Don't Get the Wrong Screwdriver Don't Get the Wrong Screwdriver

Screwdrivers can be usually classified as Phillips head, slotted or Robertson (square recess) head.

Good Quality:

  • You can judge the quality of your screwdriver by the type of metal in the blade, the finish and the amount of grinding on the tip.
  • Other ways to determine the quality would be by the material used in the handle and the bar attachment to the handle.
Poor Quality:
  • If your screwdriver chips or starts to crumble while you are using it, it's a sure sign of poor quality.
  • Make sure to properly ground the tip so it doesn't flare and rise out of the screw slot.
  • Beware of the blade not being attached to the handle tightly because it could eventually work its way into the handle.

Screwdriver Tips: There's a wide range of screwdriver tips out there on the market, so it's best to know exactly what you are dealing with.

Regular or slotted tips are used to screw in large, heavy-duty screws. The tip is flared so it is wider than the driver bar and can fit more easily into the screw. High quality drivers should be ground for all-around uniformity on the tip. The blade should not taper too much from the tip, however, because an improper taper can cause it to slip out of the screw slot.

Cabinet tips are very much like regular tips except they do not flare. They are best used with small or countersinking screws when a regular tip with a flare would mar the material or wood.

Phillips head drivers are used on cross-slotted screw heads with modified U-shaped slots of uniform width. Sizes can range from 0 to 4, with 0 being the smallest.

Frearson screw-heads are much like Phillips head screwdrivers. They also have cross-slots but are V-shaped with tapered sides. Although this screwdriver may fit into many different slots, it is best to use the driver that matches the proper size.

TORX® drive systems provide six lobular drive surfaces mated from lobes of the driving and driven elements. Drive surfaces have vertical sides that permit the maximum torque application and assure reliable clamping force.

Clutch-head tips have four points of contact with the screw. The unique driver locks into the screw head when turned counter-clockwise and can be released by turning in the opposite direction. Best of all, since it has several contact points, it will not damage the screw head.

Hex (hexagonal) tips are commonly used in repairing electronics, especially televisions and radios. They tighten socket set screws and usually come in a set with several different sizes. Along the same line are the T-shaped hex tools with vinyl grips and L-shaped keys for greater torque power.

Square-tipped (Robertson) screwdrivers have increased in popularity in the recent past because of the trend of do-it-yourself deck projects. These drivers have a square head to grip the screw better on all four sides and provide better torque. They range in size from 0 to 3 and jumbo.

Multi-bit screwdrivers are the most convenient to have handy in a drawer. Tips are either stored within the driver handle or have interchangeable bits in the unit.

Offset screwdrivers are specifically designed for hard to reach areas that would be too difficult for other drivers to get at easily. Since they are more for convenience' sake, they come with combinations of slotted and Phillips head tips with ratchet-type mechanisms. Some even come with magnetized tips to guide screws easily into hard-to-see areas and retrieve fallen screws. Lights are also a feature on some models so you can work in dimly lit areas. Others have split-points that can be expanded in width to fit a certain screw head and hold it in certain areas. A spring clamp can also do the same by fitting over the head of the screw.

Size of Drivers to Use for Different Size Screws:

Screw #

Regular
Blade
Width

Cross-Slot Blade

0

3/32"

No. 0

1

1/8"

No. 0

2

1/8"

No. 1

3

1/8"

No. 1

4

5/32"

No. 1

5

3/16"

No. 2

6

3/16"

No. 2

7

7/32"

No. 2

8

1/4"

No. 2

9

1/4"

No. 2

10

5/16"

No. 3

12

3/8"

No. 3

14

3/8"

No. 3

16

3/8"

No. 3

18

1/2"

No. 4

20

1/2"

No. 4

24

1/2"

No. 4

7/16

1/2"

No. 4

1/2

1/2"

No. 4

9/16

1/2"

No. 4


®TORX is the registered trademark of Textron Inc.

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