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Choosing the Right Screwdriver Bit

What you need

  1. Choosing the Right Screwdriver Bit, Identification: step 1, image 1 of 2 Choosing the Right Screwdriver Bit, Identification: step 1, image 2 of 2
    • The screw bits in our iFixit bit kits have engraved prefixes that indicate the head type. These prefixes are typically followed by a number that indicates bit size. For example:

    • PH2 - (Phillips #2) A large Phillips bit.

    • PH0 - (Phillips #0) A medium Phillips bit.

    • PH000 - (Phillips #000) A small Phillips bit.

    • Choose the bit size that fills the screw head entirely. A bit that is too big or too small will not seat properly, and you'll end up with a stripped screw.

  2. Choosing the Right Screwdriver Bit: step 2, image 1 of 2 Choosing the Right Screwdriver Bit: step 2, image 2 of 2
    • If you find yourself scratching your head over identifying the bits in your tool kit, feel free to use this reference list.

    • Physical bit shape followed by proper name.

    • Bit size.

    • If there is no prefix engraved in your bit, simply use the full proper name and size when using your bit in a guide. (For example: "Use a 1.5 mm Flathead bit to remove the two 5 mm case screws.")

  3. Choosing the Right Screwdriver Bit, PH vs JIS: step 3, image 1 of 2 Choosing the Right Screwdriver Bit, PH vs JIS: step 3, image 2 of 2
    Tool used on this step:
    JIS Driver Set
    • Bits with the prefix "J" and "PH" are often thought to be the same bit. Don't be fooled by their similar appearance—they are quite different.

    • Phillips (PH) screws are designed to make a Phillips screwdriver cam out if too much torque is applied. This prevents damage to screws and screwdrivers or bits.

    • Japanese Industrial Standard (J) screws do not provide a cam-out option, and have 90 degree corners.

    • J (or JIS) and PH (Phillips) driver bits are not always interchangeable. As you can see, they do not share identical physical properties.

Finish Line

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Excellent guide. could not figure out the difference by looking.

Lawrence Steinheuer-Turner - Reply

It would be clearer if the displayed drawing of each bit actually said J-bit or PH-bit, and because both have 90 degree corners, maybe change the J-bit description to “have 90 degree square inside corners“ and include in the PH description “have 90 degree rounded inside corners.

Otherwise, with interpretation, your article helped me.

Phil - Reply

what size hex shaft do these smaller bits have?. i have an electric precision screw driver, for electronics. i go through the PH1 bits very quickly. i can NOT find them for sale anywhere on earth. does anybody know where to purchase these things?? and/or tell me how i should word the query. all im getting is 1/4 hex shaft results. very frustrating

brett everett - Reply

In the picture on the top of the page the bits with a 90° corner are marked as Phillips heads, the ones with the rounded corners are markes as JIS heads. But it seems to be the other way, as mentioned in Step 3 of this instruction, and also according to other pages like Phillips #000 Screwdriver

Andreas Brunner - Reply

Sharp eye, Andreas! Thanks for catching that. We’ve updated the image at the top of the guide with the correct labels.

Marty Rippens -

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