Hand Tools

Screwdriver Types and Their Uses [with Pictures]

United Tools Limited Kenya Branded Engineering Power Tools Hand Tools and Accessories in Kenya

What is a Screwdriver?

A screwdriver is a mechanical (power and (or) hand tool) which is used for turning screw. It consists of a metal rod with a flat or cross-shaped end that fits into the top of the screw head.

At United Tools Limited (UTL. Ke) we have 14 Different Types of Screwdrivers in different brands such as Makita, Stanley, Ceta-form, Uyus, Tolsen


1.   Flat Head or Slotted Head Screwdriver:

Also known as: straight, slotted, flat blade

Flathead screwdrivers are the oldest types of drivers. They feature a flat-planed blade that fits into screws with single, straight slots. They come in various sizes to meet the size requirements of the screw.

Today’s flatheads feature tapered parallel tips to enhance their grip on the slot. This prevents incidents of slipping, which can lead to damage on the surrounding material or injury to your hand. The flat head screws are commonly used in furniture construction, small cabinetmaking projects, and in some electrical applications but are not extensively used in residential construction anymore.

2.   Phillips Screwdriver:

Also known as: Crosshead.

Phillips Head drivers get their crosshead moniker from their cruciform design. These drivers come with angled tips to allow them to fit deeper into the screw head, thus reducing the chances of the driver sliding out. This design also allows you to apply greater torque to the driver.

These drivers are such designed to slip out of the head when a certain torque limit is exceeded, which depends upon strength and weakness of the screw.

3.   Pozidriv Screwdriver:

Pozidriv also is known as “Pozidrive”.

Unlike Phillips screwdriver, the pozidriv screwdriver has two cross sign which are offset at 45 degree angles from the main blades. This type of screwdrivers have blunt tips and small ribs on the blade between the main edges which increases the torque and reduces the risk of cam-out effect. This drive is extremely popular in manufacturing because of its self-centering design.

4.   Torx Screwdriver:

Also known as: Star

Torx drivers come with a blade with a star-shaped tip. This shape increases the area of contact between the tip and the screw head, thus allowing for more application of torque.

Presently, Torx drivers are mainly used in appliance industry and security fields because of its efficiency.

5.   Hex Screwdriver or Hexagon Screwdriver:

Also known as: hexagon, hex key, Allen wrench

Instead of a blade with a tip at its end, hex drivers feature a hexagon recess. This design facilitates their unique use in the fastening of bolts rather than screws. Thanks to their straight handles, hex keys do not require a lot of space to turn the bolt.

These drivers are commonly used in furniture assembly and bicycle repair. No slipping effect takes place while driving this hence most of the power driver tools can be fitted with hex arrangement bits and thus makes the production fast and easier with minimized error.

6.   Robertson or Square Screwdriver:

Also known as: square head drivers

Robertson drivers originate from Canada, which is where they are most commonly used. Robertson screwdriver is named after a Canadian inventor and are not as popular in other parts of the world. And they aren’t your common screwdriver; they come with a recessed square socket that allows them to have one of the highest torque tolerance of any screwdriver. This is because they have no tip, thus eliminating any chance of the driver slipping.

Thanks to their durability, this driver finds application in the automotive and furniture industry. This type of screwdrivers constitutes the highest torque than all drive types. Slight Taper shape at the front of the tool provides a good locking with the screw and thus makes it more comfortable for use and also neglects the cam out effect.

7.   Tri-Point Drivers

Also known as: Y-tip, 3-prong

The tri-point driver’s tip features three blades set at a 120-degree angle from each other, resulting in a Y shape. They find use in the gaming and phone industry where tri-point screws are commonly used.

8. Tri-angle Drivers

Also known as: TAs

These drivers come with a triangular tip to allow for use on screw heads with triangle-shaped depressions. These screw heads are common in appliances, electronics, and toys.

9. Tri-wing Drivers

Tri-wings come with a tip that resembles a pinwheel. They also work on screw heads with triangle-shaped slots. Tri-wing screw heads and drivers were initially designed for use in the aerospace industry but can now be found in home appliances. They are also one of the most expensive screwdrivers out there due to their unavailability.

10. Spanner Driver

Also known as: pig-nose, snake-eye

This screwdriver features a two-prong tip that resembles a barbecue fork. It works on flathead screw heads that feature two small depressions on the sides. As a result, these screws cannot be removed without this particular driver.

