Types Of Screwdrivers
Types Of Screwdrivers
Ah the humble screwdriver – it’s been around forever, and it still just as useful as ever all these decades after it’s creation.
Of course, it’s not really fair to talk about screwdrivers as if they’re all the same. There are many different types, and any workshop really needs a decent selection.
We’re gonna get into this and discuss the types you’ll want to have in your workshop – but first we’ll open but this article with a quick overview of the parts of a screwdriver, since it’ll be useful to know the terminology.
Parts of a screwdriver
These really are such simple tools, and that is plain to see from the very basic and obvious design.
There’s also more to using a screwdriver correctly than you may have guessed.
Almost every screwdriver you’ll come across is made up of 4 parts – the handle, shank, blade, and tip.
The handle is obviously the part at the top of the driver which you hold, and then the shank is the shaft or barrel of the driver which is attached to the handle.
Then you’ve got the blade at the end of the shank, which transitions from shank down into the tip of the screwdriver. And the tip, of course, is what slides into the slot on top of a screw.
These are in fact so simple, that you could probably build one yourself. Or, checkout our best screwdriver set buying guide if you want that professionally-made goodness.
Two main types of screwdriver, broadly speaking
As mentioned above, there are several types of screwdrivers… but, generally these fall into one of the two main categories.
These are slot head screwdrivers, and Phillips-head screwdrivers. These are basically two different shapes of the tip of the driver. And, the slots in the top of screws are designed to match these shapes.
A slot head type is probably what you imagine when you think of a screwdriver.
It’s a simple single flat blade and tip, which slots into a simple single slot screw. This is the oldest style of screwdriver, and also the most common that you’ll find the world around.
A Phillips-head is shaped differently, and is pretty distinctive.
These have a four star point at the tip, which is designed to fit into a cross-shaped slot in the top of a screw.
The Phillips-head screwdriver and matching screws were designed by Henry F. Phillips in the 1930s – A quick bit of history for you.
This unique design is desirable because it allows the user (the “screwer”, if you will) to apply more torque to the screw than is possible with a flat head.
It’s also worth taking a second to talk about magnetized screwdrivers – as the name would suggest, the shank and tip are magnetized so that screws will stick to them. Very useful for those holes that are in awkward place. You can also magnetize any screwdriver in about 10 seconds.
Most screwdrivers fall into one of these two categories – so now let’s talk a little more specifically about the sub-types of screwdrivers that you’ll want for your workshop.
Screwdrivers For Your Toolbox
You probably don’t need to go crazy with the number of screwdrivers in your toolbox, but below I have about 6 that I’d like to suggest for your consideration.
As with almost everything, there’s no one-size-fits-all option. So keep your own needs and uses in mind when reading this list, as some of the screwdrivers might not be useful for you.
Heavy-duty square blade. These are long, thick-bladed screwdrivers that are best suited to jobs that require a lot of torque and driving power.
Slotted screwdrivers. There’s tons of different sizes of these.. choose whatever works best for you. Having some selection can be useful – one or two small sizes, one or two medium, and so on.
Cabinet screwdriver. These have a thinner shank than other screwdrivers, which allows it to reach deep into holes without damaging the surrounding wood.
Phillips screwdrivers. Again, having some selection of small, medium, and large Phillips-head screwdrivers is a good choice.
Stubby Phillips screwdriver. These are very compact and “stubby” as their name suggests – they’re perfect for when you don’t have much space to do your screwing.
Ratchet screwdriver. This is a bit fancier – these have a ratchet which locks the shank when rotating clockwise, but releases it when the handle is turned counter-clockwise. This means you can screw clockwise to tighten the screw, then freely counter-clockwise, and then clockwise again to tighten further, and so on. It’s less labour intensive and quicker, and probably worth the investment if you use screwdrivers often.
And there you have it…
Everything you need to know about the different types of screwdrivers, and which ones you should consider for your woodworking.
Don’t underestimate the humble screwdriver – many people do, but the truth is there are still things to learn about it even while being very simple compared to other tools.
Take the time to learn about screwdrivers and make sure you’re choosing the right type for the job, and you’ll see the benefits in the ease and quality of your work.