Everyone, at some point, has held a screwdriver. You might have wanted to open a remote’s battery housing or your chair’s screws might have needed tightening that one time. It doesn’t matter what profession you have, whether you are a handyman or a dainty accountant, a screwdriver remains an essential household tool. No toolbox is complete without a screwdriver. Personally, I think no tool box should be called a tool box if there is no screwdriver in it. It has, in effect, became the essence of the tool box.
Most of us are familiar with one type of screwdriver, the flat head. Seeing one evokes memories of my father fixing our faulty radio set. Others are more familiar with the Phillips type however, there is actually a wide range of screwdrivers to choose from and here are the most common ones in the market:
These types are also known as flat head, straight or flat blade. Considered as the oldest and previously the most common type, these drivers have chisel-shaped heads which are flat-planed and are available in different sizes to accommodate differently sized screws. They can also be used in Phillips screws or even as a chisel when you are in a bind. However, these types are prone to slipping sideways when a lot of pressure is applied to the handle.
Also known as cross head, Phillips screwdrivers are used in almost every field and is now considered the most popular and most common type of screwdriver. The head is in a cruciform, eliminating the slipping dilemma when using slotted drivers. These are also available in a wide range of sizes for different applications.
They are also known as Allen wrench, hex key, hexagon or security hex version. These drivers have hexagonal recess in place of a tip or handle and are used in fastening bolts rather than screws. Its most common usage is for bicycle maintenance but in recent years, furniture companies are starting to use hex screws for furniture building. The need for these types of screwdrivers are slowly gaining momentum. High-risk fields such as prison hardware maintenance favors a specialized security version of this type.
With a distinguishable star head, these types are commonly used for security functions but also gaining popularity in the commercial field through the years. The rounded off star or flower shaped head can tolerate high torque making it ideal for appliances and security applications. Another factor of its usage is that consumers have a hard time taking apart Torx screws, making them highly efficient. As with other screwdrivers types, these also come in a variety of sizes.
Also known as square head, is perhaps more popular in Canada than in any other part of the world. The distinctive square shaped head offers the most torque among all the screwdrivers listed so far making it a good choice for automotive and furniture industry. The Robertson screwdriver has gained increasing popularity in markets outside of Canada in recent years.
Mostly used in the automotive industry, particularly GM older vehicles, these types of screwdrivers have bow tie shaped heads. Older models had circular recesses in the middle. The shape lends it an improved turning force however, these types of screws can also be loosened or tightened using slotted drivers or flat heads.
These drivers are also known as Reed and Prince and at first glance look the same as Phillips screwdrivers. They share the same cross shaped tip except for the sharp point for the Frearson instead of a rounded point in Phillips. The sharp point allows for a higher torque which makes it ideal for nautical application. Frearson drivers can also be used for some Phillips screws.
Japanese Industrial Standard (JIS)
JIS screws are commonly used for quality products that are manufactured in or imported from Japan. These drivers share the same cruciform with Phillips but they are designed for tolerance to camming out. These screws has a small dot around the slot to distinguish them. Though Phillips or Frearson screwdrivers can be used for JIS screws, there is a high possibility of driver head damage if improperly used.
Also known as pozidrive or pozi, these screws are updated Phillips design with four additional lines from the center of the slot. The updated design lends it a higher torque and lesser chances of camming out. However, the manufacturing process for the screws take up twice as much time, leading to the failure of its purpose to replace and update Phillips screws and screwdrivers.
Sharing their name with a British term, these unusual drivers have two rounded holes on opposing ends of the head, making the screws nearly impossible to remove without the proper tool. It is designed for tamper-proof applications. Owing to its highly secure nature, these types are often seen in public facilities such as terminals, subways, elevators or public restrooms where there is a higher need for tamper protection. Maintenance workers commonly use these types of screwdrivers.
Mostly used in electronic, toys and appliances, these types have, you guessed it, triangle shaped heads. With the design, tri-angle screws are difficult to tamper with. Hex drivers can also be used for tri-angle screws.
These types are also known as 3 Prong, Y-tip or Y-type. The head has a three-edged blade shaped into a Y at equal 120-degree angles. Application is mostly for handheld electronic devices, including popular Apple products. The design makes these screws highly tamper resistant, very difficult to remove without using the correct driver.
The head is vaguely shaped like a pinwheel. The triangular sockets have “wings” extending from each edge in a clockwise direction. Their original application is concentrated on aerospace engineering but lately, these are gaining traction in home electronics usage.
These are just some of screwdriver types that you can use in a wide variety of ways. Finding the right type is always an important step in order to make your task manageable and more streamlined. Using the wrong one will not only make your job more difficult but will also increase the possibility of damage to your equipment or appliances.