Updated November 2021
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Buying guide for best magnetic screwdrivers

Since nearly the beginning of time, we’ve used tools to build things, solve problems, and make life more comfortable and convenient. While the materials have changed over time, the drive to create and repair hasn’t, and the screwdriver is one of the most necessary and ubiquitous tools around.

This simple tool works by intensifying the motion of a handle to turn a screw. A clockwise motion inserts the screw further, while a counterclockwise motion removes the screw. In order to apply the necessary amount of force, the head of the screwdriver needs to catch the screw and fit snugly inside. Screwdrivers with magnetic heads not only help users catch the screw, but also prevent the screw from falling to the ground when it’s removed.

Magnetic screwdrivers are incredibly useful items to have in your toolkit, helpful with myriad daily activities, both at home and on the go. There are many decisions to make when choosing a magnetic screwdriver, as they come in a variety of sizes and lengths to cater to specific needs.

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If your screwdriver loses its magnetism, don’t worry! Just stroke the end of the screwdriver with a large magnet five or six times, and it should be re-magnetized.

Key considerations


Screwdriver size refers to a specific measurement that can be confusing for the uninitiated. Size does not refer to length or heft of the entire tool but to how large the tip is. Philips heads are usually given numbers to correspond to relative size on a scale of zero to four; zero is the smallest and four is the largest. Slot-head (flat-head) screwdrivers are measured by the width of the blade at the tip.

The size of a magnetic screwdriver should match the screw. If the head is too big, you won’t be able to fit the screwdriver into the screw. If the head is too small, you won’t be able to get the proper torsion to turn the screw. What’s more, using the wrong size screwdriver may harm both the screwdriver and the screw — and potentially cause injury.

Shaft length

Magnetic screwdrivers are manufactured in a variety of lengths to accommodate many different kinds of projects. A shorter screwdriver provides more control, but there are times when a longer shaft is required to work in hard-to-reach places. It’s best to have screwdrivers of various lengths on hand, but if you’re only going to get one at the moment, consider which projects you’ll need it for. A shorter one is fine for assembling furniture, for example, or screwing hanging hooks into walls, while a longer one is necessary for working deep in the interior of something, like a car engine. When in doubt, go for a medium length.


When looking for screwdrivers, you’ll find you have the option of getting one that comes with interchangeable bits of different sizes and types. The tip of the screwdriver can be removed and changed to fit whatever it is you are screwing. Interchangeable bits allow for flexibility when working on projects and prevent you from having to get multiple screwdrivers. 


Magnetic screwdrivers use magnetism in a couple of different ways. A magnetic tip allows for a better connection between the screwdriver and the screw. It also helps direct the user in difficult or dark places, where inserting the screwdriver into a screw can be tricky. The magnetic connection will hold a screw when it’s removed, provided the screw isn’t especially heavy. Some magnetic screwdrivers feature a magnetic shaft that allows for magnetic bits of different sizes and types to be swapped.

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Did you know?
The screwdriver lent its name to its namesake adult beverage, reportedly, when oil-rig workers mixed orange juice with vodka but lacked a spoon. Voila!



A ratcheting mechanism is useful on any screwdriver when turning the handle proves difficult. The ratchet allows you to apply turning force only in one direction while letting it turn freely in the opposite direction. This allows your screwdriver tip to stay engaged with the screw while you wind up for another turn. The rachet’s mechanism makes using a screwdriver much easier on the hands and wrists and is especially useful in tight situations.


Screwdrivers come in various colors. While some may only have color on the handle, others may have a colorful shaft as well. Color adds a nice aesthetic touch, but color coding can also help you quickly find the proper tool.

Tool pouch

If you’re getting a set of screwdrivers, or getting a single screwdriver with several bits, your selection may come with a pouch. This is a useful addition that keeps your tools together and organized.

"Phillips-head screwdrivers are named after American businessman Henry Phillips, who pushed the crosshead design to be taken up by automotive manufacturers, making it popular and irreplaceable. "


Tool belt: Occidental Leather
When at work, a tool belt helps keep items safely and conveniently at hand. We like this high-quality tool belt from Occidental Leather can hold up to 24 tools.

Tool bag: Custom Leathercraft
When transporting your tools, a durable, easy-to-carry bag is vital. We like this one from Custom Leathercraft, which features 50 pockets and pouches as well as a comfortable, heavy-duty strap.

Magnetic screwdriver prices

Inexpensive: For under $10, you should be able to find a high-quality magnetic screwdriver. It may come with interchangeable bits as well.

Mid-range: Most magnetic screwdrivers cost between $10 and $20. These will be from trusted brand names and are offered in a variety of sizes and lengths.

Expensive: Some single screwdrivers may cost more than $20. But at this price point, you’ll also be able to find various screwdrivers sets, which means the price per screwdriver will be less.


  • Beware of stripping! A huge problem can arise when using the wrong size screwdriver for tightening too harshly. Don’t overtighten. You could mar the screw’s head, rendering it useless and essentially stuck in place.

  • Be careful not to drop your tools. Dropping or banging tools too often can shock the magnetism out of some screwdrivers.

  • Learn your heads. The most popular screwdriver heads are the Phillips and slotted types (also known as flat). However, less frequently, you may also encounter a hex key head, a star-shaped Torx head, or even a Robertson head for square Robertson screws.

  • Practice safety. Only use the screwdriver for its intended purpose. Do not use it to poke, pierce, or pry. Also, to avoid having the tool slip while in use, keep the handle and the head clean to ensure a proper grip.

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Screwdrivers consist of three parts: the handle, the shank (or shaft) in the middle, and the tip (or head) at the other end.


Q. How should I store my screwdriver?
A. Screwdrivers, and tools in general, should be stored in a cool, dry place. You want to avoid moisture reaching the screwdriver over long periods of time to prevent wear and rust. Generally, screwdrivers should be stored with the pointed end is safely covered — or in a spot where no one can accidentally make contact.

Q. Can bits from other manufacturers work on a different brand of screwdriver?
A. Yes, any bit can work on any screwdriver, as bits are made to be a certain size, regardless of the manufacturer.

Q. How many magnetic screwdrivers do I need?
A. As screwdrivers are a commonly required tool, it’s useful to have at least one on hand at home. If you want to prepare yourself for years to come, a set that includes two different lengths of the two most popular heads — slotted and Phillips — should cover nearly all your screw driving needs. 

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