When it comes to woodworking, the importance of a good wood screw is often underestimated. However, these small yet crucial components can make a world of difference in the final product. In 2023, manufacturers have continued to innovate, creating wood screws that are more durable, easier to use, and designed for various specific tasks. Here, we will review the best wood screws of 2023, discussing their features, benefits, and potential drawbacks.
Understanding Wood Screws
Wood screws are specifically designed for use with wood materials. They feature a pointed tip that helps them penetrate wood without splitting it, and a threaded shaft that pulls the screw into the wood, creating a secure connection.
Components of a Wood Screw
Before you start shopping for wood screws, it's essential to understand the different components:
- Head: This is the top of the screw, where the screwdriver is inserted. Wood screw heads are typically either flat, round, or oval, and they may have slotted, Phillips, square, or star-shaped recesses for the screwdriver.
- Shank: The long, slender part of the screw that gets inserted into the wood. The shank can be fully or partially threaded.
- Tip: The pointed end of the screw, which helps it penetrate the wood.
Types of Wood Screws
Wood screws come in various types, each designed for a specific purpose:
- Standard Wood Screws: These are the most common type and are suitable for most woodworking projects. They have a smooth shank near the head, which helps pull the two pieces of wood together.
- Deck Screws: These screws are coated with a weather-resistant material, making them ideal for outdoor use.
- Drywall Screws: Although primarily used for attaching drywall to studs, these screws are also used in woodworking due to their sharp point and coarse thread, which can grip wood effectively.
- Cabinet Screws: These screws generally have a wider and flatter head, which provides a better hold when attaching cabinet doors and other large, heavy pieces.
Factors to Consider When Buying Wood Screws
The material of a screw determines its strength and resistance to corrosion. Common materials include:
- Steel: Most wood screws are made of steel. They are strong and affordable but can rust if exposed to moisture.
- Stainless Steel: These screws are resistant to rust and can be used in outdoor projects.
- Brass: Brass screws are softer than steel and are often used in decorative applications.
The size of a screw refers to its length and diameter. The length should be chosen based on the thickness of the wood being joined. As a rule of thumb, the screw should be at least twice as long as the thickness of the thinnest piece being joined. The diameter, also known as the gauge, affects the screw's holding power. Larger diameters provide a stronger hold but also require larger holes.
The head type of a screw determines how it will sit on the surface of the wood:
- Flat Head: These screws are designed to sit flush with the surface of the wood. They are commonly used in situations where the screw head must not protrude.
- Round Head: Round-head screws protrude from the wood surface, providing a decorative finish.
- Pan Head: These screws have a low, rounded head that stands out from the surface. They're often used in applications where easy removal is necessary.
The drive type refers to the shape of the recess in the screw head:
- Slotted: The simplest and oldest type, but the screwdriver can slip out easily.
- Phillips: An X-shaped recess that provides a better grip than slotted screws but can also cause the screwdriver to cam out.
- Square (Robertson): A square recess that provides a good grip and is less likely to cam out.
- Star (Torx): A six-pointed star shape that provides the best grip and is the least likely to cam out.
Our Top Picks of Wood Screws 2023:
1. GRK Fasteners R4 Multi-Purpose Screw
The GRK Fasteners R4 Multi-Purpose Screw continues to top the charts in 2023, thanks to its unmatched versatility and strength. These screws feature a patented design that lowers the torque needed for installation, reducing the risk of splitting the wood. This means a smoother, faster, and more efficient work process. The screws also come with a Climatek coated finish, ensuring resistance against corrosion.
However, the GRK Fasteners R4's most striking feature is its exclusive under head with cutting pockets, which provide a clean hole before the threads bite. This significantly reduces the risk of splitting, even in delicate or fragile woods. On the downside, these screws are on the expensive side. But, considering the quality and durability they offer, they are worth the investment.
2. Kreg SML-C125-500 1-1/4-Inch #8 Coarse Pocket Hole Screws
The Kreg SML-C125-500 1-1/4-Inch #8 Coarse Pocket Hole Screws are an excellent choice for those who frequently work with softer wood types. These screws are designed explicitly for pocket-hole joinery, offering a strong and secure hold. Their coarse thread is ideal for softer materials, providing a better grip and reducing the risk of stripping.
The screws feature a self-tapping tip, which eliminates the need for pre-drilling and makes the installation process faster and easier. They also have a large flat head that provides more holding power. However, keep in mind that these screws are not designed for hardwoods or more demanding projects.
3. Power Pro 48611 Premium Outdoor Wood and Deck Screws
Power Pro's 48611 Premium Outdoor Wood and Deck Screws are worth considering if you're working on outdoor projects. These screws come with a bronze epoxy coating that provides superior corrosion resistance, making them ideal for decks, fences, or any other outdoor construction.
The screws have a sharp point and aggressive thread for a better bite into the wood and easier installation. They also have a star drive head, which reduces the chances of cam-out and stripping. However, they are not the best choice for indoor woodworking projects where aesthetics are a priority, due to their noticeable bronze finish.
4. Hillman Power Pro 48610 Woodworking Interior Screws
Hillman's Power Pro 48610 Woodworking Interior Screws are a top pick for interior woodworking thanks to their no-strip star drive head, self-countersinking blades, and aggressive lower thread. The screws are designed for a variety of interior projects like cabinetry, furniture, trim, and more.
The no-strip star drive head provides a firm grip while driving the screw, reducing the risk of stripping. The self-countersinking blades cut a perfectly flush hole, eliminating the need for countersinking. One downside is that these screws may not be suitable for outdoor use or in areas with high moisture content.
5. FastenMaster FMGD003-75 GuardDog Exterior Wood Screw
The FastenMaster GuardDog Exterior Wood Screw is another excellent option for outdoor projects. These screws come with a proprietary coating that stands up to the elements and prevents rust and corrosion.
The GuardDog screws feature a sharp point and a versatile PoziSquare drive, which allows for a tight connection without stripping. Furthermore, they come with a free PoziSquare driver bit, adding to the overall value. However, they might not be appropriate for more delicate or intricate woodworking projects.
Choosing the right wood screw can significantly affect the quality of your woodworking project. Whether you’re working on a delicate interior piece or a robust outdoor construction, there’s a screw designed for your specific needs.
The GRK Fasteners R4 Multi-Purpose Screw is an excellent all-around choice, thanks to its patented design and versatility. The Kreg SML-C125-500 1-1/4-Inch #8 Coarse Pocket Hole Screws are ideal for softer woods and pocket-hole joinery.
For outdoor projects, the Power Pro 48611 Premium Outdoor Wood and Deck Screws and the FastenMaster FMGD003-75 GuardDog Exterior Wood Screw both offer excellent durability and corrosion resistance. On the other hand, the Hillman Power Pro 48610 Woodworking Interior Screws are perfect for interior projects, offering a secure hold and a clean finish.