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I have two different sized Phillips screwdrivers that both say they are 00 sized (click here for full-sized image):

photo of 2 screwdrivers

The green screwdriver came from an iPhone 3/4 disassembly kit, and on the package it says "Phillips#00". The tip is about 1.5mm wide.

The screwdriver on the bottom is a Craftsman and it says "P-00" on it. The tip is about 2mm wide.

One of these screwdrivers cannot be 00 sized. Which one is 00, and what size is the other one?

  • What is the home improvement issue here? – ben rudgers Sep 2 '14 at 15:28
  • I'll take Craftsman at their word for keeping the proper dimensions, they've been making quality tools too long. The other's run-of-the-mill cheap. There's considerably less metal in the shank and that tiny tip usually isn't properly hardened for durability. – Fiasco Labs Sep 3 '14 at 14:19
  • @FiascoLabs Although that may be true, I can pretty much guarantee you the Craftsman is too big to fit into the iPhone screw hole – Joe Phillips Nov 14 '16 at 14:49
  • I found this handy set of charts most helpful in determining bit sizes. garagetooladvisor.com/hand-tools/screwdriver-sizes – Nomal Jamon Apr 29 at 18:56
5

00 refers to the size and angle of the tip. It doesn't say how thick the tip becomes before merging into the shaft. So, yes, these could both be 00 sized, if they fit the same screws; the thicker one just (a) will fit larger 00 screws better than the small one would and (b) won't fit into as small an opening.

  • 1
    A non-precision comparison on my computer screen of the enlarged image does appear to show both tips as the same size. And then watch out for the JIS, PoZiDrive, and other "cross-shaped but not Phillips" screws, which NO Phillips screwdriver will fit correctly. They, do however, do a dandy job of mangling the screw heads. – Ecnerwal Sep 2 '14 at 3:47
  • Something they have in common with Philips, @Ecnerwal. All those screws exist to cam out. – Harper Jan 10 '18 at 18:43
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The Phillips screwdriver size is based on the size at the very tip. Based on diagrams of the tip from the original Phillips patent (shown in one of the links to sizes.com), I'm guessing that the relevant physical size is the cross you see when you point the screwdriver at your nose (as though it were a screw) and look at it end-on, or something directly related to that. How much the tip widens to become part of the shaft is irrelevant. You could make one that widens to a meter in diameter, making it nearly impossible for humans to use.

I tried this experiment: using some digital calipers, insert just the tip between the calipers, and measure the distance from one point on the cross to the opposite point. This is difficult to do accurately since if you insert a little more than the tip, you get a result that is too large. I tried several different sets of screwdrivers and bits for them from different manufacturers.

The results: PH3: 0.141 inches, PH2: 0.086 inches, PH1: 0.071 inches, PH0: 0.055 inches, PH00: 0.048 inches, PH000: 0.039 inches, and PH0000 is so tiny I really couldn't get a consistent reading. I don't have a PH4 and I'm not sure I've seen one. As I said, it's difficult to get an accurate reading. I can quite consistently eyeball the difference between a PH3 and a PH2 or a PH2 and a PH1. It's difficult to consistently see that a PH00 is larger than a PH000. I can see that like sizes give similar results, and measuring the same bit over and over also gives similar results, however, the ranges for adjacent sizes overlap a bit for PH000, PH00, and PH0.

A serious attempt to make these measurements would probably require several vices, a powerful magnifying glass or a microscope, and digital calipers with a thinner edge than the set I have. Either that or I'd need about 6 hands.

I presume a PH0000 screwdriver is intended to drive #0000 screws, a PH000 screwdriver is intended to drive #000 screws, and a PH00 screwdriver is intended to drive #00 screws, as these seem to be the only screws smaller than #0 in the inch-based "numbered screw" system. There could be a #00000 screw, but it's less than one-hundredth of an inch wide and probably can't take much torque, and a #000000 screw would have a negative diameter, which is obviously impossible.

Somewhere buried in an ANSI standard is the physical dimension that determines the driver size. I may have found one of them, but it costs $65.

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Phillips screwdrivers are not sized based on the physical dimensions of the tool itself. Instead, they are sized based on the screws with which they fit. Each size will work best with a range of screw sizes, which means the actual size of the tip can vary slightly.

Tip Size    Screw Sizes
 0           0  - 1
 1           2  - 4
 2           5  - 9
 3           10 - 16
 4           18 - 29

This chart can vary slightly, depending on the type of screw being driven

  • What screw sizes would Phillips 00, 000, and 0000 tips work on? – pacoverflow Sep 3 '14 at 14:18
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The screwdriver point size will fit different size screws, depending on the type of screw (wood, machine, sheet metal). The point size of the bit is determined by the diameter of the tip. You can measure the tip easily using a vernier caliper. Specifications for the bit size can be found here: http://www.leisto.com/screwdrivrer-bits/phillips-screwdriver-bits/

As a quick reference:
PH00 = 0.8mm - 0.9mm
PH0 = 0.9mm - 1.0mm
PH1 = 1.3mm - 1.4mm
PH2 = 2.2mm - 2.3mm
PH3 = 3.8mm - 4.0mm

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