20 Different Types of Screwdrivers & Their Uses (with Pictures)
Screwdrivers are arguably the most popular and easiest-to-use tools we have. It is believed that these tools trace their roots back to the Middle Ages, when they were used to tighten screws on suits of armor.
While this tool has retained most of its original shape and design, it has had to evolve to meet the needs of the new world.
Today, there are numerous types of screwdrivers, each designed to fulfill different kinds of applications. To allow you to find the best tool for your needs, the following is a guide to the different types of screwdrivers and their uses.
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Common Types of Screwdrivers
This group consists of the most popular types of screwdrivers. You can easily find them in any house or workshop. They include the following:
1. Flathead Screwdrivers
Also known as: straight, slotted, flat blade
Flathead screwdrivers are the oldest types of screwdrivers. They feature a flat-planed blade that fits into screws with single, straight slots. They come in various sizes to meet the size requirements of the screw.
Today’s flatheads feature tapered parallel tips to enhance their grip on the slot. This prevents incidents of slipping, which can lead to damage on the surrounding material or injury to your hand.
2. Phillips Head Screwdrivers
Also known as: crosshead
Phillips Head screwdrivers get their crosshead moniker from their cruciform design. These types of screwdrivers come with angled tips to allow them to fit deeper into the screw head, thus reducing the chances of the driver sliding out. This design also allows you to apply greater torque to the driver.
3. Pozidriv Screwdrivers
Pozidrivs are thought to be an upgrade of the Phillips heads, as they feature a similar design. However, they allow you to exert even greater torque on the driver without risking it camming out.
These screwdrivers feature four shallow edges on the tip’s sides. Moreover, the tip is tinier and blunter than those on the Phillips screw. This design increases the points of contact between the tip and the screw head, thus allowing you to apply greater torque without risking slippage.
This means that the pozidrivs are more effective, efficient, and reliable than Phillips head drivers.
4. Torx Screwdrivers
Also known as: star
Torx drivers come with a blade with a star-shaped tip. This shape increases the area of contact between the tip and the screw head, thus allowing for more application of torque.
- See Also: 10 Best Torx Sets
5. Hex Screwdrivers
Also known as: hexagon, hex key, Allen wrench
Instead of a blade with a tip at its end, hex drivers feature a hexagon recess. This design facilitates their unique use in the fastening of bolts rather than screws. Thanks to their straight handles, hex keys do not require a lot of space to turn the bolt.
These types of screwdrivers are commonly used in furniture assembly and bicycle repair.
6. Robertson Screwdrivers
Also known as: square head drivers
Robertson drivers originate from Canada, which is where they are most commonly used. They are not as popular in other parts of the world. And they aren’t your common screwdriver; they come with a recessed square socket that allows them to have one of the highest torque tolerance of any screwdriver. This is because they have no tip, thus eliminating any chance of the driver slipping.
Thanks to their durability, this type of screwdriver finds application in the automotive and furniture industry.
7. Tri-Point Drivers
Also known as: Y-tip, 3-prong
The tri-point driver’s tip features three blades set at a 120-degree angle from each other, resulting in a Y shape. They find use in the gaming and phone industry where tri-point screws are commonly used.
8. Tri-angle Drivers
Also known as: TAs
These types of screwdrivers come with a triangular tip to allow for use on screw heads with triangle-shaped depressions. These screw heads are common in appliances, electronics, and toys.
9. Tri-wing Drivers
Tri-wings come with a tip that resembles a pinwheel. They also work on screw heads with triangle-shaped slots. Tri-wing screw heads and drivers were initially designed for use in the aerospace industry but can now be found in home appliances. They are also one of the most expensive screwdrivers out there due to their unavailability.
10. Spanner Driver
Also known as: pig-nose, snake-eye
This screwdriver features a two-prong tip that resembles a barbecue fork. It works on flathead screw heads that feature two small depressions on the sides. As a result, these screws cannot be removed without this particular driver.
Thanks to their uniqueness, these screws and their drivers are used to secure fixtures restrooms, elevators, and bus terminals.
11. Bolster Drivers
These screwdrivers feature a nut beneath the base of the handle. This design comes in handy when looking to loosen a nut that is stuck to a surface. You can apply greater amounts of torque to the driver by using a wrench on the welded nut.
12. Frearson Drivers
Also known as: the Reed and Prince
Frearson screwdrivers spot a design that is similar to that of Phillips heads. However, in the Frearson, the tip has a sharp point, as opposed to the blunt points of the Phillips. Consequently, you can apply greater amounts of torque on this driver. The Frearson driver typically works on nautical equipment.
13. Japanese Industrial Standard Screwdriver
This type of screwdriver also features a cruciform tip to allow for greater torque application. These drivers are used on JIS screw heads that are common in imports from Japan. You can use a Frearson or Phillips driver to open these screws even though it will not be an easy task.
You can also categorize screwdrivers based on their handle and shank design. Alterations on the handles give screwdrivers different capabilities. These include:
Also known as: screw guns, power screwdrivers
These types of screwdrivers save you from using your own strength to apply torque thanks to being electricity-powered.
Though not as powerful as screw guns, they still provide enough power for most applications. They usually run on small batteries.
These drivers are arguably the most powerful screwdrivers out there in terms of the torque they can generate. However, they can be quite inconvenient to work with since they need to be connected to a power source during use.
These screwdrivers come with rechargeable batteries, thus allowing you the portability benefit of a battery-powered driver and the power of an electrical driver.
This driver comes with a magnetic tip to allow for the easier retrieval of screws. Most screwdrivers today have magnetic tips.
Also known as: eyeglass or watch driver
These are precision drivers used on tiny screws, such as those found in pocket watches or eyeglasses.
These drivers come with a ratchet function. Since they can only turn in one direction, it shortens the screwing time dramatically.
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Pick the Right Tool for the Job
Whatever project you are working on, there will always be the right screwdriver. Therefore, don’t sweat it out with the wrong tool. As a matter of fact, an improper screwdriver can be frustrating to use and could even damage your workpiece.
Featured Image Credit: Pixabay
- 1 Common Types of Screwdrivers
- 1.1 1. Flathead Screwdrivers
- 1.2 2. Phillips Head Screwdrivers
- 1.3 3. Pozidriv Screwdrivers
- 1.4 4. Torx Screwdrivers
- 1.5 5. Hex Screwdrivers
- 1.6 6. Robertson Screwdrivers
- 1.7 7. Tri-Point Drivers
- 1.8 8. Tri-angle Drivers
- 1.9 9. Tri-wing Drivers
- 1.10 10. Spanner Driver
- 1.11 11. Bolster Drivers
- 1.12 12. Frearson Drivers
- 1.13 13. Japanese Industrial Standard Screwdriver
- 2 Screwdriver Styles
- 3 Pick the Right Tool for the Job