Phillips (Cross) Screwdriver Sizes

There are several screwdriver sizes and types available in the market. One of the popular ones is the Phillips or cross-type. You can quickly distinguish it by its shaft with a particular length and cross-slotted tip. A flat-head has a flat metal and comes in varying width and thickness. On the other hand, a cross-type compromises a thick shaft with different “+” tips.

We recommend against using a screwdriver for the wrong head because it can damage it, making it difficult to unscrew. Moreover, using the incorrect size can also cause damage.

This article will walk you through different screwdriver types and Phillips head sizes available in the market. 

Duralast Phillips Head Screwdriver

How are the screwdrivers sized?

The drivers have five sizes ranging from 0 to 4. Size 0 is the smallest, while size 4 is the largest. The basis of these sizes is the very tip. However, the relevant size is the cross you will see when you point the driver towards your nose. How wide the tip goes towards the shaft is irrelevant.

Determining the accurate sizes will require some determination, a powerful microscope or magnifying glass, and thin digital calipers.

However, the Phillips screwdriver does not base on physical dimensions. They use the screws to which each size fits as the basis. Each one will have slight variances depending on the manufacturer.

Tip SizeScrew Sizes
00 – 1
12 – 4
25 – 9
310 – 16
418 – 29

Standard Phillips screwdriver sizes

The below table shows sizes 0 to 4 of the screwdriver. We also have our recommendations for screw sizes.

  Wood ScrewsWood ScrewsMachine ScrewsMachine ScrewsMachine ScrewsSheet Metal Screws  
Driver Point SizeBody DiameterFlat, OvalRoundFlat, Oval, BindingRound, FillisterTruss, Brazier, ButtonFlat, Round, Oval, Stove, BindingAmazon Link
0000000https://a.co/d/b0mHVMn
13/16222222https://a.co/d/8wbBFc1
1333333https://a.co/d/8wbBFc1
1444444https://a.co/d/8wbBFc1
21/4555555https://a.co/d/8wbBFc1
2666686https://a.co/d/8wbBFc1
27788107https://a.co/d/8wbBFc1
28810108https://a.co/d/8wbBFc1
29910https://a.co/d/8wbBFc1
210https://a.co/d/8wbBFc1
35/16101212121212https://a.co/d/1sUTm0r
312141/41/41/414https://a.co/d/1sUTm0r
314165/16https://a.co/d/1sUTm0r
43/818185/163/85/16https://a.co/d/cPEDAxW

We recommend a driver with a size one-point tip for wood, sheet metal, and machine applications of screws #2, #3, and #4.

A two-point driver tip should work correctly in screws #5 and #6.

Moving forward to the three-point driver tip, we recommend this for screw sizes from #10 to #16. 

Best Phillips screws set.

We recommend the M3 Assortment Fasteners Kit for the best all-in-one fastener set on the market. These use 304 stainless steel, which is rust and corrosion-resistant.

These screws have a sharp point, assisting in penetrating the material. The thread is clear and deep, ensuring a firm grip while penetrating the material’s surface. These are self-tapping. You can use them for different board products, such as wood board, partitions, ceilings, and gypsum board. 

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Types of screwdriver heads

There are quite a few types, but we will discuss the 14 most common ones. Most of these have a shaft and a handle. The main difference lies in the tip, which comes in several shapes and sizes. More demanding work may have replaced it with a power drill, but that calls for a different discussion.

Slotted-Head or Flat-Head

A slotted-head’s key characteristic is the wedge-shaped flat tip, which we use to loosen or tighten a straight head. Several people claim it is the most common type. Nowadays, you can no longer find it in residential constructions. It is more evident in small cabinetry, furniture construction, and electrical appliances. There are several tip sizes available, varying from millimeters to inches.

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Phillips

Duralast Phillips Head Screwdriver Blue & Black Handle

You can quickly identify this type with a “+” on its tip. It is used extensively in woodworking and construction. The head should fit snugly into it for better traction when loosening or tightening.

