How to Avoid Stripping Screws With Impact Drivers

Tips to Prevent Stripping Screws with Impact Drivers


Impact drivers have become an essential tool in the toolbox of many DIY enthusiasts and professional contractors due to their ability to drive screws quickly and efficiently. However, one common issue that can arise when using an impact driver is stripping screws. This can be frustrating and time-consuming, but there are several reasons why it can occur and ways to avoid it.

User Error: The Key Factor in Stripping Screws With Impact Drivers

One of the most prevalent causes of stripped screws when using an impact driver is user error. This typically occurs when the user applies excessive force or fails to maintain a steady hand during the driving process.

The power and speed of an impact driver can easily overwhelm a screw, especially if it’s not driven straight or if too much force is used. When you apply too much pressure, the driver bit can slip out of the screw head and damage its shape. Once the shape is compromised, it becomes increasingly difficult to drive or remove the screw, leading to what we commonly refer to as a ‘stripped’ screw.

To avoid this, it’s crucial to understand the correct way to use an impact driver. A common mistake is to push too hard or to hold the tool at an angle. Instead, you should apply gentle, consistent pressure throughout the process. The impact driver should be held firmly and kept perpendicular to the surface. This allows the force of the tool to do the work, rather than your physical strength.

Practising these methods not only helps prevent stripping screws but also extends the life of your tools and screws. Remember, the key to avoiding user error lies in understanding your tool’s capabilities and limitations, as well as honing your technique. With patience and practice, you can efficiently use an impact driver without the risk of stripping your screws.

Worn Screwdriver Bits

The significance of worn screwdriver bits will increase the chances of stripping screws with impact drivers. When a screwdriver bit is worn out, its shape changes, and it can no longer fit perfectly into the grooves of the screw head. This snug fit is crucial for an effective transfer of force from the driver to the screw. A worn-out bit often results in a loose fit, which can compromise this force transfer.

When there’s a poor fit, the bit tends to slip out of the screw head during the driving process. This slipping is more than a mere inconvenience. It can cause the bit to spin aimlessly without driving the screw effectively. The spinning bit can scrape off the metal on the screw head, damaging its grooves. This damage reduces the grip of the screwdriver bit even further, exacerbating the problem.

Continuous spinning with a worn-out bit can eventually lead to a stripped screw. Stripped screws are screws whose heads have been damaged to such an extent that they can no longer be turned by a screwdriver. This happens when the grooves on the screw head, designed to hold the screwdriver bit, are worn out or deformed.

Therefore, it’s essential to regularly check the condition of your screwdriver bits and other tools. Replacing worn-out bits promptly can prevent many of these issues, ensuring smoother, more efficient work and prolonging the lifespan of both your tools and the materials you’re working with.

Choosing the Best Impact Screwdriver Bits to Avoid Stripping Screws

Stripping screws while using an impact driver can be frustrating and time-consuming. Still, by choosing the right impact screwdriver bits, you can prevent this issue from occurring. In this guide, we’ll explore the possible reasons for screw stripping, the different types of impact screwdriver bits, and the criteria to select the best option. We’ll also highlight the top-rated impact screwdriver bits in the market.

Reasons for Screw Stripping often occurs due to user error, using low-quality screws, or unsuitable screwdriver bits. Using too much pressure or not maintaining a steady grip on the impact driver can also lead to screw stripping. Furthermore, using soft screws or screwdriver bits can result in slips and damage to the screw head.

Types of Impact Screwdriver Bits Impact screwdriver bits differ in terms of durability, grip, and material. The most common types of impact screwdriver bits are:

  1. High-Speed Steel (HSS) Screwdriver Bits: HSS bits are durable and strong and are suitable for use on a variety of materials.
  2. Titanium Screwdriver Bits: Titanium bits are corrosion-resistant, strong, and long-lasting. They are ideal for working with metal, hardwood, and concrete material.
  3. Diamond-Coated Screwdriver Bits: The diamond coating provides excellent grip and durability, suitable for drilling into hard materials like steel and masonry.

