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A Complete Buying Guide to Types of Screws

13 min read

If you are preparing for a project, it is important to know different types of screws on the market. Those fasteners come in various shapes and sizes. Moreover, each one has distinctive features.

In this article, we have had an organized screw purchasing guide. It demonstrates every screw head type for different materials and jobs. Furthermore, our list aims to keep you from stripping screws on your next project.

Fasteners can be long, short, thin, or fat. By reading this detailed guide, you won’t end up buying the wrong screw. Here are kinds of screws classified based on head styles, popularity, and drive types.

Screw Types Chart

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Pictured above is a chart showing various types of screws, washers, nuts, and screw heads. With so many options out there, finding the right one for the project can be daunting, especially if you are a beginning DIYer.

Learning about different drive types and head shapes is crucial. This does not only ensure that the screws can do everything but also prevents you from using the wrong tools.

Before diving into types of screws, you should know the differences between non-countersunk and countersunk fasteners first. Keep scrolling!

Types of Screw Heads

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You may think the screw head shapes seem unimportant. But in fact, each type of head is designed for a specific reason. It makes the project easier and offers a preferred finish.

The head is where the screw stops. Its threaded part normally will be underneath the material’s surface.

Moreover, the head of the screw can flush with the material’s surface or leave its part outside. Some screw head shapes create a finished look. However, they serve other purposes beyond aesthetics.

Additionally, the screw head allows you to drive screws into materials easily. Because when it comes to screwing, people use screw mechanics and force.

Countersunk Screws

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The countersinking method keeps wood from splitting when you drive screws using a drill. The bit is necessary because it helps make an appropriate angle and a pilot hole for your screw.

Pre-drilling the hole with proper screw head angle is a must. It helps make any project look professional.

Moreover, some screw heads need countersinking due to their angle as well as shape. Below are the examples of countersunk screws:

Raised

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As the name implies, oval-shaped or raised heads feature a dome-like head. Furthermore, you must countersink them to house the angle.

Unlike flat types of screws, these have heads that will slightly protrude from the surface. Moreover, this screw head shape does not help the drive performance of the screw. It is more for ornamentation.

Flat

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Flat screw heads are one of the popular types of screws for wood. They sit completely flush with the material’s surface. None of their heads gets exposed. Besides, you have to countersink them.

With the flat screw heads, you don’t need to worry about the screws extending above the surface. Moreover, they won’t catch on clothing and other things.

Furthermore, flat screw heads are commonly used to build a bookshelf or sofa. If you hate seeing them, we suggest using a screw cover.

The 82 Degrees Flat Head

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Talking about types of screws, the flat screw heads come in varying degrees. Moreover, the degree refers to the head angle. The higher it is, the shorter the countersink hole gets.

Some degree of the screw also means the angle from the surface where the head meets the threaded part to the head’s top. There are 100-degrees and 90-degrees. However, the standard one is the 82-degree flat screw head.

Flat Undercut 82 Degrees

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The flat undercut 82 degrees screw head is very similar to the regular 82-degree one, but it has a shorter head. Furthermore, this shape features a longer thread due to its shorter size.

Bugle

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Screws with bugle like heads are particularly designed for drywall as well as plasterboard. They are similar to their flat counterparts. However, these have a curved shape beneath the head’s surface. It minimizes damage to the material.

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Bugle screws are self-threading. They also don’t require you to make pilot holes. Additionally, these can distribute stress on the larger material’s surface better than the flat ones. This is because of their unusual shape.

Types of Screws with Non-Countersunk Heads

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These types of screws typically have an angleless screw head shape. The head usually juts out from the material’s surface. That’s why creating an angle for it is not needed. Here are popular kinds of heads that don’t require countersinking:

Domed

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Domed or button heads are common types of screws. They are suitable for the DIY ottoman project that allows you to expose the screw head. It uses ornamental screw protruding from your fabric.

Furthermore, the dome head shape makes the surface design attractive. Meanwhile, its flat interior lets your screw stop properly.

Binding

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Searching for unique types of screws? Look no further than a binding screw. You can use it in various projects, too.

Binding screws employ a faintly domed head. Since these pieces have female and male sides, they can screw into one another.

