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How To Use a Screwdriver Efficiently

by Jenny Mae Talaver January 31, 2020

How To Use a Screwdriver Efficiently

A screwdriver is one of the most tools in a handyman’s toolset. It is a simple tool with lots of uses. But be careful, it’s also the easier to screw up. To help you take advantage of any screwdriver, the Rock Hard Toolz team presents this helpful guide on How to use a screwdriver efficiently.

In this guide, you will learn the following things about using a screwdriver well:

  1. What is a screwdriver?
  2. How does it work?
  3. Types of Screwdriver
  4. How to use a screwdriver efficiently?
  5. What not to do with a screwdriver?
  6. Conclusion

    What is a screwdriver?

    A screwdriver is a simple metal rod with a shape on its head, designed to fit inside the screw (or bolt). It can be a manual or powered tool. It’s usually made with tough steel to amplify the worker’s hands’ turning action. It can be designed with either a plastic, metal or wooden handle; and an occasional rubberized cover for better grip.

    The screwdriver has been a workman’s partner since the Middle Ages. Made in either Germany or France, smiths that time use them for armor. Screwdrivers have been used to construct screw-cutting lathes, for securing breastplates, backplates, and helmets on medieval jousting armor—and for multiple parts of the emerging firearms, particularly the matchlock.

    Nowadays, we use a screwdriver for many things around the house, office and other buildings. Here are a few things a screwdriver will help you through:

    • Computers, small electronics
    • Wall socket electrical outlets, light switches, and cover plates
    • Changing the air filter or hoses in your car
    • Furniture fixtures (cabinet & dresser knobs)

    How does it work?

    You use a screwdriver to tighten or loosen a screw. It is pretty simple to do. Push the screwdriver toward the head of the screw. Then turn clockwise to tighten, or counter-clockwise to loosen.

    But some screwdrivers are problematic unless you take care in handling them. In particular, Phillips head screwdrivers are designed to “cam out”, which means they are designed to slip out of the screw.

    There are many types of screwdrivers that work on specific types of bolts and screws. One important point of efficient screwdriver work is to use the right screwdriver for the bolt or screw you will thrust into the material you work on.

    Types of Screwdriver

    Screwdrivers vary by the design of their tips. Each is designed to engage into a specifically-shaped screw or bolt.  Above all, each tip is designed for specific applications, i.e. appliance assembly.

    The most commonly used types are the flat-head (also known as flat, flared or straight) and Phillips-head screwdrivers. Also fairly seen in workplaces is the Allen Wrench which works akin to a screwdriver towards screws but its technique is more like a wrench.

    In Canada and some other countries, the Robertson, a square-tipped screwdriver also known as Scrulox, is more commonplace. It features a tapered socket and tool that enables easier insertion into screws. Many users love it because they can use it one-handed. In fact, it is part of the historic production success of the Canadian division of Ford cars as they helped speed up production and reduce product damage.

    On the other hand, in Europe and Far East, they use the Pozidriv and the related Supadriv screwdrivers. While similarly designed as the Phillips screwdriver, the Pozidriv and Supadriv screwdriver gives more torque application than other screwdrivers.

    The less common screwdriver is the Torx, also known as start head for its six-slotted tip design, is used to tighten things much stronger than other screwdrivers. You can also find other screwdrivers such as clutch (hourglass-shaped tip), Reed and Prince, also called Frearson, (cross-headed), and the Japanese Industrial Standard (JIS), most common throughout the Asian market.

    When it comes to Phillips screwdrivers, we can get them in four sizes – from #000, the smallest to #4, the largest. The #000 screwdriver is for jeweler-size screws. #2 is the standard for most screws. You can find the size of the screwdriver in the shank or handle of the tool. To safely use any screwdriver, you need to select the screwdriver and match it with the tip and size of the fastener’s (bolt or screw) head.

    How to use a Screwdriver efficiently

    1. Examine the bolt or screw and find the screwdriver that matches its design.

    If you do not match the screw tip with the right screwdriver, you risk damaging both the screw and the screwdriver. Worse, you also become vulnerable to hand injuries. To produce efficient work, always match the indentations in the head of the screw to the screwdriver.