A screwdriver would be an excellent option for a small workload. A power drill with an interchangeable bit is more efficient if dealing with hundreds or thousands of it.

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Torx

Torx is the preferred type for builders. Some refer to it as the star screw because it has six recessed tips ranging from 0.031 to 0.81 inches. T1 to T100 designates its sizes, with T15 and T25 the most common.

Power drills also utilize the Torx because it resists slippage during application. Its typical application is finish work, structural framing, and wood-to-concrete fastening.

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Hex or Hexagon

Hex-heads have available sizes from 0.03 to 0.375 inches. These are small, which you can find in towel bars, doorknobs, and similar mechanical installations. Its design has a tapered square, which fits into its matching screw head. Another name for a hex head is Allen, which comes in T or L-shaped screwdrivers.

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Square or Robertson

The Robertson has the highest tolerance against torque and is the least common. You can find it in furniture and automotive because they are durable.

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Pozidriv

The Pozidrive is another name for the Pozidriv, which is only a better version of the Phillips design. GKN screws and fasteners invented the Pozidriv after the expiration of the Phillips head patent.

The Pozidrive’s design was to solve the issue of prone cam-out. It refers to the drive recess slipping out after torque goes beyond its limit. The updated design enables closer surface contact, making slipping less likely.

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Bow Tie or Clutch Head

The bow tie had a few changes over the past years. The head resembles the bow tie, but the old version has a middle recess. Its popular application is in automotive, specifically recreational vehicles.

Clutch heads have better torque because of the slotted drives, which secure them. The applications include prisons, bus stations, and steel gears.

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Frearson / Reed & Prince

The Reed & Prince or Frearson is Phillips’s variation, with its tip having a sharp point. On the other hand, Phillips has a more rounded edge and an angle of 45 degrees. The main application is nautical equipment, which needs small and precise toolsets.

The typical issues of premature wear and shattering are not evident in the Frearson. We use a bit holder with a power tool, providing a more flexible and economical combination. 

Hex Socket

The hex socket is best in mechanical industries, which utilize sockets instead of a tip and acts as a socket wrench. These wrenches have a handle running parallel to the surface. The bolt is embedded in it, needing more space as it turns. As a result, there is little clearance while turning.

A hex key, Allen key, or hex screwdriver drives the hex socket. These are available in several metric and standard sizes. It makes tightening and loosening of bolts and hex nuts significantly easier.

Manufacturers use copper, aluminum, brass, or almost any steel grade in producing these items. 

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Japanese Industrial Standard (JIS)

The Japanese Industrial Standard or JIS is ideal for the cross-point type. Its main selling point is the self-centering design, allowing operators to center the driver into the head. 

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Magnetic

The magnetic type can have different tip styles because they are interchangeable, resulting in more application. However, most tips that come with magnetic sets work with small electronic devices. You can use the same to magnetize screws in hard-to-reach places. 

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Ratcheting

A ratcheting type reduces lift, which saves you time. These have an internal bearing mechanism allowing the user to do multiple turns.

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What is a Phillips head screwdriver?

You may have seen it at least once, but a Phillips head screwdriver has a pointed cross-shape edge. It fits precisely in the slots of a Phillips screw. These screwdrivers are available in four sizes, starting from zero to four.

Henry Phillips created and patented it in the 1930s, dedicated to the 1936 Cadillac automobile. Unlike the flat head, the Phillips is self-centering. Its design prevents the driver from slipping out. A firm grip in the center is possible if you have the correct size.

If you like building, we recommend getting it in different sizes. Modern technology paved the way for cordless electrical drivers, which come in handy in any tool set. 

Phillips screwdriver uses

Craftsman Phillips screwdriver

The most common applications are woodworking and construction. However, you can still find them in automobiles or electronics. It makes them widely available. The head’s design prevents cam-out from happening whenever too much force is applied. Moreover, the same design allows you to put more torque than other types. Because it can provide more fastening, it quickly made its way to manufacturing lines and other smaller applications.

