Whether you are someone who needs to use screwdrivers in their job every day or just a college kid trying to build an IKEA chair, we have all needed a screwdriver one time or the other.
It is one of the most commonly required tools around the house. Despite having a relatively simple function, screwdrivers come with many different types of tips. In this article, we will dive into the different types of screwdrivers and their uses.
Stay tuned to learn more!
The Common Kinds of Screwdrivers
Let’s talk about the ones you will probably need for household appliances, devices, and more. In fact, you probably already own one or two of these drivers. Keep reading to learn about the ones you don’t.
1. Slotted Screwdrivers
The slotted screwdrivers are also known as straight, flat, or flathead screwdrivers. These are the oldest types. They work on screws that have only a single slot on top of them.
The flat blades come in many different sizes to accommodate different screw sizes. Usually, you will find two sizes in your home tool kit, which as 5.5 mm and 8 mm. The basic slotted screwdriver also has many different versions of it, which are discussed below.
In a high-quality slotted screwdriver, the tips will be parallel. This will help to grip the screw’s slot tightly, preventing any slippage.
Whenever you use this kind of screwdriver, be careful because the single tip makes it easy to slip, which may scratch the surface of the material you are working on. It can also harm your hand.
The two main kinds of slotted screwdrivers are –
A. Flared Slotted Screwdriver
The tip of this is flared, which means the tip is slightly flattened to make the shaft narrower than the tip’s width.
B. Parallel Slotted Screwdriver
These screwdriver’s edges are of the same width as the shaft. This feature makes them useful when you are tightening or loosening screws in a pre-drilled hole.
2. Philips or Cross-Head Screwdrivers
Philips screwdrivers are called crosshead drivers because of the cruciform on their tips. Just about anything these days needs a Philips screwdriver. The tip is angled, which eliminates the risk of slipping like the slotted ones have.
Because the tip is angled, the driver can go deeper into the slot and secure a tight grip, eliminating slippage. Thanks to this feature, you can apply more torque on these screwdrivers.
Philips drivers are designed to slip off a screwhead if a certain torque limit is crossed, which can be both a strength and a weakness depending on how you look at it.
Because of their usefulness, Philips screwdrivers are used in every field that requires the use of a screw. They are also the most preferred type of driver and screw head nowadays. Any screwdriver set will include several Philips drivers in different sizes.
3. Pozidriv Screwdrivers
Pozidriv screwdrivers are like an upgraded version of the type we talked about previously. They were made to reduce the risk of slipping out if too much torque or pressure is applied.
The tips of these drivers have four shallow lines, centered on the top. This tip is blunter as well as smaller than the tip of a common Philips screwdriver. It also contains ribs in between the blades, which increases contact.
This added contact with the screw slot ensures that more force and torque can be applied to the driver when you are using it, and it will not slip out. The head is also less likely to break.
4. Torx Screwdrivers
Torx screwdrivers are trademarked. They were once used mainly in security & manufacturing, but now they are widely used in commercial areas too.
The tip of a Torx driver contains a recessed 6-pointed star blade, with rounded off sharp angles. This enhances the contact area between the tip and the screw slot, which provides enhanced torque. Thanks to this, a Torx driver can hold its own against the maximum torque. It does not slip or break easily.
Currently, these screwdrivers are popular in the security and appliance manufacturing industry. Their sizes range from 0.03 inches to 0.081 inches, and they have designated numbers from T1 to T100. Appliances that come with Torx screws are harder to take apart because of the tightness.
5. Hex Screwdrivers
You know the hexagonal nuts you come across on bikes and such sometimes? These screwdrivers are used to install them or take them off. They are also known as a hex socket, an Allen wrench, or a hex key. And they are not like traditional screwdrivers which come with a tip and a blade.
Instead, these screwdrivers contain a hexagonal recess. Because the hex key comes with a straight handle, you can turn a hexagonal bolt in very little space. The most common uses of these screwdrivers are bicycle maintenance and furniture assembly.
If you require high torque from this screwdriver, get one with a T0 handle, as it can withstand high torque usage.
6. Tri-Wing Screwdrivers
Tri-wing screwdrivers have a very unique design, which also means the screws they are used on are also very unique. The tip of these screwdrivers resembles a pinwheel. And the screw heads have a triangular socket, with 3 winged extensions.
This unique design ensures that you cannot remove the screw with any other type of driver. At first, tri-wing screwdrivers were used only in aerospace engineering. But now, they are also used in home electronics. Their greatest advantage is that they can be tightened to a really high torque value.
The size of these drivers ranges from 1 to 3.
7. Robertson Screwdrivers
Now, this is a less common type of screwdriver. It comes with square heads and are widely used in their country of origin, Canada. They have extremely high torque tolerance, sometimes even considered to be the highest among all screwdrivers.
The top of Robertson drivers is a recessed square socket. The absence of a tip ensures that the likeliness of this kind of screwdriver falling out of the recess is at a minimum. Thus, it allows the user to apply a very high force to turn. Rest assured that the driver is not slipping anywhere.
