How to use a screwdriver 3 August 2022

Screwdrivers are very handy! Aside from anything else, they are great for opening tins of paint, but they come into their own for lots of common DIY tasks, like the following:-

  • Assembling flatpacks
  • Adjusting hinges
  • Unscrewing hinges on kitchen cabinets
  • Swapping the handles on drawer fronts/doors.
  • Hanging pictures or mirrors
  • Putting up shelves

Any scenario where you need to fix or attach materials will usually benefit from the use of a screwdriver, especially where you might want to detach them again at some point in the future as this rules out glueing as an option.

How many screwdrivers do I need?

When starting a new DIY project, you can select your go-to screw; meaning that you’ll only need the corresponding screwdriver for the job. However, as anyone who owns or rents a home will know, you have no control over the screw choices of the previous occupants so it’s a good idea to have a selection of screwdrivers in your toolkit encompassing the most common screw heads. I would recommend the following…

  • Slotted (commonly known as a ‘flathead’)
  • Pozidriv (commonly misspelt as ‘posidrive’)
  • Phillips screwdriver

How do I know which screwdriver to use?

Ever grabbed a screwdriver to tighten or loosen a screw and found it keeps slipping around and you can quite get it to fit neatly in the screw head? Using the wrong screwdriver can damage the screw head which can be a real problem, so it’s important to know what to look out for.

When you buy a pack of screws, the label on the box or bag will tell you all the info you need to know. It will advise the screw head type and size for example Phillips size 1, would be noted as PH1.

How to tighten/loosen a screw

If you want to tighten a screw you should turn your dominant hand in the clockwise direction. Conversely, if you want to loosen a screw, turn in the reverse direction (anti-clockwise).

How to use an electric screwdriver

Electric screwdrivers work in the same way as hand tools but have the added advantage of a motor that turns the screwdriver automatically and does the work. Another advantage of electric screwdrivers is that they usually come with a selection of heads to use on the common screw types.

There is a switch on the tool that determines the direction of spin, ensuring it is set to clockwise for tightening and anti-clockwise to loosen.


For all your tool requirements look no further than the team at Johnsons Timber Supplies. Call us today on 0121 706 0404 or email

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