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Phillips Screws: The Pros and Cons of Phillips Heads |

Phillips Screws Guide

Phillips Head Screw Advantages and Disadvantages

Phillips screws are extremely common, and they are found in a range of applications, from electronics to the motor industry. Originally, these screws were used by Henry Ford for his automotive assembly lines, speeding up production and reducing the chances of product damage from over tightening. The Phillips screw head is designed to allow the driver head to cam out of excess force is applied, which was a desirable trait in the days of the Model T. it is still a very popular type of screw, so this Phillips screws guide will help you find the best type for the job.

The screw was an invention of Henry Phillips, a tool company owner who wanted to devise a safer and more practical alternative to the slotted screw head. As power tools became more common, manufacturers found that high torques caused the driver head to slip out of the traditional slotted head, potentially damaging the product, the driver head, or the operator. Over-torquing could physically shatter the alloys used for screw manufacture, so the inventor designed a screw head that would provide a margin of error.

The cruciform Phillips head was born, and the sloped sides of the four points allowed the operator to apply force evenly and efficiently, but they would cause the driver head to jump out under conditions of high torque. From these beginnings, Phillips heads cover the entire range of screws, from woodscrews to electronics.


Phillips Screws

The Advantages of Phillips Head Screws

  • Phillips screws are very common, and they are available in almost every conceivable shape, style and material
  • The cruciform recess means that these screws are self-centering, so the user can engage the screws with one hand, especially if a magnetic driver head is used, and avoid accidentally inserting the screw at an angle
  • Phillips screws are designed to allow camming out if excess torque is applied, a mechanism designed to avoid damage to the screw or the driver head.
  • Phillips screwdrivers are cheap and readily available, and are a standard addition to most screwdriver sets
  • The design prevents the screwdriver from slipping out sideways, a problem endemic to slotted screws. Slippage can damage the product or injure the operator
  • This head type can be combined with Robertson screws or slotted screws, ensuring that you always have the right tool to hand

The Disadvantages of Phillips Head Screws

  • Modern power tools usually incorporate a slipping clutch to prevent over-tightening, so the process of camming out is largely redundant and can actually reduce efficiency
  • Camming out can destroy the recess of Phillips screws; most woodworkers have spent time with a pair of pliers trying to remove a half-engaged screw
  • The Phillips head is a common choice for self-tapping screws, but the design makes it difficult to apply enough torque to bore into hardwoods. As a result, square drive screws, Torx screws, and hex screws are growing in popularity
  • Phillips screws are often confused with other screw types, and users select the wrong screwdriver head, potentially damaging both driver and screw
  • Because these screws and screwdrivers are so widely available, they are rarely used for tamper-proof designs

Buy Phillips Screws Online

Until mass-consumerism took hold, buying screws in bulk generally meant a quick trip to the hardware store, where you could buy them by the pound. Manufacturers and retailers now try to squeeze every last drop of profit from consumers, selling small packets of screws at elevated prices. For contractors or DIY enthusiasts planning large projects, this vastly increases the budget.

Fortunately, online retailers have filled the gap, allowing you to order large volumes of loose screws and benefit from bulk discounts, a great choice if you have a large decking or guttering project in mind. As this Phillips screws guide shows, from tiny machine bolts to self-tapping screws, these screws are cheap and easy to buy online.



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Accessbuy 347pc Home Nut, Bolt, Screw & Washer Assortment - All Phillips Head! Price: $9.99
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Qualihome Pan head Phillips Drive Sheet Metal Screws Assortment Kit, 140 Pieces Price: $7.99
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  • Article by Martyn Shuttleworth

    avatar Martyn Shuttleworth is a professional freelance writer living amongst the olive groves of the Peloponnese, a spear throw away from Ancient Sparta, the home of long-haired heroes. He covers a range of styles, from academic writing to sales letters, and loves writing about home improvement, freelance writing, and all things Greek. If you want to hire a master wordsmith, please feel free to visit Freelance Writer Editor
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