Types of Screwdrivers and Their Uses [PDF]


Screwdrivers are very useful mechanical hand tools required for inserting and removing screws and it is essential to know the types of screwdrivers. . They are one of the most widely used mechanical devices with multiple variations to cater to different types of screws. Each screwdriver consists of three parts; Handle, Shaft or shank, and Drive tip or bit. The head of screws normally has a cavity and protrusion to fit the screwdriver tip. A torque is then applied to remove or drive the screw. In this article, we will learn about the various types of screwdrivers and their uses.

Applications of Screwdrivers

Screwdrivers are one of the most essential and sought-after tools for any tool kit. For loosening and tightening different types of fasteners, there is no alternative other than screwdrivers. They are used in various applications which are as follows:

  • Opening mobile phones
  • Electronics and electrical equipment
  • Opening computers
  • Woodworking and carpentry
  • Mechanical and industrial production
  • Metalwork and fastening wood to metal
  • Flammable environments

Screwdriver Sizes

Screwdrivers are available in many different sizes. They are usually sized as standard large, medium, and small. Certain screwdrivers are also sized to use in tight or confined spaces. The screwdriver tip width, the length of both the blade and the overall tool are generally measured in millimeters (mm).

Again, depending on the manufacturer, the screwdriver sizing can vary. For example, Phillips screwdriver provides four standard screwdriver sizes ranging from #0 to #4, where #0 represents the smallest screwdriver. On the other hand, certain screwdrivers are sized based on the Torx size. The size is specified by the letter T followed by a number. For instance, T10 screwdrivers. This screwdriver sizing method ranges from miniature screwdrivers to T45 and beyond. The same sizing system is applied to screws as well which in turn helps in deciding the screwdriver size for a particular sized screw.

Types of Screwdrivers

In general, screwdriver types are determined based on the drive tip shape to fit specific types of screws. Again, certain types of screwdrivers have applications specific to particular industries. Using the right type of screwdriver saves both effort and time. Screwdrivers are generally classified based on Screw Head criteria. The following are the most common types of screwdrivers:

Different Types of Screwdrivers
Fig. 1: Different Types of Screwdrivers

Cross-head Screwdrivers or Phillips Screwdrivers

Cross-head screwdrivers or Phillips screwdrivers are designed to fit screws with Phillips heads having a cross-shaped recess. They are available in sizes from #0 to #4. Phillips screwdrivers are invented to cope with higher torsion. Their angled tips allow fitting deeper into the screw head which reduces the chances of the driver sliding out.

Phillips Screwdrivers

Torx or Star Screwdriver

Torx screwdrivers are popular used by various names like star head screwdrivers, pointed screwdrivers, or six-point screwdrivers. The trademark name for a six-point star-shaped intrusion in the screw head is Torx. This type of screwdriver is suitable for transferring higher torques without the tool slipping. Torx screwdrivers are available in a range of sizes. It uses a numbering system that starts with the letter T followed by a number, for example; T8, T15, T10, T25, etc. With the increase in the number, the size of the tooltip increases. Torx screwdriver is widely used in the Automotive industries.

torx screwdriver or star screwdriver

Insulated Screwdrivers

Insulated screwdrivers provide added safety in potentially hazardous situations and because of this, they are also known as safety screwdrivers. These types of screwdrivers are widely popular among electricians. The insulation is usually made from non-conductive rubber materials.

insulated screwdriver

Torque Screwdrivers

A torque screwdriver is quite similar to a torque wrench and is used to provide a specified controlled torque. They work using a torque-limiting clutch that has a limit on the applied force beyond a certain threshold.

torque screwdriver

Flathead Screwdriver

Flathead Screwdriver is also known as the slot-headed screwdriver. This type of screwdriver is quite common and has multi-purpose applications. With their flattened tip, flathead screws provide a linear straight movement.

flathead screwdriver

Tri-Wing Screwdriver

Mainly used for specialized devices like consoles, mobile phones, and cameras; Tri-wing Screwdrivers possess quite small tips to enable use with smaller screws and components.

triwing screwdrivers

Pozidriv Screwdriver

An upgraded version of Philips Screwdrivers, Pozidriv screwdrivers are designed to reduce cam-out when a screwdriver slips out of the screw head on the application of more torque.

