If you’ve been working in the trades for a while, you know that screws come in more variations than just slotted (flat head) and Phillips types. The automotive industry, in particular, is known for inventing new products. In this article, we’ll introduce you to some of the most common specialty screwdriver bits, along with photos, so you can easily identify and choose the right bit for your needs.
Extended Handle Screwdriver Bit
While Phillips and slotted bits are the standard options, sometimes you need a longer bit for better reach. In such cases, look for an “extended” handle screwdriver bit or simply search for bits with the desired length in inches.
1/4″ Hex Handle Screwdriver Bit
Some specialty screwdriver bits have a 1/4″ hex shank that flares inward and then outward at the end. These bits are great for multi-bit screwdrivers and drills, and they are specifically designed to fit the collets of impact drivers.
Square Screwdriver Bit
Commonly used in the electrical trade, square bits have four equal-length flats that make up the bit.
Hex or Socket Head Screwdriver Bit
Hex or socket head screwdriver bits have six flats and are commonly used with corresponding screws or bolts. You might already be familiar with these bits, as they resemble the hex keys (Allen keys) that often come with IKEA furniture. These bits make assembling furniture much easier compared to using a hex wrench manually.
A Torx bit, also known as a star bit, has six points instead of flats. These bits provide better grip security than standard bits and are widely used in various industries. They are available in a similar size range as many hex-head bits and can even fit in hex-head screws. However, they don’t grip flat sides as effectively and may slip as torque builds.
6-Blade or Torx Plus Special Screwdriver Bits
The 6-lobe bit, also known as Torx Plus, has a square end instead of a pointed one, distinguishing it from a regular Torx bit. It’s important to note that these two styles are not interchangeable. The security version of the Torx Plus bit makes things even more complicated with five lobes instead of the standard six.
Triple and Double Hexagon Special Screwdriver Bits
Both triple square and double hex bits take the Torx concept to another level with 12 points instead of six. However, they have a shallower spot than a typical Torx bit. Tri-squares are commonly used for German car bolts that require higher torque levels, while 12-point dual hex bits and bolts are frequently found in some Lexus and Toyota vehicle head bolts.
Pozidriv Special Screwdriver Bits
At first glance, a Pozidriv bit looks very similar to a crosshead bit. However, the smaller ribs on a Pozidriv bit move into each corner formed by the cross arms. It’s important to note that although these two types may look similar, they are not interchangeable. Pozidriv bits do not fit Phillips screw heads, and attempting to use a Phillips bit on a Pozidriv screw will not provide enough grip to fully tighten it.
Torq-Set Special Screwdriver Bits
Torq-Set screwdriver bits resemble a cross shape similar to a Phillips head, but with a slight twist. The opposite arms of the cross are slightly offset from each other when viewed from the top. Like Pozidriv, Torq-Set bits are not compatible with Phillips.
Tri-Wing Special Screwdriver Bits
Tri-Wing bits have three wings instead of four, similar to Torq-Set bits. Their design provides an additional level of security and is often used to prevent unauthorized access. Interestingly, these bits are commonly found inside Apple Macbook Pro laptops.
Wrench Special Screwdriver Bit
The wrench bit, also known as a snake eye, has ends that resemble a slotted tip with a U cut into the center. It serves as a useful security bit commonly found in public areas where tampering could be an issue. It’s no surprise to see them used in elementary schools, where safety is a top priority.
Clutch Special Screwdriver Bit
The clutch bit features a unique design that resembles a bow tie or hourglass shape when viewed from the top. These bits are popular for vintage RVs and can be particularly useful for restoration projects.
Tamper-Resistant Screwdriver Bits
Screws with a pin-like feature in the center require special screwdriver bits known as tamper-resistant bits. These bits have a hole in the center to match the pin, providing an added level of security. Different brands may refer to them as “safe” bits or part of various specialty screwdriver bits that inherently enhance safety. Common tamper-resistant bits include Torx and hex variations.
The Y-adapter bit might puzzle some people at first. It looks exactly like the letter Y, with a notch at the top. This bit makes it easier to install eyebolts and hooks, making it a handy tool for a variety of applications.
These are just some of the most common specialty screwdriver bits available. If you know of any others not mentioned here, feel free to let us know in the comments below!