Normally, short binding screws put together bookbinding projects as well as large manuals. They can also be utilized to bind leather and swatches.

Truss

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Compared to other types of screws, this one has a larger head. It also features a faintly rounded surface.

Furthermore, the truss heads are ideal for fastening any metal frame to wood or steel. Additionally, you will need them in other projects that demand large holes. The wider head keeps the item from getting through the hole.

Flange

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Also known as frame screws, their head varies widely from hexed to circular. It usually protrudes from the round flange right beneath the screw head.

Moreover, the flange keeps the screw in their positions. Often, it takes the washer’s place for certain projects.

Combination Heads

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Besides those common types of screws based on the heads, finding combinations as well as variations of them is possible.

We suggest paying attention to the screw. That way, you know if it needs countersinking or not.

The countersunk screws usually come with an angular shape beneath the head. Meanwhile, the non-countersunk ones tend to be flat underneath the screw head.

Furthermore, it is important to put your project into consideration. If you prefer a smooth finish, a flat screw is the best option. On the other hand, rounded or domed heads jut out from the material’s surface.

Getting the screw head combination doesn’t seem impossible. Be sure you choose the ones that meet your project requirements. Understanding how each screw will impact the project’s finished look and assembly is a must.

Kinds of Screw Drives

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The screw head drive is related to the kind of tool you will use for working with your screw. Moreover, there are various shapes on the screws. Each head type needs a specific screwdriver.

Furthermore, drive refers to the screw fastens to the material’s surface. Besides, some drives can avoid stripping better than others. However, they are usually more expensive. Finding tools for them can be difficult, too.

Internal Hex Screw

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You can’t install and remove the internal hex screw without the Allen wrench or hex key. It is commonly used for furniture units that need some assembly.

Moreover, when installing, these types of screws typically don’t get damaged by an Allen wrench. Unlike slotted or Phillips ones, they provide an appealing finish. Most of them also come with the hex key.

External Hex Screw

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These screws feature a hexagonal screw head. It juts out from the material’s surface. Furthermore, some employ built-in flanges, while others only boast a hexagon head.

Use a socket or wrench to install as well as pull out external hex screws. They offer good leverage because you can turn their full heads, instead of just the inner part of the screw head.

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Slotted

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Also known as flat head screws. They feature a narrow opening for the slotted screwdriver.

Even though slotted screws are common and cheap, they are susceptible to stripping. These fasteners are designed to strip, so you don’t overtighten them.

Furthermore, flat head screws are great for projects that need a manual screwdriver, instead of the powered drill. The drilling machine is likely to cause your screw to cam out.

Phillips Screws

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Phillips is one of the most popular types of screws. Moreover, the screw boasts cross like slots. They prevent the screw from drilling at wrong angles.

The Phillips screw allows you to use a powered drill since it has a self-tapping design. When applying force from the drilling machine, the item stays in place. Too much torque can lead to the stripped head.

Pozidrive

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Speaking of types of screws, the Pozidrive screw looks like the Phillips shape, but it has more grooves that resemble a star. Sometimes, a Phillips-head screwdriver can be used to remove this one. However, that’s not always the case.

When the force from the powered drill is applied, Pozidrive screws slightly provide more stability than the Phillips ones. Keep in mind that the special screwdriver is needed to match their grooves.

Despite the similarities between those two types of screws, you can still tell difference. When you look at the Pozidrive screw from the side, their ribs have a “pz” mark.

Square Recess

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Also called Robertsons, these screws feature a square-shaped center point. It helps avoid cam outs. Moreover, the bits that drive them also protrude from the square taper. That’s why you don’t have to hold the items in place.

Quadrex Screw head Drive

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This kind of screw is a cross between the square recess and Phillips. Design-wise, it is very similar to the Phillips screw head, but the middle of its cross slots is squared. Regardless of the force, the piece doesn’t get stripped easily.

Tri-Wing

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These types of screws are a Phillips Screw Company’s latest invention. Use a specific screwdriver to remove and install them. Their deep grooves let you put more drilling force.

Compared to other types of screws, Tri-wing provides more security. This screw also allows you to apply more torque than the Phillips one.

TORX

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The middle of the TORX screw features a six-point star shape. These types of screws usually come with drill bits. They are commonly used on DVD players, computers, and other electronic goods.

