If you've been in these trades for a long time, you know that screws are not just slotted (flat head) and Phillips types. The automotive industry is particularly good at inventing new products. We've put together a list of the most common specialty screwdriver bits, along with photos, to help you decide which bit to use when you need it.
We've covered a lot here. If you're nearing the end of the list and thinking, "Yeah, I used them all," check out Wurth USA's 105-piece Universal Bit Set that you can all fit in one convenient case.
Extended handle screwdriver bit
Phillips and slotted bits are pretty standard prices. When you need a longer drill for better reach, look for an "extended" drill or simply search by the length you're looking for in inches.
1/4" hex handle screwdriver bit
Some of the most common specialty screwdriver bits simply have a 1/4" hex shank at the end that flares inward and then outward. They're great for multi-bit screwdrivers and drills, but they're specifically designed to fit the collets of impact drivers.
square screwdriver bit
Common in the electrical trade, square bits are exactly what they sound like – 4 equal-length flats that make up the bit.
Hex or socket head screwdriver bits
A hex bit or hex bit has 6 flats and the accompanying screws or bolts are common. You're probably already familiar with these thanks to the hex keys (aka Allen keys) that come with your IKEA furniture. These bits are exactly the same, just fit a screwdriver or a drill. They also make assembling your furniture much easier than manually using a hex wrench.
A Torx bit (or star bit) is a screwdriver bit with 6 points instead of flats. These bits provide better grip security than standard bits and are used in a wide variety of industries.
They come in about the same size range as many hex-head bits and can even fit in hex-head screws. However, the points also don't grip those flat sides and tend to slip as torque builds.
6-blade or Torx Plus special screwdriver bits
The 6-lobe bit is also known as Torx Plus. The way to tell the difference is that a Torx bit is a point, while a 6-lobe or Torx Plus bit has a distinctly square end rather than a point. The two styles are not interchangeable. The security version of the Torx Plus further complicates things with five lobes instead of the normal six.
Triple and double hexagon special screwdriver bits
Both the Triple Square and Double Hex Bits take the Torx idea to another level. Both drills have 12 points instead of 6. They also have a much shallower spot than what you'll find on a Torx drill. Tri-squares are available for many German car bolts that require higher torque levels. 12 point dual hex special bits and bolts are most commonly used on some Lexus and Toyota vehicle head bolts.
Pozidriv special screwdriver bits
Pozidriv is a drill bit that at first glance looks very similar to a crosshead. The obvious difference is the movement of the smaller ribs into each corner formed by the cross arms. Importantly, despite how similar these two types may look, they are not interchangeable.
Pozidrive doesn't fit Phillips screw heads at all. While you might be able to drill a Phillips head into the head of a Pozidriv screw far enough to rotate it, it's unlikely that it will give you enough grip to fully tighten it.
Torq-Set special screwdriver bits
Torq-Set screwdriver bits are another type that look very similar to the cross shape of a Phillips head. For this one, someone seems to have twisted it slightly.
Like Pozidriv, these are not compatible with Phillips. If you look at the drill from the top, you can see that the opposite arms of the cross are slightly offset from each other.
Tri-Wing special screwdriver bits
Tri-wing bits are similar to Torq-Set bits, but have 3 wings instead of 4. Considering the amount of tips and videos on how to beat them without the right drill, the design's ability as a safety drill is obvious. Believe it or not, the most common place we come across is inside an Apple Macbook Pro laptop!
Wrench special screwdriver bit
I saw my first wrench bit (sometimes called a snake eye) in elementary school and I was fascinated by its uses. The ends look like a slotted tip with a U cut into the center.
As I later found out, it's just a useful type of security bit that's common in public areas where it's otherwise easy to tamper with things. It makes perfect sense to see it in elementary school.
Clutch special screwdriver bit
The clutch bit is one of the most unique designs in the professional category. When you look at the tip from the top, it has a bow tie or hourglass shape.
These bits are very popular on vintage RVs. If you own one or are considering buying one for restoration, you may need a clutch bit set.
Tamper Resistant Screwdriver Bits
When you see a screw head with what looks like a pin in the center, it needs a special screwdriver bit called "tamper proof". These bits have a hole in the center to match the pin. Some brands call them "safe" bits, while others consider various specialty screwdriver bits to be inherently safe.
Manufacturers use these on products that the average DIYer would not normally be wise to use. However, it is not difficult to master these contents.
Torx is the most common tamper resistant bit we come across, hex is also common.
Many people wonder what the Y-adapter bit is for. It looks exactly like a Y, with a notch at the top to help you install eyebolts and hooks more easily. After the first try, you'll want one every time!
See any common specialty screwdriver bits we missed? Let us know in the comments below!