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06/01/2021

Different Screw Head Types and What They Are Designed For

When you picture a screw, you might imagine a Phillips head or a slotted screw. Those are two common screw drive types, but there are so many other different screw drives in the world — and each offers unique value and benefits.

If you want to know more about all the kinds of screws, All Points Fasteners will explain your options. Here’s a look at different types of screw heads for you to consider as you search for the perfect fastener head type to quickly and effectively complete your work.

What Are the Different Types of Screw Heads?

The different screw heads include:

  • Slotted.
  • Phillips.
  • Phillips tamper-resistant.
  • Square recess.
  • Square recess tamper-resistant.
  • Quadrex.
  • Pozidriv.
  • Torx.
  • Torx tamper-resistant.
  • Torx Plus.
  • Torx Plus tamper-resistant.
  • Tri-wing.
  • Spanner.

What Are Screw Head Types Designed For?

Screw head varieties are designed for various capabilities, including tampering prevention, stability during installation, reliability in application and strength for high-torque insertion. We’ll explain the features and benefits of each option so you can decide which you need:

Slotted

Slotted drive screws are perhaps the simplest you’ll find. These screws have a straight line through the middle of the head and are driven using flat head screwdrivers or drills with flat head bits. They are common for projects that use hand-driven tools or require little torque.

The challenge with slotted screws — common though they might be — is that it can sometimes be difficult to stabilize the screw during installation. That is, it’s easy for your screwdriver or drill to slip when driving a slotted screw. For that reason, slotted screws are still commonly used — but they’re generally on the decline, especially for contractors and others who need to drive many screws as quickly as possible.

Phillips

What is the best type of screw head? Many would say the Phillips head screw, characterized by a pointed tip, tapered flanks and rounded corners. The Phillips screw is more commonly used than a slotted screw because it’s a lot more stable with four contact points. The Phillips head design was made to perform better with screwdrivers.

Most anyone has a Phillips-head screwdriver sitting around they can use to drive Phillips screws, and the sizing of Phillips drill bits and screwdrivers is relatively simple and straightforward. You’ll come across #1, #2 and #3 Phillips heads, though #2 is the most common size.

Phillips Tamper-Resistant

A Phillips tamper-resistant screw is just like a Phillips drive screw with one big exception. It includes a small pin in the center of the screw head that prevents — you guessed it — tampering.

Phillips tamper-resistant screw heads are a little more obscure because you have to have the right tools to install and remove them. Also, tamper-resistant screws aren’t nearly as strong as regular Phillips head screws. They are difficult to use in high-torque applications and cannot be made to meet high strength standards.

Square Recess

Square recess screw heads have a square-shaped socket and protrusion with a slightly tapered tool and socket. This style is becoming increasingly popular for a good reason — the tools used to drive them very rarely slip out of place and are easier to insert.

If you’re interested in working as quickly as possible at woodworking and construction sites, square recess screw heads might be your best bet. They come in two standard sizes — #2 and #3.

Square Recess Tamper-Resistant

This style of square recess screw head is similar to regular square recess screw heads with one key addition — a small pin in the center that prevents tampering, just like the tamper-resistant Phillips head screws have.

Quadrex

Quadrex screw heads are a unique blend of Phillips heads and square recess heads. They are relatively rare, though they provide a great deal of stability, allowing those using them to work quickly. You can use either a standard Robertson or Phillips tool with a quadrex screw or a quadrex tool that increases the surface area between the fastener and the tool for better torque handling.

Pozidriv

These screw heads are like Phillips heads, though they have four additional contact points that provide greater stabilization. The Pozidriv screw head has eight contact points altogether formed from two intersected crosses. It’s also unique from Phillips heads because of its 45-degree radical indentations.

It’s rare to find Pozidriv screw heads in the United States, as they are much more commonly used in Europe. 

Torx

Torx screw heads have a six-pointed star shape and are unique and recognizable among screw head types. This is an entirely new design that’s gaining in popularity and is often used in the construction and manufacturing of electronic products.

Torx Tamper-Resistant

Like the other tamper-resistant screw head styles, this means the screw head design includes a small pin to prevent tampering.

Torx Plus

Torx Plus screws are much like Torx screws, but their design creates a larger contact area between the screw head and the tool used to drive it. This produces greater torque and greater ease in driving the screw, even at high speeds. Though this design is new, it’s becoming more popular.

Torx Plus Tamper-Resistant

With a Torx Plus tamper-resistant, you get the greater contact area for greater torque, plus the small pin in the center of the head that prevents tampering. It differs from the standard Torx Plus design because it is a five-pointed star. They are common in high-security applications, like correctional facilities.

Tri-Wing

Tri-Wing screw types are somewhere between a slotted and Phillips head. They have three grooves that are slightly curved and come in #1, #2 and #3 sizes, though this screw head type is exceedingly rare.

Spanner

Spanner screws feature two holes or two slots used to lock into a screwdriver or drill bit for installation. They are used to avoid tampering.

Learn More About Screw Head Types at All Points Fasteners

At All Points Fasteners, we offer a vast selection of different screw heads with varying shapes, dimensions and specifications — all so you enjoy fast, easy access to the fasteners you need for the project at hand. We even specialize in helping our customers track down unusual and hard-to-find fasteners. If you can’t find what you’re looking for in our selection, get in touch with our customer service team for assistance.

Browse our selection of different types of screw head shapes to find your perfect fastening solution today. For more information, contact us online or call 800-483-6354.