Fasteners - Types of Screws

Screws are most often used to fasten materials such as wood and metals; however, they can also be used with other materials. This article provides information on the different types of screws.

Wood can also be fastened with nails. Check out our article about the different types of nails.

Screw Composition

Graphic identifying the components of a screw
Screw Composition

Screws are metal fasteners that have a threaded shank, which is driven by turning. The threads prevent the screw from pulling out.

The head of the screw has a recessed area that accepts a tool, such as a drill or screwdriver, which turns the screw into place. Various shapes are used depending on the type of materials being fastened, the intended appearance, and the type of driving device.

The threads are the helical ridges along the screw, which provide the friction that keeps the two materials together..

The pitch is the distance between threads. Coarse-threaded screws have a larger pitch, i.e. the threads are farther apart.

Different Types of Screws

Wood Screw

Graphic of a Wood Screw

Generally coarse-threaded, threaded point that creates its own mated threads in wood.

Drywall Screw

Graphic of a Drywall Screw

Bugle head, thin shank, specifically designed to fasten drywall to studs, often used as a multi-purpose screw.

Sheetmetal Screw

Diagram of a Sheetmetal Screw

Short, coarse-threaded, typically a round head. Used to fasten sheet metal or other thin materials.

Cap Screw

Diagram of a Cap Screw

Threaded screw, no point, used to fasten machine parts with pre-threaded holes. Driven with a bolt driver rather than a screwdriver.

Machine Screw

Diagram of a Machine Screw

Narrow shank, fine-threaded, used with a nut or driven into a pre-threaded hole.

Set Screw

Diagram of a Set Screw

No head, the shank is slotted.

Screw Head Shapes

Screws have various head shapes that are used for different materials or final appearances.

Flat Head

Diagram of a Flat Head

Pan Head

Diagram of a Pan Head

Round Head

Diagram of a Round Head

Truss Head

Diagram of a Truss Head

Oval Head

Diagram of an Oval Head

Fillister Head

Diagram of a Fillister Head

Bugle Head

Diagram of a Bugle Head

Types of Screw Heads

Screws have different slots in the head to accept the different types of driving tools.

Slotted Head

Diagram of a Slotted Head

Phillips Head

Diagram of a Phillips Head

Allen Head

Diagram of a Allen Head

Square Head

Diagram of a Square Head

Security Head

Diagram of a Security Head

Article Updated: May 17, 2021

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