    1. 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.

    Insert the tip of the screwdriver into the head of the fastener to verify it securely fits. If the screwdriver tip does not match the fastener indentations with a tight fit, the screwdriver can slip off the screw as you tighten it. Align the shaft of the screwdriver to the same angle as that of the screw to ensure the application of proper force.

    1. Hold the screwdriver with two hands.

    Grasp the handle with your dominant hand and the tip with your other as close to the head of the screw as you can. Apply enough force to turn the screwdriver clockwise to tighten the screw and the opposite direction to loosen it. Be careful with the force you use because too much will cause the screwdriver to slip from the bolt or screw’s head. Keep the shaft of the screwdriver aligned with the shaft of the screw as you tighten or loosen it for the best results.

    1. Use the right screw and screwdriver for the material.

    Aside from matching the screw to the right screwdriver, you also need to take the material you work on into account. When working with hard woods, use only wood screws. They are designed with spiral threads and a pointed tip. For steel or metal, use metal screws and bolts because they have even threads and a flat end.

    1. Buy screwdrivers of hardened steel to ensure longevity of use.

    Again, be careful with handling screwdrivers by following the aforementioned steps. Screwdrivers are very easy to keep, no maintenance needed aside from preventing damage to the tips. To further ensure best results all the time, buy screwdrivers of hardened steel. Do not try to fool yourself with low quality tools.

    What not to do with a screwdriver

    A screwdriver is one of the simplest tools in the tradesman’s toolkit. But unfortunately, if you’re not working carefully, it is also the easiest tool to screw up. One wrong action, for instance, is using the wrongly-sized screw or screwdriver which will damage both screw and screwdriver.

    Here are other things you should never do with your screwdriver:

    • Never forget to maintain a first aid kit in your workspace. You need to be prepared for any accidents all the time. Keep stock of Betadine, gauzes, bandages and painkillers.
    • DO NOT USE a screwdriver for anything other than its intended purpose of loosening or tightening screws and bolts. You cannot use it in lieu of a chisel, a lever or a punch. Hence, you can NEVER use it for prying, punching, chiseling, scoring, scraping or stirring paint.
    • Do not use too much force on a screwdriver. Use just enough to keep contact with the screw. Once you properly fit the screw with the screwdriver, it will draw itself into the right position when turned. Always make sure the screwdriver is in line with the screw.
    • Do not hold the workpiece in one hand while using the screwdriver with the other. If the screwdriver slips out of the slot, you may cut your hand.
    • Do not grind the tip to fit all sizes of screw heads. Furthermore, do not even try to match screwdrivers with screws or bolts that they are not designed for. You’ll do nothing but damage both screw and screwdriver in the process.
    • Never use damaged screwdrivers. If ever you accidentally damaged yours, throw it away. Do not try working with defective screwdrivers such as those with rounded or damaged edges or tips; split or broken handle; or bent shaft.
    • Do not use pliers on the handle of a screwdriver for extra turning power.
    • Do not expose a screwdriver blade to excessive heat. Heat can affect the temper of the metal and weaken the tool.
    • NEVER use a powered screwdriver when working on or near electrics.
    • Never use a screwdriver in a way where the point is aimed toward you.
    • If possible make a pilot hole to allow the screw to enter easier.
    • Never carry screwdrivers in your pockets.
    • Above all, never work with a screwdriver near kids. Nor should you allow them to take the screwdriver. They can hurt themselves with it while accidentally playing with it.


    A screwdriver is an indispensable tool for any worker and professional in the construction and home improvement industry. It is of utmost necessity for you to understand how to use it well to be able to produce positive results in every task you will use it on. You also need to learn to use efficiently every time to ensure safety in the workplace. Above all, a screwdriver is only worth as much as the care and skill of the worker handling it.

    To learn about the screwdriver and other tools of the trade for the construction professional, go to Rockhard Tools. We offer you everything from product reviews to how-to guides. Rockhard Tools provides top quality masonry drill bits, jobber twist drill bits, anchors and fastening systems, hacksaw blades, jig saw blades and more.

    Jenny Mae Talaver
    Jenny Mae Talaver

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