Many people think there are only two types of screwdrivers in the world: Phillips head and flathead. There are actually so many different sizes and variations that if you don't have an easy guide to Phillips head screwdriver sizes, you will get pretty lost pretty quickly.
Like single-slotted screws, crosshead screws come in a variety of sizes, including variations in the width and thickness of the intersecting slots. If you haven’t got the right size screwdriver for the project you intend to work on, you will have a frustrating experience.
Sizing a Phillips Head Screwdriver
The size of Phillips head screwdrivers is indicated by numbers, not measurements, which can make things confusing. Screws, too, are designated according to numbers from 0 to 24 that indicate the different sizes of the screw based on diameter.
An Easy Guide to Phillips Head Screwdriver Sizes
There are five common sizes of Phillips head screwdrivers which come in standard screwdriver and tool sets. If you do a lot of serious DIY, you might own all five common sizes.
There are many other Phillips head screwdriver sizes that are less common and used for more specialized tasks. You will use these only if you working on very specific projects, such as eyeglasses repair or precision electronics assembly.
There are many more types of screws than screwdrivers. Fortunately, all crosshead screws are designed to work with one of the different sizes of Phillips screwdrivers.
The #0 Phillips head screwdriver fits screw sizes 0 and 1. It has a tip measuring 2.5 mm.
This is a small screwdriver that is used in small appliances, like your coffee maker, and home electronics, such as laptops and game consoles. This screwdriver may be marked as a “mini” Phillips head driver.
The #1 Phillips driver fits screws 2, 3, and 4 and has a 3 mm tip.
This small screwdriver is used in small projects, such as putting together crafting kits or little items like jewelry boxes.
The #2 Phillips head screwdriver fits screws 5, 6, 7, 8, and 9 and has a tip measurement of 3.5 mm.
If you have only one Phillips head screwdriver, it is probably a #2 size. Wood screws often come in sizes 6 and 8.
The 6 screw is often used in smaller furniture items and crafts. The 8 is a popular all-purpose screw that is found in all sorts of projects, including light construction work.
Use the #3 Phillips driver on 10, 12, 14, and 16 size screws. This driver has a tip measuring 5 mm.
If you're going to build a deck or storage shed, you'll need this Phillips driver. The number 10 screw is often found in construction projects, and the 12 screw is used in heavy construction projects of all kinds.
The #4 has a tip measuring 6 mm and fits screws 18, 20, and 24.
Put the #5 to use on machine screws at 5/8" and 3/4" sizes. This screwdriver tip measures 8mm.
The Other Phillips Head Screwdrivers
Phillips head screwdrivers are also made in very small sizes. They are used in precision work and are not commonly included in standard toolsets.
Smaller Phillips screwdrivers are #0000 (which has a 1 mm tip), #000 (which has a 1.5 mm tip), and #00, which has a 2 mm tip. Most people will not work with screwdrivers and screws this small for basic household projects and general DIY tasks.
Phillips Head Screwdriver Variations
Any complete screwdriver set will feature both flathead and Phillips head screwdrivers, with the size of the drivers ranging from 0 to 4, while the handle and shaft length will vary. In a set, you might find a special stubby Phillips-head driver with a 1 1/2-inch shaft, and several drivers with four-inch shafts as well.
There are numerous other types of screwdrivers, with varying shaft lengths. Some shafts may be as long as eight or nine inches.
Different shaft lengths and handle sizes can make it easier to work on whatever you're working on. A longer shaft can allow you to access hard-to-reach areas where your hand won't fit.
Longer or shorter handles can accommodate differently-sized hands. A screwdriver set that will primarily be used by a woman, for example, may have shorter handles than one made for a man with large hands.
Using Different Phillips Head Screwdriver Sizes
The different sizes of Phillips head screwdrivers will help you complete many different tasks, ranging from hanging shelves to building a barn. If you plan to do any type of DIY, you will want to have Phillips head screwdrivers in a couple or more different sizes so you're prepared to take on all your tasks.
Phillips Head Screwdriver History
Also known as a crosshead screwdriver, the Phillips head screwdriver was invented not by a guy named Phillip but by John P. Thompson, a Portland, Oregon resident. Thompson invented the screw to go with the screwdriver and took out patents on both.
His invention revolutionized assembly lines and helped push the Industrial Revolution even further. Today, the Phillips head screwdriver is a DIYer's must-have and a toolbox favorite.
Consisting of a cross-slotted tip and a shaft, a Phillips head screwdriver works in almost an identical way to a single-slotted (flathead) screwdriver. Using any screwdriver takes very little skill, as all you have to do is fit the tip of the screwdriver into a nail and twist your wrist to unscrew and install screws.
However, while the flathead screwdriver is a singular metal blade of varying thickness and width, a Phillips head screwdriver is comprised of a thicker shaft of metal that does not taper but is machined at the tip to form a shape like a plus sign.
A crosshead screwdriver is useless on a screw head with a single slot, as it is used to drive and remove screws that match its design. Screw heads that feature the Phillips crosshead design may have rounded or flat tops.
Phillips Head Screwdriver Sizes FAQ
What are Phillips screwdriver sizes?
Phillips head screwdrivers range in size from #0000 to #5, though #0 to #4 are the most commonly used for basic household projects. These are the sizes you will find in most standard screwdriver sets, as they fit the most common types of screws used in household appliances and furnishings.
