Different Types of Screwdrivers

Screwdrivers are one of the most useful tools to have around the house. Whether you are working on your car, doing some home DIY project, or doing a menial task such as replacing batteries, you will likely need a screwdriver at some point. In the past few years, however, it seems like there have been a much wider variety of screws used than before. Instead of just needing a simple flat head or Phillips head, you may need something more specialized. Read on as we go over the various types of screwdrivers that are out there.

1.) Flathead
This is in essence the simplest and one of the most common types of screwdrivers. They come in many different sizes and thicknesses and share one thing in common: a flat wedged shape and design. Depending on their size, you could use them to manipulate other types of screws or even as a pry bar for opening things such as paint cans and other tough to open containers.


2.) Phillips Head
Phillips head screwdrivers are another variety that you might be well acquainted with. They are characterized by a cross-type design at the tip that gives you more turning power when you twist it. It also offers more grip with the design to keep you from potentially slipping out of the screw head, which can easily happen with a flathead design. You will find these screws in everything from woodworking and automotive projects to electronics and toys.

3.) Torx
Torx screwdrivers have a very interesting design. The screwdriver tip has a six-pointed star which, like the Phillips head, gives it more power and control while turning it. These have become increasingly popular in a wide variety of industries in recent years such as automotive, commercial, and electrical. Don’t worry, that doesn’t mean that you can’t use them for household projects. They come in a range of sizes from 0.03 inches to 0.81 inches.

4.) Torx Security Screwdriver
This screwdriver is the same as the above-mentioned Torx screwdriver but comes with a special feature. In the center of these screws, there is a raised metal piece that the Torx security screwdriver fits snugly around. This is a special design to prevent tampering, so if you have an important project that you are working on and don’t want anyone to be able to take it apart, you may want to consider using these.

Torx Security Screwdriver

5.) Allen Wrench
Allen wrenches are also known as hex keys because of their hexagonal design. These are extremely common as well as some of the best tools to have on hand. Hex keys can be used not only for screws but for bolts as well. They only fit into slots with the same shape and come in a wide variety of sizes. These are great if you work on a lot of vehicles, or are a musician who uses the guitar, bass guitar, or drums.

6.) Allen Security Wrench
These are the same thing as the Allen wrench, but they come with a security feature to prevent tampering. They look like Allen wrench screws, but they have a small post in the middle that the key slides around. They also come in a wide variety of sizes but are limited to a hexagonal shape. These are common with products that people want to keep secure, thus the tools are relatively difficult to find. It is unlikely that you can swing by your local hardware store and find them readily, so you may need to look for one from an online retailer instead.

Allen Security Wrench

7.) Clutch Head
The Clutch head is an interestingly designed tool. It is similar in shape to the flathead but has slots that resemble a bowtie. These have great grip and torque that make it easier to screw and unscrew things with. The clutch head is used in security and automotive industries as a replacement to the generic flathead design.

8.) Schrader Valve Bit/Driver
This is an uncommon shape driver for the general public. Chances are you’ve never seen or worked with these unless you have experience working with HVAC, tires, or engines. They look like two letter C’s gripping the middle and raised part of the screw. These are designed to withstand a lot of pressure and torque.

Schrader Valve Bit:Driver

9.) Robertson
The Robertson screwdriver is very similar to the Phillips head. They are both designed to give you torque without having to worry about slipping out. The difference is that the Robertson is square-shaped. It fits snugly into the slow without having to worry about ruining the tip of your screwdriver like you would with other types of screws. This is uncommon in the United States but is the most common type of screw and screwdriver combination found in Canada.

10.) Pozidriv
The Pozidriv is an updated version of the Phillips head screwdriver. Imagine the Phillips head design with four more additional parts coming from the head ensuring more grip. The design rationale behind these was to prevent slipping out of the screw head when you apply more torque and to work more efficiently.

11.) Bolster
Bolster screwdrivers are heavy-duty screwdrivers that are designed to handle a lot of torque and power. They look like regular screwdrivers and come with a variety of tips, but if you look towards the handle, they have a hexagonal attachment. This is so that you can attach a wrench to this to give you the power needed for tougher jobs that you can’t normally do by hand.

