Screwdriver Types Guide: Wrench, Torx, Phillips & Tri-Wing Screwdrivers

Screwdrivers are very well known, common domestic tools. Every home has at least one screwdriver within, as there are so many items that require the use of screws. They are not just used for domestic purposes but are used in professional manufacturing too. Screwdrivers are usually manually operated and are made to carefully match the screws that they drive. This is determined by the shape of the hole in the screw’s head where screwdriver’s tip fits into it. There are also automatic screwdrivers that don’t require the user to drive screws by hand. Basically screwdrivers consist of four parts: 1) the tip, 2) the blade, 3) the shank, and, 4) the handle.

The quality of a screwdriver is judged by the blade and what kind of metal it is made up of, how its finishing is and the efficiency of the tip of the screwdriver. If the material and quality of the blade is poor then it may start chipping when you start exerting pressure on it; it may also crumble under extreme conditions. It is necessary that the blade is properly and firmly attached to the handle of the screwdriver so that the blade doesn’t fall out of its handle, and so that it doesn’t get loose or slip inside the handle of the screwdriver. The material of the screwdriver is also important so that it provides better grip to its user.

Types of Screwdrivers

There are many screwdriver types that are available on the market today: Regular screwdrivers (also known as flat blade screwdrivers), Phillips screwdrivers, Torx screwdrivers, Tri-wing screwdrivers, Cabinet, Frearson, Hex, etc.

–      Flat Blade Screwdrivers

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Flat blade screwdrivers are regular screwdrivers that are commonly used by most people, whether at work or at home, and they have a flat bladed end. It is believed that these screwdrivers were made and used in the early nineteenth century. They are used to tighten up or loosen screws by hand. This is a very versatile screwdriver as it is also used to pry, scrape, nudge, or hold objects. You have the option to choose to the right screwdriver for you as it comes in different shapes and sizes. Some flat blade screwdrivers have magnetic tips so that while working with the screws, the screw doesn’t move from its original location and are attached to the tip; there is also no chance of it slipping away and moving to the most unreachable part of your house, or workshop. This is especially convenient when working with smaller screws that are more difficult to handle, as they simply hang on to the blade of the screwdriver once removed from their place.

Nowadays, it is possible to detach the head of the screwdriver from its handle. The handles of these screwdrivers have been changing since its evolution to provide a better gripping experience. Commonly, the handles are made up with rubber so that it provides a better grip and there is less of a chance of slipping from the hand of the user. Sometimes the screwdrivers’ handles are also made up of wood, though these are less common nowadays.

–      Phillips Head Screwdrivers

The Phillips head screwdriver is the second most common screwdriver that people use in their homes as well as in construction. The tip of this type of screwdrivers is “X” shaped so they are used with “X” shaped fasteners types. This screwdriver was invented by Henry Phillips and was patented sometime in the 1930s.  It first became popular when it started being used in the automobile industry for manufacturing cars. It also comes in several different sizes so that you can choose the right one as per your needs.

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The Phillips head screwdriver has a straight shaft made up of metal. Its handle provides a comfortable grip so that it can be easily turned with a single hand. The edges of the crossed tip of this screwdriver are rounded so that it can directly fit into the crossed Phillips style screws.

–      Torx Screwdrivers

A torx screwdriver is a less common screwdriver as it is not much used by the people. The tip of these screwdrivers is in the shape of a six-point star so that it can be readily and easily used with star shaped fasteners types. Torx is also used in some wrench types that are used to remove the star shaped screws. This special type of screws is mostly used in Ford vehicles. The advantage of torx screws is that they can put up with a high amount of torque. The torx screwdrivers also come in different sizes ranging from, T1 – T100, as required by its user.

–      Tri-wing screwdrivers

The tri-wing screwdriver has been designed especially to protect valuable accessories. These are mostly used by Nintendo Wii and GameBoy. The special characteristic of this type of screwdriver is that it has a triangular slotted recess that matches only with the right type of bolt. Though it is made up of stainless steel, if a wrong type of screwdriver is used to drive the tri-wing screws then it will get stripped. If you try to open your Nintendo Wii or GameBoy with a screwdriver other than tri-wing screwdriver then it will damage your product. You must not tamper with it.

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–      Hex Key

Hex key is one of the wrench types of screwdriver. It is also called Allen key or Allen wrench. It is a tool whose driver portion is hexagon shaped and is used to drive screws and bolts whose heads are in the shape of a hexagon. This tool is highly favored by most people as it is small, simple, light and easy to use. One good thing about this is that it can even be used with screws that don’t have a head and even the small screws can be driven using this wrench type. It doesn’t cost much to manufacture this tool so it is often given as a complimentary accessory when people buy a particular product that requires the usage of a hex key. This tool can be used from both the sides as both ends feature the hexagon shape. Sometimes the torque may seem to be constrained as it is so long and thick.

There are many types of screwdriver available for use depending upon the needs of the project at hand. If you have any questions regarding the proper screwdriver for your own particular task, you can always look online or ask around at any hardware or automotive stores, as they can lead you in the right direction. The biggest thing to remember about screwdrivers is that you should always the screwdriver corresponding with the type of screw, or you run the risk of stripping the screw, and that is just inconvenient.

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