Thanks to their uniqueness, these screws and their drivers are used to secure fixtures restrooms, elevators, and bus terminals.

11. Bolster Drivers

These screwdrivers feature a nut beneath the base of the handle. This design comes in handy when looking to loosen a nut that is stuck to a surface. You can apply greater amounts of torque to the driver by using a wrench on the welded nut.

12. Frearson Screwdriver

Also known as: the Reed and Prince

Frearson screwdrivers spot a design that is similar to that of Phillips’ heads. However, in the Frearson, the tip has a sharp point, as opposed to the blunt points of the Phillips’.

Also, the angle of the tip is at 45 degrees which means a single Frearson screwdriver can be used on any size of Frearson screw and for many Phillips screws. Consequently, you can apply greater amounts of torque on this driver. Its advantage is that it avoids typical problems such as shattering and premature bit wear.

The shape helps the Frearson screwdriver to generate greater torque than a Phillips screwdriver which helps to use it in nautical equipment and specified areas where precision is required.

13. JIS (Japanese Industrial Standard) Screwdriver

This driver also features a cruciform tip to allow for greater torque application. These drivers are used on JIS screw heads that are common in imports from Japan. You can use a Frearson or Phillips driver to open these screws even though it will not be an easy task.

JIS (Japanese Industrial Standard) is one of the most recognized types and probably the most commonly used driver in the toolbox for fastening cross-point screws. It looks similar to the Phillips head but it is designed to resist camming out.

Its main advantage over the Phillips screwdrivers is that it has self-centering and quick tool and screw engagement.

It allows torque and over-tightening to be controlled by the operator and not by the head of the screw.


You can also categorize screwdrivers based on their handle and shank design. Alterations on the handles give screwdrivers different capabilities. These include:

  1. Electric

Also known as: screw guns, power screwdrivers

These drivers save you from using your own strength to apply torque thanks to being electricity-powered.

  1. Battery Operated Screwdriver

There are many electric drives that use a battery as a power source which makes them very compact. This tool is not ideal for heavy driving or drilling, it is perfect for general light screw driving tasks. These types of screwdrivers don’t have the power as other power tools have but it is a space saver.

For example, we can use it to fix screws in computers without disassembling it.

  1. Corded

Arguably the most powerful screwdrivers out there in terms of the torque they can generate. However, they can be quite inconveniencing to work with since they need to be connected to a power source during use.

  1. Cordless

These screwdrivers come with rechargeable batteries, thus allowing you the portability benefit of a battery-powered driver and the power of an electrical driver.

  1. Magnetic Screwdriver:

The magnetic screwdriver has the magnetic tip which holds the screw and with that you can place or extract the screw single handedly. It is applicable in small electronic industries when trying to place screws in hard-to-reach locations. Its use is easy as they stick to our screwdriver.

We can magnetize our existing screwdriver easily using a earth magnet instead of buying new sets of magnetic tipped screwdrivers.

  1. Ratcheting Screwdriver

Ratcheting screwdrivers reduce the lift as well as save operation time. It repositions the screwdriver tip automatically after every turn. Ratcheting screwdrivers consists of an internal ball bearing mechanism that allows the user to make multiple turns of the screw with an easy back-and-forth wrist action.

By switching a button on the screwdriver the ratcheting action can be changed from one direction to the other so that it is applicable to insert screws in clockwise directional motion and remove screws in the counter-clockwise direction motion.

  1. Jeweler’s

Also known as: eyeglass or watch driver

These are precision drivers used on tiny screws, such as those found in pocket watches or eyeglasses.


Whatever project you are working on, there will always be the right screwdriver. Therefore, don’t sweat it out with the wrong tool. As a matter of fact, an improper screwdriver can be frustrating to use and could even damage your workpiece.

Screwdriver Types Menu

Common Screwdrivers Types

  1. Flathead Screwdrivers
  2. Phillips Head Screwdrivers
  3. Pozidriv Screwdrivers
  4. Torx Screwdrivers
  5. Hex Screwdrivers
  6. Robertson Screwdrivers
  7. Tri-Point Drivers
  8. Tri-angle Drivers
  9. Tri-wing Drivers
  10. Spanner Driver
  11. Bolster Drivers
  12. Frearson Drivers
  13. Japanese Industrial Standard Screwdriver

Screwdriver Styles

  1. Electric
  2. Battery-powered
  3. Corded
  4. Cordless
  5. Magnetic
  6. Jeweler’s
  7. Ratcheting

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