How to Use Philips screwdriver

Philips screwdrivers are designed to be used by screws that have a cross-like slot at the top of their heads. And for successful driving and unscrewing, the screwdriver has to snugly fit on the screw head. Philips screwdrivers come in four sizes but the most commonly used sizes are 2 and 1.

Before using the Philips screwdriver, you must understand there are different types of screwdriver sizes, each of the sizes has a specific type of screw that it can effectively work with. For example, Philips screw head number 0 can only work with two screw numbers which are 1 and 0. The screw bit number 1 has been designed to work with numbers 2, 3, and 4, while the Philips screw bit number 2 can conveniently integrate with screws numbered 5, 6, 7, 8, and 9. If you are planning to work with Philips screws that you find in computers, mobile phones and various other gadgets, you will need to use a Precision screwdriver that has a Philips head.

So anytime that you use the Philips screwdriver and are not sure if you are using the correct number, you could try it out on the screw head, if it wobbles or unseats anytime you turn it then it is not the correct size. When using the Philips screwdriver, you will notice that the screwdriver makes less contact with the surface of the screw, and that is why anytime the bit slips it strips out the ridges of the screw.

Using the Philips screwdriver

Step 1

The first step to using the Philips screwdriver is to ensure that you have a screwdriver that matches the screws that you will be using in terms of numbers as explained above. If the screwdriver is ill-fitting then you risk damaging the screwdriver and stripping the screw slots. Some screwdrivers end up being gorged out thus become less effective.

Step 2

The second step is to ensure that the screws are on a stable surface and the screwdriver is centered on the screw’s slot heads. Centering ensures that the screwdriver is snugly fitted on the cross slot so that when you start driving in or unscrewing it doesn’t cam-out.

Step 3

Now that your Philips screwdriver is vertically placed on the cross screws, you will have to apply some downward pressure as you screw it in or out. Applying pressure on the screws minimizes the chances of the screwdriver unseating. In essence is that when you are working with the Philips screwdriver, all you have to do is ensure that the driver is centered by holding it vertically.

How to use Philips screwdriver bits

Professionals rarely carry around single units of the Philips screwdriver because it will limit them to specific jobs. But a set of differently sized screwdriver bits is handy because you can use them on different applications, they are easy to carry around and fairly priced which makes them easy to replace. The Philips replaceable bits are usually used with cordless electric screwdrivers, impact drivers for heavy duty use, and hand held screwdrivers. When using handheld screwdrivers, it is best to use ratchet screwdrivers for most jobs as they help make the task of screwing and unscrewing easier than regular fixed screwdrivers.

Power drivers are handy when working on huge projects and are the best to use with the Philips screws because they get stripped easily when exposed to too much torque. Important to note is that as you use a power drill with the Philips screwdriver bit, you must use a specific torque to avoid cam out and you should be careful not to overtighten the screws.

Step 1

Ensure to have a power drill with an effective driver clutch adjustment. When working with the power drills, it often happens that the drill continues to turn even after the drill bit has been driven home. When this happens the threads begin to strip and the Philips screw head is driven deep.

To avoid the above problem adjust the clutch to suit the size of the screw and also make an allowance for the type of material that you are using. If you will be working in confined spaces we recommend that you get a magnetic bit holder

Step 2

Always ensure to use a pilot hole. Pilot holes help to guide the screws and ensure that the screw threads bite into the hole in the wood. If you use your Philips screws on wood without pilot holes, it will require that you use more torque and which will likely damage the cross ridges. The screw will follow the grain of the wood resulting in a damaged screw or a wrongly-placed hole.

Step 3

Always ensure that your power drill is centered and that you are using the right size drill bit. Place your Philips screw on the pilot hole and in a vertical position use your power drill to drive in the screw.


To complete your project with a Philips screwdriver, always ensure that it is centered and don’t drive it in too deep, because when it is time to unscrew the slots might be stripped out making it impossible to get the screw out.


What can I use instead of a Philips screwdriver?

You can use a flat head screwdriver, loose coins, or washers instead of a Philips screwdriver.

What is the shape of a Philips screwdriver tip?

The Philips screwdriver tip is star-shaped