Screwdrivers: How Are They Sized?

Are you looking for the appropriate screwdriver size that will finally fit that loose screw you need to fix? Screwdrivers have various sizes that can sometimes be confusing. This is because of how much variety there is to this seemingly straightforward hardware tool. You have to browse through different types, names, and matches to determine what you need without wasting money by buying the wrong one.

Fortunately, there are some methods you can keep in mind when figuring out how these tools are sized. In this article, we will discuss how screwdrivers are sized and how to choose the correct size for what screws you will be working with. We will also provide some budget-saving tips by providing you with details that you may want to look for when purchasing a screwdriver to get your money’s worth.

But first, let’s talk about the compatibility between a screw and a screwdriver. 

Importance Of Screwdrivers With The Right Size

screwdrivers
Photo credits: Markus Spiske

You will want a screwdriver that is the correct size for the screws you are using. If your screwdriver is too small, it may slip out and become unusable. If it is too big, you may damage the screw head. You can find out what size of screw you need by looking at or measuring the slot in the middle of the head. 

It doesn’t matter if you have a flathead or Phillips screwdriver; either type will work with any kind of slotted screw. The key difference you’d look for between these two types is whether there are one, two, or three raised stripes in a cross-shaped pattern on the tip of your tool. Make sure that this pattern matches up with your screws before attempting to use them.

Standard Size Of Screwdrivers

Sadly, screwdrivers and their associated screws are not standardized. The sizes differ by country, material (wood or metal), application (furniture vs. high-tech equipment), and even the maker. Some companies may use the exact size of the screwdriver tip that matches the head of the screw. While others may have a slightly different size to ensure a more excellent grip when driving in screws.

In short: there are no standards for unscrewing or screwing things into your living room table, wall, or even a dog house. And this makes it all the more difficult to know what kind of screwdriver will work best for your project!

Can You Size Screwdrivers By Yourself?

Screwdriver sizes are not as easy to determine as shoe sizes. A ¼ inch slotted screwdriver will have a blade width of ¼, but that doesn’t mean it’ll be the same width in all brands. The same goes for shaft length because it can vary between brands. Also, a 5mm hex key is not equal to 5mm across the board either. One brand’s hex key made of high-carbon steel might measure slightly different from another brand made of chrome vanadium steel.

You can follow these simple rules when sizing screwdrivers:

If your screws are English (inch), purchase English bit tips.
If your screws are metric (millimeter), purchase metric bit tips.
The thickness of the slot should provide firm contact with the sides of an appropriately sized screw without wobbling. 
The width of the slot should fit snugly over the head of a screw without wobbling.

Different Types Of Screwdrivers

types of screwdrivers

There are different “basic” types of screwdrivers, but they all fall into three basic categories: standard, Phillips, and Torx. 

🪛 Length and diameter

The length of a screwdriver indicates the distance from the tip to the end of the handle measured in inches. At the same time, the diameter of the screwdriver means how thick it is at its widest point in millimeters.

🪛 Standard

Standard screwdrivers have blades that are 4 inches long and have a diameter of 1/16th of an inch. Their blade tips come in flat and cross-shaped shapes, but they all work with slotted head screws. Standard screwdrivers can also be used for other types of screws as well as larger nuts and bolts.

🪛 Phillips

Phillips screwdrivers have blades that are 2 1/2 inches long and have a diameter of 3/32nds of an inch. They’re named after their inventor Henry F. Phillips, who patented them in 1936. Then, they were later improved by William B. Robertson Sr., who added grooves on the blade’s head. This variation would lock into place while turning it counterclockwise into wood or plastic surfaces. 

🪛 Torx

Torx screwdrivers are also known as star-shaped screwdrivers that usually range from 1/4″ & to 3/8″ depending on their uses. Their common uses include functions found on vehicles, computers or laptops and other electronics. However, these screwdrivers can be substituted by an alternative option known as a Torx key.