The Phillips is also valuable in the construction industry without setting aside its popularity in automobiles and assembly lines. Before the conception of the Phillips, damaged fasteners were one of the leading issues on construction sites. Other types protrude, making them prone to damage. Overtightening them would only cause more damage and adds to the cost.

When the Phillips screw arrived, constructors and fasteners received less pressure. It prevents stripping from happening. Builders get more surface working area because of the flat head. The grooves you find on the head make it more accessible to the screwdriver, especially in tight spaces. An even distribution of pressure reduces normal wear and tear progression.

The following are some advantages worth noting:

  • The head is self-centering, allowing you to fasten it with one hand.
  • They are widely available in different sizes, shapes, and materials.
  • It is less likely susceptible to stripping and damage because the screw can cam out if there is too much torque.
  • If there are fasteners, it prevents constructors from inserting at an incorrect angle.
  • It prevents the drivers from slipping out and causing injury. 

Considerations before buying one for yourself

6 Piece Slotted & Phillips Screwdriver Set

There are a few things buyers need to consider before purchasing a driver for themself. The following should give you a better understanding.

Slot size

Robertson and Phillips only have three to five sizes. Other types like Torx, hex-head, and flathead have more options. A trial-and-error is necessary for determining the size you need in most cases. 

Slot configuration

The common ones in the market are:

  • Torx
  • hex-head
  • flat head
  • Robertson
  • and Phillips.

Your choice of slot configuration depends on the screw type. For example, a Torx screw will need a Torx driver. Similarly, you cannot use a flathead driver for a Phillips. We recommend knowing the head first.

Shank length

Shank length can be a few inches to as long as a foot. If you need better torque, we recommend opting for a longer shank. However, clearance shortage may require you to choose a shorter length. Determining your use cases will help you know which shank length to choose. 

Handle width

A wider handle width equates to greater torque. However, this could be an issue for users with small hands. We suggest trying out different widths and choosing the one most comfortable for your grip.

Grip

The common grips are plastic or rubber-coated. We recommend getting a rubber-coated grip because it provides more hold and has electrical insulation. 

Metric/SAE

The Society of American Engineers (SAE) system provides measurements in imperial units or fractions of an inch. On the other hand, the metric system expresses in millimeters. It is only an issue if you are selecting a hex-head screwdriver. 

Cost

Cost is likely the least important factor because drivers have similar prices. A vanadium steel shaft or similar alloys may cost more than a steel shaft. 

Knowing the correct size makes the repair or construction job easy. These come in several sizes and shapes, so figuring out what you need is helpful to you.

How to figure out which screwdriver size you need?

  1. While checking the package, match your screwdriver with the screw size.

    You can check the sizes indicated outside if you still have the original packaging. 

  2. Inspect the screw’s head.

    A Torx blade will have a star-shaped tip, and the driver should fit right through it. A Phillips has a sharp edge, and the screw’s head will intersect without issues. Regardless of the type, we always recommend checking the head.

  3. Use a measuring device, such as a ruler or tape measure, to find the slot’s width and length.

    Using a driver that is too thick will not get the job done. If it is too narrow, it will slip off.

  4. We recommend using a screwdriver with parallel sides if applied to wood.

  5. For awkward installation spaces, we recommend special screwdriver sets. 

FAQ

The following are the frequently asked questions.

Which type of fastener is loosened and tightened with a hex driver?

The hex driver loosens and tightens bolts, nuts, and screws. These fasteners use brass, copper, aluminum, or any steel grade during manufacturing. You can also attach these to a power tool, allowing you to drive through fasteners fast.

What is a 6-sided screw called?

A hex cap screw or hex bolt is what you call a six-sided screw. Constructors use it to fasten metal to wood or wood to wood. 

When was the Phillips screw invented?

In 1932, Henry F. Phillips invented the Phillips screw.

Why do we still use Phillips screws?

We still use it because it is less likely to strip or damage. The Phillips cam out if there is excess torque. 

Why is it called Phillips head?

It was named after the inventor – Henry F. Phillips. 

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