12.) Frearson
The Frearson screwdriver is very similar to the Phillips head design. The tip is angled at 45 degrees and has a perfect crosscut in them. This is a versatile tool designed to keep your screwdriver from slipping and to handle high pressure. Because it looks like a Phillips head and is more or less a better-designed one, you can indeed use it with Phillips head screws. It is also a relatively uncommon screw type to come across, but it is used on boats and other maritime-related equipment.

13.) Japanese Industrial Standard
Like everything with Japanese products, quality is of the utmost importance. The Japanese Industrial Standard (JIS) screwdriver is a high-quality made Phillips head screwdriver. It has the same crosscut design but with a deeper point at the bottom. You can use a JIS in a Phillips head screw, but not vice-versa as this will lead to damaging or stripping your screws.

14.) Spanner
The Spanner is a very unique tool in design. There are no substitutes that you can use on these tools, as they are characterized by having two prongs at the end of the screwdriver. They are very limited in sizing, which ranges from 4 to 12. Not to worry though, as a homeowner or DIY enthusiast, you are highly unlikely to ever come across screws that look like these. They are most commonly found in elevators and bus doors.

15.) Nut Driver
A nut driver is a specialized screwdriver designed to tackle nuts and bolts. The end is hexagonally shaped like that of a hex key but instead of fitting inside of a slot, it slides over the outside. These are very useful and versatile in any industry or project that relies a lot on nuts and bolts. They work very well in tight and hard-to-reach spaces where it is difficult for a regular ratchet to access the bolts.

Nut Driver

16.) Tri Point
Looking at the tip of a tri-point screwdriver, you will notice that it has a y-shape at the end of it. These are designed for specialized electronics and their repairs. They are specifically made so you cannot easily loosen these screws with any regular screwdriver. These screwdrivers can be found in the aerospace industry as well.

17.) Tri-Wing Screwdriver
The tri-wing screwdriver looks very similar to the tri-point but has a larger slot in the middle and is angled differently. These are expensive and used for high-precision applications and industries. Not to worry, they are uncommon outside of the aerospace and heavy industry, so it is extremely unlikely that you will have anything around the house with these types of screws in them.

18.) Tri- Angle
The tri-angle screwdriver is shaped exactly as you would expect – like a triangle. The thing that makes them unique is that they are used in place of hex keys. The triangle points give you more control and torque without the worry of slipping and also allow you to work faster.

19.) Ratchet Screwdriver
A ratchet screwdriver is an amazing tool that combines the functionality of a screwdriver with the strength of a ratchet. You can change the head to one that best suits the task and hand, set the turn direction, and go to town. This is sure to make quick work of even the most difficult screws, which makes it ideal for auto mechanics and other mechanical industries.

Ratchet Screwdriver

20.) Torque Screwdrivers
Torque screwdrivers are unique as they allow you to give the maximum amount of torque to a screw without worrying about breaking it. Adjusting the handle to the appropriate level limits the amount of torque applied. It may be worth having a few of these lying around at home since they have different minimum and maximum torques for various jobs.

21.) Magnetic Screwdrivers
These are very handy little tools for several reasons. Magnetic screwdrivers come in various shapes and sizes and will suit almost any task. The magnet in the tip of the screwdriver serves two purposes. The first is to keep the screwdriver attached to the screw to prevent it from sliding out. The second is to keep the screw attached to the screwdriver head when you remove it. If you are working with tiny screws often found in glasses or watches that are easily lost, this might be a great tool to add to your collection.

22.) Electric Screwdrivers and Impact Drivers
These are very efficient and powerful tools when working with screws. They come in multiple sizes and styles, and you can attach any type of head to suit the job at hand. The main thing to consider is how much power and torque you might need. If you are doing quick jobs and working with smaller screws, then going cordless is a good option. They can be as large as a regular drill or small enough to fit in your pocket. Corded electric screwdrivers are workhorses in several industries. If you are building a house or working on a car, these are great options as they will give you the torque and power necessary to affix to detach anything that you may come across with minimal effort and time.