Choosing Screwdriver Based On Screw Slot

When you’re choosing a screwdriver, it’s fine to opt for a bit that’s slightly smaller than the width of your screw’s slot. So long as there’s enough surface area for the driver to grip the sides of the slot without slipping off, you’ll be able to work with it just fine.

If you need to widen an undersized slot, you can use a file or a small round rat-tail file. Just ensure not to use too large of a screwdriver bit. If it slips and gouges your wood, you may end up damaging the head so that no screwdriver will fit into it!

🟢 Size chart

You can find detailed charts online that explain and show screwdriver sizes. The information you’ll find is invaluable for the beginner, as well as folks who just plain forget. Some sites even offer you a handy calculator to determine the correct size for every application!

It’s always better to have a variety of screwdrivers if one doesn’t fit the job. However, if your budget is limited, you might consider starting with a set of 12 if possible. Sizes typically included in this type of set are 6 × 3/8″, 6 × 1/2″, 8 × 3/8″, 8 × 1/2″, 10 × 3/8″ and 10 x 1/2″.

🟢 Note before working

Before you get started on the fixing, make sure that you have the right tools and safety equipment and that you’re using them correctly. Don’t just measure once; instead, measure twice! This is especially true of power drills. This is because they’re heavy, loud, and can break things if used incorrectly or on something more complex than they’re rated to handle. 

It’s also essential to select the correct size screwdriver for your project. A Phillips bit will not fit a slotted screw head, and vice versa. The same goes for other fasteners like nuts and bolts as well, so be sure to use the appropriate size wrench or socket when turning them.

How To Find The Appropriate Screwdriver For Your Task?

With so many screwdrivers to choose from, it’s hard to know which one is right for you. Some are designed to be used on specific screws, while others are meant for different applications. There are also different sizes, so how do you know which one is best?

The easiest way to choose the right screwdriver is by considering what types of screws you need to drive. A simple flathead screwdriver might suffice if you’re just trying to tighten a loose door hinge. However, if you’re working with small electronics or appliances, you’ll want something smaller and more precise that can fit into tight spaces.

Try shopping online first if you’re second-guessing which kind of screwdriver will work best for your project. That way, if something doesn’t work out as planned, then you won’t find any wasted time or money spent on trying out different options at brick-and-mortar stores only to discover later on that they weren’t right in the first place!

Tips For Choosing The Best Screwdriver

A good screwdriver is a must-have in any toolbox. Whether you’re building furniture, assembling parts, or fixing your table, a good screwdriver can make all the difference. Screwdrivers come in many different sizes and shapes. This is why it’s so important to know what you need before you start shopping. 

For example, if you’re working on small screws with tiny heads, you’ll want a small and thin driver with a narrow tip. But if you’re building furniture and need to insert large screws into wood joints without damaging them, then an oversized driver with a wide head might be more appropriate for your needs.

Whatever kind of screwdriver you need for your project, there are some things that we can tell you about the best affordable screwdriver. These are features you have to look out for when it comes to considering which screwdriver to purchase:

They have an ergonomic handle that feels comfortable in your hand and helps prevent fatigue when using them for long periods.
They have hatchets that can properly function without the user being forced to reposition their handle multiple times throughout the process.
Have magnetic tips that help hold onto screws so they don’t fall out when removing them from their holes.
They are affordable enough for the current budget you have that’s allotted to purchasing hardware tools. You may also consider how much they suit what you need them for. 
They have heads that are versatile enough to fit many screws of different uses or those which belong to different components.

Bottom Line 

Choosing the correct screwdrivers can often be intimidating, especially if you’re not well-versed with hardware tools and their compatibility. Fortunately, we now have the internet, which offers an abundance of invaluable information that can save you some valuable time, effort, and money all at once by making the right decision. 

However, it would help if you also took note that you can always consult people from the hardware store who can help you pick the compatible screwdriver. But knowing these pieces of information can also prevent you from scammers and unethical sellers. Doing your own research will never hurt in the long run. 

After purchasing your new screwdriver, let’s now check how to make your tools work quiter by clicking here.

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