Criteria for Selecting Impact Screwdriver Bits When selecting impact screwdriver bits, consider the following criteria:

  1. Size: Select the right size of screwdriver bit to fit the screw being used to avoid slippage or over driving.
  2. Tip Type: The tip type of the screwdriver bit should match the screw head type to prevent damage to the head and ensure a secure grip.
  3. Length: Choose the correct length of the screwdriver bit to get maximum grip and avoid unwanted flexing while driving the screw.
  4. Hardness: A high hardness rating ensures the screwdriver bit’s durability, making them less prone to wear and tear.

Top-Rated Impact Screwdriver Bits Here are some of the best impact screwdriver bits available in the market:

  1. DEWALT Impact Ready Screwdriver Bit Set: This set comes with 40-piece bits made from high-grade steel, with a magnetic holder to prevent drops.
  2. Makita B-52370 Impact Gold Torsion Bit Set: The Makita set includes torsion bits that extend bit life and fit screws without slipping or stripping.
  3. Milwaukee Shockwave Impact Duty Driver Bit Set: Milwaukee’s bits are designed with advanced geometry for high gripping strength, reducing wear and tear on the bits.
  4. Bosch Impact Tough Screwdriver Bit Set: These bits are made of high-quality steel with a hex shank that prevents slipping and stripping.

Choosing the right impact screwdriver bits is essential for avoiding screw stripping and achieving successful DIY projects. Consider the size, tip type, length, and hardness when selecting impact screwdriver bits. You should also prioritize high-quality materials and durability. By investing in top-rated impact screwdriver bits like the ones highlighted above, you can achieve the best results without worrying about stripped screws.

Screw Type

Not all screws are created equal, some screws are too soft, and some are too hard. If you are using the wrong type of screw or a low-quality screw, it’s more likely to strip when using an impact driver. Ensure that you use screws that are of high quality and designed for the task, taking into account the material and surface you’re working on.

The best screws for avoiding stripping are those made with high-quality materials and designed for the task at hand. Some of the most commonly used types of screws that are less likely to strip include:

  1. Stainless Steel Screws: Stainless steel screws are corrosion-resistant and strong, making them an excellent choice for outdoor use or places where humidity levels are high.
  2. Torx Screws: Torx screws have a star-shaped head, providing a more secure grip than traditional Phillips head screws.
  3. Square Drive Screws: Similar to Torx screws, square drive screws have a more secure grip and are less likely to strip than Phillips head screws.
  4. Coated Screws: Coated screws, such as those with a black oxide or zinc plating, have an additional layer of protection that reduces the likelihood that they will rust or corrode, which can lead to stripped screws.

Overall, the best screws for avoiding stripping are those that are designed for the material and surface being worked on, as well as those made of high-quality materials and coatings. It’s also essential to use the correct size of the screwdriver bit to avoid over driving the screw and causing damage.

Material Surface

The type of material you are working with can also impact the effectiveness of the impact driver. Harder surfaces like steel, concrete, or hardwood require stronger grip and power output, and more experience to drill screws with it. Consider using diamond-coated screwdriver bits that penetrate the tough material effortlessly.

Actionable guide to fix stripped screws and avoid recurrence:

  • First, remove any damaged screws by using a pair of locking pliers.
  • Use high-quality screwdriver bits to prevent stripping in the future.
  • When starting a new screw, ensure that you apply steady pressure and use a straight motion downwards.
  • Avoid over driving the screw and stop once the screw head sits flush with the surface.
  • Use pilot holes, if necessary, to reduce the overall pressure applied.
  • Finally, consider using a product like a Grabit screw extractor or Vampliers to remove stripped screws quickly and effortlessly.

In Conclusion

There are several reasons why impact drivers can strip screws, ranging from user error to screw type and tool maintenance. By following these actionable steps outlined above, you can easily fix stripped screws and prevent recurrence. Be sure to use high-quality screwdriver bits, check and replace worn components regularly, and select screws suitable for the material and surface you’re working on. Finally, consider investing in a product that can make the process of removing stripped screws effortless.