13 Types of Screws and Screw Heads Everyone Should Know

If you’ve ever built or repaired anything it’s likely you’ve seen all different types of screws. This article takes a deeper look into the most common screw types that are in use today. A screw, also referred to as a ‘screw drive’ or a ‘screw head’, comes in many shapes and sizes. The recessed space on the top head of a screw is meant for a screwdriver or Allen wrench to fit in, which then applies torque to twist it into place.

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How many types of screws are there? While there are hundreds of screw drives designed, this guide will cover what screws are and the most common screw type designs. If you are looking for types of screws capable of drilling tough materials, you may want to read our guide to find drill bits for hardened steel.

What do Screws do?

The uses of screws are as plenty as the types of screws. Screws are fasteners, generally constructed out of metal materials. They have a head with a recessed shape or design on one end and a shaft which leads to a point on the other. The shaft of the screw has a ‘helical ridge’ wound up the shaft, allowing it to be turned or screwed into other materials. A male thread refers to an external ridge and a female thread an internal ridge. A screws main purpose is to hold things together or to position objects (such as a painting on a wall).

The shaft is the long metal rod of the screw that leads from the head to a point. This is threaded fully or partially with a ridge to screw into materials or make pilot holes. There are also types of screws with flat bottoms that are meant to be tapped into holes instead of screwed.

To properly fasten a screw into place, you’ll need to use the right types of screwdrivers or a cordless power drill and use a clockwise rotation.

What is a Bolt?

bolt drives and screw drives

Bolt (left) and Screw (right)

It’s quite common to use the terms ‘screw’ and bolt’ and refer to the same thing. They do have similarities; they’re both usually constructed from steel and used in places where corrosion resistance capabilities are required.

However, they are different. A bolt is a type of fastener that goes completely through another material and out the other side. On the other side a nut is screwed on to keep the materials together. A screw typically is wound into material and does not pass through the other side.

What Types of Screws are there?

There are different screws for different materials, each constructed with different metals and optimized shape for their purpose. However, the design of the screw head is often shared between these material specific screws.

These lists cover the types of screw heads and what screw geometry is best for different materials. If you’re using a power drill, make sure you know how to use a power drill properly.

Types of Screws List

Screw TypeDesign and Use
Wood ScrewsThe shank is designed to be threaded only partially and are generally for attaching timber pieces.
Concrete ScrewsThese are constructed from hard materials, such as stainless or carbon steel. Used to attach various materials to concrete.
Masonry ScrewsOften can be recognized by their blue hue. They’re screwed into pilot holes in the masonry profession.
Double-ended (Dowel) ScrewsUnique in the screw family, no head, they have 2 pointed tips instead. For constructing hidden joints between timber pieces.
Drive ScrewsOften can be recognized by their blue hue. They’re screwed into pilot holes in the masonry profession.
Drywall ScrewsA bulged head, sometimes with a black phosphate coating. Great for attaching drywall to a metal stud or timber.
Chipboard ScrewsAs the name implies, this screw has a wax coating meant to screw chipboard flooring into place.
Lag Bolt or ScrewsDesigned with a hexagonal head. A heavy duty screw/bolt meant for wood.
Decking ScrewsEssentially longer screws. Great for decks (as the name suggests).
Twinfast ScrewsThis screw can be screwed or driven twice the speed of other screw types due to its double thread design.
Mirror ScrewsA concealed head for design purposes, often in the form of a decorative dome.
Eye BoltsThis design utilizes a looped head for where it attaches, making it a common choice for threading wires on buildings and surfaces.
Security Head ScrewsA one direction screw. This is an un-reversible, one way screw, making it great for security purposes.

Types of Screws

Types of Screw Heads – List

Screwdriver TypesDrive ShapeDescription
Flat Screwflat screwA recessed single line across the head
Phillips Screwphillips screwA recessed cross shape
Pozidriv ScrewpozidriveA recessed cross shape with another 45 degree cross over top
Torx Screwtorx screwA Recessed Star with rounded points
Square Screwsquare screwA Square recessed in the head
Hex Screwhex screwHex Shaped – Resembles a nut (may have no recession)

types of screw heads

What is the Best Screw?

The best screw depends on what purpose you’re using them for. Each screws construction, size, and head shape serves a specific purpose. First determine the material you are driving the screw into and then pick the corresponding screw that is made for that material.

Wrap up

This guide has covered it all – the most common screw types and the most common types of screw heads. If you need more information on how to use screw drives, check out how to use a screw driver to get started. That will cover everything you need to know about it!

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