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Which screwdriver for what screw?

Which screwdriver for what screw?

  • 2020-01-09

“There are only two aren’t there? Straight and the other one – crosshead or whatever it’s called.”

Well actually it’s not that simple.

There are five common screw drive types you’re likely to come across in everyday objects. But remember it’s not just about choosing the right type, selecting the right size is also important.


1. Slotted

This one is the easy one to identify. For this one you simply need a flat blade screwdriver or screwdriver bit. Using the right size is important though to avoid damaging the screw head.

flat blade screwdriver

A slotted screw requires a flat-head screwdriver or bit.

flat-head screwdriver


2. Phillips®

This is where things start to become blurred – a true Phillips screw has a cross-shaped recess and rounded corners at the cross section and should only be driven using a Phillips® screwdriver or screwdriver bit. The Phillips® screw is often mistaken for a Pozidriv® (often referred to as ‘Pozi’) screw and visa-versa, but they are different – see below.

Phillips screwdriver

A screw that looks like this requires a Phillips® screwdriver or bit.

Phillips screwdriver


3. Pozidriv®

Very similar at first glance to the Phillips® screw head, except where the Phillips® has rounded corners at the cross-section the Pozidriv® has a second set of indentations at 45 degrees to the main cross recess.

Pozidriv screwdriver

A screw that looks like this requires a Pozidriv® screwdriver or bit.

Pozidriv screwdriver


4. Hex or Allen

For this you either need what’s often referred to as a Hex key or Allen key, alternatively a screwdriver Hex bit. Called ‘Hex’ because the recess is hexagon shaped. If you haven’t a Hex bit that fits, don’t be tempted to use a screwdriver – you will damage the head of the screw.

screwdriver Hex bit

A screw that looks like this requires a Hex screwdriver bit or a Hex key.

screwdriver Hex bit


5. Torx®

This one is becoming more common, particularly in electric appliances and gadgets such as mobiles and tablets. Often used as a tamper deterrent. (You may even come across a security version with an additional little stud in the centre – which needs a specialist Torx® driver) But if you have a Torx® screwdriver or bit set, it can save having to pay for simple repairs which you can actually do yourself. Don’t be tempted use anything else as it could chew up the screw head.

Torx screwdriver

If the screw looks like this you need a Torx® screwdriver or bit.

Torx screwdriver

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