How to Remove One Way Screws

An Asian man on a ladder, installing a CCTV camera at a store.
One-way screws are mostly used in safes, security gates, and hangings in public areas. They are harder to unscrew. Edwin Tan / Getty Images

One way screws -- often called security screws -- are the screws most often used in safes, security gates and hangings in public areas. While they're easy to install, they're much more difficult to remove. One way screws have smooth slots that make it difficult to grip screwdrivers onto. But with determination and a few tools, you can do it. Read the tips listed below and learn about how to remove one way screws.

  • Using an Extraction Tool Finding an extraction tool is the hardest part of removing a one way screw. The tool is often difficult to find, but once you find one, security screws come off easily. Simply place the two steel pins at the head of the tool into the slots on the head of screw, and turn the extraction tool like you would a regular screwdriver. The one way screw will come right out [source: Natural Handyman]!
  • Creating a Slot in the Screw An innovative method to remove one way screws is to make slots in which to place your standard screwdriver. Simply saw away and slot the one way screw using a high speed rotary tool with a cutoff wheel. This essentially turns your security screw into a flathead screw. Then you can remove the screw with a wide-blade flathead screwdriver [source: Klimek].
  • Creating a Grip An easy way to remove a one way screw is to create a strong grip on the head of the screw. This can be done by using locking pliers around the screw. Once you have a firm grip, simply turn the pliers to remove the screw. If you're having difficulty getting a grip with the pliers, you may want to file two opposite sides of the screw's head and then place the pliers in those flatten edges [source: Natural Handyman].


One-Way Screws FAQ

How do you remove a one-way screw?
Since the left hand side of a one-way screw is curved, they cannot be extracted using a regular screwdriver. One-way screws need to be twisted counter-clockwise using pliers. You can also use a specially-designed removal tool.
Is there a tool to remove one-way screws?
Yes, there's a specialized extraction tool that easily removes one-way screws. You can get them at most hardware or home renovation stores for less than $10 USD.
How do you install a one-way screw?
You will need a drill, a drill bit and a one-way screw driver tool for the installation process.
What are anti-theft screws?
Anti-theft screws, also known as one-way screws, offer extra protection since they can’t be easily removed like regular screws. They’re commonly used in security gates, safes and medical, aerospace, automotive and military equipment to prevent theft and tampering.