fastener drive types Hardware & Fastener Reviews

Fastener Drive Types

Screwdrivers are available in a wide variety of fastener drive types, lengths, and styles. But which type of drive do you use for each type of application? Both drivers and bits can be purchased individually and in sets. For the best deal, it is better to purchase a set as a good way to build a screwdriver fastener collection. The reason you need a collection of different screwdrivers is the same reason you need to understand all of the wide varieties of fasteners that they work with. Not only is there a decent variety of types of fasteners, but most are also available in several sizes. Using the right fastener drive types for its proper application will ensure that you don’t damage the fasteners or take longer than you need on your job. Multi-bit screwdrivers make that even easier when dealing with more than one type of fastener on the job site.


Most quality fasteners feature either a galvanized, nickel-chrome, stainless steel, or coated finish—and each is designed for a specific purpose. The various drive tips are made for a variety of reasons. Some are patented because they offer a unique solution to keeping a driver bit in place—others are simply better for the application they are intended for. Getting a good grip into the fastener is probably the chief reason for new fastener drive types.

Remember when all screws were slotted? I rest my case.

The most common type of fastener has got to be the #2 Phillips bit, but many others exist. The tip of the screwdriver or driver bit should always fit snugly into the fastener so as not to slip around when the fastener is turned (at either low or high speeds depending upon the application). Impact drivers are particularly adept at maintaining the bit’s connection to the fastener when used properly. Here is a quick look at some of the most common types of screws and fasteners you should have in your collection, and the drivers that fit them.

  • The slotted or flat blade screwdriver is one of the oldest types of screwdriver, having been designed in the early 1800s. This type of screwdriver works with screws that have a cut through the top of the head. When choosing what size flat blade screwdriver to use, always make sure the tip is the width of the fastener and the bit fits snugly.
  • The next most common type of screwdriver uses the Phillips head. The name comes from its inventor Henry F. Phillips in the 1930s. These types of screwdrivers have a pointed cross-head tip that matches a self-centering, cross-head screw. Phillips heads were originally designed to cause the driver to cam out, to prevent over-tightening.
  • Hex head also called Allen screw is a useful type of fastener because of its effectiveness of limiting the amount of slip possible with the bit. These are common in many assembly-required types of furniture and bicycles.
  • TORX head screws resist bit slippage or cam-out better than slot head or Phillips head screws because the TORX heads were designed to prevent it.
  • Square drive screws is a less common specialty type of fastener. Some manufacturers of deck screws use this style drive along with some manufactures of stainless steel wood screws. IN our opinion, stainless steel fasteners tend to be very soft and should be used with caution. Common trim head screws use square bits and feature a very small head for countersinking into cabinets.



While some fastener drive types are no so common, at the very least, be sure to keep a handy assortment of both straight and Philips head screwdrivers on hand. Remember not to use your screwdrivers as chisels or prying tools since this can damage the tips, drive the shaft through the plastic handle or cause some other type of harm to you, your tool or your workpiece.

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Ashley Turns

My husband just bought some military certified fasteners for the treehouse he’s building in the backyard. He’s wondering what would be the best type of equipment to use with them. So thank you for mentioning that if he uses either a straight or Philips head screwdriver, he should be all fine with his military certified fasteners.