TORX screws get more popular due to their awesome ability. They can prevent unwanted cam outs. When building electronic products, this is particularly helpful.

TORX Plus

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These types of screws boast shallower grooves between points of the star. They let the bit or screwdriver contact with the head more. Furthermore, this enables you to apply more torque on it.

Star

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These types of screws come in different styles. As the name suggests, they create shapes that look like stars.

Furthermore, a 2-square drive features two of Robertson’s squares in the middle. They generate an eight-point star. To apply higher force, use a special bit.

Moreover, the triple square boast 3 Robertson’s squares, forming a twelve-point star. They are typically used when higher torque is applied.

Triple squares keep screws from getting stripped. You will mostly find them on assembling car parts.

Tamper-Proof Screws

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There are various screw types and sizes. If the screws look unusual, they are probably tamper-resistant varieties. Those fasteners are the variations of the common ones like Hex, TORX, and Phillips.

The security screws are ideal for use in public areas or buildings to deter as well as prevent vandalism. Those places usually have expensive fixtures.

Furthermore, you can distinguish the tamper-resistant screws by their unique screw head drive. This prevents people from disassembling or tampering them.

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Moreover, many people use tamper-proof screws to secure materials like gutters and vehicle registration plates. Without further ado, here are the fasteners that provide multiple security levels:

Two-Hole Screws

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Two-hole screws or spanners provide security. They also do not sacrifice the finished appearance.

Furthermore, these types of screws include 2 tiny holes. When it comes to install as well as remove them, the specific tool is needed.

Sentinel Screws

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The sentinel screws are well-known for their high degree of protection. Besides, they only allow you to drive them one way.

These pieces are difficult for a remote. That’s the reason they are suitable for permanent public fixtures.

Pin Screws

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The pin screw is one of the most popular tamper-proof screws. Moreover, the design is similar to its regular version like Phillips. However, it provides an extra layer of security. That way, the item can’t be removed with ease.

Each screw head includes the pin in its design. Without a specific tool, you cannot install as well as remove these types of screws. Additionally, the Phillips screwdriver won’t do the trick.

More Details

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In addition to those types of screws, you should learn a few more things about various screw heads before making a purchase. Take a look at these!

Preventing Cam Outs

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As we mentioned earlier, slotted screws are supposed to cam out. They keep you from applying more force. Meanwhile, others can prevent stripping.

Furthermore, cam outs are an unwanted thing that may happen during the project. When the screw gets stripped, the bit or screwdriver slides out of the head.

Cam outs can make screw heads stripped and useless. Moreover, they also lead to split wood as well as damage other materials with cracks and nicks. Further, these may leave the user injured.

Star and TORX screws can handle more force. They are unlikely to cam out. Furthermore, these offer more grooves as well as points to hold onto, reducing the risk of stripping.

Choosing the right drilling bit for the screw head is seriously crucial. This helps avoid cam outs.

Avoiding Stripped Screws

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You can prevent the screw from stripping by using the good quality and right drilling bit. The cheap one may waste your screws in the long term.

Sometimes, a bit in the wrong size can cause stripped screws. Make sure it is neither slightly too large nor overly small. Additionally, you should angle the item correctly.

Pulling Out Stripped Screws

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If the heads of your screws become stripped, you need to remove them. Then, install the new ones.

Remove the broken screws using a stripped screw extractor. This special tool usually comes in a set with other tools.

Matching Screws to Projects and Materials

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You should buy the right screw and bit for your project. The simple woodworking projects typically require slotted or Phillips screw heads.

Tri-wing and TORX screws have several grooves as well as points. They are ideal for complicated projects.

The Material of the Screw

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Titanium and stainless steel screws are great options for holding together outdoor furniture units due to their durability. On the other hand, the aluminum ones can strip and corrode easily.

Price Differences

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Common screws like Phillips and slotted don’t cost a lot of money. In contrast, the specialty or security ones are certainly expensive. TORX and star screw heads are not cheap, too.

Now you know various types of screws and their main uses. We recommend purchasing them online since there’s a huge selection of screw heads and fasteners to suit your project needs.

References:

https://www.homestratosphere.com/types-of-screws/

https://www.homenish.com/types-of-screws/