pozidriv screwdriver

Hex Screwdriver

As the name hints, they are hexagon screwdrivers used to work with hex screws. Allen keys or wrenches are typical examples of Hex Screwdrivers.

hex screwdriver

Square Screwdriver

To reduce the cam-out issue of the slotted screws and speed up the fastening process, the square-headed screwdriver that fits screws with a square-shaped recess was developed.

square screwdriver

Electric Screwdrivers and Impact Drivers

Electric Screwdrivers are compact power tools required for various tasks like assembling furniture or screwing into softwood or other similar materials. Whereas, Impact drivers, are essentially a more heavy-duty screwdriver type that is used for jobs requiring sudden force to drive into or remove from harder, denser materials.

electric screwdriver

Precision Screwdrivers

Precision screwdrivers are suitably used for very small devices where extremely small screws are used. Typical examples are mobile phones, watches, etc.

precision screwdriver

Magnetic Screwdrivers

Magnetic Screwdrivers have an inherent magnetic force that allows the screws to be attached at the tip. They find major applications in the electronics industry where screws are small and have a high potential to be dropped easily.

magnetic screwdriver

Ratchet Screwdrivers

With a built-in mechanism that allows the application of force only in one direction while allowing free movement in the other direction, Ratcheting Screwdrivers function similarly to ratchet spanners.

ratchet screwdriver


What is a Screwdriver?

Screwdrivers are very useful mechanical hand tools required for inserting and removing screws. They are one of the most widely used mechanical devices with multiple variations to cater to different types of screws. Each screwdriver consists of three parts; Handle, Shaft or shank, and Drive tip or bit.

How many types of Screwdrivers are available?

There are 13 main types of screwdrivers available.

What is Pozidriv Screwdriver?

An upgraded version of Philips Screwdrivers, Pozidriv screwdrivers are designed to reduce cam-out when a screwdriver slips out of the screw head on the application of more torque.

Which two types of Screwdriver heads are the most common?

Screwdrivers are crucial tools used for various applications, from household repairs to industrial projects. The two most common types are the Phillips head and the flathead. The Phillips head has a cross-shaped tip for better grip and torque, while the flathead is versatile and suitable for screws with a single slot. Both are essential tools found in every toolbox.

How to magnetize a Screwdriver?

Magnetizing a screwdriver can be helpful when handling small screws. The easiest and most common method is using a strong magnet. Rub the magnet along the screwdriver in one direction multiple times to magnetize it. To test the magnetism, try picking up a small metal object. Avoid using magnets near sensitive electronics due to potential interference.

How to unscrew a Screw without a Screwdriver?

Here are a few methods:

1. Use pliers or a wrench to grip the screw head tightly and turn it counterclockwise.
2. Insert a flat-head screwdriver, coin, or credit card into the screw head’s groove, apply pressure, and turn counterclockwise.
3. Utilize a drill with a matching drill bit to loosen and remove the screw. Insert the bit into the screw head and turn on the drill.
4. While it may be a hassle, these methods offer alternatives for unscrewing without a screwdriver.

How to start a car with a bad starter with a Screwdriver?

In case of a bad starter, you can use a screwdriver to start your vehicle. Locate the starter motor under the hood, resembling a cylindrical object with attached wires. Touch the screwdriver’s metal end to the starter motor’s positive terminal and the metal shaft to the other end. This creates a spark to jumpstart the motor temporarily. Remember to replace the starter motor promptly.

What is a phillips Screwdriver?

A Phillips screwdriver is a type of hand tool used for driving screws that have a cross-shaped slot on the top. The Phillips screwdriver has a pointed tip that securely fits into cross-shaped screw heads, reducing slippage and cam-out. It enables easier tightening and loosening of screws without causing damage. This versatile tool finds wide usage in woodworking, automotive repair, and DIY projects across industries.


Screwdrivers are essential tools for DIY enthusiasts and professionals. They come in various types, including Phillips and Torx. Standard screwdrivers cover basic tasks, while Phillips screwdrivers provide extra torque for electronics and appliance repairs. Torx screwdrivers are ideal for heavy-duty applications like automotive repairs. Using the correct screwdriver type is crucial to prevent damage and injury. With the right tools and knowledge, anyone can confidently handle a variety of projects.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email