Here's what you really need to know.

The number of screwdrivers is overwhelming. What brand?  What Size? What’s Torx? Why are some called Phillips?

Watch the video below to learn the basics.  Nothing overwhelming, just practical knowledge and skills, with a bit of history thrown in for fun.

Then, if you like what you learned, follow the links to purchase the ones I reccomend.  I do get a tiny percentage of the sale when you purchase via these links.

LINKS TO ITEMS IN THIS VIDEO:

FLATHEAD
  • Called the screwdriver / common / slotted / standard / blade. 
  • But the most popular name is “flat head”. 
  • Yes, it’s technically not correct, but that’s what everyone says. 
  • Four common sizes marked FL-1 to FL-4
  • Just don’t call it a minus!
  • Fit is critical.  Slot must match the tip and be as wide as the screw.
  • Sized by width and length of slot. match the screwdriver to fit well.
  • Slotted screws are the oldest design, but the worst.
  • They were the easiest to make with old technology. 
  • But still used A LOT today. just avoid them if you can. 
  • Slipping out and stabbing things is common with slotted screws. 
  • Stripping is guaranteed if you don’t use the right size. 
PHILLIPS
  • Phillips been around for 100 years. 
  • Originally for mass production in car factories.
  • Four common sizes marked  PH-1 to PH3.   
  • Fit and pressure is critical or you’ll damage the tip, the screw, or yourself, or your work  
  • Cam out by design to not over-torque the screw.
  • But for us, just makes it slip and get damaged.
  • Phillips are the most popular and we’re stuck with them.
  • There are tiny versions for electronics and toys.
  • There are better versions like the Pozi-drive or JIS. 
OTHERS
  • Torx.  Takes more torque (imagine that). Better at angled screwing
  • A LOT of sizes, but 11 bits (T4 to T40) is most popular. Goes to T100!
  • Jeeps, electronics, etc.. good to have a set of bits around. 
  • A fold out set is better!
  • Wrong size is most common way to damage. 
  • Robertson. Aka, square drive. 3 common sizes.  
  • Popular in Canada and with outdoor woodworking / framing.
  • Better than Phillips or flat rest IMHO, but rare in the USA.
  • Go straight, not forgiving at angles. 
  • Has a slight taper to hold fastener.
  • Other. There are dozens of different sizes and shapes
  • All have advantages and disadvantages. 
  • Use what best suits your application.
MULTI-TIP SETS
  • Replaceable bits that fit into a hex bit screwdriver
  • Great for having a lot of tips in a small and light package.
  • Weight matters if you’re hauling them around all day.
  • But the downside is losing the tips really stinks.  
  • Imagine dripping one of these behind a dresser, or in the attic, or in the engine.
  • Make sure the screwdriver itself has a strong magnetic tip holder!!! 
  • There are kits with dozens of tips. 
SCREWDRIVER BASICS
  • #1 RULE = The screw determines the screwdriver, not the other way around.
  • #2 RULE = Lefty loosy! Righty tighty!
  • All we want is for them to work and not damage anything.
  • The right screwdriver means less chance of injury or damaging your work, or lost time.
  • Counter-clockwise for loosening / clockwise to tighten.
  • The parts are called the tip, the blade, the shank, and the handle.
  • You’ll need a few stubbies (very short shanks) and a few regular length shanks
  • Chrome vs black oxide metal. Doesn’t matter. Just no chrome on the very tips or it will break off.
  • if you’re going to be doing electrical work, look into insulated screwdrivers!
  • Remember electricity is invisible and trying to kill you!
  • I don’t like rubber and screwdrivers with groves / grips. they don’t last and are a paint to clean. 
  • BUT if you have small hands or don’t have the grip strength, they are perfect for you. 
  • full shank – you can hammer on them. aka,  demolition screwdriver
  • I prefer a magnetizer / demagnetizer to make any screwdriver magnetic or not. 
  • If you’re in a specialty hobby, get the right screwdrivers.  Gunsmithing, fine woodworking, electronics, electrical work, RC cars, etc..
BRANDS
  • There are dozens and dozens of brands. Many have fanatical followers.
  • But I buy what works, regardless of brand. I also avoid the time wasting internet debates.
  • What you DON’T want to do is buy dollar store or swap meet tools. 
  • Don’t buy garbage tools because they will let you down when you most need them
  • With cheap tools there’s a much higher risk of hurting yourself when they break or fail.
  • If you buy a brand name or one with great review, you’ll be just fine. 
  • If you’re becoming a professional, if you’re using these tools for a living, get pro level tools
  • You can’t go wrong with MAC, Snap-On, Matco, or any other American made brands, etc.
  • American made tools are excellent quality, even if they are 50 years old.
  • If you’re a fan of Canadian, European, or Japanese made tools, those are all excellent also.
  • If you just want to go to Home Depot or Lowes or Ace or even Harbor Freight and get their “professional” tools, you can’t go wrong.
MAKER WISDOM – TIPS AND TRICKS
  • Solid plastic handles with 3-4 sides are my favorite.  Easy to clean and don’t roll away.
  • Not soft rubber, not wood – both break down with time and chemicals. 
  • Need more grip?  Use form-fitting gloves with rubber palms.
  • No tiny features / gaps. Just a hassle to clean all the nooks and crannies.
  • Bright colored handles are easier to see and find. Also easier to see if all dirt is wiped off. 
  • Screwdriver storage.  Whatever you like. Tool bag, toolbox, bucket, toolbox drawer, stand, etc.
  • Keep your tools stored in a cool, dry place.
  • With time, your screwdrivers will get worn, bent, rounded,  or chipped. Fix or stop using!
  • Take care of your tools and they will take care of you.
  • Have extra screwdrivers. Make a box of loaner tools. Because you know they’ll never come back
  • So consider garage sales you’re going to find some old well-made American tools
  • Working on cars? Get an extra long set and a set of angled screwdrivers, you’ll need them.
  • You can and you will use a screwdriver as a pry bar, just do it gently and wear safety glasses.
  • If you really have to push hard during prying, you’re going to hurt yourself. Use a pry bar instead!