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Types of Screwdrivers

A screwdriver is the most common tool you will find in any home. It is used to perform the simple function of installing, tightening, and unfixing screws. Apart from a basic screwdriver, there are so many different types of screwdrivers available.

They differ in terms of their head and blade and therefore, overall design and compatibility with screws. If you are a carpenter, mechanic, or electrician, you need to have all the different screwdrivers as demanded by your profession. The following is the list of all the variety of screwdrivers you should know about.

Common Screwdrivers

Slotted – This is the most common screwdriver that you can find in almost every home. It has a chisel-shaped blade and a flat-shaped head. The width of the head varies from one model to another. You should select as per the width of the slotted screw you want to install or remove. Some call a slotted screwdriver as a flat screwdriver, and it is mostly manual in operation.

Slotted Screwdriver

Phillips – These days most of the furniture and appliances use Philips head screws. The head of the screwdriver is like a crosshead. This structure ensures a deeper fitting into the screw. There is no risk of the blade of the screwdriver sliding away when in operation. Because of this reason, it is replacing the use of slotted screws and basic screwdrivers.

Phillips Screwdriver

Torx – The head of this screwdriver looks exactly like a six-pointed star. Some refer a Torx screwdriver as a star screwdriver. Such a screwdriver has high torque and a deeper grip on the screws. A star screw finds application in appliances and hence, a Torx screwdriver is mostly used in the manufacturing industry.

Torx Screwdriver

Hex – This is an unusual type of screwdriver as it lacks the typical tip that you see on traditional screwdrivers. It is more like a six-sided, hexagonal socket, which you can use to install and remove compatible hex screws and mostly bolts. It ensures a better grip on the screw or bolt and does not slip while operating. A hex screwdriver finds applications in vehicles and certain furniture and appliances. Some call a hex screwdriver as an Allen wrench.

Hex Screwdriver

Robertson – The screwdriver has a square head and has the best torque tolerance of all the common screwdrivers. The head is not like a typical tip and more like a square socket. Square screws find application mostly in the automobile and furniture industry. Some call Robertson screwdriver as a square screwdriver.

Robertson Screwdriver

Pozidriv – This is an upgraded version of the Philips screwdriver. The head has two cross signs with offset at a 45-degree angle. It is very much like a Philips driver except for the fact that it is more precise to reduce cam-out effect. Cam-out effect refers to the slippage of a screwdriver from a screw due to more torque.

Pozidriv Screwdriver

Some Frequently Used Screwdrivers

Clutch Head – The head of this screwdriver is more like a bow tie, and hence, some call it as a bow-tie screwdriver. It works on screws that have bow-tie slots, and these screws are common in the automobile industry. The screwdriver has great torque tolerance. However, sometimes a slotted screwdriver can also be used instead of a clutch head screwdriver.

Clutch Head Screwdriver

Frearson – It looks very much like a Philips driver though it differs slightly. The head of the screwdriver is like a crosshead or cruciform and its tip is shaper than a Philips screwdriver. The angle of the tip is also closer to 45-degree, producing higher torque. Apart from Frearson screws, you can use it on some Philips screws as well. It finds application in the nautical industry.

Frearson Screwdriver

JIS – JIS stands for Japanese Industrial Standard. JIS screwdriver is also similar to a Philips screwdriver. It has a cruciform head, but it resists the cam-out effect more efficiently. It finds wide application in Japanese appliances. You can sometimes use a Philips or a Frearson driver on JIS screws.

JIS Screwdriver

Nut Driver – This is a special type of hex driver, and it has a socket head instead of a proper tip. Apart from hex screws, you can use it to install and remove hex bolts and nuts. It is especially useful when you have little clearance space for installation. It finds application in the mechanical industry. NUT DRIVER SCREWDRIVER

Spanner – It is an unusual screwdriver that comes with a pig-nose protruding head. Some also compare the structure of the head to snake eyes. It is applicable on flat screws with two round holes on the opposite ends. Such screws are highly secure as you cannot remove them with a regular screwdriver. The screwdriver finds application in elevators, restrooms, terminals, and subways.SPANNER SCREWDRIVER

Tri-angle – The screwdriver has a triangular head, and tri-angle (TA) screws find application in toys and appliances. The screws are highly secure as they are difficult to remove without a tri-angle screwdriver. Sometimes, these TA screwdrivers have rounded edge heads.

Tri-angle Screwdriver

Tri-point – The screwdriver has a Y-shape tip, and hence, some call it a Y-type screwdriver or 3-prong screwdriver. The blade has three edges at a 120-degree angle. Y-shape screws find application in high-end appliances such as Apple products, Nintendo products and likewise.

Y-type Screwdriver

Tri-wing – The head of the screwdriver roughly represents a pinwheel. To be precise, it has a triangle in the middle, and the three sides extend in the clockwise direction. The screwdriver finds application in the aerospace industry and home appliances. This screwdriver has very high torque.

Tri-wing Screwdriver

Electric Screwdriver

There are basically two types of screwdrivers available. The common type is manually operated while the other type is electrically operated. For professional works, electric drivers find preference as there is hardly any manual effort needed. You just need to fix the head of the screwdriver into the screw and press the button to install and uninstall the screw automatically. You just need to change the screw head in an electric screwdriver as per the screws you are working with. There are different types of electric screwdrivers available.

Battery-Operated – This is generally a compact electric screwdriver that operates with the power of batteries. You need to replace the batteries when their power goes down. The power or torque produced through a battery-operated electric screwdriver is not very high, but they are highly portable and can fit in a tool belt.

Battery-Operated Screwdriver

Corded – Though corded units are not very popular, it is the most powerful electric screwdriver. You need to plug it into the power source, and hence, you can use it only where there is an electrical outlet nearby.CORDED SCREWDRIVER

Cordless – This electric screwdriver runs with a rechargeable battery. The screwdriver is relatively heavier and bulky. The torque produced goes down as the charge of the battery starts to run out. You need to recharge the battery from time to time, and it works the best with maximum charge.CORDLESS SCREWDRIVER

Other Types of Screwdrivers

Magnetic – Most of the common screwdrivers are non-magnetic, and hence, there is a higher chance of cam-out effect (slippage). That is why magnetic screwdrivers are becoming popular. A magnetic screwdriver has a magnetic head that clinches to the screws tightly, and it reduces the chances of slippage while operating.

As a matter of fact, you can work with a magnetic screwdriver with one hand only. You do not have to use both hands to apply force to keep the screw hold strongly against the screwdriver. These days, most of the screwdrivers are coming with magnetic tips.MAGNETIC SCREWDRIVER

Ratcheting – A ratcheting screwdriver is the one that allows you to turn the screws in one direction only. You can set the direction of turning as per your job. This helps immensely in shortening the time of operation and reducing human error.RATCHETING SCREWDRIVER

Right Angle – A right-angle screwdriver has the tip at the right angle with the handle. This means, unlike a typical screwdriver, the handle is not parallel to its tip. It is useful when you do not have enough room to fit a typical, straight screwdriver.

Right Angle Screwdriver


More and more screwdrivers with different structures and designs are coming out in the market. However, we have listed the most common ones that find applications in different industries. As a mechanic, carpenter, or electrician, you should know about each one of them and have them in your tool bag to install and uninstall all the different screws you come across.

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