Tools, Material & Hardware


Every home should have at least one of the more popular screwdriver designs to tighten screws that come loose or need replacement.

A screwdriver amplifies the hand's turning motion to the small, specially designed tip that is inserted into the screw's head. There are numerous tip designs for special applications (such as appliance assembly), but the two most common are standard (also called flat, flared, or straight) and Phillips (X-shaped) tips. The screwdriver handle can be of plastic or wood, sometimes with a rubberized cover to improve grip. Other tips include clutch (hourglass shape), Robertson (square), and Torx (six slots). Some fasteners can be turned either by standard or Phillips tips.

Screwdrivers come in several designs, but the standard model with a flat head is still among the most common.

How to Safely Use a Screwdriver

To safely use a screwdriver, first select the appropriate tip and size to fit the fastener's head. The fastener may require that a starter hole be made with a drill or by pressing the tip into the material. Insert the screwdriver tip into the screw head and turn the handle clockwise, applying pressure on the handle to hold the tip firmly in the head. Continue turning the screwdriver firmly, making sure the screw remains straight as it enters the material. Make sure your hand is away from the screw in case the screwdriver slips off the screw head.

How to Maintain a Screwdriver

Screwdrivers require no maintenance beyond ensuring that the tips do not become misshapen. Standard screwdriver tips can be filed down if necessary, but Phillips and other screwdriver tips cannot easily be reshaped. For best results, buy screwdrivers of hardened steel.