Top Features to Look for in an Electrician’s Screwdriver
Attaching a shelf to the wall? Grab the screwdriver. Adjusting those glasses? You’ll need the tiny screwdriver for that. Assembling a light switch or power outlet? Hold up: every electrician on earth will tell you to reach for a special screwdriver for that delicate and dangerous task.
As the name so simply implies, a screwdriver is a simple hand tool for turning or ‘driving’ screws. Hold the handle with one hand, torque it to the left or the right, and the shaft – ending with the tip – rotates the fastener to either tighten or loosen.
Because of its simplicity, the history of the screwdriver is a little unknown – because that history stretches all the way back to the late Middle Ages. Today, we mainly categorise the dozens of basic types of screwdrivers according to the sort and size of fastener they’re designed to turn, including flathead, Phillips, Torx, Hex, Pozidriv and many more.
The electrician’s screwdriver, however, is quite a bit different – because it differs arguably more fundamentally in comparison to just about any other kind of screwdriver:
1. Electrical insulation
The most critical difference, of course, is the electrical insulation. The risk of using a conductive metal screwdriver around electricity is obviously electric shock, so it’s not just the handle that is typically covered but the entire shaft as well. It’s normally a high-quality, high-durability plastic material, such as polypropylene, polyamide or PVC, that provides good electrical protection against high voltages and currents. Often, there are multiple insulation layers, final coatings that are chemical resistant, and varying levels of testing and certification.
2. Special tip design
But at the working end of the electricians screwdriver, there are key differences too. The tips are typically specifically designed for seamless compatibility with the kinds of fasteners used in electrical systems, and commonly flatter than usual to achieve better purchase on the screw and minimise damage to the electrical components, screw and tool.
3. Sophisticated materials
But regardless of the actual screw-meets-tip connection, the electrician’s screwdriver is particularly precise and well-crafted from top to bottom. The tip itself is commonly made of a sophisticated and hard-wearing metal like high-grade steel or chrome vanadium. And in addition to the base material, the tip may then be coated with a thin layer of another material, such as black oxide, for extra protection and grip and to minimise glare, or a diamond coating for extra strength. Aluminium can help to keep an electrician’s screwdriver strong, light and corrosion-resistant, while special high-quality plastics and rubber-like formulations provide a comfortable, non-slip grip.
4. Precise size range
Although the size range of any type of screwdriver across the board is varied and vast, electrician’s screwdrivers are a little different again. The size range is highly precise, specific and therefore somewhat more limited than a ‘run-of-the-mill’ screwdriver range, as electrical screwdrivers must be fully and seamlessly compatible with the typical components and devices of electrical systems. Additionally, the physical dimensions of the electricians screwdriver are tailored for the limited access typical of many settings of electrical work, like long, thin shafts to poke through a small hole or particularly stubby ones when space is at a squeeze.
Do you need help selecting a high-quality, precise, safe, comfortable and long-lasting set of electrician’s screwdrivers made by a reputable brand with a proven track record for excellent specialist hand-tools? Our industry guides would be delighted to point you in the right direction.