Screwdriver Types: Common Screw Drive Heads and Screw Sizes Guide

If you’re looking for the ultimate tool guide to screwdriver types and screw head sizes, you have come to the right place. You will learn the essential types of screwdrivers, the names of each screwdriver, and the most common various sizes of screw heads.

The screwdriver is a necessary and required tool not just at home but also for those of you who work in the set decoration, construction, or scenic department in the film and television industry. It is essential that you learn the different screwdriver types and screw head types and sizes, given how often you will need to use a screwdriver.

My preference for my tool kit goes to the all-in-one retractable bit screwdriver which is excellent for quick jobs at work and great for use at home. However, during lengthy construction builds and the initial set dressing period, I prefer using my 65-piece screwdriver set so that I know I always have the right screwdriver types on hand for every job.

Make sure your screwdriver set is made of strong metal and magnetic alloy to keep your screws from dropping and to reduce stripping. I find the worst for this is the Black & Decker bits and screwdrivers which are weak and prone to stripping the Phillips, PoziDriv, and Robertson bits. In my experience, DeWalt, Mastercraft, and Craftsman are excellent.

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Pass Me a Screwdriver

retractable screwdriver

Craftsman Auto-Loading Multi-Bit Retractable Screwdriver

65-Piece Mastercraft Screwdriver Set / Screwdriver Types and Screw Head Sizes

65-Piece Mastercraft Screwdriver Set


One of my biggest pet peeves on set is when I ask a set dresser to pass me a Robertson #2, and they stare at me blankly. “The square one, the flat one, or the star one?” they often ask. It also doesn’t occur to them at the moment that there are also various screw sizes.

While I expect this from novice crew members, it always surprises me how many people do not know the names and sizes of specific tools, the most straightforward of which is the screwdriver.

However, I’ll admit that when I was first starting, I thought Hex Keys were called X-Keys. I felt like the biggest loser when I found out I’d been saying it wrong the whole time.

I suppose everyone has to learn somewhere, so hopefully, you get something out of this the next time you’re asked to use a specific screwdriver.


screwdriver types, screw heads guide

Screwdriver Types Guide

 


Names of Screwdriver Types

  •  Flat Head (or Slotted or Straight Head)
  •  Phillips
  • Pozidriv
  • Torx
  • Hex (or Allen key or Allen wrench) * (Ikea loves this one)
  • Robertson (Canada’s most common)
  • Tri-Wing
  • Torq-Set
  • Spanner

Note: Many retractable screwdrivers and screwdriver sets do not come with the Hex or Allen key bit so you should always keep a Hex Key (or Allen wrench) in your pocket for pesky Ikea furniture.


Screwdriver and Screw Head Sizes

  • #0: The tiniest of the four most commonly used sizes
  • #1: The second smallest of the four most commonly used sizes
  • #2: The medium size and the most commonly used size everywhere
  • #3: The largest of the four most commonly used sizes

Note: There are other sizes available, but these are the most commonly used screw heads and required screwdrivers both in your home or at work on any film set.


What is your favourite tool? Why do you love it? Do you have a brand from which you do not stray? I’d like to know which tools, devices, and brands you love right now.

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Posted by Rose Lagacé

Rose Lagacé is a production designer for film & television by day and an emerging filmmaker by night. Rose is also the creator and editor of Art Departmental where she celebrates the art and craft of production design.

  1. Garland Split Head leather faced hammer

    Non-marring hammer for ‘adjusting’ things.
    Mine has actual white rawhide rather than the stuff they issue. It beats a deadblow hands down as well as those plastic ones. Only thing to remember is don’t store it in a hot, dry area or the rawhide shrinks down and you have to soak it to swell it back up to size.

    Reply

  2. I like screw drivers, too. When I moved out on my own I bought all the necessary tools I would randomly need like a hammer, wrenches, screwdrivers (I have several different kinds- one with a ratchet.. ooh), allen keys, etc. My dad was really proud that I had all these great tools- and although I’ve only used my drill a dozen times, it’s there when I need it. My tool kit is so much better tricked out then my boyfriend’s. Ha!
    -J.

    Reply

  3. GAFFER TAPE!

    lol.but thats prob because so far i work on low budgets

    Reply

  4. Amazing info really appreciate you sharing

    Reply

  5. The Germans make some beautiful, high quality screwdrivers. The Torx screwdriver by Wiha or Wera are great examples. Time to pick up one because Torx screws are found everywhere today. 

    Reply

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