23.) Tethered Screwdrivers
Tethered screwdrivers are designed with durability in mind. They are built for heavy-duty work and often come with an attached strap. The strap seems like an odd addition to a screwdriver, but it is used to hold the screwdrivers together during transportation and to keep them attached to a utility belt so they don’t fall. This particular type of screwdriver is used by technicians that perform work from great heights so they don’t lose their tools if they happen to slip out of their hands.

24.) Insulated Screwdrivers
These are designed with your safety in mind. If you are working with electrical equipment, then it is highly recommended that you invest in these. Insulated screwdrivers are insulated to protect users from electric shock. You should the level of protection offered, as some insulated screwdrivers are not designed to withstand electrical shocks from larger appliances or higher voltages. You can tell that these screwdrivers are insulated because of their telltale rubber handles.

Insulated Screwdrivers

25.) Precision Screwdrivers
You guessed it: precision screwdrivers are made to handle precision jobs and tasks. They are compact and lightweight and come with various interchangeable attachments. Precision screwdriver sets often have magnetized tips to make sure that they stay attached to the screw and to help prevent you from losing them. It should also be mentioned that these are made for precision work, so be careful with the torque and pressure that you apply to them as this could easily strip or break the screws.

26.) Multi-bit Screwdrivers
Multi-bit screwdrivers are kind of like an all-in-one screwdriver kit. They come in sets with multiple differently sized heads that easily snap into the screwdriver shaft. They are great to have around the home for miscellaneous tasks but be mindful as they are not designed to handle heavy-duty jobs.

27.) Right Angle Screwdriver
This is a unique type of screwdriver the looks and works similarly to a ratchet wrench. They attach to the screw at a right angle instead of straight on like a regular screwdriver. These are great to use in tight spaces that you would normally find in machinery, automobiles, and some carpentry applications.

28.) Jeweler’s Screwdriver
These are specialized screwdrivers because of their diminutive size. As the name might indicate, these are used for small screws that you would find in eyeglasses, watches, and smaller electronics. Jeweler’s screwdriver sets typically come with flathead, round, square, and star-shaped drivers, but aren’t limited to those.

Jeweler’s Screwdriver

29.) Computer Screwdrivers
Like the Jeweler’s screwdrivers, these are smaller in size and used for very specialized work. They come in sets with many interchangeable heads. If you work with computers and electronics, then you should be well aware that there are multiple types of screws in your machine as well as the importance of being properly equipped. These are precision tools, so they are not made to withstand a lot of pressure or torque like their larger counterparts.

30.) Left-Handed Screwdrivers
This might sound like a joke, but they are a real thing. Left-handed screwdrivers are designed with lefties in mind. They often operate with a ratchet-style setting so that left-handed workers can use their dominant hand with ease instead of getting mixed up on directions or having to use their right hand.

Choose the Right Bit for the Right Screw
We have gone over countless types of screwdrivers and screws, but how do you know which bit is the right one to use for the right screw? Keep reading on as we explain more to help you get the job done right!

Type of Bit
While some screwdriver heads may fit into other screw types that were not necessarily designed for it, this is not recommended as it may damage the screwdriver tip or strip the screws. Make sure to match the screwdriver to the appropriate screw to get the job done properly.

Bit Material
Bits are made from various metals and materials that dictate their overall strength and durability. While most are made from steel, some are coated in titanium to ensure maximum durability. There are also diamond-tipped bits that are used for specialized applications to prevent slippage from the screw.

Length of the Bit
The length of the bit can influence how easy it is to operate the screwdriver. Longer screwdrivers may give you more reach but can also increase the chances of slipping and decrease your torque power.

With this extensive and exhaustive list of screwdrivers and their various applications, it is important to keep in mind to use pick the right one for the job. While you may be tempted to slide in a flathead to unscrew a Phillips head in a pinch, you are better off using the corresponding head for the best results.

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