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While rummaging through some of my toolboxes, I discovered I had a variety of screwstarters and screwholders as pictured above. The four on the right are true screwdrivers with a screw-holding spring clip that slides down the shaft. They work well, allowing you to start the screw, release the clip by simply pulling back on the handle and giving a little flick, and then finish tightening the screw. Two (Hold-E-Zee) are made by Upson Tools, and two “clones” by Stanley and VA; the Upson versions have a patent number, but neither the Stanley or VA do — perhaps the patent expired? I don’t know if any of these are currently available.

The next two brass-colored rods are — ta dah! — brass screwholding screwdrivers made by the H.J.J. Co. These two (one for slotted and the other for Phillips screws) are my favorites when I’m working inside a computer on a motherboard and such, as they are long and thin and do allow a reasonable amount of torque to insert or remove screws. They also make versions with vinyl handles.

The next three, from Vaco (now apparently part of Klein [What’s This?]), Stanley, and Ullman, are for Phillips screws, using different types of spring-loaded holders. The Ullman version (type F-2) can handle Torx, also. All of these start screws well, but tend to twist out when you attempt too much tightening.

The blue-handled one second from the left is a Quick-Wedge. TM has discussed versions in April 2009 and Jan. 2008. It’s probably my least favorite because it seems to twist out of the slot too easily when you apply a bit of torque, but its length can be handy.

The last one on the left is a Craftsman spring-loaded type for slotted screws. Its length is handy; it has a magnet on its other end (as do two of the Phillips starters), and it tolerates some torque when tightening.

Those devices still available are in the $5–$10 range. What’s your favorite screwstarter/screwholder?

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11 Responses to Screwstarter-Screwholder Smackdown

  1. Toolhearty says:

    I prefer the “Quick-Wedge” type for slotted screws (mine are from Xcelite), though the blades tend to made out of peanut butter and won’t tolerate any significant amount of torque.

  2. j says:

    Quick-Wedge, to start screws. that’s the kind the phone co. issued. Seemed it’s sole purpose was for the impossibly short, countersunk screws for those steel flush-mount modular wall plates. try doing it without one – you’d need 3 hands & a search team for the screws you drop

  3. Paul says:

    I just ditch the Philips and straight screws and use good old Robertson screws. They stay on the screwdriver by design (no magnet, no holders, just a simple taper lock). If only it would catch on outside of Canada….

  4. Fritz Gorbach says:

    I have several of the “quick wedge,” type, though mine are made by klein. I have at least one in every tool bag. I mostly use them to start screws inside electrical enclosures. Often when I work on a contactor, or motor starter, or other controls, or generator transfer switches, or innumerable other gadgets, at least some portion of the panel is hot, and you don’t want to reach a hand in there to hold a screw, and you certainly don’t want to send a metal screw flying across something. I wouldn’t go to work without one.
    I also have a long, thin vaco with the spring clip like the stanleys shown, and the craftsman versions for phillips and hex nuts, but I don’t think I’ve ever used them. Probably dooesn’t help that they’re home in the big toolbox instead of out on the road in the bags that do most of the work.

  5. browndog77 says:

    I carry the Craftsman type for slotted screws, and use it almost exclusively to start the tiny screws that attach the strain relief clamp on leviton range receptacles. Works great!

  6. DW says:

    So far my vote is for the “quick wedge” type, While not perfect, mostly because of the same reason that they can’t take much torque. But they are the least finicky across a variety of sizes of screws… I use the Vaco brand for the record.

  7. Art says:

    Robertson screws seem to be a popular choice for deck screws here in the northern plains.

  8. francis xavier saucedo says:

    help please. looking for a “micro” screw starter/grabber for #00 phillips screws. i have plenty of “mini” tools but they don’t work with “micro” screws. anybody heard of one or make one? ty

  9. Wayne ericksen says:

    I have a hold – e zee spring action flat screw driver tr 2 love this tool however it is wore out. Where can a buy a new one?

  10. Larry Mackins says:

    Looking for Upson Hold-E-Zee screwdriver with a number PR-4 on it. Patent number is hard to read but looks like 2840382. It also says Lok-Blok on the handle. Any idea if I could find this anywhere?
    Thank you.

  11. curtis Lyoms says:

    I would like to purchase all the advertisement. I am a clock repair here in N.C. Just what I need Thank You Curtis

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