Because of such outstanding durability, Robertson drivers are most popularly used in the automotive & furniture industries. You will not find these in basic screwdriver toolkits, but comprehensive sets might have them.
8. Tri-Angle Screwdrivers
As you can guess from the name, these screwdrivers come with a triangular tip, and they go with screws that have triangular depressions. These screwdrivers can be used on toys, appliances, and electronics.
However, a hex driver can also work on TA screws. So, not many screwdriver kits come with tri-angle screwdrivers.
9. Tri-Point Screwdrivers
Also called Y-tip or three-prong screwdrivers, tri-point screwdrivers come with tips containing three blades that are positioned at 120-degree angles, thus making a ‘Y’ shape.
Screws made to work with these drivers are extremely popular in the electronics industry. Tech giants such as Apple, Nintendo, and more use these screws in phones, tabs, gaming devices, and such other items.
Unlike tri-angle screws, tri-point screws only work with tri-point screwdrivers. So, you cannot use a hex driver with them.
10. Spanner Screwdrivers
Do not confuse the name with the British term, which means a wrench. Spanner screwdrivers are also known as pig-nose, snake-eyes, or drilled head screwdrivers. They have an unusual tip, with has a two-prong design. It resembles a barbeque fork.
The screws for these drives have a flat slot, with two little round depressions on each side. So, it is almost impossible to remove those screws without a spanner.
Because of the high security, spanner screws are used by maintenance workers on elevators, bus terminals, subways, and restrooms. Spanner drivers come in a range of 4 to 12 sizes.
11. Clutch Head Screwdrivers
The tip of these drivers resembles a bow tie. For this, it is known as a bow tie screwdriver too. The use of these drivers is found in the automotive industry. They were very popular in old GM cars.
A clutch head screwdriver has enhanced torque, and therefore, can withstand a higher turning force.
However, the screws meant for this driver can also be installed and removed with slotted screwdrivers. There is another upgraded security version, which can only be tightened with a slotted screwdriver, but can’t be loosened.
Their use is rather infrequent, and you can find them in places with irregular maintenance such as prisons.
12. Frearson Screwdrivers
Also called the Reed and Prince, Frearson screwdrivers have a similar design to Philips drivers, with subtle changes. Unlike the rounded points of Philips drivers, these screwdrivers come with a sharp point. Also, the tip’s angle is around 45 degrees.
This shape allows a Frearson driver to withstand more torque compared to a Philips driver. Also, the shape is compatible with Frearson screw heads of all sizes, as well as many Philips screws.
They are usually found in nautical equipment because of such versatility. Other areas where a smaller set of tools and high precision are needed also use this driver.
13. Bolster Screwdrivers
On bolster screwdrivers, you will find a nut welded to the body located beneath the handle, on top of the shaft. The purpose of this nut is that, in an event where a screw is stuck, you can put extra torque on it by using a wrench on the nut.
This means bolster drives can get you out of tight spots because that can take a lot of pressure.
14. Japanese Industrial Standard (JIS) Screwdrivers
Japan is one of the top leaders in technology currently. So, they require high standards as well as uniformity. Because of this, every major industry in Japan follows a specific set of standards. JIS drivers are a product of this standard.
It is a cruciform screwdriver that is similar to Philips drivers. You will find JIS screws on any products that are made in Japan. It is possible to get the job done with a Frearson or Philips driver on JIS screws, but there is a risk of damaging the screw head.
Often, to help with identifying, JIS screws come with a small dot or mark near their slot.
15. Nut Driver
This kind of driver is something DIYers will generally not have a use for, but they are popular in mechanical industries. Instead of the traditional tip and blade, these screwdrivers come with a socket. Thus, they perform similar to socket wrenches.
The moment you have a recessed bolt you need to reach; its advantage will become crystal clear. Regular socket wrenches’ handle stays parallel to the surface that holds the bolt. This requires extra space to turn it.
But with the straight handle and shank of a nut driver, such bolts can easily be turned within very little space. This is most suitable for low torque jobs.
16. Styles of Screwdrivers
Aside from the common types of tips, screwdrivers also have various styles. In this section, we are highlighting them briefly.
Great for applying pressure & torque without requiring manual strength. Subcategories of this include battery-operated, corded, and cordless.
They have a magnetic tip to hold the screw, which allows the user to work with one hand only. Very efficient to use.
The ratchet function limits the driver to turn in only one direction, and the direction can be set by the user. This shortens work times by stopping a screw from turning in the wrong direction.
Made to be turned 90 degrees. Useful for screws with very little clearance room, which makes them perfect for the automotive industry and any other similar industries.
This one is capable of working with very tiny screws, the kind you see in eyeglasses and pocket watches. Sets of these are usually a mix of Philips and slotted drives.
Similar to the previous one, they are precision-sized and comes in a wide range of tips and blades. You can find both common as well as uncommon blade types in computer driver sets.
Made specifically for left-handed individuals because they often find it hard to work with regular tools.
Those are all the different types of screwdrivers and their uses we had in store for you. Hopefully, you now have enough information to build your own DIY screwdriver kit for any occasion.
Till the next time, adios! Have a great week!
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