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Types of Screwdrivers: Choosing The Right One

Types of Screwdrivers

If you’ve ever taken a walk through the screwdriver section at your local hardware store, you may have found yourself overwhelmed with the many choices available. There is a specific tool for every kind of screw that exists, and that’s a lot of screwdrivers! So how do you go about finding the right one for your needs? Whether you have a specific home repair project to complete, or you're simply looking to update your toolbox, here are five of the most common types of screwdrivers and how they’re used:

Phillips Screwdriver

These are the ones with the 'X’ shaped heads. They were invented by a man named Henry Phillips in the 1930's, hence their name. They are most commonly used in car and truck manufacturing, but you’ll find many projects around the house that require this driver. When looking for a Phillips head, you’ll want to make sure the tip is flat or blunt. The pointy-tipped head is a different variety and may not fit your screws.

Flat-Head Screwdriver

A flat-head screwdriver is the most common type of screwdriver, and it is shaped exactly as the name suggests. It is used on screws that have a single vertical slit. The right driver head should fit snugly into the slot of the screw with no slipping when turning the screw. These come in a variety of sizes, so if you’re stocking a new toolbox, you may want to get at least one of each size.

Allen Key

The Allen Key, also known as a hex key, is an L-shaped tool with a hexagonal cross section. It is used with screws that have the corresponding hexagonal indent on them. If you’ve ever purchased and assembled furniture from IKEA or the like, you’ve probably seen this tool before. Like the other screwdrivers, the hex key comes in different sizes and is available at any hardware store. It’s a particularly handy tool to have in your kit.

Interchangeable Head

These types of screwdrivers have a removable head that you can easily swap with another. They usually come in a kit complete with all of the most common driver heads. These screwdrivers are a great addition to any tool box. If you can, try to find one that allows you to store the bits, or driver heads, inside the screwdriver handle. This makes organization a snap and reduces the chance of losing the small pieces.

Power Screwdrivers

Want to get it done faster? Try a power screwdriver. Like interchangeable screwdrivers, they come with a set of bits that can be changed when needed. These typically run on batteries and are a bit different to a standard drill in that they can operate in reverse. This is a handy feature, as it allows you to remove screws more quickly than with a regular screwdriver. There are many more types of screwdrivers available, including the TORX screwdriver, and the square head screwdriver. You'll see there’s one for just about any use. The five types listed above should give you a good starting point when considering what tools you will need to complete your project or hardware collection.
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