What size is a #3 Phillips screwdriver?
The tip of the #3 screwdriver measures 5 mm. This is a screwdriver size that is often used in construction and building projects.
What size is a #2 Phillips screwdriver?
A #2 Phillips screwdriver, which is the most commonly used type of Phillips head screwdriver for household projects and repairs, has a tip that measures 3.5 mm.
How do I know what size screwdriver I need?
When you're looking at any random crosshead screw, and you have a few different Phillips head screwdrivers floating around in your toolbox, you could easily start to get overwhelmed. How are you supposed to know which screwdriver goes with which screw?
When sizes are not conveniently written down on different screwdrivers or on the screws, anyone could get frustrated. However, figuring out which screwdriver to use with an unknown screw isn't too difficult.
If it's a loose screw, hold it in one hand. If it's already attached to something, try to face the screw head-on with it in front of you.
Try fitting a couple of screwdrivers into the head of the screw without being aggressive. Always test more than one because Phillips head screwdrivers come in multiple sizes that are very close to one another.
Even though a screwdriver will work in a screw with some effort, there is a better size that will work well with less effort. Test a couple of different drivers on your screw and you should be able to tell which one fits the right way.
Why does size matter in screwdrivers?
There are multiple sizes of Phillips head screwdrivers, with tip measurements sometimes varying by just half a millimeter. With such a small size difference, can’t you get away with using the wrong driver on the wrong screw?
While there are times when you can force a tool to work even when it doesn’t want to, it’s actually very important to use the right size screwdriver with the screw you’re installing or taking out.
Using the wrong size screwdriver on a screw can cause you to strip the screw, which means the crosshead pattern on the top of the screw becomes damaged. A damaged screw is much more difficult to remove and install.
What is a ph1 screwdriver?
The ph1 screwdriver refers to the Phillips head #1 size. This is the screwdriver most often used in home electronics, laptops, PCs, and accessories.
Phillips head screwdrivers in other sizes, such as #0 or #2, are known as ph0, ph2, and so forth.
What is the most common Phillips head size?
The most common Phillips driver is the #2 size, as this is the one you will use in most household tasks. The #3 is also commonly used in multiple projects in and around the house.
Most screwdriver sets contain Phillips head screwdrivers #0 through #4. These are the five most common types used in most of the day-to-day DIY tasks you will want to take on, such as hanging up a picture or swapping out an outlet cover.
Why do flathead and Phillips head screwdrivers both exist?
Some form of flathead screwdrivers has been around since as far back as the 1500s, with the more modern design appearing in 1744. This is a very old design and it very much still works.
The Phillips head is a much newer screwdriver design, and many consider it to be an improvement upon the older flathead design.
Crosshead screws, the type used with Phillips head screwdrivers, allow for a tighter fit than flathead screws. That's why this is the screw of choice for many manufacturers and builders.
It's also easier for Phillips head screwdrivers to grip screws. You get much firmer contact between the tool and the screw than you do with flathead alternatives.
Though Phillips-style crosshead screws are used as well, flathead screws are quite commonly found in woodworking projects. Flathead screws are still commonly used in building and construction. You will find them in cabinets, countertops, furniture, drywall, and other common building elements.
Most DIYers have a few sizes of both types of screwdrivers in their toolkits.
What are screwdrivers made from?
Screwdriver shanks are made with durable steel with hardened tips. The handle of the screwdriver is most commonly made with plastic, metal, or wood, primarily.
Screwdriver handles vary in both length and thickness of diameters. Some are designed with curves or channels to improve grip.
Well-made Phillips head screwdrivers can last a lifetime, and some manufacturers do offer lifetime guarantees on these tools upon purchase.
How do I identify a Phillips screwdriver?
Phillips head screwdrivers look distinctly different from other types of screwdrivers. The tip of a Phillips head will have pointed edges and a noticeable X shape.
This unique tip design is made specifically to fit into corresponding Phillips head screws, which have corresponding X-shaped slots where the screwdriver fits. This unique design creates a firm hold between the screw and screwdriver, which prevents slipping.
What is the smallest Phillips size?
Though most casual DIYers will not need it in their toolkit, Phillips makes a very small #000 screw and matching 000 Phillips head screwdriver. This very small screwdriver is used in precision work involving compact electronics.
How are screwdriver sizes measured?
Two measurements of screwdrivers are used to determine their size. The width and length of the tip, along with the length of the screwdriver blade, are included in screwdriver measurements.
Screwdriver measurements are recorded in millimeters (mm).
Why should you never strike a screwdriver with a hammer?
There is a proper tool for every DIY task, and tools should only be used for their intended purpose. You never want to hit a screwdriver with a hammer because the small, sharp tip of the screwdriver could break or chip under this pressure and completely ruin the tool.
What is the most common mistake made in using screwdrivers?
When people make mistakes using screwdrivers, the most common problem is using the wrong kind of screwdriver for the job at hand. Using the wrong kind of screwdriver, or the wrong size, could strip the screw.
When the screw is stripped, the job will become much more difficult. Using the wrong screwdriver for the job at hand could also destroy your screwdriver.
Building Your DIY Tool Kit
Building Your Home Hand Tool Kit
DIY Tools Everyone Should Have
How to Extract a Stripped Screw
How to Use a Ratchet Screwdriver
Must-Have Tools for Every Skill Level