Screwdrivers come in several designs, but the standard model with a flat head is still among the most common. See more pictures of hand tools.

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

What Is a Screwdriver?

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.

Hand Tools Image Gallery

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.

Tools Related to the Screwdriver

Other useful tools for attaching screw fasteners include power drills with screw tips.

Not what you're looking for? Try these:

  • Home Repair Tools: Whether you prefer to use the Yellow Pages for anything that needs fixing around the house or consider yourself a regular do-it-yourselfer, there are a handful of tools that everyone should have in their tool box. Learn all about them in this article.
  • Hand Tools: Learn about some of the most common tools you'll want to have around the house, most of which are used by hand, in this helpful article.
  • Fasteners: Fasteners, such as nails and screws, are used to connect two things together. Learn about the types of fasteners available and what they are typically used for on this page.
  • Power Drill: A power drill can work double duty as a power screwdriver just by changing out the bit. Check out this article for tips on using a power drill.