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Are You Using the Wrong Screwdriver for Electrical Work?

Using the wrong type of screwdriver for the purpose of carrying out electrical work can be a serious mistake. There are specially designed screwdrivers intended to be used for electrical work. 

These screwdrivers are often called electrician’s screwdrivers, and while it is similar to the majority of other screwdrivers in that it is designed to drive screws into a particular material via turning it at the screw head, the handle is insulated to protect users against electric shocks. In some cases there may also be insulation on the shaft of the screwdriver. 

The tip of an electrician’s screwdriver will be dependent on the screw type that needs to be driven, which means that electricians will in most cases bring a screwdriver set with them instead of just one single driver, or at the very least bring a driver which allows for replaceable bits so that one driver can make use of a wide array of screws. 

Flat head and Phillips head drivers

The flat head driver and Phillips head driver are the two most common models in regards to electrician’s screwdrivers, with the latter featuring a cross pattern with the centre of the cross extending outwards beyond the wings of the cross to allow it to be securely inserted into a Phillips head screw. This is an extremely common type of screw, meaning that the Phillips head screwdriver will be a commonly used tool for any electrician. 

The flat head driver comes with a straight head resembling a blade that is able to slot into an appropriately designed slot. This design does enable a greater delivery of torque but the downside is that the driver often slides or moves out of position while driving. 

The importance of insulation

Electricians usually work on electrical systems where it is possible there is current running through them, making it vital for there to be insulation on the handle of an electrician’s screwdriver. That insulation guards the user against electric shocks that can cause injuries such as burns and in some cases can even result in death. This makes it absolutely essential for the screwdriver to be insulated properly and that electricity to the component under repair has been turned off. 


The tip of an electrician’s screwdriver is often magnetised to ease the process of having to line the tip of the screwdriver up with the head of the screw. It can also help to avoid a screw being dropped by the electrician in the event that the driver loses contact with it as rather than just fall the screw will instead be secured to the screwdriver tip, even without pressure being placed on it. 

There are also more advanced models that come with a ratcheting mechanism to help prevent the screwdriver having to be disengaged from the screw during the driving process. 

The use of the wrong screwdriver in any form of work can cause damage to the object being screwed into or the screw itself, but the consequences can be even more serious with electrical work. Always use the right screwdriver for electrical to get the best results and ensure safety. 

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