size requirements of a screw. The flathead screwdriver tightens or loosens screws that have single and straight slots.

Flathead Screwdrivers
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It has a handle attached to a steel shaft flattened at the tip. The tips’ size varies from tiny millimeters that can tighten screws of eyeglasses to large tips that can be used to tighten industrial screws. Its labeling is done considering both the steel shaft’s length and the tip’s size. The modern-day flatheads have tapered parallel tips to increase their grip on the screws.

The tapered parallel tips are essential in preventing slipping that could injure your hand or destroy the surrounding material. Slotted head screwdrivers are most commonly used in electrical equipment and the construction of furniture.

Torx Screwdriver:

A Torx screwdriver is also a types of precision screwdrivers known as a star head screwdriver or a pointed screwdriver. Its six-point star-shaped tip explains its generic name of star head screwdriver. Its star shape is essential for increasing the contact area between the screw and the tip to enable more application of torque. The application of more torque will facilitate a secure grip on the fastener head. The star tips come in sizes ranging from 0.031″ to 0.81″.

Torx Screwdriver
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The dimensions are identified by T numbers, from T1 to T100. It is commonly used for fastening wood to concrete, finish work, and structural framing. Torx screwdrivers are a particular favorite for power drills as users rely on them to reduce spillage with power applications.

Phillips Screwdrivers:

A Phillips screwdriver is referred to as a crosshead screwdriver because its tip has pointed edges that resemble a cross. Its cross-headed tip can fit perfectly into a Phillips screw with cross slots. Phillips screwdrivers come in five different sizes, from size zero to size four.

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Failure to use the correct size will result in stripping the screw, making it difficult to remove. The cross-shaped tip helps in providing more traction during the loosening or tightening of the screw. The cross-shaped tips are also angled to enable the screwdriver to fit deeply into the head of the screw.

A Phillips screwdriver is designed to automatically slip out of the screw when a specific torque limit is reached. These screwdrivers are commonly used in drywall installation, construction projects, and power drilling.

Electric Screwdrivers:

Electric screwdrivers put screws into pre-drilled holes. These screwdrivers include battery-powered screwdrivers and corded screwdrivers.

Electric Screwdrivers
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Corded Screwdrivers:

Corded screwdrivers are electricity-powered, eliminating the need for you to utilize your muscles in the application of torque. These screwdrivers normally operate on a single-phase electricity main supply. These screwdrivers have toughened alloy steel blades and a soft-grip handle that is large enough to improve its comfort and durability.

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Electrical screwdrivers are more intensive as they offer a greater tightening torque. A higher torque symbolizes a strong screwing force, making it easier to screw even in hard material. A higher torque is linked to the electrical power of the screwdriver. The screwdriver will be more powerful if there is a high supply voltage. These screwdrivers are suitable where a power source is available near the zone where the electric screwdriver is to be used. Corded screwdrivers are commonly used in mechanical workshops and industry assembly stations.

Battery-Powered Screwdrivers:

Battery-powered screwdrivers have lithium-ion batteries that are lighter than other batteries and hold a charge better. The voltage of the battery determines the strength of the tightening torque. A higher voltage means that the torque will also be higher. It is also referred to as a screw gun as it quickly works a screw making it very reliable for people with a screwdriver with a broken head.

Battery-Powered Screwdrivers
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Battery-powered screwdrivers are a favorite for electricians, computer repair specialists, and appliance repair personnel. This screwdriver maintains a high torque until the last few seconds of its battery life. The lightweight nature and powerful LED light make it suitable for use in small spaces with insufficient space between the working area and the floor.

For instance, a battery-powered screwdriver is very important in the furniture industry as it makes it possible to move around without restrictions.

Magnetic Screwdrivers:

Magnetic screwdrivers attach to screws that hold them in place as you tighten and loosen the screws. These screwdrivers have magnetic screwdriver blades attached to plastic or wooden handles. A magnetic screwdriver has a magnetic tip that holds the screw in place while it is being fastened.

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Most manual screwdrivers have magnetic tips installed on them. It is possible to magnetize a screwdriver that exists by using an earth magnet rather than buying a new set of magnetic tipped screwdrivers. Screws are easily removed when unscrewed by lifting the screwdriver from the workspace.

Magnetic screwdrivers are essential in electronic industries when trying to put screws in hard-to-reach areas. It is not advisable to use magnetic screwdrivers when working with sensitive electronic devices, as the magnetic tool may prove detrimental to the electrical components.

Ratcheting Screwdrivers:

It is another types of screwdrivers. Ratcheting screwdrivers require you to spin your hand 360 degrees every time you twist your hand as long as it goes in one direction. It include angled screwdrivers and ratcheting screwdrivers.

Ratcheting Screwdrivers:

A ratcheting screwdriver operates on a mechanism that facilitates the turning of force in one direction while freely moving in the other direction. It can drive or remove screws without having to touch the bits on every turn.

Ratcheting Screwdrivers
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These screwdrivers have an internal ball-bearing mechanism that gives you an easy back-and-forth wrist action that helps the user to make multiple turns of the screw. The ratcheting screwdriver can be moved clockwise and anticlockwise by switching a button on the screwdriver.

These screwdrivers are particularly helpful for electricians as they are constantly working on fixing and tightening a wide variety of screws. Mechanics also use these screwdrivers to open different parts of the vehicle without dealing with the inconvenience of constantly switching screwdrivers.

Angled Screwdrivers:

Angled Screwdrivers are designed to turn at specific angles, particularly 90 degrees. The user works in one direction while the work is being done at an angle of 90 degrees. It is an 8-piece screwdriver that gets into areas with only 1 inch of clearance.

Angled Screwdrivers
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It has a handle forged with steel and precision tips perfectly inserted even in narrow locations. Most angled screwdrivers use a ratchet. When a convenient ratcheting mechanism is used, the screwdriver will provide adequate torque to loosen and tighten screws.

There are different types of angled screwdrivers. Some angled screwdrivers only have one size head attached to the handle firmly, allowing them to fit into a small range of screws. Other angled screwdrivers will enable you to adjust the angle to fit restricted spaces. Angled screwdrivers are used in places where normal screwdrivers cannot reach.


There are many different screwdriver designs and the way they are used depends on the screw type. When choosing a screwdriver, it is important to have the right one for the job to avoid stripping or damaging the head of the screw. The most common screws found in electronics are Phillips and flat. Each design is made for a specific type of screw so you should use the correct screwdriver or it will not be possible to properly thread & tighten them.

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