What's the best type of screwdriver for small computer repair?

By rodion15
Aug 29, 2015
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  1. I'd like to have the best tools for my job as computer repair tech. I know there're several types of screwdriver tips used, chrome-vanadium, steel, etc.
    In my humble opinion: the black tipped chrome-vanadium are somewhat soft, get easily stripped but don't strip screws as easily.
    Silver steel tipped tips are harder and when they get worn out, they can strip screws easily.
    I use Phillips 000,00,0,1. Pentalobe 1.2 and Torx 4 to 10 screwdrivers most often.

    My idea is that, whatever type you use, you must change them every few months because they'll wear out and strip screws. Am I right?

    Many thanks for reading my post :)
  2. mailpup

    mailpup TS Special Forces Posts: 7,188   +470

    A decent quality chrome-vanadium screwdriver is not soft and should last years. Chrome-vanadium steel is the material most quality hand tools (sockets, ratchets, wrenches, screwdrivers, etc.) are made of (as opposed to plain carbon steel). When you say chrome-vanadium and steel, those are not necessarily two different things. C-V is a type of steel. Chrome-moly steel is usually used for impact tools. The color of the tip has little bearing on the quality of the tool. Also, you probably know this already but don't confuse chrome-vanadium tool material with chrome plating. Tools should be harder than the fasteners unless you buy cheap quality tools. If you insist on buying tools that are inexpensive (I.e. cheap) on the grounds that they are unnecessarily expensive, you really can't complain if you get poor results. Better tool brands tend to use better materials. That said, building PCs is not hard on tools at all and should not stress decent quality ones.

    I repair cars and trucks as a hobby and have used the same screwdrivers, both slotted and phillips, for 40+ years. If your screwdrivers are buggering up, you might be using the wrong size for the application, really cheap screwdrivers or you might be abusing the tool. Slotted screwdrivers can be dressed to restore them to good condition.

    Always use the largest screwdriver head that will fit the screw. That will help prevent a loose fit which tends to cam out the screw heads, slotted, phillips or torx. In my experience building computers the phillips screws are usually #2. You listed up to #1. If you are using #1 on #2 screws, that will tend to cam out the screws. Speaking of cam out, phillips screws and phillips screwdrivers are actually designed to cam out when too much pressure is applied. Unfortunately, cam out damages the screw and makes it even harder to remove. If you have cam out problems, I recommend using a JIS type screwdriver.

    JIS screwdrivers are designed not to cam out and are the preferred type to use on JIS fasteners. The JIS standard is most often used on fasteners made in Asia and, as you know, most computer components also come from there. They also work well on regular phillips screw heads. The problem is most people (outside of Asia) seem to be unaware of the JIS standard and JIS screwdrivers are as not as commonly available (at least here in the USA) as regular phillips screwdrivers. BTW, I only recall seeing JIS screwdrivers as small as 00. 000 probably exists but I don't happen to have one that small.

    I don't have any recommendations on pentalobe driver tips in the small sizes (as would be found in phones) as I never come across them except the larger sizes found on German cars (5 point torx - regular torx is 6 pt.). But as a general rule, I recommend that you don't go too cheap on the quality.

    Although I have some knowledge in this area, I am not an expert but I hope this helps you.
    cliffordcooley and learninmypc like this.
  3. rodion15

    rodion15 TS Booster Topic Starter Posts: 147

    Thanks for that very good answer, I'll get back to you when a make a decision. I want to get a good set. Last month I stripped a screw on a Mac Pro 2013 and my boss had to travel to my workshop to drill it out (We didn't have a drill at the workshop), all due to a knackered screwdriver.

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